Welcome to the Thursday, February 10, Brew.
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Data shows Supreme Court confirmation votes have grown narrower, more partisan since 1967
- Seven Oklahoma school districts hold primaries on February 8
- Five Democrats running for Texas Attorney General
Data shows Supreme Court confirmation votes have grown narrower, more partisan since 1967
President Joe Biden (D) said that he will name his nominee to replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the United States Supreme Court by the end of February. The nominee will be the first to require confirmation from a United States Senate divided 50-50.
Let’s take a closer look at the partisan makeup of past Supreme Court confirmation votes.
The chart below shows the total number of yes votes received by each Supreme Court justice confirmed since 1967, divided by senator’s party. Blue represents Democratic votes, red represents Republican votes, and gray represents independent or third party votes.
To view this data in a table, click here.
Ten facts from looking at the data.
- Sandra Day O’Connor (nom. Ronald Reagan (R), 1981) received the most total yes votes (99).
- Brett Kavanaugh (nom. Donald Trump (R), 2018) received the fewest total yes votes (50).
- Amy Coney Barrett (nom. Donald Trump (R), 2020) received the fewest Democratic yes votes (0).
- Elena Kagan (nom. Barack Obama (D), 2010) received the fewest Republican yes votes (5).
Among those nominated by Democratic presidents…
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg (nom. Bill Clinton (D), 1993) received the highest total number of yes votes (96).
- Kagan received the lowest total number of yes votes (63).
- Thurgood Marshall (nom. Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967) received the lowest number of Democratic yes votes (37).
Among those nominated by Republican presidents…
- O’Connor received the highest total number of yes votes (99).
- Kavanaugh received the lowest total number of yes votes (50).
- Warren Burger (nom. Richard Nixon, 1969) received the lowest number of Republican yes votes (36).
Seven Oklahoma school districts hold primaries on February 8
Eight school board seats in seven Oklahoma school districts covered by Ballotpedia were up for nonpartisan primary elections on Feb. 8, 2022. Candidates competed to advance to the general election scheduled for Apr. 5.
The districts holding primaries included Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Edmond, Mustang, Piedmont, Tulsa, and Union Public Schools.
Three candidates won the election outright on Feb. 8 by receiving more than 50% of the vote in the primary. Katie Cornman, Stefan Swaggerty, and Debbie Taylor won a seat on the board for Piedmont, Catoosa, and Broken Arrow Public Schools, respectively. Candidates advanced to the general election for the remaining five seats.
- In the Edmond Public School District, Courtney Hobgood and Cheryl Williams advanced to the general election for the District 2 seat. Incumbent Marcus Jones and Michael Grande advanced to the general in the special election for District 5.
- Robert Rader and Audra Tucker advanced to the general election for Seat 2 on the Mustang Public Schools Board of Education.
- Incumbent Chris McNeil and challenger Shelley Gwartney advanced to the general election for Union Public Schools Board of Education Zone 2.
- In the Tulsa Public School District, Susan Lamkin and Tim Harris advanced to the general election for the District 7 seat. The two candidates differ in their stances regarding race in education. In profiles compiled by the Tulsa School Board, Harris said, “Teaching our children to be racist … that’s not our American heritage.” Lamkin said it was time to do the work “of building the future rooted in justice and equity.”
Primaries in 19 other school districts covered by Ballotpedia were canceled after fewer than three candidates filed to run for each seat up for election. Twenty out of the 28 Oklahoma school board races covered by Ballotpedia this year (71%) did not have enough candidates file to hold a primary. In 2021, primaries were canceled in 30 out of 35 races (86%). In 2020, 24 out of 30 races (80%) had canceled primaries.
The 26 Oklahoma school boards covered by Ballotpedia served a total of 267,432 students during the 2017-2018 school year.
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Five Democrats running for Texas Attorney General
Yesterday, we previewed the Republican primary for Texas Attorney General. Today, we’re back with a look at the Democratic contest. Five candidates are running in the Democratic primary for Texas attorney general on March 1. Three lead in campaign fundraising and media attention: Rochelle Garza, Joe Jaworski, and Lee Merritt.
Garza is a former attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. In an interview with The Texas Tribune, Garza said, “If we’re gonna change anything in Texas, it’s gonna have to come at the state level because we’ve seen the damage that the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general have done to this state and the harm they’ve done to the people.”
Jaworski is an attorney and the former mayor of Galveston. His campaign website lists several top priorities, including supporting the Affordable Care Act, expanding Medicaid, leading a statewide effort to legalize recreational marijuana, and supporting local governments’ authority. In an interview with Spectrum News, Jaworski said, “Local decision-making authority is under attack in state government these days and I can personally say that local government is the best government.”
Merritt is a civil rights attorney who says his top priority is expanding voting access to all residents. In a January 2022 interview with Houston television station ABC13, Merritt said, “Texas is changing, and we’ve seen a unique backlash in response to that change. The essential components of our democracy are at stake, starting with the right to vote.”
Also running in the primary are Mike Fields and S. T-Bone Raynor.
The attorney general is an executive office that serves as the chief legal advisor and chief law enforcement officer for the state government and is empowered to prosecute violations of state law, represent the state in legal disputes and issue legal advice to state agencies and the legislature. In most states, the attorney general has a substantial influence on a state’s approach to law enforcement.
A candidate winning more than 50% of the vote automatically advances to the Nov. 8 general election. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two candidates will advance to a primary runoff on May 24.