A president’s judicial picks are an imperfect lever for shaping policy. And yet their influence long outlasts any executive’s time in the White House. With the clock ticking down on Barack Obama’s presidency, we examine the stamp he leaves on the nation’s courts.


How Obama Reshaped the Federal Courts
Barack Obama nominated more women and minorities to serve as federal judges than any previous president. Here’s a snapshot of his picks by gender, race/ethnicity, place of birth and law school.


Are Obama Judges ‘Less Friendly’ to Business?
Appellate lawyers say it’s too early to see major swings in the law, but individual rulings on labor, class actions and administrative law show troubling signs for corporate clients.


Kagan Leads Sotomayor on Laughs, But Lags in Dissents
Plus, which of Obama’s justices is more liberal? Whose case was cited most? And who accused who of of writing in “non-sequiturs”?

Obama’s Judges Have Changed the Face of the 11th Circuit, But Will They Shift Its Politics?
Of the five newest judges on one of the most conservative federal appellate benches in the country, four are women—creating for the first time a scenario where a panel could be composed of all women—and the one man is Hispanic, born in Cuba. But the appointees come largely from law-and-order backgrounds.


Obama Judges Lead Fifth Circuit Toward Center
In the last eight years, the Fifth Circuit bench has begun shifting away from predictable conservative patterns, appellate lawyers said.


Five Decisions That Show Obama’s Ninth Circuit Appointees Are More Centrist
If the nonlawyer on the street knows anything about the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, it’s that it’s very liberal and very activist. But after eight years of appointments by President Obama, it is no longer clear that reputation holds true.


Diversity, Rigor Define Obama’s Stamp on Northern Calif. Bench
With a greater concentration of Obama appointees than any large urban district, the Northern District of California has been remade with jurists who defy anyone’s “activist” label.

Rapid Restocking of NY Federal Courts Adds More Than New Judges
Obama appointees fill nearly half the state’s active federal judgeships—adding diversity and reducing caseloads.


Obama’s NJ Judges Known for Competence Before Ideology
President Barack Obama appointed seven district judges in New Jersey, a group that’s considered competent, hardworking and non-ideological.


Political Deadlock Leaves ‘Negative Legacy’ on Pennsylvania Courts
Barack Obama’s judge picks in Pennsylvania and the Third Circuit have been centrist but that hasn’t stopped the partisan gridlock.


Interactive: Key Business Rulings From Obama Judges
Here’s how circuit judges appointed by Barack Obama are coming down on issues like arbitration, class actions, government regulation, white-collar defense and labor and employment.


Obama Years Brought Crucial Boost to Border Benches
Judges in the Southwestern border states have been tough on criminal defendants—and sometimes on the White House.


Obama Picks Dominate Nation’s Patent Court
The first president to make patent law part of his State of the Union address also seized the opportunity to appoint seven of the 12 judges to the appellate court that decides IP disputes.