There’s been a lot of attention recently on the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) and its rulings this term (you can read our coverage and analysis of those cases here). The federal judicial system encompasses nearly 1,770 judgeships across 209 courts. And about half of those judges are appointed by the president to life terms.
District courts are the general trial courts of the federal judicial system. There are 94 district courts, where both civil and criminal cases are filed, and 677 judgeships. There is at least one judicial district for each state, and one each for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. The U.S. Senate confirms the president’s judicial nominations, though there are multiple steps in the process.
Since Biden assumed the presidency, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey has received the most confirmed nominees with eight. The U.S. District Courts for the Central and Southern Districts of California each received the second-most confirmed nominees with six. Of the 100 nominees, seven were confirmed with no votes from Republican senators, only all Democrat support.
Natasha Merle, who will join the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York when she takes her oath, was the 100th nominee to be confirmed. She was confirmed in a 50-49 vote on June 21. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was the only Democrat who voted against confirming Merle, while no Republicans supported her. Biden first nominated Merle on Jan. 19, 2022.
Since taking office, Biden (D) has nominated 164 individuals to federal judgeships on Article III courts, including district courts, appeals courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS). As of June 21, 136 of the nominees have been confirmed.
The chart below shows the number of Article III judges—those federal judges appointed by the president for life—confirmed by the U.S. Senate under each of the last seven presidents as of July 1 of their third year in office. The confirmations are broken up by court type. President Bill Clinton (D) had the most district court confirmations through July 1 of his third year with 128. President George H.W. Bush (R) had the fewest with 64.
Produced in association with Ballotpedia
Edited by Kyana Jeanin Rubinfeld and Alberto Arellano