UPDATE: I am disappointed by the Boston Globe, though it seems as if their errors were a result of a series of unintentional mistakes. I had provided the Globe with numbers for the confirmation rates for both the District and Circuit court, but the newspaper only showed the numbers for the District court and accidentally labeled those as being for all Federal judicial nominees. Given that the confirmation rates move in opposite directions for the two courts and that the Circuit court is the more important, this created a fairly misleading impression. While the mistake made a big difference, I accept their explanation for what happened as an accident.
UPDATE 2: From the Boston Globe (Tuesday, May 17, 2005): "Because of a graphics editor's error, a chart accompanying a May 8 story on federal judicial nominations was incorrectly labeled. The chart showed the average number of days to confirm District Court nominees and the percentage of District Court nominees confirmed by presidential administration. A corrected version of the chart appears today on page A8." They still don't correct the point that they previously labeled District court judges as all judges, but this is a definite improvement and I am glad that they did this.
Original Post: I haven't seen it yet, but apparently the front page of yesterday's Sunday Boston Globe had a chart with my numbers on how the judicial confirmation process has changed over time. The article is here
, but it doesn't contain the chart.''Many perceive the judicial nomination process as broken," John R. Lott Jr. of the conservative American Enterprise Institute wrote in a study indicating that the success rate of nominations has fallen steadily over the past two decades. ''Neither Democrats nor Republicans have 'clean hands' in this debate and . . . the problem has been getting progressively worse over time."
The origins of the struggle trace back to the explosive growth of the power of the federal judiciary that began with the Supreme Court decision to end segregation in 1954 and climaxed with its 1973 declaration of a constitutional right to an abortion. A wave of class-action lawsuits and litigation over new environmental and antidiscrimination laws added to the expanded judicial scope.
I am not exactly sure what numbers the Boston Globe used because I haven't seen their chart(s) yet, but here are the general numbers that I gave them.
Appeals Court Nominees Days to confirmation (average number of days)
92.462 Bush I
262.7576 Bush II
District Court Nominees Days to confirmation (average number of days)
102.0694 Bush I
157.3533 Bush II
DC Appeals Court Nominees Days to confirmation (average number of days)
84.75 Bush I
729 Bush II
Appeals Court Nominees confirmation rate in percent (average rate)
78 Bush I
66.6667 Bush II
District Court Nominees confirmation rate in percent (average rate)
78.075 Bush I
96.610 Bush II
DC Appeals Court Nominees confirmation rate in percent (average rate)
88.889 Bush I
20 Bush II