Ballotpedia releases federal judicial vacancy count for November

In this month’s federal judicial vacancy count, Ballotpedia tracked nominations, confirmations, and vacancies to all United States Article III federal courts from November 2, 2020, to December 1, 2020. Ballotpedia publishes the federal judicial vacancy count at the start of each month.

HIGHLIGHTS

Vacancies: There has been one new judicial vacancy since the October 2020 report. There are 53 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, 60 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.

  • Nominations: There has been one new nomination since the October 2020 report.
  • Confirmations: There have been seven new confirmations since the October 2020 report.

New vacancies

There were 53 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions, a total vacancy percentage of 6.1.

  • The nine-member U.S. Supreme Court does not have any vacancies.
  • Three (1.7%) of the 179 U.S. Appeals Court positions are vacant.
  • 49 (7.3%) of the 677 U.S. District Court positions are vacant.
  • One (11.1%) of the nine U.S. Court of International Trade positions is 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 U.S. Constitution, are appointed for life terms.

One judge left active status, creating one Article III life-term judicial vacancy, since the previous vacancy count. As Article III judicial positions, 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.

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 Trump’s inauguration and as of December 1, 2020.

New nominations

President Donald Trump (R) has announced one new nomination since the October 2020 report.

  • Raúl Arias-Marxuach, to the United States Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit.

New confirmations

Since November 2, 2020, the United States Senate has confirmed seven of President Trump’s nominees to an Article III seat. 

  • James Knepp, confirmed to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
  • Aileen Cannon, confirmed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
  • Benjamin Beaton, confirmed to the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.
  • Toby Crouse, confirmed to the United States District Court for the District of Kansas.
  • Kristi Johnson, confirmed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.
  • Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, confirmed to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
  • Stephen Vaden, confirmed to the United States Court of International Trade.

As of December 1, 2020, the Senate has confirmed 227 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—168 district court judges, 53 appeals court judges, three Court of International Trade judges, and three 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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