Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Judicial-Nominations Update

President Donald Trump talks to reporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., March 29, 2019. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Last week the Senate voted by a margin of 78-21 to confirm Bridget Shelton Bade to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. This marks the seventh court of appeals judge confirmed during the 116th Congress, and the 37th since Inauguration Day.

Also last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed for cloture to end debate on Senate Resolution 50, introduced by Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and Senate Roy Blunt (R-MO).  If adopted, the resolution would limit post-cloture debate time for nominees to the federal district courts, the Court of Federal Claims, and certain sub-Cabinet executive offices to two hours, rather than the usual thirty hours.

In an op-ed published in Politico about the resolution, McConnell noted that during the first two years of the preceding six presidential administrations, the Senate had a total of 24 cloture votes on nominations. But during the first two years of the Trump administration, the Senate minority required an astounding 128 cloture votes on executive and judicial nominations.  McConnell described the obstruction as “all-encompassing and systematic” behavior that is “hamstringing our duly elected president, and denying citizens the government they elected.”  The Senate is currently considering the resolution.

Here is a full update on the status of President Trump’s federal judicial nominations:

Current and known future vacancies:  167

Courts of Appeals:  9

District/Specialty Courts*: 158

Pending nominees for current and known future vacancies:  67

Courts of Appeals: 5

District/Specialty Courts*:  65

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

Court of Appeals Nominees Awaiting Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings

Nominee (Circuit) Original Nomination Date Days Since Original Nomination Both Blue Slips Returned? Judiciary Committee Hearing Date
Dan Bress (9th) 2/6/2019 55 No Not yet scheduled

 Court of Appeals Nominees Awaiting Senate Judiciary Committee Votes

Nominee (Circuit) Original Nomination Date Days Since Original Nomination Judiciary Committee Hearing Date
Dan Collins (9th) 11/13/2018 140 3/13/2019
Ken Lee (9th) 11/13/2018 140 3/13/2019

 Court of Appeals Nominees Awaiting Senate Floor Votes

Nominee (Circuit) Nomination Date Days Since Original Nomination Date Reported to Senate Floor
Joseph Bianco (2nd) 11/13/2018 140 3/7/2019
Michael Park (2nd) 11/13/2018 140 3/7/2019

Nominees Awaiting Floor Votes: 43

Courts of Appeals: 2

District/Specialty Courts: 41

Days Pending

  • # of pending nominees originally nominated > 500 days ago: 4
  • # of pending nominees originally nominated > 400 days ago: 7
  • # of pending nominees originally nominated > 300 days ago: 30

Nominees Confirmed by the Senate during the 116th Congress: 7

Supreme Court: 0

Courts of Appeals: 7

District/Specialty Courts: 0

Nominees Confirmed by the Senate since Inauguration Day: 92

Supreme Court: 2

Courts of Appeals: 37

District/Specialty Courts: 53

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

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