Author

Kate Carsella

Kate Carsella is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

SCOTUS decides case concerning Armed Career Criminal Act in 5-4 opinion

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued an opinion in one case on June 10, Borden v. United States, which involved the use-of-force clause in the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). The case was argued during the November argument sitting.

Charles Borden Jr. pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm as a felon. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, relying on the 6th Circuit Court’s decision in United States v. Verwiebe (2017), sentenced Borden to nine years and seven months of imprisonment under the ACCA. Borden objected to his sentence, arguing the district court’s application of Verwiebe to his case violated due process protections. On appeal, the 6th Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling. Borden petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for review.

In a 5-4 opinion, the court reversed the 6th Circuit’s ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that a reckless offense cannot qualify as a “violent felony” if it only requires a mens rea of recklessness—a less culpable mental state than purpose or knowledge.

Justice Elena Kagan delivered the court’s majority opinion, joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Neil Gorsuch. Justice Clarence Thomas filed a concurring opinion. Justice Brett Kavanaugh filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Amy Coney Barrett.

To date, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued 44 opinions during the 2020-2021 term. Seven cases were decided without argument.

Additional reading:



U.S. Supreme Court issues opinion in case regarding grants of Temporary Protected Status to non-citizens

Image of the front of the United States Supreme Court building.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued orders on June 7 emanating from their June 3 conference and issued an opinion in one case.

The court accepted one new case to be argued during the upcoming 2021-2022 term, Federal Bureau of Investigation v. Fazaga. The case concerns the state-secrets privilege and originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

To date, the court has accepted 19 cases for argument next term. Including FBI v. Fazaga, the court has granted review in four cases originating from the 9th Circuit. 

The court decided one case, Sanchez v. Mayorkas, on June 7. The case was argued in April and concerned grants of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to non-citizens. In a unanimous ruling, the court upheld the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit’s ruling, holding that a TPS recipient who entered the United States unlawfully is not eligible for lawful-permanent-resident (LPR) status because of their TPS grant. Justice Elena Kagan authored the court’s majority opinion. 

To date, the court has decided 43 cases this term, nine of which originated from the 9th Circuit. 

Additional reading:



Bold Justice: Federal Judicial Vacancy Count released for June 1

Bold Justice

Welcome to the June 7 edition of Bold Justice, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

Argument sessions may be in SCOTUS’ rearview mirror, but the court is rolling through opinion season before cruising into its summer recess. So let’s open the sunroof, turn up the jams, and hit the road.

Stay up to date on the latest news by following Ballotpedia on Twitter or subscribing to the Daily Brew.

Grants

SCOTUS accepted four cases to its merits docket since our May 10 issue. To date, the court has agreed to hear 18 cases for the upcoming 2021-2022 term, scheduled to begin on October 4, 2021. 

  • Badgerow v. Walters concerns the federal courts’ jurisdiction to confirm or vacate an arbitration award under the Federal Arbitration Act. Badgerow originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
  • Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization concerns the constitutionality of a Mississippi state law prohibiting abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy except in cases of medical emergencies or fetal abnormalities. The case is a direct challenge to the court’s decision in the case Roe v. Wade (1973). The question presented is “[w]hether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.” Dobbs originated from the 5th Circuit.
  • Shinn v. Ramirez concerns the scope of evidence a federal appellate court can consider when reviewing a petition for habeas relief. The question presented is “[d]oes application of the equitable rule this Court announced in Martinez v. Ryan render 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2) inapplicable to a federal court’s merits review of a claim for habeas relief?” Shinn originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
  • Unicolors, Inc. v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz, LP concerns copyright infringement claims involving fabric designs. The question presented to the court is “[d]id the Ninth Circuit err in breaking with its own prior precedent and the findings of other circuits and the Copyright Office in holding that 17 U.S.C. § 411 requires referral to the Copyright Office where there is no indicia of fraud or material error as to the work at issue in the subject copyright registration?” Unicolors originated from the 9th Circuit.

Opinions

SCOTUS has issued opinions in 10 cases since our May 10 issue. The court has issued 42 opinions so far in this term. Seven cases were decided without argument. Of the cases that were argued during the term, 22 have yet to be decided. 

Click the links below to review the court’s rulings in the most recently decided cases:

May 17, 2021

May 24, 2021

May 27, 2021

June 1, 2021

June 3, 2021

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • June 7: SCOTUS will release orders.
  • June 10: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices. 
  • June 14: SCOTUS will release orders.
  • June 17: SCOTUS will conference.
  • June 21: SCOTUS will release orders.
  • June 24: SCOTUS will conference.
  • June 28: SCOTUS will release orders.

Only one U.S. President has also served as a Supreme Court justice. Who was it?

  1. Grover Cleveland
  2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  3. Woodrow Wilson
  4. William Howard Taft

Choose an answer to find out!

The Federal Vacancy Count tracks vacancies, nominations, and confirmations to all United States Article III federal courts in a one-month period. This month’s edition includes nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from May 1 to June 1. 

Highlights

Vacancy count for June 1, 2021

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

Six judges left active status, creating Article III life-term judicial vacancies, since the previous vacancy count. As Article III judicial positions, the president nominates individuals to fill the vacancies. 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 June 1, 2021.

New nominations

President Joe Biden (D) has announced six new nominations since the April 2021 report.

New confirmations

As of June 1, 2021, there have been no federal judicial confirmations during the Biden administration.

As of June 1 of the first year of President Donald Trump’s (R) presidency, the U.S. Senate had confirmed two of Trump’s Article III judicial nominees.

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.

Hello, gentle readers! We resume our travels through federal judicial history via TWA flight and, oh my, is that a space race going on? Today’s edition of Bold Justice highlights President John F. Kennedy’s (D) federal judicial nominees from 1961 to 1963.


One hundred twenty-five of President Kennedy’s judicial nominees were confirmed. The U.S. Senate did not vote on 23 of the nominees. Among the most notable appointees were Supreme Court Justices Arthur Goldberg and Byron White. Both justices were nominated and commissioned in 1962.

President Kennedy’s first Article III appointee was confirmed on March 3, 1961—Judge William McRae to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. By the end of his first year in office, 56 of Kennedy’s nominees had been confirmed–11 to U.S. circuit court judgeships and 45 to U.S. district court seats. Kennedy averaged 44 judicial appointments per year. For comparison, President Jimmy Carter (D) had the highest average from 1901 to 2021 with 65.5 appointments per year.

We’ll be back on July 12 with a new edition of Bold Justice. Until then, gaveling out! 

Contributions

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



Ballotpedia releases federal judicial vacancy count for May 2021

In this month’s federal judicial vacancy count, Ballotpedia tracked nominations, confirmations, and vacancies in Article III courts from May 1 to June 1. Ballotpedia publishes the federal judicial vacancy count at the start of each month.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Vacancies: There have been six new judicial vacancies since the April 2021 report. There are 81 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions on courts covered in this report. Including the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the U.S. territorial courts, 85 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.

• Nominations: There were six new nominations since the April 2021 report.

• Confirmations: There have been no new confirmations since the April 2021 report.

Six judges left active status, creating Article III life-term judicial vacancies, since the previous vacancy count. As Article III judicial positions, vacancies must be filled by a nomination from the president. Nominations are subject to confirmation on the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate.

• Judge Ursula Ungaro assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

• Judge Thomas Thrash assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

• Judge Evan Wallach assumed senior status on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

• Judge Anthony Trenga assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

• Judge Petrese Tucker assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

• Judge Denny Chin assumed senior status on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

U.S. Court of Appeals vacancies

The following chart tracks the number of vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals from the inauguration of President Joe Biden (D) to the date indicated on the chart.

File:BKYS4-u-s-court-of-appeals-vacancies(6-1-21).png

The following maps show the number of vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals at the inauguration of President Joe Biden (D) and as of June 1.

File:UUbHy-court-of-appeals-vacancies-biden-inauguration-.png
File:T7YhD-court-of-appeals-vacancies-june-1-2021-.png

New nominations

President Joe Biden (D) has announced six new nominations since the April 2021 report.

• Gustavo Gelpí, to the United States Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit

• Eunice Lee, to the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit

• Veronica Rossman, to the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit

• Angel Kelley, to the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

• Karen Williams, to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey

• Lauren King, to the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington

New confirmations

As of June 1, there have been no federal judicial confirmations during the Biden administration.

Additional reading:



Supreme Court accepts case regarding copyright infringement for next term

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) released orders on June 1 emanating from its May 27 conference, granting one new case for argument during the upcoming 2021-2022 term. 

Unicolors, Inc. v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz, LP originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and concerns copyright infringement claims involving fabric designs and copyright registration validity.

In 2011, fabric design corporation Unicolors, Inc. (“Unicolors”) applied for and received a copyright registration for a group of designs in a “single-unit filing” from the U.S. Copyright Office. Nine of the designs were “confined” designs, meaning that they were created for specific customers and released to the public after the customer was allowed explicit use of the design(s). 

In 2015, clothing retailer and designer H&M started selling a jacket and skirt using the design named “Xue Xu”. Upon discovering the products, Unicolors filed a copyright infringement action against H&M in federal district court, alleging that H&M’s design was similar to its own. A jury found H&M liable for willful infringement. H&M appealed, claiming that Unicolors’ copyright registration application included false information since it said that all of the designs were first published on January 15, 2011, when nine had been confined designs.

On appeal, the 9th Circuit concluded that Unicolors’ registration contained known inaccuracies, reversed the district court’s judgment, and remanded the case for further proceedings. The district court’s remand instructions were to inquire with the Register of Copyrights about the copyright registration, whether the inaccuracies would have caused it to refuse registration, and enter judgment for H&M if the registration would have been refused.

When SCOTUS accepted the case, it limited review to the first question presented to the court: Whether the 9th Circuit erred in holding that 17 U.S.C. §411 required referral to the Copyright Office where there is no indication of fraud or material error related to the work at issue in the copyright registration?

To date, the court has agreed to hear 18 cases during the October 2021 term. One case was dismissed after it was granted.

Additional reading:



Supreme Court issues opinion in case concerning civil procedure

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued an opinion in one case, City of San Antonio, Texas v. Hotels.com, L.P. on May 27. The case involved Rule 39 of the Federal Rules for Appellate Procedure. The case was argued before SCOTUS during the April argument sitting last month.

A class of 173 Texas municipalities (“San Antonio”) sued several online travel companies (“OTCs”) over the calculation of hotel occupancy taxes and was awarded a multi-million dollar judgment in federal district court. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled in favor of the OTCs, holding that they had not underpaid their taxes. The OTCs filed a bill of costs in the district court. San Antonio objected and asked the district court to deny or reduce the amount owed. The district court ruled that it was not permitted to alter the appellate cost awards under Rule 39. The municipalities appealed to the 5th Circuit. The 5th Circuit affirmed the district court’s conclusion.

In a unanimous opinion, SCOTUS affirmed the 5th Circuit’s ruling, holding that Rule 39 does not allow a district court to change a court of appeals’ allocation of the costs. Justice Samuel Alito delivered the opinion of the court. 

To date, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued 39 opinions during the 2020-2021 term. Seven cases were decided without argument.

Additional reading:



SCOTUS issues rulings in two cases argued during April sitting

The U.S. Supreme Court issued rulings in two cases on May 24, United States v. Palomar-Santiago and Guam v. United States. As of this writing, the court had issued opinions in 38 cases this term. Seven cases were decided without argument.

United States v. Palomar-Santiago was argued before the court on April 27 and originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. The case concerned removable offenses and the validity of removal orders under federal immigration law.

In a unanimous opinion, the court reversed the 9th Circuit’s ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that each of the statutory requirements of §1326(d) were mandatory. Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered the opinion of the court.

Guam v. United States was a case argued before the court on April 26 and originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The case concerned Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) claims.

In a unanimous opinion, the court reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that a CERCLA contribution requires resolution of a CERCLA-specific liability. Justice Clarence Thomas delivered the opinion of the court.

Additional reading:



SCOTUS issues four opinions in cases argued this term

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued opinions in four cases on May 17 that were argued during the 2020-2021 term. 

Edwards v. Vannoy

• The case: A non-unanimous jury found Thedrick Edwards guilty of nine counts of armed robbery, one count of attempted armed robbery, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, and one count of aggravated rape. Edwards was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment on each armed robbery count and to life imprisonment on the aggravated kidnapping and aggravated rape counts. Edwards appealed his conviction and sentence, which was denied in state and federal court. He then filed a petition for habeas corpus with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. The district court denied Edwards’ claim. Edwards appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which refused to issue a certificate of appealability. In a habeas corpus proceeding, an applicant seeking to file an appeal from a state court is unable to do so without a certificate of appealability.

• The question presented: Whether the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Ramos v. Louisiana (2020) applies retroactively to cases on federal collateral review. In Ramos, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the 6th Amendment’s right to a unanimous jury verdict to support a conviction applies in both federal and state courts.

• The outcome: In a 6-3 opinion, SCOTUS upheld the 5th Circuit’s ruling, holding that the jury-unanimity rule does not apply retroactively on federal collateral review. Justice Brett Kavanaugh delivered the majority opinion of the court. Justice Elena Kagan filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor joined. 

BP P.L.C. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore

• The case: The mayor and city council of Baltimore, Maryland (“Baltimore”) filed a claim and sought relief in state court against 26 multinational oil and gas companies, alleging that the companies contributed to and were responsible in part for climate change and that the companies’ actions caused injury to Baltimore. Two of the companies filed to move the case to federal court, claiming that the issues concerned federal law. Baltimore filed a motion to remand the case back to state court. The district court granted Baltimore’s request. The companies appealed to the 4th Circuit and the court affirmed the district court’s ruling.

• The question presented: Whether 28 U.S.C. 1447(d) allows a court of appeals to review any issue included in a district court’s order remanding a case to state court where the removing defendant premised removal in part on the federal officer removal statute, §1442, or the civil rights removal statute, §1443.

• The outcome: In a 7-1 ruling, the court vacated the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit’s ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with the court’s opinion. The court held that the 4th Circuit erred in its conclusion that it lacked jurisdiction to consider all of the defendants’ grounds for removal under §1447(d). Justice Neil Gorsuch authored the majority opinion and Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion. Justice Samuel Alito recused himself from the case and took no part in its consideration or decision.

CIC Services v. Internal Revenue Service

• The case: In 2004, Congress authorized the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify and gather details about potential tax shelters. In 2016, the IRS identified certain “micro-captive transactions” as “transactions of interest,” under the umbrella of transactions that must be reported to the IRS. In 2017, risk management consulting firm CIC Services challenged the updated requirements in district court as being beyond the scope of the IRS’ authority and sought to block enforcement. The IRS argued that the court should dismiss the case because it lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The court agreed with the IRS and dismissed the case. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal. 

• The question presented: Whether a suit to block the updated requirements triggered the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA), a federal law barring lawsuits to prevent the assessment or collection of taxes, even though a violation of the notice may result in a tax penalty.

• The outcome: In a unanimous decision, the court reversed the 6th Circuit and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that the AIA does not apply to lawsuits challenging certain IRS regulations. Justice Elena Kagan authored the majority opinion. Justices Sotomayor and Kavanaugh filed concurring opinions. 

Caniglia v. Strom

• The case: In 2015, Edward Caniglia and his wife had an argument at their Rhode Island home. The next day, the police conducted a wellness check on Caniglia and seized firearms and ammunition from the home. Later, Caniglia attempted to retrieve his firearms from the police department several times. His requests were denied. Caniglia filed suit in U.S. district court, alleging violations to the U.S. Constitution and to state law. The firearms were returned to Caniglia. The district court held that the police officers’ seizures were protected under the community caretaking exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement, where police officers are permitted to perform community caretaking functions on private premises. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeal for the 1st Circuit upheld the district court’s ruling.

• The question presented: Whether the community caretaking exception extends to the home.

• The outcome: In a unanimous opinion, the court vacated the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit’s ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that neither the ruling nor logic of Cady v. Dombrowski justifies the removal of Caniglia’s firearms from his home by police officers under a community caretaking exception. Justice Clarence Thomas delivered the opinion of the court. Chief Justice John Roberts filed a concurring opinion, in which Justice Breyer joined. Justices Samuel Alito and Kavanaugh also filed concurring opinions.

To date, SCOTUS has issued 36 opinions this term. Seven cases were decided without argument. 

The court is scheduled to conference on May 20 and to issue orders on May 24.

Additional reading:



President Biden announces intent to nominate six to federal judgeships

President Joe Biden (D) announced his intent to nominate six individuals to Article III judgeships with lifetime terms on May 12:

  • Gustavo Gelpí, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit
  • Eunice Lee, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit
  • Veronica Rossman, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit
  • Angel Kelley, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
  • Lauren King, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
  • Karen Williams, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey

To date, Biden has announced 19 nominees to Article III judgeships. Twelve nominees are awaiting a hearing with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. The next nomination hearings are scheduled for May 13. Seven nominees are awaiting a committee vote. None of the nominees have been confirmed by the U.S. Senate. 

As of his inauguration in January 2021, Biden inherited 46 Article III vacancies: two vacancies in the U.S. courts of appeal, 43 vacancies in the U.S. district courts, and one vacancy on the U.S. Court of International Trade. Biden announced his first federal judicial nominees on March 30.

Additional reading:



Bold Justice: Federal Judicial Vacancy Count released for May 1

Bold Justice

We #SCOTUS and you can, too!

Arguments

Last week, SCOTUS held its final argument session of the term, hearing an hour of oral argument in one case during a rare May sitting.

During the 2019-2020 term, the Supreme Court heard 10 hours of oral argument in 13 cases during its May argument session. Those cases had been postponed from earlier sittings due to public health recommendations in response to COVID-19. According to SCOTUSblog, the last time the Supreme Court held a full May sitting was during its October 1968 term.

Here’s a breakdown of the hours of oral argument the court heard during each of this term’s argument sessions:

Twelve of the cases heard this term were originally scheduled for the 2019-2020 term but were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Five cases were removed from the argument calendar. Seven cases were decided without argument.

Looking ahead, SCOTUS has accepted 14 cases to its merits docket for the 2021 October Term. Argument dates in those cases are currently pending.

Grants

SCOTUS has not accepted any new cases since our May 3 issue. 

Opinions

SCOTUS has not issued any opinions in cases since our May 3 issue. 

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • May 13: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices.
  • May 17: SCOTUS will release orders. 
  • May 20: SCOTUS will conference. 
  • May 24: SCOTUS will release orders.
  • May 27: SCOTUS will conference. 

SCOTUS trivia

True or false: In order to be a Supreme Court justice, one must be a lawyer or a law school graduate.

  1. True
  2. False

Choose an answer to find out!

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. This month’s edition includes nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from April 1 to May 1. 

Highlights

Vacancy count for May 1, 2021

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

Six judges left active status, creating Article III life-term judicial vacancies, since the previous vacancy count. As Article III judicial positions, the president nominates individuals to fill the vacancies. Nominations are subject to U.S. Senate confirmation.

The following chart tracks the number of vacancies on the United States Court 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 May 1, 2021.

New nominations

President Joe Biden (D) announced three new nominations since the March 2021 report.

New confirmations

As of May 1, 2021, there have been no federal judicial confirmations during the Biden administration.

As of May 1 of the first year of President Donald Trump’s (R) presidency, the U.S. Senate had confirmed one of Trump’s Article III judicial nominees–U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

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.

Spotlight: Presidential nominations to federal courts

Through the sands of time, some bead curtains, and hopefully some Motown records, the time has come today! We continue our time-journey by stopping over at an era known as November 1963 through January 1969. Today’s edition of Bold Justice highlights President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s (D) federal judicial nominees.


While serving in the White House, President Johnson nominated 180 individuals to Article III judgeships who were confirmed to the bench. Among the most notable appointees were Supreme Court Justices Abe Fortas and Thurgood Marshall. Fortas was nominated and commissioned in 1965. Marshall was nominated and commissioned in 1967. 

President Johnson made his first successful Article III appointments by April 1 of his first year in office–three nominees were confirmed to U.S. district courts. By the end of his first year in office, 21 of Johnson’s nominees had been confirmed. Throughout his tenure as president, Johnson averaged 34.1 judicial appointments per year. For comparison, President Jimmy Carter (D) had the highest average from 1901 to 2021 with 65.5 appointments per year.  

Of his Article III appointees–not including Supreme Court nominations–President Johnson appointed 44 judges to the United States Courts of Appeal, 126 judges to U.S. district courts, and eight judges to the U.S. Court of International Trade

Looking ahead

We’ll be back on June 7 with a new edition of Bold Justice. Until then, gaveling out! 

Contributions

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