Federal Judicial Vacancies And The United States

3778 Words16 Pages
Shannon Robin
April 8, 2015
Washington Lawyer Seminar Paper

Federal Judicial Vacancies in the United States
I. Introduction
There is currently a chaotic situation brewing within the federal judicial branch of the United States. Due to Congress refusing to submit nominations for federal judges to the executive branch, few overall nominations for the federal judicial vacancies are being submitted to the Senate for confirmation. This leaves senior judges struggling to handle caseloads meant for numerous people and the adjudication period doubling or tripling for those who are bringing cases within the federal court system.
II. What are Federal Judicial Vacancies?
There are currently eighty-nine district courts within the fifty states, ninety-four total when the territories are included. There are thirteen judicial circuits, each with their own court of appeals. Although the Constitution creates Article III judges, it does not state any specific requirements that an individual must meet to become a federal judge. Due to this gray area, Congress and the Department of Justice have developed their own informal criteria when reviewing a nominee’s qualifications.
A federal judicial vacancy occurs when a judge is either elevated to a higher court or when they reach senior judge status, creating an empty seat on the bench. A judge, beginning at the age of 65, may retire at their current salary or take senior status after performing 15 years of active service as an Article III
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