Multiple observers have criticized President Barack Obama’s discharge of his Article II constitutional responsibility to nominate and confirm federal judges. Senators have blamed the administration for slowly making nominations, liberals have contended that the executive appointed myriad candidates who are not sufficiently centrist, and conservatives have alleged that President Obama proffered many nominees who could become liberal judicial activists. Despite the sharp criticisms, the President has actually realized much success when nominating and confirming well qualified moderate jurists. President Obama has named more judges than Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton had at this juncture in their tenure, while courts of appeals currently have the fewest openings since 1990. Because appointments to circuits are crucial when delivering justice, as they are courts of last resort for virtually all cases, the appellate confirmation system merits evaluation.
Carl W. Tobias, Filling the Federal Appellate Court Vacancies, 17 U. Pa. J. Const. L. Online 1 (2015).