Ballotpedia releases federal judicial vacancy count for October

In this month’s federal judicial vacancy count, Ballotpedia tracked nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from October 2, 2020, to November 1, 2020. Ballotpedia publishes a federal judicial vacancy count at the start of each month.

HIGHLIGHTS

Vacancies: There have been two new judicial vacancies since the previous report. There are 59 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, 66 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.

Nominations: There have been two new nominations since the previous report.

Confirmations: There have been two new confirmations since the previous report.

New vacancies

There were 59 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions, a total vacancy percentage of 6.8, the same as the previous report.

• The nine-member U.S. Supreme Court does not have any vacancies.

• Two (1.1%) of the 179 U.S. Appeals Court positions are vacant.

• 55 (8.1%) 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.

Two judges left active status, creating Article III life-term judicial vacancies. A presidential nomination is required to fill an Article III vacancy. Article III nominations by the president are subject to confirmation on the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate.

1. Judge Amy Coney Barrett left the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit after she was elevated to the Supreme Court of the United States.

2. Judge Juan Torruella died on October 26, 2020, leaving an open seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit.

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), as of November 2, 2020.

New nominations

President Trump has announced two new nominations since the previous report:

1. Thomas Kirsch, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

2. Joseph Barloon, to the U.S. Court of International Trade.

Since taking office in January 2017, President Trump has nominated 273 individuals to Article III positions.

New confirmations

Since October 2, 2020, the U.S. Senate has confirmed two of President Trump’s nominees to Article III seats:

• Amy Coney Barrett, confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States.

• Michael Newman, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

As of November 1, 2020, the Senate has confirmed 220 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—162 district court judges, 53 appeals court judges, two Court of International Trade judges, and three Supreme Court justices—since January 2017.

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About the author

Sara Reynolds

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

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