April, 2016. GRR hosts a public forum in Brunswick to consider the impact of federal courts on reproductive rights.

It’s clear that although Washington DC can feel pretty far away, a new justice at the Supreme Court and federal judges on every level have a tremendous impact on everything from workers’ rights to reproductive rights, healthcare, gun laws, the environment and the financing of political campaigns. Eliza Townsend, the CEO of Maine Women’s Policy Center moderates the conversation including panelists Oamshri Amarasingham from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maine and Judy Kahrl of Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights (GRR).

Two years ago there were 43 positions for judges waiting to be filled in federal courts; at present there are 79 vacancies and Republicans in the Senate appear to be responsible for dramatically slowing the approval process. Could it be an attempt to prevent a Democrat in the White House from making appointments? According to the ACLU, “Courts play the vital roles of upholding the Constitution, protecting our civil liberties and rights, and ensuring we stay true to the balance of powers envisioned by our founders. Public forums like this one help us hold all branches of government accountable to the people.”

Elections in November could change the balance in the U.S. Senate.  GRR urges all voters to think about the courts when deciding how to vote!