Ballotpedia releases federal vacancy count for December

In this month’s federal vacancy count, Ballotpedia tracked nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from December 3, 2019, to January 2, 2020. Ballotpedia publishes the federal vacancy count at the start of each month.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Vacancies: There have been three new judicial vacancies since the November 2019 report. There are 72 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, 80 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.
  • Nominations: There have been four new nominations since the November 2019 report.
  • Confirmations: There have been 23 new confirmations since the November 2019 report.

New vacancies
There were 72 vacancies out of 870 Article III judicial positions, a total vacancy percentage of 8.3%, which is 2 percentage points lower than in November 2019.

  • The nine-member U.S. Supreme Court does not have any vacancies.
  • One (0.6%) of the 179 U.S. Appeals Court positions are vacant.
  • 69 (10.2%) of the 677 U.S. District Court positions are vacant.
  • Two (22.2%) 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.

Three judges left active status, creating Article III life-term judicial vacancies. 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 Morrison England assumed senior status on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.
  • Judge William Griesbach assumed senior status on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
  • Judge Ben Settle assumed senior status on the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington.

U.S. Court of Appeals vacancies
The following chart tracks the number of vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals from the inauguration of President Donald Trump (R) to the date indicated on the chart.

The following maps show the number of vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals at the inauguration of President Trump and as of January 2, 2020.

New nominations
President Donald Trump (R) has announced four new nominations since the November 2019 report:

  • Thomas Cullen, to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.
  • Anna Manasco, to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.
  • John L. Badalamenti, to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
  • Stephen P. McGlynn, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

Since taking office in January 2017, President Trump has nominated 238 individuals to Article III positions.

New confirmations
Since December 3, 2019, the U.S. Senate confirmed 23 of President Trump’s nominees to Article III seats. As of January 2, 2020, the Senate had confirmed 187 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—133 district court judges, 50 appeals court judges, two Court of International Trade judges, and two Supreme Court justices—since January 2017.

  • Eric Komitee, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
  • R. Austin Huffaker, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.
  • David Barlow, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah.
  • Sarah Pitlyk, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
  • Douglas Cole, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
  • John Sinatra, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York.
  • Sherri Lydon, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina.
  • Richard Myers II, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
  • Patrick Bumatay, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
  • Lawrence VanDyke, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
  • Matthew McFarland, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
  • Anuraag Singhal, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
  • Bernard Jones, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.
  • Jodi Dishman, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.
  • Kea Riggs, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico.
  • Daniel Traynor, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota.
  • Stephanie Dawkins Davis, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
  • Robert J. Colville, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
  • Karen Marston, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
  • John Gallagher, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
  • Mary Kay Vyskocil, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
  • Lewis Liman, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
  • Gary R. Brown, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading:
Federal judicial appointments by president
United States federal courts
Current federal judicial vacancies
The Trump administration on federal courts
Judicial vacancies during Trump




About the author

Sara Reynolds

Sara Reynolds is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

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