Five years later: where Janus-related litigation stands today

Welcome to the Wednesday, August 9, Brew. 

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

  1. Five years after Janus, related Supreme Court appeals taper off
  2. Senate has confirmed 140 Biden judicial nominees, behind Trump, G.W. Bush, and Clinton at this point
  3. 146 candidates filed for congressional and statewide offices last week

Five years after Janus, related Supreme Court appeals taper off

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, Ballotpedia has followed nearly 200 federal lawsuits related to public-sector unions.

The Janus ruling established that public-sector unions may not require non-union employees to pay fees to cover bargaining costs, overturning a precedent established in 1977. Previously, unions could require dues from non-union members but could not use them for political activities.

Today, more than 80% of the Janus-related court cases are now closed, including both dismissals and settlements. Fewer than 30 cases involving questions directly related to Janus are pending in federal courts.

Some of the questions at issue in these cases include:

  • Whether public-sector unions can be held liable for refunding agency fees paid before Janus;
  • Whether exclusive bargaining representation laws violate non-union members’ First Amendment rights; and,
  • Whether mandatory bar association dues should be reconsidered in light of Janus.

Since 2018, litigants have appealed more than 70 lawsuits dealing with questions related to Janus to the Supreme Court. Around 80% of those petitions include direct references to Janus in the questions presented to the court, with the rest citing Janus throughout.

More than 75% of those appealed lawsuits originated in district courts in 2018 or 2019. The Supreme Court denied nearly 75% of the appeals in 2021 and 2022. The chart below shows the distribution of cases appealed to the Supreme Court by the year the initial lawsuits were filed compared to the year the court denied the appeal.

Five years after the original Janus decision, the Supreme Court has denied review of all of the other appeals we’ve followed in cases directly related to Janus

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Senate has confirmed 140 Biden judicial nominees, behind Trump, G.W. Bush, and Clinton at this point

As of Aug. 1, roughly 920 days into his first term, President Joe Biden (D) has nominated 176 individuals to federal judgeships on Article III courts. The Senate has confirmed 140, placing Biden behind Donald Trump (R), George W. Bush (R), and Bill Clinton (D) in terms of total confirmations at this point in their respective presidencies.

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.

By Aug. 1 of the third year in their terms, Bill Clinton (D) had the most nominees confirmed at 145, Donald Trump (R) had 146, and George W. Bush (R) had 145.

At the beginning of July, Biden was second only to Clinton. But, during July of their third years in office, Bush and Trump had 13 and 23 confirmations, respectively, placing them ahead of where Biden stands now. By comparison, the Senate confirmed four of Biden’s nominees in July.

By the end of their first terms, Trump had the most Article III nominees confirmed with 234, Bush had 204, and Clinton had 203.

There are 100 upcoming and current Article III vacancies.

If Biden makes nominations to each of those vacancies, the Senate confirms them, and no new vacancies arise, he will have made 240 appointments by the end of his first term.

For more information about U.S. Supreme Court activity and other judicial happenings around the U.S., subscribe to Robe & Gavel, our monthly newsletter covering the federal judiciary.

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146 candidates filed for congressional and statewide offices last week

Last week, 146 candidates filed to run for congressional and state offices—including for elections in 2023, 2024, 2025, and 2026.

That’s up 24 from the preceding week. Since the start of the year, we’ve tracked an average of 86 candidate filings per week.

This year, we’ve identified 2,657 declared candidates for these offices. At this time in 2021, we had identified 3,367 candidates for 2022, 2023, and 2024 races.

Of last week’s declared candidates:

  • 70 are Democrats;
  • 69 are Republicans; and,
  • Seven are minor party candidates.

Fourteen of last week’s candidates are running for state legislatures, six for governorships, and four for other state executive offices. Most of last week’s candidates—122—are running for Congress: six in the Senate and 116 in the House. Here’s a look at where those House candidates filed:

We cover elections for tens of thousands of offices across the country. Part of that work includes keeping tabs on the candidates—both declared and official—running for those offices.

For more information about how we determine candidacies and a full list of candidates running for Congress in 2024, click the link below.
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