The Daily Brew: First-year judicial appointments since 1981

The Daily Brew by Ballotpedia

Welcome to the Friday, March 5, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Presidents’ first-year federal judicial appointments since 1981
  2. Upcoming elections and filing deadlines
  3. RSVP to our Administrative State Lunch Club 

Presidents’ first-year federal judicial appointments since 1981

President Joe Biden (D) has not yet made any federal judicial appointments. Neither did any president going back to Ronald Reagan (R) through March 1 of their first year in office. 

Going back to Reagan, the earliest a president appointed an Article III judge in their first year was April. President Donald Trump’s (R) Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch took office on April 10, 2017. Not including Supreme Court appointments, Trump and George H.W. Bush (R) made their first Article III judicial appointments by June 1 of the first year of their presidencies.

Earlier this week, we looked at the number of active and senior-status federal judges broken down by appointing president. Today, I’m highlighting another feature of our judicial dataset: federal judicial appointments in each president’s first year in office going back to 1981. We chart data on our site for the last six presidents.

As a refresher, Article III federal judges include judges on the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals, U.S. District Courts, and the Court of International Trade. The president appoints these judges and the Senate confirms them.

Reagan made the most Article III appointments during his first year with 41. President Barack Obama (D) made the fewest with 13.

Trump made the most appointments over four years at 234. Reagan made the fewest at 166.

Since 1981, during each president’s first year in office: 

  • Presidents Trump, Obama, Bill Clinton (D), and Reagan each appointed one Supreme Court justice. George W. Bush (R) and George H.W. Bush did not appoint any Supreme Court justices during their first year.
  • An average of six judges have been appointed to U.S. Courts of Appeals. Trump appointed the most with 12, and Clinton and Obama appointed the fewest with three each.
  • An average of 17 judges have been appointed to U.S. District Courts. Reagan appointed the most at 32, and Trump appointed the fewest at six.

Read on

Upcoming elections and filing deadlines

It’s easy to forget just how many elections take place in an odd-number year, especially after a year with federal races. Ballotpedia’s 2021 election coverage includes municipal elections in 76 cities and 23 counties, gubernatorial and state legislative elections in New Jersey and Virginia, and at least three special congressional elections. 

In the next two weeks, candidate filing deadlines will pass in four states for certain local and state legislative elections. Six states will hold elections. Here’s a roundup of these dates:

Upcoming elections

Five states have recall, local, or state legislative special elections next week. The following week, Louisiana will hold several special elections.

Tuesday, March 9

  • Arizona: Phoenix general runoff
  • California: Orange County Board of Supervisors District 2 special general
  • Georgia: House District 90 special general
  • Idaho: 
    • Idaho Falls school board recall
    • Pocatello-Chubbuck school board recall
    • Nampa school board recall
  • Maine: Senate District 14 special general

A runoff election for Birmingham school board District 7 in Alabama was also scheduled for March 9, but Walter Wilson won the general election on Jan. 26. 

Saturday, March 20

  • Louisiana   
    • House District 82 special primary   
    • 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal District 1 special primary
    • Board of Elementary and Secondary Education special primary   
    • 2nd Congressional District special general   
    • 5th Congressional District special general

A special primary for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal District 2 seat was canceled as only one candidate filed. A special general election for state House District 35 was also scheduled for March 20, but only one candidate filed for the primary, so both elections were canceled.

Upcoming filing deadlines

Candidates must file paperwork, pay requisite fees, and/or submit signed petitions to their local or state election authorities by the filing deadlines. Filing requirements vary by state. Four states have filing deadlines within the next two weeks.

Friday, March 5: 

  • Nebraska: 
    • Lincoln 
      • The deadline for non-incumbent Lincoln Public Schools candidates was March 1.
    • Omaha mayor

Tuesday, March 9: 

  • Pennsylvania: 
    • Statewide filing deadline, including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh 
      • Does not include state House District 59 and state Senate District 48 special elections (filing deadline March 29) 

Friday, March 12

  • California: 
    • Riverside

Thursday, March 18

  • Oregon: 
    • Multnomah County
    • Eight school districts

Read on 

RSVP to our Administrative State Lunch Club 

Do you want to learn more about the issues and debate surrounding the administrative state? Join Ballotpedia for the Administrative State Lunch Club. 

Every two weeks, Ballotpedia’s Administrative State Team sits down on Mondays at 12:30 p.m. ET to discuss an influential scholarly article or historical court decision. The purpose of the call is to help deepen our understanding of the Administrative State. Join us in these discussions, or just listen in, as we read historical court decisions that broke new ground and articles that are shaping the dialogue around the administrative state.

Whether you’re new to learning about the topic or a seasoned expert, you’re welcome at the Administrative State Lunch Club. Each session begins with a walkthrough of the article and its key points and concludes with a discussion of how it intersects with the debate about the administrative state. We provide links to reading materials and page counts, though no prep is required.

Upcoming readings include:

  • March 15: How Much Procedure Is Needed for Agencies to Change “Novel” Regulatory Policies? by Ming Hsu Chen
  • March 29: Operationalizing Internal Administrative Law by Christopher J. Walker and Rebecca Turnbull
  • April 12: The Indecisions of 1789: Strategic Ambiguity and the Imaginary Unitary Executive (Part I) by Jed Shugerman

Click here to RSVP