The Slow Pace of Nominations.

This is actually a fair criticism of the president:

Republicans, after two years of criticism from the White House for blocking government appointments, have started to complain that the Obama administration is failing to fill senior financial and economic jobs.

The White House is expected to announce soon a replacement for Larry Summers, the top economic adviser to the president, who left the administration last week after delaying his departure to avoid leaving an empty chair for an extended period. But replacing Mr Summers, who said in September he was leaving his role as director of the National Economic Council, is only one of a number of personnel moves yet to be completed by the administration. [...]

Mark Calabria, a director at the libertarian Cato Institute, said: “You really can’t blame people for holding up your nominations if you don’t send them to begin with.”

The White House has been incredibly slow at nominating people to fill executive branch and judicial vacancies. With judicial nominations especially, Obama lags well behind Bush and Clinton. Here is the most recent Alliance for Justice snapshot of judicial nominations:

nominations 1:3:2011.png

So far, Obama has made 25 nominations for the circuit courts and 78 for the district courts for a total of 103 nominations. By contrast, at this point in their presidencies, Bush and Clinton had made 130 and 140 nominations, respectively. The filibuster is a problem, definitely, but Obama needs to vet more candidates and send more nominations to the Senate. 

That said, Republican obstruction has left Obama with a dismal confirmation percentage: 58 percent compared with 90 percent for Clinton and 77 percent for Bush. Republicans are right to criticize Obama for the slow pace of nominations, but they still carry a lot of blame for the huge number of executive-branch and judicial vacancies.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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