Expanding the Federal Judiciary Is Not About ‘Packing’ the Courts—It’s About *Saving* Them

The Senate’s set to leave for the year on Dec. 15. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has urged his Senate colleagues to treat judicial nominations as a priority and to prepare “to stay in Washington until we finish our work.” (Trump had confirmed 187 judges by the end of 2019. President Joe Biden had secured 153 as of Thanksgiving.)

But it’s not enough to confirm nominees to the seats that exist; we need to expand the courts. Here’s the case for expanding the federal judiciary.

Shine Your Light: Reflections on ‘Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé’

Renaissance—Beyoncé Knowles-Carter’s fifth self-directed film—is about how to shine your light, how to give others shine, and how to sit in darkness until the light comes again.

In this season of light, we have a tremendous opportunity to observe a Black woman in her prime at 42 years old making art, working at her craft, raising her children, and surrounded by a strong network.

The Woman Behind SNAP: Leonor Sullivan’s Legacy Continues

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is the nation’s most important food assistance programs for low-income Americans, and one of its most important anti-poverty measures.

Former Representative Leonor Sullivan (D-Mo.) was one of only 11 women in the House in 1953, and came to Congress determined to help her constituents. Sullivan’s legislative strategy, aided by growing urban, Democratic power in the House, eventually led Congress to approve food stamp “pilot projects,” which ultimately laid the groundwork for SNAP.

Why Are Women Experts Still Excluded From Peace Talks Across the Globe?

The number of women and girls living in conflict-affected countries reached 614 million in 2022—50 percent higher than the number in 2017. To end war and bring lasting peace, women must be involved at the highest levels of peacemaking and peace-building processes, no matter the size or shakiness of the proverbial negotiating table. And regardless of how many men with or without guns dominate the proceedings.

“Men are making the decisions, but it’s the women that feel the impact more. [That’s why] it’s really important for women to be part of the decision-making when it involves peace and security.”

There’s Been a Major Increase in Abortion Pill Access—Thanks to COVID-19 and Dobbs

Over the last several years, in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and in response to the COVID pandemic, activists developed interstate telemedicine abortion services and community support networks that are now providing abortion pills to people living in all 50 states, including states with bans.

As a result, abortion pills are now more accessible and affordable than ever before.

We’ve Gone Over the Childcare Cliff. Now What?

On Sept. 30, Congress let federal childcare stabilization grant funding expire. What happens next?

First, providers will be forced to raise tuition prices to offset the loss of stabilization grants. Then, staffing shortages. Finally, childcare programs—as many as 70,000 by our projections—will have to shut down altogether.

The good news: If Congress can get their act together to fund emergency childcare before the end of the calendar year, they can stem the worst of these consequences.

How the World Is Letting Girls Fall Behind

The world is letting girls fall behind at an alarming rate. This International Day of the Girl, the world must reassess its commitments to girls everywhere—for a flourishing world and, most importantly, for the individual health, rights and well-being of each girl, no matter what. 

Girls will reach their fullest potential when global governments comprehensively prioritize their education, safety, health and autonomy.

Why I Want to Build a Better Democracy

As a young girl in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Iran, I never expected to be fighting for democracy in the United States.

We are linguistic and ethnic strangers, yet we are family and are at home in the United States. And we are one among many here. That spirit of welcome is the spirit that should propel us toward the new democracy we want—and need. It’s what should animate us as we build a new democracy that we can all call home.

The Violence Against Women Act Turns 29. There’s More Work to Do.

Twenty-nine years ago, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), finally putting the full force of our federal government into efforts to stop domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking to help survivors. VAWA was transformative. In the years after it was enacted, domestic violence against adult women in the United States declined by more than 60 percent.

The pandemic set us back, and there’s much more work to do. We will keep working to improve VAWA, and to support the Biden administration’s National Plan to End Gender-Based Violence: Strategies for Action, a truly groundbreaking whole-of-government approach to addressing and preventing violence of all kinds.