Diversity of the Federal Bench

Current statistics on the gender and racial diversity of the Article III courts.

Diversity of the Federal Bench

Courts should look like the people they represent. While judges who sit on the federal bench are overwhelmingly white and male, previous administrations have put an emphasis on increasing representation for both women and people of color. Under the Trump administration, this progress has stalled.

This page shares current statistics on all active Article III judges. These graphs do not account for judges who have taken senior status (the Federal Judicial Center explains that senior status “enables judges to continue hearing cases with a reduced workload in lieu of retiring entirely”). Article III judges make up the U.S. Supreme Court, circuit courts, district courts, and the U.S. Court of International Trade. The page also compares the Article III judges confirmed under the Trump administration to those confirmed under the Obama administration.

ACS compiled these statistics from data made available by the Federal Judicial Center. We update the graphics continually.


All Active Federal Judges

 

 

Confirmed Federal Judges Since 2009

Gender and Racial/Ethnic Breakdown of Active Federal Judges Confirmed Under President Trump and President Obama

During the Obama administration, there were 329 confirmed Article III judges: 2 justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, 55 circuit court judges, 268 district court judges, and 4 judges to the U.S. Court of International Trade.

So far under the Trump administration, there have been 218 confirmed Article III judges: 2 justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, 53 circuit court judges, 161 district court judges, and 2 judges to the U.S. Court of International Trade. Of these judges nominated by President Trump, most are white and male.

The charts below show the difference in the diversity of lifetime judges confirmed during the Trump and Obama administrations.

 

 

Circuit Court Judges

Gender and Racial/Ethnic Breakdown of Active Circuit Court Judges

Each year, the circuit courts of appeal hear approximately 50,000 cases. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court only takes several hundred cases a year.  Therefore the circuit courts are often the last word in federal appeals. View our map for data about individual circuit courts.

 

District Court Judges

Gender and Racial/Ethnic Breakdown of District Court Judges

The district courts are federal trial courts and are the first (and often only) stop for federal litigants. View our map for data about individual district courts.

 

Statistics Archive

Snapshots of data from this page will be archived periodically.

Methodology: ACS compiled these statistics from the Federal Judicial Center.

March 2020

July 2020

September 2020