Ballotpedia releases federal judicial vacancy count for January

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

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Vacancies: There have been three new judicial vacancies since the December 2019 report. There are 75 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, 81 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.
  • Nominations: There has been one new nomination since the December 2019 report.
  • Confirmations: There have not been any new confirmations since the December 2019 report.
New vacancies 

There were 75 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions, a total vacancy percentage of 8.6, which is .3 percentage points higher than the vacancy percentage in December 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.
  • 72 (10.6%) 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 Christopher Boyko assumed senior status on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
  • Judge Dora Irizarry assumed senior status on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
  • Judge Lawrence O’Neill assumed senior status on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.
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 Donald Trump (R) and as of February 3, 2020.

New nominations

President Donald Trump (R) has announced one new nomination since the December 2019 report.

  • Drew Tipton, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Since taking office in January 2017, President Trump has nominated 239 individuals to Article III positions.

New confirmations

Since January 3, 2020, the United States Senate did not confirm any of President Trump’s nominees to Article III seats. As of February 3, 2020, the Senate has 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.

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About the author

Kate Carsella

Kate Carsella is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

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