December 12, 2017
"...Listen to all the Nebraskans, again, of all backgrounds and across the partisan spectrum as they urge us to confirm Mr. Grasz today."
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke on the Senate floor as the Senate resumed consideration of Steve Grasz’s nomination to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit. Last night the full Senate voted to invoke cloture on the nomination and a final confirmation vote will happen soon.
Sasse’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are found below:
Mr. President, I rise today in continued support of Steve Grasz’s nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Some of those attacking Mr. Grasz have claimed that he doesn’t have the character or temperament to treat litigants fairly and decide cases on the facts and the law.
In evaluating these claims, I hope my colleagues listen to the hundreds of Nebraskans of all partisan and ideological stripes who have stood up to support Steve’s nomination.
I would urge everyone to listen to what they have to say specifically about his character and temperament.
One Nebraskan wrote:
“I was the plaintiff in a First Amendment defamation and political speech action against the Nebraska Republican Party. . . . Mr. Grasz represented the Nebraska Republican Party. I was not successful in my lawsuit. However, I did have the opportunity to meet and interact with Mr. Grasz during the case and found him to be . . . . a consummate professional. Based on my observations I believe his judicial temperament would be of the highest quality and all parties would be given equal opportunity. . . . I can think of no one better qualified or suited to be appointed to this prestigious judgeship than Steven Grasz.”
Another Nebraskan wrote:
“I know Steve personally having served as opposing counsel to him on cases. . . . Steve was a formidable opponent. . . . While he zealously advocated for his clients, he did so in a level-headed and even-keeled manner.”
Yet another Nebraskan wrote:
“I . . . have . . .represented clients in cases where Mr. Grasz was opposing counsel. In all circumstances he demonstrates the utmost professionalism. . . . I am a registered Democrat and, quite frankly, am not a strong supporter of the current administration. However, as a practicing attorney dealing with complex litigation and appearing regularly in the federal courts of appeals, I want intelligent, thoughtful individuals appointed to the Bench who will administer the law and apply existing precedent. I have no doubt that Mr. Grasz can do that very effectively.”
Also, consider the words of this Nebraskan:
“Steve does not allow his role as an advocate to cloud his analyses and judgment. He reviews statutes, regulations, rule and common law with a clear eye, and applies these authorities to the facts presented to him. . . . [H]is respect for precedent and his high regard for the works of other branches of government show his dedication to following the Constitution and our nation’s laws as they are written.”
Mr. President, Steve Grasz is a Nebraskan through and through. As I said on the floor yesterday, Steve bleeds Husker red, but he is a guy well suited to take on the black robes of a judge. He understands that we do not have blue or red partisan jerseys on our Article Three branch of government – the independent judiciary. Steve is well suited to serve as a judge on the Eighth Circuit and I think that, not just Nebraskans, but folks across the states in the eighth circuit will find a man of unbelievable temperament.
The ABA is a liberal advocacy organization. That is absolutely their right. What is not okay is for the ABA to masquerade as a neutral arbiter of professional qualifications. The attacks on Steve’s character that have come out of this process because of the two reviewers from the ABA cite, again and again and again, anonymous sources of his supposed rudeness. We have seen none of that in Nebraska, again, in the hundreds of people who have written to the senior senator and myself, and now to the Judiciary Committee in support of the President's decision to nominate Steve Grasz to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to enter into the record the specific letters that I here just cited. And I urge all of my colleagues to listen to all the Nebraskans, again, of all backgrounds and across the partisan spectrum as they urge us to confirm Mr. Grasz today. Thank you, Mr. President.