59 senators defended the constitution. Not Chuck Grassley or Joni Ernst

President Donald Trump will soon cast his first veto. The U.S. Senate approved on March 14 a resolution disapproving of Trump’s declaration of emergency powers. All 47 members of the Democratic caucus and twelve Republicans voted for the resolution (roll call). Iowa’s Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst were among the 41 Republicans to oppose terminating Trump’s power grab.

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Iowa lawmakers pass another unconstitutional "Ag Gag" bill

Iowa legislators just can’t quit violating the constitution in the service of livestock farmers and their lobby groups.

Two months after a federal judge comprehensively dismantled Iowa’s 2012 law prohibiting “agricultural production facility fraud,” the state House and Senate approved a bill creating the crime of “agricultural production facility trespass.” Governor Kim Reynolds has indicated she will sign the legislation. (UPDATE: She signed it on March 14.)

Although the drafters modeled the new bill after portions of an Idaho statute that survived a legal challenge, federal courts could and should strike down this law. Like the previous “ag gag” legislation, its primary purpose is to suppress speech reflecting certain viewpoints.

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Grassley, Ernst can show they're serious about executive overreach

The U.S. House voted on February 26 to terminate President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to build a wall that Congress repeatedly declined to authorize or fund. All 232 Democrats present, including Iowa’s Representatives Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02), and Cindy Axne (IA-03) backed the resolution, joined by thirteen House Republicans (roll call). Representative Steve King (IA-04) was among 182 Republicans who opposed the joint resolution.

In statements enclosed in full below, Finkenauer, Axne, and Loebsack highlighted the need to defend the checks and balances prescribed by the U.S. Constitution, which grants spending power to Congress.

The National Emergencies Act requires a U.S. Senate vote within eighteen days on any House-approved joint resolution to terminate a presidential declaration. Three Senate Republicans have already pledged to vote for the resolution. More than half a dozen others criticized Trump’s decision and seem open to formally rejecting it.

Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst are not seen as potential supporters of this bipartisan effort. They have never defied the Trump administration and had little to say about the president’s power grab. But given their stature in the Republican caucus and their forceful denunciations of President Barack Obama’s executive actions, Iowa’s senators have an excellent opportunity to show some principles matter more to them than political loyalty.

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How do you represent those people?

Aaron Hawbaker is the chief public defender for Black Hawk County. -promoted by Laura Belin

I am a criminal defense attorney. More specifically, I am a public defender. That further distinction is important for this discussion, because public defenders do not choose their clients based upon ability to pay or the merits of their case. They take all comers, warts and all. I am now in my fifteenth year of public defense and have had the responsibility of defending individuals charged with the spectrum of human baseness.

I am often asked, more frequently the more notorious the case, how can you represent those people?

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