Symposium Led By Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Will Include Federal Judges, Iowa High School Students and Educators
 
BUTLER COUNTY – As part of his longstanding effort to engage Iowans in our system of representative government, uphold the separation of powers and foster participation in civic life, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced plans to convene his second youth summit on Friday, November 12, in Des Moines to focus on the federal judiciary and its impact on daily life.
 
Grassley’s half-day symposium will feature U.S. District Judge, Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger, and Senior District Judge, James E. Gritzner. Thirty-seven schools in Central Iowa have been invited to participate in the program.
 
“Recent surveys reflect a declining trust in our institutions of government,” Grassley said. “It’s more important than ever to educate future generations of leaders about the roles and responsibilities of the three branches of the federal government and the rights and responsibilities of American citizenship. Whether exercising their constitutional freedoms, casting a vote at the ballot box, running for public office or serving on a jury, I want to encourage young people to engage in civic life and make a difference in their communities.
 
“By its nature, the federal judiciary typically doesn’t receive the same degree of public attention as elected officials in the other two branches of government. Some consider the judicial branch the weakest of the three branches of government and arguably the least understood, yet it bears tremendous influence on the daily lives of Americans long after a presidency or session of Congress ends.”  
 
One of the original standing committees in Congress, the Senate Judiciary Committee initiates the “advice and consent” process to vet the President’s Article III judicial nominations, including those for the Supreme Court, 13 appellate courts and 94 federal judicial districts. Iowa is served by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the federal courts for the Northern and Southern districts of Iowa.
 
Article III of the U.S. Constitution establishes the federal judiciary as an independent branch, bearing responsibility to uphold the rule of law and apply equal rights under the law for individual Americans.
 
In the 117th Congress, Grassley serves as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has exclusive legislative and oversight jurisdiction of the federal judiciary. He had previously served as chairman during the 114th and 115th Congresses. As ranking member of the influential Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley has a pivotal role in shaping the direction of the federal judiciary.
 
As chairman and then senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the 115th and 116th Congresses, Grassley played an instrumental role in the confirmation process of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. He shepherded numerous district and appeals court nominees through the upper chamber as leader of the prestigious committee. For many years, he’s led the effort to allow cameras in federal courtrooms to enhance transparency and increase public understanding of the federal court system.
 

“I look forward to another opportunity to engage in a dialogue with Iowa high school students about how the federal courts impact their families and way of life,” Grassley said. “Landmark rulings handed down by the Supreme Court affect free speech, religious liberty, privacy, affirmative action and due process relevant to the lives of students right here in Iowa. Understanding the federal judiciary at the district court and appellate court level, along with the role of the Supreme Court, is important. From randomized drug-testing to student-led prayer and search and seizure activity on school property, I have no doubt that high school students will come prepared with very good questions and an interest in gathering knowledge. It’s my goal they take away a better appreciation about the functions of the federal judiciary.”