Neil Gorsuch isn’t the only conservative legal thinker who has been appointed to a judicial bench during the new administration. So far this year, 19 federal judges have been nominated by President Trump and confirmed by the Senate. Many of these vacancies have been filled in the last several months. This acceleration in confirmations is due largely to Senate Republican leaders working around roadblocks put in place by Senate Democrats to stop the appointment of judges who will faithfully interpret the Constitution and law, not attempt to “write law” from the bench.
Two of the most recent appointments to circuit courts have strong ties to the Family Policy Alliance network. Don Willett was recently confirmed to sit on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and is closely connected to Texas Values, Family Policy Alliance’s allied organization in Texas.
Also, Steve Grasz, who was confirmed to sit on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, was formerly on the board of the Nebraska Family Alliance and his son, Nate Grasz, now serves as the organization’s Policy Director.
Karen Bowling, Nebraska Family Alliance’s Executive Director, shared her congratulations to the Grasz family: “We congratulate Steve Grasz and his family on his confirmation to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. The U.S. Senate confirmed a constitutionalist with a proven public service record in Nebraska who will serve with integrity and judicial prudence for years to come.”
These men have shown a commitment to faithfully interpreting the Constitution, a record of interpreting the law rather than legislating from the bench, and an upstanding character and worldview. These two men should be an encouragement to all families to see judges in our country with this type of character restoring the proper role of the judiciary. And, these two men should be an encouragement to lawmakers working hard to pass good laws that protect families, life and religious freedom—with these two men, pro-family lawmakers do not have to fear that their good laws will be overturned by activist judges.
U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs ruled Missouri’s laws establishing health and safety standards for abortion clinics are likely unconstitutional. Sachs cited last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which said states cannot place restrictions that create an “undue burden” for women.
Missouri’s attorney general has vowed to appeal the ruling.
Joe Ortwerth, executive director of the Missouri Family Policy Council, one of Family Policy Alliance’s 40 state-based allies, sponsored one of the laws as a legislator and said the ruling has emboldened Planned Parenthood.
“Judge Sachs has demonstrated through this ruling his callous and cavalier disregard for the health of women who find themselves at the mercy of slipshod abortionists,” he said. “The laws struck down by Judge Sachs have been on the books for three decades in our state, and are consistent with reputable medical standards for outpatient surgical facilities. Missouri currently has only one full-time abortion clinic that can meet those safety standards. Now, we will see four new abortion clinics open in our state where the operators will have no obligation to provide responsible care to women who will often be victimized by unsafe and unsterile procedures.”
The ruling seems out of step at a time when more and more pro-life bills are being passed at the state level. Eric Teetsel, executive director of Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, worries the ideology will spill over into his state.
“In the last several years, the Kansas Legislature has passed, and Gov. Sam Brownback has signed, at least 18 pro-life laws” he said. “Clearly, honoring the dignity of the unborn, safeguarding the health and safety of women, and preserving the rights of parents is of foremost importance to the citizens of our state. Yet, all too often, unelected judges have imposed their personal politics upon the voters. Such acts of raw judicial power are unjust and un-American.
“I stand with Gov. Greitens, Attorney General Hawley, and the people of Missouri as they push back against an example of such judicial activism in their state. May they prevail and provide a warning to judges elsewhere that the people will not stand by and watch as their will is ignored and undermined.”