Federal Courts, Empty Benches:The Wednesday Vacancy Count 9/28/2011
- 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 two new vacancies raising the total vacancies to 92 and leaving approximately 10.6% of the total Article III posts currently unfilled. In addition, the vacancy warning level for the appellate courts raised to Yellow for the first time in three weeks with the death of Pamela Rymer of the Ninth Circuit. 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||10.9% 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 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 38% of the vacant posts without an appointment. So far this year there have been 35 confirmations.
There were no new confirmations this past week.
On September 22, 2011 Judge Pamela Rymer passed away after a battle with cancer. Raymer, 70, had served on the Ninth Circuit for 22 years and had served on the Central District of California for six years prior to being appointed to the appellate court.Colleague Kim McLane Wardlaw remembered Rymer, telling the press, "I will remember her for her clever wit, playful sense of humor, love of sports and all things Stanford, joyful celebration of holidays and, of course, her frogs," referring to her collection of stuffed frogs she kept in her office.
The death creates a fourth vacancy on a struggling court, raising the vacancy warning level of the court from Blue to Yellow. It raises the vacancy warning level of the appellate courts from Blue to Yellow as well.
District of Oregon
On September 24, 2011 Michael Hogan assumed senior status after serving on the United States District Court for the District of Oregon for 20 years. Prior to service as an article III judge, Hogan served as a Federal magistrate judge and a Federal bankruptcy judge for the same district. Hogan is well known for upholding restrictions to Oregon's initiative and referendum law on paid petition circulators, arguing the restrictions were valid to "ensure the integrity of the petition process". His transition to senior status creates the first vacancy on the court, raising the vacancy warning level from Green to Yellow.
On September 22, 2011, President Obama nominated Jacqueline Nguyen to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to fill a new position created on January 7, 2008. Nguyen currently serves on the United States District Court for the Central District of California a position she has held since 2009. Originally born in Dalat, Vietnam, Nguyen has also served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California and as a judge on the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Obama commented on the nomination, stating, "Judge Nguyen has been a trailblazer, displaying an outstanding commitment to public service throughout her career. I am honored to nominate her today for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals and confident she will serve the American people with fairness and integrity."
Eastern and Western District of Missouri
On September 22, 2011, President Obama also nominated Brian C. Wimes to a dual post on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and a United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri to fill the vacancy created by Nanette Laughrey on her transition to senior status. Wimes has served as a judge on the Missouri 16th Judicial Circuit Court since 2007. Obama commented on the nomination, stating, "I am proud to nominate this outstanding candidate to serve on the United States District Court bench. Judge Wimes has a long and distinguished record of service, and I am confident he will serve on the federal bench with distinction."
- ↑ American Bar Association Journal, "9th Circuit Judge Pamela Rymer Dies" 9/23/2011
- ↑ U.S. Courts Vacancies
- ↑ Oregon Live "Federal court upholds Oregon initiative restrictions", March 24, 2010
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate" 9/22/2011
- ↑ "President Obama Nominates Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen to Serve on the United States Court of Appeals" 9/22/2011
- ↑ "President Obama Nominates Judge Brian C. Wimes to Serve on the United States District Court" 9/22/2011
|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.|