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A slide into obstructionism undermines the US judiciary 

Over the decades political partisanship has gridlocked the confirmation process at levels. The real losers are litigants in courts with vacant judgeships 

By Russell Wheeler  

Photo: Olivier Douliery/DPA/PA Images

The nine-member United States Supreme Court—in the news over the battle to make Judge Brett Kavanaugh its 114thjustice—sits atop a federal judiciary that is less than a tenth the collective size of the courts of the 50 states. But litigation under federal criminal, civil rights, economic and environmental legislation means that federal judges punch above their weight.

Putting judges on these courts—in particular the Supreme Court, the less than 200 circuit judgeships of the intermediate appellate courts, and…

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