Lee H. Hamilton correctly identifies ways in which "Congressional polarization is hurting us at home and abroad" (Nov. 19), including "a judicial confirmation process that is long on rancorous debates over judicial philosophy and short on actual confirmations. The judiciary is being hobbled by congressional polarization."
Bizarrely, however, Senate Republican "holds" have even blocked Utah's Scott Matheson Jr. and other consensus nominees who have strong support from home-state Republican senators.6 comments on this story
In early June, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Matheson's 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals nomination without dissent, and Sen. Orrin Hatch promised to "do everything in my power to get him through as soon as I can."
Since then, judicial vacancies have soared to over 100, including 50 judicial emergencies, and current and retired Republican-appointed federal judges have urged the Senate to stop delaying and act now on all the pending nominees. Since 2001 I have headed the environmental community's Judging the Environment project on federal judicial nominations.