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IA-Sen: WaPo, “Joni Ernst (R) is now in trouble. Trump is a huge part of her problem.”

5 min read

Bull shit:

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) says she doesn’t think the Supreme Court will overturn its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling, even though she signed a brief urging the court to do so earlier this year.
“I think the likelihood of Roe v. Wade being overturned is very minimal. I don’t see that happening,” Ernst said Monday while facing off against Democrat Theresa Greenfield in a debate hosted by Iowa PBS.
Ernst’s comments were followed an hour later by Montana GOP Sen. Steve Daines arguing it was unlikely the court would strike down the Affordable Care Act because of a lawsuit he has long supported.

That’s not what Trump said:

Donald Trump has said it “is certainly possible” Amy Coney Barrett will be part of a supreme court decision overturning Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling which made abortion legal in the US.

“She is certainly conservative in her views, in her rulings, and we’ll have to see how that all works out, but I think it will work out,” the president told Fox & Friends Weekend of his new nominee.
Asked if Barrett, if confirmed, would be part of a 6-3 conservative-liberal ruling “on a life issue”, Trump said: “It’s certainly possible. And maybe they do it in a different way. Maybe they’d give it back to the states. You just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Here’s what Barrett has said in the past about abortion:

“If anything, the public response to controversial cases like Roe (v. Wade) reflects public rejection of the proposition that (precedent) can declare a permanent victor in a divisive constitutional struggle rather than desire that precedent remain forever unchanging. Court watchers embrace the possibility of overruling, even if they may want it to be the exception rather than the rule.” — 2013 article in the Texas Law Review, citing Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling that recognized a woman’s right to abortion.


“I think it is very unlikely at this point that the court is going to overturn (Roe v. Wade). … The fundamental element, that the woman has a right to choose abortion, will probably stand.” — 2013 lecture at Notre Dame on the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling.


“I don’t think abortion or the right to abortion would change. I think some of the restrictions would change … The question is how much freedom the court is willing to let states have in regulating abortion.” — 2016 remarks on how a conservative Supreme Court could alter current law on abortion, saying it wasn’t likely to try and overturn Roe v. Wade. She said the questions the high court would be willing to address would be states’ restrictions on abortions, including how abortion clinics operate.

I’ll let  Brian T. Fitzpatrick, a former law clerk to the justice and a law professor at Vanderbilt University, chime in here:

Professor Fitzpatrick said he was certain of one thing. “I’m sure she thinks that Roe v. Wade is not a well-reasoned Supreme Court decision,” he said. “The hard question is whether she would be willing to overturn it.”

Should Judge Barrett succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republican appointees would outnumber Democratic ones by a 6-to-3 margin, and, based on their voting records, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, another Trump nominee, could replace Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. as the swing vote.

And the chief justice, who has occasionally voted with what had been a four-member liberal wing in cases on health care, abortion and immigration, would have less incentive to do so on a reconfigured court.

Steve Benen at MSNBC points out this is a weird move on Ernst’s part:

But Ernst's assurances are, at face value, bizarre: many voters on the right elected Republicans to power for precisely this purpose. Plenty of conservatives were skeptical of Donald Trump, for example, but they overlooked his corruption and scandals so that he'd appoint right-wing justices and the right to an abortion would end.

And yet, there's the far-right Iowan — herself an opponent of abortion rights — telling voters there's only a “very minimal” chance Roe will be overturned, despite the obvious judicial arithmetic.

Why would Ernst say this? It's likely that the GOP senator, like others in her party, simply hope Americans don't fully realize the consequences of what the party is about to do — because if voters recognized how much society is poised to change as a result of an even-more-conservative Supreme Court, Republican officials and candidates would face an even more challenging electoral landscape in 2020.

Josh Israel at The American Independent for point this out:

But following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Ernst has backed Donald Trump's scheme to rush through his nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, weeks before the election.

Reporter Caroline Cummings reminded Ernst during the debate that she was explicitly contradicting her own past comments. “Senator, in 2018 when the Republicans controlled the Senate and we had a Republican, Donald Trump, president, you doubled down on the position that should be held off until after the election. So how is that different?”

Ernst ignored the question.

“The president has made a nomination and so as a member of the Judiciary Committee I will do my duty,” she said. “We will vet the nominee, we know who the nominee is now and we will move forward with that nominee. Bottom line, what I won't allow to happen is the radical left to move forward and pack the court.”

Iowa politico Art Cullen has a great piece in The Washington Post explaining how Trump is costing Ernst her re-election bid against Theresa Greenfield (D. IA)

Not long ago, 60 percent of Iowans approved of Ernst’s performance. Now, the same percentage disapproves. They tell the Iowa Poll that Ernst has not done enough for Iowa — a criticism that felled past senators such as Dick Clark, John Culver and Roger Jepsen before her.

Trump is a huge part of Ernst’s problem. She stood by him when he started trade wars with our biggest ag export customers: China, Mexico and Canada. Then, Trump toyed with the ethanol industry for three years while prices plummeted. And the pandemic is out of control in Iowa while Congress dithers over aid. Among Ernst’s biggest shortcomings is that she has not done enough to help Cedar Rapids, the state’s second-largest city, which was clobbered by the 140 mph winds of an August derecho.

It’s a key purple city that can easily swing blue and offset conservative advantages in rural areas.

Let’s keep up the momentum and flip Iowa Blue. Click below to donate and get involved with Greenfield, Biden, and their fellow Iowa Democrats campaigns:

Joe Biden


Theresa Greenfield

Abby Finkenauer

Cindy Axne

Rita Hart

JD Scholten

Iowa Democratic Party

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