Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley stands at a hearing March 14 addressing oversight in the Parkland, Florida, school shootings, in which 17 people died. (Katelyn Weisbrod/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa senators support Trump’s Supreme Court nominee


By Emily Wangen

Iowa’s two senators have voiced their support for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nomination to fill retiring Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the bench.

Trump announced his nomination on July 9 in the White House East Room in front of a crowd of lawmakers. Kavanaugh is a appeals-court judge of the District of Columbia circuit.

Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said the committee will conduct a fair and comprehensive evaluation of Kavanaugh’s background and qualifications followed by confirmation hearings.

“Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most qualified Supreme Court nominees to come before the Senate,” Grassley said in a statement July 9. “His credentials are well-known, and he’s served with distinction as a judge on the esteemed D.C. Circuit for more than a decade. He is a superb mainstream candidate worthy of the Senate’s consideration.”

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, echoed Grassley’s belief in a statement on July 9, saying she believes the confirmation process will be smooth and timely with Grassley at the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“We have a phenomenal leader overseeing the process to make sure it is smooth and done in a timely manner,” Ernst said in the statement. “Sen. Grassley moved Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation through the process superbly, allowing plenty of time for both parties to participate, and we did have a successful confirmation.”

This is the second Supreme Court nomination Trump has made during his time in office. In January 2017, Trump announced his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to fill the open seat of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016.

Kavanaugh was nominated by former President George W. Bush for the appeals court and confirmed in 2006. Prior to that position, he served in the White House Counsel’s Office and as the White House staff secretary during the Bush administration. He also served as an associate counsel to Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr in the investigation of President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

Kavanaugh’s nomination comes after a search process that has been characterized by the White House as having a historic degree of transparency. In November, Trump announced he had 25 potential choices, vetted by the Federalist Society, to fill any vacant Supreme Court seats. The list included two Iowans; Iowa Supreme Court Justice Edward Mansfield and U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit Judge Steven Colloton, an Iowa City native.

“What matters is not a judge’s political views but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require,” Trump said in a statement. “I am pleased to say that I have found, without doubt, such a person.”

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