News Columns & Blogs

Judge shortage is dire

Federal judges have been retiring at a rate of one per week this year, driving up vacancies that have nearly doubled since President Obama took office, the Washington Post reported. As a result, workloads are increasing dramatically in some federal courts. Arizona, for example, recently declared a judicial emergency, extending the deadline to put defendants on trial. "It's a dire situation," said Roslyn O. Silver, the state's chief judge. The White House has been slow in making nominations, but much of the blame for the unfilled positions rests with GOP delaying tactics. Fortunately, Senate Republicans are now vowing to speed up confirmations. Last week the Senate approved Obama nominees for judgeships in Arkansas, Oregon and Texas.