Senator Charles Grassley today (Monday) told John Roberts he’d be a good Chief Justice of the U-S Supreme Court. Grassley’s comments came as he and the rest of the U-S Senate Judiciary Committee began hearings into Roberts’ nomination to be Chief Justice. “Since you’ve appeared before the court 39 times to argue cases on appeal and that the current justices know and respect you, that bodes very well in terms of your smoothly transiting into the court into the new role now of Chief Justice,” Grassley said. “I congratulate you.” Grassley says it’s “fitting” that Roberts has been nominated to succeed his mentor, Chief Justice William Rehnquist who died earlier this month. Roberts was a law clerk for Rehnquist. “You obviously have a tough act to follow,” Grassley told Roberts. Grassley also encouraged his fellow senators to consider their actions as the Judiciary Committee grills Roberts. He said Roberts, as the first nominee of the “Internet age,” has had his past scrutinized like no other Supreme Court nominee. Grassley talked privately last month with Roberts, but plans to ask Roberts a few questions during the committee hearing. “The hearing provides a unique opportunity for us to ensure that each person appointed to the federal bench will be a true judge and not some sort of super legislator,” Grassley said. According to Grassley, a Supreme Court Justice has a duty to say what the law is, not what it ought to be. “On the other hand, if we confirm individuals who are bent on assigning to themselves the power to fix society’s problems as they see fit, a bare majority of these nine unelected and unaccountable men and women will usurp the power of the people, hijacking democracy to serve their own political prejudices,” Grassley said. “We do not want to go down that road.” Grassley said the hearings for Supreme Court nominees have become “public spectacles.” Grassley and the rest of the Judiciary Committee are scheduled to vote on the Roberts nomination on September 20th. You can hear all of Grassley’s opening comments in the committee hearing on our website — www.radioiowa.com.
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