After nearly seven years in the White House, President Bush has named 294 judges to the federal courts, giving Republican appointees a solid majority of the seats, including a 60%-to-40% edge over Democrats on the influential U.S. appeals courts.
The rightward shift on the federal bench is likely to prove a lasting legacy of the Bush presidency, since many of these judges -- including his two Supreme Court appointees -- may serve for two more decades.
And despite the Republicans' loss of control of the Senate, 40 of Bush's judges won confirmation this year, more than in the previous three years when Republicans held the majority.
"The progress we have made this year . . . is sometimes lost amid the partisan sniping over a handful of controversial nominations," said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, in a year-end statement.
This progress is not altogether welcomed by liberal activists, who have been frustrated in their efforts to block more of Bush's nominees.