A new study by the NYTimes shows that:
[Legal] Practitioners are keenly award of this. The first question asked by many lawyers taking on a new case is “What judge has it been assigned to?” In recognition of how important judge selection can be, some states even allow litigants to strike the first judge assigned to a case and take a chance on doing better with a second pick.
The federal system does not provide for such challenges. Rather, in federal court, you must take the judge you get – and the judge you get (or, at least, what type of judge you are most likely to get over the long run) depends, in this age of vetting, almost exclusively on one thing – presidential elections. Another is upon us now.