When a judicial vacancy occurs in D.C.’s local courts, it typically takes 15 weeks for the judicial commission established by Congress to recommend a list of three candidates to the president. The president then has 60 days to nominate a candidate to the Senate for confirmation; if there is no nomination within 60 days, the commission nominates one. But here’s where things break down: The Senate has no deadline for acting and that has allowed nominees to languish, creating an unprecedented number of judicial vacancies that hurts the justice system in D.C.

“A critical state” is how a D.C. courts spokesman characterized the existing vacancies on the bench of D.C. Superior Court and the Court of Appeals. Of the 62 Superior Court seats, 16 are unfilled. Three of the nine Court of Appeals seats are vacant, with a fourth vacancy expected by June. Some of the vacancies on D.C. Superior Court, reported The Post’s Meagan Flynn and Michael Brice-Saddler, date to 2016, and one seat on the Court of Appeals has been vacant for as long as eight years. Judges are overburdened and cases have become backlogged. Defendants facing criminal charges, plaintiffs pressing civil lawsuits, victims seeking justice, families with child-custody disputes, and people awaiting inheritance settlements are among those who have had to wait for their day in court.

Judicial vacancies have been a long-standing problem that results from the fact the District is the only jurisdiction in the country in which Senate confirmation is required for local judges. And with most attention focused on nominees for the federal courts and the executive branch, D.C.’s local judges have never been much of a priority — no matter which party is in charge. Consider that on the last day of business last year, the Senate confirmed dozens of President Biden’s judicial nominees — capping a year in which he and Senate Democrats pushed through the highest number of federal judges in the first year of a presidency in four decades — but none of them were for the D.C. bench.

A bid to confirm D.C. nominees by seeking unanimous consent was blocked by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) “I have absolutely no faith that Joe Biden’s radical far-left nominees will uphold the rule of law,” he said. Never mind the recommendations from the congressionally constituted judicial commission are almost always uncontroversial. They are generally former prosecutors or magistrate judges or administrative law judges with apolitical backgrounds. But Democrats also share in the responsibility for the crisis facing the D.C. courts. Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) so far has not been willing to press the nominations to a vote by invoking cloture. That would take up precious floor time and, as D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) wryly noted, D.C. “is at the bottom of the barrel until we get statehood.” A spokesman for Mr. Schumer assured us “we are going to get these nominees confirmed.” The question is when. The residents of Washington, D.C., shouldn’t have to wait any longer for timely justice.