Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Judicial Nominations Update

Though 2017 saw a record number of federal circuit court judges confirmed during a President’s first year in office, the number of judicial vacancies nevertheless continues to steadily rise; the total number of current and known future vacancies jumped to 172 over the Christmas recess. And the Democratic minority continues to require cloture votes for every judicial nominee: last week Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed cloture motions for four district court nominees. The four nominees are expected to receive confirmation votes this week.

Since my last update, the number of nominees awaiting Senate floor votes has dropped from 24 to 12 as a result of 26 judicial nominations being returned to the White House at the end of the Congressional session in December. Nearly all of these nominees are expected to be re-nominated and will require another Senate Judiciary Committee vote to be moved back to the Senate floor but not another hearing.

Here is this week’s full update on federal judicial nominations.

Number of current and known future vacancies: 172

Courts of Appeals: 23

District/Specialty Courts*: 149

Number of pending nominees for current and known future vacancies: 27

Courts of Appeals: 1

District/Specialty Courts: 26

* Includes the Court of Federal Claims and the International Trade Court

Nominees Awaiting Floor Votes: 12

Courts of Appeals: 0

District/Specialty Courts: 12

Nominees Confirmed by the Senate: 19

Supreme Court: 1

Courts of Appeals: 12

District/Specialty Courts: 6

Carrie Severino is chief counsel and policy director to the Judicial Crisis Network.

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