Abortion

Brett Kavanaugh could decide how redistricting is done
Newest justice will be center of attention when court hears gerrymandering cases next month

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, center, at the State of the Union earlier this month. His views on gerrymandering are a bit of a mystery. (Pool/Doug Mills/The New York Times file photo)

Voters keep voicing their frustration with the politically fraught way that state lawmakers redraw congressional districts every 10 years, and have approved ways to outsource the work with hopes of making fairer maps.

Colorado and Michigan approved ballot measures in November to create independent redistricting commissions to prevent one party from carving up a state in such a way as to entrench itself in office. Missouri approved a plan in which a state demographer and a statistical test will help determine lines. Utah approved the creation of an advisory commission.

Initial 2020 House race ratings are here
Republicans are on the offense but also running against history

Reps. Max Rose of New York, second from left, and Joe Cunnigham of South Carolina, second from right, here with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at the State of the Union, are among 31 Democrats holding seats the president carried in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After losing a net of 40 House seats in last year’s midterms, Republicans have plenty of offensive opportunities in 2020. But winning back the majority will not be easy.

On paper, the path back to 218 may look simple for Team GOP because it winds through favorable territory. There are 31 Democrats who currently represent districts that President Donald Trump carried in 2016, and Republicans need to gain 18 or 19 seats to regain House control (depending on the outcome in North Carolina’s 9th District).

Senate confirms Barr amid questions about Mueller report
The Senate voted to confirm Barr as the next attorney general, mostly along party lines

William P. Barr, left, nominee for attorney general, greets former Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, upon arriving for his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Hart Building on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. Hatch introduced Barr to the committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

William Barr takes over the Justice Department on Thursday at a pivotal moment for the nation’s legal landscape, with his tenure closely tied to how he will handle the special counsel’s Russia investigation and any political pressure from the White House.

The Senate voted 54-45 to confirm Barr as the next attorney general, mostly along party lines. Senators have strong clues that he will continue the Trump administration’s conservative policies and legal arguments on immigration, civil rights enforcement and LGBT employment discrimination.

Colorado has never had a female senator. Could that change in 2020?
Democratic Senate primary field expected to be a ‘mosh pit’

Former Colorado state House Speaker Crisanta Duran has been working with EMILY’s List as she considers a Senate run. (Brennan Linsley/AP file photo)

Colorado Democrats have their sights on Sen. Cory Gardner, one of the most vulnerable senators in 2020 and one of two Republicans running in a state won by Hillary Clinton. And some see the race as an opportunity to do something historic: send a woman to the U.S. Senate. 

Women now make up a majority in the state House after the recent midterms. And wins by Democratic women helped the party recapture the state Senate. But higher office has proved more elusive. Colorado is one of just five states that has never elected a female governor or senator. 

GOP Rep. Walter Jones dies at 76
North Carolina Republican congressman’s change of heart against the Iraq War put him at odds with his party

Republican Rep. Walter B. Jones initially voted for, and then opposed, the 2003 Iraq war. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr., an independent Republican resolute in his commitments to ending U.S. wars and diminishing the role of government, died Sunday, He was 76. 

Jones died in Greenville, N.C., according to a statement from his office. He had been absent from the Capitol with an undisclosed illness since September. He moved into hospice on Jan. 26 after suffering a broken hip.

The insiders: Roll Call’s people to watch in 2019
Some in Congress and the administration will wield power or influence quietly

Four key Hill players from both parties made Roll Call’s list of people to watch in 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The third year of Donald Trump’s presidency promises to be a time like no other in American history. Never before have both the legitimacy and the competency of the president been so vigorously challenged, and the questions will increase exponentially as House Democrats and the special counsel probe deeper.

So it is no surprise that most of Roll Call’s People to Watch in 2019 revolve around the world of Trump.

The change-makers: Roll Call’s people to watch in 2019
A surge of energy from activists has defined the Trump era. What’s the end game?

Varshini Prakash co-founded the Sunrise Movement, an environmental group, in 2017. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images file photo)

Several activists who will be on the front lines of some of the biggest policy battles in the year ahead rank among Roll Call’s People to Watch in 2019. 

They include the leader of a fledgling environmental group pushing for aggressive action on climate change; the new president of Planned Parenthood, the lightning rod in the raging debate over abortion; and an expert on transportation safety who will be insisting on strong regulations to prevent deaths and injuries from driver-less vehicles. 

John D. Dingell, legendary former dean of the House, dies
Michigan Democrat’s 60-year tenure was longest in Congress

Former Rep. John D. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress, died Thursday at age 92. The Michigan Democrat is seen here in his office in a 1997 interview. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By DAVID HAWKINGS and NIELS LESNIEWSKI

John D. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history and easily the most overpoweringly influential House committee chairman in the final decades of the last century, died Thursday. He was 92 years old. 

Trump tells GOP members they’re ‘wasting their time’ in border security talks
President drops veiled threat to go national emergency route to get funding for his wall

Barriers at the southern border feature the kind of steel slats President Trump has talked about recently. But on Thursday, he returned to calling his proposed structure a "wall." (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump appeared to torpedo Republicans on a House-Senate border security conference committee by suggesting its GOP members are “wasting” their time because Democrats will never support funding for his proposed southern border wall.

He also made a veiled threat to his vow Friday to declare a national emergency at the southern border by using executive powers that would allow him to tap into Defense Department monies to continue the wall project — though Democrats and left-leaning groups say they would immediately challenge such an order in court.

Barr says he’d resign rather than fire Mueller without cause
Attorney general nominee fills in some blanks with new answers on special counsel probe, border wall, abortion

William P. Barr, nominee to be attorney general, speaks during his confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Jan. 15. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Attorney General nominee William Barr assured senators that he would not fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III without good cause or change Justice Department regulations for the purpose of firing him.

“I would resign rather than follow an order to terminate the special counsel without good cause,” Barr said in written answers to questions from Senate Judiciary Committee members released Monday.