Judge Irma Carrillo Ramirez – Nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma Carrillo Ramirez was tapped for the federal bench late in the Obama Administration. Despite support from Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, Ramirez was never confirmed. Today, with Cornyn and Cruz supporting her again, President Biden has tapped Ramirez for the Fifth Circuit.


Born in 1964 to a family of immigrants from Mexico, Irma Carrillo Ramirez graduated from West Texas A&M University in 1986 and received a J.D. from the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in 1991.

After graduating, Ramirez spent four years at Locke Purnell Rain Harrell P.C. in Dallas (now Locke Lord LLP), before becoming a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.

In 2002, Ramirez became a federal magistrate judge with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. She serves in that capacity today.

On March 15, 2016, President Obama nominated Ramirez to replace Judge Terry Means on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. While Ramirez received a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 7, 2016, the Committee never voted her nomination out, and Ramirez was never confirmed. President Trump did not renominate Ramirez, instead filling the seat with Judge Ada Brown.

History of the Seat

Ramirez has been nominated for a Texas seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. This seat opened on August 31, 2022 with Judge Gregg Costa’s resignation from the court. Ramirez, who is eight years older than Costa, was recommended for the position by Texas senators Cornyn and Cruz.

Legal Career

Ramirez started her career in private practice in Dallas, primarily practicing commercial and employment litigation. For example, Ramirez was part of the legal team defending the Service Merchandise Company in a employment discrimination lawsuit brought by a plaintiff who was fired for allegedly harassing female employees. See Manison v. Service Merchandise Co., No. 3:02-cv-909-R (N.D. Tex.) (Buchmeyer, J.).

From 1995 to 2002, Ramirez worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Dallas, starting in the Civil Division and then moving to the Criminal Division. On the civil side, Ramirez defended the Department of the Interior in a multi-plaintiff reverse race and gender discrimination lawsuit, which ended with a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiffs. See Arnold, et al. v. Babbitt, 213 F.3d 193 (5th Cir. 2000) (appeal from jury trial verdict on attorney’s fees). On the criminal side, Ramirez led the prosecution of ten codefendants for the manufacturing and distributing of methamphetamines. See United States v. Adds, et al., No. 3:01-CR-93-P (N.D. Tex.) (Solis, J.).


For the past twenty years, Ramirez has served as a magistrate judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. In this role, Ramirez has presided over discovery disputes, as well as making reports and recommendations and handling agency appeals. Ramirez also presides over civil cases with the consent of the parties. Notably, Ramirez presided over a three-day bench trial over a failure to police lawsuit brought against the City of Dallas, ultimately ruling for the defendants, a decision that was affirmed on appeal. See Cox v. City of Dallas, 430 F.3d 734 (5th Cir. 2005), reh’g en banc denied, 160 F. App’x 163 (5th Cir. 2005), cert. denied, 547 U.S. 1130 (2006). In another trial, Ramirez presided over a breach of contract bench trial and awarded judgment to the plaintiff on primary claims and to the defendant on a counterclaim. See Always at Market, Inc. v. Girardi, et al., 2009 WL 1033650 (N.D. Tex. Apr. 16, 2009).

In more recent decisions, Ramirez recommended the dismissal of a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the City of Dallas by the family of Botham Jean, who was shot and killed by Amber Guyger, then serving as a Dallas police officer. See Jim Schutze, Dallas Can Grieve for Botham jean Without Bowing to Shame, Dallas Observer, Oct. 9, 2019, https://www.dallasobserver.com/news/grief-for-botham-jean-does-not-require-shame-from-dallas-11775689. Ramirez found that the complaint failed to allege a sufficient policy and pattern of behavior to overcome immunity from liability. See id.

Most of Ramirez’s decisions have been adopted and affirmed by district court judges and by the Fifth Circuit. Among her reversals, the Fifth Circuit reversed Ramirez’s ruling that overturned a final arbitration award in a contract dispute, ruling for the defendant that the arbitration award should be confirmed. See OMG, LP v. Heritage Auctions Inc., 11 F. Supp. 3d. 740 (N.D. Tex. 2014), aff’d in part, rev’d in part and remanded by 612 F. App’x 207 (5th Cir. 2015).

Overall Assessment

With over three decades of legal experience and two decades on the bench, Ramirez has developed strong ties to the Dallas legal community. With the support of her home-state senators, she can expect a fairly smooth confirmation.


  1. Uuuggghhh… This is the write up I least was looking forward to by Harsh… Lol

    I’ve spoken at length about this nomination so I’ll keep it short. I’m happy this seat is going to the first Latina & only current Hispanic on the circuit but it’s the wrong one. Soooooooo many better Latinas could have been chosen from Texas, even without picking a district court judge that would need to be backfilled.

    This is a 59 year old centrist on arguably the most conservative circuit out of all 13. A seat opened up when judge Lynn announced senior status so that makes this pick look even worse because she could have been renominated to the district court Obama nominated her to. But the absolute worst part about this nomination is it didn’t even come with any nominees to the 8 Texas district court vacancies. Now we have to hope Cornyn & Cruz turn in blue slips for those nominees when they come which is no guarantee now that the circuit court leverage is gone. Bottom line, you should never replace a circuit court judge with somebody both older & more conservative than the one that is retiring. Never never never


  2. I agree with @Dequan, never replace a retired judge with someone older than them. Several Latinas younger than Costa were passed over:

    -Amparo M. Guerra (1976) of the Texas First District Court of Appeals.

    -Veronica Rivas-Molloy (1975) of the Texas First District Court of Appeals.

    -Marisa Bono (1979). CEO of Every Texan and formerly with MALDEF.

    -Luz Elena Chapa (1975) of the Texas Fourth District Court of Appeals.

    -Diana Song Quiroga (1976), a Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of Texas.

    -Nadia Medrano (1981), a Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of Texas.

    And two others only a year older than Costa.
    -Southern District of Texas judges Marina Marmolejo Diana Saldaña (both 1971).

    I also would’ve been okay with MALDEF President Nina Perales (1966) because she’s so progressive.

    Would Cruz/ Cornyn have approved of many of those names? Probably not, but it doesn’t matter since Grassley got rid of blue slips for circuit court nominees under Trump.


    • I honestly don’t believe Ron Klain would have approved this. At the very least he would have made sure such a disappointing circuit court pick came with a package of district court nominees. I know @Mitch said “Gregg Costa was a centrist judge and compromise nominee”, which he was. But Ramirez still seems to be to the right of him on top of being 7 years older.

      I believe almost anybody on @Ethan’s list would have gotten blue slips turned in (Not that I care even if they didn’t for a circuit court nominee) to go along with a 3 for 1 package deal. My personal picks would have been Amparo Guerra first & Diana Song Quiroga second. But even either of the 2 Latinas born in 1971 from the Southern district would have been fine as long as it included an intent to nominate replacement to go along in the package deal.

      So what did we get with Ramirez… A 59 year old centrist, no district court nominees, moving the 5tj circuit even further to the right with both of Biden’s picks & we probably won’t even get a voice vote so we will have to waste the same amount of senate floor time for her as we would have for Rochelle Garza (She would have been my true favorite pick but I was talking about realistic picks above).


      • @Jill

        Qualifications alone isn’t the only thing you use to pick federal judges. I’m sure there are some conservative hard right Latina lawyers that are more qualified than both of them in Texas but I wouldn’t want Biden choosing them. You strictly use qualifications for some jobs such as brain surgery or to be an astronaut. That’s not how it works for federal judges.

        As I’ve said before judges is politics as well even if some don’t want to admit it. Race, background, age & a whole host of other factors come into play for these coveted positions. With that reality in mind, in my opinion Ramirez is easily one of the 3 worst Biden 39 circuit court judges. Her background is not very progressive & she’s 59. In the second most populous state where blue slips are not needed for this seat, Biden could have done better writing down every slightly left of center to liberal Latina under the age of 60 names on Post It Notes & taking his chances picking a name out of a hat… Lol


      • Jill has a lot of comments that add no value, but these take the cake – it’s clear that she does not have the slightest idea what different types of judges actually do. Being a state appellate judge and being a federal appellate court are literally the same job (reviewing trial court decisions) except in different court systems. In contrast, magistrate judges rarely ever touch a dispositive motion and certainly aren’t reviewing other judges’ decisions. It doesn’t matter if Ramirez spent three years or thirty years presiding over discovery disputes and doing settlement conferences – none of that has anything to do with being a federal appeals judge.

        Also, it doesn’t even look like Ramirez had any substantive experience in appellate litigation as a lawyer. Jill for all your obsession with qualifications (the definition of which seems to change depending on the nominee), you could at least do the bare minimum and look at what Ramirez did in her previous jobs – not just how long she held a certain title.

        Not quite as outraged by this pick as some others on this blog, as the Trump trash on CA5 would reverse any decent opinion Ramirez were to write anyways. Although I’m sure they decided on Ramirez before Feinstein’s whole shingles fiasco, I doubt any CA5 nominee that folks on here that would’ve liked would have gotten out of the SJC with her MIA for the foreseeable future (and as for the rumors that Feinstein might be back this week, I’ll believe it when I see it). I’d rather see Ramirez fill this seat than another Ho or Oldham, and thanks to Feinstein’s selfishness, those are the options we have at this point.


  3. I have cooled down a bit from my initial impression and have settled on a C+ for this one. I think she’ll probably still be a normal, boring center left jurist. My biggest complaint is really just age.

    Perhaps this will come with some solid compromise district judges in a later batch, in which case I might upgrade my ranking to a B- if it’s 6 or 8 nominees.


    • My initial impression of Ramirez was actually just her age. But I’ve since looked into her record & it keeps getting worse. At first it was the family of Botham Jean case that bothered me. But even reading Harsh’s wrote up on her this morning I find out that decades ago before she was a judge she was defending management in discrimination & harassment cases. Noe of course there’s nothing wrong with that in itself because everybody deserve representation in court. But when picking federal judges for seats that don’t require blue slips, I would much rather take my chances on nominees with progressive backgrounds.


  4. Grade: Solid F
    This nomination is a failure all round. She’s old and in no way a liberal, or even center left. Fail

    There’s no redeeming quality for this nominee.
    There’s a difference between optimism and naivete. The potential Florida nominations should have cut the cord for those poor souls still clinging to the tenuous hope that this Ramirez nomination is part of some larger deal. In an actual deal, both parties should have something to show for it, like in Florida.

    What else to say about this nominee? Nothing. She’s so old that maybe she’ll serve for only one year, resign to do something else (because she’s so bored of being a judge for so long), and allow Biden to nominate someone else. Yeah, I know, highly unlikely, but if people here can pin their hopes on judicial unicorns, I also get to dream a little wildly, too.

    A note on Gregg Costa
    No, he wasn’t just some compromise pick. He was an intellectual force on that court who was influential beyond his immediate court. He, in my opinion, was the small “liberal” wing’s most important counterweight to the excesses of the right-wing radicals. His loss is felt every time I hear/see the name Irma Carrillo Ramirez.


      • @shawnee68

        @Gavi mentioned much more about why Ramirez is a bad nominee than just her age. I would argue age is enough but in this case there are many more problems in addition to her being 59. So I would push back against the accusation of nonsense. As for rant, this is a blog for the judiciary yea, of course we will rant on here… Lol


      • I’m sorry I didn’t know that you were his anointed spokesperson.

        For months people were complaining about the lack of a pick. Now , that we have one people are saying she’s too old and not approving of work she has done.

        You guys trash Biden’s picks before they go on the bench like if you know what they are going to do.

        After they get there we nothing about them that caused the complaints in the first place. I think one of them was Christine O’ Hearn .

        I don’t know who she is but heard that she is one of the worst picks etc. Ok, can you direct me to rulings she has made as a judge?

        I am just saying your speculation is pointless and even more meaningless because you don’t what judges do. There’s a courtroom 4 blocks from you but you are too lazy go there and observe. (I mean you just in general)


      • I’m not @Gavi or anybody else spokesman. When I disagree with him I write it. On this issue I’m 100% in agreement with him. Yes, we wanted a nominee for the 5th. Yes we wanted a Latina. Yes we didn’t want a district court judge. I didn’t think we also had to say we didn’t want somebody older then the person they were replacing or somebody more conservative but apparent we have to say that too I see… Lol

        And yes I am one of the ones that is very critical of Christine O’Hearn. She may turn out to be the next Thurgood Marshall on the bench, who knows. But until we see that, yes we will criticize her as well as other Biden judges based on what we have seen so far because remember (Once again) this is a judicial blog. If you are on here I assume it’s not to talk about The Yankees being in last place (Although as a Yankee hater I would be happy to talk about that too… Haaaa).


      • I don’t recall anybody having a more mature Latina on the 5th Circuit. If someone younger were chose you would find something about that person like.

        It’s something new every week. The other week people were crying that no was being confirmed and time was running out. That wasn’t true.

        All of these statements that nominees are bad and after they take the bench it proves to be false. Lot’s of fiction writers on here who are needed in Hollywood.


      • Perhaps you didn’t scroll up but just in the past 24 hours alone both @Ethan & myself named several Latinas we wouldn’t have had any complaints about. And again, you’re stating the obvious. We know anybody can go on the bench & surprise us. And I’m sure in 10 years some of us will be on Harsh’s blog saying just that. But we can only comment on what we know at the time which is a person’s background & history up to this point. This is a blog on the judiciary so I would prepare yourself for much more or it… Lol


  5. I’m sure Ron Klain was happy to get out of there after 2 years but man, you couldn’t stay for 1 more year, hell 6 months just until you fill out the last remaining blue states and 20%-25% of the red states?


    • I agree, it is frustrating that someone that good at his job like Klain just up and left. I get that it’s a tough gig and he wants to make some money. But he really had a chance to help totally remake the federal judiciary (and other executive staff positions too) and he gave that up.


      • @Gavi

        AMEN. I couldn’t agree with you more on all accounts. But hey I got some good news for you. If that judicial uniform were to happen & Ramirez did resign after one year guess what… We still would have PLENTY of time according to some on this blog… Haaaaaa

        To the other users, yea very sad Ron Klein couldn’t stay on the job at least through this Summer. I’m sure the law firm he went to could have held his position another 8 months. It’s not like there’s a slew of former WH chief of staff’s just lying around. His departure is greatly felt as I suspect fiascos such as the Ramirez nomination without any package deal wouldn’t have happened on his watch.


  6. I’ve been looking at some of the other nominees. I was surprised at the nomination of Vernon Oliver in Connecticut. But I’ve since learned that he is a former aide to Richard Blumenthal. Also, in private practice he worked at a law firm that specializes in workman comp cases.


  7. I just realize there were TWO vacancies on the Delaware supreme court. Carney has already made two nominations below. N. Christopher Griffiths is a Black man born c. 1980. He looks pretty progressive but pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in January, so not sure if he will be confirmed.

    Abigail LeGrow born c. 1979 is the other nominee. She seems less progressive but she’s on @Ethan’s list so I guess she is good.



      • Oh great news. I was reading an article from before yesterday so amazing both have now been confirmed. Both are in their low 40’s & seem to have good backgrounds. Governor Carney seems to be good at picking judges. Maybe we can get him a side job in The White House Counsel’s office or have him pay New Jersey a visit. Both of these justices could be potential for elevation either to the 3rd or federal circuit.


        You see how it works? When somebody is good at picking judges we say they are good. When they do a bad job we say they did a bad job. We don’t just complain about everybody. Governor Carney did a good job here so no complaints. It’s really that simple… Lol


      • @Dequan NJ Gov Phil Murphy has done a great job nominating young and progressive judges to their state supreme court. He would have done a better job nominating judges for the district court and the upcoming 3rd circuit vacancy than Booker and Menendez have


      • Totally agree. And that’s with Murphy’s hands tied having to nominate some Republicans due to the partisan balance tradition. Right now I would venture to say Murphy is the best current Democrat governor on judges. Whitmer & Carney are also good & may surpass him since they don’t have a partisan balance rule.

        Hochul was forced/embarrassed into making two good picks so maybe with a Democrat super majority, she will continue to be forced into repeating. Ned Lamont has been surprisingly disappointing. His first three picks to the CT high court have been lackluster.

        Newsome has been above average but certainly could have named younger & more progressive justices. I’m really looking forward to seeing the kind of justices we get out of new governors in Massachusetts, Maryland & Oregon.


  8. As someone who knows people who have lost loved ones to DUI drivers, I have to say N. Christopher Griffiths dui should have disqualified him.
    It wasn’t something he did when he was younger either, it was recent which shows incredible poor and selfish judgement and not someone I would want on a state’s highest court, let alone a federal one.


  9. As someone who knows people who have lost loved ones to DUI drivers, I have to say N. Christopher Griffiths dui should have disqualified him.
    It wasn’t something he did when he was young (still would have been no excuse) it was recently which given his age is well beyond the point where he can say he didn’t know better.
    It shows incredibly poor and selfish judgement and not someone I would want on a state’s highest court, let alone a federal one.


  10. @Zack Jones

    I can understand that genuine viewpoint. While I am happy he was ultimately confirmed, I certainly can’t fault somebody that has the opposite view. I try to always remain consistent (Except when I explicitly admit I’m intentionally not being consistent). This one is a tough one for me.

    While I don’t know justice Griffith’s background as well as many federal judges, I’m going to assume he had a clean record prior to January. So really for me it comes down to if I want to let that one night, one bad decision stop him from getting on the bench. If I were a Delaware senator, I would have to really dive deep into that night. While any DIU is bad, I do feel there are different levels. Some states illegal limit is so low, if you have one or two beers, you’re over the limit. That’s certainly something I have done & I’m sure if you gave truth serum to every sitting federal judge & state supreme court justice, a large percentage would answer they have as well.

    Obviously had he hit or killed somebody we wouldn’t be having this conversation. It would be a no brainer, he would not be a justice. But the fact of the matter is he didn’t hurt anybody (Thank God). So for me, I probably would have voted to confirm him, but I do admit I’m a bit torn with the DUI being so recent.

    And again, I totally respect your opinion & unfortunate history that has led you to that opinion. Now that he has been confirmed, I hope he uses that one horrible decision to be at the poster child of why that decision was so bad & helping to guide others not to repeat the same mistake.


      • @Frank

        I can’t find much on Braman’s nephew. I was able to find out some on the other two but I’m drawing a blank on him with the exception of his political donations @Ethan sent & his last two jobs. If you or anybody else has any links I could read I would appreciate if you send away. I’m curious to read up more on him since we know no deal will be agreed to that doesn’t include him.


  11. Honestly I would not be surprised if Graham and maybe even Tillis or Kennedy vote Delaney to the floor. They probably view him as better than whoever a replacement pick would be and also it would invite a bit of chaos into the D caucus.


      • They might be able to run out the clock and fill the seat under a president from their own party, should Delaney not receive the votes needed. It took more than a year for Biden to announce his nomination, so it’s not crazy to think it could happen based if you are of the opinion there isn’t much time left.


      • Remember when I say there isn’t enough time, I’m talking about all vacancies announced before February 2024. @Gavi puts it earlier, I believe his opinion was by the end of October of this year, but in both cases we are talking about vacancies that occur after the dates we say respectively.

        Of course there is enough time to confirm all of the pending nominees. But the longer you take confirming these nominees, the harder it will be to confirm nominees for vacancies that occur after the dates we mentioned. If all pending nominees were confirmed by the end of this year then I will move my date further up closer to the Summer of next year. But with the pace of the senate & increased two day work weeks like this upcoming week, there will be a backlog of vacancies going into next year. That will make it harder to fill vacancies that will occur after January of next year in my opinion.


    • Papillion for sure should advance Thursday because he has the backing of his two home state Republican senators, one of which is on the SJC. Daniels is from a blue state so we will have to see if Republicans are willing to advance him. They probably will since he was in the military & during Graham’s questioning of him they spoke about his service.

      Of course all of that wouldn’t matter if Feinstein would just return to work Tuesday but I guess she is taking an 11th week off which is probably why Schumer didn’t send any cloture motions to the desk Thursday.


  12. @Hank

    I’ll go hard for any long serving highly qualified & well-regarded public servant everyday all day! And in the case of the WH wanting to appoint a Latina to the 5th Circuit vacancy in Texas that just happens to be Judge Ramírez.


    • @Hank

      I know right. I said immediately on this blog when they said Feinstein might return next week, I will believe it when I see it. With next week being a 2-day work week, followed by the next week being the last week in session before the senate is out for their next recess week, I fully expect Feinstein to stay home next week for 11 straight weeks, the week after for 12 straight weeks & the recess weeks for lucky number 13 straight weeks. The only way you will see Feinstein on the senate floor before the senate returns on Tuesday, May 30th, is if somebody pulls one of those Weekend at Bernie stunts… Haaaaa

      Going back to picks in general, we have to remember there’s a difference between a bad pick & a bad pick but good deal. Let’s take the most obvious worst reported deal under Biden, Chad Meredith. He is a 41-year-old, ultra conservative, anti-abortion lawyer. Now on the face of it, this would be the worst Biden nominee had the deal gone through. But for me, he would have been the worst nominee not just soley because of the nominee, but because of the reported deal. Only two US attorneys that can be replaced on day one of the next Republican president is not worth a lifetime appointment for Meredith.

      Now let’s look at what deal would make Meredith worth it in my opinion. Since there are no other vacancies in Kentucky, you would have to get creative. I would have told McConnell (Assuming Paul would turn his blue slip in for Meredith) that I would nominate Chad in exchange for the two Us attorneys & McConnell’s pledge to either vote yes or present on cloture & the finally vote on 5 circuit court & 5 district court nominees of MY choosing. Then I only announce my intent to nominate Meredith & only send his nomination to the senate floor once those 10 judges & 2 US attorneys are confirmed & McConnell kept his end of the bargain. And remember that deal was before the election so we wouldn’t have known the Democrats would have remained in the majority, let alone gain a seat.

      That’s the kind of deal that would have taken Meredith off my worst nominee list had he been nominated. What makes Ramirez such a bad nominee in my opinion is we get a 59-year-old centrist with nothing to show for it in return. Now had we gotten nominees for at least half of the 8 district court vacancies, & it would have been similar to the 4 Pennsylvania 4 we got last year, I would think a little higher of Ramirez nomination. But we got nothing. We shall see what we eventually get but for now this is a really bad pick in my opinion.


    • Another example why “progressive” prosecution is a dangerous trend in this country. Gardner also had to have known that the Republicans would’ve forced her out if she hadn’t left. Hopefully examples such as this lead to more balanced and fair prosecution.


      • @Frank bullshit – did you even read the article? It indicates that she wasn’t even following through on the progressive platform she campaigned on in the first place. And if your definition of “fair and balanced prosecution” is mindless deference to corrupt and incompetent cops, then you’re even more of a joke than I thought.


  13. Changing gears here a bit, with Anthony Johnstone receiving his commission on May 5 and officially replacing Sidney Thomas, there are now just 10 Clinton appellate nominations still in active service:

    Roger Gregory (1953) 4th Circuit
    Robert Bruce King (1940) 4th Circuit
    Carl Stewart (1950) 5th Circuit
    Karen Moore (1948) 6th Circuit
    Eric Clay (1948) 6th Circuit
    Kim Wardlaw (1954) 9th Circuit
    Ronald Gould (1946) 9th Circuit
    Johnnie Rawlinson (1952) 9th Circuit
    Charles Wilson (1954) 11th Circuit
    Timothy Dyk (1937) Federal

    I would love to see another handful of these go senior within the next 18 months, although I think many of these are “lifers” at this point and are willing to serve until they can no longer do so. One that I am keeping on eye on is Roger Gregory, whose term as Chief ends later this year.

    In addition there are 5 HW and 5 Reagan appellate nominees still in active service:

    J Harvey Wilkinson (1944) 4th Circuit
    Paul Niemeyer (1941) 4th Circuit
    Edith Jones (1949) 5th Circuit
    Jerry Smith (1946) 5th Circuit
    Frank Easterbrook (1948) 7th Circuit
    Ilana Rovner (1938) 7th Circuit
    James Loken (1940) 8th Circuit
    Pauline Newman (1927) Federal
    Alan Lourie (1935) Federal
    Karen Henderson (1944) DC

    Obviously I do not expect any of these to willingly leave under Biden, but things do change unexpectedly sometimes. There is also the ongoing battle between Newman and the Federal Circuit Chief as well.


    • Biden will need 11 more circuit court vacancies in order to have the opportunity to match Trump’s 54. I expect that 11 to come from the list above. Hopefully a handful more happen in his first term so if he is re-elected & Democrats hold on to the senate, they will be within reaching distance to pass Trump in a 5th Biden year.


      • I agree Dequan. To be honest, I only see about 3-5 from this list that will likely leave before the end of 2024, but maybe there are a few Obama era judges that will unexpectedly leave as well.

        I think if Biden gets a second term and at least 2 years with a senate majority then we’ll 54+ for sure, as more of the Obama era judges start to leave. I also think that would significantly increase the odds of another Supreme Court vacancy as well.


  14. Dick Durbin is still making the rounds on Sunday news shows and still weakening his position and authority on everything, from judicial ethics reform to SJC subpoena power. It’s a painful 10-minute video for me to watch.

    When Feinstein declined the chairmanship, Dems had a chance to name someone who would have been a powerful and effective chair.
    Instead, displaying their usual mortal-binding to the seniority/senility system, they went with someone who already had a major leadership position. So they sidelined Sen. Whitehouse, now Clarence Thomas is smiling at the fecklessness of the supposed oversight body.

    We have the government we deserve.



    • It still surprises me the party senate Whip can also be the chairman of a committee. You don’t see leader Schumer being chairman of any committee. I would think it should be the same for Whip.

      I have defended Durbin a lot. From his refusal to cave to Republican demands for a second hearing for a nominee to laughing out of the room senator Sullivan’s ridiculous claim that he needs to meet with all 9th Circuit nominees before they are announced even when they are not for Alaska, Durbin has stood firm. But he has simply not met the moment in several other areas.

      He talks a good game on having flexibility on not allowing senators to block nominees with blue slips for the wrong reasons, yet he hasn’t moved an inch when the time comes. He didn’t hold additional SJC hearings last year even though Democrats could have lost the senate. He is not a bad chairman but unfortunately just being good isn’t good enough for the moment we face as a country.


      • @Dequan

        Senate party leaders back in the day used to retain their committee chairmanship. Chairing a committee was considered more important since you had complete control over what gets to the senate from your committee (and the VP actually presided very often, and not just in case he needed to cast a tie-breaking vote). The decline in the relevance and power of committee chairs is a coefficient of a more powerful party leader.
        I haven’t yet researched exactly when top party leaders stop chairing (or even sitting) committees, but I’d say it’s after the Civil Rights era, when civil rights legislations were finally advanced over the objections of staunch southern segregationist committee chairs.
        That’s a long way of saying, yes, Durbin chairing a committee while holding the second highest post in the caucus is highly unusual for *this* time. This was a point Whitehouse tried to make when he campaigned for the chairmanship. Unfortunately, this point didn’t carry in the seniority-loving Dem caucus.

        I think Sen. Whitehouse would have already launched a serious investigation into the ethical lapses of the justices and on the corporate capture of the courts. And he would have certainly added more hearing days and be a better senate floor manager for problematic nominees and nominees without home state senators (Puerto Rico, Washington, DC.).


      • I totally agree senator Whitehouse would be the chairman to meet the moment at this time. I’m hoping Durbin will be embarrassed into becoming a better leader similar to governor Hochul (It’s Monday, you know I have to get my weekly dose of Hochul bashing in… Lol) was embarrassed into making good picks to the NY court of appeals.

        I still hope the next SJC hearing is before the 4 nominees from last week are eligible. That will force Durbin to either skip Matthew Maddox in panel 2 & have just two nominees in panel 1, or be embarrassed there’s only one nominee in panel 2 because of his strict adherence to blue slips. Sorry to say but sometimes these people just need to be embarrassed into doing the right thing & at this point I’m fine with that.


  15. You would think some of the active Clinton circuit court judges would form a line longer than what you’d see at a Taylor Swift concert to take senior status… Taking senior status is best of all worlds, the judge gets to work less and get the same pay and benefits, and Biden can name their replacement – win /win for everybody.. Hear that 3 9th Circuit Clinton judges still full time..


    • I actually inquired as to why any judge that meets the rule of 80 wouldn’t decide to take senior status as long as the president & senate is from their party. When you go senior status, you no longer receive the cost-of-living adjustments like when you’re in active status. I can see how that 1% – 3% increase can add up over the years & decades a judge lives past the age they meet the rule of 80.

      The greater question I have is why judges don’t more out right retire instead of taking senior status. They can still have their lifetime salary & then go join a big-time law firm for a huge pay day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • A lot of judges still enjoy hearing cases, and some judges prefer to be able to vote on en banc procedures.

        Also, apparently senior judges serve at the pleasure of their court’s chief judge, meaning that the Chief Judge could refuse to assign any cases to a senior judge (in practice this rarely happens because the courts are so overworked). On the 5th circuit, James L. Dennis famously did not get along with Edith Jones, who was chief judge from 2006 to 2012. Understandably, Judge Dennis chose not to take senior status during that time despite being eligible to & a Dem president/senate… Edith Jones strikes me as someone who would threaten to strip Dennis of his cases as a way to exert power over him.


  16. @RyanJoshi
    That’s not exactly how it works. Assignments are randomized (especially on the circuit courts, district court judges may be specifically assigned some cases based on expertise) even for senior judges. It’s not based on the whim of the chief judge. This is different from assigning an out of district/circuit judge to sit on a case by designation.
    There are other non-case, court-related things that a spiteful chief might prevent you from participating in, but that’s true for all judges.

    The 5th Circuit panel for the mifepristone case is announced!

    Jennifer Walker Elrod (Bush 2007)
    James Ho (Trump 2019)
    Cory Wilson (Trump 2020)

    The FDA has no chance so it better start prepping for an appeal to SCOTUS. It’s too bad final SCOTUS decision won’t come out before the 2024 elections.

    Also, to the @Franks of the world, you have to own the fact that even after serving on this court for over 15 years, Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod is still younger than Biden’s new 5th Circuit nominee.


    • The FDA might as well no show for that line up…smh

      Ramirez is older than 4 of the 6 Trump judges, one of the GW Bush judges & one other GW Bush judge is only one-year older than she is despite joining the court 15 years ago. I’m truly trying my best not to say Ramirez is the worst Biden circuit court nominee, but she is making Childs look like Nancy Abudu at this point.

      The 5th circuit was the most conservative circuit when Biden took office. His two appointments have moved the court to the right. At least in Dana Douglas case she’s young but other than being the only Hispanic & first Latina on the 5th, I really am having a hard time finding anything else positive to say about this nominee.


      • It’s panels like this that get me so mad. Our rights are on the line & not only is it business as usually in the US senate & SJC, but it’s actually worse now than when they had a 50/50 senate. Increased 2-day work weeks (Like this week), no adjustments to blue slips in the SJC & a slow pace of nominees. I’m all for people getting their time off but AFTER the work is done. Schumer should have galvanized his caucus & said let’s work a couple of back-to-back 5-day work weeks & knock out all of the circuit court nominees with the extra two days (Monday & Friday for two weeks would be an extra 4 days). Then take two of these 2-day work weeks & work the Monday (Full day) & knock out most of the district court nominees.

        Then the senate can take their 5-week summer vacation happily. hell, I will help them pack if they need. But instead, we have panels like this while we have a vacancy on the 5th that could have helped the odds of a better draw. It’s so frustrating getting this news on a day the senate should be in session with there being no holiday this week.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Dequan
        “The 5th circuit was the most conservative circuit when Biden took office. His two appointments have moved the court to the right.”

        Yup, wasted opportunities from your guy, but I’m sure you’re not ready to go that far haha. Since you and Zack or uber Bidenites, I can appreciate how tough it must be to admit things like this.

        Anyway, what’s the point in Biden getting new vacancies to fill on courts like the 5th? Liberals are going to be replaced with less liberal judges. And conservatives replaced with only marginally less conservative ones, if replaced at all.


      • @Ryan Joshi

        I definitely defend Biden, but I also call it like I see it. Before the midterms my biggest criticism was the Childs, Pan & O’Hearn nominations. There were other smaller things but overall, I was positive on him when it came to the judiciary.

        Since the midterms I have been much more critical. From Republican/unaffiliated nominees in blue states, to the slow pace of nominations, to the bat sh*t crazy policy @Gavi correctly stated they had of nominating red state district court judges without preapproval knowing about blue slips to the Ramirez nomination. I call it like I see it. The second half of his first term is not off to a good start sadly.


  17. It’s an even worse issue in the 11th circuit. Trump has the documents case there now and it would be nice to have Abudu confirmed and firmly in the mix for a panel. The seat is vacant and Abudus nomination is on the floor waiting for a vote.

    As far as I’m concerned she and Garcia should be confirmed as soon as is humanly possible.


    • It gets me so mad. Even if they kept the same schedule from last year instead of all these additional Monday’s off, we could have confirmed all of the pending circuit court nominees. And last year’s schedule was already short, coming in Monday at 5pm & out the door by Thursday at 3pm. And FIVE freaking weeks off for the Summer recess. The past two years was only 4 weeks off. Their Summer recess makes some middle school teachers blush.


  18. There are two vacancies on the Court of International Trade. It currently has four Obama appointees and three Trump appointees. It also has a rule that a political party can have no more than five members of one political party. So if Biden nominates two, one will have to be a Republican.

    One of the vacancies has been open since 2019. Why hasn’t the Biden White House nominated anyone? It’s not a court that generates much partisan passion.


      • Exactly. Remember even if Democrats lost the senate last year or lose it next year but Biden is president, as long as blue slips are in play with them in the majority, then you basically get the same red state district court nominees in all cases. Same for the international trade court & tax court. It’s most important to fill the circuit seats & blue state district court vacancies while Dems have the majority.


    • Most folks here see the filling of vacancies just as a strategic game, but not the original purpose to make the judicial system effectively working. I understand why, and also, why priorisation is necessary, but don’t agree with this opinion in ths way, it is expressed here.
      Every vacancy means less effective work and longer waiting times for the people who are in need.
      Clearly visible at the Washington Superior Courts, where many judges leaving after six or seven years due to the high workload and the moderate pay. But no effort from the WH to tackle this problem seriously. Roll call vote for Noti is needed and just two nominees waiting for a hearing at ten vacancies, and three upcoming ones.
      The same with the special court we actually talk about. Biden has to far filled two seats at Federal Claims and elevated a sitting court from there, another nominee is waiting for a floor vote. And one seat filled at the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
      At the Court of International Trade and Tax Court nothing has happened so far. While the first one is smaller and hence vacancies are more noticeable, on the last one, two further vacancies will occur this year, when the terms of the two remaining G.W.B. judges are expiring. So on both courts action is required.


      • Totally agree with everything that you said here. We need more compromises between the Republicans and Biden to fill these vacant seats. Both sides need to be willing to give and take equally whether that is agreeing to compromise nominees, voice votes, or the elimination of the cloture vote for some nominees.


  19. I have to say, I used to think that Zack Jones gives the worst possible takes. But reading those of Frank’s this morning makes me wonder about that. A tie, maybe?

    One day Frank supposedly preaches a kumbaya politics, where if only Dems and Republicans are just a bit nicer to each other, everything will be OK. Um, what? Ok, Boomer. That might be how things were in your Eisenhower days before the parties sorted themselves into distinct camps. Frank, stop living in the past. Those days aren’t coming back. Also, the Eisenhower days of your youth wasn’t great for people like me so I have no interest in their return.
    Another day Frank opines that Dems should abandon any hope that they can even be competitive–not win—merely competitive in a senate race that previously their candidate lost by about 10 thousand votes (that’s less than half a point!) in 2018. What?

    So on the one hand the two parties need to just smile at each other more and their real and deep differences will just melt away. On the other hand, Dems should summarily surrender and don’t even try to contest a major election?

    Before 2016, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin hadn’t voted for a Republican for president since Reagan. That’s started before I was born and with a year gap greater than my age. Where the hell was Frank to advise the Trump campaign to just write those states off? The country would be in a much better situation now.
    West Virginia is redder than Florida. Should Manchin not have run in 2018? Should he not run next year because, let me find your nonsense quote: you’d “be shocked if [Manchin] come[s] within single digits of beating [Justice]?”

    It pleases me, Frank, that you are not in a position to make policy. But I am saddened that there might be other little Franks out there with similar beliefs who are indeed in a position that matters. I just hope they are not on my side.
    You fail to grasp even the elementary strategy of forcing your opponents to spend money where they otherwise wouldn’t need to so that they can’t spend it where they do need to.

    You have consistency, I’ll give you that, because in politics and the judiciary alike, you’re a veritable fount of disastrous takeaways.

    Run, Wade, run


    • @Thomas

      I don’t necessarily disagree with you. In my book, fill every vacancy, even the Superior court in DC, International Trade, Federal Claims & Armed Forces included. But we must prioritize. In a perfect world, we would have a US senate that works 4 FULL days a week. That way we could have a judicial confirmation turn style.

      But that’s not what we have. At best, we have a senate that works 3 days a week, increasingly 2 days a week like this week. We also have a Republican Party that is increasingly making the senate take cloture votes on nominees that use to be confirmed by a voice vote. We have senator Tubberville holding up military promotions. We have only had 4 voice votes under Biden.

      So why do I bring that up? Because when you have this reality, you have to prioritize. Most of the judgeships you mentioned have 15 year terms. So Biden nominating a judge in 2021 or 2024 only changes their mandatory end date (Unless they are reappointed). Yes I know the work loads are high while we wait to fill those vacancies but the same can be said about the circuit & district courts with life time tenure. And in the case of the International Trade court, Biden is mandated to nominate one Republican. So I would argue those courts are not very high on the priority list right now. But once again in a perfect world I would agree with you fully.


      Thank you. To think a state Obama won twice & the sitting governor & US senator up for reelection next year won by around 30,000 votes don’t deserve an exciting, extremely popular candidate run against them & money behind them is laughable. That was a GREAT point about West Virginia being redder than Florida. I would add Montana to that list as well. By @Frank’s logic, Democrats should just concede those two seats. I don’t think so. Make Republicans spend money here in the sunshine state.


      • @Dequan
        Your point about the former routine nature of UC confirmation of nominees to those non-Article III courts is also a point against Frank’s yesteryearism. The parties have no incentive to help the other side speed up anything. This will only get worse.

        Also, Frank would have a stronger (but still failing) point if Nelson had lost to Scott by 30,000 votes. It’s much closer than that:
        Scott: 4,099,505
        Nelson: 4,089,472

        I’m no mathematician, but I think that’s just over 10k. Nelson could have made up that difference in Maimi-Dade and/or Broward alone if it wasn’t for the ridiculously complicated ballot that you folks have there. Do elections better! haha


      • Totally. And to think, Democrats were the ones that approved those horrible ballots myself included was a victim of when I first voted in the 2000 election.

        Ona other note, I’m leaving my apartment with a smile for the day. I was watching Morning Joe on MSNBC & they were railing against Republicans as usual. Then guess what? They turned to some Democrats being dumb & incompetent. What Democrats you ask… The governor & New York Democrats. It was music to my ears… Lol


      • Haha. Music to yours, a dirge to mine since I live here and have to deal with their incompetence. We’ve gotten too used to supermajority/single-party governance here. Look at other states where Dems aren’t always in complete control: Minnesota, Michegan, and look what they are doing with their new power. New York looks even sadder.


      • It’s so sad. Makes me wish good governors that are soon to be term limited like Governor Murphy would move to New York & run there. It sucks having one of the bluest states with such incompetent leadership. Morning Joe literally spent about 3 hours tearing Republicans apart but then in the 4th hour was like oh wait, New York Democrats are dumb starting with the governor… Lol


    • The situations you describe in the midwest states Trump won along with West Virginia are nowhere alike. Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have consistently been extremely close states on the presidential level for many years, and while Florida used to be that way, the pandemic brought in a parade of new Trump loyalists to join a slew of Republican leaning hispanics already finding refuge in the state to create a Republican stronghold. West Virginia has a Democratic incumbent, so it goes without saying that the party should seek to help Manchin in retaining that seat, even if his odds are slim, since he has for the most part been a reliable Democratic vote. But 2018, you say? That was a Democratic wave year (D+7 IIRC) where they won races in places they hadn’t won in before, and in some cases haven’t won since, and they still couldn’t win either of the major statewide races, with a Democratic 3-term incumbent senator to boot! The state has only gotten more red in recent years, to the point where DeSantis won by 20 points in 2022 after winning by less than a percentage point in 2018! And I’m supposed to believe that it is a purple state? Sorry, I’m calling BS, however as difficult is this may be to hear, no Democratic candidate is winning in FL for at least a generation, and Democrats wasting resources there will not result in any Republican resources being spent in tow because they aren’t stupid.


  20. To be honest, it’s laughable to see some progressives complaining about how Biden isn’t magically fixing what they helped break when it comes to the courts.
    2000 and 2016 among other years it wasn’t the centrist wing of the Democratic party telling people to stay home or vote third party because the Democratic candidate wasn’t inspiring enough and that SCOTUS and lower courts didn’t matter
    That would be progressives like Ralph Nader, Susan Saradon and their backers in the stupid idea it would bring about the progressive revolution.
    How did that work out?
    As to NY, there is plenty of blame to go around, starting with the hacks Cuomo put on the top court (one of whom is thankfully gone now), Sean Maloney who took his race for granted and folks in the AOC progressive wing who really need to get out of their deep safe blue districts and realize that slogans like defund the police etc. are STUPID and that if you want to push progressive policies in the criminal justice system, you better have a answer for when horrible crimes occur other then pretending they don’t happen or blaming them all on inequality in the system etc.
    Folks don’t like hearing that and it’s one of the key reasons Hochul almost lost last year, not because she wasn’t progressive enough.
    NY isn’t as blue as people think it is and wishing otherwise won’t change that.
    P.S I get the notion a few people don’t like the things I or others have to say because we don’t trash Biden/Democrats 24/7.
    Feel free to simply skip what we post then.


    • @Zack Jones

      Yea definitely. And progressives encouraging people to vote third party or not vote at all are definitely part of the problem. No argument from me on that.

      “Defund the police”… Uuuggghhh, I cringe just writing that, let alone hearing any progressives say it. I do giggle when I hear MTG, Trump or conservatives say “Defund the FBI” after years of bashing that slogan however. But no Democrat should ever make that statement again (Nor should they have made it in the first place).

      The only slight disagreement I have with you is when it comes to New York. I for one (Somebody who absolutely hates Hochul being the governor of NY) have many other issues with Hochul besides her not being progressive enough. I by no means do not believe New York (I’m originally from their & lived there many years) is some statewide liberal bastion.

      I mentioned earlier Morning Joe spending 3 & a half hours bashing Republicans this morning & then pivoting to bashing New York Democrats. You know what their criticism was? They were saying Republicans were spending the past few months saying liberals were trying to take away people’s gas stoves & people like him were telling them they are crazy & peddling conspiracy theories. And then all of a something BAM, the state of New York just passed a law to ban gas stoves. He said they were dumb passing laws like this with abortion rights, crime & so many other problems people care about. I completely agreed with him.

      States like Michigan, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania & California gave Democrats power & they are using that power to enact laws people care about. My problem with Hochul is she seems to either be incompetent or can’t read the room, & neither are acceptable.


    • And next week is actually a full 4-day week. With the debt ceiling coming up, I expect much of the in-session time after the recess week after next week, will be spent on that. He Needs to stop with the positions nobody has ever heard of & aren’t lifetime appointments & get to the heavy hitters ASAP. Next week should be ALL judges.


      • Did you feel the same about Justin Walker as you do Brad Garcia? What about Allison Rushing next door on the 4th circuit? If you didn’t have those concerns with those two, might I ask what in their background gave you so much confidence but you don’t see in Garcia’s background? Comparing the three side by side by side, Garcia seems to have the most impressive resume in my opinion.


      • I’m skeptical of all 30-somethings being appointed to the Federal Bench. It’s just too young & not enough experience in my opinion. Mid-forties & older I can have more respect for. And just to touch on diversity versus qualifications…both are equally important.


      • @Jill, while I agree that it’s not the most ideal scenario to be appointing 30-somethings to lifetime appointments, just like with gerrymandering, with Republicans doing it, Democrats can’t unilaterally disarm.

        Ages some circuit court judges were when they were appointed by Republican Presidents:

        under Reagan:
        -J. Harvie Wilkinson (39 when appointed to the 4th circuit).
        -Frank Easterbrook (36 when appointed to the 7th circuit).
        -Edith Jones (35 when appointed to the 5th circuit).

        under George H.W. Bush:
        -J. Michael Luttig (37 when appointed to the 4th circuit).
        -Samuel Alito (39 when appointed to the 3rd circuit).

        under George W. Bush:
        -Neil Gorsuch (39 when appointed to the 10th circuit).
        -Kimberly Moore (38 when appointed to the Federal circuit).
        (NUMEROUS others that were 40 or 41).

        under Trump:
        -Allison Jones Rushing (36 when appointed to the 4th circuit).
        -Andrew Brasher (39 when appointed to the 11th circuit).
        -Justin Walker (39 when appointed to the DC circuit).
        (once again, NUMEROUS others that were 40 or 41).


      • @Jill

        Two things can be true at the same time. You can have a nominee in their 30’s & they are extremely qualified. I would venture to say Brad Garcia is more qualified then some of the judges gave us in their 40’s & even 50’s & I’m not taking politics into account. Now I’ve pushed back against some Biden nominees but if they are qualified, then being in their 30’s only had an UP side. There’s nothing that magically happens when a person turns 40 years old.

        As for your last point, I completely agree. Both qualifications & diversity are important. The earlier conversation was a rebuttal of a couple uses saying qualifications should be the ONLY thing that matters. I think you should be qualified but there are other factors to account for as well.


      • Alito & Gorsuch are on SCOTUS now. Wilkinson, Easterbrook, & Jones are still sitting Circuit Judges. It’s good for Democrats to have at least 1 young judge on each circuit court who is young enough to eventually become Chief Judge. A while ago I read an analysis claiming that Trump appointed chief judges might participate in “judicial gerrymandering” (manipulating panels to optimize the number of conservative-majority panels) but could be deterred from doing so if they knew a Biden judge would be chief after them.

        I don’t know if there’s a good way to tell, but if Biden can find liberal lions who are liberal enough to strongly desire a like minded successor, by all means appoint them (basically can they be trusted to stay in office through a prolonged GOP controlled Senate, and disregarding that they might stay too long). Harry Pregerson was appointed by Carter at age 56 and stayed until age 92. James L. Dennis took office at age 59 and recently took senior status at 86. Marsha Berzon was in office from age 54 to 76, and Rosemary Pooler was from age 60 to 84. If we can find older liberal lions such as Pregerson, Dennis, Berzon, & Pooler, I’m all for it. But the bulk of Biden’s older nominees are not even remotely as liberal as Pregerson, Dennis, Berzon, & Pooler.


  21. For purely aesthetic reasons, it would be nice to have Cartwright confirmed soon too so she will finally have an active Wikipedia page. I know that irks Dequan since he does a lot of the edits. Haha.


    • Haaaaa… It truly pisses me off that somebody (Probably somebody with a personal vendetta against her) can use Wikipedia lingo to get her page pulled down until she is confirmed. I’ve actually updated her page quite a bit since it was moved to DRAFT including adding a picture for her profile page so there will be a lot more info on it once she’s confirmed.

      I wouldn’t mind Schumer going in order at all meaning she would be next up. Not to mention she’s a phenomenal nominee on top of it. Geez, it’s been a while since I’ve said that about a Biden nominee. Like Archie Bunker said, those were the days…


  22. This only makes me more annoyed that they don’t work on Fridays. If they are working on the debt ceiling, they can still vote on judges. The day long debates needed for circuit judges means the Dems and Reps can give hours long speeches about the debt for the whole week while burning time for confirmation votes.

    Maybe, by some miracle, Dems are able to have their cake and eat it too with judges next week.

    What a dream it would be to see 3-4 circuit judges confirmed next week. I breathe a little easier thinking about the 2024 senate election each time another Circuit vacancy is filled.


    • Oh wait, I wasn’t aware they can do the debt ceiling while still voting on judges. I am not nearly as well versed on senate procedures as @Gavi & others are but for some reason I thought I remembered reading on a past article on this blog they can’t do two different items simultaneously without unanimous consent (Which Republicans would never give to confirm anybody I care about).

      If they can deal with the debt limit & still confirm judges without unanimous consent then that actually is the best news of today, I’m learning, even better then Feinstein returning.

      @Gavi, can you confirm?


      • It depends on what “working” means. If the senate is officially considering a measure or motion, that thing has the senate’s time and so that’s all the senate can work on while the clocks runs. If senators are still working out deals and fussing over legislative language behind closed doors, that’s not pending on the senate floor, so there is no time being reserved.
        Also, remember that Schumer will need to go in and out of executive and legislative sessions to consider the respective items on those calendars. Doing so stops the clock on one and starts the clock on the other item before the senate.


      • Ok, so it sounds like what I thought was correct. If there is actual official business considering the debt limit on the floor, you can’t simultaneously be confirming judges. If your just giving speeches about the debt limit or anything else but an actual bill isn’t up for cloture or a vote, then you can do that while confirming judges.

        So for example, on Thursday when the senate votes for cloture on Brad Garcia, any senator can come up & talk about the debt ceiling for the next 30 hours & that will not affect the cloture time for Garcia. But if an actual amendment or vote for the debt ceiling is voted on, you can’t also vote on judges while you’re on the clock the debt ceiling amendment or vote pending.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Speaking of the D.C. Circuit, I know everybody here knows this, but it still boggles my mind to think of how off the rails the process has become.

    I just looked up Karen Henderson’s Wikipedia page, and she was nominated to the district court on 6/3/86 and was confirmed on 6/13/86. For the D.C. Circuit, she was nominated on 5/8/90 and confirmed on 6/28/90. I mean…just wow.


  24. Schumer did that in September 2022, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility. They could conceivably confirm Garcia, Abudu, Bloomkatz, and Rikelman next week and totally clear the backlog.

    Hell, I wouldn’t be upset if after Garcia they pivoted to focusing just on the 5 CA district judges. That would be good politics for Feinstein, probably.


    • There’s another upside to confirming Brad Garcia besides the obvious great pick, him being in his 30’s & the first Hispanic on the second highest court in the land. He instantly is a legitimate candidate to replace Sotomayor on the SCOTUS should she decide to retire, which she can anytime she want.

      I still would give Myrna Perez the front runner status for that seat, but with me being sure Biden would nominate one of his own Hispanic circuit court nominees, it’s good to get an A+ nominee confirmed who could be added to the list. Here is my list of Biden Hispanic circuit court nominees in the order I would put them for Sotomayor’s seat, should she retire this year & why;

      1. Myrna Perez – She is an A+ nominee from the majority leader’s home state. Also she is good on age through a potential Biden second term.

      2. Brad Garcia – He is an A+ nominee on the second highest court in the country & the youngest circuit court judge once confirmed. I expect me to flip flop him & Myrna Perez in the future but for now I’ll put him second.

      3. Gabriel Sanchez – He is young & progressive & would bring geographically balance to the SCOTUS.

      4. Ana de Alba – All of the same reasons as Gabriel Sanchez except slightly less of a progressive background. But not by much.

      5. Salvador Mendoza Jr. – Same as Sanchez & de Alba except older.

      6. Gustavo Gelpí – He was nominated by GW Bush for the district court so could get a few GOP votes. His background is fairly progressive but I believe since joining the 1st, he has been a little conservative at times. Plus he is on the older side.

      7. Maria Araújo Kahn – Progressive but too old even for her current circuit court elevation.

      8. Irma Ramirez – No, no, NOPE


  25. I know today is an exciting day about the judiciary, but there is an interesting passionate debate going on at the senate floor right now. Senator Kennedy tried to get unanimous consent for his bill to increase prison time for fentanyl sellers & senator Booker objected. They both are on the SJC so still judicial related in a way.

    Senator Booker is giving one Hell of a passionate objection ro Kennedy’s bill. I really wish he was better on picking judges because he is so good in so many areas.


    • @Zack Jones

      That scenario could have been avoided with the correct strategy by Biden. Let’s go back & remember what happened. Reports were that Cabranes only retired in a package deal along with Rosemary Pooler. Apparently they were going back & fourth for years & finally agreed they both would retire simultaneously. Shortly after, Susan Carney announced her senor status so there were three vacancies on the 2nd circuit.

      So what did Biden do. He made two mistakes that could have avoided your exact same scenario.

      First, he nominated Alison Nathan for the Pooler seat without a nominee for the Cabranes seat. That gave Cabranes leverage to do what you said he could have because had Biden waited to nominate somebody for both seats at the same time, he could have made sure both nominees moved hand & hand together through the confirmation process & made sure Pooler ‘s nominee was confirmed first or at least the same week.

      The second & even bigger mistake was when Biden had his first nominee for the two Connecticut vacancies, he nominated them for the Carney seat instead of for the Cabranes seat. That was a HUGE mistake. Had he nominated Sarah A. L. Merriam for the Cabranes seat, he could have made sure she was confirmed then nominated Justin Driver or somebody both younger & more liberal than Khan. Most importantly, Cabranes couldn’t have done anything about it because he would have already been off the bench.


      • But if Cabranes thought Merriam was too liberal then why didn’t he rescind regardless of the seat she was nominated to. Especially after Pooler was already off the bench & he could have easily gone back on his deal with her to retire simultaneously?

        That argument doesn’t hold up. Merriam was not too liberal for him which is why he didn’t rescind. Had Biden nominated her to his seat first & gotten him off the court then he could have nominated anybody to the Carney seat because Cabranes would have already been off the court.


  26. In loosely related news, Prince George County Executive Angela Ashbrooks announced her candidacy for U.S. Senate in Maryland. No one is surprised. But a few days ago, Montgomery County Councilman Will Jawando also announced. Either would make history, but they appeal to the same base. They could end up helping David Trone in the primary. Obviously, this race will affects judicial nominatios.


    • I don’t know much about Angela Ashbrooks but I’ve heard good things. I think if Raskin ran I would support him knowing everything he has been through but I’m fine with either. I just don’t want David Trone to win it. If he wants to use his money for a House seat that would be good but not the senate.

      On another note, Feinstein missed the vote today. I hope she will be back & ready for the judges starting Thursday.


  27. Saw this comment on Twitter from John Doe@fedjudges

    Looking at demographic statistics of circuit judges, and I’m surprised Biden has passed over multiple opportunities to appoint the first Native American circuit judge. He appointed the first NA district judges in CA and WA, but didn’t elevate them to 9th Cir. vacancies..

    Do you think we will see one before Biden’s term ends?


    • The clear outcrop of the over-reliance on identity politics. There are only so many judgeships and identity politics is a zero-sum game:
      The first Japanese-American judge does not equal the first Taiwanese-American judge.
      The first Yemani-American judge does not equal the first Omani-American judge.
      The first Sudanese-American judge does not equal the first South Sudanese-American judge.
      Qualification, then, trumps all, and should be the only standard. But in 2023, this is too controversial.

      Liked by 1 person

      • This is one of the few areas me & @Gavi disagree. We usually are on the same page but when it comes to this subject we just don’t see eye to eye. Qualifications is not the only thing that should be considered when picking federal judges. Biden should absolutely consider race, gender or any other diversity if it (I’ll say it a little louder for the people in the back) HELPS HIM GET RE-ELECTED.

        That is the name of the game. If you want progressive judges then you want a Democrat president & senate to be elected & re-elected. The truth is in 1823 & 1923 if straight White men were the most qualified for all 39 circuit court judgeships & a president picked those 39 straight White men, it wouldn’t have hurt them one bit in their next election. But if Biden had chosen 39 straight White men in 2023 then I would venture to say he ain’t getting re-elected. Hell I don’t even think he would be the Democrat nominee next year.

        Black, Hispanic, AAPI & LGBT would rightfully roast Biden over coals had all 39 of his circuit court picks been straight White men, even if all of them were the most qualified in each case. I’m sorry, I’m sure it sounds nice to say but there’s no way in Hell in the year 2023 that qualifications is the ONLY criteria for picking federal judges. You absolutely have several constituencies to please. If you want to be re-elected, you will follow suit.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha. Shows how strongly I feel about it.

        As I’ve said before, when it comes to identity politics, I check all the boxes. It would be in my own self-interest to preach this ideology. But my conscience and experience forbade me.
        There’s nothing worse than people around you thinking that you’re in your position not because of your worth or merit but only due to your race or some other irrelevant factor. It’s horrible. Like being reduced to a diversity hire in a job you would have otherwise qualified for or being reduced to an affirmative action entrant at a top tier school that you worked your butt to matriculate to. Do you know how devastating it would be for Lawrence VanDyke to consider my goddess Holly A. Thomas as being a diversity appointee?
        Now you have math courses being lowered for non-white students. What? Michael Gerson’s “soft bigotry of low expectations” is absolutely real.

        Sorry for the rant, but this is how I personally feel about this. I feel pretty confident that my views are more compatible with Dr. MLK’s dream of the supremacy of content (ie qualifications) over color.

        Anyway, the political argument you raise is valid. I concede it all.
        However, I believe that this argument is pretextual for you. If there were no electoral ramifications for Biden’s appointment of 39 white men, I think you would still be upset and still advocate for the “diversity hire” model for judicial nominee.


      • @Gavi

        I’ll answer each of your points…

        If Lawrence VanDyke considered Holly A. Thomas as being a diversity appointee, it wouldn’t bother me one but. You know why? Because her vote would count just as much then as it does now. Does anybody on planet Earth thinks Clarence Thomas was the most qualified person to be nominated to the SCOTUS in 1991? Hell GHW Bush reportedly had two people on his short list for the vacancy & I would argue Thomas wasn’t even more qualified then Garza. Bush didn’t want the court to not have a Black justice so he went with Thomas over the first Hispanic justice. He is the ultimate affirmative action justice. But guess what… 32 years later his votes count just as much as the chief justice vote counts. No other justice or judge’s opinion counts when it comes to discounting another judges votes. And a judges vote is what will either rip away or protect our rights at the end of the day.

        Now on to the math courses being lowered for non-white students. Remember, I agree with your logic when it comes to just about everything else in life. My example the other day about me wanting the best brain surgeon to operate on me regardless of race is in line with what you’re saying here. But we are not talking about brain surgery, we are talking about federal judges. And federal judges is politics. Some people will say a vacancy on the SCOTUS was the sole reason they voted for Trump in 2016. It’s my absolute number one reason I vote the way I do. And as long as you agree with me that you want progressive judges then you have to agree with me you want a Democrat president & senate. You won’t have that if you don’t take identity politics into play for judges. So I agree with your statement here, I just disagree that it has anything to do with what we’re talking about because those math test aren’t politics, judges are.

        Yes, your views are more compatible with Dr. MLK’s dream. But MLK wasn’t talking about getting certain politicians re-elected. I am so I will revert back to judges are politics.

        As for if there were no electoral ramifications for Biden’s appointment of 39 straight white men, would I still be upset. I had to think about that for a minute. So to give you an honest answer, yes I would still be upset. But let me counter. I asked you a question last week but I never answered the question myself. I’m gonna answer it now.

        I asked you what if Biden names 39 Dale Ho’s to the circuit courts with the only exception is they were all straight White men, would that be acceptable. If we could wave a magical wand & you’re telling me Biden wouldn’t lose one vote for doing that, I would take that deal over the 39 judges we got. I will admit it’s hard for me to say that but at the end of the day I would indeed take 39 straight White male Dale Ho’s over what we got if it didn’t hurt Biden or the Democrats. But in reality, we know that would hurt them next year in the election so that is the main reason I would not agree to that deal in real life. Not because it’s a bad deal because it isn’t a bad deal at all.


      • Sorry, I must have missed that question or probably thought it answered itself haha.
        39 white Dale Hos? Of course! Hell, I’d take 19.5 white Dale Hos who are only half as progressive. I would take any number of anyone who’s qualified and the right age. Because qualification and age matter when it comes to serving on the bench (see Judge Newman saga).
        But as I already conceded, I get that politics plays a role, despite my disapproval.


      • For the straight white male Dale Ho’s deal to be worth it for me, some of them have to take the place of Federalist Society hacks. I’ll give an example of what would make such a deal worth it for me.

        I would accept a deal that replaces Justices Thomas, Sotomayor, Kagan, Barrett, & Jackson with 5 white men as progressive as Dale Ho even if it hurt Biden electorally.

        If I could magically make it not hurt Biden electorally, I’d take a deal that replaces the 5 with 4 progressive white men and 1 white man of Justice Thomas’s choosing.


      • Agree with Gavi on this 100%. We need the best and the brightest judges from a wide range of legal backgrounds (which includes but is not limited to representing defendants), not more Clarence Thomas clones. Also to Dequan, I doubt that many voters know a single judge Biden has appointed by name besides KBJ, never mind their race, so I don’t believe in the theory that he is gaining voters by nominating “diverse” judges.


      • @Frank

        That’s a mistake to think the names matter. It doesn’t. The narrative matters. And had Biden nominated all 39 straight White men for the circuit courts, that would have been plastered all over the news. The narrative would have been what Black, Hispanic, AAPI & LGBT voters saw. The names would have been irrelevant. And yes that narrative would result into a loss of votes.

        Now of course you have admitted you don’t have the same vision of the judiciary as I do which is fine & your right. But for those of us that want young progressive judges on the bench, making sure we have a Democrat president & senate is essential which means you have to be good at politics. Judges are politics.


      • Your straw man argument simply doesn’t hold up, because it’s not as if those theoretical 39 white men are the best and brightest possible nominees in the first place, and it’s been decades since a president has gone that route with that many circuit court openings. The narrative you are painting in that exaggerated scenario is also overrated, since Democrats by and large don’t care about judges like the Republicans do and aren’t watching cable news in large numbers anymore where such a story would maybe not even be covered, and while Democrats place a slightly higher value on the judiciary than they used to, a higher value is being placed (correctly) on making sure rights are being protected. It’s okay to value race above all else when it comes to the judiciary, but if the judges are still coming from the same prosecution and big law backgrounds, it will just lead back to the same result of having a conservative judiciary. I want judges that are from a diverse set of legal backgrounds and give both sides a fair shake, no matter the race.


      • No @Frank, that’s what you’re missing. I used an exaggerated scenario just to prove the theory wrong. When you say the most qualified person should get a position then an exaggerated position wouldn’t matter. As long as all 39 straight White men are the most qualified then that should be the end of discussion.

        Once you tell me no, you would not choose the straight White man in ALL of the 39 vacancies, even if they are more qualified, then that proves my point. If you said the Sun rises from the East & sets in the West, all it would take is one day for the Sun to rise from the West & set in the East to prove your theory wrong.

        So again, I ask you the same question I asked @Gavi. If in all 39 circuit court vacancies under Biden the most qualified person was a straight White man, would you pick that straight White man in all 39 cases? If your answer is no then end of discussion, you just proved my point. If your answer is yes then that’s fine, but I would then ask if you thought that would lose him support for re-election?

        This should really be an easy question to answer. Your answer should be YES, if the most qualified person in all 39 cases was a straight White man, then that’s who Biden should nominate, full stop, no questions asked. This shouldn’t be hard… Lol


      • @Ryan Joshi

        I’m not so sure replacing 5 SCOTUS justices with 5 straight White males would hurt Biden electorally. There’s no narrative that would make him look bad if that were to happen. That’s actually why I specifically used the lower courts instead of the SCOTUS in my example.

        Nominating 39 straight White men to every single circuit court vacancy would be a horrible news cycle for Biden. Even nominating 3 Hispanic judges in his first year wasn’t enough. Sanez was blasting Biden for not nominating enough. As one user pointed out earlier, Biden has smartly taken that advice & nominated additional Hispanics. I can tell you there’s no way he could fill the lower courts with all White men & not lose support for re-election.

        He possibly could lose support in your scenario too, but Americans for the most part (Not people like us on this blog) look for the big shinny objects. Replacing 5 of the 9 justices would be ok in their opinions even if he replaced them with Martians, if they were as progressive as Dale Ho… Lol

        Liked by 1 person

  28. I tend to agree with Dequan on this. Biden made appointing black women a pretty significant part of his platform and had he reneged on that I think civil rights groups would (rightfully) be blasting him for it. We briefly saw something similar from Hispanic group but Biden has since nominated several and everyone is back in each other’s good graces.

    We talk about qualifications a lot here but really at the end of the day there is not much difference between these judges who are all at the top of their fields. Electoral politics should absolutely be a factor.


    • Welcome back senator Feinstein. I’ve already begun the countdown to her next week’s long plus absence so hopefully Schumer knows the urgency of the moment & lines up the heavy hitters between now & the end of next week when the recess.

      On another note, I was reading up on judicial history as I often do. I just read Robert Bork was rejected by the SJC by a 9–5 vote but was still allowed a vote on the full senate floor. With the rules today, a 10-10 tie vote in the SJC kills the nomination…smh


      • @Dequan

        No, not even today.
        Remember last week I went through the scenarios for getting something out of committee? Bork’s nomination was discharged, same process today. Remember the Constitution recognizes just the final senate action. Committees cannot be the final work on anything if senators outside the committee want to have an input.
        Notwithstanding, practically speaking, yes, a unfavorable vote in committee usually “kills” a motion/measure.


      • The Judiciary Committee voted to advance Bork’s nomination by a 9-5 vote but with a recommendation it be rejected. Before that, there was a 5-9 vote on whether to report it favorably.

        Back then, senators wouldn’t prevent nominations from going to the floor, they would send it to the floor with a negative recommendation if they opposed the nominee. For Clarence Thomas, the senate voted 13-1 to send the nomination to the floor with no recommendation after deadlocking 7-7 on whether to report favorably.


  29. Republicans still are angry about Bork even though he was given an up or down vote.
    His actions after he left the courts showed exactly why he had no business being on there.
    One does have to wonder if Thomas’s nomination would have survived if Bork had been confirmed though.


    • Ah ok, so it was the same discharge rules back then as it is now. Got it.

      @Zack Jones

      Yup, they still bring Bork up to this day but at least he was given a hearing & floor vote unlike Garland. And Kennedy was confirmed in 1988, an election year. But they always say the original vacancy happened in 1987 so it’s not the same as Scalia dying in 2016. I always wondered had Scalia died 4 months earlier what excuse would they have used. They would have probably just said you can’t confirm a justice if an election is in the next 365 days. They would have made up any bs logic even if Scalia had died a year earlier I’m sure.

      As for Feinstein, she finally cast her first vote in months this afternoon, but Gillibrand missed the vote. So Democrats still haven’t had all 51 vote this year if I’m not mistaking. I believe somebody on the blog wrote August was the last time all Democrats voted together. I hope that run comes to a stretching halt this week.


  30. Translation, she’s going to vote judges out of committee and that will be about it.


    • I’m fine with that. Feinstein just needs to show up for the SJC vote Thursday, the Brad Garcia cloture vote Thursday afternoon & (If Schumer only focuses on circuit court nominees) two votes next week Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. The senate has a week & a half recess after that. All she needs to do is show her face & raise her arm up. She can leave right after each vote. If she needs a wheelchair & can’t find anybody to push her, I will volunteer as long as it’s for votes on judges… Lol


  31. I mean, realistically, after the committee meeting which I’m sure Republicans will force to be a one by one vote, all she has to do is be wheeled into the senate chamber for her yay vote and wheeled back to her office to rest on a couch.

    With how circuit court votes work, that’s one vote on Thurs, and two votes a day (one in the morning and one in the early evening) Monday…the district court votes might be a little tougher but they really shouldn’t need her with 50 votes already.


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