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Kate Carsella

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

Tracker: Article III federal judicial nominations by president by days in office since 2001

Through Nov. 1, 2022, there were 890 authorized federal judicial posts and 89 vacancies. Eighty-seven of those were for Article III judgeships. This report is limited to Article III courts, where appointees are confirmed to lifetime judgeships.

  1. In the past month, no judges have been confirmed
  2. In the past month, one judge was nominated.


By Nov. 1, 651 days in office, President Joe Biden (D) had nominated 142 judges to Article III judgeships. For historical comparison*: 

  1. President Donald Trump (R) had nominated 175 individuals, 86 of whom were ultimately confirmed to their positions.
  2. President Barack Obama (D) had nominated 105 individuals, 71 of whom were confirmed.
  3. President George W. Bush (R) had nominated 171 individuals, 100 of whom were confirmed.

*Note: These figures include unsuccessful nominations.

The following data visualizations track the number of Article III judicial nominations by president by days in office during the Biden, Trump, Obama, and W. Bush administrations (2001-present). 

The first tracker is limited to successful nominations, where the nominee was ultimately confirmed to their respective court:

The second tracker counts all Article III nominations, including unsuccessful nominations (for example, the nomination was withdrawn or the U.S. Senate did not vote on the nomination), renominations of individuals to the same court, and recess appointments. A recess appointment is when the president appoints a federal official while the Senate is in recess.

The data contained in these charts is compiled by Ballotpedia staff from publicly available information provided by the Federal Judicial Center. The comparison by days shown between the presidents is not reflective of the larger states of the federal judiciary during their respective administrations and is intended solely to track nominations by president by day.

Additional reading:

https://ballotpedia.org/Judicial_vacancies_in_federal_courts

https://ballotpedia.org/Federal_judges_nominated_by_Joe_Biden

https://ballotpedia.org/The_Federal_Judicial_Vacancy_Count_11/1/2022



Tracker: Article III federal judicial nominations by president by days in office since 2001

Through Oct. 1, 2022, there were 890 authorized federal judicial posts and 85 vacancies. Eighty-three of those were for Article III judgeships. This report is limited to Article III courts, where appointees are confirmed to lifetime judgeships. In the past month:

  1. Eight judges have been confirmed
  2. Nine judges have been nominated.

By Oct. 1, 620 days in office, President Joe Biden (D) had nominated 141 judges to Article III judgeships. For historical comparison: 

  1. President Donald Trump (R) had nominated 162 individuals, 86 of whom were ultimately confirmed to their positions.
  2. President Barack Obama (D) had nominated 99 individuals, 65 of whom were confirmed.
  3. President George W. Bush (R) had nominated 167 individuals, 100 of whom were confirmed.

*Note: These figures include unsuccessful nominations.

The following data visualizations track the number of Article III judicial nominations by president by days in office during the Biden, Trump, Obama, and W. Bush administrations (2001-present). 

The first tracker is limited to successful nominations, where the nominee was ultimately confirmed to their respective court:

The second tracker counts all Article III nominations, including unsuccessful nominations (for example, the nomination was withdrawn or the U.S. Senate did not vote on the nomination), renominations of individuals to the same court, and recess appointments. A recess appointment is when the president appoints a federal official while the Senate is in recess.

The data contained in these charts is compiled by Ballotpedia staff from publicly available information provided by the Federal Judicial Center. The comparison by days shown between the presidents is not reflective of the larger states of the federal judiciary during their respective administrations and is intended solely to track nominations by president by day.

Additional reading:

https://ballotpedia.org/Judicial_vacancies_in_federal_courts

https://ballotpedia.org/Federal_judges_nominated_by_Joe_Biden

https://ballotpedia.org/The_Federal_Judicial_Vacancy_Count_10/1/2022



Tracker: Article III federal judicial nominations by president by days in office since 2001

Through Sept. 1, 2022, there were 890 authorized federal judicial posts and 81 vacancies. Seventy-nine of those were for Article III judgeships. This report is limited to Article III courts, where appointees are confirmed to lifetime judgeships. In the past month:

  • Two judges have been confirmed
  • Two judges have been nominated

By Sept. 1, 590 days in office, President Joe Biden (D) had nominated 132 judges to Article III judgeships. For historical comparison: 

  • President Donald Trump (R) had nominated 162 individuals, 86 of whom were ultimately confirmed to their positions.
  • President Barack Obama (D) had nominated 90 individuals, 65 of whom were confirmed.
  • President George W. Bush (R) had nominated 163 individuals, 100 of whom were confirmed.

The following data visualizations track the number of Article III judicial nominations by president by days in office during the Biden, Trump, Obama, and W. Bush administrations (2001-present). 

The first tracker is limited to successful nominations, where the nominee was ultimately confirmed to their respective court:

The second tracker counts all Article III nominations, including unsuccessful nominations (for example, the nomination was withdrawn or the U.S. Senate did not vote on the nomination), renominations of individuals to the same court, and recess appointments. A recess appointment is when the president appoints a federal official while the Senate is in recess.

The data contained in these charts is compiled by Ballotpedia staff from publicly available information provided by the Federal Judicial Center. The comparison by days shown between the presidents is not reflective of the larger states of the federal judiciary during their respective administrations and is intended solely to track nominations by president by day.

Additional reading:



Upcoming Article III Judicial Vacancies

According to the latest vacancy data from the U.S. Courts, there were 37 total announced upcoming vacancies for Article III judgeships. 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 appointments made by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

These positions are not yet vacant but will be at some point in the future with every judge having announced his or her intent to either leave the bench or assume senior status. In the meantime, these judges will continue to serve in their current positions.

The president and Senate do not need to wait for a position to become vacant before they can start the confirmation process for a successor. For example, Julie Rikelman was nominated to succeed Judge Sandra Lynch on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit after she assumes senior status upon Rikelman’s confirmation. There are currently 15 nominees pending for upcoming vacancies.

Twenty-four vacancy effective dates have not been determined because the judge has not announced the date he or she will leave the bench. The next upcoming scheduled vacancy will take place on Sept. 30, 2022, when U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Judge Robert Mariani assumes senior status.

In addition to these 37 upcoming vacancies, there are 80 current Article III vacancies in the federal judiciary out of the 870 total Article III judgeships. Including non-Article III judges from the United States Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, there are 82 vacancies out of 890 active federal judicial positions.

President Joe Biden (D) has nominated 141 individuals to federal judgeships on Article III courts. Seventy-six of those nominees have been confirmed. Of the 65 nominees going through the confirmation process, 22 are awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate, five are awaiting a committee vote, and 38 are awaiting a committee hearing.



SCOTUS issues opinion in case concerning ACCA

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued a unanimous ruling in the case Wooden v. United States on March 7. The case was argued before the court on Oct. 4. 

The court reversed theSixth Circuit’s ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that William Wooden’s 10 offenses did not occur on different occasions and count as one prior conviction under theArmed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). Click here for more information about the ruling.

JusticeElena Kagan delivered the majority opinion of the court. Chief JusticeJohn Roberts and JusticesStephen Breyer,Sonia Sotomayor, andBrett Kavanaugh joined the opinion in full. JusticesClarence Thomas,Samuel Alito, andAmy Coney Barrett joined all but Part II-B. Justice Sotomayor filed a concurring opinion. JusticeNeil Gorsuch filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, joined by Justice Sotomayor as to Part II, III, and IV. Justice Kavanaugh filed a concurring opinion. Justice Barrett filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, joined by Justice Thomas.

To date, the court has issued decisions in 14 cases this term. Between 2007 and 2020, SCOTUS released opinions in 1,062 cases, averaging between 70 and 90 cases per year.

Additional reading:



SCOTUS issues opinions in two cases

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued rulings in two cases on March 3: United States v. Zubaydah and Cameron v. EMW Women’s Surgical Center, P.S.C.

In Zubaydah, the court reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit’s ruling in a 7-2 vote and remanded the case for further proceedings. SCOTUS held that the 9th Circuit erred by ruling that state-secrets privilege did not apply to information that could confirm or deny the existence of a CIA detention site in Poland in regard to Zubaydah’s discovery application. Justice Stephen Breyer authored the court’s majority opinion. Justice Neil Gorsuch dissented, joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Click here for more information about the ruling. 

In Cameron, the court ruled 8-1 to reverse the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit’s ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that the 6th Circuit erred in denying Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s motion to intervene and defend Kentucky House Bill 454. Justice Samuel Alito delivered the majority opinion, and Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion. Click here for more information about the ruling. 

To date, the court has issued decisions in 11 cases this term. Between 2007 and 2020, SCOTUS released opinions in 1,062 cases, averaging between 70 and 90 cases per year.

Additional reading:



Federal judicial nomination, confirmations in first week of February

The U.S. Senate confirmed three of President Joe Biden’s (D) federal judicial nominees on Feb. 1 to lifetime Article III judgeships on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio:

Biden nominated Stephanie Dawkins Davis to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on Feb. 2 to replace Judge Helene White, who will assume senior status upon the confirmation of her successor. Currently, Davis is a judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. She was nominated to that court by President Donald Trump (R) and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2019. 

Since taking office, Biden has nominated 82 individuals to federal judgeships on Article III courts. To date, 45 of the nominees have been confirmed. 

Additional reading:



SCOTUS accepts cases for 2021-2022 term

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on Jan. 14 accepted five cases for argument during the 2021-2022 term:

As of this writing, the court has agreed to hear 64 cases during the term. Four cases were dismissed, and one case was removed from the argument calendar. Sixteen cases have not yet been scheduled for argument.

To date, the court has issued decisions in six cases. Two cases were decided without argument. Between 2007 and 2020, SCOTUS released opinions in 1,062 cases, averaging between 70 and 90 cases per year.

Additional reading:



Nominee confirmed to Ninth Circuit

The U.S. Senate confirmed one of President Joe Biden’s (D) federal judicial nominees to a lifetime Article III judgeship on Jan. 12:

  1. Gabriel Sanchez, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, by a vote of 52-47

The Ninth Circuit is one of 13 U.S. courts of appeal. They are the intermediate appellate courts of the federal court system.

Sanchez was nominated to the Ninth Circuit on Sept. 20 to replace Judge Marsha Berzon, who is scheduled to assume senior status. Sanchez was rated Well Qualified by the American Bar Association.

To date, 41 of Biden’s appointees have been confirmed. For historical comparison since 1981, the following list shows the date by which the past six presidents had 41 Article III judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate:

  1. President Donald Trump (R) – June 5, 2018
  2. President Barack Obama (D) – Aug. 5, 2010
  3. President George W. Bush (R) – March 15, 2002
  4. President Bill Clinton (D) – March 10, 1994
  5. President George H.W. Bush (R) – May 11, 1990
  6. President Ronald Reagan (R) – Dec. 16, 1981

Additional reading:



SCOTUS begins January argument session

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) began its latest sitting of the 2021-2022 term on Jan. 10. The court is hearing arguments in person and providing audio livestreams of arguments.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor is participating remotely from her office as a precaution related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week, SCOTUS will hear arguments in four cases. Click the links below to learn more about these cases:

Jan. 10

  1. Gallardo v. Marstiller concerns tort claims and state Medicaid program reimbursement.

Jan. 11

  1. Johnson v. Arteaga-Martinez and Garland v. Gonzalez concern non-citizens’ right to a bond hearing in immigration detention.

Jan. 12

  1. Boechler, P.C. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue concerns the time limit to file petitions with the U.S. Tax Court to review Internal Revenue Service (IRS) determinations.

Next week, SCOTUS will hear arguments in four cases.

To date, the court has agreed to hear 59 cases this term. Four cases were dismissed, and one case was removed from the argument calendar. Eleven cases have not yet been scheduled for argument.

Additional reading: