The Trump administration has much work ahead in reshaping the federal courts. Selection of justices and judges (confirmed by the Senate) was a leading issue for voters in the 2016 presidential elections. The appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court in April was a step in the right direction.
In a statement about recent judicial candidate nominations, Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of First Liberty Institute, said:
“America needs judges throughout the country that will uphold the Constitution and defend our freedoms, especially religious freedom. In his most recent appointments, President Trump is showing his commitment to appointing judges who have respect for the Constitution. The decision of just one judge can impact the religious liberty of the entire country. We are pleased that President Trump has kept this important campaign promise by appointing judges who are committed to following the Constitution and the rule of law.”
BY THE NUMBERS: THE POWER OF FEDERAL COURTS
The Supreme Court takes about 70-80 cases per year, while federal courts of appeals handle about 35,000 cases annually. Judges who become part of the federal judiciary (that hears 99 percent of all federal cases) hold immense power over the lives of Americans – including over their religious freedoms.
Currently, there are 147 published judicial vacancies in our federal courts, including:
- 20 in U.S. Court of Appeals or “Circuit Courts” (179 total judges)
- 119 in U.S. District Courts (677 total judges)
- 6 in Court of Federal Claims (16 total judges)
- 2 in the Court of International Trade (9 total judges)
There are 20 Circuit Court vacancies.
The 11 circuits shown are grouped by color. Hover over each circuit to see current openings.
Green dots signify circuit court locations. White dots signify the number of judicial vacancies.
There are 119 District Court vacancies.
Hover over each state to see number of district court vacancies (there are 94 District Courts; 89 in the 50 states).
Green dots signify district court locations. Hover over green dots to get more information.