Yesterday, upon its return from August recess, the Senate confirmed Roseann Ketchmark to a seat on the Western District of Missouri by a vote of 98-0.  Here are the reasons this unanimous confirmation vote was (unfortunately) newsworthy:

  • Now-Judge Ketchmark is only the sixth federal judge confirmed this year, despite the fact that the number of judicial vacancies has grown from 43 to 67.
  • Judge Ketchmark’s nomination had been ready for a vote since April, and had the support of her bipartisan home-state senators – and yet she did not receive a vote until September.
  • There is no indication when the other seven nominees ready for a floor vote, who have already been waiting for several months to do so, will come before the Senate.

Here’s the bottom line:  it took too long to confirm Judge Ketchmark, as welcome as her confirmation is.  The Senate should be held to account when it fails to expeditiously process federal judicial nominees, because we all are at risk of faulty justice when our courts aren’t fully staffed.