Bush's Circuit Court Nominees in Limbo
Washington Times: Senate majorities and judicial nominees
The first important trend shows the following appellate-court-nomination success rates achieved by presidents for the first Senate controlled by their party following the president's election and re-election: Mr. Carter (100 percent); Mr. Reagan (95 percent, 100 percent); Mr. Clinton (100 percent, de facto); G.W. Bush (52.9 percent). The second trend illustrates why circuit-court nominees became the target of 100 percent of Democratic filibusters during the 108th Congress. Circuit courts of appeal have long been the final decision-makers for the vast majority of federal cases. That is because the Supreme Court declines to hear more than 99 percent of the appeals that come before it. Thus, virtually all of circuit-court decisions not only become the established law throughout their individual circuits, but this has become increasingly so during the past two decades. Why? Because the signed opinions of the Supreme Court have declined from 152 during its 1982-83 term to 107 (1991-92 term) to 71 (2002-03) and 73 (2003-04).