Courts matter—look no further than President Trump’s “travel ban” executive orders, which have been stalled by federal district court judges in three different jurisdictions and by a three-judge federal appellate panel. And as the public considers the importance of the Supreme Court and legislators weigh Trump’s nominee to it, Neil Gorsuch, many journalists, including those with the New York Times and Washington Post, have sought to determine the possible ideological impact of Trump’s appointments to the lower federal courts. Few analyses, though, are focused on how Trump’s decisions will affect demographic diversity within the federal courts. At the end of Obama’s presidency, the U.S. had hit a milestone: only half its federal judges were white men.
The Trump administration has made opposition to trade and offshoring a hallmark of its economic and social policies. Its “America First” strategy, which President Trump introduced in his inaugural address, paints globalization in especially stark and violent terms: “The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world… We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.” The focus on the destruction of jobs has been central to Trump’s campaign and his early presidency, and appears to be a very targeted message: we are going to save the jobs of white, working class men.
The expansion in imprisonment rates in the U.S. since the 1970s is well known. Less well-reported, however, has been the way this expansion affected women. Although a small share of the prison population (7 percent), women’s imprisonment rates grew faster during the prison boom and have seen a slower decline since 2010. By 2015, over 110,000 women were in prison nationwide—of which, nearly 50% were women of color. Women have unique pathways into and out of prison: women behind bars are more likely to be parents, to have histories of drug use and family trauma, and to be raped while in prison.
Since November there’s been an upsurge in local, national and international marches where protestors carry signs that read: “Build Bridges, Not Walls.” They are responding, of course, to the Trump Administration’s long-promised Border Wall. And they are reiterating something scholars already know: even where there are border walls, creative community building, so often spear-headed by women, easily blurs boundaries.
Prescription drugs in recent years have experienced breathtaking price hikes and occasionally have proven dangerous after they have gone on the market. What is happening with these issues since the Trump administration took office? For one, President Trump announced recently his intention to roll back FDA regulations as much as 75%. Scott Gottlieb has just been named Trump’s choice to lead the FDA, and he as well as the other two candidates, Jim O’Neill and Joseph Gulfo, called for streamlining regulatory procedures. Jim O’Neill even called for drugs to be tested only for safety. Once marketed, individuals can take new drugs “at their own risk” and thereby prove – or disprove – their effectiveness.
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