- Clark Neily, Institute for Justice
Senator Mike Lee of Utah opened the Federalist Society's 2013 National Lawyers Convention with an address to attendees on Thursday, November 14, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. Senator Lee was introduced by Mr. Leonard A. Leo, Executive Vice President of the Federalist Society.
[Watch or listen now!]
What has caused the increased battles over judicial confirmations? Which nominees have had the most difficult confirmations? Using the largest, most detailed data set on judicial confirmations ever assembled, a new book, Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges off the Bench, shows that it is the smartest/most potentially influential nominees who have had by the far the most difficult time getting confirmed.
On June 20, the ABA sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voicing its concerns about the slow pace of the judicial confirmation process. The ABA is concerned that judicial nominations will come to a halt because of the so-called “Leahy-Thurmond Rule,” in which the Senate stops confirming “long-standing” judicial nominees during a presidential election year. The last circuit-court nominees were confirmed in June during the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns, and in July during the 2000 campaign... [Read more!]
The ABA has long supported “merit” selection in appointing state-court judges over elections or the federal model. Former American Bar Association President Alfred Carlton convened the Commission on the 21st Century Judiciary in 2003 to study state judicial systems. The Commission was created to “provide a framework and ABA policy that enable the Association to defuse the escalating partisan battle over American courts; to accommodate the principles of merit selection in a new model of judicial selection that minimizes the escalating politicization.” In its report to the ABA, the Commission described recommendations for states to improve their judicial-selection processes so as to avoid this “politicization.” The Commission’s recommendations, adopted by the ABA, state that the “preferred system of state court judicial selection is a commission-based appointive system.” The recommendations go on to describe a Missouri Plan-style appointment system where judges are appointed by the governor from among those on a list of candidates compiled by a commission. These judges would ideally be immune to removal from their positions save for cases of misconduct... [Read more!]