Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is the latest Democratic senator to announce her candidacy for the White House in 2020.
We highlighted the Minnesota senior senator’s work on education issues late last year. Klobuchar, the daughter of an elementary school teacher, has worked to boost science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) during her tenure in the Senate—she was first elected to her seat in 2006. She introduced legislation to double the number of STEM-focused secondary schools to 200 from 100 through a competitive grant program.
In addition, she pushed to create a pilot program for districts to provide information about voter registration to high school seniors.
Like every other Democrat in the Senate, Klobuchar opposed U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos when President Donald Trump nominated her more than two years ago. To explain her opposition to DeVos, the senator alluded to her family’s background in education.
During Neil M. Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing to the Supreme Court, Klobuchar questioned the nominee’s handling of a case involving special education, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. She and others highlighted how the Supreme Court rejected a standard set by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver for special education that schools must provide a “merely more than de minimis” education program to students with disabilities. Gorsuch had added the phrase “merely” to the standard in his ruling in the case while serving on the Court of Appeals.
Klobuchar registered her concern, along with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, about what she called Gorsuch’s decision to lower the legal bar for special education services.
“I think you actually took something that wasn’t necessarily a precedent, you added the word ‘merely’ to make it even more narrow, and so it is not a surprise to me, then, that the Supreme Court, 9-0, rejected that language,” Klobuchar told Gorsuch. Gorsuch, who was later confirmed to the Supreme Court by the Senate, denied that he sought to degrade services for students in special education through his wording in the ruling.
Photo: Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., questions then-Supreme Court nominee Neil M. Gorsuch in 2017. (Susan Walsh/AP)