CategoryFederal

Coronavirus daily update: April 3, 2020

As part of Ballotpedia’s coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, we are compiling a daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day. Here is the summary of changes for April 3, 2020.
Federal responses
  1. The Supreme Court of the United States postponed the oral arguments scheduled for its April sitting. The court was scheduled to hear eight cases from April 20 to April 29.
Election changes
Overview to date:
  1. Seventeen states and one territory postponed state-level elections. Another five states postponed or authorized postponements of municipal election dates on a statewide basis.
  2. Eight states modified candidate filing requirements.
  3. Eighteen states implemented changes to their absentee voting procedures.
  4. Political parties in 10 states made changes to party events on a statewide basis.
Details:
  1. Wisconsin– Gov. Tony Evers (D) signed an executive order calling the Wisconsin State Legislature to meet in a special session on April 4, 2020, to discuss possible changes to the April 7, 2020, election. Evers said the legislature should consider legislation instituting an all-mail election, in which every voter would receive a ballot by May 19 to be returned by May 26.
  2. State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) said the Republican caucus would reject Evers’ request. Vos called Evers’ proposal logistically impossible and described it as a “statewide invitation for voter fraud.”
  3. Evers’ announcement followed an order from Judge William M. Conley on April 2 extending absentee voting deadlines ahead of Tuesday’s election. Today, Conley ordered officials to withhold the results of the April 7 election until absentee balloting is complete on April 13. The order came at the request of the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
  4. Kentucky – Kentucky’s legislature passed a bill that would allow the secretary of state and governor to jointly change the “manner” in which elections are held during a state of emergency.  Under the current law, only time and place may be altered.
  5. Idaho – Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney announced that absentee ballots applications will be sent to all registered voters ahead of the state’s May 19 primaries.
  6. South Dakota – Gov. Kristi Noem (R) signed new legislation allowing local governments to delay any elections scheduled between April 14 to May 26 to any Tuesday in June.  Omitted from the new law are the state’s upcoming June 2 presidential and downballot primaries.
Ballot measure changes
Overview to date:
  1. Ballotpedia tracked 17 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  2. Three states changed ballot measure procedures.
  3. At least four lawsuits were filed seeking court orders suspending or changing requirements and deadlines.
Details:
  1. Colorado – On April 2, Denver District Court Judge Martin Egelhoff granted an emergency stay to allow proponents of the 22-Week Abortion Ban Initiative—Due Date Too Late—to collect additional signatures during a cure period of 15 days after the state’s emergency stay-at-home order expires.
State legislative responses
Overview to date:
  1. To date, 309 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
  2. Fifty-one significant bills have been enacted into law, about 17 percent of the total number that have been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.
State legislative session changes
Overview to date:
  1. Twenty-five state legislatures suspended their sessions. Two of those (New York and Vermont) have since reconvened.
  2. Nineteen legislatures either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
  3. Five state legislatures are in regular session.
  4. One state (Minnesota) partially suspended legislative activity.
Details:
  1. Wisconsin – Gov. Tony Evers (D) issued an executive order calling the Wisconsin State Legislature to convene a special session at 4:00 PM on April 4, to discuss changes to the upcoming spring elections.
State court changes
Overview to date:
  1. Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide.
  2. Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings on the local level.
Details:
  1. Alabama– The Alabama Supreme Court extended their suspension of in-person proceedings and jury trials through April 30.
Prison inmate responses
Overview to date:
  1. Twelve states ordered the release of inmates at the state level.
  2. Twenty states ordered the release of inmates on the local level.
  3. Seventeen states have not released inmates due to coronavirus.
  4. One state prohibited the release of certain inmate populations.
Details:
  1. Kentucky– Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced that 186 inmate sentences will be shortened and indicated this would be the first wave of early releases to help slow the spread of coronavirus. A second wave will involve 743 inmates. He stated that all inmates would be screened for symptoms of the disease before their release. Inmates must also have a residence to move into and quarantine for 14 days after their release.
State stay-at-home orders
Overview to date:
  1. So far, 40 states issued statewide stay-at-home orders. Seven of those orders are set to last until modified or rescinded by the governor, while the other 33 announced end dates.
Details:
  1. Georgia – Gov. Brian Kemp (R) issued a shelter-in-place order effective from April 3 to April 13. Schools, which were already closed for the year, were not impacted by this order.
School closures
Overview to date:
  1. All 50 states ordered a statewide school closure. Eleven states closed schools for the remainder of the academic year: Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Virginia.
Details:
  1. Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) ordered schools statewide to remain closed through April 30. Previously, her office issued a recommendation for schools to close that was scheduled to end April 13.
  2. Michigan – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced that schools statewide would remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Prior to this order, schools were scheduled to reopen April 13.
Travel restrictions
Overview to date:
  1. Fifteen governors or state agencies issued an executive order.
Details:
  1. Kentucky – Gov. Andy Beshear (D) issued an order requiring all people traveling to Kentucky to self-quarantine for two weeks. His previous order applied only to residents who recently traveled out of the state.
Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia in the last 24 hours
State politicians who tested positive for coronavirus
  1. North Carolina Treasurer Dale Folwell (R)
State politicians who self-quarantined for coronavirus
  1. State Rep. Becky Ruth (R-MO)
  2. State Rep. Mary Coleman (R-MO)
Local politicians who tested positive for coronavirus
  1. New York City council member Barry Grodenchik (D)
Local politicians who self-quarantined for coronavirus
  1. New York City council member Costa Constantinides (D)
Local politicians who tested negative for coronavirus
  1. Jacksonville city council member Randy White (R)
Notable influencers who tested positive for coronavirus
  1. CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin


SCOTUS takes up case concerning Federal Tort Claims Act

The Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear a case in its October 2020-2021 term concerning the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The case, Brownback v. King, came on a writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

In 2014, James King violently resisted arrest after being stopped by FBI Special Agent Douglas Brownback and Grand Rapids Police Department Detective Todd Allen. King was tried and acquitted of charges of assault with intent to do great bodily harm, aggravated assault of a police officer, and resisting arrest. He then sued the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics (1971). The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan held Brownback and Allen had not violated King’s constitutional rights under Bivens. The district court also decided against King’s FTCA claims. On appeal, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s ruling.

SCOTUS will consider the following issue:
  • Whether a final judgment in favor of the United States in an action brought under Section 1346(b)(1), on the ground that a private person would not be liable to the claimant under state tort law for the injuries alleged, bars a claim under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), that is brought by the same claimant, based on the same injuries, and against the same governmental employees whose acts gave rise to the claimant’s FTCA claim.
Additional reading:


Democrats postpone national convention until August

The Democratic Party postponed its presidential nominating convention to the week of August 17 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Organizers pushed back the event, which was originally scheduled for July 13-16, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“After a great deal of scenario planning and giving thought to how it is this event can have the greatest impact in the electoral process and the greatest impact in terms of what we can bring to Milwaukee, we felt the best decision, not knowing all the answers, was to delay this,” said convention chief executive Joe Solmones. “More than anything we continue to monitor the public health landscape.”

The entire primary landscape has shifted in recent weeks. Sixteen states and territories—representing 28% of all pledged delegates—are now holding their Democratic primary events in June.



Candidate filing period for congressional races to end in Arizona, North Dakota, and Oklahoma

The major-party filing deadlines to run for elected office in three states are next week. The deadlines in both Arizona and North Dakota are on April 6; the deadline in Oklahoma is on April 10. Prospective candidates in each state may file for the following congressional offices.

Arizona
  • U.S. Senate: A special election is being held to fill the Senate seat vacated by John McCain (R) upon his death from cancer on August 25, 2018. The seat is currently held by Martha McSally (R), who was appointed by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) to replace Jon Kyl (R), the governor’s first appointee. The winner of the special election will serve the remaining two years of McCain’s term.
  • U.S House: All nine of the state’s House seats are up for election.
North Dakota
  • No U.S. Senate seats are up for election. North Dakota’s one at-large U.S. House seat, currently held by Kelly Armstrong (R), is up for election.
Oklahoma
  • U.S. Senate: The Class II Senate seat currently held by Jim Inhofe (R) is up for election.
  • U.S. House: All five of the state’s House seats are up for election.

North Dakota’s primary is scheduled for June 9, Oklahoma’s primary is scheduled for June 30, and Arizona’s primary is scheduled for August 4. The general elections in all three states are scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Arizona’s and North Dakota’s filing deadlines are the 32nd and 33rd to take place in the 2020 election cycle; Oklahoma’s deadline is the 34th. The next statewide filing deadline is on April 21 in Michigan.

Additional reading:


Trump has appointed second-most federal judges through April 1 of a president’s fourth year

Donald Trump has appointed and the Senate confirmed 193 Article III federal judges through April 1, 2020, his fourth year in office. This is the second-most Article III judicial appointments through this point in all presidencies since Jimmy Carter (D). The Senate had confirmed 207 of Carter’s appointees at this point in his term.

The average number of federal judges appointed by a president through April 1 of their fourth year in office is 168.

The median number of Supreme Court justices appointed is two. Along with President Trump, Presidents Barack Obama (D), Bill Clinton (D), and George H.W. Bush (R) had each appointed two Supreme Court justices at this point in their first terms. Ronald Reagan (R) had appointed one, while Carter and George W. Bush (R) had not appointed any.

The median number of United States Court of Appeals appointees is 30. Trump appointed the most with 51, while Reagan appointed the least with 25. Trump’s 51 appointments make up 28% of the total 179 judgeships across the courts of appeal.

The median number of United States District Court appointees is 138. Carter appointed the most with 157, and Reagan appointed the fewest with 103. Trump has appointed 138 district court judges so far. Those appointments make up 20% of the 677 judgeships across the district courts.

Article III federal judges are appointed for life terms by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate per Article III of the United States Constitution. Article III judges include judges on the: Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. courts of appeal, U.S. district courts, and the Court of International Trade.

Additional reading:


Coroanvirus daily update: April 2, 2020

As part of Ballotpedia’s coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, we are compiling a daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day. Here is the summary of changes for April 2, 2020.
Federal responses
  1. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-N.Y.) announced she was creating a special House committee to oversee implementation of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package. She tapped Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) to chair the committee. At the time of the announcement, no other committee members were announced.
Election changes
Overview to date:
  1. Seventeen states and one territory postponed state-level elections. Another five states postponed or authorized postponements of municipal election dates on a statewide basis.
  2. Eight states modified candidate filing requirements.
  3. Eighteen states implemented changes to their absentee voting procedures.
  4. Political parties in 10 states made changes to party events on a statewide basis.
Details:
  1. Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico’s Democratic Party announced a further postponement of its primary election to an unspecified future date. The primary had originally been scheduled for March 29 before being postponed to April 26.
  2. West Virginia – On April 1, Gov. Jim Justice (R) issued an executive order postponing West Virginia’s statewide primary, including its presidential preference primary, to June 9. The primary was originally scheduled to take place on May 12. Details on adjustments to related dates are pending.
  3. Wisconsin – Judge William Conley, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, issued an order extending absentee voting deadlines in Wisconsin’s April 7 election. Under Conley’s order, the absentee ballot request deadline was extended to 5:00 p.m. April 3. The ballot return deadline was extended to 4:00 p.m. April 13. The primary date itself was unchanged.
Ballot measure changes
Overview to date:
  1. Ballotpedia tracked 15 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  2. Three states changed ballot measure procedures.
Details:
  1. Idaho – The Idaho Cannabis Coalition, which is the sponsor of a medical marijuana ballot initiative, announced that the campaign was suspending in-person signature gathering.
State legislative responses
Overview to date:
  1. To date, 309 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
  2. Fifty-one significant bills have been enacted into law, about 17 percent of the total number that have been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.
State legislative session changes
Overview to date:
  1. Twenty-five state legislatures suspended their sessions. Three of those (Louisiana, New York, and Vermont) have since reconvened.
  2. Nineteen legislatures either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
  3. Five state legislatures are in regular session.
  4. One state (Minnesota) partially suspended legislative activity.
Details:
  1. Colorado – According to an article in the The Denver Post on April 1, 2020, “House Majority Leader Alec Garnett said lawmakers will presume they are adjourned day to day based on legal advice and for everyone’s safety as the Senate had called for earlier this week.” The suspension of legislative activity was originally set to expire March 30; it was then extended to April 2.
State court changes
Overview to date:
  1. Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide.
  2. Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings on the local level.
Details:
  1. Connecticut– The Judicial Branch announced the closure of three courthouses, Stamford, Middletown, and Milford, until further notice. Stamford and Milford’s business was transferred to the courthouse in Bridgeport. Middletown’s business was transferred to the New Britain courthouse.
  2. Pennsylvania– The Pennsylvania Supreme Court extended its original order closing all Pennsylvania courts to the public through April 30.
  3. Missouri- The Missouri Supreme Court extended their previous order suspending in-person proceedings through May 1.
  4. Wyoming – The Wyoming Supreme Court extended their previous orders suspending in-person and jury trials through May 31.
Prison inmate responses
Overview to date:
  1. 11 states ordered the release of inmates at the state level.
  2. 21 states ordered the release of inmates on the local level.
  3. 17 states have not released inmates due to coronavirus.
  4. One state prohibited the release of certain inmate populations.
Details:
  1. New York– On March 27, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) ordered the release of 1,100 people who violated parole from jails and prisons across the state.
State stay-at-home orders
Overview to date:
  1. So far, 39 states issued statewide stay-at-home orders. Seven of those orders are set to last until modified or rescinded by the governor, while the other 32 announced end dates.
Details:
  1. Mississippi – Gov. Tate Reeves (R) issued a shelter-in-place order effective April 3 through April 20.
  2. Oklahoma – Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) issued a stay-at-home order effective April 1 through April 30.
School closures
Overview to date:
  1. Forty-nine states ordered a statewide school closure. The remaining states are leaving school closures up to local officials. Those 49 states served 50.1 million students during the 2016-2017 school year, accounting for 99% of the 50.6 million public school students in the United States.
  2. Ten states closed schools for the remainder of the academic year: Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Virginia.
Details:
  1. California – Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that schools would remain physically closed for the rest of the academic year. Schools had been closed statewide since March 20 as a result of Newsom’s shelter-in-place order.
  2. Colorado – Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced that the statewide school closure, scheduled to end April 17, was extended through April 30.
  3. Georgia – Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced that schools would remain closed for the remainder of the school year. Prior to the order, the state’s school closure was scheduled to end April 24.
  4. Indiana – Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced that schools in the state would remain closed through the end of the academic year. Prior to this order, schools were scheduled to be closed through May 1.
  5. Kentucky – Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced that the statewide school closure, originally scheduled to end on April 20, would extend until May 1.
  6. Nebraska – Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) directed schools to operate without students through May 31.
  7. West Virginia – Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that the statewide school closure, scheduled to end April 17, was extended through April 30.
Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia in the last 24 hours
State politicians who tested positive for coronavirus
  1. State Rep. Vivian Flowers (D-AR)
Local politicians who tested positive for coronavirus
  1. New York City council member Paul Vallone (D)
  2. Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones (D)
Local politicians who self-quarantined for coronavirus
New York City council member Mark Levine (D)


SCOTUS issues opinion in case concerning federal maritime law

On March 30, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its ruling in the case CITGO Asphalt Refining Co. v. Frescati Shipping Co., Ltd. The case came on a writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.

The case: An abandoned anchor in the Delaware River pierced the hull of the Athos I, an oil tanker, causing an estimated 264,000 gallons of crude oil to spill into the river. The cost of cleanup was $143 million. Frescati, the shipowner, paid for the cleanup effort and was later reimbursed for $88 million by the U.S. federal government. Frescati and the U.S. sued CITGO, the intended oil recipient, for a portion of the costs.

The issue: Whether under federal maritime law a safe berth clause in a voyage charter contract is a guarantee of a ship’s safety, as the 3rd Circuit below and the 2nd Circuit have held, or a duty of due diligence, as the Fifth Circuit has held.

The outcome: In a 7-2 decision, SCOTUS affirmed the 3rd Circuit’s decision, holding that a safe berth clause in a voyage charter contract is a guarantee of a ship’s safety. Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered the majority opinion of the court. Justice Clarence Thomas filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justice Samuel Alito.

In the opinion, Sotomayor wrote, “The charterer’s assurance of a safe berth is the entire root of the safe-berth clause, and crucially, it is not subject to qualifications or conditions.”

Additional reading:
Supreme Court cases, October term 2019-2020
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit



Coronavirus daily update: April 1, 2020

As part of Ballotpedia’s coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, we are compiling a daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day. Here is the summary of changes for April 1, 2020.
Federal responses
  1. No updates today.
Election changes
Overview to date:
  1. Sixteen states and one territory altered state-level primary or general election dates. Six states postponed municipal election dates on a statewide basis.
  2. Seven states adjusted their candidate filing procedures.
  3. Eighteen states implemented changes to their voting procedures. In 17 of those states, the changes involve absentee voting.
  4. Political parties in 10 states made changes to party events on a statewide basis.
Details:
  1. Idaho – On March 30, Gov. Brad Little (R) and Secretary of State Lawerence Denney (R) announced that Idaho’s May 19 primary election would be conducted entirely by mail.
  2. Vermont – On March 30, Gov. Phil Scott (R) signed H0681 into law, making a series of temporary changes to the state’s election laws in response to the coronavirus outbreak: suspending candidate petition signature gathering requirements for both the August primary and the November general elections; authorizing local legislative bodies to transition upcoming local elections from floor meetings to Australian ballot (i.e., secret ballot) elections; and authorizing the secretary of state, with the consent of the governor, to enact temporary changes to election procedures (e.g., expanding voting by mail).
  3. Wisconsin – On March 31, in a brief filed in response to a federal lawsuit seeking postponement of the April 7 election, Assistant Attorney General Hannah Jurss indicated that Gov. Tony Evers (D) would deploy members of the National Guard as poll workers.
Ballot measure changes
Overview to date:
  1. Ballotpedia tracked 13 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  2. Three states changed ballot measure procedures.
Details:
  1. No updates today.
State legislative responses
Overview to date:
  1. To date, 279 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
  2. Fifty significant bills have been enacted into law, about 18 percent of the total number that have been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.
State legislative session changes
Overview to date:
  1. Twenty-five state legislatures suspended their sessions. Three of those (Louisiana, New York, and Vermont) have since reconvened.
  2. Nineteen legislatures either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
  3. Five state legislatures are in regular session.
  4. One state (Minnesota) partially suspended legislative activity.
Details:
  1. Alabama – The Alabama legislature suspended all legislative activity through April 28.
  2. Arkansas – The Arkansas legislature, after adjourning a special session on March 28, suspended its session through April 8.
  3. Louisiana – The suspension implemented by the Louisiana legislature concluded on March 31.
State court changes
Overview to date:
  1. Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide.
  2. Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings on the local level.
Details:
  1. No updates today. 
Prison inmate responses
Overview to date:
  1. Ten states ordered the release of inmates at the state level.
  2. Twenty-two states ordered the release of inmates on the local level.
  3. Seventeen states have not released inmates due to coronavirus.
  4. One state prohibited the release of certain inmate populations.
Details:
  1. California – According to court filings from California state lawyers, the state plans to release 3,500 inmates early within a few weeks. The inmates considered for early release are serving terms for nonviolent crimes and were due to be released within 60 days.
  2. Missouri – On March 30, Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice George Draper issued a letter to trial court judges clarifying statutes for pre-trial, post-conviction release, and the court’s authority to release an offender sentenced to a term in county jail or on parole.
  3. New York – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on March 31 that 900 inmates have been released to slow the spread of coronavirus in the city’s jails.
  4. Texas – Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed an executive order on March 29 prohibiting the release of inmates accused or previously convicted of violent crimes without paying bail.
State stay-at-home orders
Overview to date:
  1. So far, 37 states issued statewide stay-at-home orders. Seven of those orders are set to last until modified or rescinded by the governor, while the other 30 announced end dates.
Details:
  1. Florida – Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) issued a stay-at-home order effective from April 2 to April 30. This does not impact schools in the state, which are closed until May 1. DeSantis previously announced a similar order for four counties in southeast Florida.
  2. Illinois – Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced that the statewide stay-at-home order, initially scheduled to end April 7, was extended through April 30.
  3. Maine – Gov. Janet Mills (D) issued a stay-at-home order, effective April 2 through April 30. The order extended the statewide school closure, which was scheduled to end on April 27.
  4. Nevada – Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) issued a stay-at-home order, effective immediately and lasting until April 30. The order extended the statewide school closure, which was scheduled to end on April 16.
  5. Pennsylvania – Gov. Tom Wolf (D) issued a stay-at-home order statewide. Previously, he issued orders on a county-by-county basis. The order is effective from April 1 through April 30. The order does not affect schools, which were already closed indefinitely.
  6. Texas – Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a stay-at-home order, effective April 2 through April 30. As part of the order, Abbott extended the statewide school closure through May 4.
School closures
Overview to date:
  1. Forty-eight states ordered a statewide school closure. The remaining states are leaving school closures up to local officials. Those 47 states served 49.8 million students during the 2016-2017 school year, accounting for 98% of the 50.6 million public school students in the United States.
  2. Seven states closed schools for the remainder of the academic year: Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Virginia.
Details:
  1. Maine – Gov. Janet Mills (D) issued a stay-at-home order effective from April 2 to April 30. Although schools in Maine had handled closures at a local level, this order extended closures statewide through April 30.
  2. Nevada – Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) issued a stay-at-home order effective from April 1 to April 30. This extended the statewide school closure, scheduled to end on April 16, through April 30.
  3. Texas – Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced that the statewide school closure, scheduled to end April 3, was extended through May 4.
Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia in the last 24 hours
Federal politicians who tested negative for coronavirus
  1. Rep. Ronald Wright (R-TX)
State politicians who tested positive for coronavirus
  1. State Rep. Reggie Bagala (R-LA)
  2. State Rep. Reginald Murdock (D-AR)
State politicians who tested negative for coronavirus
  1. Gov. Kate Brown (D-OR)


President Trump announces nominee for only open U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacancy

On March 30, President Donald Trump (R) announced his intent to nominate Judge Cory Wilson to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Wilson was previously nominated to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. He had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 8 but has not been voted out of committee as of the new appointment.

Currently, Judge E. Grady Jolly’s former seat on the 5th Circuit is the only vacancy on a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal. Jolly assumed senior status on October 3, 2017. The last time this occurred was in July 1984, when Judge John Butzner’s seat on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals was the only vacancy.

Wilson is a judge on the Mississippi Court of Appeals. He joined the court in 2019 after being appointed by Governor Phil Bryant (R). Before joining the state court of appeals, Wilson was a Republican representative of District 73 in the Mississippi House of Representatives.

Wilson graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s of business administration (B.B.A.) from the University of Mississippi in 1992. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1995. During his legal studies, Wilson served on the Yale Law Journal.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit is one of 13 U.S. courts of appeal. They are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal courts. The 5th Circuit has jurisdiction over the U.S. District Courts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

The court has 17 authorized posts. Eleven of the 16 current judges were appointed by Republican presidents. Five judges were appointed by Democratic presidents. President Trump nominated five of the 16 current judges.

There are two upcoming Court of Appeals vacancies. Andrew Brasher was already confirmed to succeed Judge Ed Carnes on the 11th Circuit. Carnes is expected to assume senior status on June 30. Judge Thomas Griffith announced he would retire from the District of Columbia Circuit on September 1. There is no nominee pending for Griffith’s seat.

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Seigel and Gandhi competing in July 14 Democratic runoff in Texas’ 10th Congressional District

Mike Siegel and Pritesh Gandhi will compete in the Democratic primary runoff for Texas’ 10th Congressional District on July 14, 2020. The runoff was originally scheduled for May 26, 2020, but Governor Greg Abbott (R) postponed the election due to the coronavirus pandemic. The winner will advance to the general election on November 3. Siegel received 44.0% of the vote to Gandhi’s 33.1% in the March 3 primary election.

Gandhi was endorsed by the Austin American-Statesman editorial board, which said, “District 10 Democrats have a tough choice, but in our view Gandhi has the greatest potential to move the needle in Congress.” The Austin Chronicle and The Houston Chronicle endorsed Siegel. The Houston Chronicle’s editorial board cited Siegel’s 2018 campaign, his environmental platform, and his experience as a teacher and assistant city attorney in Austin as the reasons for their endorsement.

In the 2018 general election, incumbent Michael McCaul (R) defeated Siegel (D) 51% to 47%. In 2016, McCaul defeated Tawana Cadien (D) 57% to 38%. The 2017 Cook Partisan Voter Index for this district was R+9, meaning that in the previous two presidential elections, this district’s results were nine percentage points more Republican than the national average.

Additional reading:


Bitnami