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

President Joe Biden (D) has appointed and the Senate has confirmed 14 Article III federal judges through Oct. 1, 2021, 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 seven of President Donald Trump’s (R) appointees at this point in his term.

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

  1. The median number of Supreme Court appointees is one. Three presidents (Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Trump) made one appointment. Three presidents (George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Biden) had not appointed any.
  2. The median number of United States Court of Appeals appointees is two. Biden appointed the most with five. Ronald Reagan, Clinton, and Obama appointed the fewest with one each.
  3. The median number of United States District Court appointees is three. Reagan appointed the most with 11. Obama appointed the fewest with one.

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 September 2021

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

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Vacancies: There have been four new judicial vacancies since the August 2021 report. There are 82 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions on courts covered in this report. Including the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, 86 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.
  2. Nominations: There were 18 new nominations since the August 2021 report.
  3. Confirmations: There were five confirmations since the August 2021 report.

Four 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.

  1. Judge Beverly Martin retired from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
  2. Judge Richard Brooke Jackson assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.
  3. Judge Rosanna Peterson assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington.
  4. Judge Jeffrey Viken assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota.

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 Oct. 1.

New nominations

Biden has announced 18 new nominations since the August 2021 report.

  1. Gabriel Sanchez, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
  2. Hernan D. Vera, to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  3. Holly Thomas, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
  4. Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong, to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  5. Lucy H. Koh, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
  6. Jennifer L. Thurston, to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  7. David Herrera Urias, to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico
  8. Katherine Menendez, to the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
  9. David A. Ruiz, to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
  10. Charles Fleming, to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
  11. Bridget Brennan, to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
  12. Victoria Calvert, to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
  13. Sarah Geraghty, to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
  14. Samantha Elliott, to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire
  15. Dale Ho, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  16. John Chun, to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
  17. Linda Lopez, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
  18. Jinsook Ohta, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

New confirmations

As of Oct. 1, the Senate has confirmed 14 of Biden’s judicial nominees—nine district court judges and five appeals court judges—since January 2021.

  1. Ketanji Brown Jackson, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  2. Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
  3. Deborah Boardman, to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  4. Lydia Kay Griggsby, to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  5. Julien Xavier Neals, to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
  6. Zahid Quraishi, to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
  7. Regina Rodriguez, to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  8. Tiffany Cunningham, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  9. Angel Kelley, to the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
  10. Margaret Strickland, to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico
  11. Florence Pan, to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  12. Veronica Rossman, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit
  13. David G. Estudillo, to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington

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President Biden announces new slate of federal judicial nominees

President Joe Biden (D) announced 10 new nominees to Article III judgeships on Sept. 30. These judges are appointed by the president and serve lifetime terms.

Click the links below to learn more about the nominees and the courts:

The president also nominated four individuals to non-Article III courts:

The president has announced 51 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on Jan. 20. He has announced 62 total federal judicial nominations in that time.

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U.S. Senate confirms nominee to U.S. district court

The U.S. Senate on Sept. 21 confirmed one of President Joe Biden’s (D) federal judicial nominees to a lifetime Article III judgeship.

Margaret Strickland was nominated to the District of New Mexico on April 19 to replace Judge Robert Brack, who assumed senior status on July 25, 2018. Strickland was rated as Well Qualified by a majority and Qualified by a minorityby the American Bar Association. Strickland will join the court upon receiving her judicial commission and taking her judicial oath.

To date, 13 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 13 Article III judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate:

Currently, nine Article III nominees are awaiting a confirmation vote from the U.S Senate, seven nominees are awaiting a Senate Judiciary Committee vote to advance their nominations to the full Senate, and 12 nominees are awaiting a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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U.S. Senate confirms nominee to 10th Circuit Court of Appeals

The U.S. Senate on Sept. 20 confirmed one of President Joe Biden’s (D) federal judicial nominees to a lifetime Article III judgeship.

Veronica Rossman was nominated to the 10th Circuit on May 12 to replace Judge Carlos Lucero, who assumed senior status on Feb. 1. Rossman was rated as Qualified by a substantial majority and Well Qualified by a minorityby the American Bar Association. Rossman will join the court upon receiving her judicial commission and taking her judicial oath.

To date, 12 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 12 Article III judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate:

Currently, 10 Article III nominees are awaiting a confirmation vote from the U.S Senate, seven nominees are awaiting a Senate Judiciary Committee vote to advance their nominations to the full Senate, and 12 nominees are awaiting a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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U.S. Senate confirms two nominees to federal district courts

The U.S. Senate confirmed two of President Joe Biden’s (D) federal judicial nominees to Article III courts on Sept. 14. To date, 11 of Biden’s appointees have been confirmed.

  1. David Estudillo, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, by a vote of 54-41.
  2. Angel Kelley, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, by a 52-44 vote.

Estudillo was nominated to the Western District of Washington on April 29 to replace JudgeRonald Leighton, who assumedsenior status on Feb. 28, 2019. Kelley was nominated to the District of Massachusetts on May 12 to replace JudgeDouglas Woodlock, who assumed senior status on June 1, 2015. Both of the nominees were rated as well qualified by the American Bar Association.

The confirmed nominees will join their respective courts upon receiving their judicial commissions and taking their judicial oaths.

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President Biden announces eight additional nominees for Article III judgeships

President Joe Biden (D) announced his intent to nominate eight individuals to Article III judgeships on Sept. 8. With the addition of these eight, Biden has nominated a total of 41 individuals to Article III judgeships since the start of his term. To date, nine of Biden’s nominees have been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The nominees announced on Sept. 8 are:

  1. Lucy H. Koh, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
  2. Gabriel Sanchez, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
  3. Holly Thomas, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
  4. Katherine Menendez, to the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
  5. Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong, to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  6. David Herrera Urias, to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico
  7. Jennifer L. Thurston, to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  8. Hernan D. Vera, to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

As of Sept. 1, there were 82 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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