Source: Sam Baker, Stef W. Kight, Andrew Witherspoon, Axios, May 10, 2018
President Trump has already appointed a record-breaking number of federal judges, but his judicial legacy is even bigger than that: More than half of those judges replaced Democratic appointees.
Why it matters: Some of our most contentious political debates are ultimately settled in the courts. If Trump can keep replacing liberal judges with conservatives, he’d be giving conservatives an upper hand that would last for decades.
– The Senate has confirmed 17 Trump nominees for federal district courts, most of whom replaced Democratic appointees.
– Trump has also filled 16 vacancies on federal appeals courts (the last stop before the Supreme Court). Six of those appointees replaced judges who were nominated by Democratic presidents.
– There are still 140 more vacancies in the federal district and appellate courts, and Trump has put forward nominees for about half of them.
– There could soon be 100 judicial nominees pending in the Senate, according to the Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo, an outside adviser to Trump on judicial nominations.
Source: Vicky Chuqiao Yang, Northwestern University, April 2018
This is a interactive visualization I made of the congress members’ ideology positions, reduced to 2 dimensions, using the DW-NOMINATE method. This visualiztaion is developed as part of the IDEAS Focus Summer School on Data Visualization at Northwestern University.
Source: Rebekah Allen, The Advocate, April 13, 2018
One state senator earned $836,000 in legal fees representing a sheriff. The amount he disclosed: $13,328. “The notion that you could get public money and not report it in our flim-flammery of an ethics system is ridiculous,” an ethics expert says.
Source: Katherine Sullivan, ProPublica, Trump Inc., April 11, 2018
Why is Trump’s business arguing its properties are worth just a fraction of what Trump has claimed they are on his own financial disclosures? To save on taxes.
Source: Louis‐Philippe Beland, Bulent Unel, Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Volume 57, Issue 2, April 2018
From the abstract:
Employing a regression discontinuity (RD) approach on gubernatorial elections in the United States over the last three decades, this paper investigates the causal effects of governors’ party affiliation (Democrat versus Republican) on unionization of workers, and unionized workers’ working hours and earnings. Surprisingly, we find no significant impact from the party affiliation of governors on union membership and union workers’ labor‐market outcomes.
Source: Jennifer E. Manning, Ida A. Brudnick, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, March 19, 2018
….This report includes committee assignments, dates of service, district information, and listings by Congress and state, and (for Representatives) congressional districts of the 327 women who have been elected or appointed to Congress. It will be updated when there are relevant changes in the makeup of Congress.
For additional information, including a discussion of the impact of women in Congress as well as historical information, including the number and percentage of women in Congress over time, data on entry to Congress, comparisons to international and state legislatures, tenure, firsts for women in Congress, women in leadership, and African American, Asian Pacific American, and Hispanic women in Congress, see CRS Report R43244, Women in Congress: Summary Statistics and Brief Overview, by Jennifer E. Manning and Ida A. Brudnick…..
Source: Trevor Tompson, Jennifer Benz, David Sterrett, Dan Malato, Emily Swanson, Bo MacInnis, Jon Krosnick, Sarah Anderson, Stanford University and the University of California – Santa Barbara in collaboration with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 2018
With Americans’ disapproval of Congress reaching record levels in recent years, the strength of the country’s legislative system and America’s faith in its outcomes have come into question. This study reveals a new explanation for Americans’ dissatisfaction with their elected representatives by showing that people’s approval of Congress is tied to their beliefs about how lawmakers are making decisions.
The study—conducted by researchers from Stanford University and the University of California, Santa Barbara, in collaboration with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research—shows that negative attitudes toward Congress relate to the gap between who people think members of Congress should pay attention to when voting on a law and who people think they do pay attention to when voting. The phenomenon cuts across partisan lines, and these perceptions of the decision-making process affect both Democrats’ and Republicans’ approval of Congress.
Survey: Americans think lawmakers ignore public opinion
Source: Melissa De Witte, Futurity, February 28, 2018
Source: Grant Suneson, 24/7 Wall St., February 12, 2018
Though the presidency of the United States is a prestigious job, it does not pay as well as one might think. The annual presidential salary is $400,000, While this is still within the top 1% of American earners, it is very little when compared to the typical compensation given to America’s CEOs and executives.
However, many men who have occupied the highest office in the land did not need any salary at all. The presidency has long been a position held by men who had already inherited fortunes or earned them during their lifetimes….
Source: Jan Leighley, Jennifer Oser, The Conversation, February 9, 2018
Does citizen activism really affect the actions of elected officials?
Despite the ubiquitous role of money in campaigns, elections and policymaking, some citizens clearly still believe in the power of protest.
In the month of December 2017 alone, an organization called The Crowd Counting Consortium “tallied 796 protests, demonstrations, strikes, marches, sit-ins and rallies,” some of them featuring thousands of people, across the country. Over the past year, the offices of many members of Congress and other elected officials have been jammed with constituents voicing their opinions on the Affordable Care Act, the immigration program called DACA, abortion and sexual harassment, among others.
But does all of this sign waving and sitting in actually influence elected officials?
As social scientists, we have long been interested in political participation and online activism. We used this knowledge to design a study that looks at whether activism changes the votes of elected officials – and whether the effect is strong enough to mitigate the power of donated money.
What we found is that citizens can make their voices heard – at least some of the time….
Source: Ronald Brownstein, The Atlantic, February 8, 2018
Support from majorities of white, working-class women powered Trump’s midwestern wins, but those voters are souring on him in office—providing Democrats with a complicated opportunity in 2018.