Tagconfirmation

U.S. Senate confirms Court of Federal Claims nominee

On December 19, 2020, the U.S. Senate confirmed Thompson Michael Dietz to the United States Court of Federal Claims by a vote of 51–36. He was nominated to the court by President Donald Trump (R) on July 2, 2020, and will join the court upon receiving his judicial commission and taking his judicial oath. Dietz was nominated to replace Judge Victor J. Wolski, who assumed senior status on July 13, 2018.

The United States Court of Federal Claims is an Article I tribunal, a federal court organized under Article I of the U.S. Constitution.

After Dietz receives his judicial commission, the 16-member Court of Federal Claims will have:

  • Five vacancies
  • Eight Republican-appointed judges
  • Three Democrat-appointed judges

In addition to Dietz, President Trump has appointed seven judges to the court. Another five Trump-appointed nominees are pending. President Barack Obama (D) appointed three judges to the court.

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U.S. Senate confirms two nominees to federal judgeships

The U.S. Senate has confirmed two nominees to federal district court judgeships. The 94 U.S. District Courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal courts.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed 232 of President Trump’s Article III judicial nominees—three Supreme Court justices, 54 appellate court judges, 172 district court judges, and three U.S. Court of International Trade judges—since January 2017.

The nominees are:

• Katherine Crytzer, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee by a 48-47 vote. After she receives her federal judicial commission and takes her judicial oath, the five-member court will have one Democrat-appointed judge, three Republican-appointed judges, and one vacancy. Crytzer will join one other judge appointed by President Trump.

• Joseph Dawson, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina by a 56-39 vote. After he receives his federal judicial commission and takes his judicial oath, the 10-member court will have five Democrat-appointed judges, five Republican-appointed judges, and no vacancies. Dawson will join two other judges appointed by President Trump.

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Thomas Kirsch confirmed to U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit

The U.S. Senate confirmed nominee Thomas Kirsch to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. He was nominated to the court by President Donald Trump (R) on November 16, 2020, and confirmed by a 51-44 vote of the U.S. Senate on December 15, 2020. He will join the court upon receiving his judicial commission and taking his judicial oath. He replaces judge Amy Coney Barrett. 

Kirsch previously served as the United States attorney for the Northern District of Indiana from 2017 to 2020.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed 232 of President Trump’s Article III judicial nominees—three Supreme Court justices, 54 appellate court judges, 172 district court judges, and three U.S. Court of International Trade judges—since January 2017.

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Chief justice confirmed to Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Image of the John Adams Courthouse in Massachusetts

On November 18, 2020, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice Kimberly Budd was confirmed as the chief justice of the court. Budd was nominated to the position by Gov. Charlie Baker (R) on October 28, 2020. She succeeded former Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, who passed away on September 14, 2020. Budd may serve as the chief justice of the court until she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Budd was first nominated to the supreme court by Gov. Baker on June 14, 2016, and confirmed by the Governor’s Council on August 10, 2016. She succeeded Justice Fernande Duffly after Duffly’s July 2016 retirement.

Budd was previously a superior court associate justice in Massachusetts. She was nominated to the superior court by Gov. Deval Patrick (D) in July 2009 and assumed office in September 2009.

In 2020, there have been 22 supreme court vacancies in 16 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. One vacancy occurred when a chief justice died, and 21 vacancies were caused by retirements.

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Hawaii senate confirms Eddins to state supreme court

Image of the Hawaii Supreme Court building in Honolulu.

On November 19, 2020, the Hawaii State Senate confirmed Todd Eddins to succeed Justice Richard W. Pollack on the Hawaii Supreme Court. Gov. David Ige (D) appointed Eddins to the court on October 23, 2020. Eddins is Ige’s first nominee to the five-member supreme court.

The seat became vacant when Pollack retired on June 30, 2020, after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 years.

Under Hawaii law, state supreme court justices are selected through the assisted appointment method. The governor chooses an appointee from a list of candidates submitted by the judicial nominating commission. The nominee requires confirmation from the Hawaii State Senate.

Eddins became a judge of the O’ahu First Circuit of Hawaii in 2017 after being appointed by Gov. Ige on February 9. The Hawaii State Senate confirmed Eddins on March 3, 2017.

Before his appointment to the O’ahu First Circuit, Eddins worked as a trial lawyer for the Office of the Public Defender. He also served as a clerk for Justice Yoshimi Hayashi of the Hawaii Supreme Court.

Eddins earned an undergraduate degree from the College of William & Mary and a J.D. from the University of Hawaii, where he was the executive editor of the University of Hawaii Law Review.

The Hawaii Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort. As of October 2020, three judges on the court were appointed by a Democratic governor, and one judge on the court was appointed by a Republican governor.

In 2020, there have been 22 supreme court vacancies in 16 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. One vacancy occurred when a chief justice died, and 21 vacancies were caused by retirements.

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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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California governor confirms Jenkins to state supreme court

The California State Commission on Judicial Appointments confirmed Martin Jenkins to the California Supreme Court on November 10, 2020. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) appointed Jenkins on October 5. Jenkins succeeds Justice Ming Chin, who retired on August 31. Jenkins is Newsom’s first appointee to the seven-member supreme court.

Under California law, state supreme court justices are recommended by the Commission on Judicial Nominee Evaluation to the governor. The governor then selects the new justice, who must be confirmed by the state Commission on Judicial Appointments.

Jenkins was an associate judge on the California First District Court of Appeal, Division Three, from 2008 to 2019. He was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). He stepped down in 2019 after he was appointed judicial appointments secretary by Gov. Newsom.

From 1997 to 2008, Jenkins was a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. President Bill Clinton (D) nominated Jenkins on July 24, 1997, to a seat vacated by Eugene Lynch. The U.S. Senate confirmed Jenkins on November 9, 1997, and he received commission on November 12. Jenkins served on the U.S. district court until his resignation on April 3, 2008.

Jenkins earned his A.A. from the City College of San Francisco in 1973, his B.A. from Santa Clara University (formerly the University of Santa Clara) in 1976, and his J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1980.

A press release from Gov. Newsom’s office said Jenkins “would be the first openly gay California Supreme Court justice and only the third African American man ever to serve on the state’s highest court. It has been 29 years since an African American man has served on the California Supreme Court.”

The California Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort. As of October 2020, four judges on the court were appointed by Democratic governors, and two judges were appointed by Republican governors.

In 2020, there have been 22 supreme court vacancies in 16 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. One vacancy occurred when a chief justice died, and 21 vacancies were caused by retirements.

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

The U.S. Senate confirmed Aileen Cannon to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida by a 56-21 vote on November 12, 2020. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida is one of 94 U.S. District Courts. They are the general trial courts of the United States federal courts.

After Cannon receives her federal judicial commission and takes her judicial oath, the 18-member court will have ten Republican-appointed judges, seven Democrat-appointed judges, and one vacancy. Cannon will join four other judges appointed by President Trump.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed 222 of President Trump’s Article III judicial nominees—three Supreme Court justices, 53 appellate court judges, 164 district court judges, and two U.S. Court of International Trade judges—since January 2017.

Cannon was an assistant attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida from 2013 to 2020. Before that, she worked in private practice and as a law clerk to the  United States Court of Appeals for 8th Circuit Judge Steven Colloton. Cannon earned her bachelor of arts degree from Duke University in 2003 and her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School in 2007.

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

The U.S. Senate confirmed James Knepp to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio by a 64–24 vote on November 10, 2020. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio is one of 94 U.S. District Courts. They are the general trial courts of the United States federal courts.

After Knepp receives his federal judicial commission and takes his judicial oath, the 11-member court will have four Republican-appointed judges, six Democrat-appointed judges, and one vacancy. Knepp will join one other judge appointed by President Trump.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed 221 of President Trump’s Article III judicial nominees since January 2017.

Knepp was a federal magistrate judge for the Northern District of Ohio from 2010 to 2020. Before that, he worked in private practice in Toledo, Ohio, with the law firm of Robison, Curphey & O’Connell, LLC. He served as a law clerk to the late Judge John W. Potter from 1992 to 1994. Knepp earned a B.A., magna cum laude, from Mount Union College in 1986, an M.A. from Bowling Green State University in 1987, and a J.D., summa cum laude, from the University of Toledo College of Law in 1992.

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

The U.S. Senate confirmed John Hinderaker to the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona by a 70-27 vote. The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona is one of 94 U.S. District Courts. They are the general trial courts of the United States federal courts.

After Hinderaker receives his federal judicial commission and takes his judicial oath, the 13-member court will have six Republican-appointed judges and seven Democrat-appointed judges. Hinderaker will join four other judges appointed by President Trump.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed 217 of President Trump’s Article III judicial nominees—two Supreme Court justices, 53 appellate court judges, 160 district court judges, and two U.S. Court of International Trade judges—since January 2017.

Hinderaker was a judge of the Pima County Superior Court in Arizona from 2018 to 2020. Before that, he was an attorney in private practice. He earned his B.A., with honors, in business economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1991 and his J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1996. During his legal studies, he was a member of the Arizona Law Review.

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United States District Court for the District of Arizona
Federal judges nominated by Donald Trump



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