Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Active Appellate Judges by Party of Appointing President

As of today, 168 of the 179 authorized “active” appellate judgeships are filled—85 by appointees of Republican presidents, 83 by appointees of Democratic presidents.

Oddly, the Federal Judicial Center’s biographical directory counts Fourth Circuit judge Roger Gregory as an active appointee of both President George W. Bush and President Clinton, so it generates a count of 85-84 even though it has a total of 168. I’m counting Gregory exclusively as a Bush appointee. Although Gregory was initially recess-appointed by Clinton, he holds his office now by virtue of Bush’s unrequited gesture of goodwill in appointing Gregory to a lifetime seat in 2001.

Here’s a breakdown of active appellate judgeships by appointing president:

Republicans: Trump 29, George W. Bush 38, George H.W. Bush 8, Reagan 9, and Ford 1 (Gerald Tjoflat of the Eleventh Circuit)

Democrats: Obama 52, Clinton 31

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