How could a President Obama alter the composition of the federal courts? According to this National Law Journal story reporting on a new Brookings Institution study, quite a bit.
in four years of an Obama presidency, his appointments could shift Republican dominance on 10 of 11 circuits, to give Democratic appointees a majority in seven circuit courts. Currently, of the 11 circuit courts, only the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has a slight majority of Democrat-appointed judges.
The balance of appointments could put solid Democratic majorities under Obama on the 2nd, the 3rd and the notoriously conservative 4th Circuit, which currently has four vacancies. It would add to the existing Democratic-appointed majorities in the liberal 9th Circuit.
Obama appointees would tip another four courts, the 1st, 7th, 11th and D.C. circuits to slight Democratic-majority appointments.
I haven’t found the report itself yet, but will post a link when I do.