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Grassley Gears Up For U.S. Supreme Court Confirmation

chuck grassley
Amy Mayer/IPR file photo
Sen. Chuck Grassley heads the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says it’s time for the Senate Judiciary Committee to get to work after President Trump announced a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court Monday night.

Grassley chairs the committee. He says it will likely take at least 65 to 70 days before Judge Brett Kavanaugh gets a confirmation hearing.

“This judge has 300 decisions that we have to go through. Although we will crank up extra staff to help us with the massive amount of review that we have of all of his cases, and all of his writings, and his speeches, and almost anything he’s been involved in would probably be subject to consideration by the committee,” Grassley says.

Grassley and his fellow Republicans hope to have Kavanaugh confirmed before the November elections, if not before the start of the next U.S. Supreme Court term in October.

Kavanaugh, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, would replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Grassley calls Kavanaugh “an excellent candidate.”

“His clerks laud his intellectual capacity and particularly his strength of character,” Grassley says. “And his opinions back all this up, demonstrating his respect for the separation of power, and his commitment to applying the law as written.”

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, released a statement saying Kavanaugh “is a highly-qualified, well-respected judge committed to the rule of law.”

Opponents worry Kavanaugh’s confirmation will lead to the erosion of abortion and same-sex marriage rights, as well as the gutting of the Affordable Care Act.

One Iowa Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel says in an emailed statement the Senate should confirm a fair-minded justice who will protect the rights of LGBTQ people, women, people of color, and others.

“Kavanaugh does not meet that criteria, and in fact his record indicates he is quite the opposite,” Hoffman-Zinnel says. “We urge Sen. Grassley to uphold his responsibility as Chair of the Judiciary Committee and not move forward with this nomination.”

Bob Vander Plaats, president of conservative group The Family Leader, tweeted Kavanaugh “is a solid choice.”

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter