U.S. Senate Confirms Attorney With Pro-Life Track Record to Federal Court

December 13, 2017 | Posted in Abortion, Judicial Confirmations | By

Yesterday the U.S. Senate confirmed judicial nominee Steve Grasz.

Mr. Grasz is a Nebraska attorney President Trump nominated to fill a vacancy on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals last August.

In November, a committee from the American Bar Association labeled Mr. Grasz unqualified to serve as a judge because of his pro-life work as an attorney.

The American Bar Association committee cited Mr. Grasz’s “pro-life agenda,” saying his personal convictions “created a lack of objectivity” and that Mr. Grasz’s “passionately-held social agenda appeared to overwhelm and obscure the ability to exercise dispassionate and unbiased judgment.”

No one should be barred from public service for being pro-life. While it is impossible to know for sure, Mr. Grasz’s track record working for the Nebraska Attorney General’s office leads us to believe he will make an excellent federal judge.

During his time with the A.G.’s office, Mr. Grasz helped defend Nebraska’s pro-life law banning partial-birth abortions before the U.S. Supreme Court. Although the court ultimately struck down the law in Stenberg v. Carhart, the ruling paved the way for a federal law banning partial-birth abortion; that law was upheld in Gonzalez v. Carhart.

In 1999 Mr. Grasz helped file an amicus brief in support of Texas public schools after a lower court ruled student-led prayer at public school sporting events was unconstitutional.

As a justice in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, Mr. Grasz will help preside over cases affecting Arkansas — including, possibly, some of Arkansas’ pro-life cases that are currently pending in federal court.

Trump’s Judicial Nominee Looks Promising for Arkansas

August 9, 2017 | Posted in Judicial Confirmations | By

Last week President Trump announced a slate of judicial nominees. Among them are Leonard Steven Grasz, whom Trump has nominated to serve on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals–the federal appeals court over Arkansas.

Mr. Grasz is currently an attorney in Nebraska. He has served in the Nebraska Attorney General’s office.

During his time with the A.G., Mr. Grasz helped defend Nebraska’s pro-life law banning partial-birth abortions before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Although the court ultimately struck down the law in Stenberg v. Carhart, the ruling paved the way for a federal law banning partial-birth abortion; that law was upheld in Gonzalez v. Carhart.

In 1999 Mr. Grasz helped file an amicus brief in support of Texas public schools after a lower court ruled student-led prayer at public school sporting events was unconstitutional.

So what does this mean for Arkansas? Well, since Arkansas is in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, it means Mr. Grasz could hear federal challenges brought against state laws–such as Arkansas’ new pro-life laws.

Of course, with any judicial nominee it’s impossible to know for sure what the future holds, but given his track record, Mr. Grasz’s nomination to the Eighth Circuit looks promising.

Trump’s Judicial Nominee Could Bode Well for Arkansas

May 10, 2017 | Posted in Judicial Confirmations | By

This week President Trump unveiled a slate of nominees for federal court positions. One nominee to watch is Judge David Stras, whom Trump nominated to fill a vacancy on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals–the federal appeals court over Arkansas.

Judge Stras was originally on President Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees. He is currently a member of the Minnesota Supreme Court. He graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law, and he clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who is one of the more conservative justices on the court.

Judge Stras is generally considered a conservative who believes in limiting the power of the courts. In 2014 he wrote in a dissenting opinion regarding the Minnesota Supreme Court’s interpretation of state law,

It is well established that the judiciary does not write statutes; nor do we amend them, no matter the circumstances . . . Amending statutes is, and always has been, the Legislature’s job, particularly.

So what does this mean for Arkansas? Well, since Arkansas is in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, it means Judge Stras could hear federal challenges brought against state laws–such as Arkansas’ new pro-life laws.

Given that Judge Stras seems reluctant to strike or rewrite state laws, his nomination to the Eighth Circuit could bode well for any lawsuits filed over, for example, Arkansas’ new ban on dismemberment abortion or the new law preventing abortion doctors from selling organs harvested from aborted babies.

Of course, with any judicial nominee it’s impossible to know for sure what the future holds, but Judge Stras’ nomination to the Eighth Circuit looks promising.