In the U.S.A. when a federal judgeship is vacant, do candidates apply to the president for it, or must they simply wait for him to ask them? Does that include vacancies on the Supreme Court?

(Things have changed since 1791, but I don't know whether that's one of them. If I'm not mistaken, I read that Nathaniel Chipman applied to George Washington for the position of judge of the newly created federal court in Vermont.)

1 Answer 1


In conformity with the Appointments Clause, the president appoints federal judges. The the US Courts info page says, a Senator or Representative may make a recommendation. An interested party could then make himself known to a senator or the president, but I would be surprised if that resulted in the person being nominated by the president.

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    You'd be surprised because you know that that doesn't typically happen? Or are you just expressing your degree of uncertainty about what is actually done by saying you'd be surprised if that is typically done? Feb 13, 2017 at 2:26
  • Typically they'll know that a vacancy is upcoming and have already built a shortlist in preparation, along with a long list that is updated frequently for contingency purposes. So, by the time anybody would hear to apply via senator, the "applications" have closed. At least, assuming it's a bureaucracy with forethought - not a fact in current evidence.
    – user4657
    Feb 13, 2017 at 3:09
  • I would be surprised because the US Courts page states that senators and representatives make recommendations to the president, and they do not suggest self-nomination as another method of getting a name into the system. If that were at all normal, you would expect them to mention the possibility, leaving me to conclude that self-nomination is considered abberant behavior.
    – user6726
    Feb 13, 2017 at 15:12
  • @user6726 : I don't see that at www (dot) uscourts (dot) gov. Can you link to the page you have in mind? Feb 13, 2017 at 17:26
  • The link in my answer: uscourts.gov/judges-judgeships/authorized-judgeships/…
    – user6726
    Feb 13, 2017 at 18:20

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