Judicial Confirmations Update
- The Senate’s confirmation this week of Cory Wilson to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals marks President Trump’s 200th Article III judicial appointee.
- President Trump has now appointed 143 district court judges, 53 circuit judges, two Supreme Court justices, and two judges for the U.S. Court of International Trade.
- The pace of judicial confirmations during this presidency is the fastest since the Carter administration.
The Senate has worked diligently to cement President Trump’s legacy on the federal courts. With this week’s confirmation of Cory Wilson to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Senate has confirmed 200 Trump-appointed judges to Article III judgeships.
President Trump has appointed 143 district court judges, 53 circuit judges, two Supreme Court justices, and two judges for the U.S. Court of International Trade. These are judgeships Congress created under the authority of Article III of the Constitution. The judges enjoy life tenure during good behavior and are removable only by impeachment.
Trump Appointees’ Share of Federal Courts
Filling the Judiciary With Conservative Judges
Trump-appointed judges now fill almost 23% of all Article III judgeships. There are a total of 870 authorized Article III judgeships: 673 on district courts; 179 on courts of appeals; nine on the Supreme Court; and nine on the Court of International Trade. In less than four years, President Trump has appointed 30% of all federal appeals court judges.
Effect of Post-Cloture Rule Change on District Judge Confirmations
On April 3, 2019, to remove opportunities for pointless obstruction, the Senate lowered the amount of time required for post-cloture debate for some kinds of nominees, including district court judges. After the change, district court judges required only two hours of post-cloture debate time instead of the 30 hours previously required. District court nominations are now much less susceptible to obstruction. The Senate confirmed 53 Trump-nominated district court appointees in the 26 months before the rule change. In about 14 months since the change, the Senate has confirmed 90 district court judges.
While the Senate has now filled all circuit court vacancies, there are 70 vacancies left on U.S. district courts. There are also two vacancies on the Court of International Trade.
With 200 judges confirmed in less than three-and-a-half years, the Senate has approved an average of 57 judges per year during the Trump presidency. This is the fastest pace since the Carter administration.
Pace of Judicial Appointments by President
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