Federal Courts, Empty Benches:The Wednesday Vacancy Count 8/17/2011
- 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 from last week. Three new vacancies in the past week have raised the total to 89 vacancies, leaving approximately 10.3% of the total Article III posts currently 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||10.1% or 18 vacancies|
|District Courts||10.4% or 71 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 57 pending appointments in the Senate leaving 37% of the vacant posts without an appointment. So far this year there have been 34 confirmations.
After a stirring round of activity last week, with three new confirmations, there were no new confirmations made by the Senate this week.
Three district court judges transitioned to senior status this past week, opening up three new vacancies and returning the percentage of vacant seats to higher levels.
District of Massachusetts
On August 15, 2011 Judge Michael Ponsor assumed senior status after serving the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts for 17 years. Ponsor originally joined the court after an appointment from Bill Clinton and had previously served as a professor of law at Yale and Western New England College of Law. Ponsor's transition creates the second vacancy on the court of twelve, raising the vacancy warning level from Blue to Yellow.
Southern District of New York
On August 16, 2011 Judge Shira Scheindlin transitioned to senior status for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Scheindlin has served on the court since her 1994 appointment from Bill Clinton and is well known for approving a $586 million settlement for the artificial inflation of technology stocks in the late 90's. Her transition creates a seventh vacancy on a court with 28 posts. The vacancy warning level remains unchanged at Yellow.
District of Montana
On the same day, Judge Donald Molloy transitioned to senior status after serving on the bench for the United States District Court for the District of Montana after serving on the court for 15 years. Molloy was originally appointed by Bill Clinton and served as chief judge from 2001-2008. His transition to senior status will create the only vacancy on the court of three posts. It raises the vacancy warning level for the district from Green to Orange.
No new appointments this past week.
|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.|