Dem 51
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GOP 49
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A "C" for Biden

Joe Biden was, reportedly, a lackadaisical student who pulled mostly "gentleman's Cs" in college. That's also true of the guy before Biden, and the guy two before that. Apparently, grades aren't everything.

In this case, however, the C is not a grade, and is in fact a good thing for the President. C is also the Roman numeral for 100 and, as of yesterday, that is how many of his judges have been confirmed by the Senate. Lucky number C was Gina Méndez-Miró, who will be a U.S. district court judge for Puerto Rico. Biden's pace puts him ahead of Donald Trump (85 judges) and Barack Obama (67) at this point in their tenures. The President has also made a point of emphasizing diversity; 76 of his confirmed picks are women and 68 are people of color.

Biden still has some low-hanging fruit to pluck on this front. There are ten open seats on the appellate courts, for which Biden has already put forward seven nominees. Since appeals judges cannot be blue-slipped, the seven will surely be confirmed in short order (or, failing that, replacement nominees will be confirmed). And three more will soon follow. There are also 57 open district-court seats (of which 37 have nominees already) from states with two Democratic senators. No blue-slip problem with those, either. All of this means that Biden can run his judge total to 167 without much difficulty. That will put him in spitting distance of Trump's 4-year total (234).

Then there are the 27 open district-court seats from states with at least one Republican senator. Biden might be able to wangle a few of those, but probably not too many. So, sometime relatively soon, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) is going to have to decide exactly how much value the blue-slip tradition still has. Odds are, it will join the dodo, the Ford Edsel and the McDLT on the scrap heap of history. (Z)

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