Gruender is among the list of judges on Trump’s list that have questioned abortion rights. The Court of Appeals judge led a majority that permitted South Dakota to enforce a law requiring doctors to tell women that abortions “terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique living human being.”
Gruender is from St. Louis, Missouri and earned three degrees from Washington University including an AB, a JD and an MBA. In 2006 he received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award from the law school. He worked in both public and private law before joining the federal bench. On September of 2009 he was nominated to the Eighth Circuit by President George W. Bush to fill a seat vacated by Judge Bowman II. The Senate confirmed eight months later with an outstanding vote of 97-1.
Gruender is best known for his views on women’s rights. He authored an Eighth’s Circuit opinion which concluded that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 did not give female employees the right to insurance coverage for contraceptives used solely to prevent pregnancy. This opinion has been cited in the debate over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contraceptive mandate.
In 2006 Gruender opposed the opinion of the panel regarding desegregation in the Little Rock school district. After the desegregation effort of the Little Rock Nine in 1957, the federal government began monitoring the school district in 1975. Gruender argued that the district court abused its discretion in mandating federal monitoring by using “impossibly subjective” criteria. The district court agreed with Gruender’s reasoning and freed the school district from the monitoring. In 2009 the Eighth Circuit then upheld the district court’s decision in another appeal.