Appeals court ruling paves way for civil service changes

 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Friday, September 27, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Appeals court ruling paves way for Trump Administration’s civil service changes to take effect
  2. Climate action plans at the city level
  3. What’s the Tea?

Appeals court ruling paves way for Trump Administration’s civil service changes to take effect

Government policy often goes through many steps before it takes effect. Here’s a timeline of an example at the federal level showing that: 

  • May 25, 2018: President Trump issued three executive orders—E.O. 13837, E.O. 13836, and E.O.13839—regarding the civil service. The orders include proposals aimed at facilitating the removal of poor-performing federal employees and streamlining collective bargaining procedures. 
  • May 30, 2018: A group of unions—including the American Federation of Government Employees, the National Treasury Employees Union, and 13 smaller unions—filed suit to prevent the orders from taking effect. The lawsuit claims that the executive orders conflict with certain collective bargaining provisions of the Civil Service Reform Act and prevent unions from performing their statutorily-required representational duties.
  • August 25, 2018: A federal district judge—Ketanji Brown Jackson—issued an injunction blocking Trump administration officials from implementing nine provisions of the executive orders that she claimed unlawfully restricted the use of union official time. Jackson was appointed to the court by then-President Barack Obama in 2013.
  • July 16, 2019: A three-judge D.C. Court of Appeals panel reversed Jackson’s ruling, holding that the lower court did not have jurisdiction and that the plaintiffs should have brought their case before the Federal Labor Relations Authority as required by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute.
  • August 30, 2019: The plaintiffs requested a rehearing en banc before the full D.C. Circuit.
  • September 25, 2019: The full D.C. Court of Appeals declined to hear the case without providing a rationale for its decision. 

The appeals court decision means that—unless the plaintiffs petition the Supreme Court to hear the case—Justice Jackson’s injunction blocking provisions of the executive orders from taking effect will be lifted by October 2. After the orders take effect, unions that wanted to challenge any provisions would have to do so before the Federal Labor Relations Authority—a federal agency that regulates and administers collective bargaining agreements between the federal government and some civilian employees.

Learn more about these executive orders

Climate action plans at the city level 

Half of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. by population have adopted local climate action plans. Such plans include goals like reducing greenhouse gas emissions from municipal operations and increasing renewable energy use.  

Supporters say they are important for addressing climate change and promoting public health. Opponents say that such plans increase living costs and cause economic harm. 

Twenty-three of these 25 cities with climate action plans currently have Democratic mayors, and two cities—Miami and San Diego—have Republican mayors.

Seven of the top 10 largest cities in the country have adopted climate action plans—New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, and San Jose, California. Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas are the largest cities without climate action plans, although all three have plans in progress.

Learn more→

What's the tea?

U.S. Representative Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) resigned from Congress earlier this week—on September 23—citing a desire to take a break from public service to support his wife and family. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) scheduled the special election to fill that vacancy on January 27, 2020, with primaries to be held December 30, 2019.

Special elections to Congress occur when a legislator resigns or is removed from office. Depending on the specific state laws governing vacancies, a state can either hold an election within the same calendar year or wait until the next regularly scheduled election. Twenty-five states fill vacancies in the state legislature through special elections. 

Have you ever voted in a special election?




About the author

Dave Beaudoin

Dave Beaudoin is a project director at Ballotpedia and can be reached at dave.beaudoin@ballotpedia.org

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