25 candidates running in primaries for North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District special election

Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian primaries in the special election for North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District will take place on Tuesday, April 30.
Twenty-five candidates are running in the two primaries. The winner of the special election will succeed former Rep. Walter Jones (R), who died in February 2019. Jones had held the seat since 1995 and never received less than 60 percent of the vote dating back to 2000.
There are 17 Republican candidates, including six elected officials and six candidates with backgrounds in politics or notable endorsements. State Rep. Greg Murphy leads the field in fundraising at $320,000. Two notable outside groups have issued endorsements in the race: Club for Growth PAC backs Celeste Cairns and Susan B. Anthony List backs Joan Perry. Both groups have made ad buys on behalf of their preferred candidate, with Cairns also getting an ad buy from Awake Carolina and Perry getting one from Winning for Women.
There are six Democratic candidates. Two have raised more than $100,000: Allen Thomas ($255,000) and Richard Bew ($125,000). Thomas is the former mayor of Greenville, and Bew is a retired Marine colonel. 
The date of the general election is dependent on the outcome of the primary elections. If no candidate receives more than 30 percent of the vote in either primary, a primary runoff will take place on July 9. The general election would then take place on September 30. If primary runoffs are not necessary, the general election will be July 9.
The 2018 Cook Partisan Voter Index for this district was R+12, meaning that in the previous two presidential elections, this district’s results were 12 percentage points more Republican than the national average. This made North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District the 111th-most Republican nationally. No Democratic candidate ran against Jones in 2018.
As of April 25, 2019, there have been four special elections called during the 116th Congress. Three of those are for seats in the U.S. House, and one is for a seat in the U.S. Senate. From the 113th Congress to the 115th Congress, a total of 40 special elections were held. During the 115th Congress, four of the 17 special elections resulted in a seat changing partisan hands. All of those seats flipped from Republicans to Democrats.
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9th Circuit panel unanimously upholds California law on federal immigration enforcement compliance

On April 18, 2019, Judges Milan Smith, Paul Watford, and Andrew Hurwitz of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit unanimously ruled that Senate Bill (SB) 54, California’s sanctuary state law, did not conflict with federal law.
Writing for the panel, Smith wrote that SB 54 “makes the jobs of federal immigration authorities more difficult” but “does not directly conflict with any obligation” that federal law imposes on state or local governments. Smith also wrote against a provision in AB 103. “Only those provisions that impose an additional economic burden exclusively on the federal government are invalid,” he said.
Smith was appointed to the court by President George W. Bush (R). Watford and Hurwitz were appointed by President Barack Obama (D).
The decision upheld U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California Judge John Mendez’s July 2018 ruling.
The Trump administration brought the lawsuit in March 2018. The lawsuit challenged three California statutes: SB 54, AB 450, and AB 103.
As passed, SB 54 established the following provisions:
  • Exempting state prisons from provisions prohibiting state law enforcement agencies from cooperating with federal immigration agents.
  • Permitting law enforcement officials to notify ICE of the release of certain individuals and share database information with immigration agents.
  • Allowing federal immigration agents to interview jailed individuals suspected of violating federal immigration law.
AB 103 established restrictions on state and local agencies, preventing them from contracting with the federal government to detain immigrants. AB 450 included a provision requiring employers to notify employees about immigration inspections.
The U.S. Department of Justice did not respond to the ruling. The government could seek en banc review from an 11-member panel of 9th Circuit judges or petition the Supreme Court of the United States for review.

Nine of 17 Republican primary candidates in NC-03 special election file financial reports

The Federal Election Commission released campaign financial data for the first quarter of 2019 in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District Republican primary. Of the 17 candidates, nine filed financial reports.
Four candidates in the race have received more than $100,000 in contributions, with state Rep. Gregory Murphy raising the most at $318,000. The other candidates above that threshold are Joan Perry, Francis De Luca, and Chimer Davis Clark Jr.
Murphy also spent the most at $204,000. No other candidate reported spending more than $76,000 so far.
The 17 candidate field includes six elected officials, of which Murphy was the only one to file a financial report. There are also six candidates with political backgrounds or noteworthy endorsements, of which five filed financial reports.
The special election will fill the vacancy left by Walter Jones (R), who died on February 10, 2019. Primaries are scheduled for April 30, 2019. If a primary runoff is necessary, it will be held on July 9, 2019, and the general election will be moved to September 10, 2019. If no runoff is necessary, the general election will take place on July 9.
As of April 19, 2019, there have been four special elections scheduled for the 116th Congress. Three of those are for seats in the U.S. House, and one is for a seat in the U.S. Senate. From the 113th Congress to the 115th Congress, a total of 40 special elections were held.

All in one place: 2020 presidential campaign logos

Twenty-one notable elected officials and public figures—19 Democrats and two Republicans—have entered the 2020 presidential race or formed an exploratory committee as of April 18.
From now through the November 3, 2020, presidential election, Americans will see each campaign’s logo in television ads, on yard signs, in mailers, and more. Campaign logos are the visual centerpiece of a presidential candidate’s branding strategy.
We’ve compiled each notable campaign’s logo in one place.
Of the 21:
  • Nine feature only the candidate’s first name.
  • Nine feature only the candidate’s last name.
  • Three feature both the candidate’s first and last name.

President Donald Trump issues second veto of his presidency

President Donald Trump (R) vetoed a Congressional resolution directing the removal of U.S. troops from Yemen Tuesday. It was his second veto since taking office.
The measure, which had been proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), passed 54-46 in the Senate, with seven Republicans joining Democrats to vote in favor. It passed the House 247-175 with 16 Republicans in favor. It would require 67 votes in the Senate and 290 in the House to override the President’s veto.
This marked the second veto of Trump’s presidency. The first was issued on March 15, 2019, of a resolution overriding his declaration of a national emergency on the border with Mexico.
At this point in their first terms, both Barack Obama (D) and Bill Clinton (D) had issued two vetoes. George H.W. Bush (R) had issued 20 vetoes while Ronald Reagan (R) had issued 16. George W. Bush (R) did not issue any vetoes until his second term.
Barack Obama (D) and George W. Bush (R) each issued 12 vetoes over the course of their two terms—the least of any president since World War II. The record for number of vetoes issued is 635, held by Franklin D. Roosevelt (D).
In U.S. history, 2,576 vetoes have been issued and 111 of those have been overridden by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress. Seven presidents issued no vetoes during their time in office. The most recent was James Garfield (R), who served until his assassination in 1881.

SCOTUS hears arguments on vulgar trademarks and the First Amendment

On April 15, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Iancu v. Brunetti.
Erik Brunetti tried registering a trademark for his clothing brand but was denied by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which said that the trademark violated the Lanham Act. The act states that a trademark can be refused when it “consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter.”
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board agreed with the office’s initial decision not to grant the trademark. However, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found that denying Brunetti’s trademark violated his First Amendment right to free speech.
The director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office appealed this decision, and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
The Supreme Court also heard arguments in Emulex Corp. v. Varjabedian on the same day. Iancu v. Brunetti is one of five cases from the Federal Circuit that will be heard during the Supreme Court’s October 2018-2019 term. During the term, the court will hear a total of 75 cases.

Third federal judge strikes down citizenship question on 2020 U.S. Census

Judge George Jarrod Hazel of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland became the third federal judge to block a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census on April 5, 2019. Hazel ruled in a consolidated case that the question, in his view, was unconstitutional and a violation of administrative law.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross approved the addition of a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census in March 2018. The question asks, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?”
Hazel claimed that the citizenship question violates the U.S. Constitution because it could hinder the government’s responsibility under the Enumeration Clause to count every person living in the United States. He also claimed that the Trump administration failed to follow proper administrative procedure when it added the citizenship question to the U.S. Census. He wrote, “The decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the [Administrative Procedure Act]” and “ran counter to the evidence before the agency.” Ross has stated that he added the citizenship question to the 2020 census at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in order to improve enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.
Three federal judges had blocked the citizenship question from appearing on 2020 census forms as of April 2019. The United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the question in Department of Commerce v. New York on April 23, 2019. A ruling is expected in June 2019.

Trump renominates 12 federal judicial nominees

On April 8, President Donald Trump (R) announced his intent to renominate 12 federal judicial nominees to U.S. District Courts. The nominees had been returned to the president on January 3, 2019, at the sine die adjournment of the 115th Congress.
At the 115th Congress’ adjournment, 31 nominees were awaiting a full Senate vote, 24 were awaiting a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and 16 were awaiting a committee hearing. The president has renominated 68 of the 71 returned nominees. Trump has not re-submitted three names: Thomas Farr, Gordon Giampietro, and John O’Connor.
Since January 2017, the Senate has confirmed 95 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—56 district court judges, 37 appeals court judges, and two Supreme Court justices.
The president has announced 179 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on Jan. 20, 2017. The president named 69 judicial nominees in 2017 and 92 in 2018.

Senate confirms two nominees to U.S. District Court judgeships

The U.S. Senate confirmed two nominees to U.S. District Courts on April 9, 2019.
Daniel Domenico, nominee to the District of Colorado, was confirmed by a 57-42 vote. Four Democratic senators–Michael Bennet (Colo.), Doug Jones (Ala.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.)–voted with all Senate Republicans to confirm Domenico. When Domenico receives his commission, he will be the first judge nominated by Trump to join the seven-member court. He will join two judges nominated by President George W. Bush (R) and three judges nominated by President Barack Obama (D). The court will have one vacant seat.
Patrick Wyrick, nominee to the Western District of Oklahoma, was confirmed by a 53-47 vote along party lines. Wyrick will join two other judges nominated by Trump and two judges nominated by George W. Bush on the seven-member court. There are two vacancies.
Domenico and Wyrick are the second and third nominees, respectively, to be confirmed to a U.S. District Court under a new precedent the Senate established last week.
On April 3, 2019, the U.S. Senate voted 51-48 in favor of a change to chamber precedent lowering the maximum time allowed for debate on executive nominees to posts below the Cabinet level and on nominees to district court judgeships from 30 hours after invoking cloture to two.
The change was passed under a procedure which requires 51 votes rather than 60 that is often referred to as the nuclear option.

Miami will host first set of Democratic presidential primary debates in June

The Democratic National Committee announced on March 28 that the first set of Democratic primary debates will be held in Miami, Florida, on June 26 and 27. The debates will be broadcast by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo.
A candidate can qualify for these debates by polling performance or fundraising from individual donors. Under the first option, a candidate must receive 1 percent support or more in three national or early state polls from a select list of organizations and institutions. Under the second option, a candidate must receive donations from at least 65,000 unique individual donors. Additionally, they must have a minimum of 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 states.
No more than 20 candidates—10 candidates on stage each night—will be able to participate.
Wayne Messam, the mayor of Miramar, Florida, brought the number of notable Democratic candidates in the race to 16 on March 28. He formally announced that he was running for president, having launched a presidential exploratory committee two weeks ago.