Bold Justice: Federal Judicial Vacancy Count released for July 1

Bold Justice

Welcome to the July 12 edition of Bold Justice, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

SCOTUS may be in its summer recess but we are gaveling in to bring you all the latest court activity on the docket: the end of SCOTUS’ 2020 term, the 2021 term on the horizon, and the first federal judicial confirmations of the Biden administration. 

Stay up to date on the latest news by following Ballotpedia on Twitter or subscribing to the Daily Brew.


SCOTUS accepted 13 cases to its merits docket since our June 7 issue. To date, the court has agreed to hear 31 cases for the upcoming 2021-2022 term, which is scheduled to begin on October 4, 2021. 

Click the links below to learn more about these cases:


SCOTUS issued opinions in 26 cases since our June 7 issue. The court issued 67 opinions during its 2020-2021 term. Two cases were decided in one consolidated opinion. Ten cases were decided without argument.

Click the links below to review the court’s rulings in the most recently decided cases:

June 7, 2021

June 10, 2021

June 14, 2021

June 17, 2021

June 21, 2021

June 23, 2021

June 25, 2021

June 28, 2021

  • Lombardo v. City of St. Louis, Missouri (Decided without argument)
  • Pakdel v. City and County of San Francisco, California (Decided without argument)

June 29, 2021

July 1, 2021

July 2, 2021

  • Dunn v. Reeves (Decided without argument)

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

The court held its final conference and issued its final opinions for the term on July 1, 2021. The court issued its final order list on July 2, 2021, before starting its summer recess. The court will resume hearing arguments in October.

True or false: have there ever been any Supreme Court justices with the same name?

  1. True
  2. False

Choose an answer to find out!

The Federal Vacancy Count tracks vacancies, nominations, and confirmations to all United States Article III federal courts in a one-month period. This month’s edition includes nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from June 1 to July 1. 


Vacancy count for July 1, 2021

A breakdown of the vacancies at each level can be found in the table below. For a more detailed look at the vacancies on the federal courts, click here.

*Though the United States territorial courts are named as district courts, they are not Article III courts. They are created in accordance with the power granted under Article IV of the U.S. Constitution. Click here for more information.

New vacancies

Three judges left active status, creating Article III life-term judicial vacancies, since the previous vacancy count. As Article III judicial positions, the president nominates individuals to fill the vacancies. Nominations are subject to U.S. Senate confirmation.

The following chart tracks the number of vacancies in the United States Courts of Appeals from the inauguration of President Joe Biden (D) to the date indicated on the chart.

U.S. District Court vacancies

The following map shows the number of vacancies in the United States District Courts as of July 1, 2021.

New nominations

President Biden has announced 11 new nominations since the May 2021 report.

New confirmations

As of July 1, 2021, the Senate has confirmed seven of President Biden’s judicial nominees—five district court judges and two appeals court judges—since January 2021.

The first confirmations occurred on June 8, when Julien Neals and Regina Rodriguez were confirmed to their respective courts. Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was confirmed on June 14, was the first confirmed nominee to receive her judicial commission. Jackson was commissioned on June 17.

Since 1981, only two other presidents had confirmed Article III judicial nominees by July 1 of their first year in office: Presidents Donald Trump (R) and George H.W. Bush (R), each with four confirmed nominees.

Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? Click here for continuing updates on the status of all federal judicial nominees.

Or, keep an eye on this list for updates on federal judicial nominations.

Hello, gentle readers! Put a quarter in the jukebox and grab a malted milkshake with me as we be-bop-a-Lula our way through federal judicial history. Today’s edition of Bold Justice highlights President Dwight Eisenhower’s (R) federal judicial nominees from 1953 to 1961.

During his time in office, 175 of President Eisenhower’s judicial nominees were confirmed. One nominee declined the nomination, two were withdrawn, and the U.S. Senate did not vote on 26 nominees. Among the most notable appointees were five Supreme Court Justices:

President Eisenhower’s first Article III appointee was confirmed on April 23, 1953—Judge Lester Cecil to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. By the end of his first year in office, nine of Eisenhower’s nominees had been confirmed–all nine were confirmed to U.S. district courts. Eisenhower averaged 22.7 judicial appointments per year. For comparison, President Jimmy Carter (D) had the highest average from 1901 to 2021 with 65.5 appointments per year.

We’ll be back on July 19 with a new edition of Bold Justice. Until then, gaveling out! 


Kate Carsella and Brittony Maag compiled and edited this newsletter, with contributions from Jace Lington, and Sara Reynolds.