Biden ties Clinton in second-most Article III judicial confirmations through Dec. 1 of a president’s first year since 1981

President Joe Biden (D) has appointed and the Senate has confirmed 28 Article III federal judges through Dec. 1 of his first year in office. 

Since 1901, Biden has made the third-most Article III appointments of any president by this time in office, tied with President Bill Clinton (D). President John F. Kennedy (D) had appointed the most with 56.

The following analysis compares Biden’s confirmations with his immediate predecessors since 1981: 

  1. The average number of federal judges appointed by a president through Dec. 1 of their first year in office is 21.
  2. President Ronald Reagan (R) had the most appointees confirmed with 30. 
  3. President Barack Obama (D) had the fewest confirmations in that time with 11.

The median number of Supreme Court justices appointed is one. Presidents Reagan, Clinton, Obama, and Donald Trump (R) had each appointed one Supreme Court justice at this point in their first terms. Presidents George H.W. Bush (R), George W. Bush (R), and Biden had not appointed any.

The median number of United States Court of Appeals appointees is five. Biden and Trump appointed the most with nine, while Obama and Clinton appointed the fewest with three.

The median number of United States District Court appointees is 13. Clinton appointed the most with 24, and Trump appointed the fewest with six.

Article III federal judges are appointed for life terms by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate per Article III of the United States Constitution. Article III judges include judges on the: Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. courts of appeal, U.S. district courts, and the Court of International Trade.

Additional reading: