Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

New Vacancy Sets Up Eleventh Circuit Flip

Eleventh Circuit judge Stanley Marcus has announced that he will take senior status on March 2, 2020, or upon confirmation of his successor (whichever comes first). Marcus was appointed to his seat by President Clinton in 1997.

Counting active judges by the party of the appointing president is an admittedly crude and imperfect measure of the ideological makeup of a federal appellate court. (Marcus, who was appointed to the federal district court by President Reagan in 1985, was not viewed as a liberal.) With that large caveat, I’ll note that the Eleventh Circuit is currently divided 6-6 between appointees of Republican presidents and appointees of Democratic presidents. So when President Trump fills Marcus’s seat, the Eleventh Circuit will flip to a 7-5 majority of Republican appointees. At the outset of the Trump administration, it had an 8-3 Democratic majority (with one vacancy). So that’s an impressive swing.

On top of Eleventh Circuit judge Gerald Tjoflat’s decision last month to take senior status, the White House now has two Florida seats to fill on the Eleventh Circuit. Given that both Florida senators are Republicans, I’d hope that the nominations are announced fairly soon.


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