"Industry groups that rely on federal courts to fight regulations and legislation flowing from a Democratic White House and Congress may face frustrations as President Obama makes his mark on the judiciary.
'Groups that are opposed to stricter environmental regulations will naturally turn to the conservative-leaning federal courts if the other two avenues have been blocked,' said John Nagle, an environmental law professor at the University of Notre Dame. 'But what's going to happen to these challenges to the more robust environmental regulations once many of the these judicial appointments go through?'
With the Supreme Court issuing fewer than 100 decisions a year, lower courts have the final say in more than 99 percent of cases. Right now, Republican appointees have an 88-60 advantage on the 13 circuit courts, and Obama's impact there could be dramatic. With 19 vacancies and more than two dozen potential openings for judges up for senior status, the president may be able to completely reshape a conservative-dominated judiciary to one largely controlled by Democratic appointees."