Judicial Nominees | First Liberty

Judicial Nominees

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 the latest list of federal vacancies, click here to visit the official U.S. Courts site.

Court Vacancies Total Judgeships
U.S. Court of Appeals (Circuit Court) 1 179
U.S. District Courts 70 677
U.S. Court of Federal Claims 6 16
U.S. Court of International Trade 2 9

Circuit Courts


 

Key:

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


District Courts


 

Key:

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


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How Nominees are Confirmed


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.

Expert Analysis


Sec4 Religous Test 300 Democratic Senators Prey with Religious Tests
Senators continue to use un-Constitutional religious tests.
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The Transformation of Federal Courts | First Liberty 7 Pictures show Federal Court’s Transformation
See through seven different info-graphs how America’s courts are changing.
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Mission & Vision | First Liberty Is Religious Liberty Making a Comeback?
Our CEO asks if the SCOTUS term will signal a comeback for religious liberty.
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Fli Insider Sec4 300 5 Ways the 9th Circuit is Changing
See through info-graphs five ways the Ninth Circuit is being changed.
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First Monday in October | First Liberty Three SCOTUS Cases to Keep an Eye On
Read about three important religious liberty cases for this SCOTUS term.
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First Liberty | Judicial Nominees Recent Nominees Mean Big Changes for the Eleventh Circuit
Two recent nominees at the Eleventh Circuit could flip the court.
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Back In Session | Circuit Courts | First Liberty Judicial Nominees have Lasting Impact on Circuit Courts
The Second and Ninth Court of Appeals are being radically changed.
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Back To The Constitution | First Liberty More Obstruction of Judicial Nominees than Ever Before
See how we must go Back to the Constitution to save our judiciary.
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U.S. Senate Changes the Rules | First Liberty Senate Changes the Rules The U.S. Senate voted to reduce the number of hours allowed to debate on federal district court nominees.
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Taking the Oath | First Liberty See First Liberty’s Own Matthew Kacsmaryk Sworn In
See an insider look into yet another great judicial confirmation.
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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.

Join First Liberty’s Effort to Help Confirm Conservative Judicial Nominees


Below are links with U.S. Senators by state. If you want to join with First Liberty, contact your U.S. Senators today and tell them to quickly confirm originalist judges to our nation’s federal judiciary.* We’ve provided you with suggested language you can use in your letter to your Senators.

*NOTE: FLI does not endorse the confirmation of Judge Halil Ozerden for the 5th Circuit Court.

 

Alabama: 11th Circuit

Senator Richard C. Shelby (R)
Senator Doug Jones (D)

Alaska: 9th Circuit

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R)
Senator Daniel Sullivan (R)

Arizona: 9th Circuit

Senator Martha McSally (R)
Senator Kyrsten Sinema (R)

Arkansas: 8th Circuit

Senator John Boozman (R)
Senator Tom Cotton (R)

California: 9th Circuit

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D)
Senator Kamala D. Harris (D)

Colorado: 10th Circuit

Senator Michael F. Bennet (D)
Senator Cory Gardner (R)

Connecticut: 2nd Circuit

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D)
Senator Christopher Murphy (D)

Delaware: 3rd Circuit

Senator Thomas R. Carper (D)
Senator Christopher A. Coons (D)

Florida: 11th Circuit

Senator Rick Scott (R)
Senator Marco Rubio (R)

Georgia: 11th Circuit

Senator Jonny Isakson (R)
Senator David Perdue (R)

Hawaii: 9th Circuit

Senator Brian Schatz (D)
Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D)

Idaho: 9th Circuit

Senator Mike Crapo (R)
Senator James E. Risch (R)

Illinois: 7th Circuit

Senator Richard J. Durbin (D)
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D)

Indiana: 7th Circuit

Senator Mike Braun (R)
Senator Todd Young (R)

Iowa: 8th Circuit

Senator Chuck Grassley (R)
Senator Joni Ernst (R)

Kansas: 10th Circuit

Senator Pat Roberts (R)
Senator Jerry Moran (R)

Kentucky: 6th Circuit

Senator Mitch McConnell (R)
Senator Rand Paul (R)

Louisiana: 5th Circuit

Senator Bill Cassidy (R)
Senator John Kennedy (R)

Maine: 1st Circuit

Senator Susan M. Collins (R)
Senator Angus S. King Jr. (I)

Maryland: 4th Circuit

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D)
Senator Chris Van Hollen (D)

Massachusetts: 1st Circuit

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D)
Senator Edward J. Markey (D)

Michigan: 6th Circuit

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D)
Senator Gary C. Peters (D)

Minnesota: 8th Circuit

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D)
Senator Tina Smith (D)

Mississippi: 5th Circuit

Cindy Hyde-Smith (R)
Senator Roger F. Wicker (R)

Missouri: 8th Circuit

Senator Josh Hawley (R)
Senator Roy Blunt (R)

Montana: 9th Circuit

Senator Jon Tester (D)
Senator Steve Daines (R)

Nebraska: 8th Circuit

Senator Deb Fischer (R)
Senator Ben Sasse (R)

Nevada: 9th Circuit

Senator Jacky Rosen (D)
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D)

New Hampshire: 1st Circuit

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D)
Senator Margaret Wood Hassan (D)

New Jersey: 3rd Circuit

Senator Robert Menendez (D)
Senator Cory A. Booker (D)

New Mexico: 10th Circuit

Senator Tom Udall (D)
Senator Martin Heinrich (D)

New York: 2nd Circuit

Senator Charles E. Schumer (D)
Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D)

North Carolina: 4th Circuit

Senator Richard Burr (R)
Senator Thom Tillis (R)

North Dakota: 8th Circuit

Senator John Hoeven (R)
Senator Kevin Cramer (R)

Ohio: 6th Circuit

Senator Sherrod Brown (D)
Senator Rob Portman (R)

Oklahoma: 10th Circuit

Senator James M. Inhofe (R)
Senator James Lankford (R)

Oregon: 9th Circuit

Senator Ron Wyden (D)
Senator Jeff Merkley (D)

Pennsylvania: 3rd Circuit

Senator Robert P. Casey (D)
Senator Patrick J. Toomey (R)

Rhode Island: 1st Circuit

Senator Jack Reed (D)
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D)

South Carolina: 4th Circuit

Senator Lindsey Graham (R)
Senator Tim Scott (R)

South Dakota: 8th Circuit

Senator John Thune (R)
Senator Mike Rounds (R)

Tennessee: 6th Circuit

Senator Lamar Alexander (R)
Senator Marsha Blackburn (R)

Texas: 5th Circuit

Senator John Cornyn (R)
Senator Ted Cruz (R)

Utah: 10th Circuit

Senator Mitt Romney (R)
Senator Mike Lee (R)

Vermont: 2nd Circuit

Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D)
Senator Bernard Sanders (I)

Virginia: 4th Circuit

Senator Mark R. Warner (D)
Senator Tim Kaine (D)

Washington: 9th Circuit

Senator Patty Murray (D)
Senator Maria Cantwell (D)

West Virginia: 4th Circuit

Senator Joe Manchin III (D)
Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R)

Wisconsin: 7th Circuit

Senator Ron Johnson (R)
Senator Tammy Baldwin (D)

Wyoming: 10th Circuit

Senator Michael B. Enzi (R)
Senator John Barrasso (R)

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Court
Nomination Date
Nominees
(click for bio)
Learn More
DC-CCA 09/07/2017      11/28/2017 Gregory G. Katsas Expert Analysis
DC-CCA 11/14/2018 03/13/2019 Neomi J. Rao Expert Analysis

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.

Sincerely,

(Your Name)