Welcome to Monday June 7th Brew. This is what awaits you at the start of the day:
- Senate confirms first federal judge appointed by President Biden
- Changes and events to the COVID-19 policy this week a year ago
- Noah Valenstein resigns as Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Senate confirms first federal judge appointed by President Biden
The Senate is expected to vote to confirm Julien Xavier Neals and Regina Rodriguez as federal district court judges in New Jersey and Colorado, respectively. Both were part of President Joe Biden’s (D) initial group of 10 judicial nominations announced in March. Xavier Neals and Rodriguez were nominated to federal judiciary by President Barack Obama (D), and both nominations were returned when the 114th Congress was adjourned in January 2017.
138 days have passed since Biden’s inauguration on January 20th. Below is a breakdown of when the Senate confirmed the first Article III federal judge of each president:
Since 1980, Reagan has made the most appointments in his freshman year, with 41. Obama did the fewest at 13. The Senate confirmed 19 Article III federal judges Trump appointed in his first year in office.
Since taking office, Biden has nominated 19 federal judges, including six federal appeals court judges, 13 federal district court judges, and a Washington, DC chief judge. There are currently 81 federal judges vacant under Article III. Three of Biden’s nominees are awaiting a confirmatory vote across the US Senate, four are awaiting a committee vote, and 12 nominees are awaiting a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The table below shows the number of appointments as Article III Judges during the first term of office of each President on June 1st of the first year and on December 31st of his fourth year.
Changes and events to the COVID-19 policy this week a year ago
Here are the latest tidbits in our series, highlighting the policy changes and events related to the coronavirus that happened around this time last year.
- Answers from the federal government:
- The Department of Defense announced on June 9 that it was lifting travel restrictions on installations in 38 states, Washington DC, and five countries (Bahrain, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan). Travel restrictions remained in place in 12 states.
- Orders for the stay at home:
- New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) ended the state stay at home order on June 9, which was first issued on March 21.
- Travel restrictions:
- Hawaii Governor David Ige (D) announced on June 11th that he was extending quarantine requirements for outbound and returning travelers to July 31st. He first issued the two-week quarantine requirement on March 17.
- Election changes:
- North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D) signed a law on June 12th that reduced the number of witnesses to sign a postal ballot from two to one.
Noah Valenstein resigns as Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Florida Department of Environment Secretary Noah Valenstein resigned on June 4. He had led the agency since former Governor Rick Scott (R) appointed him to the office on May 23, 2017. The Florida Department of Environment Secretary heads the agency responsible for protecting the state’s natural resources, enforcing environmental laws, and overseeing Florida’s state parks and trail system.
Florida’s Secretary of the Environment is an example of a natural resource officer who has offices in 49 states. Five states – Arkansas, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, and Washington – publicly elect a commodity commissioner. Arkansas, South Dakota and New Mexico divide these tasks into two offices; a non-partisan office appointed by the governor and an elected party office. In all other states the office is non-partisan and appointed.