There’s been plenty of talk about how the next president will have the opportunity to reshape the Supreme Court of the United States. But less discussed and just as important is the opportunity the next administration will have to fill the record number of judgeships opening at the circuit and district levels.
According to analysis out from the Brookings Institution, federal circuit and district judges are retiring to “senior status” and working only part-time to help with backlogs at a rate of more than one per week.
Meanwhile, Senate confirmations are at a historic low.
In fact, there are currently 87 vacancies to be filled.
But as Senate Republicans push back against the Obama administration’s Supreme Court pick by avoiding discussions about court vacancies altogether, that number will increase.
“Vacancies will accumulate through January and beyond. Eight future district and two future circuit vacancies are already on record, and more will likely occur,” Brookings reported.
That means the next president will appoint a lot of judges.
“If vacancies increase by 33 percent from now until January 20, 2017, with no post-recess confirmations, the next president will be faced, off-the-bat, with 115 or more vacancies—14 percent of all district and circuit judgeships in the United States,” Brookings reported.
The public policy organization estimates that the presidential appointments made during the next administration will affect the U.S.’s federal court system for the next 40 years.