Happy Friday! As we noted on Wednesday, five more district court nominees were slated for Senate votes this week. Yesterday, the Senate confirmed Pamela Pepper to the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Brenda K. Sannes to the Northern District of New York, Madeline Cox Arleo to the District of New Jersey, Wendy Beetlestone to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Victor Allen Bolden to the District of Connecticut. Their confirmations are notable, not only for the diversity that they bring to the federal bench, but because they bring the number of current judicial vacancies down to 56. Read more »
Yesterday, on the first day back after its August recess, the Senate confirmed Jill Pryor to a Georgia-based seat on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Now-Judge Pryor had originally been nominated to fill this judicial emergency back in February 2012, making her the longest-pending judicial nominee in the Senate.
Judge Pryor's confirmation vote follows the confirmation of three other female Court of Appeals judges in July -- moving the percentage of active female federal court of appeals judges even closer to 35%. She becomes the 8th female circuit court judge, and the 12th court of appeals judge overall, to be confirmed this year. She is the 23rd female circuit court judge confirmed during President Obama’s Administration. Read more »
Last week, the Senate left for its August recess after having confirmed Pamela Harris to a Maryland-based seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and obtaining cloture on the nomination of Jill Pryor to a seat on the Eleventh Circuit (her confirmation vote presumably will take place shortly after the Senate returns in early September). Read more »
Yesterday evening, the Senate confirmed three district court nominees (Andre Birotte to the Central District of California, Robin Rosenberg to the Southern District of Florida, and John deGravelles to the Middle District of Louisiana). These votes follow on the heels of the confirmation of Julie Carnes to a Georgia-based seat on the Eleventh Circuit, 94-0, on Monday evening. In addition, last night, Senate Majority Leader Reid filed cloture on the nomination of Pamela Harris to a Maryland seat on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Senate is scheduled to vote tomorrow on the question of whether or not it will move to a confirmation vote on Harris’ nomination. Read more »
Today, the Senate unanimously confirmed four district court nominees, including one woman: Paul Byron and Carlos Mendoza to the Middle District of Florida; Beth Bloom, to the Southern District of Florida; and Geoffrey Crawford, to the District of Vermont. Read more »
Yesterday, Nancy Moritz was confirmed to a Kansas-based seat on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Moritz, formerly a Justice on the Kansas Supreme Court, becomes the third active female judge on the Tenth Circuit. She is the 18th woman confirmed to the federal Courts of Appeal under the Obama Administration.
Following Judge Moritz's confirmation, there are 20 female nominees currently pending before the Senate. Read more »
March is women’s history month, and, as such, it is a good opportunity take stock of the gains women have made in terms of their representation on the federal judiciary in the past year and under the Obama Administration more generally. One of President Obama’s signature accomplishments was the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, where three women now serve for the first time in history. While the Supreme Court tends to garner more attention, President Obama has had an impact on the gender balance on lower federal courts as well. While the percentage of women still lags in other arenas, for example with women comprising only 4.6% of CEOs in Fortune 500 companies, women have increasingly been appointed to the federal bench: slightly under 43% of the President Obama’s confirmed nominees over the course of his administration have been women. (This percentage is nearly double the percentage of women among President George W. Bush’s confirmed judges.)
Over the last year, President Obama nominated and saw confirmed two outstanding women to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals—widely viewed as the second most important court in the country. The confirmation of these two women, Judges Patricia Millett and Cornelia (“Nina”) Pillard, brings the number of active women judges on the D.C. Circuit to nearly 50%, a historic high. 2013 also marked the confirmation of Jane Kelly to the Eight Circuit, important because she is only the second female to ever have graced that court. And, just this week, Carolyn B. McHugh was confirmed to the Tenth Circuit, bringing the number of active female judges on that court to two (out of eleven). Read more »
Today, the Senate confirmed Carolyn McHugh to a Utah-based seat on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals by a vote of 98-0. Following Judge McHugh’s confirmation, the number of active female judges on this court has doubled (to two), another milestone to celebrate during Women’s History Month.Read more »