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Dems Say Ashcroft Hypocritical on Judicial Nominations

While Attorney General John Ashcroft has accused Democrats of foot-dragging on Bush’s judicial nominations, Democrats maintain that Republicans blocked judicial appointments under Clinton and even questioned the need to appoint more judges. At a speech yesterday at the American Bar Association annual meeting, Ashcroft claimed that the Senate Judiciary Committee (under Democratic leadership for the last 2 months) has been slow to review Bush nominations to the federal circuit courts of appeals, despite 8 openings classified as “judicial emergencies.” However, Democrats point out that Republicans held up more than half of Bill Clinton’s nominees during the final two years Republicans were in control of the Senate, despite similar numbers of “judicial emergencies.”

According to Alliance for Justice (AFJ), Senators Helms (R-NC) and Thurmond (R-SC) held up 3 Clinton nominations to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, even though that circuit had three “judicial emergency” positions open, stating that more judges were not necessary. Republicans also held up 2 Clinton nominations in the 8th Circuit, while that circuit had 4 “judicial emergency” vacancies.

Sources:

Washington Post, Alliance for Justice

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