Education Law

A Story Of Two Presidents

On April 19, 2021, President Biden launched his first slate of judicial nominees. 

Together with 5 district courtroom nominees and two different appeals courtroom nominees, Biden nominated (now) Justice Ketanji Jackson to the D.C. Circuit Court docket of Appeals. Jackson was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit on June 14, 2021, and fewer than a 12 months later Jackson was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court docket on February 28, 2022. Biden has nominated over 90 judges to the Article III courts thus far.

Via President Trump and Biden’s appointments these courts look very totally different from how they regarded when Obama left workplace firstly of 2017. 

Trump appointed effectively over 200 judges by means of his full time period in workplace. These included 10 seats on the ninth Circuit Court docket of Appeals within the western U.S., six seats on each the sixth Circuit operating by means of the Midwest and the fifth Circuit within the South.  

January 9, 2023, marks 719 days into Biden’s presidency. This text compares Trump’s and Biden’s confirmed judges 719 days into each presidencies when it comes to general quantity and traits.


Biden had extra confirmed judges 719 days into his presidency than Trump had in his, but Trump had extra confirmed appellate judges throughout the identical timeframe.


With Trump’s Supreme Court docket nominees, Trump had 31 confirmed appellate judges in his first 719 days for a complete of 84 Article III judges. Biden had fewer confirmed appellate judges on this size of time with 27 however with 68 district courtroom judges Biden’s whole is 95 judges up to now.

These 179 mixed whole judges from these presidents could be damaged down alongside a number of traces of inquiry. First when it comes to the precise courts which had been impacted probably the most starting with district courts taking a look at courts with two or extra appointees. 


Trump’s most variety of judges in a district courtroom was three at this level in his presidency together with within the Western District of Pennsylvania, Western District of Louisiana, and District of Columbia.  Biden appointed greater than three judges in 4 situations – with six in New Jersey, and 4 in every of the Western District of Washington, Japanese District of California, and Japanese District of Pennsylvania. 

appellate courts under the Supreme Court docket we see the next: 


Biden stuffed probably the most slots in a circuit with six within the ninth Circuit. Trump had 5 within the fifth Circuit and 4 in every of the sixth, seventh, and eighth Circuits.`

Decide Traits

Who’re these judges? The FJC has a helpful dataset that breaks down the judges based on many variables. A place to begin is the place these judges got here from — particularly, the place they had been born, specializing in three or extra judges from a locale.


There are distinct geographic variations between the locations of beginning in the direction of the highest of every president’s lists.  Trump had seven judges from Louisiana, six from Pennsylvania, 5 from Texas and New York, and three born exterior of america, Biden has 11 from every of New York and California, eight from Pennsylvania, and 9 worldwide judges. All in all, Trump had a extra even break up of judges whereas Biden’s judges are extra clustered on the excessive and low ends with fewer judges within the center vary.

Once we have a look at the racial/ethnic demographics we see a way more numerous set of judges from Biden than we did from Trump.


Trump’s appointees had been primarily white males adopted by white females. Solely seven judges fell into different backgrounds. Biden however has vastly extra girls on the high with the main demographics white feminine, African American feminine, and Hispanic feminine. To this point Biden has solely appointed 5 white males to Article III courts.

One other focal point is the regulation faculties from which these judges matriculated. First a have a look at Trump’s judges utilizing percentages of nominees somewhat than counts to see the relative frequency of the colleges. The low reduce level for faculties was at 2% of appointees.


8.3% of Trump’s appointees went to Harvard Regulation. Somewhat than following the normal route of presidents by appointing judges who graduated from high ranked faculties, after Harvard Trump’s nominees got here from a extra numerous set of colleges from across the nation. The following most frequent at 7.1% of appointees got here from College of Alabama Regulation. Subsequent, the identical frequency of judges, 4.8% got here from every of Yale Regulation, Vanderbilt Regulation, and Georgia Regulation. 

Subsequent are Biden’s judges.


Biden has adopted a extra conventional route on the high with 10.8% of nominees from each Harvard and Yale Regulation.  These are adopted by NYU Regulation at 8.6% and College of Virginia Regulation at 5.4%. Biden had a higher penchant for judges from West Coast faculties than Trump with UCLA Regulation and UC Berkeley Regulation in the direction of the highest. Trump’s first West Coast faculty, Stanford Regulation, solely seems at a frequency of two.4%. 

Thus, we see that every president sought various kinds of variety in judicial appointees as famous by every of those metrics, which is sensible since every president values totally different traits of their judges.


There are a number of different classes of curiosity associated to the person judges. One level of observe are the nominees confirmed by a big margin of votes and people confirmed by a small margin. 

Biden, for example had 14 nominees confirmed with 4 or fewer votes. These with the smallest vote margins the place Decide Bernard Mathis from the sixth Circuit and Decide Jennifer Sung from the ninth Circuit each confirmed by a one-vote margin, adopted by Decide Frances Behm from the District Court docket for the Japanese District of Michigan and Decide John Chun from the Western District of Washington each confirmed by two-vote margins.  On the opposite finish of the spectrum the 2 judges confirmed by the most important margins had been Decide Zahid Quraishi for the District of New Jersey who was confirmed with a 65-vote margin and Decide Regina Rodriguez for the District of Colorado confirmed by a 44-vote margin.

Trump had fewer nominees confirmed by 4 or fewer votes with 9. These included Decide Andrew Oldham for the fifth Circuit and Decide Jonathan Kobes for the eighth Circuit every confirmed by one-vote margins, Judges Gregory Katsas of the D.C. Circuit and Leonard Grasz for the eighth Circuit every confirmed by a two-vote margin, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court docket additionally by a two-vote margin.

Trump had many extra nominees confirmed by huge vote margins than Biden. This far into his presidency Trump had 16 judges confirmed by vote margins of 90 votes or extra. The widest margins had been for Decide David Nye of the District Court docket for the District of Idaho who was confirmed by a full Senate of 100 votes and every of Judges Thomas Parker for the Western District of Tennessee and Terry Doughty for the Western District of Louisiana each confirmed by 98-vote margins.

Lastly a have a look at the youngest and oldest nominees from 719 days into every presidency. Trump’s oldest nominee was Decide Mark Bennett of the ninth Circuit born in 1953. Trump’s youngest was Decide Holly Teeter from the District Court docket for the District of Kansas who was born in 1979. Biden’s oldest confirmed nominees are Judges Jeffrey Hopkins from the Southern District of Ohio and Evelyn Padin for the District of New Jersey who had been each born in 1960. Biden’s youngest appointee is Sarala Nagala for the District of Connecticut who was born in 1983.

Tons could be discovered about these presidents’ values from the judges they nominate. Article III judges are positioned on federal courts for all times and they also are typically the presidents’ most lasting legacies. These judges additionally get to determine on the constitutionality of those presidents’ insurance policies and have huge discretion to take action. By the tip of Biden’s presidency, we could have a fuller image of how he reshaped the judiciary and of his priorities in who he nominates simply as we will glean this from the host of judges that Trump nominated earlier than he left workplace.

Learn extra at Empirical SCOTUS….

Adam Feldman runs the litigation consulting firm Optimized Authorized Options LLC. For extra info write Adam at [email protected] Discover him on Twitter: @AdamSFeldman.

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