Robe & Gavel: Federal Judicial Vacancy Count released for Aug. 1

Welcome to the Aug. 8 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

Hello again, gentle readers! We deliver this edition in honor of our very own Associate Justice Brittony Maag, who shall be leaving us later this week, voyaging onward into new adventures. Thank you for everything, Brittony! Now, as we dab our eyes and bravely carry on, let’s gavel in, shall we?

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Since our previous issue, SCOTUS has accepted one new case to be argued on the merits.

United States v. Texas (2022) questions whether the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) violated U.S. immigration law and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). 

In Sept. 2021, DHS stated it would “prioritize for apprehension and removal noncitizens who are a threat to our national security, public safety, and border security.” 

To date, the court has agreed to hear 27 cases during its 2022-2023 term


The Supreme Court has scheduled its October sitting for the 2022-2023 term. The court will hear arguments in eight cases over two weeks.

Click the links below to learn more about the cases:

Oct. 3

Oct. 4

Oct. 11

Oct. 12

On Aug. 3, the court scheduled its November sitting. The court will hear arguments in 10 cases:

Oct. 31

Nov. 1

Nov. 2

Nov. 7

Nov. 8

Nov. 9

  • Haaland v. Brackeen (Consolidated with Cherokee Nation v. Brackeen, Texas v. Haaland, Brackeen v. Haaland)

Nine cases have not yet been added to the argument calendar.


SCOTUS has not issued any opinions since our previous edition.

The Federal Vacancy Count

The Federal Vacancy Count tracks vacancies, nominations, and confirmations to all United States Article III federal courts in a one-month period. 

The Aug. 1 report covers nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from July 2 through Aug. 1. The U.S. Courts data used for this report is published on the first of each month and covers the previous month.


  • Vacancies: There were four new judicial vacancies. There were 75 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions. Including the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the U.S. territorial courts, 77 of 890 active federal judicial positions were vacant.  
  • Nominations: There were 25 new nominations. 
  • Confirmations: There were five new confirmations.

Vacancy count for Aug. 1, 2022

A breakdown of the vacancies at each level can be found in the table below. For a more detailed look at the vacancies in 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

Four judges left active status, creating Article III life-term judicial vacancies. The president nominates individuals to fill Article III judicial positions. 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 Aug. 1, 2022.

New nominations

President Biden announced 25 new nominations:

The president has announced 130 Article III judicial nominations since taking office Jan. 20, 2021. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.

New confirmations

The U.S. Senate confirmed five nominees:

As of Aug. 1, 2022, the Senate had confirmed 74 of President Biden’s judicial nominees—56 district court judges, 17 appeals court judges, and one Supreme Court justice.

Comparison of Article III judicial appointments over time by president (1981-Present)

  • Presidents have appointed an average of 61 judges through Aug. 1 of their second year in office.
  • Presidents Bill Clinton (D) and Joe Biden (D) made the most appointments through Aug. 1 of their second years with 74, followed by President George W. Bush (R) with 72. President Barack Obama (D) made the fewest with 37.
  • President Donald Trump (R) made the most appointments through four years with 234. President Reagan made the fewest through four years with 166.

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.

Looking ahead

We’ll be back on Sept. 12 with a new edition of Robe & Gavel. Until then, gaveling out! 


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

Thank you, Brittony, for your tenure as Ballotpedia Associate Justice. Our coverage is all the better for your work on it.