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(Neb)-Grasz Confirmation Hearing Splits Along Party Lines

By: John Axtell Posted at: 11/02/2017 10:56 PM
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - The U-S Senate Judiciary Committee held the confirmation hearing yesterday on the nomination Omaha attorney and former long-time chief deputy Nebraska attorney general Steve Grasz to the 8th U-S Circuit Court of Appeals and although the members aren't expected to vote for at least 2 weeks, it appears from questioning that Grasz will get a favorable vote along party lines.

       Republicans on the committee praised his qualifications for the position and attacked his critics, while Democrats pressed Grasz on the issues that led the American Bar Association to rate him "not qualified": concerns he could set aside politics and his personal views in ruling on such issues as abortion, same-sex marriage and gay rights.

      Grasz was questioned by the senators for more than an hour, with Democrat Al Franken of Minnesota one of the toughest. Franken said Grasz's "extreme anti-choice positions" are a matter of public record, including writing that the legacy of Roe v. Wade is 'moral bankruptcy,' and left him doubting that Grasz could put his feelings behind him in ruling on such cases.

     Grasz gave Franken the answer he gave repeatedly during the hearing -  he would follow the law and court precedents, including those barring states from putting "substantial obstacles" to access for abortions,  rather than base decisions on his personal views or religious beliefs.

     President Trump nominated Grasz on the recommendation of Nebraska's two Republican Senators, Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer, and they both pointed to his Nebraska and farming background, the estimate he's held by those of both parties in Nebraska, and his year's of public service.

      There was relatively little direct comment on the ABA "not qualified" finding, which as unanimous with one abstention, although Fischer did call it "a baseless, political character assassination" with the two attorneys who evaluated Grasz both active in the Democratic party.

    Grasz himself said while he respected the time and energy that went into the ABA report, he disagreed with the result.

      After the hearing, Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa said the bar association representatives who were invited to testify couldn't make it, but will be testifying at a different hearing in two weeks on the 15th and would likely be asked about the Grasz evaluation at that time.


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