Federal Courts, Empty Benches: The Wednesday Vacancy Count 8/1/2012
- 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 were two new vacancies this week. That leaves the final tally at 76 vacancies or approximately 8.8% 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||7.8% or 14 vacancies|
|District Courts||9.1% or 62 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.
There were no new confirmations this past week.
Failed votes - Tenth Circuit
Coming through on his promise to invoke the Thurmond Rule, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell successfully lead the Republican Senators in blocking Robert Bacharach from being confirmed for the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. The vote for cloture was 56-34, with 3 senators voting present. Bacharach currently serves as a magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma and was appointed to the appellate court on January 23, 2012. He was rated Unanimously Well Qualified by the American Bar Association and had the support of Oklahoma Senators Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn. Despite that support, neither of the Republican Senators was willing to vote to end the filibuster and opted to vote present instead.  The Tenth Circuit currently has two vacancies for the court's twelve posts. Bacharach was nominated to fill the vacancy left by Robert Henry when he resigned from his post two years ago.
On August 1, 2012, Judge Emilio Garza assumed senior status for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit after serving on the bench for eleven years.  He joined the court in 1991 after an appointment from George H.W. Bush. Before being nominated to the appellate bench, Garza was a judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. He joined that court in 1988 after an appointment from President Ronald Reagan. Born in San Antonio, Texas, Garza graduated from the University of Notre Dame with his Bachelor's degree in 1969 and his Master's degree in 1970. Garza served as a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1970 to 1973. Garza received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 1976. Garza transition creates the second vacancy on the court of seventeen, raising the vacancy warning level from Blue to Yellow.
Eastern District of Michigan
On August 1, 2012, Judge Nancy Edmunds assumed senior status for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan after serving on the bench for ten years.  She joined the court in 1992 after an appointment from George H.W. Bush. Before being nominated to the bench, Edmunds was a private practice attorney. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Edmunds graduated cum laude with her Bachelor's degree from Cornell University in Ithaca in 1969. In 1971, Edmunds earned her Master of Arts in Education from the University of Chicago before earning her Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University Law School in 1976.   Edmunds is well known for presiding over the trial of the Underwear Bomber, who in 2011 plead guilty to 8 counts of terrorism. Edmunds transition creates the fourth vacancy on the court of fifteen, raising the vacancy warning level from Yellow to Orange.
There were no new appointments this past week.
- ↑ United States Periodic Press Gallery
- ↑ News OK, "Confirmation of highly qualified 10th Circuit nominee left to languish some more" 8/1/2012
- ↑ US Courts Current Vacancies
- ↑ Judge Garza's Biography from the Federal Judicial Center.
- ↑ US Courts Current Vacancies
- ↑ Judge Nancy Edmunds's Biography from the Federal Judicial Center.
- ↑ Edmunds 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.|