68 legislative districts were renamed or eliminated via redistricting

Welcome to the Monday, January 9, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Sixty-eight legislative districts in five states were either renamed or eliminated after the 2020 census
  2. Legislators in 12 states to be sworn in between Jan. 9 and Jan. 17 
  3. Twenty-seven upcoming Article III judicial vacancies

Sixty-eight legislative districts in five states were either renamed or eliminated after the 2020 census

During redistricting, states redraw their legislative boundaries to reflect population changes. Usually, that means district boundaries get shifted around, with some districts growing, some shrinking, and some ending up in different parts of the map entirely. In five states following the 2020 census, however, redistricting authorities—such as the legislature or a commission—eliminated or renamed 68 districts. 

Forty-six of the 68 renamed or eliminated districts are in Vermont, which is one of three New England states—along with Massachusetts and New Hampshire—that include the town as part of the legislative district name. Those three states use district names that refer to both the town and a number, such as “New Hampshire House of Representatives Rockingham 17.” Population shifts in these states may result in one town or area needing more or fewer districts than after the last census.

Here is a list of states and the number of renamed or eliminated legislative districts in each:

  • Maryland (11)
  • Massachusetts (1)
  • North Dakota (2)
  • New Hampshire (8)
  • Vermont (46)

Maryland, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Vermont are among nine states that use multi-member districts. This may also result in renaming during redistricting if legislators change a district from single-member to multi-member, or vice versa. For example, when North Dakota redrew its maps after the 2020 census, it converted North Dakota House of Representatives District 4 from a multi-member district that elected two members into a District 4A and 4B that elected one member each. The same thing happened with House of Representatives District 9. The state’s other 45 multi-member House districts remained the same.

The total number of state legislators nationwide changed slightly, from 7,383 before the 2022 elections to 7,386. The overall number of legislators remained the same in 49 states. Wyoming was the only state to change the size of its legislature after the 2020 census, creating one new Senate seat and two new House seats during redistricting. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Wyoming changed its number of legislators five times between 1964 and 1992.

It is relatively uncommon for states to change their numbers of legislators during redistricting. New York added a state senator after both the 2010 and 2000 censuses. After the 2000 census, North Dakota and Rhode Island reduced the number of legislators in both chambers. 

After the 2020 census, West Virginia adopted a redistricting plan that changed the state House from having 47 single-member and 20 multi-member districts to having, instead, 100 single-member districts. While the numbers of districts changed, the number of House members remained the same at 100.

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Legislators in 12 states to be sworn in between Jan. 9 and Jan. 17 

The first few weeks of the new year following an even-year election cycle are filled with state legislative swearing-in ceremonies. Although some states swear-in members in November and December following Election Day, most states swear in their recently-elected legislators throughout January. 

So, here’s where we are, now that we’re a week into the New Year. Beginning Jan. 9 and extending through Jan. 17, an additional 12 states will hold swearing-in ceremonies for recently-elected legislators. 

  • Seven states will swear-in legislators on Jan. 9.
  • Two states will swear-in legislators on Jan. 10.
  • Two states will swear-in legislators on Jan. 11. 
  • Alaska will swear-in legislators on Jan. 17. 

Alaska will be the last state in 2023 to hold a scheduled swearing-in ceremony for state legislators (states will swear-in new legislators throughout the year on an ad-hoc basis as circumstances—like resignations or deaths—dictate). 

Between Nov. 8 and Dec. 7, 16 states held swearing-in ceremonies for state legislators. In Florida, Hawaii, and Tennessee, legislators assume office the day they are elected. The map below shows the swearing-in dates for all legislators elected on Nov. 8, 2022 (Louisiana, New Jersey, and Virginia did not hold state legislative elections in 2022). 

Click below to see more information on state legislative swearing-in dates. 

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Twenty-seven upcoming Article III judicial vacancies

According to the latest vacancy data from the U.S. Courts, there were 27 announced upcoming vacancies for Article III judgeships as of Jan. 5, 2022. Article III judgeships refer to federal judges who serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of International Trade, or one of the 13 U.S. courts of appeal or 94 U.S. district courts. These are lifetime appointments made by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Announced upcoming vacancies refer to positions that will be vacant at some point in the future with judges saying they will either leave the bench or assume senior status. In the meantime, these judges continue to serve in their current positions.

Eight vacancy effective dates have not been determined because the judge has not announced when he or she will leave the bench. The next upcoming scheduled vacancy will take place on Jan. 9, 2023, when United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Judge R. Guy Cole assumes senior status.

In addition to these 27 upcoming vacancies, there are 84 current Article III vacancies in the federal judiciary out of the 870 total Article III judgeships. Including non-Article III judges from the United States Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, there are 86 vacancies out of 890 active federal judicial positions.

The president and Senate do not need to wait for a position to become vacant before they can start the confirmation process for a successor. For example, Rachel Bloomekatz was nominated to replace Judge R. Guy Cole, who retires on Jan. 9, 2023. There are currently 6 nominees pending for upcoming vacancies.

President Biden has nominated 148 individuals to federal judgeships on Article III courts. Ninety-seven of those nominees have been confirmed. Of the 46 nominees going through the confirmation process, 29 are awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate, 10 are awaiting a committee vote, and seven are awaiting a committee hearing.

Click below to learn more about judicial vacancies. 

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