March 20, 2019

Progress Continues on Judicial Confirmations


  • During the 115th Congress, the Senate confirmed 30 circuit court judges, a modern record for a president’s first Congress.
  • We have confirmed six more in the 116th Congress, leaving just ten circuit court vacancies across the country, and only four without nominees to fill them.
  • There are still 129 vacancies on district courts, 75 without nominees, and more will likely arise.

The Senate’s push to confirm judicial nominees continues to transform the federal courts. President Trump has nominated and the Senate has confirmed 36 circuit court judges – about one out of five currently sitting. Over eight years, President Obama nominated 55 circuit judges who were confirmed. President Trump is on pace to see more judges confirmed in his first term alone.

Confirmed Judges and Vacancies


A different story on district courts

In contrast, district court confirmations have lagged behind historical averages. President Obama saw 272 district judges confirmed over eight years, while President Trump has nominated and the Senate has confirmed 53 over a little more than two years. That pace, extrapolated to eight years in office, would translate to 195 district court judges.

The shortfall is due entirely to Democrat obstruction. The need for cloture votes on district judge nominees has substantially slowed confirmations. Unless Democrats stop filibustering uncontroversial district judge nominees or the rules are changed to limit the time devoted to debate, the lag in district court judges will likely continue.

Democrat Obstruction Slowing Trump District Court Nominees


Issue Tag: Judiciary