Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Judicial Nominations and Vacancies

Yesterday, President Obama announced two nominees for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. This is the first step in the federal judicial appointment process, which is outlined by the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts points out around 75 current vacancies in the federal court system, with almost half of those classified as “judicial emergencies”. The Judicial Nominations page at the U.S. Department of Justice presents a graphical view of nominees and hearings, although there is a slight delay in updating.

Information about current Article III judicial nominees can be found in a variety of places. THOMAS, the free Library of Congress web portal, maintains a search screen for federal nominations, including the judiciary. Results link to information about the status of the nomination. The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary also maintains free information for the current Congress, including links to hearing transcripts and nominee questionnaires. Candidate ratings, supplied by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, are available online back to the 101st Congress (1989).

Some subscription resources available to the Duke community supplement the free nomination resources with additional information. U.S. Law Week, available through Bloomberg BNA, provides a roundup of Nominations and Confirmations. Earlier this month, the Congressional Research Service released a report, Nominations to U.S. Circuit and District Courts by President Obama During the 111th and 112th Congresses (free online & to Duke community via ProQuest Congressional), which presents a statistical overview of nominations and their status from President Obama’s inauguration until May 31 of this year.

For help locating information about current or historical federal judicial appointments, be sure to Ask a Librarian.