Harris, Biden, and Sanders top PredictIt Democratic primary markets

Ballotpedia is tracking PredictIt markets relating to the 2020 presidential election, including the general election and Democratic and Republican primaries.
PredictIt is an online political futures market in which users purchase shares relating to the outcome of political events using real money. Services such as PredictIt are being used to gain insight into trends over the lifetime of an election and the event’s probable outcome.
While Sen. Kamala Harris leads the overall Democratic primary market at 25 cents a share as of Wednesday, PredictIt primary election markets in early states favor other candidates. Former Vice President Joe Biden leads in Iowa, South Carolina, and Nevada, while Sen. Bernie Sanders is on top in New Hampshire.
In the Democratic primary market, only five candidates are trading at 10 cents or more: Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Biden, Sanders, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
In the general election, PredictIt markets favor a winner from the Democratic Party over a winner from the Republican Party, 53 cents to 48 cents.

President Trump to nominate Eugene Scalia to lead U.S. Department of Labor

President Trump announced on July 18, 2019, that he would pick lawyer Eugene Scalia to replace Alexander Acosta as secretary of labor. Scalia is son of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and was responsible for all Labor Department litigation and legal advice on rulemakings and administrative law during George W. Bush’s presidency.
According to his law firm biography, Eugene Scalia also served as special assistant to U.S. Attorney General William Barr from 1992 to 1993 and has written over 20 articles and papers on labor and employment law and constitutional law.

RNC raises twice as much as DNC for the third straight month

The Republican National Committee outraised the Democratic National Committee by more than 2-to-1 for the third straight month, according to July filings with the Federal Election Commission. Republicans led in national and Senatorial committee fundraising while Democrats led in House committee fundraising.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $5.5 million and spent $3.8 million in July, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $5.7 million and spent $4.4 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the NRSC has raised 20.7% more than the DSCC ($34.6 million to $28.1 million).
On the House side, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $12.5 million and spent $4.2 million in July, while the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $9.0 million and spent $4.0 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the DCCC has raised 32.4% more than the NRCC ($61.7 million to $44.5 million).
The fundraising gap also widened among the two national committees. In July, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) raised $8.5 million and spent $7.5 million while the Republican National Committee (RNC) raised $20.8 million and spent $14.3 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC has raised 77.4% more than the DNC ($97.1 million to $42.9 million).
So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC have raised 28.2% more than the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC ($176.3 million to $132.7 million).

Harris leads Democratic candidates in Ballotpedia pageviews for third consecutive week

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.
Sen. Kamala Harris’ campaign page on Ballotpedia received 3,772 pageviews for the week of July 13-20.
Harris’ pageview figure represents 9 percent of the pageviews for all Democratic candidates during the week. Former Vice President Joe Biden had 8.8 percent of the candidate pageviews for the week, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren had 7.1 percent.
Three in five of the Democratic campaigns’ pageviews increased this week with Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders both logging an increase of approximately 16 percent each.
The top three candidates in lifetime pageviews are South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 90,329, entrepreneur Andrew Yang with 75,963, and Harris with 75,621.
On the GOP side, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld had 9,867 pageviews this week to President Donald Trump’s 1,459.

D.C. Circuit reverses district court ruling that blocked Trump’s civil service executive orders

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Tuesday unanimously reversed and vacated a lower court decision that blocked provisions of President Donald Trump’s (R) three civil service executive orders.
President Trump issued the civil service executive orders (E.O. 13837, E.O. 13836, and E.O.13839) in May 2018. The orders include proposals aimed at facilitating the removal of poor-performing federal employees and streamlining collective bargaining procedures.
The judges held that the lower court did not have jurisdiction to rule on the merits of the executive orders and that the plaintiffs should have brought the case before the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) as required by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (FSLMRS).
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and sixteen other federal labor unions challenged the executive orders in four consolidated lawsuits. The unions argued that the president does not have the authority to issue executive orders impacting labor relations; that the executive orders violate the Constitution’s Take Care Clause and the First Amendment right to freedom of association; and that the executive orders violate provisions of the FSLMRS.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia held in August 2018 that the district court had jurisdiction over the case. Jackson upheld the president’s authority to issue executive orders in the field of labor relations, but enjoined Trump administration officials from implementing nine provisions of the executive orders that she claimed unlawfully restricted the use of union official time in violation of the FSLMRS.
The D.C. Circuit panel reversed Jackson’s ruling, stating that “the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The unions must pursue their claims through the scheme established by the Statute, which provides for administrative review by the FLRA followed by judicial review in the courts of appeals.”
Should the plaintiffs choose to appeal the decision, they can seek a rehearing before the full D.C. Circuit or appeal the case to the United States Supreme Court.

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens dies at the age of 99

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died Tuesday at the age of 99.
Stevens was appointed to the court by President Gerald Ford (R) in 1975 to succeed Justice William O. Douglas. He was Ford’s only appointment to the court. Stevens served until assuming senior status in June 2010, after which President Barack Obama (D) appointed Justice Elena Kagan to succeed him. During his tenure, Stevens served on the Burger Court, the Rehnquist Court, and the Roberts Court.
Before his appointment to the Supreme Court, Stevens served on the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. He was appointed to that post by President Richard Nixon (R) in 1970. He earlier worked in private practice in Chicago and served as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Trump leads 2020 presidential candidates in second quarter fundraising, Buttigieg logs most individual contributions

Monday was the deadline for presidential campaign committees to file financial reports with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for the second quarter of 2019. Here’s a breakdown of how the candidates performed from April through June:
  • President Donald Trump led all presidential candidates with $26.5 million in receipts. Individual contributions accounted for $8.8 million of that total, while PACs and political committees contributed $17.6 million.
  • South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg more than tripled his first quarter take, reporting $24.9 million in individual contributions. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren followed with $22 million and $19.2 million, respectively.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders spent $14.1 million, the most expenditures of any candidate in the second quarter. He also ended the quarter with the most cash on hand among Democrats: $27.3 million. Only two other Democratic candidates—Buttigieg and Warren—had roughly $20 million or more in cash on hand heading into the third quarter.
The following two charts show the individual contributions, total receipts, expenditures, and cash on hand for each presidential candidate.
The first column represents donations from individuals. The second column includes these individual donations and contributions from other sources, including political committees and loans from the candidate.

Twenty-one Democrats qualify for 20 spots in the second Democratic presidential debate

The lineup for the second set of Democratic presidential debates on July 30-31, 2019, will be announced when CNN airs a live drawing for the qualifying candidates Thursday night.
Twenty-one candidates have reached the polling or grassroots fundraising threshold or both. The debate is limited to 20 candidates.
Candidates who have reached both sets of requirements are former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen Kamala Harris, Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, author Marianne Willamson, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
Sen. Michael Bennet, Gov. Steve Bullock, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Rep. John Delaney, former Gov. John Hickenlooper, and Rep. Tim Ryan have met the polling threshold of 1 percent support or more in three eligible national or early state polls.
Over the weekend, former Sen. Mike Gravel reached the grassroots fundraising threshold of at least 65,000 unique contributions and at least 200 unique contributions from a minimum of 20 U.S. states. Under previously announced tiebreaker rules, the candidates’ polling averages will be considered before fundraising figures.
Joining Gravel on the bubble are four candidates who have not yet met either qualifying criteria: Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam and Rep. Seth Moulton and race newcomers former Rep. Joe Sestak and investor Tom Steyer.
The candidates who qualify for the July debates will encounter new debate rules when they appear on stage in Detroit, Michigan. Unlike the June debate hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo, there will be no questions requiring a show of hands or one-word, down-the-line answers. Candidates who repeatedly interrupt other speakers will be penalized. Candidates will also be allowed to make both opening and closing statements.
A third presidential debate is scheduled in Houston, Texas, on September 12-13, 2019. Candidates will need to receive 2 percent support or more in four national or early state polls and receive donations from at least 130,000 unique donors to qualify.

Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announces resignation

U.S. Secretary of Labor R. Alexander Acosta announced he would resign from his cabinet position, effective July 19.
President Trump nominated Acosta to serve as Secretary of Labor on February 16, 2017. Acosta was confirmed by the Senate on April 27, 2017, and sworn in the following day. Deputy Secretary of Labor Pattrick Pizzella will succeed Acosta as acting secretary.
Acosta said that he didn’t want his approval of a non-prosecution agreement with financier Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 to overshadow the achievements of the President and the Department of Labor. While serving as a U.S. attorney in Florida, Acosta agreed to the agreement under which Epstein served 13 months in county jail. On July 6, Epstein was arrested and charged with sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors from 2002 to 2005.
Acosta said he had struck the agreement after a state grand jury recommended a charge which would bring a more lenient sentence for Epstein and added that the full extent of Epstein’s alleged crimes was not known at the time. A district court judge ruled in February 2019 that the agreement had violated the Crime Victims Rights Act since Epstein’s alleged victims had not been informed in advance.

U.S. Senate confirms 9th Circuit nominee over home-state objections

The U.S. Senate confirmed Daniel Bress to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on July 9, 2019. The Senate voted 53-45 along party lines to confirm Bress. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) did not vote. President Donald Trump (R) nominated Bress on February 6, 2019, to succeed Judge Alex Kozinski.
The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is one of 13 U.S. courts of appeal. They are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal court system. After Bress receives commission and takes his judicial oath, the 9th Circuit will have 16 judges appointed by Democrats, 12 judges appointed by Republicans, and one vacant seat.
Bress graduated with his A.B. in government from Harvard College in 2001. He obtained his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2005. He worked as an associate and later partner for the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP from 2008 to 2019. Bress was a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia from 2006 to 2007.
Bress was born in California and lived in Virginia at the time of his nomination. On March 7, 2019, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) wrote in an op-ed that she was concerned about Bress’ confirmation. She wrote: “[Bress] was born in California but practices law in Washington, D.C., and lives in Virginia. … Given California’s demographics and the high quality of its educational institutions – and given California’s centrality to the Ninth Circuit – I don’t understand why the White House would choose someone with such a limited connection to the state.”
The White House denied claims that Bress did not have ties to California. According to the Sacramento Bee, an anonymous administration official said Bress worked out of Kirkland & Ellis’ San Francisco office and owned property and paid taxes in the state.
Neither Sen. Feinstein nor Sen. Kamala Harris (D) of California returned blue slips for Bress’ nomination. A blue slip is a piece of paper a home-state senator returns to the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee to show his or her approval of a federal judicial nominee. Traditionally, United States senators have the power to prevent a federal judicial nominee from receiving a hearing and subsequently being confirmed by withholding a blue slip. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, applies a policy in which the lack of a blue slip does not prevent a judicial nominee from moving forward in the confirmation process.