December 16, 2020

A Judiciary Transformed


  • President Trump has appointed 54 circuit judges — nearly as many in four years as President Obama appointed in eight.
  • President Trump has appointed more Supreme Court justices than any other president since Reagan.
  • The Senate has confirmed Trump’s nominees at a faster pace than any president since Carter.

President Trump has appointed nearly as many circuit court judges in four years as President Obama did in eight. He has filled slightly less than a third of authorized active circuit court judgeships. Trump appointed more Supreme Court justices than Presidents Obama, George W. Bush, Clinton, and George H.W. Bush. This success would not have been possible without the Republican majority in the Senate.

Supreme Court and Circuit Appointments by President

Judiciary Transformed

A New Generation of Conservative Judges

The Senate has confirmed 233 Article III judges appointed by President Trump: three Supreme Court Justices; 54 circuit court judges; 173 district court judges; and three Court of International Trade judges. Over Trump’s presidency, the Senate has approved an average of 58 judges per year, the fastest pace since the Carter administration.

Pace of Judicial Appointments by President

Judiciary Transformed

A key factor in achieving this pace for judicial confirmations was the Senate’s reduction of post-cloture debate time for some kinds of nominees, including district court judges. Instead of 30 hours of post-cloture debate, district judges now require only two hours. During the first 26 months of the Trump presidency, the Senate confirmed 53 district court judges. In the 20 months following the change, the Senate has confirmed 120.

Effect of Post-Cloture Rule Change on District Judge Confirmations

Judiciary Transformed

Issue Tags: Judiciary, Senate