WASHINGTON — Almost six months into President Joe Biden's first term, people on social media are posting about his fast pace at confirming judges. Some posts claim that Biden has so far gotten his nominations confirmed at the fastest rate in more than 50 years.
The Verify team looked to the archives and the experts to find out if this claim is accurate.
Has President Biden overseen more judge confirmations in his first six months than any president in the last 50 years?
- The Heritage Foundation, "Judicial Appointment Tracker"
- Thomas Jipping, Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation
- Paul Schiff Berman, Professor of Law at The George Washington University
- U.S. Courts, "Confirmation listing, 117th Congress"
- U.S. Courts, "Judicial Confirmations for July 2017"
- U.S. Courts, Total Appointments by President
- Federal Judicial Center, Federal Judge Database
Yes—As of July 1, President Joe Biden has had seven judges confirmed, which is more than any president in last 50 years confirmed at this point in their presidency.
President Trump had only two judges confirmed by July 1 of his first year in office.
WHAT WE KNOW
During the Trump administration, when the GOP controlled the Senate, it was well noted that Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell pushed through a large amount of judge confirmations.
In just four years, 245 confirmations were pushed through, a major accomplishment for conservatives. Now, with Democrats controlling both the White House and the Senate, they too are pushing a large amount of nominations through.
Some on social media are claiming that Biden has had more judges confirmed than any other administration in the past 50 years at this point in their first year.
The Verify team turned to the U.S. Courts website to break down the number of confirmations by administration. The data shows that as of July 1, the Biden administration has had seven confirmed judges:
- Julien Xavier Neals, 6/8/21 -- District Court 03 - New Jersey
- Regina M. Rodriguez, 6/8/21 -- District Court 10 - Colorado
- Zahid N. Quraishi, 6/10/21 -- District Court 03 - New Jersey
- Ketanji Brown Jackson, 6/14/21 -- Court of Appeals - D.C.
- Lydia Kay Griggsby, 6/16/21 -- District Court 04 - Maryland
- Deborah L. Boardman, 6/23/21 -- District Court 04 - Maryland
- Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, 6/24/21 -- Court of Appeals -- Seventh Circuit
According to the U.S. Courts website, President Donald Trump only had two confirmed judges by July 1 of his first year in office, which were as follows:
- Neil M. Gorsuch, 4/7/17 -- Supreme Court of the U.S.
- Amul Roger Thapar, 5/25/17 -- Court of Appeals -- Sixth Circuit
According to the Heritage Foundation, the Biden administration is moving at a faster pace than past administrations. An online tracker by the foundation shows that as of July 1, confirmation totals were as follows:
- President Joe Biden: 7 Confirmations
- President Donald Trump: 2 Confirmations
- President Barack Obama: 0 Confirmations
- President George W. Bush: 0 Confirmations
- President Bill Clinton: 0 Confirmations
- President George H.W. Bush: 4 Confirmations
- President Ronald Reagan: 0 Confirmations
The Heritage Foundation didn't list confirmations for Presidents Jimmy Carter or Richard Nixon, but using information from a Federal Judicial Center database, the Verify team confirmed that Carter had zero nominations in his first six months and Nixon had seven Article II Judges.
"He's out of the gate in a pretty robust way," said Thomas Jipping from the Heritage Foundation. "But bear in mind there are today 78 judicial vacancies across the country. By comparison, at this point in the Trump administration, there were 130."
Jipping said that it is impossible to predict whether this fast start will continue and allow Biden to confirm more judges than Trump did at the end of his term.
"It is way too early to come to any sort of valid comparison like that," he said. "I would frankly wait until the end of the first year to have a more robust set of data to compare."
Paul Schiff Berman, a professor of law at The George Washington University said that this may indicate a trend.
"The Biden administration seems to recognize the urgent need to address the radically conservative transformation of the judiciary over the past four years," he said. "And they are moving at an unprecedented pace."
This information confirms that President Biden has had the most confirmations at this point in his presidency, since President Nixon back in 1969.