Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings: March 21, 2022
Nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson
President Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. The Senate confirmation hearings begin today,and are expected to run all week. Some of Judge Jackson's issue stances:
On Abortion: Co-authored a pro-choice friend-of-the-court brief
Plus Republican, Libertarian, progressive, and QAnon responses
President Biden addressed a joint session of Congress for his first official State of the Union speech (last year was just a preliminary "address to a joint session of Congress"). We cover the numerous responses too....
New member of the U.S. House of Representatives: Jan. 11-18, 2022
Plus hot races and House redistricting races
U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL-20) passed away in April 2021. A special election took place on Jan. 11, 2022 in which Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick won. In a sign of these challenging times for democracy, her opponent refused to concede despite the overwhelming landslide, and instead announced legal blocking actions. Those actions failed, and Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick was sworn in on Jan. 18, 2022.
Other upcoming House events:
One more special election is scheduled for April 2022 to fill a vacancy in CA-22; if any more vacancies occur, the special election is likely to take place on November 8th, 2022, in conjunction with the general election.
Redistricting shuffles House seats around due to changes in population from the 2020 census. Five pairs of House incumbents got redistricted into opposing each other. Many more incumbents facing such opposition chose instead to retire.
Redistricting also goes the other way -- creating new seats in several states, and resulting in "hot races" from rematches or newly-eligible candidates.
Scoring members of Congress on response to the Capitol Riot
We looked into three key votes to characterize each member of Congress' views on the events of January 6th. For each key vote, we scored the votes as follows on a scale from "-2" indicating support of the events of January 6th, to "+2" indicating opposition of the events of January 6th:
Electoral Decertification: This vote took place on January 6th, after a long interruption by rioters entering the Capitol building. The vote was to block certification of the vote of the Electoral College:
YEA to block certification scores as -2 (support Jan. 6 events)
NAY to block certification scores as +2 (oppose Jan. 6 events)
H.R. 24 Impeachment: President Trump was impeached for inciting insurrection. The impeachment vote, on bill #24, took place separately for the House and Senate:
NAY on impeachment in House vote scores as -2 (support Jan. 6 events)
NOT GUILTY on removal from office in Senate vote scores as -2 (support Jan. 6 events)
YEA on impeachment in House vote scores as +1 (oppose Jan. 6 events)
GUILTY on removal from office in Senate vote scores as +2 (strongly oppose Jan. 6 events)
SPONSOR on impeachment bill H.R. 24 scores as +2 (strongly oppose Jan. 6 events)
H.R. 503 Commission: Congress created a Commission to investigate the events of Jan. 6th. The Senate rejected a bipartisan commission; that vote counts for Senators. Members of the House them created a separate commission without the Senate; that vote counts for House members:
NAY on creating a Jan. 6 Commission scores as -2 (support Jan. 6 events)
YEA on creating a Jan. 6 Commission scores as +2 (oppose Jan. 6 events)
Number of legislators
Hard-core J6 supporter (score -6)
J6 supporter (score -3/-4/-5)
Leaning toward J6 support (score -2)
Mixed views on Jan. 6 (score -1/0/+1/+2/+3)
Opposes Jan. 6 events (score +4/5)
Hard-core against Jan. 6th (score +6)
The grid above totals the scores for each legislator, and then counts the number of legislators in each score category. These votes were spread over a few months, so some members didn't have the opportunity to cast all three votes -- those are reflected by omissions which count as zero in the score.
A score of "-6" indicates that the legislator voted three times to support the Capitol riots -- 105 legislators did so, all Republicans. A score of "+6" indicates that the legislator three times opposed the Capitol riots -- 261 legislators did so, 257 Democrats and 4 Republicans. The mixed votes are the most interesting cases-- the 174 legislators who indicated some support and some opposition to the events of Jan. 6.
The lowest-scoring Democrats all scored "+4" -- Sen. Patty Murray, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib. In all three cases, the legislator abstained or was absent from one of the key votes. There were 10 additional Democrats scoring below "+5", but those were all legislators who left office, or who were sworn in after the earliest vote. There were 6 additional Democrats who voted YEA on impeachment but chose not to co-sponsor the House Bill; they scored "+5". In other words, there were zero Democrats who actively voted against the consensus Democratic view of opposing the Capitol riots of January 6th.
That was not the case among Republican legislators. There were five Republican Senators who scored "+6": Cassidy; Collins; Murkowski; Romney; and Sasse. In addition, two Republican House members scored "+5": Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, both of whom voted to impeach but didn't co-sponsor H.R. 24. Those seven Republicans have become the political targets of former President Trump and his ardent supporters. Over 120 Republican legislators scored in the range of "-2' to "+3" -- some of that group will draw Republican primary opponents because of these votes.