SCOTUS wraps up 2018 term

Welcome to the July 1 edition of Bold Justice, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S. 


SCOTUS has ruled on 23 cases since our June 17 issue. The court has finished issuing rulings in the 69 cases it heard this term. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ 2018-2019 term.

 Click the links below to read more about the specific cases SCOTUS ruled on since June 17:

June 17

June 20

June 21

June 24

June 26

June 27

Looking back at the 2018 term

  • Cases: The court issued decisions in 68 of the 69 cases it heard this term. The court scheduled Carpenter v. Murphy for reargument in its October 2019-2020 term. Three additional cases were decided without argument. 
  • Decisions: The court issued:
    • 5-4 decisions in 18 cases,
    • unanimous decisions in 24 cases, and
    • per curiam decisions (in which authorship is not specified) in five cases.
  • Noteworthy per curiam decision: On April 23, 2019, the court dismissed Emulex Corp. v. Varjabedian as improvidently granted. Dismissed as improvidently granted, or DIG, occurs when the court chooses not to decide a case, even after accepting the appeal or hearing the arguments.

Decisions by justice table

Looking ahead to the 2019 term

SCOTUS is in recess until October. It will begin hearing cases for the 2019 term on October 7. As of June 27, the court had accepted 42 cases. Of the 42 cases, 10 are consolidated. They are:

Click here to find out more about the upcoming 2019-2020 term.

The Federal Vacancy Count

The Federal Vacancy Count tracks vacancies, nominations, and confirmations to all United States Article III federal courts in a one-month period. This month’s edition includes nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from May 30 to June 26, 2019.

Vacancy count for June 26, 2019

A breakdown of the vacancies at each level can be found in the table below. For a more detailed look at the vacancies on the federal courts, click here.

Vacancies by court table

New vacancies

The following judges left active status, creating Article III vacancies. As Article III judicial positions, they must be filled by a nomination from the president. Nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.

As of June 26, 118 of 870 active Article III judicial positions on courts covered in this report were vacant—a vacancy percentage of 13.6 percent.

Including the United States Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, 127 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.

For more information on judicial vacancies during President Trump’s first term, click here.

Federal vacancy count map

New nominations

President Trump announced three new nominations since the May 2019 report. 

  • Halil Ozerden, to the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
  • John Kness, to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
  • Justin Walker, to the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.

The president has announced 191 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on January 20, 2017. The president named 69 judicial nominees in 2017 and 92 in 2018. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.

New confirmations

Between May 30 and June 26, 2019, the Senate confirmed 11 of the president’s nominees to Article III courts. Since January 2017, the Senate has confirmed 123 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—80 district court judges, 41 appeals court judges, and two Supreme Court justices.

Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? We maintain a list of individuals President Trump has nominated.