Senator Grassley takes seriously his role as a leader on the Judiciary Committee charged with reviewing the qualifications of nominees to the Justice Department and judicial branch. Under his leadership as chairman of the Judiciary Committee during the first two years of the Trump administration, the Senate confirmed a historic 85 highly-qualified federal judges to lifetime appointments. That includes two Supreme Court justices: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. A judge’s job is to review the facts of a case and apply the Constitution and laws as written, not to act as a super-legislator who seeks preferred policy outcomes from the bench, and Senator Grassley continues to promote this “originalism” approach to the judiciary when performing his constitutional advice and consent duties.
For years, Senator Grassley has pushed for greater transparency in, and access to, our nation’s courtrooms—including the U.S. Supreme Court. His bipartisan Sunshine in the Courtroom Act allows federal judges to permit media coverage of trial and appellate cases while ensuring appropriate safeguards and privacy protections for witnesses and jurors. Senator Grassley also supports the Cameras in the Courtroom Act, which would require the Supreme Court to permit television coverage of all open sessions of the Court. These simple measures of transparency will improve Americans’ understanding of our Nation’s courts and increase respect for the rule of law. He has also sent multiple letters to the Chief Justice of the United States urging the Court to provide live or same-day audio streaming of all oral arguments. Senator Grassley also advocates for greater accountability in the federal judiciary. His Judicial Transparency and Ethics Enhancement Act would create an Inspector General for the judicial branch and establish procedural protections for whistleblowers who bring to light waste, fraud, abuse, or misconduct in the federal judiciary.
Senator Grassley has also fought to ensure that judicial resources and taxpayer dollars are used appropriately and not put toward unnecessary additional federal judgeships. In 1999, as Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, Senator Grassley published a comprehensive, multi-year report and review on the federal circuit courts. His report demonstrated that existing data did not support adding additional permanent circuit judgeships and recommended that serious efforts be made to control the growth of the federal judiciary. To protect the taxpayer, Senator Grassley continues to demand that any new judgeship requests be supported by reliable data and methodology.