There is a crisis in the federal court system today. All throughout there are an unacceptable number of vacancies that have yet to be filled.
At last count, there were over a dozen empty seats on the Appeals Court level alone. At the District Court level, which has ten times the number of courts in it, the problem is even more severe. There is currently a seat on the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco that has been vacant since 2004. That’s eight years with that empty seat.
In 2005, at the time of the death of Chief Justice Rehnquist, John Roberts was elevated to the position of Chief Justice from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. His seat on the D.C. circuit has stood empty to this day, and a nominee was just announced last month.
Is this the Senate’s fault for not confirming judges? Is it the President’s fault for not nominating qualified candidates? Is it a mix of both? That’s up for debate.
But the one indisputable fact is that there needs to be a change, or else cases will be backed up for years, and justice will be deferred.