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Status of Article III Judgeships - Judicial Business 2013

On September 30, 2013, a total of 17 vacancies existed among the 179 judgeships authorized for the U.S. courts of appeals. Seven of these vacancies had been unfilled for more than 18 months. The appeals courts also had 17 vacancies one year earlier, 8 of which had existed for more than 18 months.

On September 30, 2013, a total of 75 vacancies existed among the 677 positions authorized in the district courts, 9 more than reported at the end of 2012. Nineteen of the vacancies on September 30, 2013, had existed for more than 18 months, up from 17 vacancies one year earlier. The majority of the vacancies arose when judges took senior status.

On September 30, 2013, a total of 37 judicial emergencies were identified in the U.S. courts of appeals and U.S. district courts, 3 more than one year earlier. For the courts of appeals, which had 8 judicial emergencies, a judicial emergency is defined as any vacancy where adjusted filings (i.e., filings excluding reinstated cases and weighting pro se appeals as one-third of a case) per panel are in excess of 700, or any vacancy in existence more than 18 months where adjusted filings are between 500 to 700 per panel. For the district courts, which had 29 judicial emergencies, a judicial emergency is defined as a vacancy of any duration where weighted filings per judgeship are in excess of 600 or any vacancy longer than 18 months in a district court with weighted filings between 430 and 600 per judgeship, or any vacancy in a district court with more than one authorized judgeship and only one active judge.

In addition to active judges, 89 senior circuit judges with staff were serving the Judiciary by participating in appeals decisions at the end of the fiscal year, 3 more than in 2012, but 4 fewer than in 2009. The U.S. district courts reported 346 senior judges with staff, 8 fewer than had been serving one year earlier and 1 fewer than in 2009.

For information on the status of judgeship positions since 2009, see Table 11 below.

Table 11 Status of Article III Judgeship Positions September 30, 2009 - 2013
  U.S. Courts of Appeals U.S. District Courts
Year Authorized Judgeships Vacancies Senior Judges1 Authorized Judgeships Vacancies Senior Judges2
2009 179 20 93 678 75 347
2010 179 21 95 678 88 356
2011 179 17 84 6773 67 341
2012 179 17 86 677 66 354
2013 179 17 89 677 75 346
1 Senior judges who participated in appeals dispositions and authorized for staff.
2 Senior judges authorized for staff.
3 In 2011, the total number of U.S. District Courts authorized judgeships decreased by one position when a temporary judgeship in the Northern District of Ohio lapsed after a judge there was elevated to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.