May 9, 2024

On The Bench: Week of May 9, 2024

The Senate continued to work on FAA legislation, meaning little progress on judicial nominations this week. As of this writing, the Senate has not confirmed any Article III nominees. However, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer filed cloture on 2 Article III nominees: Eric Schulte (D.S.D.), and Judge Camela Theeler (D.S.D.), setting up potential votes later this week or early next week.

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held an executive business meeting for 4 Article III nominees: Kevin Ritz (6th Cir.), Brian Murphy (D. Mass.), Judge Rebecca Pennell (E.D. Wash.), and Jeannette Vargas (S.D.N.Y.). All the nominees advanced out of committee to the Senate floor and are now eligible for cloture and confirmation votes.

Also this week, the White House announced the latest slate of judicial nominees. The slate had 4 Article III nominees: Magistrate Judge Embry Kidd (11th Cir.), Magistrate Judge Adam Abelson (D. Md.), Magistrate Judge Joseph Saporito Jr. (M.D. Pa.), and Judge Meredith Vacca (W.D.N.Y.). If confirmed, Judge Vacca would be the first ever person of color to serve as a federal judge on the Western District of New York.

As of May 9, there are 73 Article III vacancies, 45 of which are current. Once the latest nominees are officially nominated, there will be 30 pending nominees: 17 waiting for floor votes, 0 waiting to be reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and 13 waiting for hearings before the Committee. To date, 194 Article III judges have been confirmed during the Biden-Harris Administration.

In other judiciary news, ACS is happy to announce a new resource in collaboration with the LGBTQ+ Bar. The LGBTQ+ Bar has launched a new website that tracks the number of openly LGBTQ+ Article III judges. The website will be updated to reflect the changing demographics of our federal judiciary.