Welcome to the Wednesday, April 12, Brew.
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Biden issues second veto of his presidency
- Pace of 2023 ballot measure certifications on par with historical levels
- Senate has confirmed 119 Biden judicial nominees through his 800th day in office, the most since Bill Clinton
Biden issues second veto of his presidency
On April 6, President Joe Biden (D) issued the second veto of his presidency, rejecting House Joint Resolution 27 (H.J.Res. 27) regarding the regulations surrounding the Clean Water Act.
H.J.Res 27 would have nullified an Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers rule that clarified the scope of which bodies of water fall under federal jurisdiction and protection.
In his veto message, Biden said, “The resolution would leave Americans without a clear definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ … [and] threaten economic growth, including for agriculture, local economies, and downstream communities.” Biden added, “The resolution would also negatively affect … households that depend on healthy wetlands and streams.”
The House voted 227-198 to approve the resolution on March 9, with 218 Republicans and nine Democrats voting in favor.
The Senate approved the resolution 53-43 on March 9, with 48 Republicans, four Democrats—Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Jackie Rosen (D-Nev.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.)—and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) voting in favor.
Congress can override a presidential veto with a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers.
Congress has only overridden two vetoes since 2008.
Since 1981, President Ronald Reagan (R) has issued the most vetoes with 87. With only two vetoes, Biden has issued the fewest, followed by President Donald Trump (R) with nine.
Presidents have issued 2,586 vetoes in American history, and Congress has overridden 112. President Franklin D. Roosevelt vetoed 635 bills, the most of any president. Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Q. Adams, William H. Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, and James A. Garfield did not issue any vetoes.
Click below to learn more about Biden’s vetoes.
Pace of ballot measure certifications for 2023 on par with historical levels
As of April 9, six statewide measures in four states have been certified for the 2023 ballot. That’s the same as the average number of measures certified at this point in an odd-year cycle based on data since 2011.
Of those six measures, four have already gone to a vote in Oklahoma and Wisconsin, where voters:
- Rejected Oklahoma State Question 820, Marijuana Legalization Initiative, 62% to 38%;
- Approved Wisconsin Question 1, Conditions of Release Before Conviction Amendment, 67% to 33%;
- Approved Wisconsin Question 2, Conditions for Cash Bail Amendment, 68% to 32%; and,
- Approved Wisconsin Work Requirement for Welfare Benefits Advisory Question, 80% to 20%.
The upcoming measures certified for the 2023 ballot are:
- New York Remove Debt Limit on Small City School Districts Amendment on Nov. 7; and,
- Louisiana Gubernatorial Deadlines on Bills and Legislative Veto Sessions Amendment on Nov. 17.
Officials have also verified five indirect initiatives for 2023 in Maine and Ohio, which are before legislators pending further action:
- Maine “Right to Repair Law” Vehicle Data Access Requirement Initiative
- Maine Creation of Pine Tree Power Company Initiative
- Maine Prohibit Foreign Spending in Elections Initiative
- Maine Voter Approval of Borrowing Above $1 Billion by State Entities and Electric Cooperatives Initiative
- Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative
Looking further ahead, we know at least 26 statewide measures in 15 states will appear on the 2024 ballot. That’s seven more than the average number certified at this point in an even-year cycle based on data since 2012.
Here are some recent updates on the 2024 front:
- Four new measures were certified for the ballot last week:
- Arkansas Lottery Proceed Funding for Vocational-Technical School Scholarships and Grants Amendment
- Iowa Require Citizenship to Vote in State Elections and Allow 17-Year-Olds to Vote in Primaries Amendment
- Maryland Right to Reproductive Freedom Amendment
- New Hampshire Increase Mandatory Judicial Retirement Age Amendment
- One measure in Michigan is pending signature verification:
Senate has confirmed 119 Biden judicial nominees through his 800th day in office, the most since Bill Clinton
As of April 5, roughly 800 days into his first term, Biden has nominated 158 individuals to federal judgeships on Article III courts. The Senate has confirmed 119.
Article III judgeships are those on the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of International Trade, the 13 U.S. courts of appeal, and the 94 U.S. district courts. The president makes these lifetime appointments with U.S. Senate confirmation.
Biden’s 119 Article III appointments are the second-most among any president at this point in their presidency since Reagan. By April 1 of the third year in their term, only President Bill Clinton (D) had made more appointments at 137.
Overall, by the end of their first terms, Trump had made the most Article III appointments with 234, followed by George W. Bush (R) with 204, and Clinton with 203.
There are 99 upcoming and current Article III vacancies. If Biden fills each of those and no new vacancies arise, he will have made 218 appointments.
Those 99 vacancies were current as of April 5 and include 25 announced upcoming vacancies.
These 25 positions are not yet vacant but will be at some point in the future, with every judge having announced their intent to either leave the bench or assume senior status.
The president and Senate do not need to wait for a position to become vacant before they begin the successor’s confirmation process. Biden has already begun the replacement process for two judgeships:
- Biden nominated S. Kato Crews to replace Judge Raymond P. Moore on the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. Moore will assume senior status on June 20.
- Biden nominated Anthony Johnstone to replace Judge Sidney Thomas on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Thomas will assume senior status following Johnstone’s confirmation.
Six judges have not yet announced when they will leave their position, just that they are planning to do so. The next scheduled vacancy is on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Judge Audrey Fleissig will assume senior status there on April 14.
In addition to these 25 upcoming vacancies, there are 74 current Article III vacancies out of the 870 total such judgeships.