Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Judicial-Nominations Update

(Pexels)

It took two and a half years, but our nation recently reached a benchmark of fewer judicial vacancies than existed on Inauguration Day. President Trump and Leader McConnell are to be commended for turning the tide against unprecedented Democrat obstruction. With the President’s latest announcement last week of new judicial nominations, the administration has designated nominees for all eight current vacancies on the U.S. courts of appeals. Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing for two circuit court nominees—Danielle Hunsaker for the Ninth Circuit and William Nardini for the Second Circuit—along with three district court nominees.

Two additional circuit court nominees, Halil Ozerden for the Fifth Circuit and Steven Menashi for the Second Circuit, are among 11 judicial nominees on the agenda for the Committee’s markup this Thursday. Since Ozerden was held over during its markup last week, the Committee shall vote Thursday on whether to report his nomination to the full Senate. (Senators typically exercise their prerogative under Committee rules to hold over nominees the first time they appear on the agenda.)

Counting those nominations that have recently been announced without yet being formally submitted to the Senate, here is a full update on the status of President Trump’s federal judicial nominations: 

Current and known future vacancies:  121

Courts of Appeals:  8

District/Specialty Courts*: 113

Pending nominees for current and known future vacancies:  61

Courts of Appeals: 8

District/Specialty Courts*:  53

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
Danielle Hunsaker (9th) 9/19/19 5 No 9/25/19
William Nardini (2nd) 9/19/19 5 Yes 9/25/19
Barbara Lagoa (11th) Pending

 

N/A N/A Not yet scheduled
Robert Luck (11th) Pending

 

N/A N/A Not yet scheduled
Patrick Bumatay (9th) Pending

 

N/A N/A Not yet scheduled
Lawrence VanDyke (9th) Pending

 

N/A N/A Not yet scheduled

The President announced his intent to nominate the above-referenced Eleventh Circuit nominees on September 12, 2019. Their nominations have not yet been formally received by the Senate.

The President announced his intent to nominate the above-referenced Ninth Circuit nominees on September 20, 2019. Their nominations have not yet been formally received by the Senate.

Court of Appeals Nominees Awaiting Senate Judiciary Committee Votes

Nominee (Circuit) Original Nomination Date Days Since Original Nomination Judiciary Committee Hearing Date
Halil Suleyman “Sul” Ozerden (5th) 6/24/19 92 7/17/19
Steven Menashi (2nd) 9/9/19 15 9/11/19

Court of Appeals Nominees Awaiting Senate Floor Votes

Nominee (Circuit) Nomination Date Days Since Original Nomination Date Reported to Senate Floor
None

 Nominees Awaiting Floor Votes: 19

Courts of Appeals: 0

District/Specialty Courts*: 19

Days Pending

  • # of pending nominees originally nominated > 500 days ago: 1
  • # of pending nominees originally nominated > 400 days ago: 10
  • # of pending nominees originally nominated > 300 days ago: 15

Nominees Confirmed by the Senate during the 116th Congress: 69

Supreme Court: 0

Courts of Appeals: 13

District/Specialty Courts*: 56

Nominees Confirmed by the Senate since Inauguration Day: 154

Supreme Court: 2

Courts of Appeals: 43

District/Specialty Courts*: 109

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

 

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

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