CategoryFederal

President Biden announces new slate of federal judicial nominees

President Joe Biden (D) announced 10 new nominees to Article III judgeships on Sept. 30. These judges are appointed by the president and serve lifetime terms.

Click the links below to learn more about the nominees and the courts:

The president also nominated four individuals to non-Article III courts:

The president has announced 51 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on Jan. 20. He has announced 62 total federal judicial nominations in that time.

Additional reading:



SCOTUS releases COVID-19 procedures for oral arguments

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on Sept. 27 released new procedures for oral arguments during the October, November, and December sittings of the 2021-2022 term, in accordance with the court’s COVID-19 protocols.

According to the clerk of court’s announcement:

  1. Arguing counsel attending arguments are required to take a COVID test the morning before argument.
  2. Arguing counsel who test positive for COVID will participate in arguments remotely via teleconference.
  3. Arguing counsel will be apprised of courtroom procedures and may ask questions prior to arguments in the court’s lawyer’s lounge. Argument audio will be made available in the lawyer’s lounge. Counsel in the first case argued for the day must leave the court building after arguments in their case conclude.
  4. Counsel are required to wear masks covering their noses and mouths at all times while within the court building, except when eating or drinking. Counsel are required to wear N95 or KN95 masks in the courtroom, except when presenting arguments. Masks will be provided by the court.

SCOTUS announced on Sept. 8 that the court would hear oral arguments in person for the first time since March 4, 2020. Argument audio will be streamed live to the public, following the precedent set during the 2020-2021 term. Audio files and argument transcripts will be posted on the Court’s website following oral argument each day.

The Supreme Court’s October sitting is scheduled to begin on Monday, October 4. Nine cases have been scheduled for a total of nine hours of oral argument. 

Additional reading:



A look back at government responses to the coronavirus pandemic, Sept. 28-Oct. 2, 2020

Although the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020, it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout the year, states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, issued mask mandates, and changed election dates.

Here are the policy changes that happened Sept. 28 to Oct. 2, 2020. To read more of our past coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, click here

Monday, Sept. 28, 2020

Federal government responses:

  • President Donald Trump (R) announced the federal government would send the first batch of a planned 100 million rapid coronavirus tests developed by Abbott Laboratories to states. The first shipment was expected to total 6.5 million tests. The tests would be distributed to states based on population data.

Eviction and foreclosure policies:

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) extended the statewide moratorium on residential evictions through Jan. 1, 2021.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) extended the statewide moratorium on residential evictions through Dec. 31. The new order did not apply to commercial evictions.

Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020

Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:

  • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) announced that workers and children in daycares and schools were no longer required to quarantine if they came into contact with a person with COVID-19 while wearing a mask. According to the guidance, only the infected individual with COVID-19 was required to quarantine.

Election changes:

  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana Judge Sarah Barker issued an order extending the postmark and receipt deadline for absentee/mail-in ballots in Indiana to Nov. 3 and Nov. 13, respectively.
  • A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld a district court decision extending voter registration and absentee/mail-in ballot return deadlines in Wisconsin.

State court changes:

  • The Virginia Supreme Court issued an order extending the statewide judicial emergency through Oct. 11. The order continued requirements like face coverings in courthouses. Courts were still encouraged to conduct as much business as possible remotely. Jury trials remained prohibited in all but 10 jurisdictions at this time. 

Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020

Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:

  • The California Department of Public Health announced new guidelines that permitted outdoor playgrounds to reopen statewide.
  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) released an executive order eliminating coronavirus restrictions on businesses and gatherings in 89 of the state’s 95 counties. Six counties, including Shelby, operated according to rules made by their respective health departments.

Federal government responses:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended a ban on cruise ships with a carrying capacity of more than 250 people through Oct. 31. The no-sail order prohibited passenger operations on cruise ships in waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction. 

Mask requirements:

  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) allowed the statewide public mask order to expire but said individuals still had to wear masks in schools and at businesses the state defined as close-contact (like barbershops and salons).

Eviction and foreclosure policies:

  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) extended the statewide moratorium on evictions through Jan. 1. The moratorium was set to expire on Oct. 1.

Thursday, October 1, 2020 

Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:

  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) raised the gathering limit from 50 to 250 people, and allowed sports venues with more than 2,500 seats to reopen at 10% capacity if they submitted a plan and received approval from state and local officials.
  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) and Department of Health Services-designee Andrea Palm issued an order easing licensing requirements for healthcare workers during the state of emergency. The order allowed healthcare workers from other states to receive temporary licenses in Wisconsin and made it easier for workers with lapsed licenses to reapply.
  • The Arizona Department of Health Services announced all 15 counties in the state met the requirements to allow businesses like movie theaters and gyms to reopen. Food service at bars was also allowed to resume. 
  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) allowed nursing homes to resume visitations in counties with a COVID-19 positivity rate below 10%. However, any facility that reopened to visitors and registered a coronavirus case was required to close to visitors for two weeks.

Federal government responses:

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it would return control of supplies of remdesivir to Gilead Sciences, the biopharmaceutical company that manufactures the COVID-19 drug. Previously, HHS had distributed the drug to states and territories, but a representative for the agency said demand has fallen. Because of the decline in demand, Gilead would sell the drug to hospitals. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Remdesivir emergency use authorization in May 2020.
  • The National Park Service (NPS) reopened. Visitors were required to acquire tickets online, and masks were required inside the monument.

Election changes:

  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) issued a proclamation limiting the number of return locations for absentee/mail-in ballots to one per county.

Eviction and foreclosure policies:

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) allowed the statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures to expire.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:

  • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) allowed the state to advance to Phase 3 of reopening. Phase 3 eased several restrictions on businesses, including allowing bars to provide outdoor service at 30% or 100 guests, whichever was less. Movie theaters were also allowed to reopen at 30% capacity or 100 guests. Large outdoor venues were permitted to operate at 7% capacity.
  • The Michigan Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) lacked the authority to issue pandemic-related executive orders after April 30, 2020, when the legislature declined to extend the emergency and disaster declarations. The court ruled the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act (EPGA) of 1945—which was one of two laws on which Whitmer justified her orders—violated the Michigan constitution.
  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) issued an executive order lifting capacity limits on restaurants.

Election changes:

  • A three-judge panel of the Ohio 10th District Court of Appeals ruled that Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) could direct counties to offer multiple drop-box locations for returning absentee/mail-in ballots. The panel stopped short of requiring LaRose to do so, overturning a lower court decision to that effect.
  • Wake County Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins approved a settlement extending North Carolina’s absentee/mail-in ballot return receipt deadline from Nov. 6 to Nov. 12.
  • A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reinstated Georgia’s Nov. 3 receipt deadlines for absentee/mail-in ballots.

For the most recent coronavirus news, including the latest on vaccines and mask mandates, subscribe to our daily newsletter, Documenting America’s Path to Recovery.



Federal Register weekly update: Nine new significant documents added

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity, accounting for both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From Sept. 20 through Sept. 24, the Federal Register grew by 1,114 pages for a year-to-date total of 53,184 pages.

The Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 597 documents:

Three proposed rules, including an energy conservation program from the Energy Department, and six final rules, including a correction to the Environmental Protection Agency GHG emission standards and test procedures for control of air pollution from airplanes and airplane engines, were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—defined by the potential to have large impacts on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules. The Biden administration has issued 61 significant proposed rules, 69 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of Sept. 24.

  • 492 notices
  • Seven presidential documents
  • 31 proposed rules
  • 67 final rules

Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.

Additional reading:



Major party committees have raised $531 million in 2021

Six party committees have raised a combined $531 million over the first eight months of the 2022 election cycle. In August, the committees raised $58 million, according to recent filings with the Federal Election Commission.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $8.0 million and spent $6.9 million in August, while the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $6.2 million and spent $5.9 million. The NRSC has raised 11.9% more than the DSCC so far in the 2022 election cycle ($66.7 million to $59.2 million). August was the fifth consecutive month that the NRCC outraised the DSCC.

The House committees raised more than their Senate counterparts last month. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $10.1 million and spent $6.0 million. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $6.5 million and spent $4.7 million. So far in the 2022 election cycle, the NRCC has raised 0.9% more than the DCCC ($92.8 million to $92.0 million).

At this point in the 2020 election cycle, the NRSC also led the DSCC in fundraising by a 12.3% margin ($42.7 million to $37.7 million). The DCCC led the NRCC in fundraising by a 36.6% margin ($76.2 million to $52.6 million).

Between the national committees, the Republican National Committee (RNC) raised and spent more than the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The RNC raised $12.2 million and spent $16.7 million, while the DNC raised $9.9 million and spent $10.0 million. So far in the 2022 election cycle, the RNC has raised 0.06% more than the DNC ($110.2 million to $110.1 million).

At this time in the 2020 election cycle, the RNC led the DNC in fundraising by an 83% margin ($141.4 million to $58.5 million).

So far in the 2022 election cycle, the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC have raised 3.1% more than the  DNC, DSCC, and DCCC ($269.7 million to $261.3 million). The Republican committees’ fundraising advantage is down slightly from 3.2% last month.

Additional reading:



U.S. Senate confirms nominee to U.S. district court

The U.S. Senate on Sept. 21 confirmed one of President Joe Biden’s (D) federal judicial nominees to a lifetime Article III judgeship.

Margaret Strickland was nominated to the District of New Mexico on April 19 to replace Judge Robert Brack, who assumed senior status on July 25, 2018. Strickland was rated as Well Qualified by a majority and Qualified by a minorityby the American Bar Association. Strickland will join the court upon receiving her judicial commission and taking her judicial oath.

To date, 13 of Biden’s appointees have been confirmed. For historical comparison since 1981, the following list shows the date by which the past six presidents had 13 Article III judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate:

Currently, nine Article III nominees are awaiting a confirmation vote from the U.S Senate, seven nominees are awaiting a Senate Judiciary Committee vote to advance their nominations to the full Senate, and 12 nominees are awaiting a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Additional reading:



U.S. Senate confirms nominee to 10th Circuit Court of Appeals

The U.S. Senate on Sept. 20 confirmed one of President Joe Biden’s (D) federal judicial nominees to a lifetime Article III judgeship.

Veronica Rossman was nominated to the 10th Circuit on May 12 to replace Judge Carlos Lucero, who assumed senior status on Feb. 1. Rossman was rated as Qualified by a substantial majority and Well Qualified by a minorityby the American Bar Association. Rossman will join the court upon receiving her judicial commission and taking her judicial oath.

To date, 12 of Biden’s appointees have been confirmed. For historical comparison since 1981, the following list shows the date by which the past six presidents had 12 Article III judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate:

Currently, 10 Article III nominees are awaiting a confirmation vote from the U.S Senate, seven nominees are awaiting a Senate Judiciary Committee vote to advance their nominations to the full Senate, and 12 nominees are awaiting a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Additional reading:



Checks and Balances – September 2021 – Sue and settle returns to the EPA

The Checks and Balances Letter delivers news and information from Ballotpedia’s Administrative State Project, including pivotal actions at the federal and state levels related to the separation of powers, due process and the rule of law.

This edition: 

In this month’s edition of Checks and Balances, we review federal legislation that would return administrative law judges (ALJs) to the competitive civil service; a new statutory interpretation from the U.S. Department of Education allowing states to regulate student loan servicers; recent decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court that allowed for the continuation of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy and that struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium; and the return of sue and settle practices at the Environmental Protection Agency. 

At the state level, we take a look at state and local jurisdictions with eviction moratoriums that remain in place after the Supreme Court’s decision.

We also highlight a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office that surveyed the use of facial recognition technology by federal agencies. As always, we wrap up with our Regulatory Tally, which features information about the 187 proposed rules and 290 final rules added to the Federal Register in August and OIRA’s regulatory review activity.


In Washington

Bill aiming to return ALJs to competitive service advances in House

What’s the story? 

The U.S. House Reform and Oversight Committee on July 20 voted 24-16 along party lines to advance legislation that would redesignate administrative law judges (ALJs) as members of the competitive civil service and reestablish the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s authority over the ALJ hiring process. 

President Donald Trump in 2018 moved ALJs from the competitive civil service to the excepted service via Executive Order 13843. The order aimed to align ALJ appointment practices with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Lucia v. SEC, which held that the ALJs of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are are officers of the United States who must be appointed by the president, the courts, or agency heads rather than hired by agency staff. Prior to the order, OPM screened ALJ candidates through a merit-based selection process as part of the competitive service. Agencies could only hire ALJs from OPM’s pool of vetted candidates.

Supporters of the legislation (the Administrative Law Judges Competitive Service Restoration Act) argue that E.O. 13843 threatens ALJ impartiality by allowing partisan agency heads to appoint ALJs based on their own standards.“This exposed impartial judges, who determined the outcome of disputes over labor-management relations, claims for Social Security and public health benefits, to political influence,” said the bill’s author, Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Va.).

Opponents of the legislation argue that E.O. 13843 strengthens ALJ subject matter expertise by allowing agency heads to consider qualifications beyond the scope of OPM’s generalist vetting criteria. “By placing ALJs in the excepted service, it gave federal departments and agencies greater flexibility to assess prospective ALJ candidates,” said the committee’s ranking member, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.).

Want to go deeper?

Department of Education issues new statutory interpretation allowing states to regulate student loan servicers

What’s the story? 

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) on August 9 announced its departure from the Trump administration’s statutory interpretation of the federal Higher Education Act (HEA) that prevented states from regulating student loan servicers. Under the department’s new interpretation, states will be able to develop and enforce consumer protection standards applicable to student loan servicers as long as they are not preempted by federal law.

“Effective collaboration among the states and federal government is the best way to ensure that student loan borrowers get the best possible service,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in a press release. “We welcome public input on this interpretation and look forward to enhancing consumer protections for student loan borrowers by clarifying the relationship between federal and state law on this issue.” 

Former ED Secretary Betsy DeVos aimed to limit state regulation of student loan servicers in order to avoid what she referred to as a regulatory maze of state and federal requirements. Student loan servicers have argued that additional state regulations will increase both business costs and confusion among borrowers.

“Forcing [federal student loan servicers] to serve dozens of state governments that contradict federal rules will create borrower confusion and worsen the borrowers’ repayment experience,” U.S. House Education and Labor Committee ranking member Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) told The Washington Post. “The department’s bureaucratic incompetence, combined with inherent design flaws in the Higher Education Act, are the reasons why borrowers get left behind.”

Since 2014, more than half of all states have proposed or implemented state-level requirements for student loan servicers. In some states, such as Virginia and Massachusetts, these requirements take the form of a borrower’s bill of rights—minimum timeliness standards for loan processing, communications, and other concerns. Similar legislation is pending in a dozen states, according to the Student Borrower Protection Center.

Want to go deeper?

SCOTUS declines to block Remain in Mexico policy, strikes down CDC’s eviction moratorium 

What’s the story? 

The U.S. Supreme Court last month issued two noteworthy decisions concerning the exercise of agency authority. The court first declined to block a district judge’s ruling that ordered the Biden administration to reinstate the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy). The court later found that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction moratorium issued in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was unconstitutional.

In an unsigned order, the court on August 24 declined to block a ruling from U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Biden v. Texas that directed the Biden administration to reinstate the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Migrant Protection Protocols. The program, instituted under the Trump administration, requires asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico prior to their immigration hearings. 

The justices found that the “applicants have failed to show a likelihood of success on the claim that the memorandum rescinding the Migrant Protection Protocols was not arbitrary and capricious.” While six justices supported the order, Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer would have issued a stay to block the district court ruling while the case moves through the appeals process.

Two days later, the court issued another unsigned opinion in Alabama Association of Realtors v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services holding that the CDC’s eviction moratorium unlawfully exceeded the agency’s statutory authority. “It strains credulity to believe that [§361(a) of the Public Health Service Act] grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts,” wrote the majority justices. 

Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer again dissented, arguing in part that “it is far from ‘demonstrably’ clear that the CDC lacks the power to issue its modified moratorium order.”

Want to go deeper?

WOTUS ruling signals return of sue and settle

What’s the story?

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Marquez on August 30 issued a decision in Pasqua Yaqui Tribe et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that vacated and remanded the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), which narrowed the scope of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The ruling signals a return to sue and settle practices at the EPA, which the Trump administration had outlawed through an agency directive in 2017.

Sue and settle is a term used to describe cases in which a federal agency is sued by an interested party, declines to defend itself in court, and negotiates a settlement with the plaintiff in a non-adversarial process. Through sue and settle, outside groups sue an agency in order to reach a settlement on terms favorable to the regulatory goals of both.

The NWPR adopted a narrow definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) that limited the EPA’s authority to regulate certain waters, including wetlands. The rule adopted Justice Antonin Scalia’s reasoning in Rapanos v. United States (2006) that only wetlands adjacent to navigable waters fall under CWA oversight. A coalition of Native American tribes challenged the rule in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, arguing that the WOTUS definition under the NWPR disregards established science and is inconsistent with the statutory objectives of the CWA.

The EPA under the Biden administration had “expressed an intent to repeal the NWPR and return to the pre-2015 regulatory regime while working on a new definition of ‘waters of the United States,’” according to Judge Marquez’s opinion. 

Judge Marquez ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, finding that their concerns “are not mere procedural errors or problems that could be remedied through further explanation. Rather, they involve fundamental, substantive flaws that cannot be cured without revising or replacing the NWPR’s definition of ‘waters of the United States.’” 

It is unclear what standard now controls WOTUS regulation under the CWA. The Trump administration rescinded a 2015 Obama-era WOTUS regulation and the U.S. Supreme Court in Rapanos and Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2001) found the pre-2015 regulations to be overly expansive, according to administrative law scholar Jonathan Adler. 

Want to go deeper?

In the states

Eviction bans continue across the states

What’s the story? 

The U.S. Supreme Court on August 26 struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) federal eviction moratorium but similar eviction bans issued in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic remain in effect in cities and states across the country.

The following selected state and local jurisdictions had eviction bans in place as of September 13:

  • California’s eviction moratorium remains in effect until September 30. 
  • Illinois’ eviction moratorium expires on October 3. 
  • New Jersey’s eviction ban expires in January 2022. 
  • Washington D.C.’s eviction ban expires in January 2022.
  • New Mexico’s eviction moratorium does not have a set expiration date.
  • New York’s eviction moratorium expires in January 2022.
  • Washington’s eviction ban remains in effect under certain circumstances through October 15.

The above list is not comprehensive and additional eviction bans may remain in effect. State and local programs that aim to support renters seeking rental assistance, such as a Nevada policy that prohibits the eviction of tenants who have applied for rental assistance, may also function as de facto eviction bans.

Want to go deeper?

____________________________________________________________________________

GAO report sheds light on federal agency use of facial recognition technology

An August 24 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that at least 18 federal agencies use facial recognition technology (FRT).

The GAO survey of 24 federal agencies revealed the following findings: 

  • Sixteen agencies stated that they use FRT for digital access or cybersecurity, including 14 agencies that use FRT for employees to unlock their agency-issued smartphones and two agencies that use FRT to control website access. 
  • Six agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Department of Defense (DOD) reported using FRT for law enforcement purposes.
  • Five agencies reported using FRT for security purposes, such as controlling building access. 
  • Ten agencies planned to expand their use of FRT.

“It’s becoming increasingly important to get a more comprehensive understanding of the use of facial recognition technology across federal agencies,” Candice Wright, a director in GAO’s Science, Technology Assessment and Analytics Team, told Cox Media Group. “There’s certainly been a lot of advancements recently with facial recognition technology. It has been increasingly used for a range of purposes in both the commercial and government sectors.”

The report raised concerns among privacy advocates, including Adam Schwartz, senior attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “This technology is dangerous. It leads to people being falsely arrested, it invades our privacy, it deters people from going to protests,” Schwartz told Popular Mechanics. “The government should not be using it at all, so it is pretty sad to read that they’re actually expanding their use of it.”

Want to go deeper

Regulatory tally

Federal Register

Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA)

OIRA’s August regulatory review activity included the following actions:

  • Review of 37 significant regulatory actions. 
  • One rule approved without changes; recommended changes to 33 proposed rules; three rules withdrawn from the review process.
  • As of September 1, 2021, OIRA’s website listed 77 regulatory actions under review.
  • Want to go deeper? 


U.S. Supreme Court releases December argument calendar

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on Sept. 20 released the December argument calendar for the 2021-2022 term, scheduling nine cases for argument. The court will hear nine hours of oral argument between Nov. 29 and Dec. 8. 

Click the links below to learn more about the cases:

Nov. 29

  1. Becerra v. Empire Health Foundation concerns the administrative state and involves whether anadministrative agency may issue arule based on an interpretation of a statute that a federal court concluded was not open to interpretation.

Nov. 30

  1. Cummings v. Premier Rehab concerns federal disability laws and whether they allow the petitioner to be awarded compensatory damages for emotional distress.
  2. American Hospital Association v. Becerra concerns the administrative state and involves whether theChevron deference doctrine permits theU.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reduce the reimbursement rate the agency pays to certain hospitals for treating Medicare patients.

Dec. 1

  1. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization concerns a direct challenge to the Supreme Court’s rulings in Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) and the constitutionality of a Mississippi state law prohibiting abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy except in cases of medical emergencies or fetal abnormalities.

Dec. 6

  1. Patel v. Garland concerns the jurisdiction of federal courts to hear appeals in immigration proceedings specifically related to judgments allowing the adjustment of immigration status from nonimmigrant to permanent resident.
  2. Hughes v. Northwestern University concerns Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) defined-contribution retirement plans.

Dec. 7

  1. CVS Pharmacy, Inc. v. Doe concerns disability discrimination claims under the Rehabilitation and Affordable Care Acts.
  2. United States v. Taylor concerns theHobbs Act and the definition of a crime of violence under the law.

Dec. 8

  1. Carson v. Makin concerns public education funding, religious education, and the Supreme Court’s decision inEspinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue (2020).

To date, the court has granted review in 34 cases during the upcoming term. Five cases have not yet been scheduled for argument. Two cases were dismissed after they were accepted. 

Additional reading:



Federal Register weekly update: 14 new significant rules

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s overall regulatory activity, accounting for both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From Sept. 13 through Sept. 17, the Federal Register grew by 1,234 pages for a year-to-date total of 52,070 pages.

The Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 576 documents:

  • 458 notices
  • 13 presidential documents
  • 46 proposed rules
  • 59 final rules

Six proposed rules, including a call for public input from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding authorization for the incidental taking of eagles, and eight final rules, including a court-ordered delay of a Food and Drug Administration rule concerning tobacco product warnings, were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—defined by the potential to have large impacts on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules. The Biden administration has issued 58 significant proposed rules, 63 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of Sept. 17.

Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.

Click here to find more information about weekly additions to the Federal Register in 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017: Changes to the Federal Register 

Additional reading:

Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2019: Historical additions to the Federal Register, 1936-2019