116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
It’s disappointing that Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, voted against placing a historic, impressive and qualified nominee on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Grassley voted no, both on sending the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the full Senate, and on her final confirmation.
“Having carefully studied her record, unfortunately, I think she and I have fundamentally different views on the role judges should play in our system of government. Because of those disagreements, I can’t support her nomination,” Grassley in a statement.
Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst also is a no vote. But unlike Grassley, she didn’t play asignificant role in the confirmation process.
Thankfully, Judge Jackson was confirmed on Thursday. She becomes the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court, and also the first former public defender on the Supreme Court. She was a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, served as a federal-district court judge, was vice chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer graduated from Harvard and Harvard law and edited the Harvard Law Review.
Judge Jackson is among the most prepared and qualified nominees in decades. And yet she endured a fiction-filled, shameful barrage of questions from Republicans on the Judiciary Committee. Republican senators including Josh Hawley, Lindsey Graham, Marsha Blackburn, Ted Cruz and others painted Judge Jackson as being soft on pedophiles, sympathetic to terrorists, a proponent of critical race theory and other malicious accusations. Truth is, her sentencing record on sex crimes and other offenses is entirely consistent with most other federal judges, including several confirmed by Republicans.
Asked by a constituent at a recent Iowa town hall about the “appalling” conduct of these Republicans, Grassley said “You know, that doesn’t apply to me.” It’s true, Grassley did not join in the political feeding frenzy. But as the top GOP senator on the committee, he also did nothing to stop it.
Three Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and Mitt Romney will support Judge Jackson’s confirmation. Grassley wouldn’t join the ranks of the reasonable.
That, and his vote on Judge Jackson, are hardly surprising. Grassley chaired the Judiciary Committee in 2016 and blocked the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the high court to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016. Grassley declared it was too close to the November election to consider filling the seat.
Then, in October 2019, Grassley supported the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett just days before the 2020 election. Now, as he seeks re-election in red state Iowa, he presents us with a flimsy excuse for opposing a highly qualified nominee. It all smells like pure politics.
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