Federal Courts, Empty Benches:The Wednesday Vacancy Count 5/16/2012
- For a District by District break down, see: Federal Court Vacancy Warning System
The current vacancy warning level for the U.S. District courts is set at Blue. There was one new confirmation at the appellate level and one new confirmation at the district level and one new vacancy at the district court this past week, leaving the final tally at 71 vacancies or approximately 8.2% of the total Article III posts currently unfilled. In addition, we cover the creation of one new post this past year and the expiration of one temporary post. 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||7.8% or 14 vacancies|
|District Courts||8.4% or 57 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 four temporary posts, one each in the Northern District of Alabama, District of Arizona, Southern District of Florida and the Central District of California. This also includes a shared post between the two Missouri districts and counts it as two posts with separate vacancies.
The new weekly map feature will be updated every week and posted here and on the vacancy warning level analysis page.
District of Maryland
On Monday, May 14, 2012 George L. Russell, III was confirmed by the United States Senate to the United States District Court for the District of Maryland with a voice vote. Russell was originally appointed on November 10, 2011 by Barack Obama to the seat vacated by Peter Messitte. At the time of appointment, Russell was a judge for the Maryland Eighth Circuit Court. Russell was rated Substantial Majority Qualified, Minority Not Qualified by the American Bar Association. He had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 26, 2012 and you can find his Committee Questionnaire Available Here and his Questions for the Record Available Here. The confirmation fills the only vacancy on the court of ten, lowering the vacancy warning level from Blue to Green.
Northern District of Illinois
On Monday, May 14, 2012 John Tharp, Jr. was confirmed by the United States Senate to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois with a vote of 86-1. Tharp was originally appointed on November 10, 2011 by Barack Obama to the seat vacated by Blanche Manning. At the time of appointment, Tharp was a partner at the law firm Freeborn & Peters LLP Mayer Brown LLP in Chicago. Tharp was rated Unanimously Well Qualified by the American Bar Association. He had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 26, 2012 and you can find his Committee Questionnaire Available Here and his Questions for the Record Available Here. The confirmation fills one of four vacancies on the court of twenty-two, leaving the vacancy warning level unchanged at Yellow.
There were no new vacancies this past week.
On May 14, 2012 President Barack Obama nominated two judges to the district courts. Obama commented on the nomination, stating, “I am honored to put forward these highly qualified candidates for the federal bench. They will be distinguished public servants and valuable additions to the United States District Court.”
Western District of New York
Obama nominated Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. to the United States District Court for the Western District of New York to fill the vacancy left by David Larimer. Geraci currently serves as a judge for the Monroe County Court in Rochester, New York. He attended the University of Dayton, earning his B.A. in 1973. He went on to the University of Dayton Law School, earning his J.D. 1977. If confirmed, Geraci would fill the only vacancy on the court of four.
Central District of California
Obama also nominated Judge Fernando Olguin to the United States District Court for the Central District of California to fill the vacancy left by Jacqueline Nguyen when she joined the Ninth Circuit. Olguin currently serves as a magistrate judge for the Central District of California. Judge Olguin received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 1985 and his J.D. degree from the University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law in 1989. If confirmed, Olguin will fill one of three vacancies on the court of twenty-eight.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 112th Congress Confirmations
- ↑ United States Periodic Press Gallery
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 112th Congress Nomination Materials
- ↑ United States Periodic Press Gallery
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 "President Obama Nominates Two to Serve on the US District Court" 5/14/2012
- ↑ "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate" 5/14/2012
- ↑ Judge Olguin biography
|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.|