Federal Courts, Empty Benches:The Wednesday Vacancy Count 5/9/2012
- 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 was one new confirmation at the appellate level and one new confirmation at the district level and one new vacancy at the district court this past week, leaving the final tally at 74 vacancies or approximately 8.5% of the total Article III posts currently unfilled. In addition, we cover the creation of one new post this past year and the expiration of one temporary post. 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||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.
The new weekly map feature will be updated every week and posted here and on the vacancy warning level analysis page.
On May 7, 2012 the United States Senate confirmed Jacqueline Nguyen to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit with a vote of 91-3. Judge Nguyen is the first Asian-American woman to serve on any federal appellate court. Nguyen was originally appointed by Barack Obama on September 22, 2011 to fill a new seat. At the time of appointment, Nguyen served as a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Central District of California. She was rated Unanimously Qualified by the ABA. She had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 2, 2011 and you can find her Committee Questionnaire Available Here and her Questions for the Record Available Here. The confirmation fills one of four vacancies on the court of twenty-nine, lowering the vacancy warning level from Yellow to Blue.
Northern District of Illinois
On May 7, 2012 the United States Senate confirmed John Z. Lee to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois with a voice vote. Lee was originally appointed by Barack Obama on November 10, 2011 to fill a seat vacated by David Coar. At the time of appointment, Lee was a partner at the law firm Freeborn & Peters LLP. He was rated Substantial Majority Qualified, Minority Not Qualified by the ABA. He had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 26, 2012 and you can find his Committee Questionnaire Available Here and his Questions for the Record Available Here. The confirmation fills one of five vacancies on the court of twenty-two, leaving the vacancy warning level unchanged at Yellow.
Central District of California
Judge Jacqueline Nguyen's confirmation to the Ninth Circuit creates a new vacancy on the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The vacancy will mark the third vacancy on the court of twenty-eight, raising the vacancy warning level from Blue to Yellow.
There were no new appointments this past week.
Northern District of California
The United States District Court for the Northern District of California recently added a new temporary post when Judge Jeremy Fogel was appointed to be the director of the Federal Judicial Center in October 2011. Statute 104 Stat. 5089 authorizes a new temporary post to be assigned to a court when a judge assumes full-time duties within the Federal judicial administration. If the judge returns to active duty on the court, the first vacancy to the court will go unfilled. The vacancy creates the fifteenth post and third vacancy on the court, leaving the vacancy warning level unchanged at Yellow.
Northern District of Ohio
With the elevation of Kathleen M. O'Malley to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit a temporary post for the Northern District of Ohio expired. The temporary post was established in 1990 with 104 Stat. 5089 which created the post and ordered that the first vacancy after November 15, 2010 not be filled. The elimination of the post lowers the number of posts to eleven and the number of vacancies to one, reducing the vacancy warning level of the court from Yellow to Blue.
|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.|