The Biden-Harris Administration will soon nominate a federal district judge to fill a vacancy in Arkansas’ Western District.
U.S. District Judge Paul Holmes, III, of Fort Smith took Senior Status effective November 10, 2021.
Senior Status is a form of semiretirement for federal judges. It means the president will need to nominate a new judge to fill the position full time.
There are currently some 77 judicial vacancy in America and more than two dozens nominees pending before congress.
As of last week, President Biden has not nominated anyone to fill Judge Holmes’ position on the court.
U.S. District Court nominations rarely receive very much attention, but they are critical judicial positions.
When a state law is challenged in federal court, district judges are the first to hear the case. Right now many of the district judges in Arkansas — including U.S. District Judges Paul Holmes, James Moody, and Kristine Baker — are Obama appointees.
Because our district courts lean to the left, Arkansas often loses court cases over abortion and other social issues at the lower level, but we get better rulings from the more conservative judges on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
It doesn’t look like those dynamics are going to change under President Biden. However, it will be interesting to see who he nominates to replace Judge Holmes in the coming weeks.