Decades of scorched-earth battles over judicial nominees have taken their toll on the federal court system. Many courts today are still trying to fill seats that have been left open for years. We look at the situation on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal court covering Virginia and Maryland. And we consider whether the Obama Administration will be capable of (and interested in) sidestepping partisan payback politics.


  • Barbara Perry Professor of Government, Sweet Briar College; Author, "A 'Representative' Supreme Court?: The Impact of Race, Religion, and Gender on Appointments"
  • Jeffrey Rosen Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School; Legal Affairs Editor, The New Republic; Author, "The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America" (Times Books)
  • Sarah Wilson Former Senior Counsel for Nominations, Office of the White House Counsel (1998-2001); Special Counsel, Covington & Burling
  • Rachel Brand Counsel, WilmerHale; Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy, U.S. Department of Justice (2004-2007)

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