Judicial Appointment History For United States Federal Courts
The appointment of federal judges for United States federal courts has become viewed as a political process in the last several decades. This is especially true of U.S. Supreme Court and court of appeals appointments. These charts show the composition of the Supreme and circuit courts at the end of each four year presidential term, categorizing the judges by the presidential term during which they were nominated for their seat.
As of October 2012, a majority of federal appeals courts still had a majority of Republican appointees, reflecting Republican dominance of the presidency in recent times; twenty of the thirty two years between 1980 and 2012 have been spent under Republican presidents. However, the party of the president who appointed a judge is not always a good indicator of that judge's judicial philosophy and place on the political spectrum.
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“The proposed Constitution ... is, in strictness, neither a national nor a federal constitution; but a composition of both.”
—James Madison (17511836)
“Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.
For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory:”
—Bible: Hebrew Psalm LXXXIV (l. LXXXIV, 911)
“A little group of wilful men reflecting no opinion but their own have rendered the great Government of the United States helpless and contemptible.”
—Woodrow Wilson (18561924)
“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States that is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question.”
—Alexis de Tocqueville (18051859)
“Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.”
—George Bernard Shaw (18561950)
“Culture, the acquainting ourselves with the best that has been known and said in the world, and thus with the history of the human spirit.”
—Matthew Arnold (18221888)
“The United States have a coffle of four millions of slaves. They are determined to keep them in this condition; and Massachusetts is one of the confederated overseers to prevent their escape.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)