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Obama lags behind Bush in judicial appointments by more than 3 to 1

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President Barack Obama may have been the constitutional law professor, but former President George W. Bush has schooled him in the science of judicial appointments.

During his first nine months in office, Obama has won confirmation for just three of 23 judges he nominated to federal judgeships — with a third of those victories being the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. At this point in his presidency, President Bush had confirmed eight, and President Clinton had confirmed nine.

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Moreover, Obama has submitted just 23 names for appointments, whereas Bush had submitted 95 — more than three times as many.

Supporters say the White House has declined to put forth as many names because the pace at which judges are being confirmed in the Senate has become glacial. Under Senate rules, Republican senators can place anonymous holds on judges they don’t like.

An Obama spokesman rebuked criticism of their approach, citing a focus on bipartisanship.

“The administration has been working closely with members of Congress to identify a set of uniquely qualified judicial nominees with diverse professional experiences,” Ben LaBolt, an Obama spokesman, told The Washington Post. “This process has been bipartisan and we have made every effort to make confirmation wars a thing of the past.”

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Bipartisanship, however, while a purported key focus of the President, hasn’t served the Obama team well thus far in Congress. Attempts to bring Republicans into the fold to support Obama’s stimulus measure proved fruitless, as the entire party defected against the measure. Obama and his congressional allies have also been faulted for trying too hard to compromise on healthcare legislation, when they are unlikely to get more than one or two Republican votes in the Senate — and may do so at the cost of including more liberal provisions.

Some are getting fed up with the delays, according to Michael Fletcher, a reporter with The Washington Post.

“The delays are having a ripple effect in federal courts, where caseloads continue to back up, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT)” told Fletcher. “Currently, about 90 judicial seats — about 10 percent of the total — remain vacant in appeals and district courts.”

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“It is incumbent on the Democrats and the White House to push as hard as they can to confirm judicial nominees, given that next year Republicans will make an all-out effort to block candidates as a means to gin up their base before the election,” Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice, told Fletcher.

Republicans made Democrats’ efforts to block a handful of judges during the Bush presidency a signature campaign issue. Democrats, however, have made little hay of Republicans repeated efforts to stymie Obama’s judicial picks.

Both parties acknowledge that part of the delay has occurred as a result of the battle over Obama’s Supreme Court nomination.

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Federal judges are an important component in furthering a president’s legislative agenda, because they play a key role in shaping US law. The Supreme Court takes up fewer than 200 cases a year, leaving most final decisions to appellate courts.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump has been ‘insulated’ by his wealth to never have to learn from his mistakes: biographer

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President Donald Trump's inherited wealth has meant he's never had to learn from his mistakes, Trump biographer Tim O'Brien told MSNBC's Brian Williams on Thursday.

"Bloomberg Opinion writer and our next guest Tim O’Brien writes today, 'Yes, of course, you need a certain kind of appalling narcissism to be comfy promoting yourself as heaven-sent in a televised press briefing and as a deity on Twitter. It’s doubly unhinged when you’re doing this as president,'" Williams said. "He goes on 'The Trump of the past few weeks is the same disordered figure of the past several decades with, I suspect, a big dollop of something new blended in: unbridled and unmanageable panic.'"

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‘Both Putin and Xi will be voting Trump in 2020’: NYT columnist says Russia and China want ‘turmoil and chaos’

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The Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China are both rooting for President Donald Trump to win re-election in 2020, a New York Times columnist argued on MSNBC on Thursday.

Thomas Friedman was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word."

"What do we know about how the leaders of other countries see Donald Trump at this stage in their dealings with him?" O'Donnell asked. "Especially this weekend, when it comes at the end of a week in which they’ve heard him call himself the King of Israel, they have heard him say he is The Chosen One. They have heard all the crazy things that everyone here has heard the president say."

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Trump is ‘not a stable genius’: GOP strategist says the president ‘doesn’t remember who and where he is’

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President Donald Trump's mental fitness is lacking, a top Republican strategist explained on "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Rick Wilson, the author of the 2018 bestselling book Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever, blasted the commander-in-chief.

"Rick Wilson, your assessment of where the president stands as he heads off to the G7 summit?" O'Donnell asked.

"I think Donald Trump has had a week in which he is proving that this isn’t 87-dimensional chess game, this isn't some masterful strategy of communications or persuasion," Wilson replied. "This is an old man who is sick and who has problems and who has mental disconnects and who has aphasias and who has moments where he doesn’t remember who and where he is."

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