3 Things President Trump is Doing Here are three critical points that you need to know when it comes to conservative judges. Read More
Trump’s Nominees Should “Plead the Sixth” As President Trump continues to nominate more people to fill federal vacancies, Article VI is likely going to become a staple reference. Read More
Next Judicial Wave Under Way President Trump continues to make the nomination of excellent judges one of his top priorities. Read More
Can Trump “Flip” the Circuit Courts? President Trump and Senate Republicans have an opportunity in front of them that may not present itself again. Read More
Learn How a Nominee Becomes a Judge If there’s one thing that we learned this past year it’s that judicial nominations can be a whirlwind. Read More
A Two-Front Fight At first glance you may think that each house being controlled by a different party will just mean more swamp gridlock. Read More
Federal Courts by the Numbers
Currently, there are over 100 judicial vacancies in our federal courts. The chart below details the vacancy by court. For an up-to-the-minute list of federal vacancies, click here to visit the official U.S. Courts site.
U.S. Court of Appeals (Circuit Court)
U.S. District Courts
U.S. Court of Federal Claims
U.S. Court of International Trade
Circuit Courts are grouped by color.
Click on a circuit to see nominee list and access bios. For small states and Washington DC, click the icons with 2-letter abbreviations.
Orange dots: circuit court judicial vacancies
Red dots: nominees
Gold dots: nominees recently confirmed
Click on a state to see nominee list and access bios. For small states and Washington DC, click the icons with 2-letter abbreviations.
Green dots: district court judicial vacancies
Yellow dots: nominees
Blue dots: nominees recently confirmed
America needs more excellent judges. Urge the Senate to confirm President Trump’s nominees
The Constitution, in the Appointments Clause, requires the President:
“Shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges of the supreme Court, and all other [federal judges] which shall be established by Law [currently, Courts of Appeal and District Courts].”
Once a candidate has been nominated, he or she must be confirmed by the Senate, a process left by the Founders for the Senate to decide as they deem fitting. The current confirmation process has developed over time to include numerous traditions, precedents, professional courtesies, and formal rules adopted by the Senate. Learn more about the 7-Step Process.
The Power of Federal Courts
Judges who become part of the federal judiciary hold immense power over the lives of Americans, hearing cases that affect religious freedom for generations. The Supreme Court takes about 70-80 cases annually, while federal courts of appeals handle about 35,000 cases per year. So while Supreme Court justice selections are especially important, circuit court and district court judges hear 99% of all federal appeals cases. President Trump, along with the Republican-controlled Senate, has a prime opportunity to nominate judges who will uphold the Constitution. As with the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, First Liberty attorneys—religious liberty experts—have been analyzing the opinions of judicial candidates related to religious freedom.
How the U.S. Court System Works
DUAL COURT SYSTEM Because the Founders wanted a union of sovereign states, the U.S. has a dual court system: the federal judiciary and the individual state judiciaries. STATE JUDICIARY Each state has its own court system to resolve disputes pertaining state law. States seat judges either through election, appointment or a combination of both election and appointment (Missouri Plan). FEDERAL JUDICIARY The federal judiciary is regulated by the Constitution. Judges on these benches make decisions on issues pertaining to federal law and interstate issues. To be appointed, an individual must be nominated by the president and consented to by the Senate. Click the graphic above for greater detail on the behind the scenes process that leads to an appointment.
Keep Up to Date on Judicial Nominees
Check out this letter to our president, Kelly Shackelford, from the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley. In addition to taking your religious freedom cases, First Liberty gets involved to ensure Constitutional originalist judges are confirmed to the bench. Our experts are always at work to keep you and our representatives up to date on pertinent analyses crucial for a well staffed bench and the preservation of liberty.
In the News
Check out these articles with outstanding graphics and stats on nominees and the process to the bench.
Delve deeper! You’ll find references to the Founding Fathers’ intentions for the court, views on the purpose of the court and how judges should act (in both the nominee phase and once on the bench), and political strategies used to by all the branches to further their causes through the judiciary.
Urge the U.S. Senate to Confirm Conservative Judicial Nominees
Below are links with U.S. Senators by state. Contact your U.S. Senators today and tell them to quickly confirm textualist judges to our nation’s federal judiciary. We’ve provided you with suggested language you can use in your letter to your Senators.
The Honorable (Senator’s Name) 1234 Senate Office Building Washington, D.C.
Dear Senator (Name), I’m writing to you today on a matter that is important to me as your constituent, and also vital for the nation. As you know, voters elected President Trump to appoint principled judges to the Supreme Court and the federal courts of appeal and district courts.
I am pleased with the fair and timely confirmation of Justice Gorsuch and would like to see more judges confirmed in a similar manner. At the beginning of his presidency, Donald Trump faced more vacancies for federal judgeships than Presidents Obama, George W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan. Due to more retirements and unnecessary delays in the Senate, there are now more judicial vacancies than the day President Trump was inaugurated. That is unacceptable.
There is one simple way to reform the judicial confirmation process and restore the constitutionally-mandated role of the Senate. The 30-hour debate rule should be repealed or replaced with a more reasonable limit (such as 8 hours) on debate before a vote. I support Senator Lankford’s proposal for revising the 30-hour debate rule. Please call upon Leader McConnell to change that practice immediately.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Each day these judicial vacancies aren’t filled, the backlog of cases grows. Justice delayed is justice denied.