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It's no secret that Senate Republicans have one purpose in political life: total obstruction of President Obama's and Senate Democrats' agenda. It's no secret that to do so, they've ground the work of the Senate to a halt with the filibuster, blocking an unprecedented number of bills and nominations, including judicial nominations. The judiciary crisis is no secret, either: nearly 10 percent of federal judicial seats are vacant and 40 percent of those vacancies are in courts that are so overburdened with cases, they've been  designated "judicial emergencies" by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

When challenged, Republicans point the finger at President Obama, saying that out of the 82 vacancies, 61 don't even have a nominee. How, they say, can we be responsible for this crisis when the president won't even make the nominations. Well, it turns out, Republicans are even blocking that process: They're refusing to allow the simple process of nominations go forward.

Take Kansas, for example. The state is represented by Republican Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, neither of whom has put forward nominees for a district court slot there that has been vacant for 1,246 days. Their inaction hasn't gone unnoticed -- both senators have taken heat for not participating in the nomination process.

Or look at Texas, where Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz have not moved to fill seven vacant judicial slots, two of which have been vacant for 1,733 and 1,034 days, respectively, without a nominee. At least one Texas paper ran a piece suggesting Cornyn and former Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison were holding off on making judicial recommendations because they were hopeful Mitt Romney would become president in 2012.

There are four vacant judicial slots in Arizona, one of which has been vacant for 1,132 days. Neither of the state's Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, have put forward a nominee for any those spots.

Out of the 61 vacancies without a nominee, 25 are in states with two Republican senators and another 14 are in states with one Democrat and one Republican. The Senate is constitutionally charged with providing both advice and consent on nominations. They're refusing to do either.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Houston Area Kossacks and Daily Kos.

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