Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Full Speed Ahead on Appellate Confirmations

After the Senate’s confirmation last week of Steven Menashi’s nomination to the Second Circuit, there are only six vacancies—existing or declared “future”—on the federal courts of appeals. (A “future” vacancy exists when a judge declares a decision to take senior status or retire on a specific date or upon the confirmation of the judge’s successor.)

There should be confirmations soon for five of the six vacancies: Eleventh Circuit nominees Barbara Lagoa and Robert J. Luck will likely have their Senate floor votes this week. Ninth Circuit nominees Patrick Bumatay and Lawrence VanDyke have had their hearings and should be lined up for full Senate action before Christmas. President Trump announced two weeks ago his intention to nominate federal district judge Andrew Brasher to a seat on the Eleventh Circuit; his confirmation hearing will likely take place in December, with a confirmation vote in January.

Fifth Circuit nominee Sul Ozerden faces conservative opposition in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Absent a dramatic turnabout, his nomination will likely be withdrawn soon.

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