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Judicial Nominations

OLP works with the Attorney General in advising the President on nominations for Article III judgeships. After the President has submitted a nomination to the Senate, OLP works with the White House and the Senate Judiciary Committee in securing the nominee's confirmation. The data on this site provide an overview of the nomination and confirmation activity relating to each Congress since the 107th.

109th Congress

As of the end of the 109th Congress:

     53 = Current vacancies in the 871-member Article III federal judiciary.

  • Article III judiciary includes the Supreme Court of the United States, Circuit Courts of Appeals, District Courts, and the Court of International Trade.

     38 = Nominations returned upon the adjournment of the 109th Congress.

Judicial Vacancies: 43 vacant or 5 percent, and 832 filled or 95 percent Hearings for Nominees: 102 hearings held or 84 percent, and 20 with no hearings or 16 percent Confirmations: 73 confirmed or 61 percent, and 46 unconfirmed or 39 percent
Circuit Vacancies: 16 vacant or 9 percent, and 163 filled or 91 percent Hearings for Circuit Nominees: 29 had hearings or 81 percent, and 7 with no hearings or 19 percent Circuit Confirmations: 13 confirmed or 42 percent, and 18 unconfirmed or 58 percent

      Current Vacancies Nominations Since 1/2005 Confirmations
Sup. Ct. 0 (of 9) 3 2
Circuit 15 (of 179) — 8% 28 16
District 38 (of 674) — 6% 65 35
CIT 0 (of 9) 1 1
TOTAL 53 (of 871) — 6% 97 54

  • Complete list of nominations during the 109th Congress.
  • Complete list of confirmed nominees from the 109th Congress.
  • Complete list of vacancies.
  • Vacancies designated "judicial emergency" vacancies.
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    Blue Slips

  • A blue slip is the traditional method of allowing the home state senators of a judicial nominee to express their approval or disapproval. Blue slips are generally given substantial weight by the Judiciary Committee in its consideration of a judicial nominee. The process dates back several decades and is grounded in the tradition of "senatorial courtesy," which traces its roots back to the presidency of George Washington.

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  • Judicial Emergency:

    The formula by which a judicial vacancy is determined to be a "judicial emergency" has been changed by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts effective December 2001, to identify courts where vacancies have resulted in only one active judge.

    The formula now used is:

    Any vacancy in a district court where weighted filings are in excess of 600 per judgeship; OR any vacancy in existence more than 18 months where weighted filings are between 430 to 600 per judgeship; OR any court with more than one authorized judgeship and only one active judge;


    Any vacancy in a court of appeals where adjusted filings per panel are in excess of 700; OR any vacancy in existence more than 18 months where adjusted filings are between 500 to 700 per panel.

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