The US Courts website, as of February 3, reflects:
|Courts of Appeal
US Ct of International Trade
US Ct of Federal Claims
The trend toward more vacancies in the
federal courts continues. The number of
current vacancies and nominees pending grew since last month. Last month at about the same time, there were
75 vacancies and 34 pending nominees.
There currently are 32 judicial emergency
vacancies, up from 12 in January 2015.
There are 9 more vacancies expected to be announced in 2016.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell (R-KY) announced in December that the Senate would hold confirmation
votes for five judicial nominees by the Presidents’ Day recess this month. At this point, Senators have confirmed three
of those nominees: John Vazquez to be a district judge in New Jersey; Luis
Restrepo on January 11 to be a circuit judge for the Court of Appeals for the
Third Circuit; and Wilhelmina Wright on January 19 to be a district judge for
the District of Minnesota. Awaiting
votes are Rebecca Ebinger for the Southern District of Iowa and Leonard
Strand for the Northern District of Iowa. After that, the pace of nominations
is uncertain. Conservative groups have
called for a halt to further judicial confirmations. The Federal Bar Association supports a
judicial confirmation process that assures prompt consideration of all judicial
nominees at the committee and floor level.
Splitting the Ninth Circuit
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey
(R) and Arizona Congressional lawmakers on January 28 announced a collective
effort to introduce legislation in Congress to sever the state’s ties with the
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and create a new circuit that includes Arizona, Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Nevada. The effort would revive a decades-long
controversy over whether to reduce the mammoth size of the Ninth Circuit. The split
issue has been relatively dormant on Capitol Hill over the past decade. The
last time the Congress took a serious look at the issue was in 2005. At that time, the Federal Bar Association opposed
splitting the Ninth Circuit, a position consistent with the views of the
majority of the Ninth Circuit judiciary.
Little progress on any
split legislation can be expected during this Congress. It will likely become a talking point in this
year’s elections by some political candidates.
The proposal could gather more steam in the next Congress, depending on
the outcome of the upcoming elections.
Government Relations Video Update
A new edition of The View from Washington has been posted on the FBA website.
The video is here: http://www.fedbar.org/Advocacy/Legislative-Update.aspx
This update reports on recent success in obtaining
full federal Judiciary funding for the current year and the increasing numbers
of federal judiciary vacancies.