Government

Chuck Grassley honors Ruth Bader Ginsburg, rejects hypocrisy charges

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks in June during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (As
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks in June during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Associated Press)

Sen. Chuck Grassley paid tribute to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a “really outstanding jurist” whose work as an attorney, judge and justice “is leaving a remarkable imprint on our country’s history.”

While he thinks it is important to “reflect and mourn such an influential American,” Grassley said in a Wednesday conference call that much of the nation’s attention has turned to the “politics of the court” and the coming fight over the confirmation of her successor.

“I’m sure glad the president’s waiting until after all of her services are over before he announces a successor,” said Grassley, a member of the Judiciary Committee that will begin the vetting of President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. Ginsburg, who died Friday, was lying in repose Wednesday at the Supreme Court. She will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol with a formal ceremony Friday.

Grassley also sought to clarify his remarks about the process, saying that his critics are misquoting his 2016 statements on the Senate filling election-year Supreme Court vacancies.

“I’ve said on more than one occasion since 2016 that if I were chairman — to repeat, if I were chairman — I would likely decide to wait to hold hearings until after the election,” Grassley said.

He’s also said the decision on whether to have hearings on filling an election-year vacancy is up to the Judiciary Committee chairman. He ceded that position in 2019 to be chairman of the Finance Committee.

Grassley said he isn’t being hypocritical because he’s no longer Judiciary chairman. The decision whether to proceed with confirmation is not his to make, Grassley said. It is, however, his responsibility as a member of the Judiciary Committee to participate in the process and, if it comes to a floor vote, to be a part of the decision.

If anyone is looking for hypocrisy, Grassley added, they should look at Democrats’ rhetoric.

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“The Democrats now are complaining because we’re bringing this up, (but) what the Democrats were saying in 2016 was that the nominee ought to come up,” he said. “So they reversed their statements from 2016.”

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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