Louisiana

Senators Ponder: How Forthcoming Should Judicial Candidates Be?
Republicans push back on Democratic concerns over responses to school desegregation question

Democrats say U.S. District Court nominee Wendy Vitter did not clearly endorse the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, but Republicans pushed back on that characterization. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced two judicial nominees Thursday amid an ongoing debate over how forthcoming candidates should be about their views on established Supreme Court decisions, particularly the landmark school desegregation ruling from 64 years ago.

All Democrats on the committee voted against Andrew Oldham to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit based in New Orleans, and Wendy Vitter to be a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Among their objections: They say the nominees did not clearly endorse the high court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education during their confirmation hearings.

Half of 2020 Map Makers Will Be Decided This Cycle
Experts say 2018 midterms are still important for upcoming redistricting

Gerrymandering activists Helenmary Ball, left, posing as Maryland’s 5th District, and Rachael Lemberg, posing as the 3rd District, gather on the steps of the Supreme Court as the court prepares to hear the Benisek v. Lamone case in March. The case challenges Maryland’s 2012 congressional redistricting. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 8:00 p.m. | More than half of the state elected officials deciding new district lines in 2020 will be elected this year, a new study by the National Conference of State Legislatures found.

Three-fifths of governors and one-third of all state senators elected during the 2018 midterms will still be in office during the next redistricting cycle, the state government policy research group found. While redistricting seems a long way away, experts say the governorship and state races mean parties should be focusing on this year’s midterms.

Women on the Verge of a Breakthrough on House Appropriations
One-two punch on the panel would be the first since women led the House Beauty Shop Committee

Texas Rep. Kay Granger is one of five Republicans — and the only Republican woman — competing for the top spot on the Appropriations Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House of Representatives hasn’t had two women lead a committee since the Select Committee on the House Beauty Shop was eliminated in 1977.

All of that could change in January.

Mo Brooks Sues Census Bureau Over Counting Undocumented Immigrants
Congressman, state attorney general say practice could cost Alabama a seat in the House

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., joined a lawsuit with the Alabama state attorney general challenging a Census Bureau rule that would count undocumented immigrants to determine state population. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Mo Brooks and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Census Bureau over a rule that would count undocumented immigrants to determine state population.

In the suit, Marshall said Alabama would lose one seat in the House of Representatives and a seat in the Electoral College if the rule proceeds, AL.com reported.

Georgia Democratic Race to Take On Karen Handel Moves to Runoff
Lucy McBath, Kevin Abel are top two finishers, 7th District contest also heads for runoff

Rep. Karen Handel, R-Ga., will have to wait till July to find out who will be her Democratic opponent this fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two Democrats in Georgia’s 6th District will advance to a July runoff for the right to take on Republican Rep. Karen Handel in November. 

Since no candidate earned more than 50 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s Democratic primary in the suburban Atlanta district, the top-two finishers — activist Lucy McBath and businessman Kevin Abel — will face each other on July 24. 

Growth in Domestic Oil and Natural Gas Poses New Policy Issues
Republicans want to make overseas shipment of liquefied natural gas easier

The United States is flush with supplies of oil and natural gas — and that has lawmakers contemplating policy changes. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

When it comes to U.S. energy supplies, Congress’ default setting for decades had been worry: worry that America did not have enough energy to meet its needs and worry that OPEC would hold the U.S. hostage by jacking up the price of — or withholding — its oil.

That setting has changed. With the U.S. flush with supplies of oil and natural gas over the past few years, Congress has permitted the export of domestic oil and raided the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to reduce the budget deficit and offset costs of unrelated legislation. And now Republicans want to make it easier for producers to ship liquefied natural gas overseas.

Scalise Announces Plan for Immigration, Farm Bill Votes Third Week of June
Meanwhile Denham expects to get 218 signatures on immigration discharge petition

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said the failed farm bill will be back on the floor June 22 with an immigration vote occurring earlier that third week of June. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 10:33 p.m. | The farm bill, which failed on the House floor Friday, will get a second vote June 22 after a vote on a conservative immigration bill earlier that week, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said Monday.

The immigration bill by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas that leaders have scheduled a vote on includes border wall funding, security and enforcement provisions, cuts to legal immigration and a process for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients to obtain three-year renewals of their work permits. 

Who’s Going to Challenge Karen Handel Without Jon Ossoff?
Georgia’s 6th District primary is on Tuesday

GOP Rep. Karen Handel is running for her first full term, but there won’t be a rematch of last year’s special election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Georgia’s 6th District was in the news nonstop this time last year when the special election to fill former Republican Rep. Tom Price’s seat became the most expensive House race in history.

GOP nominee Karen Handel, the former Georgia secretary of state, ended up defeating big-spending Democrat Jon Ossoff by 4 points (with plenty of help from outside Republican groups). She is now running for her first full term.

Republican Divide, Mistrust Dooms Farm Bill in House
Failure is major blow to House Republican leaders

Despite pleas from Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his leadership team, Republicans did not united behind the farm bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:20 p.m. | The farm bill’s defeat Friday wasn’t the outcome House Republican leadership was expecting. 

GOP leaders headed to the floor for the vote with an inconclusive whip count. They knew the vote would be close. But they felt fairly confident based on private conversations they had throughout the week that their commitment to hold a vote on immigration legislation in the coming weeks would sway enough Freedom Caucus members whose votes they needed.

The Political Turnpike Runs Through Pennsylvania
Resignations, retirements and redistricting scramble the midterm calculus

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If you’re confused about what comes next in Pennsylvania, even after this week’s primary elections set the midterm slate, don’t worry. That just means you’re paying attention.