In his annual year-end report, Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has called on the executive and legislative branches to fill the large number of vacancies on the federal judicial bench, reports the New York Times.
"Each political party has found it easy to turn on a dime from decrying to defending the blocking of judicial nominations, depending on their changing political fortunes," he wrote, adding that these changes create "acute difficulties for some judicial districts."
According to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, there are currently 96 vacancies on the federal bench, representing more than 10 percent of the federal judiciary.
Although Roberts was appointed by a Republican president and is a judicial conservative, he urged the Senate to confirm President Obama's nominees for federal judgeships, arguing that the empty seats prevent his branch of government from operating at full strength.
"We do not comment on the merits of individual nominees," he wrote. "That is as it should be. The judiciary must respect the constitutional prerogatives of the president and Congress in the same way that the judiciary expects respect for its constitutional role."