Red Courts, Blue Courts

85 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2022 Last revised: 16 Feb 2023

Date Written: November 2, 2022


The federal judiciary is increasingly fragmented into red courts and blue courts. Democratic presidents overwhelmingly appoint judges in blue states, while Republicans mostly appoint judges in red states.

This is a recent phenomenon; it was much less true even a decade ago. It is accelerating. And it is likely to corrode both the rule of law and the public’s perception of it. In this Essay I document the phenomenon, explain why it is dangerous, and offer some thoughts on how to fix it.

Suggested Citation

Lemley, Mark A., Red Courts, Blue Courts (November 2, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Mark A. Lemley (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

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