U.S. Supreme Court

Joyce Russell/IPR

Governor Branstad says last week’s momentous U.S. Supreme Court ruling will not have a big impact in Iowa, since same-sex marriage has been well-established in the state since 2009.  

The governor today commented on the fact that county officials in other states may try to deny licenses to same-sex couples in protest.   

Branstad says he’s not aware of any way that could happen here.

Victoria Pickering / Flickr

As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling, Iowa’s health insurance model will remain intact.

King v. Burwell dealt with imprecise wording that called into question whether states participating in the federal healthcare exchange could receive subsidies that lower the cost of insurance premiums.

Because it uses a state-federal partnership exchange, it was unclear how much federal money Iowa stood to lose. But Pete Damiano of the University of Iowa’s Public Policy Center, says this ruling means Iowans will continue to receive federally-subsidized premiums.

Flickr / Jeff Kubina

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case next term involving a $5.8 million class-action lawsuit arising from a pork processing plant in northwest Iowa. Tyson Foods Inc. say that employees at its Storm Lake facility don't have enough in common to join in a single class-action lawsuit.

Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments over same-sex marriage yesterday, with Justice Anthony Kennedy saying that he’s not sure the court has the power to redefine an institution that has been around for “millennia.”

University of Northern Iowa associate political science professor Donna Hoffman says that at its core, it's a tricky statement.

Clay Masters / IPR

Iowa was only the third state in the nation to legalize same sex marriage, but it was the first to do it unanimously.

Tom Witosky and Marc Hansen wrote “Equal Before the Law: How Iowa Led Americans to Marriage Equality.” Witosky says the unanimity of the decision and Iowa’s moderate reputation helped sway national public opinion towards marriage equality. He points out that polls started shifting significantly in favor of same sex marriage in 2009, the year after the Varnum vs. Brien decision.

Penn State / flickr

NPR legal affairs correspondent, Nina Totenberg, has covered the U.S. Supreme Court for many years, translating court cases and generating interest in the judicial system with audiences all over the country.

Jeff Kubina / flickr

Has the U.S. Supreme Court become a partisan institution? According to polls, many Americans think so.

The Iowa Supreme Court  ruled that the Iowa bar exam will remain a requirement to practice law in the state.    The Iowa State Bar Association had sought to  waive the exam for graduates of Iowa law schools.

Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress

While some say this year's Supreme Court session was conservative, others have characterized it as consistent.


We often like to think of states in terms of red and blue, and people in terms of Democrats, Republicans and Independents.  But, the Pew Research Center finds our politics offers many more shades of gray.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with a Pew researcher about their latest political typology study and what hints it might provide for the upcoming midterm elections.  Are you a "Young Outsider," or a "Hard Pressed Skeptic?"  You can take the quiz

Nicholas Eckhart

Monday's U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of Hobby Lobby can be seen as "narrow" or "broad" - depending on how it's looked at. Today on River to River, we ask a political scientist and a legal expert what implications this ruling has for the future.

Today's guests include: Scott Peters, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Northern Iowa, and Mark Kende, Professor of Law at Drake and the Director of the Drake Constitutional Law Center.

U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling yesterday that upholds Michigan's right to bar racial preference in college admissions.  Or, at least we think so.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Associate Professor of Political Science Tim Hagle from University of Iowa, and Joan and Abbott Lipsky Professor of Political Science Bruce Nesmith of Coe College about the ruling and what it means.  The opinions are confusing at best.  They also discuss the conflict in Ukraine, and the grassroots mobilization around a 2016 presidential run for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

401(K)2012 / flickr

Four years after the Citizens United ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has made a landmark decision that frees the nation's wealthiest donors to have greater influence in federal elections. Today on politics day, analysis of the court's decision.

Host Ben Kieffer talks with political analysts Stephen Schmidt and Timothy Hagle.

Also, a last-minute enrollment surge enabled the White House to meet its original sign-up target for the Affordable Care Act, a surprising victory for the Obama administration. How does this change the political landscape?

An anti-abortion group is waiting to hear if the  U.S. Supreme Court  will  reconsider  a ruling on  an Iowa campaign finance law.   Iowa passed its statute in response to the landmark case known as Citizens United.  

Iowa Right to Life says the law prevents  them from supporting  candidates who oppose abortion.     

The Iowa Attorney General is also waiting to hear if the U.S. Supreme Court will take on the case.  

William & Mary ACS

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013-2014 term started this month and after last year’s series of surprising and tumultuous rulings eyes again are trained on the nation’s highest court.

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The U.S.

cool revolution / flickr

On Politics Wednesday on River to River, guest host Dean Borg talks about recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions.  Guests include political analysts Donna Hoffman, Professor and Chair of Political Science at University of Northern Iowa and Tim Hagle, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Iowa.  Iowa Congressman Steve King also gives his reaction to the rulings and gives an update on the Farm Bill from Washington D.C.

deltaMike / flickr

Between now and the end of June, decisions will be made on a number of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Host Ben Kieffer gets analysis on some of the biggest cases: concerning affirmative action, voting rights, same-sex marriage, and the Defense of Marriage Act. It's River to River's Politics Wednesday.  

Juvenile Sentencing

Mar 11, 2013
Paul "710928003" / flickr

Bills making their way through the legislative process would set sentencing options for juveniles convicted of first-degree murder.  The debate comes after a U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled juvenile offenders can not be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.  But, how much time is enough?  40, 50 or even 60 years?  Today on River to River, we talk about the legislation and how the courts have ruled on the treatment of juvenile offenders.

Katie Harbath / Flickr

Recently, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke in court for the first time in almost seven years.

Ben Kieffers talks with  Todd Pettys and Song Richardson, two faculty members from the University Of Iowa College of Law. They discuss key cases before nation’s highest court this year including the constitutionality of California’s Prop 8, which bans same-sex marriage, and DOMA, The Defense of Marriage Act.

On today's "River to River", we take look at the inner workings of the Iowa Supreme Court -  including patterns emerging that provide clues as to how individual judges view issues before the court.  Katherine talks with Des Moines attorney Ryan Koopmans who’s analyzed Iowa Supreme Court Decisions over the past year. Later, host Ben Kieffer talks with author and historian Lawrence Goldstone. Goldstone has studied the U.S. Supreme Court and its interpretation of several amendments to the Constitution.

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the health care mandate proposed by President Obama. Today on "River to River", we hear what Iowans have to say about the decision. We also speak with political science professor, Dennis Goldford, on how the ruling may affect Iowa voters. Later in the program, Drake University President David Maxwell joins us as part of our summer series of conversations with Iowa university and college presidents. We’ll talk about what private universities can do to be attractive and affordable during a challenging economy.