Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is blaming both parties for the partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill that is stalling dozens of nominees from filling open judicial seats. "Each political party has found it easy to turn on a dime from decrying to defending the blocking of judicial nominations, depending on their changing political fortunes," Roberts said in his annual State of the Judiciary report.
Roberts said that this partisan bickering has led to "acute difficulties" in "critically overworked districts." In response, he urged federal lawmakers to come to some kind of agreement to try and avoid the problem in the future.
In December, Senate Republicans signed off on 19 of President Obama's 38 pending judicial nominees, marking an end to months of stalemate. According to The Hill, the GOP had been blocking the votes on these supposed non-controversial nominees as "leverage to prevent votes on other more controversial judges" -- an act Roberts praised.
"I am heartened that the Senate recently filled a number of district and circuit court vacancies, including one in the Eastern District of California, one of the most severely burdened districts," he wrote. "There remains, however, an urgent need for the political branches to find a long-term solution to this recurring problem."