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The appointment of federal judges for United States federal courts has come to be viewed as a political process in the last several decades. The tables below provide the composition of all Article III courts which include the Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeals at the end of each four year presidential term, as well as the current compositions of the District Courts and the Court of International Trade, categorizing the judges by the presidential term during which they were first appointed to their seats. As of October 26, 2020, of the 9 justices of the Supreme Court, 6 were appointed by a Republican president, and 3 were appointed by a Democratic president. As of March 4, 2021, of the 13 federal appeals courts, Republican appointees have a majority on 7 courts, while Democrat appointees have a majority on 6 courts. Additionally, as of December 20, 2020, Democratic appointees have a majority of district court seats in 7 circuit jurisdictions, while Republican appointees have a majority of district court seats in 5 circuit jurisdictions. More specifically, within the 91 individual district courts, Republicans have a majority of seats in 34, Democrats have a majority of seats in 33, whilst 16 are split equally. One court ( the Western District of Washington) has a majority of its seats vacant, whilst owing to vacancies Republicans have a plurality of seats in four district courts and Democrats a plurality in three. Finally, as of November 18, 2020, the United States Court of International Trade has an even number of appointees from both parties. However, the party of the president who appointed a judge is not always a good indicator of that judge's judicial philosophy and place on the political spectrum.


Supreme Court

The
Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the Supreme court, highest court in the Federal judiciary of the United States, federal judiciary of the United States of America. It has ultimate (and largely Procedures of the Supreme Court ...

Supreme Court of the United States
was established by the
Constitution of the United States The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primar ...
. Originally, the
Judiciary Act of 1789
Judiciary Act of 1789
set the number of justices at six. Subsequently, the
United States Congress The United States Congress or U.S. Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States and consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Wa ...
increased the number of justices to seven in 1807, nine in 1837, and ten in 1863. The Judicial Circuits Act of 1866 set the number at seven to be achieved gradually through retirement or death of current associate justices. The court was down to eight when the Judiciary Act of 1869 restored the number to nine. :


Courts of appeals

The
United States Courts of Appeals The United States courts of appeals or circuit courts are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal judiciary. The courts are divided into 13 circuits, and each hears appeals from the United States district court, district c ...
were established by the Judiciary Act of 1891 as "United States circuit courts of appeals" (the name was changed to its current form in 1948). The act authorized 19 appellate judgeships in 9 circuits. Since then, the number of authorized appellate judgeships has increased to 179.


Summary of 13 circuits combined

: * There were temporarily 178 appellate federal judgeships, due to the elimination of a 12th seat on the D.C. Circuit by Section 509 of the Court Security Improvement Act of 2007. That Act also provided for the creation of a 29th seat on the Ninth Circuit in January 2009 which increased the number of authorized appellate judgeships back to 179. :


Partisan mix of the circuit courts

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First Circuit

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Second Circuit

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Third Circuit

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Fourth Circuit

: * Roger Gregory, who was given a one-year recess appointment in Bill Clinton's second term and was subsequently given a lifetime appointment in George W. Bush's first term, is counted as a Clinton appointee on this page.


United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Fifth Circuit

: * The 5th Circuit judges who were transferred to the 11th Circuit in 1981 are not included in the 5th Circuit numbers for 1980 for trend comparison purposes.


United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Sixth Circuit

:


United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Seventh Circuit

:


United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, Eighth Circuit

:


United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Ninth Circuit

: * SEC. 509. of the Court Security Improvement Act of 2007 provided for the creation of a 29th seat on the Ninth Circuit in January 2009.


United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Tenth Circuit

:


United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Eleventh Circuit

: * The 11th Circuit was created in 1981. The judges that were transferred from the 5th Circuit to the 11th Circuit are shown in 1980 for trend comparison purposes.


United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, D.C. Circuit

: * SEC. 509. of the Court Security Improvement Act of 2007 eliminated the 12th seat on the D.C. Circuit.


United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Federal Circuit

: * The Federal Circuit was created in 1982. The judges from the courts that were combined into the Federal Circuit are shown in 1980 for trend comparison purposes.


District Courts


United States District Courts, Summary of 91 District Courts

: * Current (March 15, 2021) vacancies are 60 District judgeships/judges per uscourts.gov. 174 Trump-nominated District judges (177 judgeships, as one Trump nominees serves in two districts and one in three districts) were confirmed, of which 170 judges (173 judgeships) are currently serving. Four judges have been subsequently elevated to Circuit Courts (Quattlebaum, Phipps, Brasher, Walker). (174+3-4=173) * Congress has authorized 678 district judgeships including 674 Article III judgeships for the 50 States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico plus 4 Article IV judgeships for Guam, Northern Marianas, and the Virgin Islands. The 674 Article III judgeships include 664 permanent and 10 temporary judgeships.Federal Judgeships
United States Courts.
* However, the number of total authorized Article III District Judge positions is currently higher than 674 (679 in 2021) because four judges are authorized to serve a collective five additional judicial districts: one two-District (Trump-nominated) Judge in the Sixth, two two-District (one Clinton-nominated & one Obama-nominated) Judges in the Eighth and one three-district (Trump-nominated) Judge in the Tenth Circuit – see individual districts below for more details.


United States District Courts, Partisan mix of the District Courts

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United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, District Courts in the First Circuit

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United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, District Courts in the Second Circuit

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United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, District Courts in the Third Circuit

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United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, District Courts in the Fourth Circuit

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United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, District Courts in the Fifth Circuit

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United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, District Courts in the Sixth Circuit

: Note: Judge Claria Horn Boom (Trump appointee) currently serves both the Eastern & Western Districts of Kentucky


United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, District Courts in the Seventh Circuit

:


United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, District Courts in the Eighth Circuit

: Note: Judge Rodney Sippel (Clinton appointee) currently serves in both the Eastern & Western Districts of Missouri. Judge Brian Wimes (Obama appointee) also currently serves in both the Eastern & Western Districts of Missouri.


United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, District Courts in the Ninth Circuit

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United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, District Courts in the Tenth Circuit

: Note: Judge John Heil III (Trump appointee) currently serves on the Eastern, Northern, & Western Districts of Oklahoma


United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, District Courts in the Eleventh Circuit

:


United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, District Court in the D.C. Circuit

:


United States Court of International Trade

The United States Court of International Trade is an Article III court, with full powers in law and equity, established by the Customs Court Act of 1980 to replace the United States Customs Court. :


Acronym key


See also

*United States federal judge *List of current United States circuit judges *List of current United States district judges


References


External links


Ideological Voting on Federal Courts of AppealsSummary of Judicial Vacancies
{{USCourtsOfAppeals Legal history of the United States Nomination and appointment of United States federal judges Lists of United States judicial appointments by president, *