While Few Pay Attention, Senate Approves Raft Of Trump Judges

As voters focus on the latest Democratic debates and multi-candidate primary, President Donald Trump continues to reshape the federal courts. Over the past two days, the Republican-controlled Senate has confirmed 12 judges to the United States District Court, the lowest part of the federal court system. Several more nominees remain on the docket. On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed four judges to federal courts. And on Wednesday, lawmakers confirmed eight more. At this point in his administration, Trump has confirmed 144 of the 194 judges he nominated. Michael Liburdi Vote count: 53-37, 10 not voting Nay — 36 Democrats, one Independent; Yea […]

Are Divisive Debates Helpful To Iowans?

Last night, the CNN-hosted Democratic debates featured a lengthy, sometimes-heated discussion about health care policy. The heat was purposeful. The moderators paid special attention to having candidates respond to each other’s answers. To mixed results. In Ames, Iowa, gathered caucus-goers reacted positively to some of the incendiary moments like Bernie saying he “wrote the damn plan!” and Warren questioning Delaney’s motivation for running if he wasn’t going to fight for something. On the second night, the moderators didn’t need to work nearly as hard. The candidates addressed each other readily, specifically directing some of their remarks at one of their […]

Meet The Judges Who Will Decide ACA’s Fate

Judges in photo from left to right: Carolyn Dineen King, Kurt Engelhardt, Jennifer Walker Elrod. In December of last year, headlines screamed about the end of the Affordable Care Act. A district court judge in Texas had ruled that the whole health care law is unconstitutional in the most recent Texas v. United States case. He based his decision on the 2017 repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate that penalized people who didn’t have insurance, and progressives and conservatives across the country have called O’Connor’s reasoning faulty. Now, the case is in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, where a three-judge […]

Sex Ed, Contraception Key, Castro Says At Reproductive Rights Forum

At a town hall hosted by NARAL Pro-Choice America on Saturday, Julián Castro emphasized the importance of sex education and access to reproductive health care, which he said includes contraceptives. When asked by Starting Line, Castro said, “What I believe is that we need to make sure that we have sex education in our public schools, that of course is age appropriate, but also is informative. That provides young people with a good baseline education so they can make smart decisions as they get older.” Castro said even though school curriculums are dictated by states, the federal government could incentivize […]

2020 is not 1937. A History Lesson On FDR And The Courts

By 1935, the New Deal was helping the American people and economy bounce back from the disaster of the stock market crash of 1929. National programs were putting people to work, building infrastructure like bridges, hospitals and schools and expanding access to electricity. The New Deal was popular and well-loved. In May 1935, it suffered its first losses in the Supreme Court. The biggest blow declared Roosevelt’s National Industrial Recovery Act, a key piece of the New Deal, unconstitutional. Roosevelt wasn’t happy. The first reaction many people have when 2020 candidates talk about expanding the Supreme Court tends to be […]

Who Wants To Serve Forever? How Supreme Court Term Limits Would Work

Supreme Court reform is a now-widespread idea among Democrats with a variety of proposed options. Expansion has been a popular proposal with a few 2020 candidates, but limiting the amount of time justices can serve on the Supreme Court is another route that’s often touted. As of early April, 11 of the candidates running for president have said they supported or were open to the idea of term limits for justices. Details vary, but the majority of candidates support an 18-year term for justices on the bench. Afterwards, those judges would have the ability to serve on the federal courts. […]

Maternal Mortality Issue Draws More Attention In 2020 Race

Maternal mortality is an issue that isn’t often widely acknowledged, but that’s changing with the 2020 race for president. Several candidates have staked out positions on how to address the issue, and many of the senators have already sponsored or co-sponsored bills in the Senate. According to the CDC, about 700 women die every year because of complications with the pregnancy or delivery. The death could also happen during the post-partum period. Statistics from 2015 shows about 17 women died for every 100,000 births in the United States. Black women in the United States face even greater risks. A report done […]

Why Some Iowa Lawyers Avoid Federal Court And The 8th Circuit

While most politically-engaged Iowans are well-aware of the ideological leanings of the U.S. Supreme Court and the Iowa Supreme Court, they may not realize how skewed to the right the federal appeals court that covers the state has become. The Eight Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri and Arkansas, has the highest percentage of Republican-appointed judges of any circuit court in the nation. A full 10 of the 11 Eight Circuit judges were installed by Republicans, dating back to George H.W. Bush Administration. Only one – Jane Kelly of Cedar Rapids – […]

Access To Legal Abortions Keeps Getting Trickier In SE Iowa

For 13,100 women living in Burlington, Iowa, it keeps getting trickier to access affordable reproductive health care. The town’s Planned Parenthood provider closed in 2017. It forced residents to travel about 80 miles away to Iowa City just for routine checkups and to get birth control. Dr. Michael McCoy, chief medical officer for Great River Health System and an OBGYN at Women’s Health—Great River Medical Center decided women deserved better. He set up a gathering of healthcare providers in the community to figure out what it would take to get a new Title X clinic in the area. Healthcare providers […]

Cory Booker: Win Back Senate To Bring Sanity Back To Courts

To combat the partisanship of the Supreme Court, Cory Booker said his main goal is to target one of the root causes for the radicalization: the Senate. In the first event in a series of conversations with the 2020 presidential candidates, hosted earlier this week by Des Moines Area Community College and Iowa Public Television, Booker received a question from a student about how Booker would handle a Supreme Court that has been heavily influenced by conservatives. Booker said he wants to solve the problem, and he’s open to the two most popular proposals, term limits and expansion, but he […]