There are 94 federal court districts in the United States. More than half of those districts do not have Senate-confirmed U.S. attorneys. Seven of the 10 largest cities in the country don't have a confirmed U.S. attorney, according to a June 1 Bloomberg Law analysis in U.S. Law Week.
President Joe Biden's administration has nominated 28% fewer U.S. attorneys than Donald Trump at the same point in their tenures.
Bloomberg observed that the U.S. attorney shortage is more acute in red states like Kentucky. Sources speculated that Republican obstructionism is a factor where it appears more important to make the Biden administration look “soft on crime” than it is to confirm U.S. attorneys.
Given the notorious intransigence of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Biden administration hasn't nominated U.S. attorneys for either of Kentucky's two districts, Bloomberg reported.
Failure to Coordinate
According to Bloomberg, internal gridlock is also a problem in both blue and red states.
Three of California's four districts don't even have nominees covering San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Instead of coordinating the vetting of nominees, Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla have set up separate screening commissions. This slows the process because Senate protocols require both senators to sign off on nominees.
Something similar is happening in Florida. Republican Senator Marco Rubio has approved White House nominee Markenzy Lapointe, but Sen. Rick Scott has neither confirmed nor rejected Lapointe.
It can be done, however. Last year, North Carolina's two Republican senators worked with the White House, and the Senate confirmed all three U.S. attorneys for North Carolina.
No Shortage of Assistant U.S. Attorneys
Reuters reported on April 13 that local district attorney offices have difficulty recruiting and retaining prosecutors.
Although more than half of U.S. attorney offices are leaderless, Reuters noted there is no shortage of ambitious assistant U.S. attorneys. Those positions “are often viewed as stepping-stones to highly paid private-sector jobs.”
While local defendants might see delays or even relief from prosecution, federal defendants can still expect vigorous prosecution. They will require an equally aggressive defense. In greater Los Angeles, call the Sigal Law Group at 818-325-0570 for a free consultation.