Editor's note: The post below has been modified to make clear that Wayne County Circuit Judge David Allen was never nominated to a seat on the federal bench, but was recommended by Michigan Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow to President Obama.
A Michigan state court judge who was recommended to a seat on the federal bench almost two years ago has withdrawn his name from consideration, citing excessive delay in moving the process forward that had put both his personal life and his career on hold, The Detroit News reports.
In a letter to Michigan Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow announcing his withdrawal, Wayne County Circuit Judge David Allen called the system of nomination and confirmation to the federal bench "broken."
"While I appreciate and am honored by your joint recommendation to the president for this position, the almost two year delay (with the prospect of further delay in a much changed Congress come January) in the process has been long enough," Allen wrote. "I am ready to get back to my personal life and respected state court career, both of which have been on hold far too long."
Sens. Levin and Stabenow said in a joint statement they "share [Allen's] frustration with the lengthy delays in the nomination and confirmation process for far too many judicial appointments."
Allen's name was submitted by the senators to President Obama, but Allen had not been nominated by Obama.
There are now 110 vacancies out of 876 seats on the federal bench subject to Senate confirmation. Almost half of these seats have been deemed judicial emergencies by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, ACS Executive Director Caroline Fredrickson and a number of current and former federal judges, including Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, have called on the Senate to promptly confirm nominees. Editorial boards across the country have also added their voice to the call, including the The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and The Arizona Republic.
Editorial boards and commentators have warned that one of the consequences of delay in nominating and confirming judicial nominees would be a loss of many good candidates unwilling to endure the process.
"Well-qualified nominees who enjoy bipartisan support should be able to count on a fair and relatively smooth Senate confirmation process," Constitutional Accountability Center President Doug Kendall wrote in July in The Huffington Post. Kendall continued:
This is critical because, while they're waiting, the careers of these nominees go on hold. Given the demands of the bench, and the gap between judicial salaries and what these individuals could earn in private practice, the Nation is already lucky that top candidates are willing to serve. If we throw in an unpredictable and lengthy confirmation process, the quality of the federal bench -- and the dispensation of justice -- will unquestionably suffer. If this continues, it will worsen an already serious problem of vacancies on the federal courts. And it will discourage from ever entering the confirmation process precisely the type of nominees both parties should want.
Visit JudicialNominations.org to learn more about the judicial nominations crisis and follow developments.