President Biden’s judicial appointments outpace Trump’s
The Senate has confirmed 97 judges to lifetime appointments on the federal bench during President Biden’s first two years in office. That includes Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, 68 judges to district courts, and 28 judges to circuit courts where appeals are heard.
For perspective, the Supreme Court hears only about 100 to 150 appeals each year of the more than 7,000 requests. For the thousands of cases the Justices don’t hear, the circuit court of appeals will have the final decision.
“Of the many votes we take in this chamber, confirming Circuit Court judges ranks near the top in importance: the lions’ share of all federal cases, after all, are decided at the Circuit Court level,” Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said during a speech on the Senate floor.
Take for instance the case surrounding former President Donald Trump and the classified documents found at his Florida home Mar-a-Lago. That case was handled entirely at the district and circuit level, in fact the Supreme Court rejected a request to intervene.
To compare the two presidents, Trump appointed 85 judges to federal benches at this point in his presidency, so Biden is ahead by a dozen.
“We’ve confirmed a record of nominees with experience serving not only as prosecutors but also as public defenders, voting rights experts, civil rights attorneys,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said during a speech on the Senate floor. “For too long the perspectives that they represent have not been seen on our benches on federal courts.”
Biden appointees are also demographically diverse, 75% are women, 70% are people of color and 50% are women of color.
“You can be sure that judges will remain a top priority in the Congress to come. More judges means a more balanced judiciary, and a more balanced judiciary will mean greater trust in our courts in the long run, so important for our country at this moment in time, because the MAGA Supreme Court and so many of these other MAGA judges have caused people to lose faith in the courts,” Sen. Schumer said.
So what does that mean for the next two years as Senate Democrats move forward with a 51-49 Majority? There are nine vacancies and five pending nominees at the circuit court level, there are 70 vacancies and 32 nominees at the District Court level. There are also 30 upcoming vacancies due to retirements, resignations and other reasons, at least 19 of which are coming in 2023. President Biden and the Senate will have the chance to fill dozens of positions.
“Our work is not finished by a long shot,” Sen. Durbin said.
Political experts contend Donald Trump’s legacy largely rests on his 226 judicial appointments. So as questions mount as to whether President Biden runs for another term, he too is on path to have an extraordinary impact on the federal bench, regardless of whether he serves another four years.