Which Branch of the U.S. Government Is Responsible for Appointing Judges?

In the United States, federal judges are appointed by the executive branch of the government. A president's judicial appointments can influence the course of politics in the U.S. long after the administration has left office. The president can appoint judges, all with life-long terms, to the U.S. Supreme Court and to the federal appellate and district courts across the nation.

The U.S. Senate must confirm all of a president's judicial appointments, or nominations, before their sitting. A president can nominate appointees to more than 800 seats on the combined U.S. courts of appeals and federal district courts.

Outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, many federal judges are responsible for making final decisions on thousands of cases that carry the potential to establish important precedents regarding the interpretation of the law. The U.S. Supreme Court typically hears only about 1 percent of the thousands of cases filed before it, and a president's lower court federal judge appointments can have a considerable influence on the constitutionality of law.