EMPTY-BENCH SYNDROME

CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS ARE DETERMINED TO PUT CLINTON'S JUDICIAL NOMINEES ON HOLD

The wanted posters tacked to the walls of courthouses around the country normally depict carjackers, kidnappers and other scruffy lawbreakers on the lam. But these days the flyers might just as well feature distinguished men and women in long dark robes beneath the headline HELP WANTED. As of this week, 100 seats on the 844-person federal bench are vacant. Case loads are creeping out of control, and sitting judges are crying for help.

The situation is urgent, says Procter Hug Jr., chief judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers California and eight other Western states. Hug says that...

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