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Trump has appointed second-most federal judges through April 1 of a president’s fourth year

Donald Trump has appointed and the Senate confirmed 193 Article III federal judges through April 1, 2020, his fourth year in office. This is the second-most Article III judicial appointments through this point in all presidencies since Jimmy Carter (D). The Senate had confirmed 207 of Carter’s appointees at this point in his term.

The average number of federal judges appointed by a president through April 1 of their fourth year in office is 168.

The median number of Supreme Court justices appointed is two. Along with President Trump, Presidents Barack Obama (D), Bill Clinton (D), and George H.W. Bush (R) had each appointed two Supreme Court justices at this point in their first terms. Ronald Reagan (R) had appointed one, while Carter and George W. Bush (R) had not appointed any.

The median number of United States Court of Appeals appointees is 30. Trump appointed the most with 51, while Reagan appointed the least with 25. Trump’s 51 appointments make up 28% of the total 179 judgeships across the courts of appeal.

The median number of United States District Court appointees is 138. Carter appointed the most with 157, and Reagan appointed the fewest with 103. Trump has appointed 138 district court judges so far. Those appointments make up 20% of the 677 judgeships across the district courts.

Article III federal judges are appointed for life terms by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate per Article III of the United States Constitution. Article III judges include judges on the: Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. courts of appeal, U.S. district courts, and the Court of International Trade.

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DNC postpones national convention until August

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
April 3, 2020: The Democratic National Convention was postponed from July to August. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders called for Iran sanctions relief.        

Ballotpedia is monitoring changes made to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic

Here are the presidential primary updates you need to know:

  • Democratic National Convention: The Democratic Party postponed its presidential nominating convention to the week of August 17 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Organizers pushed back the event, which was originally scheduled for July 13-16, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    “After a great deal of scenario planning and giving thought to how it is this event can have the greatest impact in the electoral process and the greatest impact in terms of what we can bring to Milwaukee, we felt the best decision, not knowing all the answers, was to delay this,” said convention chief executive Joe Solmones. “More than anything we continue to monitor the public health landscape.”

  • Puerto Rico: After being initially postponed from March 29 to April 26, the Democratic primary was postponed a second time to an unspecified date.
  • Wisconsin: Federal judge William Conley ordered the final day to submit absentee ballots be extended from April 7 to April 13. The primary remains scheduled for April 7.

Each Friday, we highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.
Kimberly Guilfoyle is a Republican staffer with experience as a journalist and media personality. Guilfoyle received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco in 1994.


  • 2018-2019: America First Action, vice chairwoman
  • 2006-2018: Fox News
    • Outnumbered host
    • The Five co-host
    • The Lineup host
    • Legal analyst
  • 2004-2006: Court TV, Both Sides co-host
  • 2004-2006: CNN, legal analyst
  • 2000-2004: City of San Francisco, assistant district attorney

Notable Quote of the Day

“When you’ve got governors with stratospheric approval ratings for their handling of the crisis and ratings that are 20 and 30 points higher than the president’s and you have governors from states like California and New York and Illinois leading the crisis response — all big-name, major-league governors — you’re going to see that leadership reflected in polls for the presidency in future election years. This is the kind of stuff that gets forged and built into your resume.”

– Doug Herman, Democratic strategist


  • During a virtual fundraiser on Thursday, Joe Biden said Bernie Sanders should not be pushed out of the race. He said, “Now’s not the time for me or anyone to call for him to drop out. I know firsthand what a personal decision that is.”
  • Biden called for the Trump administration to ease economic sanctions against Iran on Thursday. He said in a statement, “In times of global crisis, America should lead. We should be the first to offer help to people who are hurting or in danger. That’s who we are. That’s who we’ve always been. And, in the midst of this deadly pandemic that respects no borders, the United States should take steps to offer what relief we can to those nations hardest hit by this virus — including Iran — even as we prioritize the health of the American people.”
  • Sanders co-signed a letter to Secretaries Mike Pompeo and Steve Mnuchin earlier this week calling for the U.S. to suspend sanctions on Iran during the coronavirus pandemic. “Rather than continue to invoke new sanctions in the Iranian people’s hour of need, we urge you to substantially suspend sanctions on Iran during this global public health emergency in a humanitarian gesture to the Iranian people to better enable them to fight the virus,” the letter said.
  • Sanders called for airline grants in the coronavirus relief bill to be approved to fund the paychecks and benefits of 2 million airline workers.


  • During the daily coronavirus task force daily briefing, Donald Trump and his team discussed supply chain issues for masks, ventilators, and other medical supplies. Trump also tested negative for the coronavirus for a second time.

General Election Updates

  • The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee are preparing for litigation to prevent major procedural changes to the general election in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “Trump advisers say they are open to certain changes, such as automatically sending absentee ballot applications to voters over age 65. But they’re opposed to other moves Democrats are pushing, such as sending every voter a ballot regardless of whether they ask for one, which Republicans argue would open the door to fraud,” Politico reported.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: April 3, 2016

Approximately 2,000 Bernie Sanders supporters demonstrated outside of CNN’s Los Angeles bureau to protest against media bias.

Click here to learn more.

Arizona ballot initiative campaigns ask state Supreme Court to allow electronic signatures due to coronavirus pandemic

On April 2, 2020, four ballot initiative campaigns filed a petition asking the Arizona Supreme Court to allow the campaigns to gather signatures through E-Qual, which is the state’s online signature collection platform, during the coronavirus pandemic. E-Qual is available for federal, statewide, and legislative candidates but not ballot initiatives.

The legal petition stated, “The Novel Coronavirus 2019 (“COVID-19”) pandemic changed, quite literally, everything. … Although this new reality is essential for public health, it is catastrophic to the Initiative Proponents’ exercise of their fundamental constitutional right. … In short, signature gathering will halt, and the Initiative Proponents’ hard work and investment is in jeopardy. … This Petition presents an important legal question of first impression: whether the fundamental constitutional rights of the Initiative Proponents are violated by their exclusion from an online petition signature gathering system maintained by the Secretary in the middle of a public health emergency that severely limits (or outright bars) their ability to otherwise collect initiative petition signatures.”

The four ballot initiative campaigns that filed the petition are:

  1. Arizonans for Second Chances, Rehabilitation, and Public Safety, which is behind the Criminal Justice Procedures for Offenses Defined as Non-Dangerous Initiative.
  2. Smart and Safe Arizona, which is behind the Marijuana Legalization Initiative.
  3. Invest in Education, which is behind the Tax on Incomes Exceeding $250,000 for Teacher Salaries and Schools Initiative.
  4. Save Our Schools Arizona, which is behind the Limits on Private Education Vouchers Initiative.

The Arizona Republic reported that the office of Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), who was named as the defendant, was reviewing the petition and could not comment as of April 2.

At least 15 statewide ballot initiative campaigns in eight states had suspended their signature drives by April 2 due to the coronavirus pandemic. No states currently allow ballot initiative campaigns to collect signatures electronically.

Additional reading:

Coroanvirus daily update: April 2, 2020

As part of Ballotpedia’s coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, we are compiling a daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day. Here is the summary of changes for April 2, 2020.
Federal responses
  1. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-N.Y.) announced she was creating a special House committee to oversee implementation of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package. She tapped Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) to chair the committee. At the time of the announcement, no other committee members were announced.
Election changes
Overview to date:
  1. Seventeen states and one territory postponed state-level elections. Another five states postponed or authorized postponements of municipal election dates on a statewide basis.
  2. Eight states modified candidate filing requirements.
  3. Eighteen states implemented changes to their absentee voting procedures.
  4. Political parties in 10 states made changes to party events on a statewide basis.
  1. Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico’s Democratic Party announced a further postponement of its primary election to an unspecified future date. The primary had originally been scheduled for March 29 before being postponed to April 26.
  2. West Virginia – On April 1, Gov. Jim Justice (R) issued an executive order postponing West Virginia’s statewide primary, including its presidential preference primary, to June 9. The primary was originally scheduled to take place on May 12. Details on adjustments to related dates are pending.
  3. Wisconsin – Judge William Conley, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, issued an order extending absentee voting deadlines in Wisconsin’s April 7 election. Under Conley’s order, the absentee ballot request deadline was extended to 5:00 p.m. April 3. The ballot return deadline was extended to 4:00 p.m. April 13. The primary date itself was unchanged.
Ballot measure changes
Overview to date:
  1. Ballotpedia tracked 15 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  2. Three states changed ballot measure procedures.
  1. Idaho – The Idaho Cannabis Coalition, which is the sponsor of a medical marijuana ballot initiative, announced that the campaign was suspending in-person signature gathering.
State legislative responses
Overview to date:
  1. To date, 309 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
  2. Fifty-one significant bills have been enacted into law, about 17 percent of the total number that have been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.
State legislative session changes
Overview to date:
  1. Twenty-five state legislatures suspended their sessions. Three of those (Louisiana, New York, and Vermont) have since reconvened.
  2. Nineteen legislatures either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
  3. Five state legislatures are in regular session.
  4. One state (Minnesota) partially suspended legislative activity.
  1. Colorado – According to an article in the The Denver Post on April 1, 2020, “House Majority Leader Alec Garnett said lawmakers will presume they are adjourned day to day based on legal advice and for everyone’s safety as the Senate had called for earlier this week.” The suspension of legislative activity was originally set to expire March 30; it was then extended to April 2.
State court changes
Overview to date:
  1. Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide.
  2. Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings on the local level.
  1. Connecticut– The Judicial Branch announced the closure of three courthouses, Stamford, Middletown, and Milford, until further notice. Stamford and Milford’s business was transferred to the courthouse in Bridgeport. Middletown’s business was transferred to the New Britain courthouse.
  2. Pennsylvania– The Pennsylvania Supreme Court extended its original order closing all Pennsylvania courts to the public through April 30.
  3. Missouri- The Missouri Supreme Court extended their previous order suspending in-person proceedings through May 1.
  4. Wyoming – The Wyoming Supreme Court extended their previous orders suspending in-person and jury trials through May 31.
Prison inmate responses
Overview to date:
  1. 11 states ordered the release of inmates at the state level.
  2. 21 states ordered the release of inmates on the local level.
  3. 17 states have not released inmates due to coronavirus.
  4. One state prohibited the release of certain inmate populations.
  1. New York– On March 27, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) ordered the release of 1,100 people who violated parole from jails and prisons across the state.
State stay-at-home orders
Overview to date:
  1. So far, 39 states issued statewide stay-at-home orders. Seven of those orders are set to last until modified or rescinded by the governor, while the other 32 announced end dates.
  1. Mississippi – Gov. Tate Reeves (R) issued a shelter-in-place order effective April 3 through April 20.
  2. Oklahoma – Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) issued a stay-at-home order effective April 1 through April 30.
School closures
Overview to date:
  1. Forty-nine states ordered a statewide school closure. The remaining states are leaving school closures up to local officials. Those 49 states served 50.1 million students during the 2016-2017 school year, accounting for 99% of the 50.6 million public school students in the United States.
  2. Ten states closed schools for the remainder of the academic year: Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Virginia.
  1. California – Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that schools would remain physically closed for the rest of the academic year. Schools had been closed statewide since March 20 as a result of Newsom’s shelter-in-place order.
  2. Colorado – Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced that the statewide school closure, scheduled to end April 17, was extended through April 30.
  3. Georgia – Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced that schools would remain closed for the remainder of the school year. Prior to the order, the state’s school closure was scheduled to end April 24.
  4. Indiana – Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced that schools in the state would remain closed through the end of the academic year. Prior to this order, schools were scheduled to be closed through May 1.
  5. Kentucky – Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced that the statewide school closure, originally scheduled to end on April 20, would extend until May 1.
  6. Nebraska – Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) directed schools to operate without students through May 31.
  7. West Virginia – Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that the statewide school closure, scheduled to end April 17, was extended through April 30.
Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia in the last 24 hours
State politicians who tested positive for coronavirus
  1. State Rep. Vivian Flowers (D-AR)
Local politicians who tested positive for coronavirus
  1. New York City council member Paul Vallone (D)
  2. Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones (D)
Local politicians who self-quarantined for coronavirus
New York City council member Mark Levine (D)

Connecticut closes three courthouses due to coronavirus

On April 1, 2020, Connecticut’s Judicial Branch announced the closure of three courthouses in response to the pandemic. Closure of courts in Stamford were prompted by concern about an employee who may be ill with COVID-19. In addition to Stamford, the Judicial Branch announced that the courts in Milford and Middletown would also close until further notice. Court business from Stamford and Milford will transfer to the court in Bridgeport, and Middletown’s business will transfer to the court in New Britain.

Ballotpedia is tracking how state courts are responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

Other recent updates include:

  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court extended its original order closing all Pennsylvania courts to the public through April 30.
  • The Missouri Supreme Court extended its previous order suspending in-person proceedings through May 1.
  • The Wyoming Supreme Court extended its previous orders suspending in-person and jury trials through May 31

State court closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

California governor closes schools for the remainder of the year

On April 1, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that schools would remain physically closed for the remainder of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed statewide as a result of Newsom’s shelter-in-place order beginning March 20. Local school officials were responsible for determining school closures before the March 20 order.

Nine states have closed schools for the remainder of the academic year: Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Virginia.

Iowa is the only state that has not issued a statewide school closure order in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Iowa school closures are left up to local officials rather than ordered by the state.

Additional Reading:
School closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Florida governor issues stay-at-home order

On April 1, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) issued an executive order closing nonessential businesses and requiring individuals to remain in their homes except for essential activities. DeSantis’ order is effective from April 2 through April 30. It does not impact schools in the state, which were already closed through May 1.

Thirty-five states have issued stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders to residents. Seven of those orders are set to last until modified or rescinded by the governor, while the other 28 announced end dates. Of those 35 states, 21 have Democratic governors and 14 have Republican governors.

Although the names of the orders—shelter-in-place, stay-at-home, stay home, stay safe—vary from state to state, they include at least two common elements: the closure of nonessential businesses and requesting all residents to stay home except for essential trips.

New Hampshire Treasurer Resigns, Deputy Treasurer Appointed to Finish Term

Former New Hampshire Deputy State Treasurer Monica Mezzapelle assumed her new position as Commissioner of the Treasury on March 25, 2020. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) appointed Mezzapelle to the nonpartisan position following the resignation of former state treasurer William Dwyer, who left office that same day.

Mezzapelle, a certified public accountant who had served as deputy state treasurer since May 2014, will finish the remainder of Dwyer’s term. The New Hampshire legislature will select a new treasurer in a joint session following the November 2020 general election.

Mezzapelle is the 54th leader of the New Hampshire State Treasury. The position is one of 12 state executive offices Ballotpedia covers in New Hampshire. Of those, the governorship and the five seats on the Executive Council are up for election in 2020.

Additional reading:
New Hampshire Treasurer
New Hampshire state executive offices

Ten states have ordered the release of some inmates in response to the coronavirus

Ballotpedia is providing comprehensive coverage on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting America’s political and civic life. Our coverage includes how federal, state, and local governments are responding, and the effects those responses are having on campaigns and elections.

As of April 1, 10 states have ordered the release of inmates at the state level, 23 states have ordered the release of inmates on the local level, and 17 have not released inmates due to coronavirus.

Some state-level changes have been made by courts. On March 24, for example, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an order that will suspend or commute county jail sentences for low-risk inmates due to the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic. South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty wrote a memo on March 16 directing local courts to release persons charged with non-capital crimes, so long as they do not pose a danger to the public or are an extreme flight risk.

The governors of Michigan and Illinois issued executive orders allowing local governments to release incarcerated individuals who are vulnerable to the disease and do not pose a risk to the public. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order granting the director of the Colorado Department of Corrections “authority to release people within 180 days of their parole eligibility date, and suspended limits on awarding earned time, to allow for earlier release dates.”

In California, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva released 1,700 people from jail who were convicted of nonviolent misdemeanors and scheduled to be released within 30 days. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the release of at least 650 inmates convicted of nonviolent crimes and serving sentences of less than a year from Rikers Island.

One governor, Texas’ Greg Abbot, has issued an executive order prohibiting inmates accused or previously convicted of violent crimes from being released without paying bail.

Additional Reading:
New Jersey Supreme Court
Donald Beatty
Alex Villanueva (California)
Bill de Blasio
Jared Polis
Greg Abbott
J.B. Pritzker
Gretchen Whitmer

One incumbent defeated in Arkansas primary runoff elections

Three Republican primary runoff elections were held in Arkansas for state legislative seats on March 31, 2020. No other party held primary runoff elections. On the ballot were state House Districts 53, 90, and 91. The general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

District 90 Rep. Jana Della Rosa was the only incumbent on the primary runoff ballot and was defeated by challenger Kendon Underwood. With all precincts reporting, unofficial results show Rosa received 45.0% of votes to Underwood’s 55.0%. In District 53, Jon Milligan defeated Cole Peck with 68.3% of the vote; Peck received 31.7%. The closest match-up of the night was in District 91, where Delia Haak defeated Scott Richardson with 54.0% to 46.0%. All three primary runoff winners face Democratic candidates in the general election.

Three other states originally planned to hold elections on March 31, 2020, but rescheduled them due to coronavirus pandemic concerns. Alabama and Mississippi postponed their statewide primary runoff elections to July 14 and June 23, respectively. Four Massachusetts special state legislative elections were postponed from March 31 to May 19 (Senate 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District and Senate Plymouth and Barnstable District) and June 2 (House 3rd Bristol District and House 37th Middlesex District).

Entering the 2020 election, the Arkansas House of Representatives has 24 Democrats and 76 Republicans. All 100 seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 51 seats. Arkansas has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

Additional reading:
Changes to election dates, procedures, and administration in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020
United States Senate election in Alabama, 2020
United States House of Representatives elections in Alabama, 2020
United States House of Representatives elections in Mississippi, 2020
Massachusetts state legislative special elections, 2020