Chief Justice Roberts' New Year's Plea

In his annual year-end report, Chief Justice John Roberts implored that President Obama and the Senate move on the president’s judicial nominees. “Each political party has found it easy to turn on a dime from decrying to defending the blocking of judicial nominations, depending on their changing political fortunes,” Roberts said in his report on the federal judiciary. The result, he said, is “acute difficulties for some judicial districts.” There are currently 96 federal court vacancies. Still, it’s not a new problem: In 1998, Chief Justice William Rehnquist used his year-end report to call on the Senate to move on President Bill Clinton’s nominees. “There remains,” wrote Roberts, “an urgent need for the political branches to find a long-term solution to this recurring problem.”