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Federal Courts, Empty Benches:The Wednesday Vacancy Count 5/4/2011

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May 4, 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 and is unchanged despite an additional confirmation at the district court level. Approximately 10.4% 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 10.7% or 73 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. There are currently 48 pending appointments in the Senate leaving 46% of the vacant posts without an appointment. So far this year there have been 19 confirmations.

Monthly map


New Vacancies

Western District of Missouri

On April 30, 2011 Ortrie Smith assumed senior status in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri. Smith had served on the court since 1995 when he was appointed by Bill Clinton. The new vacancy raises the vacancy warning level of the district to Yellow. The vacancy is the third and last vacancy to open up in the month of April.

Senate Confirmations

Middle District of Florida

Roy Bale Dalton, Jr. was confirmed to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida by the United States Senate on May 2, 2011. Dalton was originally appointed by President Obama on November 17, 2010. He was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Henry Adams who assumed senior status on April 8, 2010. The appointment lowers the vacancy warning level from Blue to Green filling the only vacant post on the court.

Middle District of Tennessee

Kevin Hunter Sharp was confirmed to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on May 2, 2011 by a vote of 89-0. Originally appointed on November 17, 2010, Sharp fills the seat vacated by Robert Echols when he assumed senior status on July 22, 2010. Like Dalton's confirmation, Sharp will fill the only vacant seat on the court, lowering the vacancy warning level from Yellow to Green.

Hearings and meetings

May 4, 2011

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing for May 4, 2011 at 2:30 pm est. The following judicial candidates will be present before the committee:

You can watch the webcast here.

May 5, 2011

The Senate Judiciary Committee Scheduled an Executive Business Meeting for May 5, 2011. The following judicial candidates will be considered at the meeting:

You can watch the webcast here.

See also