President Donald Trump made 104 Article III federal judicial appointments through May 15, 2019. How does that figure compare to other modern presidents at this stage of their terms?
We looked at the numbers from the last 13 presidents, dating back to Harry Truman.
Article III judges are lifetime appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court, a U.S. court of appeals, a U.S. district court, or the Court of International Trade. The breakdown of Article III judges is as follows:
- Supreme Court of the United States: 9 justices
- United States court of appeals: 179 judgeships
- United States district court: 677 judgeships
- United States Court of International Trade: 9 judgeships
The chart below shows the number of Article III judges confirmed by the U.S. Senate under each of the last 13 presidents on or before May 15 of their third years in office. The confirmations are broken up by court type.
Here are five takeaways from the above graph and other elements of the data:
- Trump has made the fourth most Article III appointments through this point in his term. The three presidents who had more at this point were Bill Clinton (141), George W. Bush (124), and John F. Kennedy (116).
- Trump has made the most appeals court appointments through this point, 39, which is 22 percent of the 179 appeals court judgeships. The next highest number of appointments at this point in a presidency was Richard Nixon (25) and George W. Bush (21).
- Kennedy had 56 judges confirmed in the first year of his term, most among the group. Dwight Eisenhower had nine, the fewest. Trump’s 19 appointments in the first year of his presidency were eighth-most.
- Trump has made the eighth-most district court appointments, 63, which is nine percent of the 677 district court judgeships. Clinton had made 118 such appointments, and George W. Bush had 100.
- Trump inherited 108 Article III judicial vacancies when he was inaugurated. This represented 12.4 percent of the 870 Article III judicial posts. Among the last six presidents, only Clinton inherited more vacancies—111 of 842 positions, or 13.2 percent.
For more charts and to explore the raw data, visit our in-depth analysis at the link below.