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 […]

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. […]

Steve Bullock: Appoint More Western Judges, Consider Court Expansion

Montana governor Steve Bullock has a new idea for the type of justices he’d seek for the Supreme Court. After touring an ethanol plant and a grain co-op earlier this week, Bullock told Starting Line he would pursue justices who come from the Midwest or Western regions of the country. “I think that when you have your whole court that are folks who are all, essentially, coming from the East Coast, all coming from a small handful of schools, you’re really losing a big perspective of what this country is,” he said. Bullock said that as Montana Attorney General he argued […]

Rebalancing Court Ideology A Priority For Julián Castro

Though Julián Castro hasn’t released a comprehensive plan concerning the courts in America, he recently shared some of his ideas for the types of judges he would appoint.  At a meet-and-greet event in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, Castro told an audience of about 200 people that he would protect reproductive rights with his judicial appointments.  “I would appoint judges to the federal district, appellate and Supreme Court level who value the precedent of Roe v. Wade,” he said.  Castro emphasized the importance of lower federal courts in decision-making in America. Any case in the federal court system has to pass […]

Beto O’Rourke Explains His Supreme Court Term Limits Plan

As the Supreme Court weighs in on key issues like gerrymandering and the U.S. Census, Democratic presidential candidates have been rolling out court reform ideas while on the campaign trail. Former Beto O’Rourke recently announced his idea for limiting the amount of time justices serve on the Supreme Court.  Currently, justices have lifetime appointments, but O’Rourke’s plan would limit them to 18 years. After the 18-year term, justices would be able to serve on federal courts of appeal.  In explaining his position at an event in Ames, O’Rourke talked about de-escalating the amount of tension seen in recent Supreme Court […]

How A Census Citizenship Question Would Impact Steve King’s District

The Supreme Court of the United States is expected to decide tomorrow whether the Trump Administration can add a question to the census asking about respondents’ citizenship, a decision that will impact some communities in Iowa. If the question is added to the 2020 census, households and communities with undocumented immigrants will face a hard decision. Answer honestly or decline the opportunity to be counted as part of a city’s population. In Iowa, most new immigrants are concentrated in the western part of the state where meatpacking businesses like Tyson Foods and Seaboard Triumph Foods operate and employ both documented […]

Pete Buttigieg Only Candidate With Plan For Expanded Supreme Court

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is the only candidate among 21 who has laid out a full vision for reforming the Supreme Court.  Though many other candidates have recognized the need for reform, Buttigieg has advocated for expanding the number of justices during his campaign. His idea for the expansion would put the new number at 15 and would involve five justices with Democratic affiliations, five connected to the Republicans and five bipartisan justices recommended by the other ten. The model for this plan comes from a paper that will be published in the Yale Law Journal […]

Why This Former Iowa A.G. Thinks It’s Time To Expand The Supreme Court

Former Iowa Attorney General Bonnie Campbell has a message for the presidential candidates visiting Iowa: expand the number of justices on the Supreme Court to protect basic, fundamental rights. She penned an op-ed in the Des Moines Register on the subject and spoke with Starting Line about the importance of the idea. While Supreme Court reform has emerged as a topic in national political conversations this cycle, Campbell’s advocacy could help raise the issue’s profile in the Iowa Caucus. Campbell said Republicans have politicized the Court by filling it with far-right conservative ideologues who haven’t committed to upholding Supreme Court […]

Chuck Grassley Vows To Play Politics, Obstruct Supreme Court Process A Year

The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia sent shock waves throughout the political and judicial world on Saturday afternoon. The conversation online revolved around condolences and the surprise of the longtime jurist’s passing for all of about ten minutes before the focus turned to politics. Senate Republicans made clear very quickly that they had no intention of confirming a new Supreme Court justice so long as Barack Obama is President. Iowa’s own Chuck Grassley will play the key, high-profile role in the process as the new Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee who would handle a potential nominating hearing. […]