Robe & Gavel: SCOTUS concludes February sitting

Welcome to the March 21 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

Having survived both the Ides of March and a return to daylight saving time, we’re back this week for the start of SCOTUS’ March sitting. The cases this week will ask the court to resolve an arbitration-related circuit split, consider the state’s role in defending a voter identification law, interpret international law in cross-border child abductions, and establish the district courts’ authority in certain arbitration proceedings. Let’s gavel in to find out more.

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SCOTUS has not accepted any new cases since our March 7 issue. To date, the court has agreed to hear six cases during its 2022-2023 term. The court has not yet scheduled any of the cases for argument.

In the current 2021-2022 term, the court has agreed to hear 66 cases.


The Supreme Court will hear arguments in four cases this week. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

Click the links below to learn more about these cases: 

March 21

March 22

  • Golan v. Saada concerns the interpretation of international law when a minor child is abducted across national borders during a domestic dispute. Click here to learn more about the case’s background. 

March 23

  • ZF Automotive US, Inc. v. Luxshare, Ltd. (consolidated with AlixPartners, LLC v. Fund for Protection of Investor Rights in Foreign States) concerns U.S. district courts’ authority to compel parties to produce evidence in private arbitration for foreign or international tribunals. Click here to learn more about the cases’ backgrounds. 

In its October 2020 term, SCOTUS heard arguments in 62 cases. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ previous term.


SCOTUS has not issued any new opinions since our March 7 edition. The court has issued rulings in 14 cases so far this term, two of which were decided without argument. 

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • March 21: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • March 22: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • March 23: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • March 25: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices. 

SCOTUS trivia

Eight of the nine current Supreme Court justices attended law school at either Harvard or Yale. Which justice did not attend law school at either one of these institutions?

  1. Elena Kagan
  2. Brett Kavanaugh
  3. Samuel Alito
  4. Amy Coney Barrett

Choose an answer to find out!

Federal court action


President Joe Biden (D) has not announced any new Article III nominees since our March 7 edition.

The president has announced 83 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on Jan. 20, 2021. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.

Committee action

The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted on six Article III nominees since our March 7 edition. The committee voted favorably on five of those nominees, and they await a Senate confirmation vote. Those nominees are:

The committee tied 10-10 on the vote to advance Kenly Kiya Kato’s nomination for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to the full Senate. Because the committee did not report Kato’s nomination favorably, any senator may make a motion on the Senate floor to discharge the nomination from the committee and the U.S. Senate may discharge her nomination on a majority vote. If the Senate successfully discharges the nomination, it can proceed to a vote on confirmation.


The Senate has confirmed no new nominees since our March 7 issue. As of this writing, 46 of President Biden’s Article III nominees have been confirmed since he assumed office.


The federal judiciary currently has 80 vacancies, 78 of which are for lifetime Article III judgeships. As of this writing, there were 29 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, there were 41 upcoming vacancies in the federal judiciary, where judges have announced their intention to leave active status.

For more information on judicial vacancies during the Biden administration, click here.

Note: This chart is updated at the start of each month with the latest vacancy data from U.S. Courts

Do you love judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? We figured you might. Our monthly Federal Vacancy Count monitors all the faces and places moving in, moving out, and moving on in the federal judiciary. Click here for our most current count.

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 our list for updates on federal judicial nominations.

Looking ahead

We’ll be back on March 28 with a new edition of Robe & Gavel. Until then, gaveling out! 


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