Both the president and Congress are often criticized for moving too slowly to fill federal judicial vacancies. But where are these vacancies and what has been done to fill them? The answers to these and other questions can be found at JudicialNominations.org, a website published by the American Constitution Society.
The site features an interactive map of the United States showing vacancies by circuits and by federal districts. Click on any one to see the status of vacancies and nominations within that circuit or district.
For example, by clicking on my district of Massachusetts, I can quickly see that the U.S. District Court here has had one vacancy since March 12, 2009; that President Obama on April 28, 2010, nominated Denise J. Casper to fill the vacancy; that she had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 14; and that the committee reported on her nomination to the full Senate on Aug. 5. I can also see her judicial questionnaire and the president’s announcement of her nomination.
The site allows you to bypass the map and instead see a full list of judicial vacancies by circuit and a full list of pending nominees by circuit.
The site also includes a feed of news stories about vacancies and nominations and another of Congressional statements on various nominees. Other features describe the judicial nomination process and the role of the judiciary.
Last but not at all least are two boxes on the site’s front page that list the five vacancies that have been open the longest and the five nominees who have been pending the longest. The longest-open vacancy is a seat on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that has not been filled since Dec. 31, 2004. The longest-pending nominee is Jane Stranch, nominated for the 6th Circuit on Aug. 5, 2009.