Circuit Courts in the Balance

August 25, 2022

National attention is often focused on the U.S. Supreme Court, but federal circuit courts are the end of the line for hundreds of legal disputes every year. They have an impact on many critical issues — access to high-quality education, health care, protections for consumers and workers, civil rights, and the quality of the air we breathe and water we drink.

This map shows the current composition of the 13 federal circuit courts as of August 2022. Using a color gradient, it shows which federal circuit courts have a higher concentration of judges appointed by presidents from each party. The darker the color, the more judges appointed by that party. 

A map showing the party affiliation breakdown of appointees to the federal circuit courts as of August 2022. 

First Circuit: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Puerto Rico - 80-100% Democratic-Appointed Judges
Second Circuit: Connecticut, New York, Maine - 50-65% Democratic-Appointed Judges
Third Circuit: Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, U.S. Virgin Islands - Could Become Evenly Split if Biden Fills Current Vacancies
Fourth Circuit: Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia - 50-65% Democratic-Appointed Judges
Fifth Circuit: Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas - 65-80% Republican-Appointed Justices
Sixth Circuit: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee - 50-65% Republican-Appointed Judges
Seventh Circuit: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin - 50-65% Republican-Appointed Judges
Eighth Circuit: Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota
Ninth Circuit: Arizona, Alaska, California, Guam, Hawai'i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Washington - 50-65% Democratic-Appointed Judges
Tenth Circuit: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming - 50-65% Democratic-Appointed Judges
Eleventh Circuit: Alabama, Florida, Georgia - 50-65% Republican-Appointed Judges
D.C. Circuit - 50-65% Democratic-Appointed Judges
Federal Circuit - 65-80% Democratic-Appointed Judges