The Federal Tap: Early voting begins in runoff in Texas’ 6th Congressional District

The Federal Tap

Our weekly summary of federal news highlights the start of early voting in the special runoff election between two Republicans in Texas’ 6th Congressional District and the Supreme Court’s announcement of the list of cases it will hear at the start of the October 2021-2022 term. Read all about it in this week’s edition of the Federal Tap.

Early voting begins July 19 in runoff in Texas’ 6th Congressional District

Voters in Texas’ 6th Congressional District may vote early from July 19 to July 23 in the district’s special election runoff. Jake Ellzey (R) and Susan Wright (R) are running in the July 27 race to fill the vacancy left when the previous incumbent, Ronald Wright (R), died from COVID-19 related complications on Feb. 7. The district is located in the northeastern portion of the state and includes Ellis and Navarro counties and an area of Tarrant County.

Susan Wright is Ronald Wright’s widow. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed her on April 26. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) endorsed Ellzey.

Since both runoff candidates are Republicans, the seat will not change party hands as a result of the election. The two advanced from a 23-candidate special election on May 1. Wright received 19.2% of the vote while Ellzey received 13.8% of the vote. 

U.S. Supreme Court releases October 2021 argument calendar

The Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) released its argument calendar for the 2021-2022 term’s October sitting on July 13. The court will hear nine hours of oral argument in nine cases between Oct. 4 and Oct. 13. 

Click the links below to learn more about each case:

October 4, 2021

October 5, 2021

October 6, 2021

October 12, 2021

October 13, 2021

To date, 20 cases that have been granted review during the term have not yet been scheduled for argument. Two cases were dismissed after they were accepted. The court has agreed to hear 31 cases so far during its 2021-2022 term.

Where was the president last week?

  • On Monday, Biden remained in Washington, D.C.
  • On Tuesday, Biden delivered remarks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Biden remained in Washington, D.C. for the rest of the week.

Federal Judiciary

  • 83 federal judicial vacancies
  • 23 pending nominations
  • 31 future federal judicial vacancies

Leading Democrats announce campaign appearances in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District special election

Two Democratic candidates have announced campaign appearances by nationally known figures ahead of the special Democratic primary election in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District on Aug. 3. The election is being held to fill the vacancy left when Biden appointed former incumbent Marcia Fudge (D) secretary of housing and urban development. Thirteen candidates are running in the Democratic primary.

Nina Turner announced on July 15 that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) will campaign for her in Northeast Ohio on July 24. Ocasio-Cortez is one of six representatives that refer to themselves as The Squad, along with Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). All have endorsed Turner, a former state senator and co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign.

National Journal columnist Josh Kraushaar tweeted that House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus will be in the 11th District the weekend ahead of the election to campaign for Shontel Brown, a member of the Cuyahoga County Council and chair of the county Democratic Party.

Michigan Supreme Court rejects independent commission’s request to extend redistricting deadlines

The Michigan Supreme Court rejected a request on July 9 by the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to extend the state’s constitutional deadlines for adopting new redistricting plans. This means that the constitutional deadlines–presentation to the public by Sept. 17 and adoption by Nov. 1–remain in effect. 

The commission had argued that it would “not be able to comply with the constitutionally imposed timeline,” due to delays in receiving detailed redistricting data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The commission had asked the state supreme court to order the commission to propose plans within 72 days of the receipt of redistricting data and to approve plans within 45 days thereafter.

In its unsigned order, the court said that it was “not persuaded that it should grant the requested relief.” In her concurring opinion, Justice Elizabeth Welch wrote, “The Court’s decision is not a reflection on the merits of the questions briefed or how this Court might resolve a future case raising similar issues. It is indicative only that a majority of this Court believes that the anticipatory relief sought is unwarranted.”

Congress is in session

Both the House and Senate are in session next week. Click here to see the full calendar for the first session of the 117th Congress.

SCOTUS is out of session

The Supreme Court will not hear oral arguments next week. To learn about the 2020-2021 term, click here.

Ballotpedia’s polling index shows presidential approval at 52%, congressional approval at 36%

Ballotpedia’s polling index showed President Joe Biden (D) at 52% approval and 43% disapproval as of July 15. At this time last month, his approval rating was at 53%.

The highest approval rating Biden has received during his tenure is 55%, last seen on May 26. The lowest approval rating he has received is 51% on March 29.

Congressional approval is at 36% and disapproval is at 55%, according to our index. At this time last month, congressional approval was at 26%.

The 117th Congress’ current approval rating of 36% is the highest it has received. The lowest approval rating it has received is 19%, last seen on June 23.

At this time during the tenure of former President Donald Trump (R), presidential approval was at 41% and congressional approval was at 20%. To see more comparisons between Biden and Trump administration polling, click here.

President Biden signs proclamations commemorating Atomic Veterans Day, Captive Nations Week

President Joe Biden (D) signed a proclamation on July 15, declaring July 16 as National Atomic Veterans Day. The commemoration honors veterans of the armed forces who were exposed to radiation between 1945 and 1962 in the course of their military service. President Ronald Reagan (R) was the first president to recognize National Atomic Veterans Day, doing so on July 16, 1983.

Among the honorees are service members who were in or near Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the time of the atomic bombings, and those who worked at nuclear test sites in the U.S. The United States detonated the first nuclear device in world history on July 16, 1945, in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
On July 16, Biden signed a proclamation declaring July 18 through 24 as Captive Nations Week. Biden said the week was dedicated to awareness and remembrance of people living in undemocratic nations and specifically mentioned ongoing unrest in Belarus, China, Burma, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Ukraine. President Dwight Eisenhower (R) was the first president to recognize Captive Nations Week in 1960.