Yesterday, long serving Harry Edwards took “senior status,” which means a sort of semi-retirement status, which opens up another seat on the court for a nominee from President Bush. There are now three vacancies, and although some argue that the court really ought only to have 11 members, the law authorizes 12.
One of those vacancies should be filled by Brett Kavanaugh, who has been languishing in the Judiciary Committee despite the Gang of 14’s deal. Even though the Committee cannot trouble itself to get to work on the nomination of Judge Alito, perhaps they can get Judge Kavanaugh seated this month or early next, and perhaps the White House can get one or two additional names sent forward.
This court is too important to allow it to drift along without a full compliment of judges. Not only is the D.C. Circuit the on-deck circle for the SCOTUS (batting next, Judge Janice Roger Brown), it also deals with an incredible number of crucial cases that never reach the next level but which have profound impact on the operations of the government.
The Kavanaugh nomination needs to get to the floor, and new nominees need to get from the White House to the Hill. And the Judiciary Committee needs to finish up the work on those nominees not thrown under the bus by the Gang of 14 last spring.