TagArticle III federal judges

President Biden has announced 10 nominations for Article III judgeships

President Joe Biden (D) has announced his intent to nominate 10 individuals to Article III courts for lifetime judgeships as of April 1. As of this writing, the official nominations have not yet been submitted to the U.S. Senate. 

For comparison with the previous administration, President Donald Trump (R) made his first Article III judicial nomination by February 1, 2017, when he nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Trump’s first successful appointment–where the nominee was confirmed–occurred by May 1 of his first year, when Gorsuch was confirmed to SCOTUS.

Since 1901, the earliest successful Article III appointment, meaning the nominee was confirmed, was made by President Richard Nixon (R). Nixon appointed a federal district judge by March 1 of his first year in office. Three presidents–Theodore Roosevelt (R), Calvin Coolidge (R), and Gerald Ford (R)–made the fewest with zero judicial appointments during their first year in office.

Article III federal judges are appointed for life terms by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate per Article III of the United States Constitution. Article III judges include judges on the: Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. courts of appeal, U.S. district courts, and the Court of International Trade.

As of this writing, there were 73 current vacancies in the federal judiciary of 870 total Article III judgeships. Including non-Article III judges from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, there were 77 vacancies out of 890 active federal judicial positions.

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Ballotpedia releases federal judicial vacancy count for January 2021

In this month’s federal judicial vacancy count, Ballotpedia tracked nominations, confirmations, and vacancies to all United States Article III federal courts from January 1 to February 1, 2021. Ballotpedia publishes the federal judicial vacancy count at the start of each month.

HIGHLIGHTS

Vacancies: There have been 11 new judicial vacancies since the December 2020 report. There are 57 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions on courts covered in this report. Including the United States Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, 60 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.

Nominations: There were no new nominations since the December 2020 report.

Confirmations: There have been no new confirmations since the December 2020 report.

New vacancies

There were 57 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions, a total vacancy percentage of 6.6.

• The nine-member U.S. Supreme Court does not have any vacancies.

• Four (2.2%) of the 179 U.S. Appeals Court positions are vacant.

• 52 (7.7%) of the 673 U.S. District Court positions are vacant.*

• One (11.1%) of the nine U.S. Court of International Trade positions is vacant.

*District court count does not include territorial courts.

Eleven 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 William Alsup assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

• Judge Janet Hall assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

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

• Judge Larry Burns assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

• Judge Theresa Springmann assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.

• Judge Dan Polster assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

• Judge James Gwin assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

• Judge Carlos Lucero assumed senior status on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

• Judge Jeffrey White assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

• Judge Phyllis Hamilton assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

• Judge Roslynn Mauskopf retired from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

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.

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 February 1, 2021.

New nominations

As of February 1, 2021, President Joe Biden (D) had not announced any new nominations.

New confirmations

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

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President Biden has not made any federal judicial appointments through February 1 of his first year in office

As of February 1, 2021, President Joe Biden (D) had not appointed any Article III federal judges. The average number of federal judges appointed by a president through February 1 of their first year in office is zero. 

Through the first year in office, President Ronald Reagan (R) made the most appointments with 41, and President Barack Obama (D) made the fewest with 13.

Through the fourth year in office, President Donald Trump (R) made the most appointments with 234. President Ronald Reagan (R) made the fewest in that time with 166.

Article III federal judges are appointed for life terms by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate per Article III of the United States Constitution. Article III judges include judges on the: Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. courts of appeal, U.S. district courts, and the Court of International Trade.

Upon assuming office, President Biden inherited 46 Article III lifetime federal judicial vacancies. As of February 1, there were 57 vacancies. 

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Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Biden to inherit fewest judicial vacancies since 1989

A look at judicial vacancies and appointments under Trump

From time to time, we’ve brought you updates on the federal judges who have been nominated and confirmed under the Trump administration. With inauguration day tomorrow, let’s wrap up the numbers of the 45th President with a look at where things stand today.

Vacancies

President Trump was inaugurated four years ago on Jan. 20, 2017. At that time, there were 108 lifetime federal judicial vacancies requiring a presidential nomination. This was the largest number of vacancies at the beginning of a presidency since 1992, when there were 111 vacancies at Bill Clinton’s (D) inauguration. 

As of Jan. 18, there were 46 federal judicial vacancies requiring a presidential nomination. This is the lowest number of at the beginning of a presidency since there were 37 vacancies when George H.W. Bush (R) was inaugurated in 1989.

Nominations

Since taking office, Trump nominated 274 individuals to federal judgeships. Trump made the most Article III judicial nominations in April 2018 (27). There were nine months in his presidency during which he made no Article III judicial nominations.

Confirmations

Of Trump’s 274 federal judicial nominations, the U.S. Senate confirmed 234 of them. The average number of judicial confirmations for the first four years of a presidency since Jimmy Carter (D) is 205. The Senate confirmed 261 of Carter’s judicial nominees, the most confirmations through four years. President Ronald Reagan (R) had the fewest at 166.

The Senate has confirmed 54 of President Trump’s appellate court nominees, the second-most on the list. President Jimmy Carter had the most with 56. Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama had the fewest number of appellate confirmations with 30. The median number of appellate court confirmations is 35. 

The median number of U.S. District Court confirmations is 168. The Senate confirmed 202 of  President Jimmy Carter’s district court nominees, leading the list. President Ronald Reagan had the fewest number of district judges confirmed, with 129.

For more on this subject, keep reading at the link below.

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Special election canceled for Louisiana state House after lack of candidates

After Brett Geymann (R) was the only candidate to file for the special election for Louisiana state House District 35, the Feb. 6 primary and March 20 general elections were canceled. Geymann was then automatically elected without appearing on the ballot.

The seat became vacant after the resignation of Stephen Dwight (R) on Dec. 1, 2020.  He had represented the district since 2016.

Ballotpedia has identified 14 states with laws that explicitly allow for elections to be canceled at the state level. The individual laws governing when and how elections can be canceled vary. For example, in North Carolina, a canceled election can lead to a vacancy, appointment, or leaving the incumbent in place. In Connecticut, if a candidate does not gain endorsement from their party or at least 15% of the party’s delegation, then the election will be canceled. Click here for details.

As of January 2021, 20 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 14 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 88 special elections took place each odd-numbered year.

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SEIU asks CA Supreme Court to declare Prop 22 unconstitutional

Here’s an update on California Proposition 22, an initiative that defined app-based transportation (rideshare) and delivery drivers as independent contractors and not employees or agents. With $225 million between supporters and opponents, Prop 22 was the most expensive ballot measure in California history, surpassing the next closest measure by $70.5 million. 

On Jan. 12, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and four app-based drivers sued the state government in the California Supreme Court. The SEIU is seeking to have Proposition 22 declared unconstitutional and unenforceable.

Bob Schoonover, president of SEIU California, said, “Prop. 22 doesn’t just fail our state rideshare drivers, it fails the basic test of following our state constitution. The law as written by Uber and Lyft denies drivers rights under the law in California and makes it nearly impossible for lawmakers to fix these problems.” 

Kathy Fairbanks, a spokesperson for Yes on Proposition 22, provided a statement from an app-based driver, which said, “Meritless lawsuits that seek to undermine the clear democratic will of the people do not stand up to scrutiny in the courts.”

Prop 22 was approved at the Nov. 3, 2020, election with 58.6% of the vote. The measure overrode Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), signed in September 2019, on the question of whether app-based drivers are employees or independent contractors.

Click the link below to stay up-to-date on the case.
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Trump has appointed second-most federal judges through December 31 of a president’s fourth year

Donald Trump has appointed and the U.S. Senate has confirmed 234 Article III federal judges through December 31, 2020, his fourth year in office. This is the second-most Article III judicial appointments through this point in all presidencies since Jimmy Carter (D). The Senate had confirmed 261 of Carter’s appointees at this point in his term.

The average number of federal judges appointed by a president through December 31 of their fourth year in office is 205.

The median number of Supreme Court justices appointed is two. President Donald Trump (R) has appointed three Supreme Court justices. Presidents Barack Obama (D), Bill Clinton (D), and George H.W. Bush (R) had each appointed two Supreme Court justices at this point in their first terms. Ronald Reagan (R) had appointed one, while Carter and George W. Bush (R) had not appointed any.

The median number of United States Court of Appeals appointees is 35. Carter appointed the most with 56, and Presidents Clinton and Obama appointed the fewest with 30 each. Trump’s 54 appointments make up 30.2% of the total 179 judgeships across the courts of appeal.

The median number of United States District Court appointees is 168. Carter appointed the most with 202, and President Reagan appointed the fewest with 129. Trump has appointed 174 district court judges so far. Those appointments make up 25.7% of the 678 judgeships across the district courts.

Article III federal judges are appointed for life terms by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate per Article III of the United States Constitution. Article III judges include judges on the: Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. courts of appeal, U.S. district courts, and the Court of International Trade.

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Ballotpedia releases federal judicial vacancy count for December

In this month’s federal judicial vacancy count, Ballotpedia tracked nominations, confirmations, and vacancies to all United States Article III federal courts from December 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020. Ballotpedia publishes the federal judicial vacancy count at the start of each month.

HIGHLIGHTS

Vacancies: There have been no new judicial vacancies since the November 2020 report. There are 46 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions on courts covered in this report. Including the United States Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, 49 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.

Nominations: There were no new nominations since the November 2020 report.

Confirmations: There have been seven new confirmations since the November 2020 report.

New vacancies

There were 46 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions, a total vacancy percentage of 5.3.

  • The nine-member U.S. Supreme Court does not have any vacancies.
  • Two (1.1%) of the 179 U.S. Appeals Court positions are vacant.
  • 43 (6.4%) of the 673 U.S. District Court positions are vacant.*
  • One (11.1%) of the nine U.S. Court of International Trade positions is vacant.

*District court count does not include territorial courts.

No judges left active status, which would create 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.

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 Donald Trump (R) to the date indicated on the chart.

The following maps show the number of vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals at Trump’s inauguration and as of December 31, 2020.

New nominations

Trump has not announced any new nominations since the November 2020 report.

New confirmations

Since December 1, 2020, the United States Senate has confirmed seven of Trump’s nominees to Article III seats. 

  • Taylor McNeel, confirmed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.
  • J. Philip Calabrese, confirmed to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
  • Thomas Kirsch, confirmed to the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.
  • Katherine Crytzer, confirmed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
  • Joseph Dawson, confirmed to the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina.
  • Charles Atchley, confirmed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
  • Fernando Aenlle-Rocha, confirmed to the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

As of January 4, 2021, the Senate has confirmed 234 of President Trump’s Article III judicial nominees—174 district court judges, 54 appeals court judges, three Court of International Trade judges, and three Supreme Court justices—since January 2017.

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Trump has appointed second-most federal judges through December 1 of a president’s fourth year

Donald Trump has appointed and the Senate has confirmed 227 Article III federal judges through December 1, 2020, his fourth year in office. This is the second-most Article III judicial appointments through this point in all presidencies since Jimmy Carter (D). The Senate had confirmed 260 of Carter’s appointees at this point in his term.

The average number of federal judges appointed by a president through December 1 of their fourth year in office is 201.

The median number of Supreme Court justices appointed is two. President Trump appointed the most with three. Presidents Barack Obama (D), Bill Clinton (D), and George H.W. Bush (R) had each appointed two Supreme Court justices at this point in their first terms. Ronald Reagan (R) had appointed one, while Carter and George W. Bush (R) had not appointed any.

The median number of United States Court of Appeals appointees is 35. Carter appointed the most with 55, while Clinton and Obama appointed the fewest with 30. Trump has appointed 53. Trump’s 53 appointments make up 30% of the total 179 judgeships across the courts of appeal.

The median number of United States District Court appointees is 168. Carter appointed the most with 202, and Obama appointed the fewest with 128. Trump has appointed 168 district court judges. Those appointments make up 25% of the 677 judgeships across the district courts.

Article III federal judges are appointed for life terms by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate per Article III of the United States Constitution. Article III judges include judges on the Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. courts of appeal, U.S. district courts, and the Court of International Trade.

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U.S. Senate confirms five nominees to federal judgeships

The U.S. Senate confirmed five nominees to federal judgeships—four to federal district court seats and one to the U.S. Court of International Trade. The 94 U.S. District Courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal courts. The U.S. Court of International Trade is an Article III federal court that only hears cases involving particular international trade and customs law questions.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed 227 of President Trump’s Article III judicial nominees—three Supreme Court justices, 53 appellate court judges, 168 district court judges, and three U.S. Court of International Trade judges—since January 2017.

The nominees are:

• Benjamin Beaton, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky by a 52-44 vote. After he receives his federal judicial commission and takes his judicial oath, the five-member court will have two Democrat-appointed judges, three Republican-appointed judges, and no vacancies. Beaton will join two other judges appointed by President Trump.

• Toby Crouse, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas by a 50-43 vote. After he receives his federal judicial commission and takes his judicial oath, the six-member court will have one Democrat-appointed judge, five Republican-appointed judges, and no vacancies. Crouse will join two other judges appointed by President Trump.

• Kristi Haskins Johnson, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi by a 53-43 vote. After she receives her federal judicial commission and takes her judicial oath, the six-member court will have one Democrat-appointed judge, four Republican-appointed judges, and one vacancy. Johnson will be the first judge appointed by President Trump to join the court.

• Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida by a 49-41 vote. After she receives her federal judicial commission and takes her judicial oath, the 15-member court will have six Democrat-appointed judges, nine Republican-appointed judges, and no vacancies. Mizelle will join four other judges appointed by President Trump.

• Stephen Vaden, confirmed to the U.S. Court of International Trade by a 49-43 vote. After he receives his federal judicial commission and takes his judicial oath, the nine-member court will have four Democrat-appointed judges, four Republican-appointed judges, and one vacancy. Vaden will join two other judges appointed by President Trump.

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Trump has appointed second-most federal judges through November 1 of a president’s fourth year

Donald Trump has appointed and the Senate has confirmed 220 Article III federal judges through November 1, 2020, his fourth year in office. This is the second-most Article III judicial appointments through this point in all presidencies since Jimmy Carter (D). The Senate had confirmed 260 of Carter’s appointees at this point in his term.

The average number of federal judges appointed by a president through November 1 of their fourth year in office is 200.

The median number of Supreme Court justices appointed is two. President Trump appointed the most with three. Presidents Barack Obama (D), Bill Clinton (D), and George H.W. Bush (R) had each appointed two Supreme Court justices at this point in their first terms. Ronald Reagan (R) had appointed one, while Carter and George W. Bush (R) had not appointed any.

The median number of United States Court of Appeals appointees is 35. Carter appointed the most with 55, while Clinton and Obama both appointed the least with 30 each. Trump’s 53 appointments make up 30% of the total 179 judgeships across the courts of appeal.

The median number of United States District Court appointees is 162. Carter appointed the most with 202, and Obama appointed the fewest with 128. Trump has appointed 162 district court judges so far. Those appointments make up 24% of the 677 judgeships across the district courts.

Article III federal judges are appointed for life terms by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate per Article III of the United States Constitution. Article III judges include judges on the: Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. courts of appeal, U.S. district courts, and the Court of International Trade.

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U.S. Senate confirms Newman to federal district court judgeship

The U.S. Senate confirmed Michael Newman to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio by a 67-30 vote on October 22, 2020. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio is one of 94 U.S. District Courts. They are the general trial courts of the United States federal courts.

After Newman receives his federal judicial commission and takes his judicial oath, the eight-member court will have five Republican-appointed judges and three Democrat-appointed judges. Newman will join three other judges appointed by President Trump.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed 219 of President Trump’s Article III judicial nominees—two Supreme Court justices, 53 appellate court judges, 162 district court judges, and two U.S. Court of International Trade judges—since January 2017.

Newman was a federal magistrate judge for the Southern District of Ohio from 2011 to 2020. Before that, he worked in private practice and as a law clerk to the Southern District of Ohio’s Magistrate Judge Jack Sherman and to U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit Judge Nathaniel Jones. Newman earned his bachelor of fine arts degree from New York University in 1982, and his J.D., cum laude, from American University’s Washington College of Law in 1989.

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