Branstad names impeachment advocate to Judicial Nominating Commission

I knew that Governor Terry Branstad was trying to fill the State Judicial Nominating Commission with conservatives and big Republican donors.

I knew that Branstad liked naming former state legislators to prominent positions, sometimes without considering anyone else for the job, sometimes even when the former lawmaker hadn’t asked for the job.

But until yesterday, I never imagined that Branstad would consider a Judicial Nominating Commission an appropriate place for someone who tried to impeach Iowa Supreme Court justices over the Varnum v Brien ruling on marriage.  

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Medicaid abortion funding ban a bridge too far for Branstad administration

Opposing all government funding for abortion is settled dogma among Iowa Republican activists and elected officials. For two years in a row, Senate Democrats have blocked attempts to write new restrictions on Medicaid abortion coverage into the budget for the state Department of Human Services. Now DHS Director Chuck Palmer has signaled that taking control of the upper chamber may not give Republicans the power to restrict the choices of low-income women.

Palmer’s action puts Governor Terry Branstad in an awkward position, and a legislature completely under GOP control could create a political nightmare for Branstad, a proud “pro-lifer” throughout his career.

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Weekend open thread: Crime and punishment edition

Crime and punishment are on my mind this weekend. Yesterday two men were sentenced for breaking into Representative Leonard Boswell’s farm house last July, and an Iowa Democratic operative was charged with perpetrating identity theft against Secretary of State Matt Schultz. Follow me after the jump for more on those and other crime-related stories.

This is an open thread; all topics welcome. The Bleeding Heartland thread on the South Carolina primary results is here.  

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Iowa caucus poll and endorsement news roundup

Six days before the Iowa caucuses, no Republican candidate has a clear lead, social conservatives remain scattered among several contenders, and new television commercials are launched on almost a daily basis. Numbers from the two latest opinion polls and news from the campaign trail are after the jump, along with some commercials currently showing on Iowa tv screens.

UPDATE: Added numbers from a new CNN poll and the latest Ron Paul tv ad.

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Impeachment going nowhere and other Iowa Supreme Court news

Last week, a group of conservative Iowa House Republicans finally made good on their promise to introduce articles of impeachment against the four remaining Iowa Supreme Court justices who concurred in the 2009 Varnum v Brien decision on marriage. The impeachment bills won’t make it out of committee, let alone the Iowa House, but there may be some political fallout from the effort.

After the jump I examine the articles of impeachment, future prospects for their backers and recent news related to the 2012 judicial retention elections.

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