Grassley on 10th Circuit Nominee: I think mainstream, commonsense Westerner is the perfect way to describe Justice Eid
Nov 01, 2017
Prepared Floor Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
On the Nomination of Justice Allison Eid to Serve on the 10th U.S. Court of Appeals
November 1, 2017
Tomorrow morning, the Senate will vote on the nomination of Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison Eid, to serve on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. She is an eminently qualified and exceptional nominee who has received widespread bipartisan praise and support.
Justice Eid has spent over a decade on the Colorado Supreme Court. Before her appointment, she served as the Colorado State Solicitor General. In that role, she represented the State before both federal and state courts. She also served as a tenured faculty member at the University of Colorado School of Law, where she taught courses in Constitutional Law, Legislation, and Torts. Justice Eid also practiced commercial and appellate litigation at Arnold and Porter.
At the beginning of her legal career, Justice Eid served as a clerk for Judge Jerry Smith on the Fifth Circuit and as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Justice Eid was raised by a single mother who Eid credits for her significant personal and professional achievements. She earned a scholarship to Stanford and graduated with distinction and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Justice Eid received her law degree from the University of Chicago, where she graduated with high honors and Order of the Coif. She has had an impressive legal career and an impressive life story.
In her long and celebrated tenure on the Colorado Supreme Court, Justice Eid has heard roughly 900 cases and written approximately 100 opinions. In 2008, 75% of Colorado voters retained Justice Eid to the Colorado Supreme Court.
Her nomination has also received wide bipartisan support. For example, Justice Eid’s former clerks, who noted that they “come from a diverse set of geographic, economic, cultural, and political backgrounds” wrote a letter to the Judiciary Committee supporting her nomination. Judges work closely with their law clerks every day. Law clerks understand a judge’s deliberative process and approach to the law better than anyone. And how did these clerks describe Justice Eid?
They said “she never fails to provide her full attention and dedication to each individual case, mastering the relevant facts and carefully analyzing the law, whether the text of a statute or the word of a contract.”
Her law clerks also wrote that she goes “where the law takes her” and in their decade of collective experience in over 900 cases, Justice Eid “treats each case individually without any preconceived notion of desired outcome.”
The National Native American Bar Association also endorsed Justice Eid. In their letter to the Committee they noted that she “has demonstrated deep understanding of federal Indian law and policy matters, as well as significant respect for tribes as governments. Such qualities and experiences are rare among nominees to the federal bench.”
They went on to note that “while we do not expect that Justice Eid will agree with tribal interests on every issue, we also believe that she is immensely well qualified and we are confident that Justice Eid is a mainstream, commonsense Westerner who will rule fairly on Indian Country matters.”
I think mainstream, commonsense Westerner is the perfect way to describe Justice Eid.
Despite this bipartisan support and her professional achievements, all the Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee voted against her nomination in Committee, and I suspect most in the minority will vote against her confirmation today.
That surprised me. Justice Eid received a majority well-qualified rating from the American Bar Association, an outside group who evaluates judicial nominees.
My colleagues claim that this group’s ratings weigh very heavily in their decision to support or oppose a judicial nominee.
In fact, my Democratic colleagues claim that these ratings should carry a great deal of weight with the Senate and argue the Judiciary Committee shouldn’t hold hearings on nominees who have not yet received ABA ratings.
But this week, we are voting on four circuit court nominees, including three women, who received well-qualified ratings from the ABA. The ABA rated two of these individuals unanimously well-qualified. Yet the vast majority of my Democratic colleagues voted against the two nominees on whom we have already voted. And I’m willing to bet that the other two nominees will see similar opposition from my Democratic colleagues.
So why do my Democratic friends profess such admiration for the ABA’s evaluation process and then vote against nominees who receive a well-qualified rating? I’d like to see them put their money where their mouth is. If my colleagues believe so strongly in the ABA’s evaluations, they should start voting for nominees who receive well-qualified ratings.
But again, I suspect they will not. When the Judiciary Committee voted on Justice Eid’s nomination, my Democratic colleagues really stretched to find reasons to oppose her nomination.
One of the chief reasons given for opposition of her nomination centered on a quote in a Denver Post article that said Justice Eid has “earned a reputation of one of [the Colorado Supreme Court’s] most conservative members.”
I find that statement to be misleading. Of the seven justices on the Colorado Supreme Court, Justice Eid is one of only two justices appointed by a Republican Governor. To argue that she is somehow extreme just because she was not appointed by a Democratic Governor is unfair.
Furthermore, the Denver Post published a subsequent article that disagreed with this characterization. By contrast, the more recent article stated, “appointment by a Republican or Democrat does not always dictate the ideology of the justice… even categorizing justices as either conservative or liberal is generally an issue.”
I would agree with Denver Post on this point. Justice Eid should not be evaluated by her “ideological reputation,” but rather her judicial approach. That is how I have evaluated Justice Eid and other judicial nominees and that is why I strongly support her confirmation today.
I’m very proud to support the nomination of Justice Allison Eid. She is the third in a series of distinguished female circuit court nominees that we’ve had the opportunity to vote on this week. Her impressive experience and numerous accomplishments speak to her qualification for this role. I commend the President for nominating these outstanding and accomplished women to our circuit courts. Justice Eid is an exceptional nominee and her record overwhelmingly supports her nomination. As a result, I’ll support her confirmation tomorrow and I urge all of my colleagues to do the same.