Judges, Please

NYT last Monday:

White House officials declined to say who Mr. Obama’s choices will be ahead of an announcement that could come this week, but leading contenders for the spots appear to include Cornelia T. L. Pillard, a law professor at the Georgetown University Law Center; David C. Frederick, who often represents consumers and investors at the Supreme Court; and Patricia Ann Millett, a veteran appeals lawyer in Washington. 

NYT today, one week later:

Robert L. Wilkins, a federal district court judge in the District of Columbia, is among those being considered by President Obama to fill one of three vacancies on a key federal court, nominations he could announce as early as this week, according to legal experts. 

(My emphasis.)

So last Monday we had three apparent finalists and an announcement any minute…and this week, we have four finalists for three spots, with an announcement still any minute.

I might as well toss in this WaPo gem from March 3:

The president has named three dozen judicial candidates since January and is expected to nominate scores more over the next few months, aides said.

In which gullible reporters gave Obama credit for renominating judges who the Senate hadn’t confirmed last year.

Hey, maybe it really will happen this time! But, you know, as Woody said: fool me once, Dr. Crane.* I’m not from Missouri, but at this point if Obama wants me to believe that these nominations are happening, he’ll have to show me.

*Okay: I use that one all the time, but I don’t remember which episode it’s from. Anyone?

[UPDATE: And now, the latest is that the judges will in fact be named tomorrow. After an emergency meeting of the Plain Blog board of directors, we’ve decided to go with “my pressure got them to do it” rather than “perhaps I was just whining a lot over nothing.” Although I probably should just wait until it really happens to believe it, anyway…]

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

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Jonathan Bernstein

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.