November 16, 2023

On The Bench: Week of November 16, 2023

The Senate made limited progress on judicial nominations this week. With the focus primarily on funding the government, the Senate only confirmed 1 Article III nominee: Judge Ana de Alba (9th Cir.) in a 48-43 vote. Before leaving for the Thanksgiving recess, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer filed cloture on 2 Article III nominees: Judge Jeffrey Bryan (D. Minn.) and Margaret Garnett (S.D.N.Y.). The cloture vote for Bryan is the first vote scheduled after the recess ends on November 27.

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing for 2 Article III nominees: Sara Hill (N.D. Okla.) and John Russell (N.D. Okla.). Both nominees are now eligible for a full committee vote.

On Thursday, the Committee was scheduled to hold a mark up for several pieces of business, but the meeting was canceled as the Senate adjourned Wednesday evening after funding the government. First, the Committee was set to revote on Judge Eumi Lee (N.D. Cal.) and Magistrate Judge Mustafa Kasubhai (D. Or.) after the Senate Parliamentarian ruled the Committee’s vote last week was against committee rules. Also, the Committee was scheduled to vote on the authorization for subpoenas relating to the Supreme Court ethics. Both sets of votes will now have to wait until after the holiday.

This week the White House announced the next slate of judicial nominees. The slate contained 5 Article III nominees: Nicole Berner (4th Cir.), Adeel Mangi (3d Cir.), Judge Amy Baggio (D. Or.), Judge Cristal Brisco (N.D. Ind.), and Judge Gretchen Lund (N.D. Ind.). This slate continued the White House’s trend of trying to diversify the federal bench. If confirmed, Berner would be the first openly LBGTQ+ person to serve on the Fourth Circuit, and Mangi would be the first Muslim American to serve on any circuit court.

As of November 16, there are 93 Article III vacancies, 64 of which are current. Once the remaining nominees are officially nominated, there will be 39 pending nominees: 19 waiting for floor votes, 7 waiting to be reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and 13 waiting for hearings before the Committee. To date, 154 Article III judges have been confirmed during the Biden-Harris Administration.