Latest stories

Trump administration files petition for U.S. Supreme Court to review 4th DACA case

The Trump administration has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to grant expedited review of four cases involving the 2017 decision to end an Obama-era program (DACA) that postponed deportation for children who entered the United States unlawfully. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Trump administration’s decision to end the DACA program on May 17, 2019. In response, the solicitor general asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the decision to end DACA is reviewable by courts and whether the decision to end the program is lawful.
 
Before this latest petition, filed May 24, 2019, the U.S. Supreme court had not acted on three similar pending cases. The court first considered whether to hear the cases during its January 11, 2019, conference but has not made a decision about whether to accept the cases since then. Four justices have to agree to hear a case for it to move forward in the process. The Trump administration is asking the court to combine the cases and consider them together during the fall 2019 term.
 


Unanimous U.S. Supreme Court declines to apply Chevron deference in Social Security case

A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court declined to apply Chevron deference to uphold an agency legal interpretation in a case decided on May 28, 2019. Smith v. Berryhill involved whether the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) dismissal of an appeal in a disability case counted as a final agency action, which would allow the person filing for disability to appeal from the agency to a court. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the SSA dismissal was a final agency action that opened the door for judicial review.
 
Part of the court’s opinion in Berryhill involved Chevron deference, which requires courts to uphold reasonable agency interpretations of ambiguous laws. The court held that Chevron is based on the idea that Congress implicitly delegates power to agencies to fill in gaps where laws are unclear. The court reasoned that Chevron did not apply to this case because deciding the scope of judicial review is a responsibility Congress would have delegated to an agency explicitly.
 


New Jersey lawmakers consider overriding veto of expanded donor disclosure requirements

New Jersey legislators are considering overriding the governor’s conditional veto of S1500, a bill that would require 501(c)(4)s, super PACs, and other entities to disclose donors who contribute $10,000 or more. A meeting scheduled for May 30 between lawmakers and the governor to discuss the bill was postponed. (Source: NJ.com)

  • What does the governor say? In his May 13 veto statement, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said, “I commend my colleagues in the Legislature for seeking to ensure that so-called ‘dark money’ is brought out into the open. However, I am mindful that such efforts must be carefully balanced against constitutionally protected speech and association rights. Because certain provisions of Senate Bill No. 1500 (Fifth Reprint) may infringe on both, and because the bill does not go far enough in mandating disclosures of political activity that can be constitutionally required, I cannot support it in its current form.” With his conditional veto, Murphy stated his objections to the bill and proposed amendments to address them. This differs from an absolute veto, which is an outright gubernatorial rejection of a proposed law. Both are subject to the same override provisions.
  • What are lawmakers saying?
    • Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D), a primary sponsor of S1500, said, “We are actively discussing the possibility of a veto override. It is not my preference. But I do feel very strongly that this is a good government bill and we need to act now.”
    • Senator Troy Singleton (D), another S1500 sponsor, said, “I think the atmosphere was challenged a little bit by some of the governor’s comments. [We] took offense to the idea that what we sent was somehow weaker than what was sent back by the governor’s office … we didn’t want to have the discussion steeped in emotion. We’re trying to take a step back to see if there’s a path forward.”
  • How can the legislature override the veto? The legislature can, by a two-thirds majority vote in each chamber, override Murphy’s veto and enact the bill. This means 54 assembly members and 27 senators would have to vote in favor of an override. The Senate approved the bill 33-0, with seven members not voting. The Assembly approved the bill 60-1, with two members not voting and 17 abstaining. Democrats have a 26-14 majority in the Senate and a 54-26 majority in the Assembly. The Legislature’s last successful override of a gubernatorial veto was in 1997.
  • What does the legislation propose?
    • As adopted, S1500 would define an independent expenditure committee as any person or group of persons organized under sections 501(c)(4) or 527 of the Internal Revenue Code spending $3,000 or more annually to influence or provide political information about any of the following:
      • “the outcome of any election or the nomination, election, or defeat of any person to any state or local elective public office”
      • “the passage or defeat of any public question, legislation, or regulation”
    • Under S1500, independent expenditure committees would be required to disclose all expenditures exceeding $3,000. These committees would also be required to disclose the identities of donors contributing $10,000 or more.

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 72 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure. 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.

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status:

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s):

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken on relevant bills in the past two weeks. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number. Know of any legislation we’re missing? Please email us so we can include it on our tracking list.

  • New Hampshire SB105: This bill would establish disclosure requirements for certain contributions made to inaugural committees.
    • House Election Law Committee reported favorably May 21.
  • New Hampshire SB156: This bill would require that political contributions made by limited liability companies be allocated to individual members in order to determine whether individuals have exceeded contribution limits.
    • House Election Law Committee reported favorably May 21.


Connecticut House of Representatives approves omnibus public-sector union bill

On May 29, 2019, the Connecticut House of Representatives voted 83-58 to approve HB06935, an omnibus public-sector union bill.

  • What would the bill do? If approved, the bill would make several changes to the state’s public-sector labor laws:
    • It would require public employers to furnish unions with information about newly hired and current employees. Employees would have to consent to provide personal contact information to unions, such as home addresses and phone numbers.
    • It would require employers to grant unions access to new employee orientations. It would also authorize unions to use public facilities and resources in order to communicate with members.
    • It would authorize unions to maintain dues deduction authorization records. It would require employees to revoke or revise their authorizations directly with their unions.
    • It would prohibit employers from deterring or discouraging employees or applicants from joining or remaining in a union. It would also bar unions from contacting employees who have indicated that they do not want to be contacted.
  • What comes next? The bill now goes to the Connecticut State Senate. If the Senate approves the bill, it would then go to Gov. Ned Lamont (D) for his action. The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn June 5.
    • Political context: Connecticut is a Democratic trifecta, meaning Democrats control the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature. Connecticut has been a Democratic trifecta since 2011.

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We are currently tracking 101 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.

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status:

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s):

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken in the last week. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number.

  • Connecticut HB06935: This bill would require public employers to provide unions with access to new employee orientations.
    • House approved amended bill May 29.
  • Massachusetts H3825: This bill would authorize employers to disclose personal employee information to unions. It would also permit unions to require non-members to pay for the costs associated with grievance and arbitration proceedings. It would require employers to provide unions with access to employees, and it would allow for dues deduction authorizations to be irrevocable for a period of up to one year.
    • Labor and Workforce Development Committee reported favorably and referred to House Ways and Means Committee May 30.
  • Nevada SB135: This bill would provide for collective bargaining rights for state employees.
    • Senate Finance Committee Hearing May 29.
  • Oregon HB2016: This bill would require public employers to grant paid time to employees participating in certain union activities. It would also require employers to furnish unions with access to employees.
    • Second reading in the Senate May 30.
  • Rhode Island S0712: This bill would authorize unions to impose fees on non-members for administrative costs. It would require employers to notify unions within five days of hiring new employees. It would also require employees to file written notice with the state controller in order to discontinue dues payroll deductions.
    • Senate Labor Committee reported substitute favorably May 29.


Hogan won’t challenge Trump in 2020

June 3, 2019: Larry Hogan announced he will not challenge Donald Trump in the Republican primary in 2020. Kirsten Gillibrand released her LGBT policy platform.

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

There are six new candidates running since last week, including one Democrat and one Republican. In total, 744 individuals are currently filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for president.

Notable Quotes of the Day

“You don’t have to be in Des Moines or Manchester to have a viral moment and if that happens you’re in front of millions of people and can raise potentially millions of dollars.”

– Tad Devine, Democratic strategist

“The difference between third and fifth in Iowa could be the difference between staying in and dropping out of [the] race. And if you need to come in third but you came in fifth you’ll say, ‘Shoot, if only I had spent three or four more days in Iowa.’”

– David Plouffe, 2008 Obama presidential campaign manager

Democrats

  • Michael Bennet discussed gun violence and advocated passing national background checks in an interview on ABC’s This Week.
  • Joe Biden campaigned in Ohio, attending an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. He said passing the Equality Act would be his first legislative priority.
  • Bill de Blasio received his first endorsement from Michael Butler, the mayor of Orangeburg, South Carolina.
  • Cory Booker announced his Iowa steering committee, including party leader Jerry Crawford and state Reps. Amy Nielsen and Jennifer Konfrst.
  • Steve Bullock discussed his presidential campaign on This Week in Iowa.
  • Speaking at the California Democratic Party Convention, Pete Buttigieg said Trump would win again if Democrats played it safe in 2020. “He wins if we look like defenders of the system. He wins if we look like more of the same,” Buttigieg said. “He wins if we look like Washington. And so the riskiest thing we could do is try too hard to play it safe.”
  • Julián Castro, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, and Bernie Sanders attended the  Immigrant Unity and Freedom Presidential Forum in Pasadena, California, Friday.
  • John Delaney said there should be universal healthcare but criticized Medicare for All at the California Democratic Party Convention. “Medicare for All may sound good, but it’s actually not good policy, nor is it good politics,” he said.
  • Following her speech at the California Democratic Party Convention, Tulsi Gabbard held a meet and greet in San Francisco.
  • Marking the first day of Pride Month, Kirsten Gillibrand released her LGBT policy platform Saturday. She said she would direct the Department of Justice to include gender identity and sexual orientation as protected classes under anti-discrimination laws, federally recognize a third gender on ID cards, codify Obergefell v. Hodges into law, and enact a ban on conversion therapy, among other policies.
  • Mike Gravel tweeted the campaign had passed 40,000 donors and needed 25,000  more to qualify for the July debates.
  • While speaking at the California Democratic Party Convention, John Hickenlooper denounced socialism. “If we want to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals, socialism is not the answer,” he said.
  • Speaking at the #BigIdeas Forum, Amy Klobuchar promoted expanding voting rights as her idea to improve Americans’ lives.
  • Wayne Messam met with Cambridge Rindge & Latin School students in Massachusetts.
  • During an interview on CNN, Seth Moulton spoke of his struggles living with PTSD and survivor’s guilt after serving four tours in the Iraq War. He also discussed impeachment, systemic racism, and his critique of Medicare for All in a town hall on the network.
  • Beto O’Rourke campaigned in Oklahoma, including a meeting with Democratic officials in Oklahoma City to discuss the severe flooding across the state.
  • Tim Ryan discussed the economy and wage growth during a campaign stop in Iowa City. “We cannot be the party that talks about 15 [dollars] an hour,” Ryan said. “[Democrats] need to be the party that talks about $30, $40, $50 an hour.”
  • Ryan also participated in a CNN town hall. He said he now believes that Trump should be impeached, opposed a presidential ticket with white men only, and criticized Trump’s tariffs on imports from China.
  • During a town hall on CNN, Eric Swalwell said he disagreed with Sanders on extending voting rights to incarcerated individuals and eliminating private insurance.
  • Elizabeth Warren held her largest campaign event in Oakland, California, with 6,500 people in attendance. She also said that she would reverse Justice Department policy prohibiting the indictment of a sitting president.
  • Marianne Williamson spoke at Santa Monica College’s Emeritus College Friday.
  • Andrew Yang posted about Pride Month and his LGBT policy on his campaign website.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump will formally launch his re-election campaign with a rally in Orlando, Florida on June 18.
  • Bill Weld said in an interview on Real Time with Bill Maher that he did not believe Trump would voluntarily leave office if he lost the 2020 election.

On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates

  • Larry Hogan announced Saturday he will not run for president. Instead, he is launching the advocacy group An America United to “support bipartisan, common-sense solutions to create more and better jobs, cut taxes, protect the environment, build our infrastructure, and improve education.”
  • John Kasich also discussed his potential candidacy Friday, saying, “There is no path right now for me. I don’t see a way to get there.”

What We’re Reading

Flashback: June 3, 2015

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced he was running for president, bringing the Democratic field up to four candidates.



2020 Democrats gather in California for state convention

May 31, 2019: Fourteen Democratic presidential candidates will speak at the California Democratic Party State Convention. Donald Trump announced a 5 percent tariff rate on goods from Mexico.

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

Brad Parscale served as a digital media advisor to President Trump (R) during the 2016 campaign and was responsible for the campaign’s Facebook outreach that year.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign, digital and media advisor

Other experience:

  • 2005-2018: Parscale Media, owner
  • 2011-2017: Giles-Parscale, Inc., president

What he says about Trump:

“When the President and this campaign gets ready to go full speed again, the President will turn on every ignition switch that’s necessary to get the enthusiasm back. Anyone who doesn’t think that this president will go 5 million miles an hour, day and night, to bring enthusiasm back and talk about what he can do next — they don’t know him.”

Notable Quote of the Day

“Some Democratic presidential campaigns have dispatched staffers to comb through tape of the Republicans’ 2016 debates, studying ways to break through the noise, like a zinger-ready Carly Fiorina did, or to avoid getting embarrassed, like a robotic Marco Rubio.

Others have started blocking off time in their schedules to stand their candidate in a semi-circle with nine other people mock-jockeying for attention as practice. 

Others still have aides drilling candidates on the policy questions they’re most likely to face whenever they get a free second on the road. Some have simply thrown up their collective hands and decided it’s not worth doing any of this for a few more weeks.

But each of the 20-something campaign teams … has come to at least one joint conclusion. No one has any idea how on earth a candidate is supposed to be fully prepared for the first debates.”

– Gabriel Debenedetti, New York Magazine political reporter

Democrats

  • Fourteen 2020 presidential candidates will speak at the California Democratic Party State Convention over the weekend: Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Eric Swalwell, and Elizabeth Warren.
  • Michael Bennet will make his first presidential campaign visit to South Carolina Friday with stops in Columbia and Fort Mill.
  • In a CNN town hall Thursday night, Bennet said he opposed eliminating private insurers under Medicare for All and that Congress should not begin impeachment proceedings against Trump.
  • Joe Biden attended a Memorial Day service for Gold Star families in Delaware Thursday and spoke of his son Navy veteran Beau Biden, who died four years ago from brain cancer.
  • In an interview with ABC News, Bill de Blasio continued to criticize Biden for his defense of the 1994 crime bill.
  • The Senate Leadership Fund released a negative ad targeting Steve Bullock. “Steve Bullock’s running for president while Montana is still paying for his salary and for Montana Highway Patrol to travel on his out-of-state political trips,” the ad’s narrator says. “Would your boss pay for your next job search?”
  • Castro will participate in a Fox News town hall moderated by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum and filmed live in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13.
  • Mike Gravel, along with Booker, Gabbard, and Harris, said that sex work should be decriminalized.
  • Greenpeace USA released its scores for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates’ records on climate change and fossil fuels. Inslee received an A- grade, while Biden, Hickenlooper, and Tim Ryan received the lowest with grades of D-.
  • Klobuchar and Sanders added staff in South Carolina. Klobuchar hired Angela Kouters as her state director. Sanders brought on Charleston City Council member Kwadjo Campbell as his state director, along with five other hires in the state.
  • Seth Moulton tweeted his support for New Hampshire becoming the 21st state to abolish the death penalty.
  • During an appearance on The View, Warren discussed Mueller’s statement and childcare costs.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump announced Thursday that the U.S. would begin imposing a 5 percent tariff on all goods from Mexico beginning June 10. The tariff will increase up to a rate of 25 percent “until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP,” Trump tweeted.
  • In an interview on MSNBC, Bill Weld discussed the state of the Justice Department and the Mueller report.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: May 31, 2015

Bernie Sanders spoke to a crowd of 3,000 supporters in Minneapolis. For comparison, 13,000 people attended Sanders’ 2020 kickoff event in Brooklyn in March 2019.



Bold Justice: 15 federal judges confirmed in May

Welcome to the June 3 edition of Bold Justice, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S. Looking for some good beach reading during summer vacation? We’ve got you covered! Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to the Daily Brew for the most up-to-date political information.

We #SCOTUS, so you don’t have to

Arguments

The Supreme Court has finished hearing oral arguments for cases in its October 2018 term. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

Opinions

SCOTUS has ruled on six cases since our May 20 issue. The court has issued rulings in 39 cases so far this term.

Click the links below to read more about the specific cases SCOTUS ruled on since May 20:

 May 20

 

 

  • Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. v. Albrecht was argued before the court on Jan. 7, 2019.

    Hundreds of lawsuits were consolidated against the drug manufacturer Merck Sharp & Dohme, claiming the osteoporosis drug Fosamax caused thigh bone fractures and the FDA-approved label failed to warn about this side effect. A district court dismissed the case, ruling federal law preempted the claims. The court cited Wyeth v. Levine as precedent, which stated that “state-law failure-to-warn claims are preempted when there is ‘clear evidence’ that the FDA would not have approved the warning that a plaintiff claims was necessary.”

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit reversed the lower court’s ruling, writing plaintiffs had “produced sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that the FDA would have approved a properly-worded warning about the risk of thigh fractures—or at the very least, to conclude that the odds of FDA rejection were less than highly probable.”

    The outcome: In a unanimous opinion, the court vacated and remanded the 3rd Circuit’s ruling. The court held that judges, rather than juries, should decide if FDA action preempts state cases alleging failure to warn about drug side effects. According to SCOTUSblog, the “court unanimously agreed on who should decide (a judge) and what Wyeth’s ‘clear evidence’ standard means (an ‘irreconcilable conflict,’ rather than a standard of proof).”

    Justice Breyer delivered the court’s opinion.
  • Herrera v. Wyoming was argued before the court on Jan. 8, 2019.

    Clayvin Herrera, a member of the Crow Tribe of Indians, was hunting elk on the Crow Reservation. He and other tribal members shot three elk after following the animals out of the Crow Reservation and into the Big Horn National Forest. He was charged with two misdemeanors for hunting without a license and during closed season. Herrera sought to have the charges dismissed, arguing the 1868 Crow Treaty gave him the right to hunt where and when he did and that the treaty preempted state law.

    The outcome: In a 5-4 decision, the court vacated and remanded the ruling of the Wyoming 4th Judicial District Court, holding the “Crow Tribe’s hunting rights under the 1868 Treaty did not expire upon Wyoming’s statehood.”

    Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered the opinion of the court, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Neil Gorsuch. Justice Samuel Alito filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh.

    Sotomayor wrote, “The Wyoming courts held that the treaty-protected hunting right expired when Wyoming became a State and, in any event, does not permit hunting in Bighorn National Forest because that land is not ‘unoccupied.’ We disagree. The Crow Tribe’s hunting right survived Wyoming’s statehood, and the lands within Bighorn National Forest did not become categorically ‘occupied’ when set aside as a national reserve.”
  • Mission Product Holdings v. Tempnology LLC was argued before the court on Feb. 20, 2019. Tempnology, LLC, made and owned the intellectual property to certain products designed to keep a person cool while exercising. Tempnology and Mission Product Holdings (Mission) entered an agreement stating Mission had distribution rights to some of Tempnology’s products, a nonexclusive license to Tempnology’s intellectual property, and a license to use Tempnology’s trademark and logo.

    Tempnology filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and tried to reject its agreement with Mission. The bankruptcy court found Mission could only claim damages for breach of contract and Tempnology was not required to continue to perform the license agreement. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the bankruptcy court’s decision.

    The outcome: In an 8-1 opinion, the court reversed and remanded the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit’s ruling. The court held that a debtor-licenser’s rejection of a contract neither party has finished performing does not prevent the licensee from using the trademark. 

    Justice Kagan delivered the majority opinion. Justice Sotomayor filed a concurring opinion. Justice Gorsuch dissented.

May 28

  • Nieves v. Bartlett was argued before the court on Nov. 26, 2018.Alaska state troopers Luis Nieves and Bryce Weight arrested Russell Bartlett who subsequently sued Nieves and Weight for false arrest, excessive force, malicious prosecution, and retaliatory arrest. The district court granted summary judgment—a decision on the basis of statements and evidence without a trial—to Nieves and Weight on all counts. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit agreed with the district court that Nieves and Weight had probable cause to arrest Bartlett for harassment, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, or assault. The 9th Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling on the false arrest, excessive force, and malicious prosecution charges, but reversed the ruling on the retaliatory arrest charge.

    The outcome: In a 6-3 decision, the court reversed and remanded the 9th Circuit’s ruling, holding because “there was probable cause to arrest Bartlett, his retaliatory arrest claim fails as a matter of law.” 

    Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion of the court. Justice Thomas filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. Justices Ginsburg and Gorsuch filed separate opinions concurring in part and dissenting in part. Justice Sotomayor dissented.

 

  • Home Depot U.S.A. Inc. v. Jackson was argued before the court on Jan. 15, 2019.

    In 2016, Citibank filed a debt collection action against George Jackson in a Mecklenburg County, North Carolina district court. Citibank alleged Jackson failed to pay for a water treatment system he purchased using a Citibank-issued credit card. Jackson filed a counterclaim and third-party class action claims against Home Depot and Carolina Water Systems, Inc. (CWS) for engaging in unfair and deceptive trade practices. Citibank then dismissed its claims against Jackson. Home Depot filed a notice of removal under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) and moved to realign the parties with Jackson as plaintiff and Home Depot, CWS, and Citibank as defendants. Jackson then amended his third-party complaint to remove Citibank. The Mecklenburg County district court denied Home Depot’s motion to realign and granted Jackson’s motion to remand.

    The outcome: In a 5-4 opinion, the court affirmed the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, holding “Home Depot could not remove the class-action claim filed against it” because provisions in 28 U.S. Code §1441(a) and in the CAFA do not permit “removal by a third-party counterclaim defendant.”

    Justice Thomas delivered the opinion of the court. He was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.

 

  • Smith v. Berryhill was argued before the court on March 18, 2019.

    The Social Security Administration’s Appeals Council denied a renewal of Ricky Lee Smith’s application for supplemental security income (SSI) resulting from disability, finding that Smith did not file his claim on time. Smith alleged that he suffered due process violations, but the U.S. district court and the 6th Circuit Court disagreed.

    The outcome: In a unanimous opinion, the court reversed and remanded the 6th Circuit’s ruling, holding that the SSA Appeals Council’s dismissal of a claim for untimeliness permits judicial review in a U.S. federal court under 42 United States Code §405(g).

    Justice Sotomayor delivered the opinion of the court.

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the upcoming dates of interest in June:

  • June 3: SCOTUS will release orders.
    • When SCOTUS releases orders, they grant or deny review on the merits of a case. They can also issue other orders, such as granting or denying a request to participate in oral argument, according to SCOTUSblog.
  • June 6: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices where justices decide which cases to accept or reject and discuss and vote on cases heard since the previous conference.
  • June 10: SCOTUS will release orders.
  • June 13: SCOTUS will conference.

SCOTUS trivia

When a court makes a decision on the basis of statements and evidence presented without a trial, what is the court granting?

  1. A writ of certiorari
  2. A temporary restraining order
  3. Summary judgment
  4. A subpoena

Choose an answer to find out!

The Federal Vacancy Count

The Federal Vacancy Count tracks vacancies, nominations, and confirmations to all United States Article III federal courts in a one-month period. Ballotpedia publishes the Federal Vacancy Count on the last Wednesday of the month. The July 1 issue of Bold Justice will include the next Federal Vacancy Count.

This month’s edition includes nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from April 25 to May 29, 2019.

Highlights

  • Vacancies: There have been four new judicial vacancies since the April 2019 report. As of May 29, 126 of 870 active Article III judicial positions on courts covered in this report were vacant—a vacancy percentage of 14.5 percent.

    Including the United States Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, 137 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.

  • Nominations: There have been eight new nominations since the April 2019 report.

  • Confirmations: There have been 15 new confirmations since the April 2019 report.

Vacancy count for May 29, 2019

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.

New vacancies

The following judges left active status, creating Article III vacancies. As Article III judicial positions, they 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.

New nominations

President Trump announced eight new nominations since the April 2019 report.

  • Peter Phipps, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.
  • Douglas Cole, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
  • Charles Eskridge, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
  • Kea Riggs, to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico.
  • William Shaw Stickman, to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
  • Jennifer Philpott Wilson, to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
  • David Barlow, to the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah.
  • Kevin Sweazea, to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico.

The president has announced 188 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.

New confirmations

Between April 25 and May 29, 2019, the Senate confirmed 15 of the president’s nominees to Article III courts. Since January 2017, the Senate has confirmed 112 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—69 district court judges, 41 appeals court judges, and two Supreme Court justices.

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.



The Daily Brew: A 50-state comparison of tobacco laws

Welcome to the Monday, June 3, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. With national legislation introduced, we take a 50-state look at tobacco laws
  2. Nevada and Maine reject efforts to join National Popular Vote Interstate Compact
  3. Fifteen candidates running Tuesday to succeed lone Republican on Los Angeles City Council

Just a reminder that on Tuesday I’ll be hosting a webinar with David Luchs—one of our staff writers—about the upcoming mayoral runoff elections on June 8 in Dallas and San Antonio and why local and mayoral races matter. The webinar will take place at noon ET and you can register for free here.

With national legislation introduced, we take a 50-state look at tobacco laws

Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced a bill last month that would increase the federal minimum age from 18 to 21 to purchase or use tobacco products. The bill would also raise the minimum age to purchase e-cigarettes and would not prevent states and municipalities from passing more restrictive laws. The proposed legislation also requires states to pass laws raising their minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21 by 2021 as a condition for receiving federal substance abuse grants.

Given the national attention to the issue, we wondered what the state-level legal landscape looked like for tobacco legislation. Our team put together a 50-state comparison page. Here are three quick hits.

  • The minimum age to purchase or use of tobacco is currently 21 in six states—California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon.
  • In three states—Alabama, Alaska, Utah—one must be 19 to purchase tobacco. The other 41 states have a minimum smoking age of 18.
  • Governor David Ige (D) signed legislation in June 2015 raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco in Hawaii to 21, making it the first state to do so in the 21st century. Since then, five other states have increased their smoking age to 21. Eight states have enacted similar legislation that has not yet taken effect.

New Jersey was the first state to restrict the sale and use of tobacco by age, setting a minimum age of 16 in 1883. By 1920, 46 of the 48 states had an age requirement for tobacco sales, including 14 with a minimum age of 21. During the period between the world wars, state laws generally lowered the minimum age to 18. The federal law setting a minimum age of 18 to purchase tobacco—the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act—was adopted in 2009.

Find out more about your state’s tobacco rules by clicking the link below.

Learn more

Nevada and Maine reject efforts to join National Popular Vote Interstate Compact

Last month I told you that New Mexico, Colorado, and Delaware had joined the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC)an interstate agreement to award each member state’s presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote. Two additional states—Nevada and Maine—recently rejected legislative efforts to join.

Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) vetoed Assembly Bill 186 (AB 186), which would have made Nevada the 16th jurisdiction to join the NPVIC. Sisolak released a statement which said in part, “Once effective, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact could diminish the role of smaller states like Nevada in national electoral contests and force Nevada’s electors to side with whoever wins the nationwide popular vote, rather than the candidate Nevadans choose.”

The Nevada State Assembly approved AB 186 by a 23-17 vote in April. All votes in favor were cast by Democrats and 12 Republicans were joined by five Democrats in opposition. The Nevada state Senate passed AB 186 by a vote of 12-8 along party lines. This was the first veto issued by Sisolak, who was elected in 2018. Nevada became a Democratic trifecta when Sisolak was elected governor; both houses of the state legislature have been controlled by Democrats since 2017.

Also last week, the Maine House of Representatives rejected a bill that would have joined Maine to the NPVIC by a 76-66 vote. Twenty-one Democrats joined 51 Republicans and four Independents in opposition to the bill. Sixty-four Democrats, one Independent, and one Common Sense Independent Party member voted in favor. The Maine Senate had voted to pass the bill by a 19-16 vote on May 14. All ‘yes’ votes were cast by Democrats and 14 Republicans and two Democrats voted to oppose the legislation.

The NPVIC would go into effect if states representing at least 270 electoral college vote to adopt it. It does not abolish the electoral college system; rather, it is designed to award all of the electoral votes from the member states to whichever presidential candidate receives the most votes nationwide. To date, 14 states and Washington, D.C.—representing 189 electoral votes—have joined.

Most states currently use a winner-take-all system for awarding their electoral votes in the Electoral College. Under this method, the presidential candidate that receives a plurality of the popular vote in a state receives all of that state’s electoral votes. In five of 58 presidential elections, the winner of the electoral college did not receive the most popular votes. This occurred most recently in the 2016 presidential election as Donald Trump received 304 electoral votes and Hillary Clinton had more total votes nationwide.

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Fifteen candidates running Tuesday to succeed lone Republican on Los Angeles City Council

Fifteen candidates are running in Tuesday’s special election for the District 12 seat on the Los Angeles City Council. The Los Angeles City Controller’s office estimates that the population of that district was 284,395 as of 2017.

Voters will elect a successor to Mitchell Englander, who resigned to work in the private sector on December 31, 2018. Englander—the only Republican on the council—was first elected in 2011 and left office during his second term.

Tuesday’s primary election is nonpartisan. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a general election between the top two finishers will be held on August 13.

In November 2018, Los Angeles voters approved a charter amendment which aligns the city’s municipal elections with California’s primary and general elections. Seven of the council’s 15 city council seats—including the winner of this year’s special election—will be up for election in 2020.

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Two California Senate special elections on the ballot June 4

Special elections for two California State Senate seats are on the June 4 ballot:
  • In District 1, Republicans Brian Dahle and Kevin Kiley are facing off in the general election. Dahle and Kiley earned 29.4% and 28.4% of the vote, respectively, in the March 26 primary ahead of four other candidates. The seat became vacant after Ted Gaines (R) was elected to represent District 1 of the California State Board of Equalization. Gaines had represented District 1 in the state Senate since 2011. He last won re-election in 2016 with 64.0% of the vote in the general election.
  • In District 33, Lena Gonzalez (D) and Jack Guerrero (R) are facing off in the general election. Gonzalez and Guerrero earned 31.6% and 14.2% of the vote in the March 26 primary, respectively, ahead of 10 other candidates. The seat became vacant after Ricardo Lara (D) was elected to serve as the insurance commissioner of California. Lara had represented District 33 since 2012. He last won re-election in 2016 with 78.7% of the vote in the general election.
Heading into the elections, Democrats have a 28-10 majority in the state Senate with two vacancies. California has a Democratic state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.
 
As of June, 58 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 23 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 


What is the minimum age to use tobacco in your state?

On May 20, 2019, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced a bill which would increase the minimum age to purchase or use tobacco from 18 to 21 at the federal level. Less than four years have passed since Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) signed a similar law in Hawaii, making it the first state in the 21st century to limit tobacco consumption to those 21 and older.
 
Since then, five other states have increased their smoking age to 21. A further eight states have enacted legislation raising the smoking age to 21 that has not yet taken effect.
 
In all, the minimum age to purchase or use of tobacco in the states it set at the following levels:
  • 21 in six states: California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon.
  • 19 in three states: Alabama, Alaska, Utah.
  • 18 in 41 states.
New Jersey was the first state to restrict the sale and use of tobacco by age, setting a minimum age of 16 in 1883. By 1920, 46 of the 48 states had an age requirement for tobacco sales, including 14 with a minimum age of 21. During the interwar period, though, state laws trended towards a minimum age of 18, which was eventually adopted as the federal standard. Every state with a minimum tobacco use age of 21 reduced the limit to 18 or 19.
 
To see what the minimum tobacco use age is in your state and whether it is set to change, click the link below.