"President Donald Trump frequently argues that confirming federal appellate judges constitutes his quintessential success. The President and the Republican Senate majority have dramatically eclipsed appeals court records by appointing fifty-one conservative, young, and capable appellate court nominees, which leaves merely one vacancy across the country. Nonetheless, these approvals have imposed costs, especially among the plentiful district courts that address seventy-four openings in 677 judicial positions.
The most striking example is the four California districts, which realize seventeen pressing vacancies among sixty posts. The Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AO), the federal judiciary’s administrative arm, designates all of them “judicial emergencies,” which means that numerous openings have remained unfilled for a lengthy period of time, many involve substantial caseloads, and the California emergencies comprise almost two-fifths of those throughout the country. Notwithstanding the perilous situation, the White House failed to make any nomination until October 2018, to marshal prospects for eleven other empty seats before a year later, or to confirm one jurist yet. Indeed, all openings lacked nominees until February 2019, mainly because the administration had delayed resending the upper chamber three nominees whom Trump proffered in 2018. The Senate Judiciary Committee has granted merely three nominees a panel hearing, Trump only renamed on February 13, 2020 the other ten Central and Southern District nominees whom the chamber returned to the President on January 3, and the White House has failed to choose nominees for four additional vacancies. Finally, it remains unclear when the Senate will provide chamber floor debates and confirmation votes to the three nominees who secured hearings, much less when the panel will afford the other ten nominees hearings." [..]
Carl Tobias, Filling the California Federal District Court Vacancies, 11 Cal. L. Rev. Online 68 (2020).