Senate Republicans have just confirmed Howard Nielson to a lifetime appointment on the federal bench. A longtime conservative activist, Nielson has argued against same-sex marriage, against same-sex couples being allowed to raise children, and against the decision to declare California’s Prop 8 unconstitutional, claiming the judge in that case could not objectively rule because he is gay.
The vote late Wednesday afternoon was 51-47, along party lines, with only Maine’s Republican Senator Susan Collins voting no.
Nielson, who opposes same-sex marriage on the grounds same-sex couples cannot reproduce without assistance, has also argued against the Affordable Care Act, and against equal opportunity and affirmative action. He has also argued to uphold laws designed to make it even harder for women to obtain abortions, and argued against common-sense gun laws designed to increase public safety.
But Nielson may be best-known for working on the team at DOJ that produced the “torture memos” which President George W. Bush used to order the infliction of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including waterboarding, which is an international war crime. His remarks, (and his own “torture memo,”) in defense of his then-colleague were in support of the argument allowing torture.
Nielson will be sworn in as U.S. District Judge for the District of Utah.
How Teach for America evolved into an arm of the charter school movement
When the Walton Family Foundation announced in 2013 that it was donating $20 million to Teach For America to recruit and train nearly 4,000 teachers for low-income schools, its press release did not reveal the unusual terms for the grant.
Documents obtained by ProPublica show that the foundation, a staunch supporter of school choice and Teach For America’s largest private funder, was paying $4,000 for every teacher placed in a traditional public school — and $6,000 for every one placed in a charter school. The two-year grant was directed at nine cities where charter schools were sprouting up, including New Orleans; Memphis, Tennessee; and Los Angeles.
Why do conservatives hate Oberlin College so much?
Here are 5 reasons why 2020’s down-ballot races could reshape America’s future
The political press always tends to focus mostly on the marquee race for the White House but that's especially true this cycle, as Donald Trump runs for a second term. He demands attention and his antics enrage his opponents and delight his supporters in equal measure.
But national reporters risk missing the big picture by centering so much of their reporting at the top when many of the most important political battles in 2020 will take place further down the ballot.
Trump is catnip for reporters and their editors, but the dearth of coverage of downballot races didn't begin with his election. As the news media in general faces structural changes—with print circulation declining and much of their work moving into digital spaces that are more difficult to monetize--publishers have cut back on reporters assigned to the state and local government beat. Nevertheless, Trump has arguably worsened the trend by getting so much airtime— one estimate suggested that over the past four years, Trump has taken up, on average, 15 percent of the entire daily news cycle on the three leading cable networks, nearly three times what Obama did.