Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa





Grassley Statement at Nominations Hearing, Lame Duck Hearings, No Saldana

Nov 13, 2014

Prepared Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Ranking Member, Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Hearing regarding the nominations of:  
Joan Marie Azrack, to be a United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York;
Loretta Copeland Biggs, to be a United States District Judge for the Middle District of North Carolina;
Elizabeth K. Dillon, of Virginia, to be a United States District Judge for the Western District of Virginia; and
Michael P. Botticelli, to be Director of National Drug Control Policy
Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mr. Chairman,
Congratulations to all the nominees and their families here today. This is a big moment for all of you in your professional careers, and I offer my congratulations on your nomination.

Along with three nominees to district courts, we will be hearing today from the nominee to be Director of National Drug Control Policy. I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say about many of the challenges we as a nation are facing in this area, including the ongoing epidemic of prescription drug abuse, as well as the increasing availability of marijuana to young people.

I must say, I’m a bit disappointed we won’t be hearing from the nominee to run the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, Ms. Saldana. Although the Chairman is working with me and Senator Cornyn to refer her nomination to the Judiciary Committee – and while I appreciate that accommodation from the Chairman– I am disappointed she won’t be providing live testimony before our committee. In my view, written questions for the record are no substitute for live testimony.

Finally, I just wanted to point out, as we all know, we are now in a lame duck session of Congress. I would note that although the committee has held hearings for judicial nominees during lame duck sessions in the past, in modern history none have ever been confirmed that same year.

As the 113th Congress draws to a close, I would like to remind my colleagues that we have confirmed 106 district and circuit court judges in the past two years. In comparison, during the fifth and sixth years of President Bush’s presidency, the Senate only confirmed 52 district and circuit court judges. So, it’s clear the Senate has been extremely busy and accommodating in getting this President’s nominees through.

I look forward to continuing to work with the President and my friends on the Judiciary committee in the next two years on confirming consensus nominees who are well qualified and possess the proper judicial temperament to be a federal judge.