How to create activist judges

September Lau and Kimberly Graham make the case against a Republican effort to pack Iowa courts with conservatives. -promoted by Laura Belin

Ever since the 2009 Iowa Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, conservative groups and legislators have attempted to reign in what they describe as an “activist” court. Never mind that that opinion, Varnum v. Brien, was a deliberate and thoughtful walk through equal protection analysis. Conservatives simply didn’t like the decision because it wasn’t the result they wanted.

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The intersection of anti-choice warriors and misogyny

Matt Chapman: “The need to control women is what this is about, and the rage stems from a perception of impotency, caused by that lack of control.” -promoted by Laura Belin

It was impossible to miss the sea of white the Democratic women of the U.S. House wore to the State of the Union address on Tuesday. It was a nod to the suffragettes, who paved the way to winning the right to vote on August 26, 1920, and a celebration of the record-breaking diversity of the 116th United States Congress sworn in on January 23, 2019, almost one hundred years later.

Yet reminders of how far there still is to go echoed throughout the chamber. While President Donald Trump acknowledged the record-breaking number of women legislators elected, it took a moment for the modern-day suffragettes to stand and applaud. His praise was unwelcome, due to his history of misogyny.

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How one Democrat's work will let Iowa Republicans pack the courts

Republican lawmakers and Governor Kim Reynolds are poised to give GOP officials and their proxies control over what has been a mostly non-partisan system for choosing Iowa judges since 1962.

Until a couple of months ago, I didn’t realize the Republican trifecta could blow up our judicial selection process in a matter of weeks. The Iowa Constitution spells out how vacancies on the bench are filled, and altering any language in our state’s founding document takes years.

Unfortunately, a time bomb has lurked in Article V, Section 16 for more than five decades. While most elements of the system can be changed only through a constitutional amendment, the manner of forming judicial nominating commissions (half appointed by the governor, half elected by attorneys) is specified only “Until July 4, 1973, and thereafter unless otherwise provided by law.”

How did that language end up in the constitution? A Linn County Democrat offered a fateful amendment 60 years ago.

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When being fair isn't an Iowa value

Bruce Lear: Lately, I am struck with how Iowa values are eroding before our eyes. -promoted by Laura Belin

Three college guys decided to head to my hometown of Shellsburg, Iowa for a weekend. We threw three bags of dirty laundry in the trunk for my unsuspecting Mom, and we left Pella in Carl’s very used Toyota. In 1977, Toyotas in Iowa were about as rare as a Democrat in Pella. There were some, but they were hard to spot.

Things went fine, until it died. It was not a prolonged death with symptoms. It was sudden. We were three guys with a dead car on a county road outside of Kellogg, Iowa. We knew a lot. After all, we were sophomores in college. Unfortunately, our sophomore smarts didn’t extend to fixing dead Toyotas.

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