TagArticle III federal judges

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

Through June 1, 2022, there were 890 authorized federal judicial posts and 77 vacancies. Seventy-five of those were for Article III judgeships. This report is limited to Article III courts, where appointees are confirmed to lifetime terms.

  • In the past month, six judges have been confirmed
  • In the past month, eight judges have been nominated*

*Note: This figure includes nomination announcements in addition to nominations officially received in the Senate.

By June 1, after 498 days in office, President Joe Biden (D) had nominated 96 judges to Article III judgeships. For historical comparison: 

  • President Donald Trump (R) had nominated 141 individuals, 84 of which were ultimately confirmed to their positions.
  • President Barack Obama (D) had nominated 76 individuals, 64 of which were confirmed.
  • President George W. Bush (R) had nominated 143 individuals, 86 of which 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second tracker counts all Article III nominations, including unsuccessful nominations (for example, the nomination was withdrawn or the U.S. Senate did not vote on the nomination), renominations of individuals to the same court, and recess appointments.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 overall status of the federal judiciary during their respective administrations and is intended solely to track nominations by president by day.

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

Through May 1, 2022, there were 890 authorized federal judicial posts and 77 vacancies. Seventy-five of those were for Article III judgeships. This report is limited to Article III courts, where appointees are confirmed to lifetime terms.

  • In the past month, two judges have been confirmed
  • In the past month, 10 judges have been nominated*

*Note: This figure includes nomination announcements in addition to nominations officially received in the Senate.

By May 1, 467 days in office, President Joe Biden (D) had nominated 93 judges to Article III judgeships. For historical comparison**: 

  • President Donald Trump (R) had nominated 123 individuals, 80 of which were ultimately confirmed to their positions.
  • President Barack Obama (D) had nominated 69 individuals, 62 of which were confirmed.
  • President George W. Bush (R) had nominated 140 individuals, 85 of which 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 overall status of the federal judiciary during their respective administrations and is intended solely to track nominations by president by day.

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Biden has appointed most federal judges through May 1 of a president’s second year

President Joe Biden (D) has appointed and the U.S. Senate has confirmed 60 Article III federal judges through May 1 of Biden’s second year in office. This is the most Article III judicial appointments through this point in all presidencies since 1981. The Senate had confirmed 33 of President Donald Trump’s (R) appointees at this point in his term.

The average number of federal judges appointed by a president through May 1 of their second year in office is 44.

  • The median number of Supreme Court appointees is one. Five presidents (Reagan, Clinton, Obama, Trump, and Biden) made one appointment. Two presidents (H.W. Bush and W. Bush) had not appointed any.
  • The median number of United States Court of Appeals appointees is 12. Biden and Trump tied for the most appointees with 15, followed by Reagan with 13. Clinton appointed the fewest with five.
  • The median number of United States District Court appointees is 41. Biden and Reagan tied for the most appointees with 44, followed by W. Bush with 43. Obama appointed the fewest with 11.

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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Biden nominates five to Article III courts on April 27

President Joe Biden (D) announced his intent to nominate five individuals to Article III judgeships with lifetime terms on April 27:

To date, Biden has nominated 93 individuals to federal judgeships. The U.S. Senate has confirmed 59 of the nominees.

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, 2021.

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Biden nominates five to Article III courts

President Joe Biden (D) announced his intent to nominate five individuals to Article III judgeships with lifetime terms on April 13:

To date, Biden has nominated 88 individuals to federal judgeships. The U.S. Senate has confirmed 59 of the nominees.

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.

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

Through April 1, 2022, there were 890 authorized federal judicial posts and 74 vacancies. Seventy-two 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, 12 judges have been confirmed
  • In the past month, no judges have been nominated*

*Note: This figure includes nomination announcements in addition to nominations officially received in the Senate.

By April 1, 437 days in office, President Joe Biden (D) had nominated 83 judges to Article III judgeships. For historical comparison:** 

  • President Donald Trump (R) had nominated 104 individuals, 76 of which were ultimately confirmed to their positions.
  • President Barack Obama (D) had nominated 59 individuals, 54 of which were confirmed.
  • President George W. Bush (R) had nominated 138 individuals, 83 of which 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 overall status of the federal judiciary during their respective administrations and is intended solely to track nominations by president by day.

Additional reading:



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

Through March 1, 2022, there were 890 authorized federal judicial posts and 80 vacancies. Seventy-eight of those vacancies were for Article III judgeships. This report is limited to Article III courts, where appointees are confirmed to lifetime judgeships.

  • In the past month, one judge has been confirmed
  • In the past month, two judges have been nominated*.

*Note: This figure includes nomination announcements in addition to nominations officially received in the Senate.

By March 1, 406 days in office, President Joe Biden (D) had nominated 83 judges to Article III judgeships. For historical comparison**: 

  • President Donald Trump (R) had nominated 104 individuals, 76 of whom were ultimately confirmed to their positions.
  • President Barack Obama (D) had nominated 52 individuals, 47 of whom were ultimately confirmed.
  • President George W. Bush (R) had nominated 132 individuals, 77 of whom were ultimately 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:



Ballotpedia releases federal judicial vacancy count for February 2022

In February’s federal judicial vacancy count, Ballotpedia tracked nominations, confirmations, and vacancies in Article III courts during the month of February through March 1. Ballotpedia publishes the federal judicial vacancy count at the start of each month.

HIGHLIGHTS

Two 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.

U.S. Court of Appeals vacancies

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

The following maps show the number of vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals at Biden’s inauguration and as of March 1, 2022.

New nominations

Biden has announced two new nominations since the January 2022 report.

Since taking office in January 2021, Biden has nominated 83 individuals to Article III positions.

New confirmations

The U.S. Senate confirmed one nominee since the previous report.

As of March 1, the Senate had confirmed 46 of Biden’s judicial nominees—32 district court judges and 14 appeals court judges. To review a complete list of Biden’s confirmed nominees, click here.

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Biden has appointed most federal judges through March 1 of a president’s second year

President Joe Biden (D) has appointed and the Senate has confirmed 46 Article III federal judges through March 1 of his second year in office. This is the most Article III judicial appointments through this point in all presidencies since 1981. The Senate had confirmed 26 of President Donald Trump’s (R) appointees at this point in his term.

The average number of federal judges appointed by a president through March 1 of their second year in office is 32.

  • The median number of Supreme Court appointees is one. Four presidents (Reagan, Clinton, Obama, and Trump) made one appointment. Three presidents (H.W. Bush, W. Bush, and Biden) had not appointed any.
  • The median number of United States Court of Appeals appointees is seven. Biden and Trump tied for the most appointees with 14 each, followed by Reagan with nine. Clinton appointed the fewest with three.
  • The median number of United States District Court appointees is 30. Reagan had the most appointees with 34. Obama appointed the fewest with 10.

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

As of Feb. 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, five judges have been confirmed
  • In the past month, eight judges have been nominated*.

*Note: This figure includes nomination announcements in addition to nominations officially received in the Senate.

By Feb. 1, 378 days in office, President Joe Biden (D) had nominated 81 judges to Article III judgeships. For historical comparison**: 

  • President Donald Trump (R) had nominated 95 individuals, 67 of whom were ultimately confirmed to their positions.
  • President Barack Obama (D) had nominated 43 individuals, 39 of whom were confirmed.
  • President George W. Bush (R) had nominated 130 individuals, 75 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: