ICYMI: Top stories of the week


Milwaukee mayoral race headlined April 5 elections

The race to fill out the remainder of former Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s unexpired term was the only battleground among the races we covered on April 5. Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson defeated Robert Donovan. Although the race is officially nonpartisan, Johnson has said he is a Democrat. Donovan described himself as an independent.

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America’s Next Top Pet Tournament results!

Our com-PET-ition was RUFF, and after a grrrr-ueling tournament, the winner is…

Rebecca! Calvin Coolidge’s White House raccoon (who, if you can believe it, was originally sent to the White House to become Thanksgiving dinner!) has been voted as Ballotpedia’s 2022 America’s Next Top Pet Cham-paw-ion. Congratulations to her!

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Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed, will be sworn in this summer

The U.S. Senate voted 53-47 to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court on April 7. Jackson will be sworn into office following the retirement of outgoing Justice Stephen Breyer. When she assumes office, Jackson will become the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

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President Joe Biden’s approval at 41%, congressional approval at 23%

Recent approval polling averages show President Biden one percentage point up from his lowest-ever approval rating. Polling averages also show the U.S. Congress maintained a rating above 20% through March.

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A look at upcoming Article III judicial vacancies

According to the latest vacancy data from the U.S. Courts, there were 34 total announced upcoming vacancies for Article III judgeships. These positions are not yet vacant but will be at some point in the future with every judge having announced his or her intent to either leave the bench or assume senior status.

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The latest redistricting news from Louisiana, Maryland, and New York

Let’s look at what has happened recently in Louisiana, Maryland, and New York. 


Louisiana enacted new congressional district boundaries on March 30 when the state legislature overrode Gov. John Bel Edwards’ (D) veto of legislation establishing the new districts. Louisiana is the fourth state this cycle—following Kansas, Kentucky, and Maryland—where the legislature overrode the governor’s veto of redistricting legislation. All four states have divided government, where one party holds the governor’s office and the other controls both chambers of the state legislature. 


Maryland adopted new congressional district boundaries on April 4 when Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signed revised redistricting legislation that the General Assembly had finalized a few days earlier. Hogan signed the new map after state Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) dropped his appeal of Circuit Court Judge Lynne Battaglia’s ruling overturning the state’s previous congressional redistricting plan.

New York

On April 4, New York Supreme Court Appellate Division Justice Stephen Lindley blocked a Steuben County Supreme Court justice’s ruling that overturned the state’s congressional and legislative district boundaries. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) had signed those maps into law on Feb. 3. Lindley’s ruling maintains New York’s maps while the case moves forward. Lindley scheduled a hearing on the state’s appeal of the lower court ruling for April 7. 

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