New reporting in the Democrat-Gazette today says there are now no candidates for one federal judgeship in the western district of Arkansas. This is in addition to the news already mentioned previously here of essentially nothing happening on an opening in the eastern district; little progress on P.K. Holmes' nomination in the western district, and no progress at all on appointment of two U.S. attorneys after almost two years of the Obama administration.
There's blame aplenty to go-round. The Obama administration hasn't devoted sufficient attention and energy to this the most lasting of an administration's contribution — filling lifetime judicial appointments. Arkansas's U.S. senators, thanks to undue emphasis on paying off political pals and not enough on a diverse field, submitted slates of nominees that were deficient in many respects. Republican obstructionism was a problem from the outset on speedy hearings and confirmation.
I fear that, after the November elections and Republican gains, congressional approval of administration choices will be a near impossibility. I don't think it's too alarmist to think three open judgeships in Arkansas will go unfilled. The silence of the senators on the debacle inspire little hope otherwise.