Status of Article III Judgeships — Judicial Business 2020
On September 30, 2020, no vacancies existed among the 179 judgeships authorized for the U.S. courts of appeals. One year earlier, the appeals courts had four vacancies, one of which had existed for more than 18 months.
On September 30, 2020, a total of 56 vacancies existed among the 677 positions authorized in the U.S. district courts, 36 fewer than reported at the end of 2019. Seventeen of the vacancies had existed for more than 18 months, 10 fewer than one year earlier. Most of the vacancies arose when judges took senior status.
Thirty-eight judicial emergencies were identified for Article III judgeships on September 30, 2020—16 fewer than one year earlier. For the courts of appeals, a judicial emergency is defined as any vacancy where adjusted filings (i.e., filings excluding reinstated cases and counting pro se appeals as one-third of a case) per panel exceed 700, or any vacancy in existence more than 18 months where adjusted filings are between 500 and 700 per panel. No appellate courts had judicial emergencies at the end of the fiscal year. For the district courts, a judicial emergency is defined as a vacancy of any duration where weighted filings per authorized judgeship exceed 600, or any vacancy longer than 18 months in a district court with weighted filings between 430 and 600 per authorized judgeship, or any vacancy in a district court with more than 1 authorized judgeship and only 1 active judge. Thirteen district courts had judicial emergencies at the end of the fiscal year.
In addition to active judges, 99 senior circuit judges with staff were serving the appellate courts at the end of the fiscal year, one fewer than in 2019. The U.S. district courts reported 419 senior judges with staff, four fewer than had been serving one year earlier.
For information on the status of judgeship positions since 2016, see Table 11.