Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: 13 percent of federal judicial posts are vacant

Today’s Brew highlights July‘s federal judicial vacancy count + the August 9 deadline for applying to Ballotpedia’s fall internship program  
 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Friday, August 2, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Vacancy rate among federal judges stands at 13.1%
  2. Just one week remains to apply for our fall internship
  3. What’s the tea?

Vacancy rate among federal judges stands at 13.1%

The vacancy rate among federal judges edged down from 13.6% at the end of June to 13.1% at the end of July. Twenty-one new judges have been confirmed since June 26. There were two new nominations and seven new vacancies.

According to Ballotpedia’s federal vacancy count, 114 of the nation’s 870 Article III judgeships are vacant. This includes open judgeships on U.S. Appeals and District Courts as well as on the U.S. Court of International Trade. 

The term Article III refers to the fact that these positions are authorized in Article III of the Constitution, which created and enumerated the powers of the judiciary. Article III judges are nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. .

Judges appointed to these positions serve for life or until they resign, retire, or take senior status. Federal judges can also be impeached and removed from office—something that has occurred eight times in the history of the federal judiciary.

Since taking office in January 2017, President Trump has nominated 193 individuals to Article III positions. 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.

Ballotpedia publishes the federal vacancy count on the last Wednesday of each month. You can also find more information in our free newsletter about all things related to the federal courts—Bold Justice. The next edition comes out August 5—click here to subscribe and have the next issue in your mailbox Monday afternoon.

Learn more



Just one week remains to apply for our fall internship  

The deadline to apply for Ballotpedia’s fall internship program is August 9. It’s a great opportunity for you or someone you know to become part of the online encyclopedia of American politics!

It’s a paid internship—working remotely—and we can arrange school credit for your work, too.

Our interns work alongside current staff members on our Editorial, Communications, Tech, or Outreach teams. You’ll learn how to publish content on Ballotpedia and about all we do to prevent and detect bias in our resources. You’ll also be making contributions to a valuable political resource.

Ballotpedia’s fall 2019 internship program will run from Monday, Aug. 26 through Friday, Dec. 13. Interns will work approximately 20 hours per week depending on their availability. 

Apply or learn more information→

Here’s the next edition of our weekly ”What’s the tea?” question so you can tell us what you think.  

All you need to do is read the question and click on the answer that most closely matches your opinion. We’ll share the results with you next week.

As noted above, federal judges have what are, effectively, lifetime appointments. There has been some debate about whether judges, like the president, should serve for a term that lasts a specific number of years. For example, state supreme court justices in 47 states serve for terms of between six and 14 years. Do you agree or disagree with this idea? 

Do you think federal judges should serve terms lasting a certain number of years?

  • A. Yes, federal judges should serve for a specified length of time.
  • B. No, I’m happy with the current system.
  • C. I’m not sure, I need to know more.