The median from nomination to confirmation of the circuit court judges was 131 days. When Trump took office, in January 2017, there were 112 federal judicial vacancies.
Trump has had 17 district court judges confirmed with a median confirmation length of 180 days. By the end of the year, that number had grown to 144. That’s a high number, and according to the Federal Bar Association it is “straining the capacity of the federal courts to administer justice in an adequate and timely manner.” But is Obama to blame for the high number of vacancies?
Trump has also boasted about the “gift” of so many judicial vacancies left for him by Obama, suggesting that “maybe [Obama] got complacent” toward the end of his presidency.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly boasted about his success in getting federal judges confirmed, while at the same time complaining that Senate Democrats are slow-walking his judicial nominees.
But a report issued this month by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service indicates that while the average time for confirmation is historically high, Trump’s appointees were confirmed faster than in President Barack Obama’s first year.
The wait times for district court nominees have been decidedly longer for Trump. Russell Wheeler, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Governance Studies Program and president of the Governance Institute, provided us more up-to-date data on Trump’s federal court nominees.
As of May 16, Trump had 21 circuit judges confirmed, including two earlier this week, Wheeler said.
That’s about the same percentage as Obama’s (83 percent).