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. iStockphoto.com 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/iStockphoto.com 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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