Judge Robert Pratt legacy thread

Former U.S. Attorney Stephanie Rose was sworn in yesterday as a federal judge. She is the youngest federal judge currently serving as well as the first woman on the bench in the Southern District of Iowa. The Senate confirmed Rose in September by 89 votes to 1.

In remarks prepared for Rose’s investiture, Senator Tom Harkin predicted her “legal skills and knowledge” and “great sense of justice and fairness” would make her a “superb judge.” He recommended Rose for U.S. attorney and later put her on the short list for the federal judgeship.

I was struck by Harkin’s comments about the retired Judge Robert Pratt, whom Rose replaces. I enclose those comments below, along with links on some of Pratt’s most influential decisions.

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Stephanie Rose to be first woman federal judge in southern district of Iowa

Last night the U.S. Senate confirmed Stephanie Rose to be a federal judge for the southern district of Iowa by a vote of 89 to 1. Iowa Senators Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley both strongly supported Rose’s nomination. I’ve posted their floor statements after the jump.

Rose will be the first woman to serve as a federal judge in the southern district of Iowa. She was one of three women Harkin recommended for this vacancy last year. Harkin also recommended Rose for the position of U.S. attorney in Iowa’s northern district of Iowa, to which she was confirmed in November 2009.

Rose’s work on the Postville cases in 2008, when she was assistant U.S. attorney for the northern district of Iowa, sparked opposition to her appointment as U.S. attorney and as a federal judge. During her Senate confirmation hearing in March of this year, Rose disavowed any role in devising the legal tactics used against undocumented immigrants swept up in the Postville raids. The U.S. Supreme Court later invalidated the use of aggravated identity theft charges in cases similar to those of the Postville defendants. Harkin defended Rose’s involvement in the Postville cases.

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Former Postville interpreter makes case against Stephanie Rose as judge

Last month President Barack Obama nominated Stephanie Rose, U.S. attorney for Iowa’s northern district, for a federal judgeship in Iowa’s southern district. If confirmed, Rose would become the first woman to serve as a district judge in Iowa’s southern district. Today the Des Moines Register published an opinion piece urging U.S. senators not to “rubber-stamp” Rose’s nomination.  

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Year in review: Iowa politics in 2009 (part 2)

Following up on my review of news from the first half of last year, I’ve posted links to Bleeding Heartland’s coverage of Iowa politics from July through December 2009 after the jump.

Hot topics on this blog during the second half of the year included the governor’s race, the special election in Iowa House district 90, candidates announcing plans to run for the state legislature next year, the growing number of Republicans ready to challenge Representative Leonard Boswell, state budget constraints, and a scandal involving the tax credit for film-making.

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