April 22nd, 2010
04:03 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama vs. Bush: Who had it easier on court nominations?

The Obama and Bush administrations have a similar success rate when it comes to federal bench nominations.
The Obama and Bush administrations have a similar success rate when it comes to federal bench nominations.

Washington (CNN) - According to the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, President Obama has had an easier go than his predecessor when it comes to federal bench nominations.

A look at the record indicates that Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama is right, by two percent.

Wednesday, Sessions countered Democratic complaints about a slow-moving confirmation process when he said, "I do believe we ought not to unnecessarily delay persons, but I would want to say that the alacrity by which President Obama's nominations are moving far surpasses anything like the difficulties President Bush's nominees had. I've been here. I've seen it. I know that to be a fact."

As of the time he made that speech, 20 out of Obama's 60 nominations had been confirmed, coming out to 33 percent, according to records from the Library of Congress. Looking at the same point in the administration of George W. Bush, April 21, 2002, 45 out of 146 Bush nominees were confirmed, giving Bush a 31 percent batting average.

According to a report from the Brookings Instate, a nonprofit public policy organization and one of the oldest think tanks in the nation's capitol, both administrations encountered unique circumstances during the first year in office which affected the process.

"The time from vacancy to nomination during the first 14 months of the Obama administration is longer than under the Bush administration at the same point, especially for circuit nominees," says Brookings' Russell Wheeler.

The dichotomy, "may reflect the time and energy consumed by the Sotomayor confirmation and the press of other business," adds Wheeler.

However, "the Bush administration, although it had no Supreme Court vacancy at the time, was dealing with the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks," says Wheeler. "The difference may also reflect in part time consumed by American Bar Association vetting of potential nominees, which Obama brought back into the pre-nomination stage."


Filed under: Jeff Sessions • President Obama
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Troy B.

    The discrepancy could have something to do with the fact that Bush's nominees were probably all incompetent.

    April 22, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  2. Ben in Texas

    This is how you lie with statistics. The other way to look at it is that by this time, Bush had well over twice as many appointments confirmed as Obama has.

    April 22, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Obama vs. Bush: Who had it easier on court nominations?
    -------------------------------–

    Oh puleeeze!!

    Are you all serious??

    What is it, a S-L-O-W newsday at CNN?

    Poll amongst yourselves in the 'newsroom'.

    April 22, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    And check out how many aqppointments Bush made whle Congress wasn't in session...not to mention who they were and for what. Yet, we have to listen to the pantp-ssing GOP throw a tantrum any two year old would be proud of if Obama so much as mentions an intention to appoint people while Congress isn't in session.

    April 22, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. gt

    lets see who coin the saying " borked" oh ya foul mouth joe biden,,,,

    April 22, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Who are the "obstructionists?"

    April 22, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. Marie MD

    Excuuuuuuuuuuse me! Is this a trick question. Of course bush had an easier time. No matter what President Obama tries to do the repugs will put bumps on the road.
    Thankfully I think the Democrats in Congress and those throughout the country are finally waking up to the thugs.

    April 22, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. David in Seattle

    This is a really, really stupid way of looking at it. What Ms. Livingston should have calculated was the average length between nomination and confirmation! That is the mean time and also the median time. From her data we don't know if Bush nominated his on day 1 and then it took that long or if many nominations were made on April 20!

    April 22, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. phoenix86

    Obama has it far easier. Democrats are vile and didn't hesitate to personally attack nominees.

    Liberals are so intollerant of others.

    April 22, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  10. JonDie

    When Bush was president, the Republicans ran the Congress like the Soviet Politburo; they literally rubber-stamped everything Bush proposed. They even created a system of gulags just like Stalin and did everything they could to strip away the basic rights of every American citizens...who wasn't a rich, corporate contributor.

    April 22, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. GI Joe

    I find it hard to believe that folk in Alabama are STILL ignorant enough to continue putting those redneck lying republicans in offie.

    Come into the 21st century, Alabama.

    April 22, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Blkman

    OMG and you have to ask the question. Clearly so far, GW Bush. WHY? well I say it was because he was white. But then I might be biased.

    April 22, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. Unicorn Diplomacy

    After a year of an Obama administration all that's left to say when comparing him with George Bush is that Obama looks better when they're both standing around in their underwear. Other than that, not much difference. Actually Bush was better, frankly.

    April 22, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. MikeH

    What's the point of this ticker article CNN?

    Sounds like the Republicans have asked CNN to do their whining and sniveling by proxy, the Republicans don't want to look like cry-babies yet again.

    CNN, how about you just report the news, and don't play wet-nurse for a bunch of loser Republicans.

    April 22, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. runswithbeer

    ROTFLMAO Lets see Bush had 45 by this point and Obama has 20. The Republican spin is that Obama has more than Bush. What kind of of BS Math is that??? "but I would want to say that the alacrity by which President Obama's nominations are moving far surpasses anything like the difficulties President Bush's nominees had. I've been here. I've seen it. I know that to be a fact."

    April 22, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. alwaysindepenent

    Guess we'll get another far left bleeding heart liberal put in place.

    April 22, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. Darko

    Bush's were up for nomination waaaaay longer. Barry took an abnormally long time in putting them up for nomination, so it's quite surprising that he has so many affirmed already.

    April 22, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. briandhaas

    I believe technically it is "two percentage points," not two percent.

    April 22, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "It's all political, not any real reform."

    If that were true, you wouldn't be acting angry to mask your fear.

    The fact that Wall Street is pantwetting and Blankfein is threatening to "hurt America" in retaliation for passing reforms...well, that just confirms Obama's on the right track.

    April 22, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  20. Jack Ruby

    this is a non issue and frankly no president has it easy: the President who I support is way to far to the left and is comming the George W. of the Left. He needs to pick someone center-right really; this will counter the GOP-Tea party movement: Frankly, I'd like to see Jbe Bush, Gov. Drist, or even Gov. Arnold on the court.

    April 22, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  21. TonyH

    Did Jeff Sessions ever study statistical analysis in college or university? If he did, he needs a refresher. A difference of one single nominee being approved is all that lifted the current process above a tie, and given that Obama has proposed half the number of nominees to date compared to Bush, there's no comparison. The party of no is the party of slow...

    April 22, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |