Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Judicial-Nominations Update

Last week, the Senate voted to confirm four more judicial nominees, bringing the total number confirmed during this Congress to 40. Thanks to the steady stream of confirmations since Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell limited the amount of post-cloture debate time for district court and sub-cabinet level nominees to two hours, the number of vacancies continues to drop from historic highs — as does the number of nominees waiting more than a year for confirmation.

Also last week, Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance Dan Bress, President Trump’s pending nominee to the Ninth Circuit, to the Senate Floor. The Committee will be holding a nominations hearing on Wednesday with the nominees still to be announced. On Thursday, the Committee will hold an executive business meeting to consider the nominations of several judicial nominees, including Peter Phipps, President Trump’s nominee to the Third Circuit.

Next week the Senate will be on recess for the July 4th holiday.

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

Current and known future vacancies:  142

Courts of Appeals:  7

District/Specialty Courts*: 135

Pending nominees for current and known future vacancies:  56

Courts of Appeals: 2

District/Specialty Courts*: 54

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

Court of Appeals Nominees Awaiting Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings

Nominee (Circuit) Original Nomination


Days Since Original Nomination Both Blue Slips Returned? Judiciary Committee Hearing Date

 Court of Appeals Nominees Awaiting Senate Judiciary Committee Votes

Nominee (Circuit) Original Nomination Date Days Since Original Nomination Judiciary Committee Hearing Date
Peter Phipps (3rd) 5/13/2019 42 6/5/2019

Court of Appeals Nominees Awaiting Senate Floor Votes

Nominee (Circuit) Nomination Date Days Since Original Nomination Date Reported to Senate Floor
Dan Bress (9th) 2/6/2019 138 6/20/2019

 Nominees Awaiting Floor Votes:28

Courts of Appeals: 0

District/Specialty Courts: 28

Days Pending

  • # of pending nominees originally nominated > 600 days ago: 0
  • # of pending nominees originally nominated > 500 days ago: 0
  • # of pending nominees originally nominated > 400 days ago: 10
  • # of pending nominees originally nominated > 300 days ago: 10

Nominees Confirmed by the Senate during the 116th Congress: 40

Supreme Court: 0

Courts of Appeals: 11

District/Specialty Courts: 29

Nominees Confirmed by the Senate since Inauguration Day: 125

Supreme Court: 2

Courts of Appeals: 41

District/Specialty Courts: 82

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

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