President Obama re-nominated 33 judicial nominees Thursday, criticizing the Senate for failing to confirm them before adjourning. In a statement, Obama says that many of his selections "could have and should have been confirmed before the Senate adjourned."
He said that several had been awaiting a vote for more than six months, "even though they all enjoy bipartisan support."
He called on the Senate to "consider and confirm these nominees without delay, so all Americans can have equal and timely access to justice."
Since Obama took office, the number of vacant judgeships has climbed. Republicans blame the administration for taking too long to make nominations; Democrats criticize Senate Republicans for delaying confirmation.
"The president is sending a strong message to the new Senate about the importance of ending the judicial vacancy crisis,” said Marge Baker, the group's executive vice president.
She said that a third of the nominees that Obama sent to the Senate were approved by the Judiciary Committee last year, but were stalled by Republicans on the Senate floor. Others were awaiting hearings or votes in committee. One, D.C. Circuit nominee Caitlin Halligan, was first nominated more than two years ago.