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Federal Courts, Empty Benches:The Wednesday Vacancy Count 5/2/2012

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May 2, 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. There were two new confirmations this past week, leaving the final tally at 75 vacancies or approximately 8.6% of the total Article III posts currently unfilled. One of the confirmations at the district level covered vacant posts in two separate courts. 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 8.4% or 15 vacancies
District Courts 8.8% or 60 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.

Weekly map

The new weekly map feature will be updated every week and posted here and on the vacancy warning level analysis page.

ForwardBackVwlmap5-2-2012.png

New confirmations

Western District of Texas

FederalVacancy Blue.png


On April 26, 2012, David Guaderrama was confirmed by the United States Senate to the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas by a voice vote.[1] Guaderrama was originally appointed by Barack Obama on September 14, 2011 to fill a seat vacated by David Briones. At the time of appointment, Guaderrama served as a federal magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. He was rated Substantial Majority Well Qualified, Minority Qualified by the ABA. He had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 2, 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 thirteen, lowering the vacancy warning level from Yellow to Blue.

Southern District of Texas

FederalVacancy Blue.png


With a vote of 92-2, Gregg Costa was also confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 26, 2012 to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.[1] Costa was originally appointed by Barack Obama on September 8, 2011 to fill the vacancy left by John Rainey. At the time of appointment, Costa was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of Texas. He was rated Unanimously Well Qualified by the ABA. He had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 2, 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 nineteen, lowering the vacancy warning level from Yellow to Blue.

New vacancies

There were no new vacancies this past week.

New appointments

On April 25, 2012, President Barack Obama nominated four individuals to posts as United States District Court Judges. Obama commented on the nominations, stating, “I am honored to put forward these highly qualified candidates for the federal bench. They will be distinguished public servants and valuable additions to the United States District Court.”[3]

Eastern District of Michigan

Terrence Berg was appointed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to fill the vacancy left by Arthur Tarnow. [4] Berg currently serves as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan. He earned his B.S. magna cim laude from Georgetown University in 1981. He went on to earn his J.D. five years later from Georgetown University Law Center. [3] If confirmed, he will fill one of two vacancies on the court of fifteen.

Central District of California

Jesus Bernal was appointed to the United States District Court for the Central District of California to fill the vacancy left by Stephen Larson. [4] Bernal currently serves as the Deputy Federal Public Defender in the Central District of California. He attended Yale University, earning a B.A. in 1986. He went on to earn his J.D. in 1989 from Stanford Law School. [3] If confirmed, he will fill one of two vacancies on the court of twenty-eight.

Middle District of Louisiana

Shelly Deckert Dick was appointed to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana to fill the vacancy left by Ralph Tyson upon his death.[4] Dick is currently a partner in the law firm Forrester, Dick & Clark in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She attended the University of Texas, graduating cum laude with a B.S. in 1981. She went on to earn her J.D. in 1988 from the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center.[3] If confirmed, he will fill the only vacancy on the court of three.

Southern District of New York

Lorna Schofield was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York to fill the vacancy left by Shira Scheindlin.[4] She currently works as a partner in the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York City. She earned her B.A. from Indiana University in 1977. She went on to attend New York University School of Law, earning her J.D. four years later. [3] If confirmed, he will fill the one of six vacancies on the court of twenty-eight.

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.