Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is attempting to assuage the concerns that conservative activists have raised as late regarding the languid pace of judicial confirmations.
According to the Judicial Conference of the United States, 149 vacancies currently exist in the federal courts. President Donald Trump has named 50 judicial nominees since taking office, submitting a slate of approximately 10 candidates every month. Thus far, the Senate has confirmed just seven, including Justice Neil Gorsuch.
The president’s nominating pace is astoundingly fast compared to recent administrations. Former President Barack Obama named just 10 judicial nominees during his first year in office, including Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Former President George Bush named only four. Former President Bill Clinton’s only judicial nomination during his first year was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As such, the Senate has not been made to contend with so many nominees at this early stage of a presidency in modern history.
Still, conservative think tanks and advocacy groups like the Heritage Foundation and the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) have registered their complaints with GOP leaders, fearing the dispirited Republican Senate caucus will forfeit an unprecedented opportunity to reshape the federal courts.