Can’t say with a certainty that the following was a factor in the slow pace of Arkansas federal judicial nominations (in one case, three names initially recommended by U.S. senators were rejected for a new slate), but this New York Times report is interesting for some insight on slow progress of Obama administration nominations generally. Federal judges are the lasting monuments to a presidency, for better or worse.

The American Bar Association has secretly declared a significant number of President Obama’s potential judicial nominees “not qualified,” slowing White House efforts to fill vacant judgeships — and nearly all of the prospects given poor ratings were women or members of an ethnic minority group, according to interviews.

The White House has chosen not to nominate any person the bar association deemed unqualified, so the pattern of negative ratings has not been made public. But the association’s judicial vetting committee has opposed 14 of the roughly 185 potential nominees the administration asked it to evaluate, according to a person familiar with the matter.

This rejection rate is much higher than that experienced in Bush or Clinton administrations, the article says.