For federal judges, older may be wiser but younger is better


(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

It appears that team Obama has finally figured out something Republicans have long known about changing the shape of the federal judiciary: If you want enduring change, appoint younger judges.

We wrote last year that the Democrats appeared to have a policy of minimizing their impact on the  judiciary by  appointing  the oldest judges ever,  going back to the Carter administration, according to a report by the liberal  Alliance for Justice.

Back then, Obama’s confirmed appeals court judges were on average about 55 years old, nearly four years older than Bush II’s and 4.7 years older than Bush I’s.

But the average age (at nomination) for the eight court of appeals judges confirmed so far this year is 47.3 years, according to a tally by the Alliance for the Loop, including one 41-year-old and two 42-year-olds.

The likely GOP capture of the Senate in November, of course, will bring Obama’s hopes for many more confirmations to a screeching halt.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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Al Kamen · May 29, 2014