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Biden announces two new federal judicial nominees

President Joe Biden (D) announced his intent to nominate two individuals to lifetime Article III judgeships on Nov. 17. With the addition of these two, Biden has nominated a total of 62 individuals to Article III judgeships since the start of his term. To date, 28 of Biden’s nominees have been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The two nominees announced on Nov. 17 are:

  1. Andre Mathis, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
  2. Alison Nathan, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit

As of Nov. 17, there were 73 Article III vacancies in the federal judiciary of 870 total Article III judgeships. These judges serve on courts authorized by Article III of the Constitution, which created and enumerated the powers of the judiciary. They are appointed for life terms. A vacancy occurs when a judge resigns, retires, takes senior status, or passes away.

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U.S. Senate confirms two nominees to lifetime federal judgeships

The U.S. Senate on Nov. 1 confirmed two of President Joe Biden’s (D) federal judicial nominees to lifetime Article III judgeships:

  1. Beth Robinson, to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, by a vote of 51-45
  2. Toby Heytens, to the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, by a vote of 53-43

To date, 28 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 28 Article III judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate:

  1. President Donald Trump (R) – March 5, 2018
  2. President Barack Obama (D) – June 7, 2010
  3. President George W. Bush (R) – Dec. 20, 2001
  4. President Bill Clinton (D) – Nov. 20, 1993
  5. President George H.W. Bush (R) – April 27, 1990
  6. President Ronald Reagan (R) – Nov. 18, 1981

As of this writing, four Article III nominees are awaiting a confirmation vote from the U.S Senate, six nominees are awaiting a Senate Judiciary Committee vote to advance their nominations to the full Senate, and 22 nominees are awaiting a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

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President Biden announces new federal judicial nominees

President Joe Biden (D) announced a new slate of nominees to lifetime Article III judgeships on U.S. circuit and district courts on Nov. 3.

Biden also nominated Kendra Briggs to a non-Article III court, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Superior Court of D.C. is a trial court of general jurisdiction where judges are appointed to 15-year terms by the president.

Since taking office, Biden has nominated 60 individuals to federal judgeships on Article III courts. To date, 28 of the nominees have been confirmed.

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Ballotpedia releases federal judicial vacancy count for Oct. 2021

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

HIGHLIGHTS

Three 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 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 Biden’s inauguration and as of Nov. 1.

New nominations

Biden has announced no new nominations since the September 2021 report.

New confirmations

As of Nov. 1, the Senate has confirmed 28 of Biden’s judicial nominees—19 district court judges and nine appeals court judges—since Jan. 2021.

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Biden has appointed most federal judges through Nov. 1 of a president’s first year

President Joe Biden (D) has appointed and the Senate has confirmed 28 Article III federal judges through Nov. 1 of his first year in office. This is the most Article III judicial appointments through this point in all presidencies since 1981. The Senate had confirmed 11 of President Donald Trump’s (R) appointees at this point in his term.

The average number of federal judges appointed by a president through Nov. 1 of their first year in office is 13.

  1. 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.
  2. The median number of United States Court of Appeals appointees is three. Biden appointed the most with nine. Obama appointed the fewest with one.
  3. The median number of United States District Court appointees is six. Biden appointed the most with 19. Obama appointed the fewest with three.

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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Three nominees confirmed to Article III judgeships

The U.S. Senate on Oct. 26 confirmed three of President Joe Biden’s (D) federal judicial nominees to lifetime Article III judgeships:

  1. Jia Cobb, to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, by a vote of 52-45
  2. Patricia Tolliver Giles, to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, by a vote of 68-27
  3. Karen McGlashan Williams, to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, by a vote of 56-38

To date, 23 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 23 Article III judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate:

  1. President Donald Trump (R) – Jan. 11, 2018
  2. President Barack Obama (D) – May 5, 2010
  3. President George W. Bush (R) – Dec. 11, 2001
  4. President Bill Clinton (D) – Nov. 20, 1993
  5. President George H.W. Bush (R) – March 9, 1990
  6. President Ronald Reagan (R) – Nov. 18, 1981

As of this writing, five Article III nominees are awaiting a confirmation vote from the U.S Senate, nine nominees are awaiting a Senate Judiciary Committee vote to advance their nominations to the full Senate, and 13 nominees are awaiting a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

One nominee, Jennifer Sung, was not reported favorably by the Senate Judiciary Committee to the full Senate for a confirmation vote. The committee held hearings on her nomination on Sept. 14 and cast a tie vote on reporting her nomination to the Senate on Oct. 21. The Senate must discharge her nomination from the committee in order for it to be considered. Biden nominated Sung to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on July 13.

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Myrna Pérez confirmed to U.S. circuit court

The U.S. Senate on Oct. 25 confirmed one of President Joe Biden’s (D) federal judicial nominees to a lifetime Article III judgeship:

The United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit is one of 13 U.S. courts of appeal. They are the intermediate appellate courts of the federal court system. To learn more about these courts, click here.

Pérez was nominated to the Second Circuit on June 15 to replace JudgeDenny Chin, who assumedsenior status on June 1. Pérez was rated Qualified by a substantial majority and Well Qualified by a minorityof theAmerican Bar Association. To read more about ABA ratings,click here.

To date, 20 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 20 Article III judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate:

As of this writing, seven Article III nominees are awaiting a confirmation vote from the U.S Senate, 11 nominees are awaiting a Senate Judiciary Committee vote to advance their nominations to the full Senate, and 13 nominees are awaiting a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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U.S. Senate confirms Gelpí and O’Hearn to federal judgeships

The U.S. Senate confirmed two of President Joe Biden’s (D) federal judicial nominees to lifetime Article III judgeships on Oct. 18 and 19:

  1. Gustavo Gelpí was confirmed on Oct. 18 to the United States Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit by a vote of 52-41. Gelpí was nominated to the court on May 12 to replace Judge Juan Torruella, whose judicial service ended upon his death on Oct. 26, 2020. Gelpí was rated Well Qualified by the American Bar Association (ABA). To read more about ABA ratings, click here.
  2. Christine O’Hearn was confirmed on Oct. 19 to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey by a vote of 53-44. O’Hearn was nominated to the court on April 29 to replace Judge Robert Kugler, who assumed senior status on May 19, 2017. O’Hearn was rated Well Qualified by the ABA.

To date, 18 of Biden’s nominees have been confirmed. For historical comparison since 1981, the following list shows the date by which the past six presidents had 18 Article III judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate:

  1. President Donald Trump (R) – Dec. 13, 2017
  2. President Barack Obama (D) – Mar. 4, 2010
  3. President George W. Bush (R) – Nov. 13, 2001
  4. President Bill Clinton (D) – Nov. 20, 1993
  5. President George H.W. Bush (R) – Mar. 6, 1990
  6. President Ronald Reagan (R) – Oct. 29, 1981

As of this writing, nine Article III nominees are awaiting a confirmation vote from the U.S Senate, five nominees are awaiting a Senate Judiciary Committee vote to advance their nominations to the full Senate, and 19 nominees are awaiting a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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Sarah Merriam confirmed to U.S. district court

The U.S. Senate on Oct. 6 confirmed one of President Joe Biden’s (D) federal judicial nominees to a lifetime Article III judgeship:

  1. Sarah A.L. Merriam, to the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, by a vote of 54-46

Merriam was nominated to the District of Connecticut on June 15 to replace JudgeJanet Hall, who assumedsenior status on Jan. 21. Merriam was rated Well Qualified by theAmerican Bar Association. To read more about ABA ratings,click here.

To date, 16 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 16 Article III judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate:

  1. President Donald Trump (R) – Nov. 28, 2017
  2. President Barack Obama (D) – Feb. 9, 2010
  3. President George W. Bush (R) – Nov. 6, 2001
  4. President Bill Clinton (D) – Nov. 20, 1993
  5. President George H.W. Bush (R) – Jan. 23, 1990
  6. President Ronald Reagan (R) – Oct. 21, 1981

As of this writing, 11 Article III nominees are awaiting a confirmation vote from the U.S Senate, five nominees are awaiting a Senate Judiciary Committee vote to advance their nominations to the full Senate, and 19 nominees are awaiting a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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Lauren King confirmed to U.S. district court

The U.S. Senate on Oct. 5 confirmed one of President Joe Biden’s (D)federal judicial nominees to a lifetime Article III judgeship:

King was nominated to the Western District of Washington on May 12 to replace Judge Robert Lasnik, who assumed senior status on Jan. 27, 2016. King was rated as Well Qualified by a majority and Qualified by a minorityby theAmerican Bar Association. King will join the court upon receiving her judicial commission and taking her judicial oath.

King is a Muscogee Nation citizen. Once she receives her judicial commission, King will be the first Native American federal judge in Washington state’s history.

To date, 15 of Biden’s appointees have been confirmed. Forhistorical comparison since 1981, the following list shows the date by which the past six presidents had 15 Article III judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate:

  1. PresidentDonald Trump (R) – Nov. 27, 2017
  2. PresidentBarack Obama (D) – Jan. 25, 2010
  3. PresidentGeorge W. Bush (R) – Nov. 6, 2001
  4. PresidentBill Clinton (D) – Nov. 20, 1993
  5. PresidentGeorge H.W. Bush (R) – Nov. 22, 1989
  6. PresidentRonald Reagan (R) – Oct. 21, 1981

As of this writing, 12 Article III nominees are awaiting a confirmation vote from the U.S Senate, two nominees are awaiting a Senate Judiciary Committee vote to advance their nominations to the full Senate, and 22 nominees are awaiting a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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