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Leahy Blames White House For Judicial Nominations Gridlock

If there's one thing that rallies the geeky side of the conservative base, it's judicial nominations.

So Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), may have fanned the flames a bit with his warning on the Senate floor this afternoon that dozens of judicial nominations could be in jeopardy if the Bush administration doesn't start working more closely with home state senators to seek approval of district and Circuit Court nominees.

Conservatives desperately want to remake the federal judiciary with strict constructionist judges, and accuse Democratic Senate of dragging its feet hoping a Democratic president will fill the dozens of federal bench vacancies.

Leahy's committee actually approved four judges on Thursday, yet he warned that dozens of other nominations may be in danger of petering out before the end of the Bush administration.

"If the White House and the Senate Republicans were serious about filling vacancies and not just seeking to score partisan political points, the president would not make nominations opposed by home state Senators," Leahy said. "If they were serious about filling vacancies, Republicans would not spend the rest of the Bush presidency fighting over a handful of controversial nominations rather than work with us to make progress. ... We may still be able to make progress, but only with the full cooperation of this president and Republican members of this Senate."

The White House is sending a response to The Crypt momentarily, and we'll update this post with their comments.