Vacant Federal Judgeships

By Neil A. Lewis
The New York Times

August 11, 1997

Six months into his second term, President Clinton has yet to fill scores of offices. This list of judicial vacancies is the third of a series of occasional tallies of unfilled posts throughout the Administration, including Cabinet departments and ambassadorships.

President Clinton has been especially slow to nominate people to fill vacant judgeships both in his first term and in the first seven months of his second term. In fact, some judicial vacancies have been left open as long as three or four years before Clinton selected someone as his choice.

President Clinton and the Senate, which is charged with deciding whether to confirm judicial nominees, have been engaged in occasional finger-pointing over who is to blame for the delays. But it is clear that in most cases, the White House has been responsible for delays by not naming people for months, if not years.

President Clinton has begun to name judicial candidates at a brisker pace but the Senate has confirmed only 12 nominees since the beginning of the year.

Graph: JUDICIAL POSITIONS: 874 Current vacancies -- 97 No nomination -- 45 Nominee pending -- 52 Nominees confirmed in 1997 -- 12 Map: The federal courts are divided into 12 regional circuits, including one for the District of Columbia, each with a court of appeals and several district courts that conduct trials. Map shows the areas covered by the 12 regional circuits. Table: NOMINEES MONTHS VACANT VACANCIES PENDING (AVERAGE) First Circuit 2 1 21 Second Circuit 12 6 14 Third Circuit 12 6 21 Fourth Circuit 4 3 28 Fifth Circuit 9 3 28 Sixth Circuit 8 6 14 Seventh Circuit 7 6 19 Eighth Circuit 4 3 12 Ninth Circuit 23 14 14 Tenth Circuit 3 0 6 Eleventh Circuit 9 3 14 District of Columbia Circuit 4 1 15

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