Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Judicial Nominations Update

After having strong words last Wednesday and Thursday about the Senate Democrats’ continued obstruction of President Trump’s judicial nominees, on Thursday afternoon Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed cloture motions for the four circuit court nominees currently pending on the Senate floor, setting them up for confirmation votes this week.

Senator McConnell’s move to confirm more of President Trump’s judicial nominees comes just in time, as an additional eight nominees were reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee to the Senate Floor on Thursday, bringing the total number of judicial nominees awaiting a Senate floor vote to 21. Under Chairman Grassley’s leadership, the Senate Judiciary Committee has been steadily processing the President’s nominees, having already held hearings for 33 judicial nominees to date, with four more scheduled for hearings next Wednesday.

Also on Thursday, the Senate confirmed Scott Palk to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, bringing the total number of federal judges confirmed this year to seven (eight including Justice Gorsuch).

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

Number of total current and known future vacancies: 166

Courts of Appeals: 27

District/Specialty Court*: 139

Number of pending nominees for current and known future vacancies: 53

Courts of Appeals: 14

District/Specialty Courts: 39

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

Nominees Awaiting Floor Votes

Courts of Appeals: 4

District/Specialty Courts: 17

Nominees Confirmed by the Senate

Courts of Appeals: 4

District/Specialty Courts: 3

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

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