Eighth Circuit Court Gives LGBTQ Discrimination Case New Life

Today the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals released a decision that adds another opportunity for a case in the Supreme Court concerning the crossroads between anti-discrimination laws and religious freedom. In a 2-1 decision, the panel of judges decided that a couple who won’t shoot wedding videos for same-sex weddings can pursue a claim in court that includes elements of free speech and religious freedom rights. Donald Trump appointee David Stras led the panel and wrote the decision, joined by Bobby Shepherd, a George W. Bush appointee. Judge Jane Kelly, a Barack Obama appointee, dissented with part of the decision. […]

Cedar Rapids Judge Eyed Again As Possible SCOTUS Nominee For Democrats

Soon, a progressive judicial group advocating for court reform will release a list of potential nominees for the Supreme Court that they hope the Democratic presidential candidates will consider. It appears that Jane Kelly, a judge from Cedar Rapids who currently serves on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and was once on Barack Obama’s short list for a Supreme Court nomination, will be among them. Why Jane Kelly? Kelly is 54 years old and she spent her career from 1994 to 2013 in the federal public defender’s office for the Northern District of Iowa. Federal public defenders counsel defendants […]

Beto O’Rourke Returns To Iowa With Renewed Focus, Passion

Beto O’Rourke returned to Iowa Tuesday evening with a fiery message to restart his campaign for president. The event was called “An Iowa Conversation: Standing up to Trump,” and during the event O’Rourke continued to condemn white supremacy. O’Rourke took a break from the campaign trail after a terrorist shooter killed 22 people at a Walmart on August 3 in his hometown of El Paso. That mass shooting, the deadliest in the United States this year, was a focal point of O’Rourke’s appearance. O’Rourke focused specifically on the amount of hate pointed at immigrants as the cause of the shooting. […]

How Democrats Addressed Native American Issues At Historic Forum

Several common themes emerged from the first day of the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum, but the top one was that a government’s priorities can be determined by where it puts its money, and each candidate promised money to address issues faced by Native Americans across the country. For the first day of the Frank LaMere Presidential Forum, four Democratic candidates appeared at the Orpheum in Sioux City. There, leaders from tribes across the United States asked the candidates questions about important issues facing Native American communities. Organizers said it was the first forum of its kind, and all […]

Pete Buttigieg’s Plan To Protect Pregnant Women In Rural Areas

As the conversation about health care increasingly includes rural areas, the topic of maternal health is showing up in more places, too. This past week, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg released a health care plan targeted at rural America. In it are several provisions that provide increased support for pregnant and postpartum women. “It’s time to usher in a new era for rural America,” the plan reads. “That work begins by deploying investment and innovation to secure the health of all rural residents.” First off, Buttigieg plans to address the problem of declining numbers of providers for all kinds […]

Bernie Sanders: Medicare For All Must Cover Abortion Services

Medicare for All has been a central part of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaigns since he launched his first national bid in 2015. Since then, the health care conversation in the United States has focused increasingly on reproductive services, as Republican-controlled state governments across the country limit abortion access and Supreme Court justices are appointed to help overturn Roe v. Wade. On Saturday in Des Moines, Sanders took part in a town hall hosted by NARAL Pro-Choice America, a national organization that opposes restrictions on abortion. There, Sanders said, “We are here today to say as loudly and clearly as […]

New Themes, Familiar Lines; Candidates’ Changing Iowa Messages

This weekend, most of the field of Democratic candidates returned to Iowa to connect with voters in the first caucus state. The last time so many were in the state at one time was in early June, at the Hall of Fame Dinner in Cedar Rapids. Candidates went to the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, appeared at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding and a handful showed up to the Passport to Victory in Central City out in Linn County. So, did they say anything new? The answer is mixed. Many candidates, even the well-known ones, took time at the […]

Democrats Talk Native Rights During Meskwaki Powwow In Iowa

Honor, respect and unity were the themes of the 105th Annual Meskwaki Powwow held yesterday in Iowa. Montana Governor Steve Bullock and author Marianne Williamson were there in the afternoon to share in the occasion. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker appeared in the evening. Beto O’Rourke was scheduled to be there, too, but he spent the weekend in El Paso, his hometown, where people are recovering from last weekend’s mass shooting that killed 22. The Meskwaki Settlement is Iowa’s lone tribal settlement, situated in Tama County in Central Iowa. There’s about 1,300 members of the Meskwaki tribe, around 800 of […]

Why Everyone’s Armed: SCOTUS And The Second Amendment

After a string of mass shootings have rocked the United States, the debate over gun control and the Second Amendment is raging once again. The Second Amendment says: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” For years that language wasn’t a problem, but as with most laws forged at the founding of the country, the nation’s courts have had to take another look at it in order to make it relevant to the country as society and technology have changed. […]

Restricting Abortion By Constitutional Amendment – Iowa GOP’s Next Plan

Early this year, Iowa’s ban on abortions after a “heartbeat” is detected was struck down. This brought the state’s second attempt to ban abortion in two years to an end, but Republican lawmakers in the state Senate haven’t given up. In January this year, 29 Republican senators introduced a resolution that would add a section to the Iowa Constitution that says, “The Constitution of the State of Iowa does not secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” In March, the bill was reported out of committee. Jamie Burch Elliot, the public affairs manager for […]