KLEIN: Senate Judiciary Finds A Steady Leader In Chuck Grassley
When the Senate convenes on January 3, 2019, veteran Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley will return as chair of the Finance Committee. Grassley, who has headed up the Judiciary Committee since fellow Republicans elected him chair in 2015, will take over for Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is retiring this year.
Based on his strong performance at Judiciary and as the Republican lead on the Finance Committee from January 2001 through January 2011, Americans can look forward to another steady, responsible hand at the helm of one of the Senate’s most important legislative committees.
As Senator Grassley bids adieu to the Judiciary Committee, a review of his key accomplishments there is in order.
During Senator Grassley’s tenure, 85 federal judges have been confirmed, including Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, a record 30 Appellate Judges and a whopping 53 district court judges. This success has been rightfully cited as among President Trump’s and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s most important accomplishments. It would not have happened, however, without the diligence, persistence, and hard work of Grassley and his staff.
It was Grassley who blocked the appointment of President Barack Obama’s classy, well-qualified but liberal Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland for over a year, allowing the American people to have a voice in the selection of Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement.
Grassley’s move ultimately resulted in President Trump’s home run selection of originalist Neil Gorsuch, allowing President Trump to fulfill his campaign promise to appoint “Scalia-like” Justices to the Supreme Court.
The Iowa senator’s Supreme Court encore followed with the confirmation of the talented and widely respected D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh. In one of the most contentious Supreme Court battles in American history, Grassley outmaneuvered Democrats and left-wing activists who had vowed to prevent the appointment of another conservative to the High Court.
Grassley ran a highly transparent process, bending over backward to be fair to the opposition, and going to great lengths to ensure that they had an opportunity to be heard. Ultimately, he delivered justness with the confirmation of a decent, highly qualified and honorable justice, who is certain to distinguish himself as a member of the Court.
Grassley has led the charge on the widely acknowledged need for criminal justice reform, championing the bipartisan First Step Act, which appears set to become law. The First Step Act institutes an evidence-based, individualized program that will offer prisoners better opportunities to become productive citizens after release and help avoid sentences that have on occasion been notoriously unjust.
On Judiciary, Grassley has been an advocate for the elderly, introducing the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act that President Trump signed into law last year.
He has supported legislation to improve mental health services, won increases in Public Safety Officers’ Benefits, promoted legislation to protect victims of sexual assault and human trafficking, and sponsored legislation that has resulted in the recovery of over $56 billion in fraud that has been committed against U.S. taxpayers.
The senator has likely been the most consequential judiciary chairman for conservatives in U.S. history, delivering on crucial judicial confirmations at a record pace, and shepherding the confirmations of key Executive Branch nominees for Attorney General and FBI Director.
This notwithstanding, Grassley has led the Judiciary Committee in a bipartisan and extremely effective manner, displaying tremendous leadership in extraordinary contentious and partisan times.
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s loss is the Finance Committee’s gain, where Americans can look forward to reliable, conscientious, and wise leadership.
Dr. Roger D. Klein is an expert on health care for the Regulatory Transparency Project. He is a former adviser to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.