Ballotpedia releases federal vacancy count for July

In this month’s federal vacancy count, Ballotpedia tracked nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from June 27 to July 31, 2019. Ballotpedia publishes the federal vacancy count on the last Wednesday of each month.
 
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Vacancies: There have been seven new judicial vacancies since the June 2019 report. There are 114 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions on courts covered in this report. Including the United States Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, 123 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.
  • Nominations: There have been two new nominations since the June 2019 report.
  • Confirmations: There have been 21 new confirmations since the June 2019 report.
 
New vacancies
There were 114 vacancies out of 870 Article III judicial positions—13.1 percent, consistent with the vacancy percentage in June 2019.
  • The nine-member U.S. Supreme Court does not have any vacancies.
  • Four (2.2%) of the 179 U.S. Appeals Court positions are vacant.
  • 106 (15.7%) of the 677 U.S. District Court positions are vacant.
  • Four (44.4%) of the nine U.S. Court of International Trade positions are vacant.
 
A vacancy occurs when a judge resigns, retires, takes senior status, or passes away. Article III judges, who serve on courts authorized by Article III of the Constitution, are appointed for life terms. 
 
The following judges vacated their active status. As Article III judicial positions, these vacancies must be filled by a nomination from the president. Nominations are subject to confirmation on the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate.
 
  • Judge Christopher Droney assumed senior status on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.
  • Judge Joe Heaton assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.
  • Judge Judith Herrera assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico.
  • Judge Jack Zouhary assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
  • Judge Andrew Guilford assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
  • Judge Simeon Lake III assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
  • Judge Peter Phipps vacated his seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania after being elevated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.
 
New nominations
President Donald Trump (R) has announced two new nominations since the June 2019 report.
 
  • Lee Rudofsky was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
  • R. Austin Huffaker was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.
 
Since taking office in January 2017, President Trump has nominated 193 individuals to Article III positions.
 
New confirmations
Since June 27, 2019, the U.S. Senate has confirmed 21 of President Trump’s nominees to Article III seats. As of July 31, 2019, the Senate has confirmed 144 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—two Supreme Court justices, 43 U.S. appeals court judges, and 99 U.S. district court judges.
 
  • Daniel Bress, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
  • T. Kent Wetherell, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.
  • Damon Leichty, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.
  • J. Nicholas Ranjan, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
  • Peter Phipps, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.
  • Clifton L. Corker, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
  • Wendy W. Berger, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
  • Brian Buescher, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska.
  • Peter Welte, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota.
  • Michael Liburdi, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.
  • Sean Jordan, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
  • James Wesley Hendrix, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
  • William Shaw Stickman, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
  • Martha Pacold, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
  • Mary Rowland, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
  • Mark Pittman, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
  • Karin J. Immergut, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon.
  • John M. Younge, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
  • Jason Pulliam, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.
  • Jeff Brown, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
  • Brantley Starr, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
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About the author

Sara Reynolds

Sara Reynolds is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at sara.reynolds@ballotpedia.org

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