January 11, 2024

On The Bench: Week of January 11, 2024

The Senate returned from recess this week and began working on judicial nominations. As of this writing, the Senate has confirmed two of the three candidates that Majority Leader Schumer filed cloture on last month: Magistrate Judge John Kazen (S.D. Tex.) and Magistrate Judge Kato Crews (D. Colo.).

Earlier this week, the White House began the process of renominating judicial candidates. So far, the White House has renominated all but five of the nominees who were pending at the end of the last congressional session. According to media reports, two of the five have withdrawn from consideration and as a result will not be renominated. They are Colleen Holland (W.D.N.Y.) and Charnelle Bjelkengren (E.D. Wash.). The other three nominees did not comment to the media on their status. The White House in a press release did acknowledge the potential for further renominations at a later date.

Also this week, the White House announced the latest slate of judicial nominees. The latest slate of nominees contained six Article III nominees: Amir Ali (D.D.C.), Judge Melissa DuBose (D.R.I.), Magistrate Judge Sunil Harjani (N.D. Ill.), Judge Rebecca Kanter (S.D. Cal.), Robert White (E.D. Mich.), and Jasmine Yoon (W.D. Va.). This slate continues the White House’s emphasis on diversifying the federal bench. If confirmed, Yoon and DuBose would be the first people of color to ever serve as a judge in their respective district courts.

As of January 11, there are 89 Article III vacancies, 60 of which are current. Once the announced nominees are officially nominated, then there will be 31 pending nominees: 1 waiting for floor votes, 19 waiting to be reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and 11 waiting for hearings before the Committee. To date, 168 Article III judges have been confirmed during the Biden-Harris Administration.