Only one way for Ernst, Grassley to show respect for Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Jewish new year began in the worst way possible on September 18, with the passing of one of the most influential Jewish Americans. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s work as an attorney and over decades of service as a judge, culminating in 27 years on the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley praised Ginsburg’s legacy in written statements, and Ernst offered prayers and an apology of sorts after her campaign sent out a gross fundraising appeal soon after the justice’s death was announced.

But words in a press release have no lasting value. Iowa’s senators have one chance to honor “the notorious RBG”: by letting the voters decide who should appoint her successor.

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Lawsuit challenges Paul Pate's limits on ballot drop boxes

Two groups charge in a lawsuit filed this week that Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate exceeded his authority and violated the Iowa Constitution by restricting the placement of drop boxes for absentee ballots in guidance issued this month.

The League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa (LULAC) and Majority Forward argued that Pate infringed on the “home rule” authority of Iowa counties as well as on individuals’ fundamental constitutional right to vote.

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The Joni Ernst/Chuck Grassley combo in Iowa's U.S. Senate races

Herb Strentz explores rhetoric from Iowa’s 2014 and 2020 U.S. Senate campaigns and finds parallels between our two Republican senators. -promoted by Laura Belin

Labor Day in even-numbered years usually brings more public interest in politics and the final stage of hopeful campaigns for Congress or the presidency.

This time around, many are driven by dread — dread of elections past, and, oh yeah, fears for the one coming on November 3.

Small wonder, given what “We the people” have inflicted upon ourselves.

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Republicans press weak case against Linn, Johnson absentee mailings

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and four Republican Party entities filed suit on August 12, seeking to invalidate tens of thousands of absentee ballot request forms in two large, Democratic-leaning Iowa counties. The plaintiffs allege Linn County Auditor Joel Miller and Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert committed “illegal actions” when they mailed absentee ballot request forms that were pre-printed with voters’ information.

The Republican lawsuit is heavy on political posturing but fails to lay out a convincing legal case.

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Iowa's Ag Gag 3.0 may get past courts

It took them long enough.

After federal courts blocked two laws designed to suppress unauthorized access to livestock production facilities, Iowa lawmakers approved and Governor Kim Reynolds signed a third attempt to keep animal rights activists from filming or photographing conditions inside farm buildings or slaughterhouses. This time, the legislature finally took the path state attorneys recommended way back in 2011: beef up the trespassing law as applied to agriculture, without reference to speech or expression.

The new law has a realistic chance to survive a court challenge.

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Republicans found shortcut around Iowa Supreme Court on abortion

Spirits lifted in the pro-choice community when Iowa House Majority Leader Matt Windschitl did not call up a constitutional amendment on abortion shortly after the legislature reconvened this month.

Republican leaders wanted to pass the amendment, which had advanced from committee months earlier. When a high-profile bill doesn’t come to the floor, it often means the majority party doesn’t have the votes for final passage.

Indeed, at least three of the 53 House Republicans resisted immense pressure to vote for legislation designed to overturn an Iowa Supreme Court ruling protecting “the constitutional right of women to terminate a pregnancy.”

Unfortunately, the holdouts agreed to a last-minute abortion restriction that may provide a faster way to undo the high court’s work.

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