Christopher Kang takes charge of Obama’s judicial nomination process.


By David Ingram


Christopher Kang is a veteran of the judge wars. At their height during the George W. Bush administration, he was a top aide to the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat and advised the effort to block some of Bush’s most conservative federal appeals court nominees.


Now Kang has a different mission: lead the selection of President Barack Obama’s nominees and get them confirmed.


It’s the kind of switch not everyone could pull off, because not all Republicans are ready to let bygones be bygones on the treatment of past judicial nominees. But Kang, 35, is making an attempt. He started full-time in August as a senior counsel in the White House running the president’s judicial nominations process.






With 92 vacancies on the federal courts, Kang isn’t thinking yet about filling the entire judiciary. He said his goal for the rest of Obama’s term is to get the number of vacancies back to where it was in January 2009, at about 55. He thinks that’s realistic, given that 27 nominees are awaiting final Senate votes after getting positive support in committee. “If they were to confirm those tomorrow, you could cut the vacancy rate by almost a third and make a pretty significant dent toward getting to 55,” he said.


Douglas Kendall, president of the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center, said he believes Kang understands the urgency of acting before the presidential campaign gets fully underway. “Chris is focused and energized and has the White House’s full support for the proposition that we have got to get the vacancy rate down,” he said.



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