President Obama was slow off the mark in his first year, making fewer nomination than his predecessors, according to a Brookings Institution report. But the amount of time needed to win confirmation once nominations have been made has also risen dramatically. hide caption

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The Supreme Court heard arguments for a case that pits the rights of minority voters under the Voting Rights Act against the powers of the state Legislature. Michael McCloskey/ hide caption

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The Texas State Capitol in Austin. The Lone Star State is gaining four additional congressional seats because of its booming population, but its redistricting plans are in limbo. Eric Gay/AP hide caption

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A U.S. Border Patrol agent patrols along the U.S.-Mexico border in Naco, Ariz., in September. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a legal challenge to Arizona's tough new law on illegal immigration. Joshua Lott /Reuters /Landov hide caption

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Caitlin J. Halligan, then a lawyer for New York State, and attorney David Boies spoke in the Court of Appeals in Albany in 2005. On Tuesday, Senate Republicans blocked Halligan's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Jim McKnight /AP hide caption

itoggle caption Jim McKnight /AP

People wait to enter outside the U.S. Supreme Court in March. The court hears arguments Wednesday in a case testing whether the federal government is liable for damages when it violates the Privacy Act by disclosing that an individual is HIV-positive. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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South African Constitutional Court Judge Albie Sachs, seen here in Johannesburg in 2009, resisted the impulse to take revenge on the bomber who cost him his right arm. Denis Farrell/AP hide caption

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In this March 15, 1973, White House news conference, President Nixon says he will not allow his legal counsel, John Dean, to testify in the Watergate investigation and challenges the Senate to test him in the Supreme Court. Charles Tasnadi/AP hide caption

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