News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Judiciary committee will get new top Dem; top Pennsylvania court rejects 5 election suits

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.

Feinstein steps down as top Democrat on Senate Judiciary Committee

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California is stepping down as the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee after criticism from progressives who said she is too gentle with Republicans. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois is seeking the lead Democratic committee position. (The New York Times, Politico)

Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejects 5 election suits

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Monday rejected five consolidated lawsuits seeking to invalidate more than 8,000 mail-in ballots. The court ruled that state election law doesn’t require signed mail-in ballots to be disqualified when voters fail to write their name, address and date on the outer envelope declaration. (Law360, ABC News, the Pennsylvania decision)

Skadden launches Supreme Court litigation group

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom is launching a Supreme Court and appellate litigation group with the hiring of partner Shay Dvoretzky. Dvoretzky spent nearly 20 years at Jones Day. (Law360, Thomson Reuters Legal, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom press release)

Biden picks include lawyer who’s active in ABA

President-elect Joe Biden is announcing cabinet picks that include a BigLaw partner and a lawyer who has been active in the ABA. Biden chose Alejandro Mayorkas, a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr and a former Obama official, as his choice for secretary of homeland security. Biden chose Avril Haines, who was deputy CIA director in the Obama administration, as director of national intelligence. Haines was a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security from 2017 to 2020. As a commissioner with the Commission on Military, National and Public Service, Haines worked with the standing committee on a joint project with the Center for Strategic & International Studies called Defending Democratic Institutions. (The National Law Journal, NBC News, ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security tweet)

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