Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Judicial Nominations Update

As the Senate begins its two-week spring recess, gone appear to be the days of including uncontroversial district judges in pre-recess “packages” that confirm nominees en masse by voice vote. Instead, the Democratic minority continues to insist upon time-consuming floor debates for district court nominees who are routinely confirmed by vast margins—and often unanimously. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed such a cloture motion for a district court nominee with her cloture and confirmation votes expected the week of April 9th after the Senate returns from its recess. Because of Democrats’ continuing obstruction efforts, April 10th will mark six weeks since the last circuit judge was confirmed and over a month since the last district judge was confirmed.

Last Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held confirmation hearings for two of President Trump’s nominees to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit: Amy St. Eve and Michael Scudder. During the hearing, Senator Dick Durbin praised the White House Counsel’s Office for its efforts to consult with the Illinois senators in identifying nominees for these Seventh Circuit vacancies.

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

Current and known future vacancies: 179

Courts of Appeals: 25

District/Specialty Courts*: 154

Pending nominees for current and known future vacancies: 57

Courts of Appeals: 10

District/Specialty Courts: 47

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

Court of Appeals Nominees Awaiting Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings

Nominee (Circuit) Nomination Date Days Pending Both Blue Slips Returned? Judiciary Committee Hearing Date
Ryan Bounds (9th) 9/7/2017 197 No Not yet scheduled
Andrew Oldham (5th) 2/15/2018 36 No Not yet scheduled
Mark Bennett (9th) 2/15/2018 36 No Not yet scheduled

Court of Appeals Nominees Awaiting Senate Judiciary Committee Votes

Nominee (Circuit) Nomination Date Days Pending Judiciary Committee Hearing Date
John Nalbandian (6th) 1/24/2018 58 3/8/2018
Amy St. Eve (7th) 2/15/2018 36 3/21/2018
Michael Scudder (7th) 2/15/2018 36 3/21/2018

 Court of Appeals Nominees Awaiting Senate Floor Votes

Nominee (Circuit) Nomination Date Days Pending Date Reported out of Senate Judiciary Committee
Kyle Duncan (5th) 10/2/2017 172 1/18/2018
Kurt Engelhardt (5th) 10/5/2017 169 2/8/2018
Michael Brennan (7th) 8/3/2017 232 2/15/2018
Joel Carson (10th) 12/20/2017 93 2/14/2018

Nominees Awaiting Floor Votes: 32

Courts of Appeals: 4

District/Specialty Courts: 28

Nominees Confirmed by the Senate: 29

Supreme Court: 1

Courts of Appeals: 14

District/Specialty Courts: 14

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

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