President Obama says that Republicans aren’t treating his judicial nominees fairly:
My judicial nominees have waited three times longer to receive confirmation votes than those of my Republican predecessor. Let me repeat that: My nominees have taken three times longer to receive confirmation votes than those of my Republican predecessor.
Despite the specific detail (Obama knows that specifics like “three times longer” are key to making a story sound believable), his claim isn’t remotely true:
Obama’s claim seemed heartfelt, but it wasn’t anywhere near true. As it happens, the Congressional Research Service has just done a study comparing judicial nominations in the first terms of several recent presidents. Among other things, the study noted how long each president’s nominees waited from the day they were nominated to the day they were confirmed. . .
The CRS study found that Bush’s first-term nominees waited an average of 277 days for confirmation, while Obama’s waited 240 days. So not only did Obama’s nominees not wait three times longer than Bush’s, they actually made it to the bench faster.
As for the U.S. district courts, which have far more seats than the circuit courts, the study found that Obama’s nominees have waited an average of 222 days, while Bush’s waited 156. So Obama’s picks have waited longer before confirmation — but nowhere near three times as long.
But what about the final results? As it turns out, Obama has had a higher percentage of his circuit court nominees confirmed during his first term than Bush did. The CRS report notes that 71.4 percent of Obama’s circuit court nominees were confirmed in his first term, compared with 67.3 percent in Bush’s first term.
Obama’s complaint is also amazingly hypocritical, given his own record of stalling judicial nominees when he was in the Senate.