On the Bench

ACS's Judicial News Roundup

Weekly roundup of judicial nominations activity.

This Week

July 12, 2019

This week the Senate confirmed one appellate nominee: Daniel Bress (9th Cir.) in a 53-45 vote. This was despite a lack of support from both home state Senatos. With Bress’s confirmation, now one-fourth of all the active judges on the Ninth Circuit are Trump appointees. In addition to Bress’s confirmation, the Senate confirmed three district court nominees: Damon Leichty (N.D. Ind.) in an 85-10 vote; J. Nicholas Ranjan (W.D. Pa.) in an 80-14 vote; and T. Kent Wetherell II (N.D. Fla.) in a 78-15 vote.

Also, this week the Senate Judiciary Committee held an Executive Business Meeting on three district court nominees: Douglas Cole (S.D. Ohio), Matthew McFarland (S.D. Ohio), and Kea Riggs (D.N.M.). The committee held these three nominations over setting up a potential committee vote to advance them to the floor next week. Click here to learn more about judicial nominations.

As of July 11, there are 131 Article III vacancies, 120 of which are current. There are 54 pending nominees: 38 waiting for floor votes, 3 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 13 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

Previous Weeks

June 28, 2019

Last week the Senate confirmed four district court judges: Matthew Kacsmaryk (N.D. Tex.) in a 52-46 vote; Allen Winsor (N.D. Fla.) in a 54-44 vote; James Cain Jr. (W.D. La.) in a 77-21 vote; and Greg Guidry (E.D. La.) in a 53-46 vote. Kacsmaryk (N.D. Tex.) has a record of anti-LGBTQ statements.

Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee also favorably voted sixteen judicial nominees out of committee. These nominees included one circuit court nominee and fifteen district court nominees. This week the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing for three more district court nominees and on Thursday favorably voted one circuit court nominee and three district court nominees out of committee. Click here to learn more about judicial nominations.

As of June 27, there are 132 Article III vacancies, 118 of which are current. There are 56 pending nominees: 42 waiting for floor votes, 3 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 11 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

 

May 24, 2019

The Senate confirmed one appellate nominee and four district court nominees this week: Daniel Collins (9th Cir., Cal.) in a 53-46 vote; Howard Nielson (D. Utah) in a 51-47 vote; Stephen Clark (E.D. Mo.) in a 53-45 vote; Carl Nichols (D.D.C.) in a 55-43 vote; and Kenneth Bell (W.D.N.C.) in a 55-43 vote. Nielson (D. Utah) has a record of anti-LGBTQ statements. Collins (9th Cir., Cal.) lacked support from Senators Feinstein (D-Cal.) and Harris (D-Cal.).

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on five lifetime judicial nominees: Daniel Bress (9th Cir., Cal.), Michael Bogren (W.D. Mich.), Stephanie Davis (E.D. Mich.), Jason Pulliam (W.D. Tex.), and Frank Volk (S.D.W. Va.)  including Daniel Bress (9th Cir., Cal.) who also lacks support from Senators Feinstein (D-Cal.) and Harris (D-Cal.).

As of May 24, there are 142 Article III vacancies, 126 of which are current. There are 63 pending nominees:  30 waiting for floor votes, 20 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 13 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

May 16, 2019

The Senate confirmed three judicial nominees this week, the anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board decision: Michael Truncale (E.D. Tex.) in a 49-46 vote, Kenneth Lee (9th Cir., Cal.) in a 52-45 vote, and Wendy Vitter (E.D. La.) in a 52-45 vote. The three nominees all refused to say if Brown was correctly decided during their hearings. Lee was confirmed over the objection of Sens. Feinstein (D-Cal.) and Harris (D-Cal.), who both withheld their blue slips. Click here to learn more about judicial nominations.

As of May 16, there are there are 148 Article III vacancies, 133 of which are current. There are 69 pending nominees:  36 waiting for floor votes, 15 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 18 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

May 10, 2019

The Senate confirmed two nominees to the Second Circuit, despite opposition from Senators Schumer and Gillibrand:  Joseph Bianco in a 54-42 vote, and Michael Park in a 52-41 vote. With the two confirmations, the court is coming closer to switching to a majority Republican-nominated judges. The Senate Judiciary Committee reported four nominees out of Committee:  Jeffrey Brown in a 12-10 vote, Robert Colville in a 14-8 vote, Stephanie Haines in a 21-1 vote, and Brantley Starr in a 12-10 vote.

As of May 10, there are there are 147 Article III vacancies, 132 of which are current. There are 71 pending nominees:  34 waiting for floor votes, 23 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 14 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

May 3, 2019

The Senate returned from recess this week and confirmed five district court nominees, surpassing 100 confirmations. The nominees confirmed were J. Campbell Barker (E.D. Tex.), Andrew Brasher (M.D. Tex.), Rodolfo Ruiz (S.D. Fla.), Raul Arias-Marxuach (D.P.R.), and Joshua Wolson (E.D. Pa.). The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on three district court nominees:  Ada Brown (N.D. Tex.), Steven Grimberg (N.D. Ga.), and David Novak (E.D. Va.).

As of May 3, there are there are 149 Article III vacancies, 133 of which are current. There are 67 pending nominees:  36 waiting for floor votes, 19 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 12 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

April 26, 2019

The Senate will return from recess next week. Before recess, Leader McConnell (R-Ky.) teed up five district court nominees for confirmation votes:  J. Campbell Barker (E.D. Tex.), Andrew Brasher (M.D. Ala.), Rodolfo Ruiz (S.D. Fla.), Raul Arias-Marxuach (D.P.R.), and Joshua Wolson (E.D. Pa.). If successful, more than 100 of President Trump’s judicial nominees will have been confirmed.

As of April 26, there are there are 153 Article III vacancies, 137 of which are current. There are 72 pending nominees:  41 waiting for floor votes, 16 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 15 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

April 12, 2019

The Senate enacted a rule change last week minimizing the debate time on district court nominees. As a result, four district court nominees were confirmed in two daysDaniel Domenico (D. Colo.), Patrick Wyrick (W.D. Okla.), Holly Brady (N.D. Ind.), and David Morales (S.D. Tex). The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on three nominees:  Jeffrey Brown (S.D. Tex.), Stephanie Haines (W.D. Pa.), and Brantley Starr (N.D. Tex.).

As of April 12, there are 151 Article III vacancies, 137 of which are current. There are 72 pending nominees:  41 waiting for floor votes, 13 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 18 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

April 5, 2019

On Wednesday, the Senate voted to roll back the hours of debate for district court nominees from 30 hours to two hours. This change will enable the Majority to rapidly confirm nominees to lifetime positions without sufficient time for off Committee Senators to review their records. Read ACS’s response here. Roy Altman (S.D. Fla.) was the first nominee confirmed under the new rules and votes are expected on at least four additional nominees. The Senate Judiciary Committee reported five judicial nominees out of Committee:  Daniel Collins (9th Cir., Cal.) in a 12-10 vote, Kenneth Lee (9th Cir., Cal.) in a 12-10 vote, James Hendrix (N.D. Tex.) in a 22-0 vote, Sean Jordan (E.D. Tex.) in a 12-10 vote, and Mark Pittman (N.D. Tex.) in a 12-10 vote. Collins and Lee lacked support from Senators Feinstein and Harris.

As of April 5, there are 155 Article III vacancies, 141 of which are current. There are 62 pending nominees:  45 waiting for floor votes 1 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 18 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

March 29, 2019

The Senate confirmed Bridget Bade (9th Cir., Ariz.), the last circuit court nominee currently pending on the floor, in a 78-21 vote. The remaining 37 nominees on the floor are for district court vacancies. Republicans are imminently expected to change the debate rules on the floor, because they only need a majority (51 votes) to pass it and cannot secure the 60 votes required for the regular order of legislative rules change. Although a seemingly wonky issue, this change promises to further speed up the confirmation of judicial nominees in the months to come.

March 15, 2019

The Senate confirmed two concerning appellate nominees this week:  Paul Matey (3d Cir., N.J.) in a 54-45 vote and Neomi Rao (D.C. Cir.) in a 53-46 vote. Matey was confirmed despite opposition from both home-state Senators. With these two confirmations, 1 in 5 currently serving circuit court judges have been nominated by President Trump, as the president and the Senate majority continue to reshape the judiciary to be more conservative.

View the ACS infographic: Changing Circuit Court Composition

In a further breakdown of norms, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Kenneth Lee (9th Cir., Cal.) and Daniel Collins (9th Cir., Cal.)who lack support from Senators Feinstein (D-Cal.) and Harris (D-Cal.), both members of the Committee.

As of March 15, there are 155 Article III vacancies, 142 of which are current. There are 62 pending nominees:  42 waiting for floor votes, 5 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 15 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

View our interactive 50-state map to see more information about the circuit and district courts. 

March 7, 2019

The Senate confirmed three concerning appellate nominees this week amid reports that Senator McConnell will be changing the rules to further speed up confirmations:  Allison Rushing (4th Cir., N.C.), Chad Readler (6th Cir., Ohio), and Eric Murphy (6th Cir., Ohio). The Sixth Circuit nominees were confirmed despite vocal opposition from Senator Brown (D-Ohio). Readler also incited opposition, including from Senator Collins (R-Me.), due to his work to overturn coverage of pre-existing conditions.The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on two district court nominees:  Sean Jordan (E.D. Tex.) and Mark Pittman (N.D. Tex.). The Committee also reported out five nominees: Joseph Bianco (2d Cir., N.Y.), Michael Park (2d Cir., N.Y.), Greg Guidry (E.D. La.), Michael Liburdi (D. Ariz.), and Peter Welte (D.N.D.).

The President announced nomination of three individuals to district court vacancies:  Robert Colville (W.D. Pa.), Stephanie Haines (W.D. Pa.), and Jason Pulliam (W.D. Tex.).

As of March 7, there are 160 Article III vacancies, 144 of which are current. There are 60 pending nominees:  44 waiting for floor votes, 2 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 14 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

February 29, 2019

The Senate further broke judicial nominations norms by confirming Eric Miller (9th Cir., Wash.), the first nominee confirmed despite opposition from both home-state Senators. Miller was confirmed in a 53-46 vote. The Senate Judiciary Committee reported Neomi Rao (D.C. Cir.) out of Committee in a 12-10 vote. Rao has faced scrutiny from both Democrats and Republicans.

Cloture was filed on Allison Rushing (4th Cir., N.C.), Eric Murphy (6th Cir., Ohio), and Chad Readler (6th Cir., Ohio). Votes are expected on all three nominees next week. Murphy and Readler are both lacking blue slips from Senator Brown.

As of March 1, there are 159 Article III vacancies, 139 of which are current. There are 60 pending nominees:  42 waiting for floor votes, 5 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 15 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

February 22, 2019

The Senate is on recess this week. Next week, we expect a confirmation vote on Eric Miller (9th Cir., Wash.), who is lacking support from Senators Cantwell and Murray. Last week, the Senate Rules Committee approved legislation to reduce hours of post-cloture debate on district court nominees from 30 hours to 2 hours. Republicans are imminently expected to change the debate rules on the floor, where they only need a majority (51 votes) to pass it because they cannot secure the 60 votes required for the regular order of legislative rules change.

Although a seemingly wonky issue, this change promises to further speed up the confirmation of judicial nominees in the months to come. Regarding the rule change, Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said that, “Presidents deserve to have their teams in place.”

ACS disagrees. Lifetime federal judges are meant to be impartial arbiters of the law, not serve at the pleasure of any elected official.

As of February 22, there are 160 Article III vacancies, 140 of which are current. There are 61 pending nominees:  42 waiting for floor votes, 6 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 15 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

February 15, 2019

ACS President Caroline Fredrickson was quoted in Mother Jones about the pattern of Trump nominees, including, Neomi Rao, to refuse to embrace Brown v. Board: “Why wouldn’t you just embrace it? It just shows you how radical the Republican party has become.”

The Senate Rules Committee approved a proposal to reduce hours of post-cloture debate on district court nominees from 30 hours to two hours. Although seemingly a wonky issue, this change promises to have huge impacts in the months to come.  The full 30 hours of debate are rarely utilized, but they have allowed Senators off the Judiciary Committee to fully review nominees. For example, Senator Scott (R-S.C.) had the time to review and then oppose Ryan Bounds (9th Cir., Or.) and Thomas Farr (E.D.N.C.). The proposal must pass by a 60-vote threshold, but Republicans have not ruled out proposing a rule change on the floor to require a simple majority. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing this week on two nominees lacking blue slips from both home-state Senators: Joseph Bianco (2d Cir., N.Y.) and Michael Park (2d Cir., N.Y.). The Committee also considered three district court nominees: Greg Guidry (E.D. La.), Michael Liburdi (D. Ariz.), and Peter Welte (D.N.D.).

As of February 15, there are 159 Article III vacancies, 139 of which are current. There are 61 pending nominees:  42 waiting for floor votes, 6 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 15 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

 

February 8, 2019

The Senate Judiciary Committee held an Executive Business Meeting on February 7, and voted the Attorney General nominee William Barr out of Committee in a 12-10 vote. The Committee also reported out 42 nominees to lifetime judgeships. Among the nominees reported were four appellate nominees missing blue slips: Paul Matey (3d Cir., N.J.), Eric Miller (9th Cir., Wash.), Eric Murphy (6th Cir., Ohio), and Chad Readler (6th Cir., Ohio).

On February 5, the Committee will held a hearing for Neomi Rao (D.C. Cir.), nominated for the seat left by Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Rao was questioned on concerning writings about sexual assault and race.

As of February 8, there are 159 Article III vacancies, 138 of which are current. There are 61 pending nominees:  42 waiting for floor votes, 1 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 18 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

February 1, 2019

The Senate Judiciary Committee held an Executive Business Meeting on January 29, during which, as is customary, they held over the Attorney General nominee William Barr and 42 nominees to lifetime judgeships. The Committee will meet again February 7, in a “monster markup” to report these nominees to the Senate floor for a vote.  On February 5 the committee will hold a hearing for Neomi Rao (D.C. Cir.), nominated for the seat left by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and  for Matthew McFarland (S.D. Ohio).

Chairman Lindsey Graham confirmed this week that home-state senator blue slips will be respected for nominees to the district courts. The lack of blue slip respect for appellate nominees was reiterated when the President announced the nomination of Daniel Bress (9th Cir., Cal.) and re-nomination of Kenneth Lee (9th Cir., Cal.) and Daniel Collins (9th Cir., Cal.), all of whom lack support from Senators Feinstein (D-Cal.) and Harris (D-Cal.). An additional four re-nominees were named for district court vacancies in California.

As of February 1, there are 156 Article III vacancies, 137 of which are current. There are 60 pending nominees:  42 waiting to be reported out of Committee and 18 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

January 25, 2019

The President announced he would re-nominate 48 judicial nominees, nine of them to the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, pending at the end of the 115th Congress. Of the appellate nominees, two are missing blue slips from both home-state Senators and two are missing blue slips from one home-state Senator. For more information on the blue slip tradition, click here . A monster mark-up in the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected next week for William Barr and the re-nominated individuals.

January 18, 2019

The president announced his intention to nominate six people for judicial vacancies. Like many of the president’s previous nominees, all six are white men. James Hendrix (N.D. Tex.) was previously nominated by President Obama. None of the nominees pending at the end of the 115th Congress have been re-nominated.

As of January 18, there are 153 Article III vacancies, 134 of which are current. There are six nominees waiting for hearings.

January 11, 2019

The nomination hearing to consider William Barr for the position of Attorney General will take place on January 15 and 16. All judicial nominees left pending at the end of the 115th Congress were returned to the White House on January 3. The President will decide which nominees to re-nominate. Some of the most controversial nominees may not be re-nominated, but it is widely expected that most of the returned individuals will be re-nominated. For more information on judicial vacancies, nominations, and confirmations, click here.

As of January 10, there are 151 Article III vacancies, 134 of which are current.

January 4, 2019

The 116th Congress was sworn in this week. The judicial nominees left pending at the end of the 115th Congress will need to be re-nominated by the President in order to be considered. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) will be joining the Senate Judiciary Committee after criticism for the absence of Republican women serving on the Committee. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) will also be joining the Committee, which will now be led by Chair Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

As of January 4, there are 151 Article III vacancies, 133 of which are current. Of the 161 nominees named by President Trump, 85 were confirmed by the Senate. There were 70 nominees pending at the end of the 115th Congress:  30 waiting for Senate floor votes, 24 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 16 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. All pending nominees from the last Congress will be returned to the White House. The President will decide which nominees to re-nominate. Some of the most controversial nominees may not be re-nominated.

For more information, see ACS’s Judicial Nominations Resources.

December 21, 2018

Before adjourning the 115th Congress, the Senate held off on confirming yet another package of judicial nominees. Of President Trump’s 161 judicial nominees, 85 were confirmed this Congress, compared to 62 nominees confirmed during President Obama’s first two years in office. The high number of confirmations was largely a result of breakdowns in the judicial nominations process. [Learn about broken norms, like ignoring ABA ratings, in its rush to confirm President Trump’s nominees.] Of the 85 nominees, 92% are white.

As of December 21, there are 149 Article III vacancies, 132 of which are current. There are 70 nominees pending:  30 waiting for Senate floor votes, 24 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 16 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. Of the pending nominees 74% are male, 59% are white males, and 20% are people of color.

December 14, 2018

The Senate voted 50-50 in the confirmation vote on Jonathan Kobes (8th Cir., S.D.), who received a Not Qualified rating from the ABA. The confirmation vote on Kobes is the ninth time the Senate has confirmed a nominee with at least a partially “not qualified” rating by the ABA. [Learn about how the Senate GOP is breaking norms, like ignoring ABA ratings, in its rush to confirm President Trump’s nominees.]

The Vice President broke the first-ever judicial confirmation tie by any Vice President on Kobes, the 30th nominee confirmed to the U.S. Courts of Appeals this Congress.

Sen. Merkley (D-Or.) wrote this week about the judicial nominees posing threats to equal justice under law, including the failed nominees for the 9th Cir. and E.D.N.C.

As of December 14, there are 149 Article III vacancies, 132 of which are current. There are 70 nominees pending:  30 waiting for Senate floor votes, 24 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 16 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. Of the pending nominees 74% are male, 59% are white males, and 20% are people of color. Of the 161 nominees named by President Trump, 85 have been confirmed by the Senate.

December 7, 2018

The Senate Judiciary Committee postponed an Executive Business Meeting on 15 nominees because Sen. Flake (R-Ariz.) is refusing to vote on any judges until a vote is taken to protect the Mueller investigation. To learn more about norms being broken in the partisan attempt to capture the courts, click here.

As of December 7, there are 149 Article III vacancies, 128 of which are current. There are 72 nominees pending:  31 waiting for Senate floor votes, 24 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 16 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. Of the pending nominees 75% are male, 61% are white males, and 18% are people of color. Of the 161 nominees named by President Trump, 84 have been confirmed by the Senate.

November 30, 2018

A vote scheduled for November 29, on whether to confirm controversial nominee Thomas Farr to the E.D.N.C. was halted after Sen. Scott (R-S.C.) announced he would oppose Farr’s confirmation.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing for four judicial nominees:  Brian Buescher (D. Neb.), Clifton Corker (E.D. Tenn.), M. Baker (Ct. Intl. Trade), and Tim Reif (Ct. Intl. Trade). The Committee planned to report up to 15 nominees out of Committee this week, but Senator Flake (R-Ariz.) is refusing to vote on any judges until a vote is taken to protect the Mueller investigation.. The Senate is also cuing up Jonathan Kobes (8th Cir., Neb.) for a confirmation vote after a 50-49 cloture vote with the Vice President breaking a tie, despite his majority Not Qualified rating from the American Bar Association.

As of November 30, there are 148 Article III vacancies, 126 of which are current. There are 72 nominees pending:  32 waiting for Senate floor votes, 24 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 16 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. Of the pending nominees 75% are male, 60% are white males, and 18% are people of color. Of the 161 nominees named by President Trump 84 have been confirmed by the Senate.

November 16, 2018

The President announced he will be nominating Neomi Rao to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit created by Justice Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Supreme Court.

The Senate returned from recess on November 13 and the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing for five nominees:  Paul Matey (3d Cir., N.J.), Jean-Paul Boulee (N.D. Ga.), James Cain (W.D. La.), Damon Leichty (N.D. Ind.), and J. Nicholas Ranjan (W.D. Pa.). Matey lacks blue slips from Senators Booker and Menendez. The Committee also held an Executive Business Meeting on November 15, but held over 14 lifetime judicial nominees.

As of November 16, there are 144 Article III vacancies, 124 of which are current. There are 72 nominees pending:  32 waiting for Senate floor votes, 20 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 20 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. Of the pending nominees 76% are male, 60% are white males, and 18% are people of color. Of the 160 nominees named by President Trump 84 have been confirmed by the Senate.

November 9, 2018

Justice Brett Kavanaugh received his investiture at the Supreme Court of the United States on November 8. The Senate will return from recess on November 13. The Senate Judiciary Committee has noticed a hearing for November 13, though no nominees have been listed. The Committee is also expected to hold an Executive Business Meeting.

As of November 9, there are 144 Article III vacancies, 124 of which are current. There are 71 nominees pending:  32 waiting for Senate floor votes, 15 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 24 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. Of the pending nominees 76% are male, 60% are white males, and 18% are people of color. Of the 160 nominees named by President Trump 84 have been confirmed by the Senate.

November 2, 2018

After holding two unprecedented hearings during recess despite objection from the Democrats, the Senate Judiciary Committee will not be convening until after the Senate returns from recess on November 13. The Committee is expected to hold a hearing on November 14, as well as an Executive Business Meeting on November 15, during which they will consider 15 judicial nominees.

As of November 2, there are 143 Article III vacancies, 123 of which are current. There are 71 nominees pending:  32 waiting for Senate floor votes, 15 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 24 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. Of the pending nominees 76% are male, 60% are white males, and 18% are people of color. Of the 160 nominees named by President Trump 84 have been confirmed by the Senate.

October 26, 2018

The Senate Judiciary Committee continued to break norms, holding a second hearing during recess despite objection from all Democratic members of the Committee, for three judicial nominees. The result was a practically empty dais, with two Republican Senators and no Democratic Senators in attendance to question nominees the hearing concluded in 40 minutes. A nominee for a 9th Cir. seat in Washington state, Eric Miller, lacked blue slips from both Senators. The other two nominees on the hearing agenda were Bridge Bade (9th Cir., Ariz.) and Karin Immergut (D. Or.).

As of October 26, there are 143 Article III vacancies, 121 of which are current. There are 71 nominees pending:  32 waiting for Senate floor votes, 15 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 24 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. Of the 160 nominees named by President Trump 84 have been confirmed by the Senate.

October 19, 2018

Last week, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell forced confirmation of 15 lower court nominees by threatening to cancel recess ahead of the midterm elections to confirm all judicial nominees waiting for votes. In an unprecedented move, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on October 17, for six nominees, despite the Senate being in recess and despite objection from all Democratic members of the Committee. The result was a practically empty dais, with two Republican Senators and no Democratic Senators in attendance to question nominees. Nominees on the agenda were Allison Rushing (4th Cir., N.C.), Thomas Barber (M.D. Fla.), Wendy Berger (M.D. Fla.), Corey Maze (N.D. Ala.), Rodney Smith (S.D. Fla.), and T. Kent Wetherell (N.D. Fla.). Committee Chair Chuck Grassley plans to hold a hearing next week, including for Eric Miller (9th Cir., Wash.) who lacks support from both home-state Senators. To learn more about norms being broken in the partisan attempt to capture the courts, click here.

As of October 19, there are 143 Article III vacancies, 121 of which are current. There are 71 nominees pending:  32 waiting for Senate floor votes, 12 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 27 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. The Senate has confirmed 84 nominees to lifetime judicial seats, twice the number confirmed at this point in President Obama’s Administration.

October 12, 2018

On October 6, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States in a 50-48 vote.

The Trump administration, aided by Senate leadership, continues its quest to dramatically transform the composition of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Courts. The Senate has been confirming nominees at an accelerated rate by disregarding norms and traditions like sidestepping the blue slip, ignoring ABA ratings of individual nominees, and stacking hearings.

This week, White House announced intent to nominate 13 men for judicial vacancies: Joseph Bianco (2d Cir., N.Y.), Patrick Bumatay (9th Cir., Cal.), Daniel Collins (9th Cir., Cal.), Kenneth Lee (9th Cir., Cal.), Michael Park (2d Cir., N.Y.), Stanley Bumenfeld (C.D. Cal.), Brian Buescher (D. Neb.), Clifton Corker (E.D. Tenn.), Philip Halpern (S.D.N.Y.), Thomas Marcelle (N.D.N.Y.), Matthew McFarland (S.D. Ohio), Jeremy Rosen (C.D. Cal.), and Mark Scarsi (C.D. Cal.).

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing for six nominees: Eric Murphy (6th Cir., Ohio), Chad Readler (6th Cir., Ohio), Rossie Alston (E.D. Va.), Pamela Barker (N.D. Ohio), and Sarah Morrison (S.D. Ohio). It was the seventh hearing this Congress with multiple nominees to the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals. Senator Brown (D-Ohio) did not submit blue slips for Murphy or Readler; the fourth and fifth nominees to be given a hearing despite lacking at least one blue slip from a home-state Senator.

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee reported eight nominees out of Committee: Jonathan Kobes (8th Cir., Neb.) in an 11-10 vote, Kenneth Bell (W.D.N.C.) in an 11-10 vote, Stephanie Gallagher (D. Md.) in a 20-1 vote, Mary McElroy (D.R.I.), in a 19-2 vote, Carl Nichols (D.D.C.) in an 11-10 vote, Martha Pacold (N.D. Ill.) in an 18-3 vote, Mary Rowland (N.D. Ill.) in a 16-5 vote, and Stephen Seeger in a voice vote. Jonathan Kobes was reported despite have a Not Qualified rating from the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary due to lack of relevant experience.

As of October 12, there are 158 Article III vacancies, 135 of which are current. There are 87 nominees pending:  47 waiting for Senate floor votes, 6 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 34 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

October 5, 2018

A cloture vote is scheduled for 10:30 AM, October 5, to end debate on Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The FBI delivered its report, without having interviewed Dr. Christine Blasey Ford or Kavanaugh, ahead of the October 5 deadline, and Senators were given an opportunity to review a single copy of the report.

ACS’s Vacancy Toolkit has more coverage and analysis on the Kavanaugh nomination.

September 28, 2018

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on September 27, to hear testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh regarding sexual assault allegations. The Committee is scheduled to hold an Executive Business Meeting to consider Kavanaugh’s nomination, despite lack of an FBI investigation into allegations.

As of September 28, there are 156 Article III vacancies, 131 of which are current. There are 75 nominees pending:  39 waiting for Senate floor votes and 9 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 27 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

ACS’s Vacancy Toolkit has more coverage and analysis on the Kavanaugh nomination.

September 21, 2018

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley has ignored calls for a non-partisan investigation of sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. Instead, Grassley scheduled a hearing for Monday, September 24, at which he intends to have Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh testify. Dr. Blasey Ford’s lawyer has just re-opened talks to consider the terms of the hearing.

As of September 21, there are 156 Article III vacancies, 130 of which are current. There are 75 nominees pending:  39 waiting for Senate floor votes and 9 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 27 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

September 13, 2018

September 13, the Senate Judiciary Committee held an Executive Business meeting to consider Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States along with 3 nominees to the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and 17 nominees to the U.S. District Courts. Senator Grassley announced the Committee will vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination on September 20, at 1:45 PM, in defiance of Committee rules and requests from Democratic Senators for access to withheld documents. Ultimately, 11 nominees were reported out of Committee: Ryan Nelson (9th Cir., Idaho) in an 11-10 vote, Richard Sullivan (2d Cir., N.Y.) in a 17-4 vote, Gary Brown (E.D.N.Y.) in a 20-1 vote, Stephen Clark (E.D. Mo.) in an 11-10 vote, Diane Gujarati (E.D.N.Y.) in a 21-0 vote, Eric Komitee (E.D.N.Y.) in a 21-0 vote, Rachel Kovner (E.D.N.Y.) in a 21-0 vote, Lewis Liman (S.D.N.Y.) in a 17-4 vote, John Sinatra (W.D.N.Y.) a 16-5 vote, Mary Vyskocil (S.D.N.Y.) in a 21-0 vote, Joshua Wolson (E.D. Pa.) in an 18-3 vote.

Senator McConnell announced he intends to keep the Senate in session for the month of October to clear the decks of nominees to the lower courts.

As of September 14, there are 155 Article III vacancies, 129 of which are current. There are 75 nominees pending:  39 waiting for Senate floor votes and 7 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 29 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

September 7, 2018

Today is the fourth day of hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s (D.C. Cir.) nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States and will feature panels of witnesses. Documents formerly designated “committee confidential” released over the objection of Republican senators after the second day of hearings shed new light on Judge Kavanaugh’s views regarding reproductive rights, racial profiling, affirmative action, as well as possible misrepresentations he made in previous testimony before the committee. 

On September 6, the Senate voted to confirm eight nominees to the U.S. District Courts. The nominees were Alan Albright (W.D. Tex.), Kari Dooley (D. Conn.), Marilyn Horan (W.D. Pa.), William Jung (M.D. Fla.), Dominic Lanza (D. Ariz.), Robert Summerhays (W.D. La.), Eric Tostrud (D. Minn.), and C.J. Williams (N.D. Iowa). All of the nominees were confirmed in voice votes, except for Dominic Lanza, who was confirmed in a 60-35 vote, and C.J. Williams in a 79-12 vote.

As of September 7, there are 155 Article III vacancies, 129 of which are current. There are 74 nominees pending:  28 waiting for Senate floor votes and 18 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 29 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

August 31, 2018

The hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s (D.C. Cir.) nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States will commence on September 4. ACS will be posting updates at the hearings progress.

On August 28, the Senate voted to confirm seven nominees to the U.S. District Courts with bipartisan support in an attempt to clear the judicial nominations docket before Labor Day. The nominees were Barry Ashe (E.D. La.), R. Stan Baker (S.D. Ga.), Susan Baxter (W.D. Pa.), Nancy Brasel (D. Minn.), Charles Goodwin (W.D. Okla.), Terry Moorer (S.D. Ala.), James Sweeney II (S.D. Ind.). All of the nominees were confirmed in voice votes, except for Charles Goodwin, who was confirmed in a 52-42 vote. Charles Goodwin is the sixth nominee to be confirmed this Congress with at least a partial Not Qualified rating from the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary.

On August 28, the President nominated four individuals for vacancies in the federal courts: Bridge Bade (9th Cir., Ariz.), Allison Rushing (4th Cir., N.C.), J.P. Boulee (N.D. Ga.), and James Cain Jr. (W.D. La.).

As of August 30, there are 163 Article III vacancies, 134 of which are current. There are 83 nominees pending: 36 waiting for Senate floor votes and 18 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 29 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

August 23, 2018

In response to this week’s conviction of President Trump’s former campaign manager and the guilty plea of his former lawyer that directly implicated the President in criminal activity many Senators are calling for postponement of the hearing on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States.

On August 22, Majority Leader McConnell filed cloture on 12 nominees to the U.S. District Courts in an attempt to clear the judicial nominations docket before Labor Day with bipartisan support, thereby confirming even more Trump judges. The nominees are Alan Albright (W.D. Tex.), Barry Ashe (E.D. La.), R. Stan Baker (S.D. Ga.), Susan Baxter (W.D. Pa.), Charles Goodwin (W.D. Okla.), Marilyn Horan (W.D. Pa.), William Jung (M.D. Fla.), Dominic Lanza (D. Ariz.), Terry Moorer (S.D. Ala.), James Sweeney II (S.D. Ind.), Robert Summerhays (W.D. La.), and C.J. Williams (N.D. Iowa).

On August 22, The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on six nominees this week:  Jonathan Kobes (8th Cir., S.D.), Kenneth Bell (W.D.N.C.), Carl Nichols (D.D.C.), Martha Pacold (N.D. Ill.), Mary Rowland (N.D. Ill.), and Steven Seeger (N.D. Ill.).

As of August 23, there are 168 Article III vacancies, 141 of which are current. There are 86 nominees pending:  43 waiting for Senate floor votes and 18 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 25 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

August 17, 2018

In a further breakdown of norms, Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) announced that the hearing to consider Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court will take place September 4-7, 2018, despite the lack of a full record from Judge Kavanaugh’s time in President George W. Bush’s Administration.

On August 16, the Senate confirmed A. Marvin Quattlebaum (4th Cir., S.C.) in a 62-28 vote and Julius Richardson (4th Cir., S.C.) in a 81-8 vote.

As of August 16, there are 168 Article III vacancies, 141 of which are current. There are 86 nominees pending:  43 waiting for Senate floor votes and 10 waiting to be reported out of Committee, and 33 waiting for Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

ACS's Weekly Roundup of Judicial Nominations Activity