Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- 100 of Biden’s U.S. District Court nominees confirmed
- Eleven state legislatures still in session; remaining 39 adjourned
- #FridayTrivia: How many affirmative action-related ballot measures have voters decided since 1996?
100 of Biden’s U.S. District Court nominees confirmed
There’s been a lot of attention recently on the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) and its rulings this term (you can read our coverage and analysis of those cases here). The federal judicial system encompasses nearly 1,770 judgeships across 209 courts. And about half of those judges are appointed by the president to life terms.
As of July 1, the U.S. Senate has confirmed 100 of Biden’s U.S. district court nominees.
District courts are the general trial courts of the federal judicial system. There are 94 district courts, where both civil and criminal cases are filed, and 677 judgeships. There is at least one judicial district for each state, and one each for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. The U.S. Senate confirms the president’s judicial nominations, though there are multiple steps in the process.
Since Biden assumed the presidency, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey has received the most confirmed nominees with eight. The U.S. District Courts for the Central and Southern Districts of California each received the second-most confirmed nominees with six. Of the 100 nominees, seven were confirmed with no votes from Republican senators.
Natasha Merle, who will join the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York when she takes her oath, was the 100th nominee to be confirmed. She was confirmed in a 50-49 vote on June 21. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was the only Democrat who voted against confirming Merle, while no Republicans supported her. Biden first nominated Merle on Jan. 19, 2022.
Since taking office, Biden (D) has nominated 164 individuals to federal judgeships on Article III courts, including district courts, appeals courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS). As of June 21, 136 of the nominees have been confirmed.
The chart below shows the number of Article III judges—those federal judges appointed by the president for life—confirmed by the U.S. Senate under each of the last seven presidents as of July 1 of their third year in office. The confirmations are broken up by court type. President Bill Clinton (D) had the most district court confirmations through July 1 of his third year with 128. President George H.W. Bush (R) had the fewest with 64.
Learn more about Biden’s Article III nominations at the link below.
Twelve state legislatures still in session; remaining 38 adjourned
Summer usually means lessened state legislative activity, as most states wrap up their work in the first half of the year. Let’s quickly get up to speed on where state legislatures are still in session.
As of today:
- 41 states’ regular sessions have ended.
- Nine states are in regular session: Arizona (currently recessed), California, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
- Maine, Oklahoma, and Texas are in special sessions.
In 2023, all state legislatures convened for regular or special sessions.
Of the states in regular session, two will adjourn their sessions in August—Arizona on Aug. 11 and North Carolina on Aug. 31. The remaining states are all full-time state legislatures and have later adjournment dates. California is the earliest, adjourning on September 14, followed by Massachusetts on November 15 and Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin on December 31. Oklahoma and Texas’ special sessions convened in May and are scheduled to end in late July. Maine’s special session convened on April 5 and was scheduled to end on June 21, but was still in session as of July 6.
Fourteen state legislative regular sessions adjourned in May. June saw 10 states adjourn their regular sessions, and March and April each saw eight states adjourn. Virginia was the only state to adjourn its regular session in February.
Learn more about your state’s legislative session dates at the link below.
#FridayTrivia: How many affirmative action-related ballot measures have voters decided since 1996?
On June 29, SCOTUS decided Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard, ruling against Harvard’s and the University of North Carolina’s use of race in their admissions processes.
Over the years, debates over affirmative action have played out not only in the judicial system but also at the ballot box. In the Wednesday Brew, we looked at some of the affirmative action-related ballot measures voters have decided.
How many affirmative action-related ballot measures have voters decided since 1996?