The Supreme Court is currently in recess. The 2019-2020 term begins Oct. 7. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ upcoming term.
The Federal Vacancy Count tracks vacancies, nominations, and confirmations to all United States Article III federal courts over a one-month period. This month’s edition includes nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from August 1 – 28, 2019.
One judge left active status, creating an Article III vacancy. As an Article III judicial position, this vacancy must be filled by a nomination from the president. Nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.
For more information on judicial vacancies during President Trump’s first term, click here.
A breakdown of the vacancies at each level can be found in the table below. For a more detailed look at the vacancies on the federal courts, click here.
There are currently four vacancies for U.S. Courts of Appeal judgeships. According to a Ballotpedia analysis of federal court vacancies between April 2011 and August 2019, this is the fewest number of vacant Courts of Appeal judgeships during this time.
President Trump announced six new nominations since the July 2019 report.
The president has announced 211 Article III judicial nominations since taking office Jan. 20, 2017. The president named 69 judicial nominees in 2017 and 92 in 2018. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.
Since July 31, 2019, the Senate confirmed two of the president’s nominees to Article III courts.
Since January 2017, the Senate has confirmed 146 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—99 district court judges, 43 appeals court judges, two Court of International Trade judges, and two Supreme Court justices. This is the second-most Article III judicial confirmations through this point in a presidency since Theodore Roosevelt. Only Bill Clinton, with 165 judicial appointments, had more.
Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? Click here for continuing updates on the status of all federal judicial nominees.
Or, if you prefer, we also maintain a list of individuals President Trump has nominated.
September 9, 2019: Mark Sanford announced Sunday that he was running for president. Tom Steyer reached the polling threshold to qualify for the October primary debates.
There are 10 new candidates running since last week, including five Republicans. In total, 850 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.
“But there’s a danger in running as a continuation of a previous administration, because in the past half-century of presidential elections, the change candidate has beaten the ‘familiar’ candidate almost every time.
Incumbent presidents are largely immune from this phenomenon. They get to enjoy the constant visibility and bully pulpit of the most powerful person in the world, and only sagging economies (Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush) or disastrous wars (Lyndon Johnson) seem to fell them in their bids for re-election. …
But whether it’s a former vice president or the runner-up in the previous election cycle’s primary, the candidate who is perceived as running for president because it’s ‘their turn’ tends to flame out against a fresher face.”
– Anthony L. Fisher, Business Insider
General Election Updates
What We’re Reading
Flashback: September 9, 2015
Antivirus software creator John McAfee launched an independent presidential campaign.
In a unanimous decision issued Aug. 21, a New Jersey appellate court ruled the Jersey City Board of Education cannot use public funds to pay the salaries of union representatives.
Who are the parties to the suit?
Plaintiffs Moshe Rozenblit and Won Kyu Rim reside within the Jersey City school district. They were represented by the Goldwater Institute. The defendants were the Jersey City Public Schools, the Jersey City Board of Education, and the Jersey City Education Association (the union representing the district’s teachers).
What was at issue?
The plaintiffs challenged a section of the collective bargaining agreement between the Jersey City Board of Education and the Jersey City Education Association that requires the board to pay the salaries of two teachers working full-time as union representatives. The plaintiffs specifically alleged that this section of the agreement violated Article VIII, Section 3, Paragraph 3 of the state constitution: “No donation of land or appropriation of money shall be made by the State or any county or municipal corporation to or for the use of any society, association, or corporation whatever.”
Meanwhile, the defendants held that the challenged provision was valid under Section 18A:30-7 of the New Jersey Statutes, which permits local boards of education to pay salaries in cases of absence not constituting sick leave. A lower state court had upheld this provision of the collective bargaining agreement, prompting the plaintiffs to appeal.
How did the court rule?
The panel was made up of Judges Jose L. Fuentes, Francis J. Vernoia, and Scott J. Moynihan. Writing for the court, Fuentes said: “Mindful of the principles of statutory construction, we conclude that N.J.S.A. 18A:30-7 does not empower the Board in this case to continue to pay the salaries and benefits of the president of the JCEA and his or her designee, while they devote their entire work-time to the business and affairs of the union.” The court declined to address the constitutional arguments made by the plaintiffs.
What are the responses?
What comes next?
According to Hudson County View, “sources close to JCEA said that the union plans to fight the appellate court decision at this time.” The case name and number are Rozenblit v. Lyles, A-1611-17T1.
We are currently tracking 102 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.
Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number.
September 6, 2019: Howard Schultz announced Friday that he would not run for president. South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and Kansas are expected to cancel their presidential primaries.
Each Friday, we’ll highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.
Erin Wilson is a Democratic staffer with extensive experience in Pennsylvania politics. Wilson graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in political science and government in 2005.
Previous campaign work:
“While the ability to generate big crowds is certainly nice — it may signal enthusiasm among highly engaged voters or produce favorable media coverage — you should ignore any candidate, surrogate or media outlet that tells you that large crowd sizes mean that the polls are underestimating a candidate’s support. It’s just spin; polls are much more accurate at forecasting elections than crowd-size estimates, which don’t tell us all that much.
For every example like 2008, when then-Sen. Barack Obama’s huge crowds seemed to reflect real enthusiasm for his campaign, there is one like 2012, when former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won his primary despite drawing noticeably small crowds on the campaign trail. Or take what happened in 2016. Despite a lot of hay being made about crowd sizes during the 2016 campaign, that cycle also was an argument against crowd sizes being predictive. Although now-President Trump did often draw large crowds at his primary rallies, Hillary Clinton reportedly beat him out for largest crowd of the 2016 campaign, 40,000 to 30,000. And at roughly this point in the Democratic primary in 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders was outdrawing Clinton!”
– Nathaniel Rakich, FiveThirtyEight
On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates
What We’re Reading
Flashback: September 6, 2015
After reaching a $1 million crowdfunding goal, Harvard Law professor Larry Lessig said that he was running for president.