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Reviewing the top 15 ballot measures of 2021

Welcome to the Thursday, November 11, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Results for Ballotpedia’s top 15 ballot measures to watch in 2021
  2. Recall of San Francisco district attorney makes ballot as mayor endorses recall of three school board members
  3. Don’t miss our Donor Disclosure webinar!

Results for Ballotpedia’s top 15 ballot measures to watch in 2021

This year, Ballotpedia has tracked 195 ballot measures appearing before voters, including 39 statewide ballot measures and 156 local ballot measures.

With election week behind us, we thought we’d check back on the nine statewide and six local ballot measures we identified as the top 15 on last Tuesday’s ballot.

Statewide ballot measures

Of the 39 measures appearing on statewide ballots this year, 24 were on the ballot Nov. 2. Of the 15 measures, six were approved and nine were defeated.

The measures we tracked, and the final results, can be found in the following table:

Keep reading

Recall of San Francisco district attorney makes ballot as mayor endorses recall of three school board members

An election to recall San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin will take place on June 7, 2022, the city director of elections announced Tuesday. To get the recall on the ballot, supporters had 161 days to collect 51,325 valid signatures.

Supporters of the recall say Boudin’s approach to law enforcement since being elected in 2019 has contributed to increased crime rates and a decline in public safety. Boudin said his policy changes were necessary first steps in reforming the criminal justice system and that the recall was politically motivated.

This is the second attempt to recall Boudin; an effort earlier this year failed after supporters fell short of the signature goal, collecting an estimated 49,600 signatures.

Also Tuesday, San Francisco Mayor London Breed endorsed a recall targeting three members of the school board. The recall accuses board members Gabriela López, Alison Collins, and Faauuga Moliga of keeping schools closed for too long during the COVID-19 pandemic and of spending board time voting on renaming 44 different schools rather than discussing a reopening plan. That recall will take place on Feb. 15, 2022.

In the first half of 2021, Ballotpedia tracked 164 recall efforts against 262 officials. This was the most recall efforts we tracked in the first half of any year since 2016, when we had tracked 189 recall efforts against 265 officials. For the first time since 2015, school board members drew more recall petitions than any other group, accounting for 48% of all officials targeted for recall. So far, four recall efforts have been scheduled for the ballot in 2022.

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Don’t miss our Donor Disclosure and Privacy webinar!

Next Wednesday, Nov. 17, Ballotpedia will host a webinar with our Disclosure Digest Team. In this free briefing, the team will catch you up on statutory trends and review the arguments surrounding donor disclosure and privacy.

Donor disclosure and privacy policies dictate what nonprofits must disclose about their donors, and to whom they must make those disclosures. Following a discussion of the legislative trends, our team takes an in-depth look at the main arguments in this policy area.

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Three cities approve ballot measures for ranked-choice voting


Welcome to The Ballot Bulletin, where we track developments in election policy at the federal, state, and local level. In this month’s issue:

  1. Three cities approve ballot measures for ranked-choice voting
  2. Redistricting round-up: Eight states enact congressional, state legislative district maps (and other news)
  3. Legislation update

Have a question/feedback/or just want to say hello? Respond to this email, or drop me a line directly at Jerrick@Ballotpedia.org.


Three cities approve ballot measures for ranked-choice voting

On Nov. 2, voters in three cities – Broomfield, Colo., Westbrook, Maine, and Ann Arbor, Mich. – approved ballot measures that provide for the use of ranked-choice voting in future municipal elections. 

  • Broomfield, Colo.: Voters approved Question 2A 51.75% to 48.25%. Question 2A provides for the use of ranked-choice voting in mayoral and city council elections starting in Nov. 2023. Broomfield joins Boulder, Basalt, Carbondale, and Telluride in conducting at least some municipal elections using ranked-choice voting. 
  • Westbrook, Maine: Voters approved a referendum providing for the use of ranked-choice voting in elections for mayor, city council, and school committee. This makes Westbrook the second city in Maine to adopt ranked-choice voting for select municipal elections (the first was Portland). In 2016, Maine became the first state to adopt ranked-choice voting for federal elections. 
  • Ann Arbor, Mich.: Voters approved Proposal B 72.83% to 27.17%. Proposal B provides for the use of ranked-choice voting in mayoral and city council elections, but only if the state enacts a law authorizing the method. This is the second time Ann Arbor voters have approved ranked-choice voting for municipal elections, having done so in 1974 by a vote of 53% to 47%. In 1976, Ann Arbor voters repealed the ranked-choice system by a vote of 62% to 38%.

Thirty-two cities in seven states used ranked-choice voting on Nov. 2: Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Utah. In 22 of these cities, ranked-choice voting was used for the first time on Nov. 2. 

About ranked-choice voting: A ranked-choice voting system (RCV) is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. A candidate who wins a majority of first-preference votes wins the election. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.


Redistricting round-up: Eight states enact congressional, state legislative district maps (and other news)

In today’s round-up, we take a look at the following recent developments: 

  • Eight states enact congressional or state legislative district maps between Oct. 1 and Nov. 10.
  • California, Connecticut set final redistricting deadlines.

Eight states enact congressional or state legislative district maps between Oct. 1 and Nov. 10 

The following states (listed in alphabetical order) have enacted either new congressional or state legislative district plans (or both!) since Oct. 1: 

  • Alabama: Congressional and state legislative district maps enacted Nov. 4. 
  • Colorado: Congressional district maps enacted Nov. 1.
  • Indiana: Congressional and state legislative district maps enacted Oct. 4.
  • Iowa: Congressional and state legislative district maps enacted Nov. 4.
  • Massachusetts: State legislative district maps enacted Nov. 4
  • North Carolina: Congressional and state legislative district maps enacted Nov. 4.
  • Texas: Congressional and state legislative district maps enacted Oct. 25.
  • West Virginia: Congressional and state legislative district maps enacted Oct. 22.

Status of congressional redistricting: As of Nov. 10, 10 states have adopted congressional district maps, one state’s legislature has approved congressional district maps that have not yet taken effect, and 33 states have yet to do so (six states have only one congressional district each, making redistricting unnecessary). Congressional redistricting has been completed for 99 of the 435 U.S. House districts (22.7%).

Status of state legislative redistricting: As of Nov. 10, 12 states have adopted legislative district maps and 36 states have yet to do so. One state’s legislative map is awaiting approval by the state supreme court. Another state will be revising its plan, which had been based on census estimates, in an upcoming special session. Nationwide, legislative redistricting has been completed for 444 of 1,972 state Senate districts (22.5%) and 1,243 of 5,411 state House districts (23.0%).

California, Connecticut set final redistricting deadlines; Virginia redistricting authority moves to state supreme court.

  • California: On Sept. 22, the California Supreme Court set a Nov. 15 deadline for the California Citizens Redistricting Commission to release initial draft district plans. The court also set a Dec. 27 deadline for the delivery of final district plans to the secretary of state.
  • Connecticut: According to the Connecticut Constitution, the Reapportionment Committee was required to select a map, which needed two-thirds approval from both chambers of the Connecticut General Assembly, by Sept. 15. The committee did not meet this deadline due to delays in the release of census data. Under state law, the committee was disbanded because it did not meet the Sept. 15 deadline and was replaced by a Reapportionment Commission. The majority and minority leaders of both chambers of the state legislature each selected two members to serve on the commission. The eight commissioners will select a ninth member. The commission’s final deadline is Nov. 30.
  • Virginia: The Virginia Supreme Court will now have the authority to draft new congressional maps in the state because the Virginia Redistricting Commission did not meet its Nov. 8 deadline to submit a plan for U.S. House districts. Under the constitutional amendment that established the commission, party leaders of the House of Delegates and Senate must nominate three special masters from each party to assist the court in the redistricting process, which they did on Nov. 1. The court will then select one special master from each party’s list of nominees. Once selected, the special masters will have 30 days to draft a proposal to submit to the court for review.

Legislation update: Redistricting, electoral systems, and primary systems bills 

Redistricting legislation: So far this year, we’ve tracked at least 239 redistricting-related bills up for consideration in state legislatures. 

Redistricting legislation in the United States, 2021 

Current as of Nov. 9, 2021

Electoral systems legislation: So far this year, we’ve tracked at least 152 bills dealing with electoral systems that are up for consideration in state legislatures. 

Electoral systems legislation in the United States, 2021 

Current as of Nov. 9, 2021

Primary systems legislation: So far this year, we’ve tracked at least 20 bills dealing with primary systems that are up for consideration in state legislatures. 

Primary systems legislation in the United States, 2021 

Current as of Nov. 9, 2021



Voters in Dover to decide city council special election on Nov. 16

The city of Dover, D.E., is holding a nonpartisan special election for District 1 on the city council on Nov. 16. The filing deadline for this election was Nov. 1.

Julia Pillsbury and Brandy Walker are running in the special election. The special election was called after Matthew Lindell resigned from his seat on the nine-seat city council after deciding to move from the district. Lindell served from 2017 to 2021.

Dover is the capital city of Delaware and the second-largest city in the state. It had an estimated population of 39,403 in 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Ballotpedia covers elections for mayor, city council, and district attorney in all capital cities in the U.S.

Additional reading:



Mississippi Senate District 32 special election advances to runoff

The special general runoff election for Mississippi State Senate District 32 is on Nov. 23. Rod Hickman and Minh Duong are competing in the runoff, after finishing in first and second place, respectively, at the general election on Nov. 2. 

Hickman and Duong defeated seven other candidates in the general election, earning 25.8% and 22.5% of the vote, respectively. A runoff was necessary because no candidate earned more than 50% of the vote.

State legislative special elections in Mississippi are nonpartisan, meaning that candidates’ party affiliations do not appear on the ballot.

The special election was called after Sampson Jackson (D) resigned from office effective June 30. Sampson assumed office in 1992.

Mississippi 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. Republicans control the state Senate by a margin of 36 to 14 with two vacancies.

As of November 2021, 66 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 21 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Mississippi held 42 special elections from 2010 to 2020.

Additional reading:



Democrats and Republicans deciding on candidates for Connecticut House 116 vacancy

A special election has been called for the Connecticut House of Representatives District 116 for Dec. 14. Prospective candidates will be nominated by their respective parties. 

Michael DiMassa (D) resigned from the state House on Oct. 25 following his arrest on Oct. 18. DiMassa first assumed office in 2016 after defeating incumbent Louis Esposito in the Democratic primary and Richard DePalma (R) in the general election. 

The Dec. 14 election will mark the fifth state legislative special election in Connecticut this year. Connecticut held 40 state legislative special elections between 2010 and 2020, which was the seventh-most in the country. 

Additional reading: 



Redistricting committees appointed, adjourned, and change in Ohio, New Mexico, and Utah

Here’s a summary of recent redistricting committee updates from Ohio, New Mexico, and Utah.

In Ohio, the state legislature announced members of the Joint Committee on Redistricting, which will be holding two hearings on congressional redistricting proposals before the Nov. 30 deadline for map enactment. The committee’s members are Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R), Sen. Rob McColley (R), Sen. Vernon Sykes (D), Rep. Beth Liston (D), Rep. Scott Oelslager (R), and Rep. Shane Wilkin (R). Sykes is the only member of the joint committee who was also a member of the Ohio Redistricting Commission.

The New Mexico Citizen Redistricting Committee adjourned on Oct. 29 after submitting its final set of map recommendations to the legislature. The commission’s proposals do not bind the state legislature, which retains the authority to adopt, amend, or discard the proposals as it sees fit. Additionally, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has veto authority over the maps. The legislature is expected to convene in December to begin considering proposals.

In Utah, former U.S. Rep. Bob Bishop (R-Utah) resigned from the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission on Oct. 26. Bishop said the commission favored urban areas and that the commission “is a metro-centric group. […] The majority are from Salt Lake County, we see things in a different way.” The executive director of Better Boundaries, an organization that supported the ballot proposition creating the commission, said: “We are encouraged by the work of the remaining six commissioners to suggest objective and qualified maps to the state legislative redistricting committee through this fair and transparent process.” On Oct. 29, Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson (R) appointed former Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food Logan Wilde (R) to replace Bishop on the commission.

Additional reading:



Signatures submitted to Loudoun County Circuit Court against school board member Brenda Sheridan

Supporters of a recall against six of the nine members of the Loudoun County Public Schools school board in Virginia submitted signatures against Chairwoman Brenda Sheridan on Nov. 9. Supporters said they filed 1,859 signatures. A total of 803 signatures are required to move the recall forward.

The signatures were submitted to the Loudoun County Circuit Court, where the petition will be reviewed by a judge. If the case is accepted, a trial will be held. At the trial, recall supporters must “demonstrate the officer engaged in neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance” in order to remove Sheridan from office.

At-large representative Denise Corbo, Algonkian District representative Atoosa Reaser, Blue Ridge District representative Ian Serotkin, Broad Run District representative Leslee King, and Leesburg District representative Beth Barts were also included in the recall effort. All six members were supported by the Loudoun County Democratic Committee in their last elections. The effort against King ended with her death on Aug. 31, and the effort against Barts ended with her resignation effective Nov. 2. Recall supporters had filed enough signatures to advance Barts’ recall to a trial, but she resigned before the trial took place, making the case moot. Petitions against the other three members have not been filed.

The recall effort is sponsored by the Fight For Schools political action committee (PAC). The PAC is led by Ian Prior, who previously worked for the Department of Justice under the Trump administration and for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Recall supporters said they launched the effort due to school board members’ involvement in a private Facebook group. They said the board members’ involvement in the group was a violation of Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act as well as the school board’s Code of Conduct because the members discussed public matters in a private setting. Recall supporters also alleged that the district was using Critical Race Theory in its employee training and student curriculum, which they opposed.

Interim Superintendent Scott Ziegler said the district uses a Culturally Responsive Framework that “speaks to providing a welcoming, affirming environment and developing cultural competence through culturally responsive instruction, deeper learning, equitable classroom practices and social-emotional needs for a focus on the whole child.” He said the district did not use Critical Race Theory in its staff training or student curriculum. 

A group called Loudoun For All formed a political action committee to counteract the recall effort. “There is no reason equity in our schools should be this controversial,” Rasha Saad, president of Loudoun For All, said in a statement.

Sheridan was re-elected to a four-year term on the board on Nov. 5, 2019. She assumed office in 2011.

Loudoun County Public Schools served 81,906 students during the 2018-2019 school year and comprised 92 schools.

Ballotpedia has tracked 84 school board recall efforts against 215 board members so far in 2021—the highest number of school board recall efforts we have tracked in one year. The next-highest year was in 2010 with 38 recall efforts against 91 school board members.

In the first half of 2021, Ballotpedia tracked 164 recall efforts against 262 officials. This was the most recall efforts for this point in the year since the first half of 2016, when we tracked 189 recall efforts against 265 officials. In comparison, we tracked between 72 and 155 efforts by the midpoints of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Additional reading:



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: November 10, 2021

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. We’re posting this edition a day early to account for Veterans Day on Nov. 11. 

Today we look at Pfizer’s request to give boosters to all American adults, extended coronavirus emergencies in Delaware and Tennessee, and other news since Nov. 4.

We’ll also give the latest tracking on:

  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies 
  • Vaccine distribution
  • State-level mask requirements
  • COVID-19 emergency health orders
  • School mask requirements
  • State proof-of-vaccination requirements and policies

Since our last edition

What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.

Federal

  • On Nov. 9, Pfizer and BioNTech announced they had requested authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expand eligibility of their booster vaccination to individuals aged 18 and over. Currently, the booster is authorized for individuals aged 65 and older.
  • On Nov. 8, the United States began admitting vaccinated international travelers. Air travelers to the United States are also required to show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within three days of their flight’s departure.
  • On Nov. 6, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the implementation of the Biden Administration’s vaccine requirement for companies with more than 100 employees after Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah filed a joint lawsuit.

Delaware (Democratic trifecta): On Nov. 5, Gov. John Carney (D) extended the coronavirus public health emergency order in the state for an additional 30 days.

Pennsylvania (divided government): On Nov. 8, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced he planned to return school mask requirement authority to local school officials on Jan. 17, 2022.

South Carolina (Republican trifecta): On Nov. 4, Gov. Henry McMaster (R) issued an executive order prohibiting all state agencies in the governor’s cabinet from implementing employee vaccine requirements.

Tennessee (Republican trifecta): On Nov. 5, Gov. Bill Lee (R) announced he was extending the statewide COVID-19 state of emergency through Nov. 19.

Texas (Republican trifecta): On Nov. 8, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed Senate Bill 8, which allocates about $16 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funding to different state programs. The bill earmarks $7.2 billion to the state’s Unemployment Compensation Fund and $500 million to broadband internet infrastructure, with smaller amounts allocated to a range of other programs. 

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 1,947 lawsuits in 50 states dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 607 of those lawsuits. 

Since Nov. 4, we have added seven lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked one additional court order and/or settlement. 

BST Holdings, L.L.C., et al. v. OSHA

On Nov. 6, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit temporarily blocked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) private-sector vaccine requirement. OSHA issued guidance on Nov. 5 that all businesses with 100 or more employees require their employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4th or undergo weekly testing for the virus. The temporary relief remains in effect until the court hears oral arguments in the case, which is expected to occur in the coming weeks. To date, 26 states have filed lawsuits opposing the mandate. 

Vaccine distribution

As of Nov. 9, the states with the highest vaccination rates as a percentage of total population (including children) were:

The states with the lowest rates were:

State mask requirements

Since Nov. 4, no changes to statewide mask requirements occurred. As of Nov. 10, masks were required in nine states with Democratic governors. Fourteen states with Democratic governors and all 27 states with Republican governors had no state-level mask requirements in effect.

COVID-19 emergency health orders

Governors and state agencies in all 50 states issued orders declaring active emergencies in response to the coronavirus pandemic. These orders allowed officials to access resources, like stockpiles of medical goods and equipment, unavailable to them during non-emergencies and temporarily waive or suspend certain rules and regulations. 

COVID-19 emergency orders have expired in 25 states. Emergency orders remain active in 25 states.

Since Nov. 4, no states have ended their statewide COVID-19 emergencies. 

School mask requirements

Since Nov. 4, no states changed their policies related to masks in schools.

State proof-of-vaccination requirements and policies

As COVID-19 vaccination rates have increased, state governments have enacted various rules around the use of proof-of-vaccination requirements in their states. In some cases, states have banned state or local governments from requiring that people show proof-of-vaccination. Other states have assisted in the creation of digital applications—sometimes known as vaccine passports—that allow people to prove their vaccination status and, in some cases, bypass COVID-19 restrictions.  

  • Twenty states have passed legislation or issued orders prohibiting proof-of-vaccination requirements at some or all levels of government. 
  • Five states have assisted in the creation of digital vaccination status applications or enacted orders or laws exempting vaccinated people from some restrictions.

Since Nov. 4, no states have enacted policies related to proof-of-vaccination requirements or digital vaccination status applications.  

State employee and healthcare worker vaccine requirements

The Food and Drug Administration granted Emergency Use Authorization to several COVID-19 vaccines in late 2020 and early 2021. Since then, many states have required state employees and healthcare workers to get vaccinated. In some cases, states have allowed workers to opt for regular COVID-19 testing in lieu of getting a vaccine. 

  • Fifteen states have issued a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for healthcare workers. 
  • Twenty states have issued a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for state employees.

Since Nov. 4, no states have enacted policies related to state employee or healthcare worker vaccine requirements.



The latest state, congressional redistricting news

Welcome to the Wednesday, November 10, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. The latest redistricting news
  2. The cities that voted to adopt ranked-choice voting
  3. SCOTUS agrees to hear three new cases

Congressional and state legislative redistricting update

Here’s where congressional and state legislative redistricting efforts stand as of Nov. 9. 

Here are the most recent state updates. 

  • The states that most recently enacted congressional district maps are: North Carolina (Nov. 4), Alabama (Nov. 4), Iowa (Nov. 4), and Colorado (Nov. 1). 
  • The states that most recently enacted state legislative district maps are: North Carolina (Nov. 4), Alabama (Nov. 4), and Iowa (Nov. 4). 

Georgia: The Georgia General Assembly convened for a special session focused on redistricting on Nov. 3. Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan (R) said he expected lawmakers to approve legislative maps quicker than congressional maps. “[State legislative maps] will be more straightforward. The congressional ones will be a little more involved,” Dugan said.

New Hampshire: On Oct. 26, Senate Redistricting Committee Chairman James Gray (D) announced the Senate will not begin considering map proposals until city officials in Nashua have finished redrawing ward lines. Gray said he expects the Senate to begin deliberations on proposed maps in late January 2022. The House Redistricting Committee, however, is expected to recommend proposals this year, with Rep. Barbara Griffin (R) saying the committee plans to make final map recommendations to the legislature on Nov. 16 or 17, 2021. 

Ohio: The Ohio Redistricting Commission did not meet its Oct. 31 deadline to draw and approve a congressional map. That responsibility now falls on the General Assembly. Dan Tierney, a representative for Gov. Mike DeWine (R), said the delayed release of U.S. Census Bureau data “essentially took five months out of the process” and did not leave sufficient time for the commission to draft and debate new congressional districts. The General Assembly must now draw and approve a new map by Nov. 30, 2021. For any map to be put in place for a full ten years requires support from at least a third of the members of the minority party, and any approved plan that does not meet this threshold will only be effective for four years.

Keep reading

Voters in three cities approved ranked-choice voting measures on Nov. 2 

On Nov. 2, voters in Ann Arbor, Mich., Broomfield, Colo., and Westbook, Maine approved ballot measures to use ranked-choice voting (RCV) for mayor and city council elections. Westbrook’s measure also extends RCV for school committee elections.

RCV is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. A candidate who wins a majority of first-preference votes wins the election. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. A new tally is then conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.

  • Ann Arbor is the third city in Michigan to adopt RCV.
  • Westbrook is the second city in Maine after Portland to enact RCV. 
  • Broomfield is the fifth city in Colorado to adopt RCV.

Two states—Maine and Alaska—have adopted RCV for statewide elections, both through citizen initiatives. Jurisdictions in eight states use RCV for their elections. Another six states have jurisdictions that had adopted, but not yet implemented, RCV in local elections.

Earlier this year, voters in Austin, Texas, and Burlington, Vt., approved ranked-choice voting ballot measures.

We covered 33 races on Nov. 2 that were decided using RCV, including the Minneapolis mayoral and city council races.

Keep reading 

SCOTUS accepts three cases for argument during the 2021-2022 term

On Nov. 5, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) accepted three additional cases for argument during its 2021-2022 term, bringing the total number of cases for this term to 48.

The three additional cases are:

  1. Ruan v. United States (Consolidated with Kahn v. United States)
  2. Marietta Memorial Hospital Employee Health Benefit Plan v. DaVita, Inc.
  3. Egbert v. Boule

Of the 48 cases the court agreed to hear during its 2021-2022 term, three cases were dismissed, and one case was removed from the argument calendar. Fifteen cases have not yet been scheduled for argument. To date, the court has issued decisions in two cases, both of which were decided without argument.

SCOTUS began hearing cases for the term on Oct. 4, 2021. 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.

Keep reading



SCOTUS accepts three cases for argument during the 2021-2022 term

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on Nov. 5 accepted three additional cases for argument during its 2021-2022 term:

  1. Ruan v. United States (Consolidated with Kahn v. United States)
  2. Marietta Memorial Hospital Employee Health Benefit Plan v. DaVita, Inc.
  3. Egbert v. Boule

Ruan concerns the good faith defense available to defendants charged under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. The question presented to the court in the case is: “[W]hether a physician alleged to have prescribed controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice may be convicted under Section 841(a)(1) without regard to whether, in good faith, he ‘reasonably believed’ or ‘subjectively intended’ that his prescriptions fall within that course of professional practice.” Ruan originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, and Kahn came from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

Marietta Memorial Hospital originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit and concerns the Medicare Secondary Payer Act. The Act prohibits group health plans from considering a plan participant’s eligibility when the individual has end-stage renal disease and from providing different benefits to these individuals than from other covered participants. The court was asked to consider the following questions:

  1. “Congress enacted the Medicare Secondary Payer Act as a means to conserve Medicare resources. Among other things, the Act provides that group health plans may not ‘take into account’ the fact that a plan participant with end stage renal disease is eligible for Medicare benefits. Does a group health plan that provides uniform reimbursement of all dialysis treatments observe that prohibition?”
  2. “Under the Medicare Secondary PayerAct, a group health plan also may not ‘differentiate’ between individuals with end stage renal disease and others ‘in the benefits it provides.’ Does a plan that provides the same dialysis benefits to all plan participants, and reimburses dialysis providers uniformly regardless of whether the patient has end stage renal disease, observe that prohibition?”
  3. “Is the Medicare Secondary Payer Act a coordination-of-benefits measure designed to protect Medicare, not an antidiscrimination law designed to protect certain providers from alleged disparate impact of uniform treatment?”

Egbert came from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and concerns the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents (1971). In Bivens claims, private individuals may sue FBI agents for violating their Fourth, Fifth, and/or Eighth Amendment rights. The questions presented in Egbert ask: 

  1. “Whether a cause of action exists under Bivens for First Amendment retaliation claims?”
  2. “Whether a cause of action exists under Bivens for claims against federal officers engaged in immigration-related functions for allegedly violating a plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights?”
  3. “Whether the Court should reconsider Bivens?”

The court had agreed to hear 48 cases during its 2021-2022 term as of Nov. 5. Three cases were dismissed, and one case was removed from the argument calendar. Fifteen cases had not yet been scheduled for argument.

To date, the court has issued decisions in two cases, both of which were decided without argument.

Additional reading: