SCOTUS checkpoint – 43 cases accepted so far

Welcome to the Monday, November 13, 2023 Brew. 

By: Juan Garcia de Paredes

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. SCOTUS accepts 43 cases this term; 20 scheduled for argument so far
  2. Biden has successfully appointed 148 federal judges through Nov. 1, above the average of his recent predecessors
  3. Ballotpedia is hiring for our Spring 2024 Internship Program!

SCOTUS accepts 43 cases this term; 20 scheduled for argument so far

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) had accepted 43 cases for its 2023 term as of Nov. 10. The Court scheduled 20 of those cases for argument and dismissed one. 

The Court’s 2023 term began on Oct. 2. The Court’s yearly term begins on the first Monday in October and lasts until the first Monday in October of the following year. The Court generally releases the majority of its decisions in mid-June.

In its 2022 term, SCOTUS agreed to consider 60 cases. One case was dismissed. From 2016 to 2022, SCOTUS agreed to consider an average of 69 cases. 

The Court has seven cases scheduled for its December sitting, including:

SCOTUS will issue new order lists on Nov. 13 (today!) and Nov. 20 and will conference on Nov. 17. Order lists are documents the Court releases to the public with information on their decisions regarding cases, including whether they agree to hear a case. A conference is a private meeting of the justices. 

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Biden has appointed 148 federal judges through Nov. 1, more than the average of his recent predecessors 

As of Nov. 1, 2023, President Joe Biden (D) had appointed 148 Article III federal judges, more than the average of his six most recent predecessors.

Article III judgeships refer to federal judges who serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of International Trade, or one of the 13 U.S. courts of appeal or 94 U.S. district courts. These are lifetime presidential appointments subject to Senate confirmation.

From 1980 to 2020, presidents appointed an average of 140 federal judges by Nov. 1 of their third year in office.

At this point in President Donald Trump’s (R) term, the Senate had confirmed 157 of his appointees. President George W. Bush (R) had the most appointees confirmed at this point in his presidency, with 167, followed by President Bill Clinton (D) with 166. Presidents Ronald Reagan (R) and Barack Obama (D) had the fewest confirmed judges at 113 each. 

Biden’s appointments include 111 district court judges, 36 appeals court judges, and one Supreme Court justice. 

New confirmations

Biden’s appointments include five judicial nominees confirmed between Oct. 2 and Nov. 1:

New nominations

From Oct. 2 to Nov. 1, Biden announced seven new nominations:

Since taking office in January 2021, Biden has nominated 190 individuals to Article III positions.

New vacancies

As of Nov. 1, there were 69 Article III vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions. That’s a total vacancy percentage of 7.9%, the same as the previous month. The vacancies include:

  • Seven (3.9%) of the 179 U.S. Appeals Court positions;
  • 59 (8.7%) of the 677 U.S. District Court positions; and,
  • Two (22.2%) of the nine U.S. Court of International Trade positions.

A vacancy occurs when a judge resigns, retires, takes senior status, or dies. 

Four judges left active status between Oct. 2 and Nov. 1, creating Article III life-term judicial vacancies. As Article III judicial positions, these vacancies must be filled by a nomination from the president, subject to Senate confirmation:

Our Robe & Gavel newsletter keeps you up to date on the latest news and data on the federal courts (including SCOTUS). Click here to subscribe!

Click below to learn more about federal judicial appointments. 

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Ballotpedia is hiring for our Spring 2024 Internship Program

Applications are now open for Ballotpedia’s Spring 2024 internship program! Come help us build the digital encyclopedia of U.S. politics! 

Our 100% remote, part-time internship for our Spring 2024 program runs from Jan. 8 to May 3, 2024. 

Learn more about our current and former interns’ experiences here, and apply for an internship opportunity today in one of our three tracks:

Ballotpedia interns go through a similar onboarding experience as full-time Ballotpedia employees. Interns learn how to code the Ballotpedia website, explore our style guide, learn how we prevent and detect bias in our resources, and much more. Many interns have eventually gone on to full-time roles at Ballotpedia. 

Find out more about the internship program at the link below.

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