Gerry at Daly Thoughts posted an analysis on the percentage of circuit court nominations confirmed by the Senate.
A reasonable interpretation on that chart is that, starting with Reagan, the process began to become politicized. The Democrats became even more aggressive at this during George H.W. Bush’s term. The Republicans then upped the ante a bit under Clinton, particularly with his late second-term nominations. And under George W. Bush, the Democrats have decided raise the ante yet again.
It is even more stark if one looks at just the numbers for a President’s first Congress:
I recommend that you read the entire post and the comments.
Hat tip: Dinocrat.
2 responses to “The politicization of judicial nomination confirmations”
If you combine the first graph on Clinton (61 percent over two terms) with the second (85 percent just for his first term), then you’ll notice that in Clinton’s second term, the Republicans blocked more Clinton nominations once they had the chance, with only 37 percent confirmations.
Jasper, actually the math doesn’t quite work out that way for a couple of reasons:
Fortunately, Gerry provides a table as part of his analysis. I’ve copied the relevant portion for Clinton’s two terms here.
Although Clinton did have one congress that confirmed only 44.1% of his circuit court nominations, it was his last congress. His first congress confirmed substantially more. Let’s compare that with the congresses that Bush has faced.
Bottom line, is Bush the first president to endure low confirmation rates? No. Clinton faced similar, if not lower confirmation rates. For each term, though, Clinton received a honeymoon period of higher confirmation rates, even from the predominantly Republican 105th congress.
More interesting, is Bush the first president to face the filibuster on judicial nominees? Again, the answer appears to be no. According to a congressional report issued in 2003:
Maybe the Republican’s chickens are coming home to roost…
Update: I appear to be wrong in implying that the confirmation battles started in Clinton’s presidency. See my post, The politicization of judicial nomination confirmations, part 2