Friday, July 31, 2020

August 2020 Judiciary News

The Supreme Court dealt with several controversial issues at the end of its term.

The Supreme Court:

Abortion:  Chief Justice Roberts sided with the left to strike down a Louisiana law regulating abortion clinics.  The law was similar to a Texas law Roberts had voted to uphold in 2016.

Blaine Amendments:  The Supreme Court struck down Montana's 'Blaine Amendment', which banned government aid to religious (but not secular) private schools.  Blaine amendments, named after Speaker of the House (1869-75) James Blaine (from the state of Maine), exist in 37 states.  They are widely acknowledged to be motivated by anti-Catholic sentiment at a time when public schools were de-facto Protestant schools.  The Supreme Court did not forbid states from banning all aid to private schools, as is the case in Michigan.

Death Penalty:  Federal executions were finally resumed on July 16.  Various attempts to stop them by activists and lower court judges were thwarted by a 5-4 ruling by the Supreme Court.

Religious Liberty:  The Supreme Court issued three rulings protecting religious liberty this term.  This continues a string of positive rulings over the past decade.

Roberts:  Joan Biskupic claims inside sources on John Roberts' maneuvering on the court.  Notably, the court has not taken any Second Amendment cases because Roberts has signaled that he could not be counted on to protect gun rights.  Ed Whelan believes that at least one Supreme Court justice leaked to Biskupic for the article.

Supreme Court:  Ed Whelan ponders why conservative judges are more likely to defect to join liberal decisions than the reverse.

Nominations, Hearings, Confirmations:

Trump list:  President Trump's announcement that he would release an updated list of Supreme Court candidates has led to behind-the-scenes wrangling about who should be on the new list.  Some people want to omit younger Trump appointees with limited records.  Some older judges are likely to be removed from the list.

Feinstein:  Progressives are upset with Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, for not doing enough to oppose President Trump's judicial nominees.  It isn't clear who they think should have the job.

New Nominations:

Senate Judiciary Committee hearings:


The Federal Judiciary:

Federalist Society:  The Committee on Codes of Conduct of the Judicial Conference of the United States has abandoned its attempt to ban judges from membership in the Federalist Society.

11th Circuit:  Clinton-appointed judge Robert Hinkle (ND-FL) recently ruled against a Florida law requiring criminals to pay fines before being restored voting rights.  The 11th Circuit agreed to hear the case en banc, bypassing a three-judge panel.  Senate Judiciary Committee Ds sent a letter to three Trump-appointed judges demanding that they recuse themselves from the case, which would give liberals the majority.  Judge Andrew Brasher (AL) had already done so shortly before the letter was sent.  Judges Robert Luck and Barbara Lagoa had previously heard, but not ruled on, a different case on the same issue as justices on the Florida Supreme Court.  They denied the request to recuse themselves.

SD-FL:  Judge Federico Moreno took senior status on July 17.  He is the only Hispanic on President Trump's Supreme Court appointment list.  He was nominated to the 11th Circuit in 1992, but Joe Biden denied him a hearing.

ED-WI:  Clinton-appointed Judge Lynn Adelman was admonished by the 7th Circuit Judicial Council, which handles ethics complaints in that circuit.  He wrote a law review article entitled "The Roberts Court's Assault on Democracy", an angry screed against President Trump, Chief Justice John Roberts, and the R-appointed majority on the Supreme Court.  Before appointment to the bench, Adelman was a D state senator and three-time congressional candidate.

State Supreme Courts:

Alaska: Governor Mike Dunleavy name Dario Borghesan to the Alaska Supreme Court, replacing retired conservative Craig Stowers.  Borghesan was chief assistant attorney general under AG Kevin Clarkson.  He seemed to be the only candidate with conservative bonafides.  The other candidates were Superior Court Judges Dani Crosby, Jennifer Stuart Henderson and Yvonne Lamoureux, all appointed to the Superior Court by left-leaning independent Gov. Bill Walker.  Three of the five judges on the left-leaning court must retire no later than 2025.

Connecticut:  Governor Ned Lamont nominated Christine Keller to the Connecticut Supreme Court to succeed Justice Richard Palmer.  Keller is less than 3 years below the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Florida:  A lawsuit is challenging the appointment of black conservative Renatha Francis to the Florida Supreme Court.  Francis will not achieve the minimum 10 years of membership in the Florida bar until September 24.  Governor DeSantis announced that he would appoint her then.  He was supposed to make the appointment by March 23, but delayed the announcement due to the pandemic.  The suit was filed by state rep Geraldine Thompson, a black D who wanted one of the more liberal black applicants screened out by the Judicial Nominating Commission to be appointed.

New Hampshire:  The Hampshire Supreme Court has 2 D and 2 R appointees, with one vacancy.  That seat has been vacant for almost one year.  Former Justice Robert Lynn retired on August 23, 2019, as he was age-limited.  Governor Chris Sununu nominated Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, but the state Executive Council, with a 3-2 D majority, blocked the nomination.  Councilor Andru Volinsky is one of the D candidates against Governor Sununu this year.

Pennsylvania:  The Pennsylvania state senate approved a bill to elect Supreme Court judges by district rather than statewide.  The court currently has a 5-2 D majority, and most justices are from Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.

Texas:  Republican Justice Paul W. Green will retire in August.  He is 68 and was first elected in 2004.  His replacement will be appointed by Governor Greg Abbott.  This will be Abbott's fourth appointment to the all-Republican court.

Numbers and Trivia:

Trump Appointees:  Pew Research compares the number of Trump appointees to previous presidents at the same point in their terms.

Federalist Society:  John Doe (@fedjudges) has analyzed the signatories of the letter from mostly conservative judges opposing the proposal by the Judicial Conference of the United States Committee on Codes of Conduct to ban judges from membership in the Federalist Society.  I did some analysis of my own in June.

Two districts, D-ND and MD-AL, have only Trump appointees.  The first district court to have a Trump-appointed chief judge is D-ID, where the other judge is a Clinton appointee whose term as chief expired after 20 years.


Lame Duck Appointments:  There have been many election-year Supreme Court appointments in the past, but none recently.  Not surprisingly, they are much more likely to be confirmed when the Presidency and Senate are controlled by the same party.

Bench Memos (National Review)
The Vetting Room
FedJudges (Twitter)
Senate Cloakroom (Twitter)
Senate Judiciary Committee
ABA Judicial Ratings
Wikipedia-Trump Judges
Wikipedia-US Appeals Courts
Senior Status Spreadsheet
Future Judicial Vacancies
BostonPatriot diaries: History Trump DC-5 6-11 9th
Ballotpedia-State Supreme Court Vacancies
The Supreme Courts
2020: March April May June July

Monday, July 27, 2020

July 2020 Michigan State House Fundraising

July 24 was the deadline for campaign finance reports for Michigan legislature.  Here are summaries of the total amount raised in competitive Michigan state house districts.  Totals include in-kind contributions.  Candidates who filed reporting waivers are generally omitted.  These numbers come from MIRS and the SOS campaign finance reports.  XX means the report has yet to be filed.

2. (D) Tate 108K, Harrell XX
3. (D) Thanedar 438K (all self), Mckinney 37K, Cochran 23K
4. (D) Aiyash 72K, Oberholtzer 58K, Holmes 37K, Ahmed 12K
6. (D) Carter 40K, Palmer 23K
7. (D) Scott 28K, Yancy 10K
8. (D) Etheridge 37K, Young 30K, Davis 24K
9. (D) Whitsett 22K, Ogburn 38K
10. (D) Cavanagh 13K, Hill 5K
13. (D) Liberati 34K, Estheimer 10K, Colovos XX
19. (R) Crider 54K (32K self), Ptashnik 45K (D) Pohutski 148K
20. (R) Lacny 30K (all self), Roush 3K (D) Koleszar 131K
21. (R) Nangle 6K, Hess 3K (D) Puri 128K, Petzold 55K
22. (D) Steenland 20K, Nelson 9K, Anderson 1.5K
25. (R) Smith 10K, Wiley 6K, Early waiver (D) Shannon 65K
27. (D) Weiss 50K, Kresch 33K, Stoel 22K, Williams 8K
35. (D) Bolden 61K, Martini 27K
37. (D) Bruce 111K, Steckloff 62K
38. (R) Chereukuri 102K (100K self), Turner 31K (D) Breen 43K McAllister 33K
39. (R) Berman 67K (D) Pulver 117K
40. (R) Cleary 6K (D) Manoogian 160K
41. (R) Agnello 22K Sosnoski 7K (D) Kuppa 188K
43. (R) Schroeder 56K (D) Breadon 25K
44. (R) Maddock 83K (D) Forrest 44K
45. (R) Tisdel 42K (D) Johnson 58K, Anness 39K
46. (R) Reilly 51K (D) LaMacchia 98K
47. (R) Reckling 55K, Bezotte 46K (21K self), Dyba 5K
48. (R) Martin 11K, Cross 1.3K (D) Kennedy 85K
55. (D) Brabec 142K
56. (R) Clements 28K, Blaine 4K
58. (R) Fink 49K, Welden 23K (17K self), Wiseley 19K, Stockford 11K
59. (R) Coleman 52K (38K self), Carra 24K, Walton 15K, Balog 9K, Hinkle 8K (all self)
60. (D) Rogers 107K, Moore 43K
61. (R) Haltom 286K (100K self), Graham 6K (5K self) (D) Morse 165K
62. (R) Morgan 13K (9K self), Gregoire 4K (D) Haadsma 199K
66. (R) Griffin 85K (D) Wheeler 24K
70. (R) Outman 46K, Ross 17K (14K self), Comden 4K
71. (R) Johnsen 88K (42K self), Barnes 12K (D) Witwer 195K
72. (R) Johnson 18K (D) Wilson 15K, Cheng 7K
73. (R) Inhulsen 116K, Posthumus 53K, Regan 23K (12K self) (D) Saxton 89K
76. (R) Zandstra 55K (D) Hood 45K
79. (R) Wendzel 83K, Blackwell 3K (D) Pitchford 38K
83. (R) Alexander 60K, O'Mara 49K (all self), Beeler 30K, Keller 29K
90. (R) Slagh 90K, Northrup 5K
91. (R) VanWoerkem 112K (D) Hosticka 37K
95. (D) Bryant 16K, Hammond 13K, Graham 7K, Adams 4K
98. (R) Glenn 258K (D) Schulz 173K
99. (R) Hauck 58K (D) Zang 6K
100. (R) VanSingel 78K Sebolt 9K
101. (R) O'Malley 80K Cater waiver
104. (R) Roth 38K (22K self), Cerone 19K (D) O'Neil 210K
105. (R) Culter 56K, Borton 50K
107. (R) Damoose 70K (30K self), Fisher 28K (21K self), Lamb 25K (24K self), Twardy 8K, Lieurance 5K
110. (R) Markkanen 31K (D) Metsa 20K, Dale 6K

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

CTV Endorsements

Citizens for Traditional Values, a social conservative organization in Michigan, has issued endorsements for the 2020 primary.  They endorsed most, but not all GOP incumbents.  They endorsed two candidates in some primaries.

16 Emily Bauman
19 Martha Ptashnik, Penny Crider
20 John Lacny
23 John Poe
24 Steve Marino
25 Adam Wiley, Jazmine Early
38 Chase Turner
42 Ann Bollin
43 Andrea Schroeder
44 Matt Maddock
45 Mark Tisdel
47 Meghan Reckling, Robert Bezotte
48 David Martin
50 Christina Firchett-Hickson
54 Martin Church
56 TC Clements
57 Bronna Kahle
58 Andrew Fink
59 Allen Balog
60 Gary Mitchell
62 Dave Morgan
63 Matt Hall
64 Julie Alexander
67 Nate Ross
68 Robert Atkinson
70 Martin Ross
71 Gina Johnsen, Christine Barnes
72 Steven Johnson
73 Robert Regan
74 Mark Huizenga
81 Gary Eisen
83 Greg Alexander
84 Phil Green
87 Julie Calley
90 Bradley Slagh
94 Rodney Wakeman
97 Jason Wentworth
98 Annette Glenn
100 Scott VanSingel
104 John Roth, Heather Cerone
106 Sue Allor
107 John Damoose
108 Beau LaFave
110 Gregory Markkanen

Saturday, July 11, 2020

NRA Endorsements

The National Rifle Association has just issued its endorsements for the 2020 primary.  They give grades to candidates who have voting records or fill out their survey.  They endorse most acceptable incumbents and endorse in some open seats. (Aq means a candidate got an A from the questionnaire only, and doesn't have a voting record.)

3. Afendoulis B Farrington ? Meijer AQ Norton AQ
8. No grades listed
10. Hernandez A+ McClain Aq Slocum A
11. No grades listed

State House:
13. (D) Colovos Aq Liberati B
19. Crider and Ptashnik both got Aq
20. Lacny C
21. Hess B
25. Early Aq Smith D Wiley Aq
38. Turner and Cherukuri both got Aq
41. Both got Aq
47. Bezotte and Reckling both got Aq
48. Both got Aq
56. Clements Aq (endorsed)
58. Fink, Stockford, Wiseley got Aq
59. All rated got Aq
61. Graham Aq (endorsed)
62. Gregoire and Morgan got Aq
70. Comden C Outman, Puckerin, and Ross got Aq
71. Both got Aq
73. All three got Aq
81. Eisen A+ (endorsed)
83. All rated got Aq
90. Slagh A (endorsed)
104. Both got Aq
105. Borton, Cutler got Aq Schmidt D
107. All rated got Aq