12 May 2008

Federal Judges By The Numbers

According to the U.S. Federal Judicial Center, there are only 13 vacancies on the 179-member federal courts of appeal and only 35 openings among the 674 district or trial judges.

The number of openings may increase by Inauguration Day -- a few seats are vacated each month -- but they could be offset if the Democratic-controlled Senate is persuaded to fill a few appellate seats and perhaps as many as 10 district court seats. . . . The next president will find the federal bench solidly controlled by the GOP, with about 100 Republicans in appeals court seats, compared with approximately 66 Democrats. Republicans have a 56 percent majority at the trial court level. . . . Forty-six of the 53 longest-serving appeals judges are GOP appointees. . . . [A] bill just proposed by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) . . . would create 12 appeals court seats and 38 district court seats. . . .

The senior liberal [on the U.S. Supreme Court], Justice John Paul Stevens, just turned 88, although he's still golfing and, we hear, maybe playing a little tennis.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg . . . is 75. . . . Antonin Scalia [is] 72, and Anthony Kennedy [is] 71[.]

From here.

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