As the second day of hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito begins, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley will be among the Judiciary Committee members asking questions today. Grassley, a Republican, says he’s impressed by Alito, President Bush’s choice to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
Grassley says “I look forward to drawing out his views on the proper role of a judge in our society and our system of government, the value of precedent in our legal system, the issue of judicial restraint and the importance of legislative history in interpreting statutory law.” Alito addressed the senators yesterday and Grassley says he “is clearly sincere and a thoughtful person. You could tell how proud he was of his family and the upbringing he received from his parents.”
Grassley says Alito said “a judge’s solemn obligation is to the Constitution and the rule of law in every case and for every person, rich or poor. He also stated something that I was very appreciative of, nobody’s above the law and he added that nobody’s below the law.” While Democrats say they’ll fire pointed questions at Alito on a range of issues, including abortion, Republicans like Grassley say he shouldn’t have to answer questions that could come before the nation’s high court.
Grassley says “I think that there’s a lot of people that don’t want to vote for him, (who) can’t make a case on the substance of the issue that will want to ask him tough questions that he doesn’t answer and then they can say they voted against him because he didn’t answer those questions.” In the end, Grassley predicts Alito will win the nomination with a full Senate vote of 60-40, perhaps closer.