SCOTUS begins April sitting

Welcome to the April 18 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

We’re hopeful the justices filed their taxes early this year, as tax day kicks off SCOTUS’ final argument sitting of the 2021-2022 term. The five cases this week touch on workers’ compensation, bankruptcy, administrative and civil procedure, and the Fifth Amendment. For that and more, let’s gavel in!

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SCOTUS has not accepted any new cases since our April 11 issue. To date, the court has agreed to hear nine 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 five cases this week. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

Click the links below to learn more about these cases: 

April 18

  • United States v. Washington concerns state workers’ compensation laws and intergovernmental immunity. 
  • Siegel v. Fitzgerald concerns the constitutionality of a federal law that imposes different fees on Chapter 11 debtors based on the district in which the debtors file bankruptcy.

April 19

  • George v. McDonough concerns a veteran’s ability to challenge the Department of Veterans Affairs’ regulatory decisions in certain circumstances.
  • Kemp v. United States concerns the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governing court procedure in civil cases and Supreme Court Rule 13.3.

April 20

  • Vega v. Tekoh concerns Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination, specifically related to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Miranda v. Arizona (1966). 

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 opinions since our April 11 edition. The court has issued rulings in 19 cases so far this term, three of which were decided without argument. 

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • April 18: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • April 19: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • April 20: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • April 22: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices. 

SCOTUS trivia

The number of justices on the Supreme Court has fluctuated since the U.S. Senate established the court in 1789. In what year did the Senate set the number of Supreme Court justices at nine?

  1. 1837
  2. 1869
  3. 1922
  4. 1966

Choose an answer to find out!

Federal court action


President Joe Biden (D) has announced five new Article III nominees since our April 11 edition.

The president has announced 88 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 not voted on any Article III nominees since our April 18 edition.


The Senate has not confirmed any new nominees since our previous edition. As of this writing, 59 of President Biden’s Article III nominees have been confirmed since he assumed office.


The federal judiciary currently has 76 vacancies, 74 of which are for lifetime Article III judgeships. As of this writing, there are 19 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, there were 33 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 April 25 with a new edition of Robe & Gavel. Until then, gaveling out! 


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