Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. called on President Obama and the Senate on Friday to solve what he called "the persistent problem of judicial vacancies." To that end,
per the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, there are 96 federal court vacancies.
The chief justice's report focused on the judicial branch's efforts to save money in difficult economic times. It did not explicitly press for an increase in judicial pay, a topic that had been a major theme in earlier reports.
The Chief justice who was appointed by a Republican president said that his interest was not in particular appointees but in a judiciary functioning at something like full strength. The Chief Justice identified what he called a systemic problem. He said, "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."
"There remains," the chief justice wrote, "an urgent need for the political branches to find a long-term solution to this recurring problem."