Federal Courts, Empty Benches:The Wednesday Vacancy Count 4/6/2011
By Joshua Meyer-Gutbrod
- For a District by District break down, see: Federal Court Vacancy Warning System
The current vacancy warning level for the U.S. Federal courts is set at Yellow. Approximately 10.5% of the total Article III posts are currently left unfilled. The vacancy information for the various court levels is as follows:
|(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)|
|More than 40%|
|Supreme Court||0% or no vacancies|
|Appeals Courts||9% or 17 vacancies|
|District Courts||10.9% or 74 vacancies|
There are currently 9 Supreme Court posts, 179 appellate court posts and 680 district court posts for a total of 868 Article III judges. This count includes three temporary posts, one each in the Northern District of Alabama, District of Arizona, and the Central District of California. There are currently 47 pending appointments in the Senate leaving 50% of the vacant posts without an appointment. So far this year there have been 15 confirmations.
March and the Federal Judiciary
March was an excellent month for the United States Federal Judiciary with regard to filling vacant seats and confirming judges. Seven new federal judges were confirmed in March and one in early April, lowering the percentage of vacant federal posts from 12% to 10% and dropping the number of vacancies down below one hundred. In addition, President Obama submitted nine new nominations to the senate.
Northern District of New York
The Northern District of New York lowered its vacancy warning level in March from Yellow to Green for the first time in five years with the appointment of Mae A. D'Agostino on March 28, 2011. D’Agostino was first appointed on September 29, 2010. The seat had been vacant since Judge Frederick Scullin moved to senior status on March 13, 2006. The confirmation fills all five posts for the district.
Western District of North Carolina
The Western District of North Carolina also lowered its vacancy warning level in March from Yellow to Green with the appointment of Max O. Cogburn, Jr. on March 10, 2011. Cogburn was first appointed on September 27, 2010. The seat had been vacant since Judge Lacy Thornburg moved to senior status on August 31, 2009. The confirmation fills all five posts for the district.
District Court for the District of Columbia
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia received two critical confirmations in the middle of this month, thereby lowering their vacancy warning level from Orange to Yellow and reducing the total number of vacancies on the court to only two.
James E. Boasberg was confirmed to the court on March 14 by a vote of 96-0. He filled a seat that had been left vacant since May 1, 2008 when Thomas Hogan moved to senior status. Boasberg was originally appointed on June 17, 2010.
Amy B. Jackson was confirmed to the court three days later, on March 17. Jackson, originally appointed on the same day as Boasberg, filled the seat vacated by Gladys Kessler when she moved to senior status on January 22, 2007.
Central District of Illinois
Two appointments to the Central District of Illinois on March 7, 2011 target a particularly struggling district, lowering the vacancy warning level from Red to Yellow with a total of three out of four seats now filled. On March 7, 2011 the Senate confirmed James E. Shadid and Sue Myerscough to the court. Shadid was first nominated on May 27, 2010 by President Obama and Myerscough on June 17, 2010.
Southern District of California
The court confirmed Anthony J. Battaglia to the Southern District of California on March 7, 2011. Battaglia's confirmation fills the ranks of the Southern District of California with all thirteen posts filled, lowering the vacancy warning level to Green.
Jimmie V. Reyna as confirmed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on April 4, 2011 by a Senate vote of 86-0. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit still has one vacancy remaining to be filled. Reyna's confirmation lowered the vacancy warning level for the Federal Appeals courts from Yellow to Blue.
|This article was written by Joshua Meyer-Gutbrod, an Assistant Staff Writer for the Federal Courts Project on Judgepedia. He can be reached at joshua.meyer-gutbrod.|