Abortion

Special Election Kicks Off for Tim Murphy’s Seat
Murphy resigned his seat amid a sex scandal

Democrat Conor Lamb, left, and Republican Rick Saccone are competing for Pennsylvania’s open 18th District seat. (Courtesy Conor Lamb/Rick Saccone/Facebook)

The special election for former Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy’s seat is kicking into gear now that each party has its candidate. Democrat Conor Lamb, a former Marine and federal prosecutor, will face Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone, a former Air Force special agent, in the March 13 election.

Murphy, a Republican, resigned his 18th District seat in the wake of a scandal that included an extramarital affair.

Gillibrand PAC Endorses Lipinski Primary Challenger in Illinois
Marie Newman is challenging the anti-abortion Democrat

Marie Newman is challenging Rep. Daniel Lipinski in the Democratic primary in Illinois’ 3rd District. (Courtesy Marie Newman/Twitter)

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s political action committee has endorsed a primary challenger to an incumbent Democratic congressman. 

Off the Sidelines PAC backed marketing consultant Marie Newman, who’s running against Rep. Daniel Lipinski in Illinois’ 3rd District.

Senators Unlike Judicial Nominee’s Tweets
Judiciary Committee not amused by Don Willett’s social media output

Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A darling of #AppellateTwitter, Don Willett is a Texas Supreme Court justice whose wit earned 104,000 followers on the social media website before President Donald Trump nominated him to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

But the Senate Judiciary Committee took a bit of shine off the Lone Star State’s officially designated “Tweeter Laureate” on Wednesday, when senators tore into him for some tweets and even told Willett it would be a good idea to just stop tweeting altogether.

Trump on Course for Least Diverse Judicial Picks Since Reagan
President’s nominees have been overwhelmingly white and male

Greg Katsas was nominated by President Donald Trump for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He is seen here during his confirmation hearing last month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s picks for federal judgeships reflect a strikingly different direction when it comes to diversity on the bench — it is the most white and male group of nominees in recent history.

So far, 91 percent of Trump’s 58 judicial nominees for district and appeals courts are white, a pace that would make his appointees the least diverse since the Reagan administration, according to statistics compiled by the liberal advocacy group Alliance for Justice. Only 19 percent of his picks are women, a pace that would make his appointees the most male since the George H.W. Bush administration.

Mo Brooks Stands By Roy Moore in Alabama Senate Race
Brooks thinks the Senate needs Moore’s vote

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks isn’t backing away from Roy Moore. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks is standing by GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore, arguing that the Senate needs Moore’s vote. 

“There are major issues facing the United States of America — deficit and debt that can lead to insolvency and bankruptcy, funding for national security, border security, abortion, appointment of Supreme Court justices. Doug Jones will vote wrong on each of those issues,” Brooks said Monday night after House votes. “Roy Moore will vote right; that’s why I’m voting for Roy Moore.”

Will 2018 Bring More Women to Congress?
Eleven women are leaving the House, three of whom are running for Senate

Arizona Rep. Martha McSally would add to the number of women leaving the House if she decides to jump into the Arizona Senate race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Women make up a fifth of Congress. Strategists from both parties would like to see that percentage increase in the 2018 midterms, but that’s no guarantee.

Eleven women have announced they’re leaving the House at the end of this term, including two Democrats and one Republican who are running for Senate. Arizona Rep. Martha McSally could make it a second Republican if she jumps into the open Arizona Senate race. Three female Democrats are among the top 10 most vulnerable senators.

Trump’s Stamp on Judiciary Starting: It Could Be Much Faster
With no filibuster and a GOP Senate, he’s got a big opening to reshape appeals courts

The four appellate nominees moving through the Senate this week include, from left, Amy Coney Barrett, Joan Larsen, Allison H. Eid and Stephanos Bibas. Barrett and Larsen have already been confirmed. (Courtesy Screenshot/C-SPAN, Joan Larsen/Facebook, University of Pennsylvania Law School)

While White House officials are subsumed by the fresh intensity of the special counsel investigation, and House Republicans are preoccupied with propping up the tax overhaul, their GOP colleagues in the Senate are focusing on something not nearly as provocative as either of those things — but perhaps almost as consequential over the long haul.

This week, they’re pushing to double, from four to eight, the number of reliable conservatives that President Donald Trump has installed on the federal appeals courts during the opening year of his administration.

Senators to Grill ABA on Rare Thumbs-Down for Grasz
Judiciary Committee members have questions about ”not qualified” rating

Steve Grasz, nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A controversial appeals court nominee from Nebraska, who received a rare unanimous “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association, has revived concerns about whether the legal organization is biased. 

The organization has long conducted nonpartisan reviews of federal judicial nominees and rated them for the Senate Judiciary Committee. The vast majority of the time the group finds a nominee “qualified” or “well-qualified,” and has done so even with the numerous controversial judge picks President Donald Trump has made.

McConnell Sets Table for Full Week of Judicial Wars
Majority leader cues up a series of Trump appeals court nominees

Allison H. Eid, the nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, is among the judges up for consideration by the Senate next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., came to the floor Thursday afternoon to line up a full week’s worth of appeals court confirmation votes next week, fully engaging a hot-button topic the GOP base has been highly critical about. 

Once Trevor McFadden is confirmed to the district court in Washington, D.C., Monday evening, the judicial wars appear sure to resume with a cloture vote to limit debate on President Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Barrett to be a judge on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Women — and the Power of the Purse — Will Be Key in 2018
Female donors are skyrocketing and more women are considering runs

From left, Reps. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Katherine M. Clark of Massachusetts and Joyce Beatty of Ohio raise their fists during a photo op for the House Democratic women on Jan. 4. (Cliff Owen/AP file photo)

Democratic lobbyist Anne MacMillan recalls sitting at small political fundraising dinners not long ago, with men filling all the chairs around her.

“Generally, the conversation would circle around hunting or fishing or golf, or something I couldn’t even participate in,” said MacMillan, a former aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.