Our weekly summary of federal news highlights a SCOTUS decision on an abortion law in Texas and COVID-19 booster injections allowed for 16 and 17 year olds. Read all about it in this week’s edition of the Federal Tap.
Note: We will not be releasing The Federal Tap on December 25 or January 2. We will return to your inboxes on January 8th. Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones from all of us at Ballotpedia!
The congress is in / out of session
The House and Senate sit next week. Click on here to see the full schedule of the first session of the 117th Congress.
SCOTUS is out of session
The Supreme Court will not hear oral argument next week. To find out about the 2021-2022 mandate, click on here.
Where was the president last week?
Monday and Tuesday, Biden stayed in Washington, DC
On Wednesday, Biden traveled to Kentucky and Tennessee, where he inspected storm damage and delivered remarks.
Biden stayed in Washington, DC on Thursday.
On Friday, Biden traveled to Orangeburg, South Carolina, where he delivered remarks at South Carolina State University’s fall 2021 start-up ceremony. After delivering remarks, Biden visited his private residence in Wilmington, Delaware.
Comparison of opinion polls under the Trump and Biden administrations
President Biden’s approval rating for the 46th week of his tenure was 42.5%, up 0.5 percentage point from the previous week. President Trump’s approval rating at the same time in his tenure was 39.5%, up 0.4 percentage points from the previous week.
- 79 vacancies in the federal judiciary
- 35 applications pending
- 38 future vacancies in the federal judiciary
Upcoming Article III judicial posts
According to the latest data on job vacancies in the American courts, A total of 39 vacancies were advertised for Article III judges. The first vacancy announcement took place on January 21, 2021, when United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas Judge Vanessa gilmore announced that she will retire on January 2, 2022. The most recent date is December 13, 2021, when United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit Judge Diana Gribbon Motz announced that she would assume senior status upon confirmation of her successor. The effective dates of 21 vacant positions have not been determined because the judge did not announce when they will leave the bench.
The next upcoming vacancy will be on December 27, when United States District Court for the District of Oregon Judge Michel mosman assumes the status of senior.
For historical comparison, the week of 13-19 Dec. 2020, there were 55 vacancies and five upcoming vacancies in the federal court system reported by US courts.
Three confirmed candidates for federal judgeships
This week, the US Senate confirmed three of President Joe Biden’s proposals (D) federal judicial candidates to the posts of judge for life under Article III:
To date, 31 of those named by Biden have been confirmed. For historical comparison Since 1981, the following list indicates the date on which the last six presidents had 31 judicial candidates under Article III confirmed by the Senate:
At the time of this writing, 13 Article III candidates await a confirmation vote from the United States Senate, 15 candidates await a vote from the Senate Judiciary Committee to advance their candidacies for the full Senate, and 12 candidates await a hearing before the Judicial Committee of the Senate.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held an executive meeting on December 16 to consider the nominations of four people and vote on whether the candidates will be favorably signaled to the entire Senate. The results of the meeting are pending.
SCOTUS issues ruling on Texas abortion law
The United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) issued a decision on December 10 in the case Whole woman’s health c. Jackson, involving Texas Senate Bill 8 (SB 8). The court allowed Texas abortion providers to initiate pre-execution actions against some state officials, but not against others. Pre-enforcement action allows those affected by a law – in this case, Texas abortion providers – to challenge the law in court before it is enforced against them. SCOTUS has allowed the law to remain in force while the case is sent to the lower courts.
The Supreme Court partially upheld and partially reversed the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas‘order dismissing state officials’ motions to dismiss and remitting the case for further processing.
In an 8-1 opinion written by Judge Neil Gorsuch, the court ruled that abortion providers can take federal action against Texas state licensing officials to prevent them from enforcing the provisions of SB 8. , such as taking disciplinary action against a doctor who breaks the law. – by virtue of an exception to the doctrine of sovereign immunity established in Ex parte Young (1908). Judge Clarence Thomas was the only dissenting judge on this part of the opinion. The court also ruled by a 5-4 vote that abortion providers cannot sue judges and state clerks to prevent them from pursuing private lawsuits under SB 8. Judges Neil Gorsuch , Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett were in the majority, and Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were dissenting.
The court noted that its ruling did not address the constitutionality of SB 8 itself.
Ballots The heart of the primary delivered weekly from January 6
Texas will hold the first 2022 midterm primary elections on March 1. North Carolina was scheduled to hold the second statewide primary on March 8, but a recent state Supreme Court ruling postponed those primaries until May.
What do these primaries – and the hundreds more approaching – mean for the leadership of the major parties and the nation?
We have stories about these primaries and more in our third issue of The heart of the primary, which was released on December 16. Starting in January, we will be sending out a Democratic and a Republican version of The heart of the primary every week, allowing you to follow the stories unfolding in the party that matters most to you (or both!).
Click here to subscribe and read previous issues.
Booster vaccinations against the coronavirus authorized for 16 and 17 year olds
On December 9, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s booster vaccine for people aged 16 and 17. Shortly after the FDA’s announcement, the Centers for Disease Control has updated its recall recommendations to include this age group. Pfizer first announced it would seek clearance on November 30. People in the extended age group, such as those 18 and older, may receive booster doses six months after receiving the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. .
The CDC and the FDA cleared the Pfizer recall for adults 18 and older on November 19, ten days after the company announced it had sought clearance. At least 15 states approved the booster vaccine for all adults in the days leading up to federal government approval, starting with California on November 9.
The CDC announced on November 29 that it was strengthening its recommendation for booster vaccines, saying, âThe recent emergence of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) further underscores the importance of vaccination, boosters and prevention efforts needed to protect yourself COVID-19[FEMININE”[FEMININE”
New Mexico promulgates congressional cards; Connecticut and Virginia to adopt redistribution measures next week
The Connecticut Redistribution Commission faces a Dec. 21 deadline to complete the Congress redistribution after the state Supreme Court granted the commission a three-week extension from its original November 30 deadline. the Supreme Court of Connecticut had taken control of the redistribution process on December 1 after the expiration of the first deadline.
The nine-member commission is made up of four Democratic state lawmakers, four Republican state lawmakers, and a former Republican state representative selected by the rest of the commission. The commission resumed the redistribution process after the state’s eight-member redistribution committee missed its September 15 deadline. Unlike the committee, the Redistribution Commission cards did not need General Assembly approval. The commission unanimously approved state legislative maps in November.
Governor of New Mexico. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed a law on December 17 promulgating new limits for the three congressional districts of the state. The legislature had approved the redistribution measure strictly along party lines, with all Democrats voting for and all Republicans voting against. The State Senate approved the cards on December 10, and the State House approved them on December 11. Robert Nott from Santa Fe New Mexican wrote that the proposal “gives Democrats a comfortable lead in all three congressional constituencies.” The current political affiliation of US MPs from New Mexico consists of two Democrats and one Republican. New Mexico is the 20th state to complete the congressional redistribution after the 2020 census.
Virginia Supreme Court expected to approve final version congressional and legislative maps December 19. Two special masters the court selected on November 19 released the proposed district boundaries on December 8. Virginie Mercuryby Peter Galuszka wrote that the maps “tend to favor Democrats more than Republicans because they are concentrated around natural social centers, such as cities.”
It was the first round of redistribution after voters in Virginia approved a constitutional amendment in 2020 establishing a commission-led redistribution process. However, that commission missed its deadline, sending the authority to the Virginia Supreme Court, which, in turn, appointed the two special masters, one appointed by Democrats and the other by Republicans.