Colorado now has three vacancies for federal judges. Although appointed by the President, senators from the home state traditionally play a major role in the nominating process.

With only 11 months remaining in President Bush’s final term, it’s not surprising that Republicans are getting anxious about leaving the vacancies unfilled. With a Democratic congress, and a possible Democratic President coming in 2009, the next several months are critical.

But is that any reason for Sen. Wayne Allard to try and trump Sen. Salazar and submit names to the White House on his own, bypassing both Salazar and the non-partisan commission established for that very purpose?

As Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar announced that a bipartisan panel will help select candidates for three federal judicial vacancies in Colorado, Republican Sen. Wayne Allard said he submitted four names to the White House in November, and two are close to being nominated.

But Salazar says his eight-member panel is going to help decide which candidates’ names should be submitted to the White House by March 15.

Federal judgeships are life-time appointments. It’s important that the candidates be vetted by both sides. We’re almost at February 1. Waiting another six weeks until the bi-partisan commission makes its recommendations will not appreciably slow down the process. Coloradans are entitled to the best and fairest jurists our bar has to offer. Selecting these judges should not be Sen. Allard’s final political plum.