The U.S. Senate has confirmed 166 of President Biden’s federal judge appointees

Welcome to the Tuesday, January 9, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

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

  1. The U.S. Senate has confirmed 166 of President Biden’s federal judge appointees 
  2. Two incumbents running in March 5 Republican primary for Alabama’s 1st Congressional District 
  3. Here’s what the first week of 2024 looked like for election-related legislation

The U.S. Senate has confirmed 166 of President Biden’s federal judge appointees 

Since taking office, President Joe Biden (D) has nominated 200 individuals to federal judgeships on Article III courts. As of Jan. 1, the U.S. Senate has confirmed 166 of those nominees. 

Article III judges serve lifetime appointments on federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. courts of appeal, U.S. district courts, and the Court of International Trade. The president appoints these judges in accordance with Article III of the U.S. Constitution.  

Let’s take a look at how Biden’s numbers compare to previous presidents’ at this stage of their presidencies. 

  • The Senate had confirmed 187 of Donald Trump’s (R) appointees at this point in his term, the most since 1981, when Ronald Reagan (R) assumed office (Reagan, with 122, had the fewest appointees at the start of his fourth year).
  • The Senate had confirmed 124 of Barack Obama’s (D) appointees at this point in his term. 
  • The Senate had confirmed 169 of George W. Bush’s (R) appointees at this point in his term. 

In each president’s fourth year in office, the U.S. Senate confirmed:

  • Forty-four of Reagan’s nominees.
  • Sixty-four of H.W. Bush’s (R) nominees.
  • Twenty of Clinton’s (D) nominees. 
  • Thirty-five of W. Bush’s nominees.
  • Forty-nine of Obama’s nominees.
  • Forty-seven of Trump’s nominees.

Since 1981, presidents have appointed an average of 154 individuals to federal judgeships though Jan. 1 of their fourth year in office.

Here is how the numbers break down by president for the different types of Article III courts:

  • Since Reagan, the median number of U.S. Supreme Court justices presidents have appointed is one. Three presidents—Reagan, H.W. Bush, and Biden—made one appointment. Three presidents—Clinton, Obama, and Trump)—made two. President George W. Bush had not appointed any SCOTUS justices by this point in his presidency.
  • The median number of U.S. Court of Appeals judges presidents have appointed is 30. At this point in his presidency, Trump had the most with 50, while President Reagan had the fewest with 23. Biden’s 39 appointments make up 21.8% of the 179 judgeships across the courts of appeal.
  • The median number of U.S. District Court judges presidents have appointed is 126. At this point in his presidency, Clinton had the most appointees with 151, while George H.W. Bush had the fewest with 93. Biden’s 126 appointments make up 18.6% of the 677 judgeships across the district courts.

Click the link below to learn more about Biden’s Article III judgeship appointments.

Keep reading

Two incumbents running in March 5 Republican primary for Alabama’s 1st Congressional District 

In six days, Iowa Republicans will decide the country’s first presidential nominating contest, kicking off a presidential and statewide primary bonanza that will last through September. 

Throughout the year, we’ll bring you coverage of the most compelling Republican and Democratic primaries—the battleground elections we expect to have a meaningful effect on the balance of power in governments or to be particularly competitive. Last week, we previewed the March 5 top-two primary for California’s U.S. Senate seat. 

Today, we’re looking at the March 5 Republican primary for Alabama’s 1st Congressional District, which features two—yes, two—congressional incumbents: U.S. Reps. Jerry Carl (R) and Barry Moore (R).

You can catch our previous coverage here.

Carl has represented the 1st District since 2021. The primary became incumbent vs. incumbent on Oct. 5, 2023, when the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama’s approved new congressional districts. The new map redistricted Moore out of Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, where he had served since 2021, and into the 1st District. 

The three-judge panel first ruled the congressional district boundaries the Alabama Legislature approved over the summer violated the Voting Rights Act.

Carl served on the Mobile County Commission from 2012 to 2023, and has founded businesses in real estate, healthcare, and timber. Carl said, “At a time when our borders are being overrun, crime is on the rise in cities across America, and Joe Biden continues leading our country down the wrong path, this country needs more staunch conservatives like me who will deliver results and never back down from the fight.” Carl has received endorsements from several Alabama state senators and representatives. 

Moore represented District 91 in the Alabama House of Representatives from 2010 to 2018. In 1998, Moore founded Barry Moore Industries, a company specializing in roll off container rentals, portable restrooms, and demolition. Moore said, “Thanks to Biden’s failed policies, our nation is $33 trillion in debt, our borders are wide open, global conflict is rampant, and Alabamians are worried about their own government weaponizing against them.” The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has endorsed Moore. 

Writing for, John Sharp quoted Jon Gray, a Republican political strategist, who “believes the 1st district will become a focal point for the Freedom Caucus and conservatives to push for Moore’s candidacy. Moore and U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer of Hoover are the only two Alabama members of the House who are members of the far-right caucus.” Troy University Political Science Professor Steven Taylor said, “Carl, however, has the advantage of a home base of votes that is larger than Moore’s.”

The Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voter Index, which measures districts’ partisan lean, lists the redrawn 1st District as +28 Republican, making it the sixth most Republican-leaning congressional district nationwide. The 1st Congressional District includes Mobile, the state’s second-largest city

A handful of U.S. House elections with multiple incumbents running against each other usually occur after each redistricting cycle. The Constitution does not require U.S. House members to live in the district they represent.

In 2022, six districts had two incumbents who ran against each other in the primaries, while two districts had one Democratic and one Republican incumbent in the general election. There were 13 districts where multiple incumbents ran against each other in the 2012 elections.

Click here to read about the Democratic primary for Alabama’s 1st Congressional District. Click below to read more about the Republican primary for Alabama’s 1st Congressional District election.

Keep reading 

Here’s what the first week of 2024 looked like for election-related legislation

Every Friday, we send out the Ballot Bulletin—a newsletter about election-related policy and legislation. Among other things, the newsletter provides in-depth coverage of legislative trends and bill activity using data pulled from our free Election Administration Legislation Tracker

Last week, we released our first edition of 2024. Here’s a snapshot of what happened in the world of election policy in the first week of the new year and how that compares to previous years.

  • We are currently following 1,445 active election-related bills this year, including 1,281 carried over from 2023 that were introduced in 2023 but remain active in 2024. At the same point in 2022 and 2023, those numbers were 1,314 and 321, respectively (including bills carried over from previous years). 
  • No bills have been approved since the beginning of the year, and no bills were enacted in the same period in 2023.
  • We tracked 50 bills that had some activity in the first week of the year. Democrats sponsored 14 and Republicans sponsored 15. In the first week of 2022 and 2023, we tracked 70 bills and 55 bills, respectively, that had some activity. 
  • Almost all the bills acted on this week are in Missouri (19) and Nebraska (21).
  • Many of the bills introduced this week deal with a single subject, like election dates or voter registration, rather than being multi-subject, omnibus-style election bills.

The chart below shows the topics of a sample of the 1,445 bills we’ve followed this year. Note that the sums of the numbers listed do not equal the total number of bills because some bills deal with multiple topics. 

Click below to subscribe to the Ballot Bulletin

Keep reading