Tagvacancy

Dori Hauck sworn in to North Dakota House of Representatives

Dori Hauck (R) was sworn in to the North Dakota House of Representatives to replace former Representative Luke Simons (R) on March 16. Simons, who had represented District 36 since 2016 and was reelected in 2020, was expelled from the House on March 4 following multiple misconduct allegations. 

Simons was the first lawmaker in state history to be expelled. According to Article IV, Section 12 of the state constitution, the House “may punish its members or other persons for contempt or disorderly behavior in its presence” and can expel members if two-thirds of the chamber concurs. The vote to expel Simons was 69-25.

Hauck served as secretary-treasurer of the District 36 Republican Party for eight years prior to her appointment. She will serve in the House until 2022.

In the North Dakota Legislature, vacancies are filled by the district committee of the party that holds the seat, and a replacement is named within three weeks. North Dakota is one of four states that fills vacancies by political party appointments. The others are Colorado, Illinois, and Indiana. Of the other state legislatures, 25 fill vacancies through special elections, 10 fill them through gubernatorial appointments, seven fill them through board of county commissioners appointments, three fill them by a hybrid-system, and in one state, Ohio, the legislative chamber fills them.

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Ballotpedia releases federal judicial vacancy count for March 1

Suggested headline: Ballotpedia releases federal judicial vacancy count for March 1

Type: Monthly update

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

HIGHLIGHTS

Vacancies: There have been seven new judicial vacancies since the January 2021 report. There are 64 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, 67 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.

Nominations: There were no new nominations since the January 2021 report.

Confirmations: There have been no new confirmations since the January 2021 report.

New vacancies

There were 64 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions, a total vacancy percentage of 7.4.

• 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.

• 59 (8.7%) of the 677 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.

Seven 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 Vanessa Bryant assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

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

• Judge Victoria Roberts assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

• Judge Carmen Cerezo retired from the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.

• Judge Janet Neff assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

• Judge Tim Savage assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

• Judge Paul Barbadoro assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire.

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 March 1, 2021.

New nominations

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

New confirmations

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

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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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Manar resigns from Illinois state Senate

On Jan. 17, Illinois state Sen. Andy Manar (D) resigned to become a senior advisor to Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D). He will provide counsel on the state’s economy and plans for the COVID-19 recovery. 

In Illinois, vacancies in the state Senate are filled within 30 days by appointment by the political party that last held the seat. Manar’s replacement will be chosen by the Democratic Party chairs in Christian, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, Montgomery, and Sangamon counties. His replacement will serve for the remainder of Manar’s term. 

Manar was elected to represent District 48 in the Illinois state Senate in 2012 and was re-elected in 2014. He was most recently re-elected in 2018, defeating Republican challenger Seth McMillan 56.8% to 43.2%. 

The Illinois state Senate is the upper chamber of the Illinois General Assembly. With Manar’s departure, the current partisan breakdown of the chamber is 40 Democrats, 17 Republicans, and two vacancies.

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Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice to retire in June 2021

Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Joel Bolger is retiring on June 30, 2021. Bolger’s replacement will be Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s (R) second nominee to the five-member supreme court.

Bolger joined the Alaska Supreme Court in 2013. He was appointed by Gov. Sean Parnell (R) to succeed Justice Walter Carpeneti. He became chief justice of the court in July 2018. Bolger is the only justice to have served on every level in the Alaska state court system. Before joining the Alaska Supreme Court, Bolger was a judge on the Alaska Court of Appeals from 2008 to 2013, the Kodiak Superior Court from 2003 to 2008, and the Valdez District Court from 1997 to 2003. Bolger received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Iowa in 1976 and his J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1978.

Under Alaska law, state supreme court justices are selected by the governor with help from a seven-member nominating commission. The commission provides a list of two or more candidates to the governor, who must choose from that list. New justices serve an initial term of at least three years, after which the justice must stand for retention in a yes-no election to remain on the bench. Subsequent terms last 10 years. The chief justice of the supreme court is selected by peer vote and serves a three-year term.

In addition to Chief Justice Bolger, the Alaska Supreme Court currently includes the following justices:

  • Daniel Winfree – Appointed by Gov. Sarah Palin (R) in 2008
  • Peter Maassen – Appointed by Gov. Sean Parnell (R) in 2012
  • Susan Carney – Appointed by Gov. Sean Parnell (R) in 2012
  • Dario Borghesan – Appointed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) in 2020

In 2021, there will be three supreme court vacancies in two of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. The vacancies are due to retirements. One vacancy—South Dakota—is in a state where a Republican governor appoints the replacement. The second vacancy—Colorado—is in a state where a Democratic governor appoints the replacement, and the vacancy in Alaska is in a state where a Republican governor appoints the replacement.

In 2020, there have been 23 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, one vacancy occurred when a justice was not retained, and 21 vacancies were caused by retirements.

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Ballotpedia releases federal judicial vacancy count for October

In this month’s federal judicial vacancy count, Ballotpedia tracked nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from October 2, 2020, to November 1, 2020. Ballotpedia publishes a federal judicial vacancy count at the start of each month.

HIGHLIGHTS

Vacancies: There have been two new judicial vacancies since the previous report. There are 59 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, 66 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.

Nominations: There have been two new nominations since the previous report.

Confirmations: There have been two new confirmations since the previous report.

New vacancies

There were 59 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions, a total vacancy percentage of 6.8, the same as the previous report.

• 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.

• 55 (8.1%) of the 677 U.S. District Court positions are vacant.

• Two (22.2%) of the nine U.S. Court of International Trade positions are vacant.

A vacancy occurs when a judge resigns, retires, takes senior status, or passes away. Article III judges, who serve on courts authorized by Article III of the Constitution, are appointed for life terms.

Two judges left active status, creating Article III life-term judicial vacancies. A presidential nomination is required to fill an Article III vacancy. Article III nominations by the president are subject to confirmation on the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate.

1. Judge Amy Coney Barrett left the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit after she was elevated to the Supreme Court of the United States.

2. Judge Juan Torruella died on October 26, 2020, leaving an open seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit.

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 the inauguration of President Donald Trump (R), as of November 2, 2020.

New nominations

President Trump has announced two new nominations since the previous report:

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

2. Joseph Barloon, to the U.S. Court of International Trade.

Since taking office in January 2017, President Trump has nominated 273 individuals to Article III positions.

New confirmations

Since October 2, 2020, the U.S. Senate has confirmed two of President Trump’s nominees to Article III seats:

• Amy Coney Barrett, confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States.

• Michael Newman, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

As of November 1, 2020, the Senate has confirmed 220 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—162 district court judges, 53 appeals court judges, two Court of International Trade judges, and three Supreme Court justices—since January 2017.

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Ballotpedia releases federal judicial vacancy count for September

In this month’s federal judicial vacancy count, Ballotpedia tracked nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from September 2, 2020, to October 1, 2020. Ballotpedia publishes the federal judicial vacancy count at the start of each month.

HIGHLIGHTS

Vacancies: There have been two new judicial vacancies since the previous report. There are 59 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, 64 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.

Nominations: There have been four new nominations since the previous report.

Confirmations: There have been 15 new confirmations since the previous report.

New vacancies

There were 59 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions, a total vacancy percentage of 6.3, which is 1.5 percentage points lower than the vacancy percentage in August 2020.

• One (11.1%) of the nine U.S. Supreme Court seats is vacant.

• None of the 179 U.S. Appeals Court positions are vacant.

• 56 (8.3%) of the 677 U.S. District Court positions are vacant.

• Two (22.2%) of the nine U.S. Court of International Trade positions are vacant.

A vacancy occurs when a judge resigns, retires, takes senior status, or passes away. Article III judges, who serve on courts authorized by Article III of the Constitution, are appointed for life terms.

Two judges left active status, creating Article III life-term judicial vacancies. As Article III judicial positions, these 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. Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on September 18, 2020, vacating her seat on the Supreme Court of the United States.

2. Judge Pamela Reeves died on September 10, 2020, vacating her seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

*New nominations*

President Trump has announced four new nominations since the August 2020 report.

Amy Coney Barrett, to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Charles Atchley, to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Katherine Crytzer, to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Joseph Dawson, to the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina.

Since taking office in January 2017, President Trump has nominated 271 individuals to Article III positions.

New confirmations

Since September 2, 2020, the U.S. Senate has confirmed 15 of President Trump’s nominees to Article III seats. As of October 1, 2020, the Senate has confirmed 218 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—161 district court judges, 53 appeals court judges, two Court of International Trade judges, and two Supreme Court justices—since January 2017.

Roderick Young, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

John Hinderaker, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.

Iain Johnston, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Franklin Valderrama, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

David Dugan, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

Stephen P. McGlynn, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

Todd Robinson, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Stanley Blumenfeld, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

John Holcomb, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Mark Scarsi, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Diane Gujarati, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Thomas Cullen, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

Hala Jarbou, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

Christy Wiegand, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Brett Ludwig, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

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What happens if a presidential nominee becomes incapacitated before the election?

Political parties set procedures for how to fill vacancies on the national ticket in the event that a presidential or vice-presidential candidate withdraws from the race or becomes incapacitated.

The Democratic National Committee outlines the process it uses to fill vacancies in its Charter and Bylaws. In the event of a vacancy on the national ticket, the Chairperson of the DNC, currently Tom Perez, would call a special meeting, and members of the DNC would select a replacement candidate.

Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee allows for two options for selecting a replacement candidate. The first option is for the members of the RNC to select a candidate. The second option is for the party to hold a second national convention. In that case, the party’s delegates would select the replacement candidate.

However, whether it is possible for a party to change a candidate’s name on the ballot depends on ballot certification deadlines set by the states. These certification deadlines have passed, and absentee and early voting in the 2020 presidential election have already begun in some states.

The Electoral College could assume an important role in the event that a presidential candidate becomes incapacitated after it is no longer possible to replace his or her name on the ballot. In some states, electors are not required by law to vote for the candidate who wins the popular vote in their state or district. These electors could vote for a replacement candidate that their political party has selected.

Other states do have laws that require electors to vote for the candidate who wins the popular vote in their state or district. However, it is a controversial legal question whether these laws are binding in the scenario where the winning candidate is unable to serve. Whether it is legal for electors in these states to vote for a party’s replacement candidate would likely be settled in the courts.

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Ballotpedia releases federal judicial vacancy count for July 2020

In this month’s federal judicial vacancy count, Ballotpedia tracked nominations, confirmations, and vacancies to all United States Article III federal courts from July 2, 2020, to August 3, 2020. Ballotpedia publishes the federal judicial vacancy count at the start of each month.

HIGHLIGHTS

Vacancies: There have been two new judicial vacancies since the June 2020 report. There are 73 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, 79 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.
Nominations: There have been no new nominations since the June 2020 report.

Confirmations: There have been two new confirmations since the June 2020 report.

New vacancies

There were 73 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions, a total vacancy percentage of 8.4.
• The nine-member U.S. Supreme Court does not have any vacancies.
• None of the 179 U.S. Appeals Court positions are vacant.
• 71 (10.5%) of the 677 U.S. District Court positions are vacant.

• Two (22.2%) of the nine U.S. Court of International Trade positions are vacant.

A vacancy occurs when a judge resigns, retires, takes senior status, or passes away. Article III judges, who serve on courts authorized by Article III of the U.S. Constitution, are appointed for life terms.

Two judges left active status, creating Article III life-term judicial vacancies, since the previous vacancy count. As Article III judicial positions, these 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 Virginia Covington assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

2. Judge Federico Moreno assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

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 August 1, 2020.

New nominations

Trump has not announced any new nominations since the June 2020 report. Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has nominated 262 individuals to Article III positions.

New confirmations
Since July 2, 2020, the United States Senate has confirmed two of Trump’s nominees to Article III seats.
• David Joseph, confirmed to the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

• Scott Hardy, confirmed to the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

As of August 3, 2020, the Senate has confirmed 202 of Trump’s judicial nominees—145 district court judges, 53 appeals court judges, two Court of International Trade judges, and two Supreme Court justices—since January 2017.

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Ballotpedia releases federal judicial vacancy count for May

In this month’s federal judicial vacancy count, Ballotpedia tracked nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from May 2, 2020, to June 2, 2020. Ballotpedia publishes the federal judicial vacancy count at the start of each month.

HIGHLIGHTS
• Vacancies: There have not been any new judicial vacancies since the April 2020 report. There are 74 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, 80 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.
• Nominations: There have been five new nominations since the April 2020 report.
• Confirmations: There have been four new confirmations since the April 2020 report.

New vacancies
There were 74 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions, a total vacancy percentage of 8.5.
• The nine-member U.S. Supreme Court does not have any vacancies.
• One (0.6%) of the 179 U.S. Appeals Court positions is vacant.
• 71 (10.5%) of the 677 U.S. District Court positions are vacant.
• Two (22.2%) of the nine U.S. Court of International Trade positions are vacant.

A vacancy occurs when a judge resigns, retires, takes senior status, or passes away. Article III judges, who serve on courts authorized by Article III of the Constitution, are appointed for life terms.

No judges created Article III life-term judicial vacancies by leaving active status. Vacant Article III judicial positions 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 the inauguration of President Donald Trump (R) and as of April 2, 2020.


New nominations
President Trump has announced five new nominations since the April 2020 report.
1. Roderick Young, to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
2. Toby Crouse, to the U.S. Court for the District of Kansas
3. Edmund LaCour, to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama
4. Fred Federici, to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico
5. Brenda Saiz, to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico

Since taking office in January 2017, President Trump has nominated 260 individuals to Article III positions.

New confirmations
Since May 2, 2020, the U.S. Senate has confirmed four of President Trump’s nominees to Article III seats. As of June 2, 2020, the Senate has confirmed 197 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—142 district court judges, 51 appeals court judges, two Court of International Trade judges, and two Supreme Court justices—since January 2017.
1. Scott Rash, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona
2. Anna Manasco, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama
3. John Heil, confirmed to the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Oklahoma
4. John L. Badalamenti, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida

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