Grassley Statement Ahead of Committee Votes on Circuit, District Court Nominees and Opioid Bill
Prepared Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
Executive Business Meeting
June 7, 2018
Good morning. Today we’ll vote on several nominees and pieces of legislation. Three judicial nominees are on the agenda for the first time. These nominees will be held over a week, at the minority’s request.
The following nominees will be held over:
- Britt Grant, 11th Circuit
- Allen Winsor, Northern District of Florida
- Patrick Wyrick, Western District of Oklahoma
Along with several other nominees, we’re voting on the nomination of Ryan Bounds to the Ninth Circuit. Some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle were critical of the hearing for Mr. Bounds because the Oregon Senators declined to return their blue slips.
As I’ve explained, my blue-slip policy—consistent with all but 2 of my 18 predecessors—is that negative or unreturned blue slips will not necessarily prevent a circuit-court nominee from receiving a hearing, unless the White House failed to consult with the home-state senators.
In the case of Mr. Bounds, the White House sought the Oregon Senators’ input, seriously considered the one candidate suggested by the Oregon Senators, and waited several months for the Senators to establish their judicial selection committee. The selection committee itself recommended Mr. Bounds, yet the Oregon Senators still didn’t return their blue slips. I’m satisfied that the White House adequately consulted with the home-state Senators. And I’ve stated that I will not let home-state Senators play political or ideological games with blue slips. Accordingly, I gave Mr. Bounds a hearing.
I know there was some confusion regarding some of Mr. Bounds’ college writing. The hearing gave Mr. Bounds a chance to explain that the Oregon judicial selection committee never asked for his college writings. In fact, Senator Wyden’s staff instructed him not to disclose them. The hearing gave Mr. Bounds a chance to answer questions about them and I’m glad that Mr. Bounds had the opportunity to clarify the confusion surrounding this issue.
I hope that we don’t live in a world where controversial things that we write in college end our careers forever. This is especially true with our kids and grandkids on social media. I still get in trouble with my social media—and I’m 84.
For example, a few years ago I supported the confirmation of then-Justice Wright to the Minnesota District Court despite her controversial law school writings. We shouldn’t assume that views expressed years ago during college and law school represent the nominee today, especially when the nominee tells us they don’t. Let’s let all 100 senators – not just two – decide whether Mr. Bounds deserves to be confirmed.
In addition to the nominations, we be considering one opioid-related bill. S.2837, the Preventing Drug Diversion Act of 2018, was held over from our last meeting. This bill was introduced by Senator Hassan, and I am a cosponsor. The Preventing Drug Diversion Act works to codify provisions of current DEA regulations on suspicious orders. It also calls for greater cooperation between the federal government and states in identifying and stopping suspicious orders.
We also have on the agenda S. 974, the CREATES Act, which will be held over. This is an important piece of legislation, cosponsored by several members of this Committee, which promotes generic drug competition by curbing abuses of the FDA REMS process. We’ll talk more about this bill next week.
Also, S. 2245, the Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors Act or “KIWI” Act is on the agenda for the first time and will be held over. This bipartisan bill by Senators Hirono and Lee would extend trade and investor visas to New Zealand citizens. New Zealand is one of our most important allies, and it is the only “Five Eye” intelligence sharing country that doesn’t have access to our treaty trader visas. This bill will ensure that New Zealanders continues to make investments in the U.S. economy.