Monday’s discussion focused largely on the importance of the D.C. Circuit, which Democrats say has become increasingly conservative and “out of the mainstream” in its rulings, as Caroline Fredrickson, president of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, put it.
Vladeck said that while the court now includes four judges appointed by Republican presidents and three appointed by Democrats, the Democratic appointees are more centrist than the Republicans. To call the court ideologically balanced is true “only at the most superficial level,” he said.
Fredrickson said administration officials “certainly understand the gravity of the situation,” and predicted that Obama will place more emphasis on the D.C. Circuit in the coming months.