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Grassley Youth Summit Engages Students in Federal Judiciary

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA – Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today hosted a youth summit in Cedar Rapids which focused on the federal judiciary and its impact on daily lives. Students and educators from more than 20 schools throughout Northeast Iowa were in attendance to hear from and ask questions of Grassley, as well as Judge Michael J. Melloy of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Chief Judge John Jarvey of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. 
The “Federal Judiciary 101 Youth Summit” was part of Grassley’s longstanding effort to engage Iowans in America’s system of representative government and to foster participation in civic life.
“It’s more important than ever to educate and engage 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. That’s what my youth summit was about,” Grassley said. “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 participate in civic life and make a difference in their communities.”
Grassley has served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which vets and processes nominees for federal judgeships, since the beginning of 2015. While Grassley has a pivotal role in sending qualified, independent-minded judges to the federal judiciary, he believes it’s just as important to help educate and excite the next generation about America’s justice system.
“This program was amazing because I got to see a whole new sector of the way the government functions and the judicial branch, which I’ve never seen before,” said Marika Yang, a junior at Cedar Falls High School. “I was really curious about learning about the different aspects of the three branches and this gave me a whole new perspective on everything. It was really great to hear that from Senator Grassley.”
During his Q&A with participating students, Grassley provided details about how senators recommend judicial nominees to the White House, the vetting and background check process of judicial nominees and the process a judicial nominee goes through before being appointed. Grassley also talked about the separation of powers and the government’s checks and balances system, and answered questions directly from students.
"It’s not often high school students have an opportunity to connect with and ask questions of a U.S. senator and federal judges in an open forum, especially students from small schools like ours," said Taylor Anderson, principal of Wapsie Valley High School in Fairbank, Iowa. "It's a unique experience for our students to engage in important conversations, and this being Senator Grassley's first-ever summit, we wouldn't have missed it. Youth does have a say in government and this type of event helps encourage that."
Throughout his public service, Grassley champions good government and works tirelessly to hold the government and public officials accountable. Earlier this year, Grassley launched his 38th consecutive year conducting meetings with Iowans in each of Iowa’s 99 counties. 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.
Participating schools included:
Charles City High School, Nashua-Plainfield High School, Sumner-Fredericksburg High School, South Tama High School, Cedar Falls High School, East Buchanan High School, Wapsie Valley High School, Alburnett High School, George Washington High School, Prairie High School, Linn-Mar High School, Marion High School, West Delaware High School, West Branch High School, Western Dubuque High School, Belmond-Klemme High School, Waterloo East High School, Cascade High School, Dunkerton High School and GMG High School.
Pictures from Grassley’s Federal Judiciary 101 Youth Summit are available here.