President Joe Biden is moving at twice the pace filing vacancies in federal court than his immediate predecessor during his first year in office, but the Democrat has a long way to go in catching up to Donald Trump's total first-term number.

With the Senate confirming a raft of judicial nominees late Friday into early Saturday, Biden's 2021 total was brought to 40 federal court nominees confirmed, which is 21 more than the 19 Trump had in 2017.

White House chief of staff Ron Klain celebrated the milestone on Twitter after noting earlier, "I remember when the GOP used to say that Trump's judicial picks were alone enough to prove his leadership. He won confirmation of 19 judges in 2017."

The confirmations will be the last ones of the year, though the Senate voted to advance the nominations of two other judges, Gabriel Sanchez and Holly Thomas to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, who are set to have their final votes in January.


The last president to have at least 40 judicial nominees confirmed in his first year was Ronald Reagan, who had 41, according to a tweet from Thomas Jipping, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Despite the head start, Biden is nowhere near Trump's total number. Trump had 234 judges appointed to lifetime tenures across four years, including 54 appellate judges and three Supreme Court judges. Biden has not had an opportunity to nominate any judges to the high court in his first 11 months in office, but he is making headway in diversifying the federal bench.

Whereas Trump had Republicans, led by then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in control of the Senate during his one term, Biden is working with an upper chamber split 50-50 along party lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker.

The Senate also confirmed other sorts of nominees in this final batch of the year, including former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was an Obama adviser, to be ambassador to Japan. Roughly 30 senators missed the votes, with the tallies for each one hovering between the high 60s and low 70s.