Sen. Ben Sasse Defends Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Nominee

Posted: Nov 03, 2017 3:30 PM

When it comes to appointing judges, there is always a tough fight between Republicans and Democrats. As President Trump tries to fill court vacancies at the federal level, elected Democrats and leftists at various organizations have made the hearings for these qualified individuals unnecessarily difficult. Recall the controversial hearing of former Notre Dame professor, and now the appointed judge of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Amy Coney Barrett, whose religious faith was questioned by Democrats. The suggestion made by Democrats was that Barrett's Christian faith would cause her not to be impartial when ruling on hot-button issues.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) took to the Senate floor on Thursday to defend the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee from a smear campaign pushed by leftists at the American Bar Association (ABA). The current nominee for the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is Steve Grasz, the former Chief Deputy Attorney General of the state of Nebraska.

In his address to the Senate, Sen. Sasse picked apart a letter written by the ABA that describes an interview it conducted with Grasz. The ABA, somehow, concluded that Grasz was not qualified to fill the vacancy.

Sen. Sasse starts dissecting the letter and its arguments by first describing the left-wing biases of the two people who conducted the interview.

The lead reviewer for the bar association on the Grasz nomination was Arkansas law professor Cynthia Nance. This is an encore performance for Ms. Nance because in 2006 she opposed then-nominee and now Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito because of his “pro-life agenda” and she argued that made him unqualified to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. I wonder if there is anyone in this body who rejected her view then and voted to confirm now Justice Alito who would now somehow echo her claims that Justice Alito is not qualified to sit in the seat that he now holds?

ABA's second reviewer, Laurence Pulgram, is an attorney from San Francisco. A cursory glance at Mr. Pulgram’s political involvement shows a long track record of support for left-wing candidates and aggressive progressive political organizations. These are the reviewers who are setting themselves up as dispassionate umpires calling balls and strikes. It's hogwash. These are not umpires. These are folks in the starting lineup of the ABA, an organization that explicitly endorsed pro-abortion policies beginning two decades ago.

It is important to note that Sen. Sasse went on to say that there is nothing wrong with Nance and Pulgram engaging in advocacy, but that the problem arises when their advocacy poses as false objectivity.

For his second point, Sen. Sasse addressed a criticism leveled against Grasz that he is pro-life and that his social views are of a concern. In the letter, the ABA strangely criticizes Grasz for doing his job and upholding Nebraska law. Sen. Sasse explains that, because Nebraskan voters tend to be pro-life, they have pro-life laws regarding abortion. In the case in question, the ABA criticized Grasz for upholding a law that banned partial-birth abortion. Sen. Sasse went on to describe the horrific procedure:

Warning Graphic Language

The people of my state banned a gruesome and grotesque practice where a doctor partially delivers an unborn baby and while that baby girl's head is the only thing still in the mother's womb, the doctor would then collapse the baby's skull. If there's anyone in this body who believes that that's a good and a moral act, that it's a good and a moral thing to deliver that baby girl and then, moments before her complete and full entry into the world, to vacuum out her brains, please come to the floor, because few people believe that that is a good or a moral or a just act, or at least few would admit it openly.

The final bias that Sen. Sasse exposed in the ABA's opinion on Grasz was the questions asked during the interview. Grasz, at one point, was asked where he sent his children to school. The question had nothing to do with whether Grasz would be an effective judge or not. One can guess why that question was asked (they wanted to know if his children attended a religious school). When Grasz did state that his children attended a Christian school, Nance and Pulgram dared to ask why. They also repeatedly referred to Grasz as "you people." When Grasz asked what they meant by "you people," they stated they were referring to conservatives and Republicans.

Near the end of his statement, Sen. Sasse asked his colleagues to reject this letter and stated he hopes that, when they come before the judiciary committee, the ABA would recant its decision:

I would hope that when the ABA comes before the judiciary committee, it recants of this very silly opinion of “not qualified” of a man who is eminently qualified and going to serve very well the people of not just the Eighth Circuit but this country on the Circuit Court of Appeals. I would hope that the ABA would recant this silly judgment.

Watch Sen. Sasse's full remarks below.

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