CategoryFederal

U.S. Supreme Court releases January argument calendar

The U.S. Supreme Court has released its January argument calendar for the 2019-2020 term. The court will hear eight hours of oral argument in eight cases between January 13 and January 22.
 
As of November 11, 2019, the court had agreed to hear 53 cases during its 2019-2020 term.
 
January 13
  • Lucky Brand Dungarees v. Marcel Fashion Group
  • Thole v. U.S. Bank
 
January 14
  • Kelly v. United States
  • Romag Fasteners v. Fossil
 
January 15
  • Babb v. Wilkie
 
January 21
  • Shular v. United States
  • GE Energy Power Conversion France SAS v. Outokumpu Stainless USA LLC
 
January 22
  • Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue
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Peter King announces 2020 retirement

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) announced that he would not seek re-election to Congress in 2020. King was first elected to the U.S. House in 1992 representing New York’s 3rd Congressional District. He has represented New York’s 2nd Congressional District since 2012.
 
King is the 20th Republican member of the U.S. House to announce he would not be seeking re-election in 2020. There are also 8 Democratic members of the U.S. House to announce 2020 retirements so far. In the 2018 election cycle, 52 members of the U.S. House—18 Democrats and 34 Republicans—did not seek re-election.
 
Currently, Democrats hold a 234-197 majority in the U.S. House with one independent member of the chamber. In November 2020, all 435 seats will be up for election.
 
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Filing deadline passes for congressional candidates in Alabama

Candidates interested in running for one of Alabama’s U.S. Senate seats and seven U.S. House seats had until November 8 to file. The primary is scheduled for March 3, 2020. A primary runoff, if necessary, will be held on March 31. The general election is on November 3.
 
Nine candidates, including incumbent Doug Jones (D), filed for the U.S. Senate election. Jones is unopposed the Democratic primary. The following candidates are competing in the March 3 Republican primary: Stanley Adair, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, state Rep. Arnold Mooney, former U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, Ruth Page Nelson, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Tommy Tuberville.
 
Twenty-six candidates have filed to run for the state’s seven U.S. House seats. The following candidates are running in each race:
 
  • District 1: Incumbent Bradley Byrne (R) is running for the U.S. Senate in 2020. James Averhart, Rick Collins, and Kiani Gardner are running in the Democratic primary. Jerry Carl, John Castorani, former state Sen. Bill Hightower, Wes Lambert, and state Rep. Chris Pringle are running in the Republican primary.
  • District 2: Incumbent Martha Roby (R), who was first elected in 2010, announced in July 2019 that she would not seek re-election in 2020. Phyllis Harvey-Hall and Nathan Mathis are competing in the Democratic primary. Thomas Brown Jr., Jeff Coleman, Terri Hasdorff, former Alabama Attorney General Troy King, former state Rep. Barry Moore, Robert Rogers, and Jessica Taylor are running in the Republican primary.
  • District 3: Incumbent Mike Rogers and Thomas “Sick of D.C.” Casson are running in the Republican primary. Adia Winfrey is unopposed in the Democratic primary.
  • District 4: Incumbent Robert Aderholt is unopposed in the Republican primary. Rick Neighbors is unopposed in the Democratic primary.
  • District 5: Incumbent Mo Brooks and Chris Lewis are running in the Republican primary. No Democratic candidates filed for the seat.
  • District 6: Incumbent Gary Palmer is unopposed in the Republican primary. No Democratic candidates filed for the seat. Kaynen Pellegrino has declared his intention to run for the seat as an independent in 2020.
  • District 7: Incumbent Terri Sewell is unopposed in the Democratic primary. No Republican candidates filed for the seat.
 
Heading into the 2020 election, the Republican Party holds seven of the nine congressional seats from Alabama. In the 2020 election, 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for election. Of those Senate seats, 33 are regularly-scheduled elections, one is a special election in Arizona, and another is an expected special election in Georgia. Twelve are Democratic-held seats and 23 are Republican-held seats. In the House, where all the seats are up for election, Democrats currently hold a 235-seat majority.
 
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Bloomberg signals 2020 presidential bid, prepares to file for Alabama primary

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is reportedly preparing to run for president. Bloomberg has not yet announced that he is running for president, although Axios reported that he is looking to meet upcoming filing deadlines in Arkansas, New Hampshire, Florida, California, and Texas.
 
Bloomberg previously said in March 2019 that he would not enter the presidential race. He wrote in an op-ed, “I know what it takes to run a winning campaign, and every day when I read the news, I grow more frustrated by the incompetence in the Oval Office. I know we can do better as a country. And I believe I would defeat Donald Trump in a general election. But I am clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field.”
 
With an estimated net worth of $52 billion, Bloomberg would self-fund his campaign if he entered the presidential race, joining 17 other candidates in the Democratic primary.
 
Iowa caucusgoers cast the first vote of the presidential election in 87 days on Feb. 3, 2020.


Peter Visclosky announces 2020 retirement

Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) announced that he would not seek re-election to Congress in 2020. Visclosky was first elected to represent Indiana’s 1st Congressional District in 1984 and he won re-election in 2018 by a 30-point margin. There are currently no declared candidates in the district.
 
Upon the announcement, Visclosky became the eighth Democratic member of the U.S. House to announce he would not be seeking re-election in 2020. There were also 19 Republican members of the U.S. House to announce 2020 retirements so far. In the 2018 election cycle, 52 members of the U.S. House—18 Democrats and 34 Republicans—did not seek re-election.
 
Currently, Democrats hold a 234-197 majority in the U.S. House with one independent member of the chamber. In November 2020, all 435 seats will be up for election.
 
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OIRA reviewed 45 significant regulatory actions in October 2019

In October 2019, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviewed 45 significant regulatory actions issued by federal agencies. The agency approved three rules without changes and approved the intent of 39 rules while recommending changes to their content. Agencies withdrew three rules from the review process.
 
OIRA reviewed 43 significant regulatory actions in October 2018. During the Obama administration from 2009-2016, OIRA reviewed an average of 45 significant regulatory actions each September.
 
OIRA has reviewed a total of 371 significant rules so far in 2019. The agency reviewed a total of 355 significant rules in 2018 and 237 significant rules in 2017.
 
As of November 4, 2019, OIRA’s website listed 154 regulatory actions under review.
 
OIRA is responsible for reviewing and coordinating what it deems to be all significant regulatory actions made by federal agencies, with the exception of independent federal agencies. Significant regulatory actions include agency rules that have had or may have a large impact on the economy, environment, public health, or state and local governments and communities. These regulatory actions may also conflict with other regulations or with the priorities of the president.
 
 


U.S. Supreme Court extends time for oral argument in pending immigration case

On November 1, the U.S. Supreme Court added twenty extra minutes for oral argument in the case Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California. Under Supreme Court Rule 28, each side is allowed 30 minutes to make their arguments, but the court has the authority to lengthen that time. In this case, the solicitor general will have 40 minutes to argue while the lawyers for the private parties and for the state officials on the other side will have 20 minutes each.
 
The case involves whether the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lawfully ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The DACA program protected certain individuals residing in the United States without legal permission from deportation and allowed them to go to school and work.
 
DHS argues that ending DACA was within its discretionary authority and that the Obama administration violated Administrative Procedure Act (APA) procedures and U.S. immigration laws in creating the program. Those who oppose how DHS ended DACA argue that the agency did not follow proper APA procedures and violated the rights of DACA beneficiaries.
 
The U.S. Supreme Court scheduled argument in the case for November 12.
 
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Joe Biden leads in Ballotpedia pageviews for a second consecutive week, Bernie Sanders is sixth candidate to reach 100,000 pageviews

Each week, we report the number of pageviews received by 2020 presidential campaigns on Ballotpedia. These numbers show which candidates are getting our readers’ attention.
 
Joe Biden’s campaign page on Ballotpedia received 2,639 views for the week of October 27-November 2. Biden’s pageview figure represents 9.8% of the pageviews for the week. Elizabeth Warren had 9.2% of the pageviews for the week, followed by Andrew Yang with 8.4%. This is Biden’s second week in a row with the most pageviews.
 
Every Democratic candidate other than Joe Sestak and Wayne Messam received fewer pageviews last week than the week before. Sestak’s pageviews were up 35.1% from the week before, while Messam’s were up 12.1%.
 
Andrew Yang remains the leader in overall pageviews this year with 135,964. He is followed by Pete Buttigieg with 128,637 and Joe Biden with 120,375. Bernie Sanders had 100,139 overall pageviews as of November 2, making him the sixth Democratic candidate to reach 100,000 pageviews this year. The last candidate to break 100,000 was Elizabeth Warren during the week of September 29-October 5.
 


Federal court declares patent board structure unconstitutional

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on October 31 held in Arthrex Inc. v. Smith & Nephew Inc. et al. that the structure of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) violates the Appointments Clause of the United States Constitution.
 
Judges Kimberly Moore, Raymond Chen, and Jimmie V. Reyna identified a structural flaw in the PTAB’s statutory scheme for appointing its administrative patent judges (APJs). Under the faulty system, the United States secretary of commerce appointed APJs. Once appointed, APJs enjoyed for-cause removal protections that only permitted removal by the secretary or the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for “such cause as will promote efficiency of the service.”
 
The judges held that APJs exercise significant authority that qualifies them as principal, rather than inferior, officers. As such, APJs must be directly appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the United States Senate pursuant to the Appointments Clause.
 
Instead of changing the method of appointing APJs, however, the court cited precedent set forth in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board to propose removing APJs’ for-cause removal protections in order to classify them as inferior officers. Without protections against removal, the judges stated that APJs would be considered inferior officers subject to at-will removal by the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
 
“We believe that this, the narrowest revision to the scheme intended by Congress for reconsideration of patent rights, is the proper course of action and the action Congress would have undertaken,” wrote Judge Kimberly Ann Moore.
 
The court’s decision is likely to result in the rehearing of 50 to 70 cases before the board.
 


Beto O’Rourke ends presidential campaign

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) announced Friday that he was ending his presidential campaign.
 
In a tweet announcing his withdrawal, O’Rourke said, “Our campaign has always been about seeing clearly, speaking honestly, and acting decisively. In that spirit: I am announcing that my service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee.”
 
O’Rourke is the tenth noteworthy Democratic candidate to suspend his bid for the presidency this year. The most recent candidate before O’Rourke to do so was Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) on October 24.
 
O’Rourke’s withdrawal leaves 17 noteworthy Democrats in the running. As of Monday, there were 286 Democratic presidential candidates registered with the Federal Election Commission.
 
O’Rourke was first elected to represent Texas’ 16th Congressional District in 2012 after defeating incumbent Silvestre Reyes (D) in the Democratic primary. He had earlier served six years on the El Paso City Council. O’Rourke challenged Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in 2018 rather than seek re-election, losing by a margin of 2.6 percentage points.