Senator Chuck Grassley.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican from New Hartford, spoke to reporters today after the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

“I think that we just witnessed one of the most important votes that a member of the Senate can cast,” Grassley says. “Judge Gorsuch will be an independent voice on that Supreme Court. He proved that by answering questions for 20 hours.”

Grassley is the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee which holds hearings on the Supreme Court nominees. The Senate used the so-called “nuclear option” to change the rules so Gorsuch would not need 60 votes to be confirmed. Grassley would ask if that would be a constant negative for Gorsuch in his time on the High Court. The senator says it will not be because Democrats set the precedent of changing the rules back in 2001.

“When they said ‘we’ve got to change the ground rules.’ We’ll they did change the ground rules. Those ground rules were changed for a lot of nominees that George W. Bush had, those same ground rule…continued through the Obama administration,” Grassley says. “So those Democrats who met back in 2001 poisoned the well that got us to where we are.”

Some Democrats said they were against Gorsuch’s nomination because Grassley would not hold a hearing on a judge President Obama nomination. He was asked how the whole fight over the Supreme Court nomination will impact other work in the U-S Senate.

“I think the comity will be back to the Senate in regards to legislation — but I think it’s going to take somebody like Senator Schumer who started this whole slippery slope back in 2001 — to drill a new well that’s not going to be poisoned,” Grassley replied.

Grassley says there are plenty of Republicans and Democrats who are willing to work together to make that new start when it comes to selecting Supreme Court judges.

Iowa other U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, voted for Gorsuch and released this statement on her vote: 

“I am thrilled that a bipartisan majority has voted to confirm Judge Gorsuch, who is eminently qualified to serve on our nation’s highest court,” said Senator Ernst. “Throughout his career, Judge Gorsuch has shown an unparalleled depth of understanding and respect for our Constitution. He is dedicated to interpreting the text of the Constitution and statutes as they are written, rather than attempting to legislate from the bench. It’s easy to see why Judge Gorsuch was previously confirmed by the Senate with unanimous support – including the support of Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“The American people are behind Judge Gorsuch, and I look forward to seeing him take his seat on the bench very soon.”

The group Why Courts Matter Iowa issued this statement in response to the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, to the U.S. Supreme Court:

“Senator Grassley and Republicans in the Senate just ensured that the Supreme Court will be far more partisan and political than at any time in our country’s history, after voting to end the filibuster for Judge Gorsuch and future nominees. The so-called ‘nuclear option’ completes the partisan hatchet job on the independence of the judiciary that began last year when Grassley and Republicans engaged in unprecedented obstruction of Merrick Garland’s nomination.”

“Working side by side, President Trump, Senator Grassley, and Senate Republicans have undermined the U.S. Senate, an American institution. And their vote today undermines the independence of our highest court in the land.”

“This move to further politicize the judiciary is unfortunate, and it did not have to come to this. Republicans made a choice to strip away more than two centuries of Senate tradition. If they truly cared about bipartisanship, they would have worked across the aisle to  put forward a consensus nominee who could receive the 60 votes that 25 of the past 26 justices have earned.”

“President Trump, Senator Grassley, and Senate Republicans won their vote today, but the American people lost. A judge who does not believe in protecting the constitutional rights of every citizen will be given a lifetime appointment because of a partisan vote. That’s not what we expect from our judiciary, or from our Senators, and we deserve far better.”