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Bush: Delay in Approving US Judges 'Endangers Justice'

President Bush has said Senate Democrats are moving too slowly in approving his nominees to federal courts. Mr. Bush said the delay endangers American justice.

President Bush said there is a "vacancy crisis" in federal courts that he blames on Senate Democrats who have confirmed only half of his nominees over the last year.

Mr. Bush said Senators "must act for the good of the country" by approving more of his judge nominees. "All across America, the wait for justice is growing longer, the burden on federal judges is growing heavier, and the frustration level of ordinary Americans seeking justice is growing greater," he said.

The president said Senate Democrats are "endangering the administration of justice in America" by blocking his nominees.

Senate Democrats said many of the president's candidates are too conservative. Mr. Bush said all of his choices have been rated "well-qualified" or "qualified" by the American Bar Association, which he said is the self-declared "gold standard" of Senate Democrats.

The president said all of his nominees are "exceptional for their humanity and their integrity."

"They are in the solid mainstream of American legal opinion, and they share a principled commitment to follow and apply the law, not to make law from the bench. But the Senate has confirmed only one-half of my nominees," Mr. Bush said.

The president said only nine of his 30 nominees to federal appeals courts have been confirmed. Of his first 11 nominees announced a year ago, only three have been confirmed.