Welcome to the Friday, September 29, Brew.
By: Samuel Wonacott
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Biden has nominated 181 federal judges, behind Trump, Obama, and Bush at this point in his first term
- The next Republican presidential primary debate is Nov. 8
- #FridayTrivia: What percentage of state legislative districts up for election this year have no major party competition?
Biden has nominated 181 federal judges, behind Trump, Obama, and Bush at this point in his first term
Between Aug. 1 and Sept. 24, President Joe Biden (D) nominated seven new Article III judges, bringing his total since taking office to 181. That’s less than former Presidents Donald Trump (R), Barack Obama (D), and George W. Bush (R) at this point—978 days—into their first terms.
The U.S. Senate confirmed four Article III judges between Aug. 1 and Sept. 24, bringing the total number of confirmations to 134.
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 presidential appointments subject to Senate confirmation.
Here’s how many Article III judges Biden’s three predecessors sent to the U.S. Senate, and how many of those were confirmed, 978 days into their presidencies:
The chart below shows the number of confirmed judicial nominations by days in office during the Biden, Trump, Obama, and W. Bush administrations (2001-present).
The chart below includes all Article III nominations, including unsuccessful nominations, renominations of individuals to the same court, and recess appointments. A recess appointment is when the president appoints a federal official while the Senate is in recess.
There are currently 71 Article III vacancies. For upcoming vacancies, the president may submit a nomination to the U.S. Senate before the vacancy occurs.
There are five key steps in the vacancy process: a presidential nomination, a U.S. Senate committee hearing, a Senate committee vote to report the nominee to the full Senate, the full Senate voting on confirmation, and a confirmed nominee taking the judicial oath and receiving a judicial commission.
For 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.
The next Republican presidential primary debate is Nov. 8
On Wednesday, Sept. 27, seven Republican presidential candidates met onstage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, for the second GOP debate of the 2024 presidential election.
The following candidates participated:
- N.D. Gov. Doug Bergum
- Frmr. N.J. Gov. Chris Christie
- Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis
- Frmr. U.N. Amb. Nikki Haley
- Frmr. V.P. Mike Pence
- Vivek Ramaswamy
- U.S. Sen. Tim Scott
The only candidate who qualified for and participated in the Aug. 23 debate but not the second one was former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Former President Donald Trump (R) skipped the debate, appearing instead at a rally in Detroit, Michigan.
Ramaswamy spoke most during the debate, while Burgum spoke least.
Click here to read a summary of the candidates’ debate statements.
Candidates spoke for an average of about 10 and a half minutes, compared to nine and a half minutes in the first debate. During the second Democratic primary debate on July 30-31, 2019, which took place over two days with 10 candidates each, the candidates spoke for an average of 10 minutes.
Each of these candidates met a polling and fundraising threshold to qualify for the debate and signed several Republican National Committee pledges, including one to support the eventual Republican presidential nominee.
Now that the first debate is over, here’s what comes next.
The Republican Party will hold a third debate on Nov. 8 in Miami, Florida. Candidates must receive 4% support or more in two national polls, or 4% support in one national poll and two early state polls—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada. They must also show 70,000 unique campaign donors, with at least 200 unique donors from 20 different states or territories.
In the 2016 election cycle, Democrats held nine debates, and Republicans held 12. In 2020, Democrats held 11.
Click below to read more about the second Republican debate.
#FridayTrivia: What percentage of state legislative districts up for election this year have no major party competition?
Our methodology defines competitiveness as the presence of choice throughout the election cycle. A greater level of competitiveness means voters have the ability to make more decisions about candidates. A lower level of competitiveness equals fewer choices.
We found that, in the 578 legislative elections this year, competitiveness declined from a decade high in 2019. We base our analysis on three criteria—the percentage of incumbents in contested primaries, the percentage of races without an incumbent in the election, and the percentage of races in which a Republican and Democrat face off in the general election.
We use the phrase major party competition to describe a general election with both Republican and Democratic candidates. In even-numbered election cycles between 2010 and 2022, an average of 39% of state legislative seats had no major party competition.
You can read more from our report here.
What percentage of state legislative districts up for election this year lack major party competition?