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Making It Easy

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Obama’s glacial pace in making federal court nominations is not, strictly speaking, an example of the kind of thing Krugman is talking about today. Making a couple dozen more nominations to the lower federal courts would not be a base-energizing move (nominating someone like Pam Karlan to the Supreme Court, maybe.) But allowing a lot of vacant seats on federal courts as the GOP is poised to make huge gains in the Senate is still bad on the merits — bad for the functioning and fairness of the criminal justice system, and bad for the application of federal law. And while this is an area in which Obama’s power is shared with an institution in which Republicans have a de facto veto, it’s still true that 1)he could make it harder for them, and 2)even with the Republican obstructionism he almost certainly could have gotten more nominees confirmed if he had made more nominations.

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