Four red flags about Iowa Supreme Court applicant Sam Langholz

UPDATE: The commission recommended Mary Chicchelly, David May, and Matthew McDermott. I’ve added below highlights from Langholz’s interview.

Iowa’s State Judicial Nominating Commission will interview candidates to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins on March 6. The fifteen applicants include two finalists Governor Kim Reynolds passed over for the vacancy she filled last month (District Court Judge Joel Barrows and Matthew McDermott) and several who have applied for previous vacancies, such as District Court Judges Mary Chicchelly and Patrick Tott, District Associate Judge Romonda Belcher, Assistant Attorney General Molly Weber, and Muscatine County Attorney Alan Ostergren.

Three applicants have provoked anxiety in Iowa legal circles. Bleeding Heartland discussed some problematic aspects of Ostergren’s record when he applied for a Supreme Court vacancy last year. Guthrie County Attorney Brenna (Findley) Bird previously served as chief of staff for U.S. Representative Steve King and later as Governor Terry Branstad’s legal counsel. In that capacity, a jury found last year, Bird and Branstad violated the constitutional rights of former Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey. While working in the Branstad administration, Bird was also involved in rushing through an effort to ban the use of telemedicine for abortions. The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously struck down that administrative rule in 2015.

The greatest concern has centered on Sam Langholz, the governor’s senior legal counsel. He is widely perceived as Reynolds’ top choice. Thanks to changes in the selection process Langholz helped engineer last year, the governor may have the votes on the State Judicial Nominating Commission to get her subordinate on Iowa’s highest court.

That would be troubling for several reasons.

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Six stories: Iowans showed why reproductive rights are essential

Few political issues evoke stronger emotions than abortion. Hundreds of activists on both sides of the issue came to the state capitol on February 25, when the Iowa House held a public hearing on a proposed constitutional amendment that would make future abortion bans immune from court challenge.

More than three dozen people spoke at the hearing, some fighting back tears as they described the life experiences that led them to either support reproductive rights or advocate for restricting women’s choices.

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Advocate to Iowa House: "Constitution should never be used to do harm"

Editor’s note from Laura Belin: Connie Ryan delivered this statement at the February 25 public hearing in the Iowa House regarding a proposed constitutional amendment stating that the Iowa Constitution does not protect any right to an abortion. Bleeding Heartland previously covered that legislation here and here and will be sharing several testimonies from the hearing.

I am Connie Ryan, Executive Director of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa and Action Fund. We represent people of faith and no faith across Iowa who believe in a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions without the interference of the government.

I want to speak directly to Republican lawmakers. You are attacking the fundamental right of Iowa women to make our own healthcare decisions.

You are ignoring history and you are placing women in danger.

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Iowa Republicans pushing anti-abortion bills while they still can

Republican lawmakers in the Iowa House and Senate advanced several bills targeting abortion procedures and providers this week, as a legislative deadline approached.

Several political factors make this year a perfect time for the GOP to curtail Iowa women’s reproductive rights. First, it’s an election year, and no issue motivates social conservative voters more than abortion. Second, 2020 may be the last year of a Republican trifecta. Democrats have a realistic chance to win control of the Iowa House (now split 53-47) in November, which would take any anti-abortion legislation off the table. Finally,  Governor Kim Reynolds will soon have appointed four of the seven Iowa Supreme Court justices, ensuring that the high court will uphold almost any abortion restriction passed this year.

Where things stand on the anti-abortion bills introduced this year:

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Am I a member of the media? Iowa Republican leaders still say no

A number of readers and some journalists have asked me recently whether I was able to resolve the credentialing problems I experienced last year.

The short answer is no. Despite being warned that their press credentialing policies “suffer from serious constitutional deficiencies,” leaders in the Iowa House and Senate and staff in Governor Kim Reynolds’ office continue to deny me access to resources they provide to most other reporters who cover state government.

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Requiem for the Constitution

Ira Lacher comments on today’s proceedings in the U.S. Senate. -promoted by Laura Belin

Hello. I’m the Constitution. And if you’re reading this, I’m dead.

Oh, you may see me around, from time to time. Someone or other will always wave a copy of me around, pointing to me as the glue that’s the foundation of America. Abraham Lincoln said of me, “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.” Then, there was this from Rush Limbaugh: “We are hated because we are free. We are hated because of the idea that is the United States of America. We are hated because of our Constitution.”

Yeah, but my organs have shut down. By breaths have ceased. I have flat-lined. And so, I’m dead. Here are a few examples why.

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