Welcome to the Tuesday, November 23, Brew.
By: Doug Kronaizl
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- U.S. Supreme Court releases January argument calendar
- Biden announces two new federal judicial nominees
- Tax-related ballot measures have been certified for the 2022 ballot in Arizona and Colorado
U.S. Supreme Court releases January argument calendar
Last week the U.S. Supreme Court released its January argument calendar for the 2021-2022 term. The eight cases set for argument range from immigration to campaign finance. Click on the case names below to learn more.
- Gallardo v. Marstiller concerns tort claims and state Medicaid program reimbursement.
- Johnson v. Arteaga-Martinez concerns the right of non-citizens in immigration detention to a bond hearing.
- Garland v. Gonzalez concerns the right of non-citizens in immigration detention to a bond hearing and the jurisdiction of federal courts to grant certain types of relief in such cases.
- Boechler, P.C. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue concerns the time limit to file petitions with the United States Tax Court to review Internal Revenue Service (IRS) determinations.
- Shurtleff v. City of Boston concerns religion, government speech, and whether a city flagpole is a public forum.
- Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collections Foundation concerns Foreign Services Immunities Act (FSIA) and Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act (2016) claims.
- Federal Election Commission v. Ted Cruz for Senate concerns federal election law and political campaign finance rules and spending limits.
- Concepcion v. United States concerns sentencing requirements and reductions for drug offenses under the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 and the First Step Act.
To date, the court has agreed to hear 49 cases during its 2021-2022 term. Four cases were dismissed and one case was removed from the argument calendar. Eight cases have not yet been scheduled for argument. The chart below compares the 2021-2022 term to previous terms. The figure for 2021-22 will change as new cases are scheduled.
Biden announces two new federal judicial nominees
- Andre Mathis, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. At the time of his nomination, Mathis was a partner at Butler Snow LLP in Memphis, Tenn.
- Alison Nathan, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. Nathan currently serves as a U.S. District Court Judge in the Southern District of New York. Former President Barack Obama (D) nominated Nathan to that court in 2011.
With the addition of these two, Biden has nominated a total of 62 individuals to Article III judgeships since the start of his term. To date, the U.S. Senate has confirmed 28 of Biden’s nominees: nine to appeals courts and 19 to district courts. As of Nov. 1 of his first year, Biden has made both the most appeals and district court appointments compared to every president since at least Ronald Reagan (R).
As of Nov. 17, 73 of the 870 Article III judgeships were vacant. Article III of the Constitution created and enumerated the judiciary’s powers. Article III judges are appointed for what are effectively life terms. A vacancy occurs only when a judge resigns, retires, assumes senior status, or dies.
Tax-related ballot measures have been certified for the 2022 ballot in Arizona and Colorado
Voters in Arizona and Colorado will decide measures regarding the income tax in their respective states in 2022. Last week, citizen-initiated ballot measures in both states were certified to appear on the Nov. 8, 2022, ballot. In Arizona, which has a Republican trifecta, voters placed a veto referendum on the ballot that would overturn a tax decrease the legislature passed earlier this year. In Colorado, which has a Democratic trifecta, voters will decide a citizen initiative that would reduce the state’s income tax rate.
The veto referendum would repeal Sections 13 and 15 of Senate Bill 1828 (SB 1828), which would reduce the number of income tax brackets in the state from four to two. SB 1828 would also further reduce the tax brackets to a flat rate when state revenue exceeds a certain amount.
As of 2021, for single filers, the lower income tax rate in Arizona is 2.59% on income below $26,501 and the highest is 4.50% on income above $159,000. Under SB 1828, the tax rates for a single filer would be 2.55% on income between $695 and $27,272 and 2.98% on income above $27,272. Those brackets would be reduced to a flat rate of 2.5% when state revenue exceeds $12.976 billion.
A vote “yes” would uphold SB 1828 and reduce the number of brackets while a vote “no” would repeal SB 1828 and maintain the state’s existing four brackets.
The initiative would decrease Colorado’s state income tax rate from 4.55% to 4.40% for tax years commencing on or after Jan. 1, 2022. The measure would also reduce the tax rate for corporations operating in Colorado from 4.55% of their net income earned in the state to 4.40%.
This is the second tax-related initiative Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute and state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R) have introduced in recent years. The two also sponsored Proposition 116 in 2020, which decreased the state income tax rate for individuals, estates, trusts, and the corporations mentioned above from 4.63% of federal table income to 4.55%. Voters approved that measure 58% to 42%
A vote “yes” would lower the state’s income tax rate to 4.40% while a vote “no” would maintain the state’s existing rate of 4.55%.
To date, 63 ballot measures have been certified for 2022 ballots across 30 states. Of that total, 52 are constitutional amendments or statutes referred to a public vote by a state legislature, three were automatically referred to the ballot, and eight were placed on the ballot through signature petitions. Keep an eye out for these numbers to change as legislators return for their 2022 sessions and signature gathering deadlines pass.