Sen. Ben Sasse Defends Judicial Pick From Attack By Bar Association

Ben Sasse
We must win the courts back!

Senator Ben Sasse unleashed a savage attack on the liberal American Bar Association (ABA) over the Association’s accusation that Nebraska’s Deputy Attorney General was, “not qualified” for a federal judgeship.

President Donald Trump recently nominated conservative stalwart, Leonard Steven Grasz for the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, but Grasz is now facing a coordinated attack by his political opponents, in a bid to keep him from being appointed to the judiciary. On Monday, Sasse had blamed the ABA for ignoring their own usual standards in a cynical, and politically motivated bid to undermine Grasz.

“It’s sad that the ABA would contort their ratings process to try to tarnish Steve’s professional reputation in order to drive a political agenda,” Sasse said in a comment.

“In more than a decade as Chief Deputy Attorney General, whether he was litigating cases before the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington or the Nebraska Supreme Court in Lincoln, Republicans and Democrats alike knew that Steve represented Nebraska with integrity and professionalism,” Sasse further added. “He’s a Nebraskan through and through and he knows that under our Constitution judges don’t write laws but rule fairly on the facts of each case.”

Pamela A. Bresnahan had signed a letter on Monday from the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary which declared Grasz unqualified and unfit for the position, and she also released a statement of the committee’s reasoning. Bresnahan had alleged that Grasz’s pro-life views were creating a “lack of objectivity” that is reason enough to disqualify him from the position, pointing to his critiques of past Supreme Court cases such as the Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

“Many questioned whether Mr. Grasz would be able to detach himself from his deeply-held social agenda and political loyalty to be able to judge objectively, with compassion and without bias,” Bresnahan said in her report.

“Also troubling was that Mr. Grasz maintains that his own pro-life agenda has no impact on his conclusion as to how a lower court could and should have avoided Roe and Casey,” Bresnahan had added. “He was unable to identify the lack of objectivity that his personal convictions had created.”

“In sum, the evaluators and the Committee found that temperament issues, particularly bias and lack of open-mindedness, were problematic,” Bresnahan wrote concluding.

Senator Deb Fischer also came to Grasz’s defense. She had said in a statement that Grasz is “highly respected by a bipartisan group of Nebraskans” and further noted that the Nebraska Supreme Court deems him to be in “good standing with the state’s bar association.”