Biden Administration to Nominate Federal Judge for Western District of Arkansas

The Biden-Harris Administration will soon nominate a federal district judge to fill a vacancy in Arkansas’ Western District.

U.S. District Judge Paul Holmes, III, of Fort Smith took Senior Status effective November 10, 2021.

Senior Status is a form of semiretirement for federal judges. It means the president will need to nominate a new judge to fill the position full time.

There are currently some 77 judicial vacancy in America and more than two dozens nominees pending before congress.

As of last week, President Biden has not nominated anyone to fill Judge Holmes’ position on the court.

U.S. District Court nominations rarely receive very much attention, but they are critical judicial positions.

When a state law is challenged in federal court, district judges are the first to hear the case. Right now many of the district judges in Arkansas — including U.S. District Judges Paul Holmes, James Moody, and Kristine Baker — are Obama appointees.

Because our district courts lean to the left, Arkansas often loses court cases over abortion and other social issues at the lower level, but we get better rulings from the more conservative judges on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

It doesn’t look like those dynamics are going to change under President Biden. However, it will be interesting to see who he nominates to replace Judge Holmes in the coming weeks.

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton Introduces Measure to Expand Family Leave, Provide Tax Credit for Miscarriages and Stillbirths

On Thursday U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R – AR) and U.S. Sen. Ashley Hinson (R – IA) filed the HEALING Mothers and Fathers Act.

The proposed legislation amends the federal 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Among other things, the measure adds “spontaneous loss of an unborn child” as a qualifying medical condition for leave under FMLA, and it establishes a $3,600 tax credit for any mother or couple that suffers the loss of a child in the womb.

The bill also prevents federal Title X funds from going to abortionists or to anyone who offers abortion referrals.

This would help stem the tide of taxpayer funds currently directed to organizations like Planned Parenthood.

Family Council has joined with Arkansas Right to Life, the National Right to Life Committee, and other pro-life organizations in endorsing this good measure.

Sen. Cotton issued multiple statements explaining the HEALING Mothers and Fathers Act , writing,

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows employees to take leave for serious health conditions. However, many miscarriages and still births fail to meet the definition for a ‘serious health condition’ under FMLA, meaning the mother and her spouse may not qualify for leave.

In the event of a still birth, parents are more likely to face unexpected financial costs. This is due to uninsured
expenses, costs associated with preparing for a baby, and in some cases, longer hospital stays, genetic testing
costs, and burial expenses.

No amount of financial compensation can take away a family’s pain. However, Congress can ensure that
grieving parents can take time to mourn the loss of their unborn child and ease additional costs they may face
in the event of still birth.

The HEALING Mothers and Fathers Act is similar to Arkansas’ Act 935 of 2021 — also known as Paisley’s Law — which the Arkansas Legislature enacted earlier this year.

Act 935 provides Arkansans with a $500 income tax credit for the stillbirth of a child at or after 20 weeks gestation.

Arkansas also has enacted legislation over the years to de-fund abortionists.

You can read the HEALING Mothers and Fathers Act here.

Photo Credit: Michael Vadon, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Drug Overdose Rose Dramatically In Arkansas: CDC Report

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control shows drug overdose deaths have risen dramatically in Arkansas.

The CDC report analyzed drug overdose deaths across the country from May of 2020 through April of 2021.

Overall, drug overdose fatalities rose approximately 29% nationwide, but they increased a drastic 33% in Arkansas during that time.

Among other things, the CDC’s report found overdose deaths increased due to fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, and natural and semi-synthetic opioids such as prescription pain medication.

Writing at Breakpoint.org, John Stonestreet and Maria Baer note,

Drug overdose was the eighth leading cause of death in the United States last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. From May 2020 to April 2021, an estimated 100,300 Americans died from an overdose. That’s a roughly 30 percent increase over the year before, and officials believe this year could be even worse.  

Experts point to a few things to explain the deadly spike, including the flooding of the drug market by the extremely potent and dangerous synthetic opioid Fentanyl.

But the pandemic lockdowns share the blame. Not only was the social isolation harmful to the mental health of many, but the lockdowns and the often illogical restrictions on medical care hindered addiction treatment

The drug epidemic isn’t fun to debate on Twitter. It’s not just another political football. It is an emergency. The Church has to step in here, and quickly — not just to help our neighbors who might be struggling, but to advocate on their behalf to our leaders. This is the pandemic that’s not waning. We have to pay attention.

Copyright 2021 by the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Reprinted from BreakPoint.org with permission.

We couldn’t agree more.