Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says his “no” vote on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court isn’t meant to send a message to other federal judges.
“I judge district judges, circuit judges, supreme court judges on how I see they’re going to interpret the Constitution according to original intent,” Grassley said this morning, “and to make sure they don’t add to or subtract from laws passed by congress.”
Grassley was among the Republicans in the Senate Judiciary Committee who voted against Jackson’s appointment to the nation’s highest court Monday. Before his vote, Grassley said Jackson’s approach to criminal sentencing was too lenient. During a conference call with Iowa reporters this morning, Grassley said his “no” shouldn’t be interpreted by other federal judges as they considering sentencing criminals.
“It isn’t intended to any of a message,” Grassley said, “and I don’t think it should be read to send any message.”
Grassley said it’s his view that Judge Jackson has misinterpreted a 2018 law called the First Step Act, which Grassley co-sponsored. It gives judges more options to impose sentences that are lower than the mandatory minimum penalties in federal law.
“I ought to know what we intended to do in that act,” Grassley said. “(Jackson) took advantage of what she thought was a retroactive part of that legislation to give a lighter sentence to people and retroactivity is not included in the First Step Act.”
The Democrats running for a chance to challenge Grassley’s bid for reelection this year are criticizing Grassley’s vote against Jackson. Mike Franken, a retired Navy Admiral, said Jackson is “more than qualified” to be the next U.S. Supreme Court justice and Grassley’s no vote is “shameful.” Abby Finkenauer, a former Iowa congresswoman, said: “After 47 years in office, Grassley is more interested in toeing the party line than confirming a competent and qualified justice.” Glenn Hurst, a doctor from Minden, said Grassley “is refusing to vote for the most qualified person to ever be (nominated)” to the Supreme Court.