Texas Is The State With Highest Number Of Judicial Vacancies In The Nation

Experts think that will change under Donald Trump’s presidency.


To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:

<iframe src="" style="height: 115px; width: 100%;"></iframe>

With vacancies for 11 district courts and two federal appellate courts, Texas is the state with the highest number of judicial vacancies in the country.

The process to fill these vacancies starts with presidential nominations and ends with confirmations by the United States Senate.

Even though the process begins with nominations from the president, senators can make recommendations.

In that context and given that the president-elect, Donald Trump, and the two senators who represent Texas, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, are all Republicans –along with the fact the Republican Party has the majority in the Senate– Robert Carp, a political science professor with the University of Houston, thinks the vacancies should be filled faster.

"They may say: ‘Well, OK, Trumps gets to pick, you know, one third of them and one third can be nominated by Cruz and one third by Cornyn'. I don’t know how they will divvy it up but, in terms of filling vacancies, I would be astounded if these vacancies are not filled very, very promptly," Carp says.

Lee Rosenthal, a U.S. District Court Judge and Chief Judge of the Southern District of Texas, thinks the impact of the vacancies is clear.

"It takes us longer to resolve the cases that we do have, and that is a very large and acute pressing negative for the litigants whose cases are at stake," Rosenthal notes.

Carp says delays typically benefit litigants with a lot of money to spend in court proceedings and hurt individuals who can't afford long and expensive trials.

Subscribe to Today in Houston

Fill out the form below to subscribe our new daily editorial newsletter from the HPM Newsroom.

* required