Supreme Court to hear oral argument in 24 cases over the next three months

 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Thursday, December 5, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Supreme Court to hear oral argument in 24 cases over the next three months
  2. Local Roundup
  3. Recall effort against state lawmaker rejected due to petition error

Supreme Court to hear oral argument in 24 cases over the next three months

The U.S. Supreme Court began its December sitting this week, hearing oral argument in six cases. The court will also hear arguments in six cases next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Five facts for December 5. 

  • The Supreme Court will hear eight cases over five days in January, starting on Jan. 13. It announced last week that it will hear nine cases in its February sitting, which runs from Feb. 24 to March 4.
  • The Supreme Court began hearing cases for the current term Oct. 7. The court’s annual term begins on the first Monday in October and lasts until the first Monday in October the following year. The court generally releases the majority of its decisions by mid-June.
  • Thus far, the court has heard 25 cases in this term.
  • The Supreme Court has already agreed to hear 57 cases during its 2019-2020 term. In the 2018-2019 term, SCOTUS considered 75 cases. It heard oral argument in 72 and decided three cases without argument. In the 2017-2018 term, SCOTUS agreed to hear 71 cases.
  • Of the 57 cases that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear, eight are on appeal from the Ninth Circuit and eight are from state and district courts. The Ninth Circuit hears appeals of cases from the following states-Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. It also has appellate jurisdiction over the district courts for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The Ninth Circuit is the largest appellate court, with 16 Democratic-appointed justices and 13 Republican-appointed justices.

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Local Roundup

Here’s our weekly roundup of local news:

Boise, Idaho

Lauren McLean defeated incumbent David Bieter in the runoff election for mayor of Boise on Tuesday—Dec. 3—receiving 65.5% of the vote. This was Boise’s first runoff election for mayor in over 50 years. McLean and Bieter were the top two finishers in the city’s general election Nov. 5, with McLean receiving 46% of the vote and Bieter 30% in a seven-candidate field.

Bieter was first elected mayor of Boise in 2003 and has served four terms. McLean has been a member of the Boise City Council since 2011 and is the first woman elected to be the city’s mayor. Although municipal elections in Boise are officially nonpartisan, McLean describes herself as a Democrat and Bieter is a former Democratic member of the Idaho House of Representatives.

Boise is the largest city in Idaho and the 97th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Mayoral partisanship in the 100 largest cities

Thirty-one mayoral elections in the 100 largest cities were held in 2019, with one race—the Dec. 14 runoff for mayor of Houston—still to be decided. In 20 of those cities, the incumbent was Democratic at the start of 2019. Six incumbents were Republican, three were independent, one was unaffiliated, and the affiliation of one was unknown.

With the Houston race yet to be decided, the mayor’s partisan affiliation changed in four cities. Democrats have gained three mayorships, two from Republicans and one from an independent. Republicans won one seat held by an unaffiliated mayor.

  • Democrat Kate Gallego won a special runoff election in Phoenix on March 12. Thelda Williams (R) was the previous incumbent after former Mayor Greg Stanton (D) resigned to run for the U.S. House.
  • In Raleigh, North Carolina, Mary-Ann Baldwin (D) won the nonpartisan mayoral race. The pre-election incumbent was independent Nancy McFarlane, who did not seek re-election. 
  • Mike Coffman (R) won the Nov. 5 mayoral election in Aurora, Colorado. Incumbent Bob LeGare (unaffiliated) did not run in the 2019 election.
  • Democrat Brandon Whipple won Wichita, Kansas’ mayoral election on Nov. 5. He defeated Republican incumbent Jeff Longwell.

Scott LeMay (R) won the mayoral election in Garland, Texas, after running unopposed. He succeeded Lori Barnett Dodson, whose partisan affiliation was unknown.

The table below shows the partisan breakdown of mayors back to 2016. Democratic mayors oversaw 67 of the 100 largest cities at the beginning of 2016, 64 at the beginning of 2017, 63 at the start of 2018, and 61 at the start of 2019.

Mayoral partisanship

Recall effort against state lawmaker rejected due to petition error

Last month, we covered the story of a recall effort against Michigan State Rep. Larry Inman (R). Supporters of the recall submitted 13,991 signatures—1,790 more than what was required—on Nov. 22 in an effort to trigger a recall election. Here’s an update to that story.

The Michigan Bureau of Elections announced Nov. 29 that it rejected the recall effort due to a typo in the signature petitions. The original petition language—approved in July—described one of the charges against Inman’s as, “Attempted extortion under color of official right.” The signed petitions submitted last month omitted the word “right.” 

In a letter to recall organizers, Director of Elections Sally Williams wrote, “While the omission of one word may seem inconsequential and the rejection of a recall petition on such grounds as excessively technical and harsh, the recall statute does not authorize the bureau to excuse differences between the reasons for recall approved by the board and those printed on the recall petitions.” The image below from Williams’ letter shows both the original petition language and that which appeared on the signed petitions.

Petition error

Recall organizer Kaitlin Flynn told The Detroit News that supporters are “in shock and deeply disappointed” and that the recall group was evaluating all of its options. Flynn told UpNorthLive that the mistake was due to a printing error.

According to the petition language, supporters are trying to recall Inman due to his indictment on three felony counts and missing more than 80 votes during the 2019 legislative session. Federal prosecutors charged Inman in May 2019 with extortion, lying to the FBI, and lying to investigators about texts soliciting contributions. His trial on those charges began Tuesday—Dec. 3. On Aug. 29, the state House passed a resolution urging him to resign by a 98-8 vote. 

Ballotpedia has tracked 99 recall efforts of state legislators from 1913 to 2018, with 29 of those occurring in Michigan. Four such efforts made the ballot and three Michigan legislators were successfully recalled. The last Michigan legislator recalled was Rep. Paul Scott (R) in 2011.

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