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Federal Courts, Empty Benches:The Wednesday Vacancy Count 2/22/2012

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February 22, 2012

By Joshua Meyer-Gutbrod

For a District by District break down, see: Federal Court Vacancy Warning System
FederalVacancy Blue.png


The current vacancy warning level for the U.S. District courts is set at Blue. This past week, two confirmations, one appellate and one district, aand one elevation have lowered the number of vacancies. The final tally leaves 82 vacancies or approximately 9.4% of the total Article III posts currently unfilled. The vacancy information for the various court levels is as follows:


Key:
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
0%0%-10%
10%-25%25%-40%
More than 40%
Supreme Court 0% or no vacancies
Appeals Courts 9% or 16 vacancies
District Courts 9.7% or 66 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.

New confirmations

Southern District of New York

FederalVacancy yellow.png


On February 17, 2012 the United States Senate confirmed Jesse Furman to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York with a vote of 62-34. [1] Furman was originally appointed by Barack Obama to the post on June 7, 2011 to fill the seat vacated by Alvin Hellerstein. At the time of appointment, Furman was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York. He was rated Majority Qualified, Minority Well Qualified by the ABA. He had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary committee on July 28, 2011 and you can find his Committee Questionnaire Available Here and his Questions for the Record Available Here.[2] The confirmation fills one of six vacancies on the court of twenty-eight, leaving the vacancy warning level at Yellow.

Eleventh Circuit

FederalVacancy Blue.png


Adalberto Jordan was confirmed by a U.S. Senate vote of 95-5 to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on February 15, 2012.[1] Jordan was originally appointed by Barack Obama to the post on August 2, 2011 to fill the seat vacated by Susan Black. At the time of appointment, Jordan was an Article III federal judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. He was rated Unanimously Well Qualified by the ABA. He had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary committee on September 20, 2011 and you can find his Committee Questionnaire Available Here and his Questions for the Record Available Here.[2] The confirmation fills one of two vacancies on the court of twelve, lowering the vacancy warning level from Yellow to Blue.

New vacancies

Southern District of Florida

FederalVacancy yellow.png


The elevation of Adalberto Jordan to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has left an additional vacancy on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. This will mark the second vacancy on the court of eighteen, raising the vacancy warning level from Blue to Yellow.

New appointments

On February 16, 2012 Barack Obama nominated three individuals to positions on the district courts and one to a post on the Eleventh Circuit. Obama commented on the three district court nominations, stating, "Throughout their careers, these nominees have displayed unwavering commitment to justice and integrity. Their records of public service are distinguished and impressive and I am confident that they will serve the American people well from the United States District Court bench. I am honored to nominate them today."[3]

Eleventh Circuit

Barack Obama nominated Jill Pryor to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to fill the vacancy left by Stanley Birch, Jr..[4] Pryor is currently a partner at the law firm of Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore, LLP in Atlanta, GA. Born in Harrisburg, PA, Pryor attended the College of William & Mary, earning her B.A. in 1985. She went on to earn her J.D. from Yale Law three years later. Obama commented on the nomination, stating, "“Jill A. Pryor has displayed exceptional dedication to the legal profession through her work and I am honored to nominate her to serve the American people as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals. She will be a diligent, judicious and esteemed addition to the Eleventh Circuit bench."[5] If confirmed, the nomination would fill the only vacancy on the court of twelve.

District of Nevada

Elissa Cadish was nominated to the United States District Court for the District of Nevada to fill the vacancy left by Philip Pro.[4] Cadish currently serves as a Nevada district court judge for the Eighth Judicial District Court of Nevada. She graduated magna cum laude from University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in 1986 and went on to earn her J.D. three years later from University of Virginia School of Law.[3] If confirmed, the nomination will fill one of two vacancies on the court of seven.

District of Maryland

Barack Obama nominated Paul Grimm to the United States District Court for the District of Maryland to fill the vacancy left by Benson Everett Legg.[4] Grimm currently serves as a Magistrate Judge for the District of Maryland. He has held the post since 1997 and has served as chief judge since 2006. He earned his B.A. in 1973 from the University of California at Davis graduating summa cum laude and went on to earn his J.D. magna cum laude from the University of New Mexico School of Law three years later. [3] If confirmed, Grimm will fill the only vacancy on the court of ten.

Northern District of Florida

Mark E. Walker was nominated to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida to fill the vacancy left by Stephan Mickle.[4] Walker currently serves as a Florida Circuit Judge in Tallahassee. He attended the University of Florida where he earned his B.A. in 1989 and his J.D., graduating with high honors in 1992. [3] If confirmed, Walker will fill the only vacancy on the court of four.

See also

References



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.