CategoryFederal

2,989 major party candidates filed for 2020 Congress elections

As of June 22, 2,989 major party candidates have filed to run for the Senate and House of Representatives in 2020.

So far, 453 candidates are filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate. Of those, 362—185 Democrats and 177 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 527 candidates filed with the FEC to run for U.S. Senate, including 137 Democrats and 240 Republicans.

For U.S. House, 2,974 candidates have filed with the FEC to run. Of those, 2,627—1,238 Democrats and 1,389 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 3,244 candidates filed with the FEC, including 1,566 Democrats and 1,155 Republicans.

Thirty-six members of the U.S. House are not seeking re-election in 2020. That includes 27 Republicans and nine Democrats. Four senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) are not running for re-election. In 2018, 55 total members of Congress—18 Democrats and 37 Republicans—did not seek re-election.

On November 3, 2020, 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for election. Of those Senate seats, 33 are regularly scheduled elections, while the other two are special elections in Arizona and Georgia. Twelve are Democratic-held seats and 23 are Republican-held seats. In the House, Democrats currently hold a majority with 233 seats.

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U.S. Supreme Court rules DACA ended improperly; dissenting opinion argues ruling creates double standard

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in  DHS v. Regents of the University of California that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not properly follow Administrative Procedure Act (APA) procedures when it sought to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2017. DHS started the program in 2012 with a memo that itself did not go through the APA rulemaking process.

The court’s ruling argued that DHS failed to provide required analysis of all relevant factors associated with ending the DACA program. The majority opinion argued that rendered the decision arbitrary and capricious under the APA. The court thus remanded the issue back to DHS, which can reattempt to end the program by providing a more thorough explanation for its decision.

Chief Justice Roberts delivered the majority opinion of the court saying, “The dispute before the Court is not whether DHS may rescind DACA. All parties agree that it may. The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so.” Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan joined the full opinion. Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined most of the majority opinion, giving it the fifth vote it needed to become the official decision of the court.

Justice Sotomayor agreed with the court that DHS improperly followed the APA, but she wrote separately to argue that the court should have given those challenging the agency the opportunity to develop claims that the agency violated the equal protection guarantee of the 5th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Thomas argued that an administration should be able to rescind policies not lawfully implemented: “To state it plainly, the Trump administration rescinded DACA the same way that the Obama administration created it: unilaterally, and through a mere memorandum.” He argued that the court’s decision was “an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision.” Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch joined Thomas’s opinion.

Justice Kavanaugh defended DHS’s reasons for ending DACA as adequate in a separate opinion. He added that the court’s decision applied precedent incorrectly when it held that a memo written by former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen came too late to provide the analysis the court said DHS needed to end the program.

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Pelosi press release: https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/61820-0
Trump tweet: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1273666793362673665



Lucia settles with SEC after eight years of litigation

Raymond Lucia, the plaintiff in the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court case Lucia v. SEC, reached a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on June 17 after eight years of litigation. The settlement requires Lucia to pay a $25,000 fine and allows him to reapply for reinstatement as an investment advisor.

The Lucia case challenged the constitutionality of the SEC’s appointment of its administrative law judges (ALJs). The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2018 that the agency’s ALJ appointments violated the U.S. Constitution’s Appointments Clause. The court found that the SEC’s ALJs are inferior officers (rather than agency employees) who must be appointed by the agency’s commissioners as required by the Constitution’s Appointments Clause. Lucia’s case was sent back to the SEC for a new hearing before a different, constitutionally appointed ALJ.

ALJs are officials who preside over federal administrative hearings and serve as both the judge and the jury. The Administrative Procedure Act requires that ALJs preside over hearings during formal adjudication proceedings, but they may also preside over hearings during informal adjudication. Adjudication proceedings include agency determinations outside of the rulemaking process that aim to resolve disputes between either agencies and private parties or between two private parties

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Federal Register weekly update; tops 37,000 pages

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.

From June 15 to June 19, the Federal Register grew by 1,192 pages for a year-to-date total of 37,330 pages. Over the same period in 2019 and 2018, the Federal Register reached 29,370 pages and 29,434 pages, respectively. As of June 19, the 2020 total led the 2019 total by 7,960 pages and the 2018 total by 7,896 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 477 documents:

• 393 notices
• five presidential documents
• 24 proposed rules
• 55 final rules

One notice related to hazardous air pollutants was deemed significant under E.O. 12866—meaning that it could have large impacts on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. The Trump administration in 2020 has issued 21 significant proposed rules, 28 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of June 19.

Not all rules issued by the Trump administration are regulatory actions. Some rules are deregulatory actions pursuant to President Trump’s (R) Executive Order 13771, which requires federal agencies to eliminate two existing significant regulations for each new significant regulation issued.

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 2018 and 2017.

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Primary runoff in North Carolina is June 23

The statewide primary runoff for North Carolina is on June 23, 2020. The primary was held March 3, 2020, and candidates needed more than 30% of the vote to advance to the general election. The primary runoff was originally scheduled for May 12, 2020, but was postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic. The filing deadline to run passed on December 20, 2019.

Candidates are running in a Republican primary runoff for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District. Lynda Bennett (R) and Madison Cawthorn (R) are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for November 3, 2020. Bennett received 22.7% of the Republican primary vote, and Cawthorn received 20.4%. No other North Carolina congressional seat advanced to a primary runoff.

South Carolina also scheduled its primary runoff election for June 23, but no congressional races advanced to a primary runoff.

Entering the 2020 election, North Carolina’s U.S. House delegation consists of three Democrats, nine Republicans, and one vacancy. The U.S. House has 233 Democrats, 197 Republicans, one Libertarian, and four vacancies. All 435 seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.

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3 states holding primaries for 42 congressional seats on June 23

Three states are holding primaries on June 23, 2020. Forty-two congressional seats will be on the ballot, including two U.S. Senate seats and 40 U.S. House seats.

The following seats will be on the ballot in Kentucky:
• 1 U.S. Senate seat
• 6 U.S. House seats

The following seats will be on the ballot in New York:
• 27 U.S. House seats

The following seats will be on the ballot in Virginia:
• 1 U.S. Senate seat
• 7 U.S. House seats

Four of Virginia’s 11 U.S. House seats—Districts 7, 8, 9, and 10—are not on the ballot because they are either holding conventions instead of primaries or their primaries were canceled due to lack of opposition.

Entering the November 2020 general election, the U.S. Senate has 45 Democrats, 53 Republicans, and two independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. Thirty-five of the 100 U.S. Senate seats are up for election, including two seats up for special election. A majority in the chamber requires 51 seats. The U.S. House of Representatives has 233 Democrats, 197 Republicans, one Libertarian, and four vacancies. All 435 U.S. House seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.

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Federal Register weekly update; lowest weekly page total since first week of January

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.

From June 8 to June 12, the Federal Register grew by 1,182 pages for a year-to-date total of 36,138 pages. Over the same period in 2019 and 2018, the Federal Register reached 27,906 pages and 28,150 pages, respectively. As of June 12, the 2020 total led the 2019 total by 8,232 pages and the 2018 total by 7,988 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 516 documents:
• 413 notices
• four presidential documents
• 53 proposed rules
• 48 final rules
No proposed or final rules were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—meaning that they could 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 Trump administration in 2020 has issued 21 significant proposed rules and 28 significant final rules as of June 12.

Not all rules issued by the Trump administration are regulatory actions. Some rules are deregulatory actions pursuant to President Trump’s (R) Executive Order 13771, which requires federal agencies to eliminate two old significant regulations for each new significant regulation issued.

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 2018 and 2017.

Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2018.



SCOTUS grants review in 2 cases for October 2020-2021 term

On June 15, the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) granted review in two cases for its upcoming October 2020-2021 term.

The Supreme Court will begin hearing cases for the term on October 5, 2020. The court’s yearly term begins on the first Monday in October and lasts until the first Monday in October the following year. The court generally releases the majority of its decisions in mid-June.

Albence v. Guzman Chavez

The case Albence v. Guzman Chavez came on a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. It concerns the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 and the statutory authority under which the government detains immigrants seeking to overturn deportation after a reinstated removal order. As of June 16, 2020, the case’s argument date was pending.

The case: The case originated in a dispute over whether the respondents, a group of immigrants detained by the U.S. government pending deportation proceedings, could seek release in bond hearings before immigration judges. The government argued that they could not seek release, because 8 U.S.C. 1231 subjected the immigrants to mandatory detention. The immigrants argued that 8 U.S.C. 1226 allowed them to seek release via bond hearings. The U.S. District Court held the respondents were detained under 8 U.S.C. 1226 and ordered the government to provide bond hearings. On appeal, the 4th Circuit upheld the district court’s ruling.

The issue: Whether the detention of an alien who is subject to a reinstated removal order and who is pursuing withholding or deferral of removal is governed by 8 U.S.C. 1231 or by 8 U.S.C. 1226.

Henry Schein, Inc. v. Archer and White Sales Inc.

The case Henry Schein, Inc. v. Archer and White Sales Inc. originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit and concerns arbitration agreements. As of June 16, 2020, the case’s argument date was pending.

The case: In 2012, Archer & White Sales, Inc. filed a lawsuit in magisterial court against Henry Schein, Inc. alleging that the company violated the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Texas Free Enterprise and Antitrust Act. Henry Schein, Inc. filed motions to compel arbitration and stay all proceedings. The magistrate judge granted the defendants’ motions. In 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas reversed and vacated the magistrate judge’s ruling and issued an order denying the motions to compel arbitration. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld the district court’s order. In 2018, Schein appealed to the Supreme Court, which vacated the 5th Circuit’s ruling and remanded the case. On remand, the 5th Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of motions to compel arbitration. In 2020, Schein petitioned the Supreme Court for review.

The issue: Whether an arbitration agreement provision exempting certain claims from arbitration negates an otherwise clear and unmistakable delegation of arbitrability questions to an arbitrator.

As of June 16, 2020, the court had agreed to hear 22 cases during its 2020-2021 term. Of those, 12 were originally scheduled for the 2019-2020 term but were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Texas Democrats appeal absentee voting decision to U.S. Supreme Court

On June 16, the Democratic Party of Texas appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court an appellate court order staying a district court decision that had extended absentee voting eligibility in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

On May 19, Judge Samuel Frederick Biery of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas ordered that all eligible Texas voters be allowed to cast absentee ballots in order to avoid transmission of the coronavirus. The state appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. On June 4, a three-judge panel of the appeals court stayed the district court decision, allowing election officials to enforce state laws limiting absentee voting to those meeting specified eligibility criteria.

In its appeal to the Supreme Court, the plaintiffs presented the following question: “Does Texas’s limitation of the right to cast a no-excuse mail-in ballot to only voters who are ’65 years of age or older on election day,’ Tex. Election Code § 82.003, violate the Twenty-Sixth Amendment’s directive that the right to vote ‘shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age’?”



U.S. extends travel restrictions on Canada and Mexico through July 21

On June 16, 2020, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced the U.S. would extend travel restrictions in place at the Canadian and Mexican borders through July 21.

The restrictions, initially put into place in late March in coordination with both countries, close the borders to nonessential travel. Essential travel, including for trade and commerce, is still allowed, but traveling for tourism or recreation is prohibited. The restrictions were extended on April 20 and May 19.

In addition to travel restrictions placed on foreign countries by the federal government, Ballotpedia is tracking restrictions placed on out-of-state travelers by governors and state agencies.



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