One of the main reasons I will vote for a Democrat – any Democrat – over a Republican for president is because of how the judicial vacancies have been filled by the current administration and the fact that a future Republican administration would likely do it the same way.
Here’s a link to Carpetbagger Report with an article on the most recent incident in this area. Boil it down to the following: Traditionally, a senator from the state where a vacancy is located will get a chance to vet a potential nominee in their state. In this case, the 4th Circuit is located in Virginia. 5 of the 15 seats in the 4th Circuit are vacant. The Republican and Democratic Senators from Virginia, Warner and Webb, agreed on a list of 5 candidates considered qualified and confirmable. Nice bi-partisan solution, right? If you really care about filling the seats with qualified folx, seems easy to choose someone one of your Republican senators has signed off on, eh? Not good enough for the current administration, though. Instead, the president selected 2 guys not on the list, never been judges, both members of the Federalist Society and one was affiliated with the Landmark Legal Foundation, an organization known for nominating Rush Limbaugh for the Nobel Peace Prize.
So rather than actually getting something done, the administration would rather pick a fight in order to be able to play some political games and/or rile up its right wing base.