Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Facts about 2020 Election Lawsuits

One stumbling block to claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election is the large number of court rulings against lawsuits making such claims.  Some proponents of these theories have tried to argue that no judges actually examined the merits of these claims, but this is false.

A recent RedState article by Stu Cvrk takes a different tack, arguing that Trump and his allies actually won many election lawsuits.  It points to an interesting database of such lawsuits.

2020 US Presidential Election Related Lawsuits

The article and database try to spin the results as favorably for Trump as possible, but they omit a few pertinent observations.  Most of the wins are in the category of "rules", one in "process", and one "miscellaneous".  None of the wins involve vote counting machines or other voter fraud.

Changes to election laws and policies that occurred shortly before the election are a legitimate issue, though often overstated.  Many of these changes were reversed prior to the election.

All but one of the wins in cases filed by Trump and his allies occurred before the election or the next day.  Only one occurred later.  The time to challenge these changes was before the election, not after.  Overturning the election based on policies that weren't challenged before the election was never going to happen.

Thursday, April 01, 2021

April 2021 Judiciary News

Happy liberal judges day!

Nominations, Hearings, Confirmations:

Garland:  The Senate approved Merrick Garland as Attorney General by a 70-30 vote.  The Senate Judiciary Committee previously him by a 15-7 vote.  His seat on the DC Circuit is now open for President Biden to fill.

DC Circuit:  President Biden has nominated judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the DC Circuit.  According to Ed Whelan, Jackson has a "middling reputation" for competence.  He lists several times she was overturned by D-appointed judges on the DC Circuit.

Blue slip:  Florida house Ds, apparently led by Debbie Wasserman Schultz and impeached former federal judge Alcee Hastings, are trying to set up a judicial selection commission with the goal of bypassing Florida's R senators.  Senator Rick Scott is firmly opposing the effort.

D-NV:  Nevada's senators are planning to recommend Judge Jennifer Togliatti for a seat on the Nevada district court.  She was previously nominated by President Trump in 2019.  Her nomination was approved by the Judiciary Committee 15-7 (with conservatives in opposition) and she did not receive a final vote.

DC Circuit: Ketanji Brown Jackson--clerk for Breyer, Judge (D-DC)
7th Circuit: Candace Jackson-Akiwumi--clerk for Roger Gregory (4th Circuit)
Federal Circuit: Tiffany Cunningham--clerk for Timothy Dyk (Federal Circuit)
D-MD: Deborah Boardman--Magistrate Judge
D-MD: Lydia Kay Griggsby--Judge (Claims)
D-DC: Florence Pan--clerk for Ralph Winter (2nd Circuit), Judge (DC Superior Court)
D-NJ: Julien Neals--Acting County Administrator for Bergen County
D-NJ: Zahid Quraishi--Magistrate Judge
D-CO: Regina Rodriguez--AUSA
D-NM: Margaret Strickland--trial lawyer

Senate Judiciary Committee hearings:

The Federal Judiciary:

2nd Circuit:  Judge Peter Hall of the 2nd Circuit died of cancer on March 11 at age 72.  He had not heard cases since August, and took senior status on March 4.  He was a moderate to liberal Vermont R who was appointed by W in 2004 after being the US attorney for Vermont.

8th Circuit:  Former Judge Kermit Bye of the 8th Circuit (ND) died on March 20 at age 84.  He was appointed by Clinton in 2000, took senior status in 2015, and retired in 2016.

10th Circuit:  This circuit now has an even split of R and D appointees, due to D appointees Carlos Lucero and Mary Briscoe taking senior status.  Of course, this split isn't likely to last very long.

Judicial conference:  The US Judicial Conference has its annual recommendations for new judgeships.  It is recommending two new judgeships for the 9th Circuit, down from five in previous years.  They are also recommending the addition of 77 new district judges, including 30 in California, 12 in Texas, and 11 in Florida.  They also recommend converting 9 temporary judgeships to permanent.

Judicial workload:  Ed Whelan is skeptical of the need for new appellate judges on the 9th Circuit.

Judicial vacancies:  Ed Whelan asks why there has been a relatively small number of appellate vacancies announced since Joe Biden took office.  He cites parochial reasons including judges' roles on 3-judge and en banc panels.

Vacancy Declarations:  There are now 100 current and future judicial vacancies.  The 12 appeals court vacancies are on the 1st (1), 2nd (3), 4th (1), 7th (1), 9th (1), 10th (2), DC (2), and Federal (1).  New vacancies over the past month are listed below.
SD-NY: George Daniels (Clinton) 5/1 (senior)
D-CO: Richard Jackson (Obama) 9/30 (senior)
2nd Circuit: Peter Hall (W) 3/4 (senior)
DC Circuit: Merrick Garland (Clinton) 3/10 (confirmed AG)
D-MA: William Young (Reagan) 6/1 (senior)
Federal Circuit: Evan Wallach (Obama) 5/31 (senior)
Trade: Timothy Stanceu (W) 4/5 (senior)
SD-IA: John Alfred Jarvey (W) 3/18/22 (retired)

State Supreme Courts:

Arizona:  Arizona Supreme Court Justice Andrew Gould will retire from the court on April 1.  He is expected to run for Attorney General, as AG Mark Brnovich is term-limited.  Gould was appointed by Governor Doug Ducey in 2016.  Ducey will get to make his sixth appointment to the court.

Idaho:  Nine attorneys have applied for the seat on the Idaho Supreme Court being vacated by Justice Roger Burdick.  The Idaho Judicial Council will select 2-4 applicants for Governor Brad Little to select from.

Maine:  As of April 14, a seat on Maine Supreme Judicial Court will have been open for one year.  Governor Janet Mills has yet to name a new chief justice to replace Leigh Saufley, who left to become Dean of the University of Maine School of Law.

Montana:  Governor Greg Gianforte signed a bill to make judicial appointments directly without a nominating commission.  Judges will still have to contest the next general election after their appointment.

New Jersey:  Governor Phil Murphy will nominate Rachel Wainer Apter, age 40, an ACLU attorney and Ginsburg clerk to the New Jersey Supreme Court.  She would replace Justice Jaynee LaVecchia, who will retire August 31.

New York:  Justice Paul Feinman retired on March 23 and died 8 days later.  There are two other impending vacancies due to the retirements of Leslie Stein on June 4 and Eugene Fahey on December 31.  All three were appointed by Andrew Coumo.  Coumo can nominate successors, though his legal troubles may make it harder to confirm them.

Oklahoma:  Eight individuals have applied for the open seat on the Oklahoma Supreme Court, District 6 (Congressional District 1).  The Judicial Nominating Commission will interview the candidates.

Pennsylvania:  The GOP candidates for the open Supreme Court seat are Commonwealth Court Judge Kevin Brobson, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Paula Patrick, and Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough.  The primary is May 18, and the winner will face Superior Court Judge Maria McLaughlin (D) in the November 2 general election.

Numbers and Trivia:

The ages of the circuit judges who have taken senior status under Biden are 67, 66, 71, 71, 80, 73, 68, 78, 71.