Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s trying to hold off discussing his opinions on President Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court until she goes through a thorough vetting. Grassley, a Republican, says he wants to see a justice installed who makes decisions based on the words of the U.S. Constitution and leaves his or her own views out of the process.
“When the president says he wants to appoint somebody that’s compassionate or have empathy, then it looks to me like he wants people to look beyond the words of the Constitution, beyond the words of the law and bring other things into it,” Grassley says. “That’s not the purpose of judging.”
Solicitor General Elena Kagan is the president’s nominee, a woman who has no judicial experience, which Grassley says could be a detriment.
Grassley says, “Ever since I’ve been in the Senate, every time I’ve considered somebody for the Supreme Court, it’s always been somebody that’s advanced through the judicial branch of government, District Court to the Circuit Court of Appeals and from the Circuit Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court.”
Grassley says his comments about Kagan’s lack of judicial experience could be interpreted as negative, but he adds, he didn’t mean them that way. Grassley says, “It’s been 40 years or more since just an average citizen, and I don’t mean that Kagan is just average because she’s obviously well educated and quite an academician, but she has no judicial experience so this is something that is different for me.”
Grassley says when it comes to Supreme Court nominees, “one of the most important jobs of the United States Senate to make sure the right people are approved.”
Iowa’s other U.S. Senator, Democrat Tom Harkin, issued a statement about the nomination: “Elena Kagan is extremely qualified. She has the intellect and experience necessary to serve on our nation’s highest Court and her stellar legal credentials have been recognized by liberal and conservative lawyers alike. Elena Kagan is recognized as one of the leading legal educators in our country. I am confident that, if confirmed, she will be an important voice on our Court for the rule of law and constitutional rights and values.”