During the past two months, while Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination awaited Senate approval, committee and floor action on pending circuit and district judicial nominees has slowed down. The Federal Bar Association continues to bring attention to the White House and Senate lawmakers to fill judicial vacancies as twenty-one additional judges have announced that they will retire in the next several months.
There are currently 101 judicial vacancies on the Article III courts, 16 on the courts of appeals and 85 on the district courts. Nominees are pending for 44 of the 101 vacant judicial positions. Our judiciary is severely disadvantaged when it does not have sufficient judges to hear cases and resolve disputes in a thorough and timely manner. Since the start of the 111th Congress, President Obama has made 78 judicial nominations; the Senate has confirmed 37 of the nominees. Most nominees have moved through the Senate with little dispute.
More specific information regarding current judicial vacancies: U.S. Courts of Appeals has 20 vacancies, with 13 nominees pending; The U.S. District Courts has 78 vacancies with 33 nominees pending; for a total of 98 Vacancies with 46 Nominees Pending. However, even if the Senate filled all the pending vacancies, judges will have to stay apace with caseload demands and growth.