Federal Courts, Empty Benches:The Wednesday Vacancy Count 8/31/2011
- 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 despite the addition of two vacancies, raising the total to 91 and leaving approximately 10.5% 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||10.7% 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. This also includes a shared post between the two Missouri districts and counts it as two posts with separate vacancies. 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.
There have been no new confirmations this past week.
Western District of Missouri
On August 27, 2011 Nanette Laughrey assumed senior status after serving on the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri for 15 years. She joined the court on August 1, 1996 after an appointment by Bill Clinton. She is one of the few remaining judges to maintain a dual post, serving on both the Eastern and Western districts of Missouri. Prior to her judicial career, she was a Deputy State Attorney General for the State of Missouri from 1992 to 1993. Her transition to senior status creates a second vacancy on the court of seven, raising the vacancy warning level from Yellow to Orange. It creates an additional vacancy on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri adding to the already existing vacancy on the court but not effecting the vacancy warning level that is set at Yellow.
District of New Jersey
On August 31, 2011 Mary Cooper assumed senior status after serving on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey for 19 years. She joined the court in 1992 after an appointment from George H.W. Bush. One of her major rulings while on the bench was the New Jersey "TrooperGate" scandal where she established that New Jersey state police did not possess complete privacy over their sex lives if they used their position for influence.  Her transition to senior status creates the first vacancy on the court of 17 posts, raising the vacancy warning level from Green to Blue.
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.|