The U.S. Courts website features lots of helpful info on what it calls, grandly, The Federal Judiciary.

Here you can get, for instance, Statistical Reports on all manner of data.  One such report, Judicial Business of the United States Courts, tries to order all the facts so as to give you an idea — a notion really – of what the Least Dangerous Branch has done for you and other Americans lately.

Other parts of U.S. Courts clue you into the process for making court rules, tell you how the Judicial Conference sets policy, and offer links to court websites and PACER sites.

An extra sparkly part of the site — to Blawgletter's magpie eye at least — tracks Judicial Vacancies.  Let's take a look at the state of play with JVs:

  • They come in seven flavors:  Deceased, Elevated, New Position, Removed, Resigned, Retired, and Senior.  (Senior means a judge stays on the bench but cedes "active" status and often takes a smaller caseload.) 
  • Among current JVs, Senior segment accounts for 74 of the 91 now-empty seats; seven arose from Resigned; five went the Elevated route; Deceased explains four; and New Position garners one.
  • Twenty-four JVs will open up in the next year or so:  15 by way of Senior status; six Elevateds; two Retireds; and one Resigned.
  • The President has nominated 16 men and women to fill that many bench spots.

Looking at things from a circuit/district view, we see the current and future landscape of open seats thus:

First Circuit:  One/three

Second Circuit:  Five/six

Third Circuit:  Two/seven

Fourth Circuit:  Five/11

Fifth Circuit:  One/10

Sixth Circuit:  One/five

Seventh Circuit:  Two/eight

Eighth Circuit:  None/nine

Ninth Circuit:  Three/15

Tenth Circuit:  One/four

Eleventh Circuit:  One/nine

D.C. Circuit:  Two/three

Federal Circuit:  One/not applicable

Finally, let's cast our gaze on how the Senate would change the mix, in each circuit, between appointees of Republican presidents and Democratic ones if it confirmed all of he pending nominations.  (Numbers include active circuit judges only; shows shifts from majority Republican status in yellow):

First Circuit:  From 3-2 to 3-3

Second Circuit:  From 6-3 to 5-8

Third Circuit:  From 6-6 to 6-8

Fourth Circuit:  From 5-5 to 5-10

Fifth Circuit:  From 12-4 to 12-5

Sixth Circuit:  From 10-5 to 10-6

Seventh Circuit:  From 7-3 to 7-5

Eighth Circuit:  No change from 9-2

Ninth Circuit:  From 11-16 to 11-18

Tenth Circuit:  8-4 to 8-5

Eleventh Circuit:  From 7-4 to 7-5

D.C. Circuit:  From 6-3 to 6-5

Federal Circuit:  From 8-4 to 7-5

The U.S. Senate has voted on (and confirmed) just one nominee — Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor.  The Judiciary Committee held hearings for five others but hasn't set dates for any of the rest.

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