Sen. Chuck Grassley uncertain which way he will vote on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson nomination

The ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee continued to voice concerns about the records available to the committee and outside influence in the process.


Sarah Watson

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, talks to reporters at the Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference in Des Moines Friday, August 17, 2018.

Meg Doster, News Reporter

On the third day of the Supreme Court Justice confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said that he has not made up his mind on which way he will vote on Jackson’s confirmation.

“After this hearing, which will end tomorrow, we’ve got to wait and see how the votes go,” Grassley said during a press call Wednesday. “I’ll have to make up my mind between now and then.”

Grassley, who spent much of his opening statement on Monday saying the committee didn’t get enough records from Jackson’s career, said the Democratic Party had given the judicial committee a “goose egg” of information about her time on the Sentencing Committee.

“This latest last minute information dump comes after the White House withheld 40,000 pages of records,” Grassley said. “That’s particularly astonishing to us Republicans because President Biden and Democrats argued that her work on the Sentencing Commission was central to her experience.”

Grassley has previously said that he is looking for a justice who will follow a strict interpretation of the Constitution and not, he said, make the law.

“[Jackson has] done a good job of sidestepping important questions about her judicial philosophy and her willingness to defend the court as an institution,” Grassley said. “We should have gotten more certainty from her.”

Grassley, echoing other Republican senators during the questioning period, said he was concerned that Jackson is too lenient on crime and sentencing. Jackson refuted those criticisms in questioning on Tuesday. She noted she has family in law enforcement and understands the need for law enforcement. 

Crime and the effects on the community and the need for law enforcement, those are not abstract concepts or political slogans for me,” she said. 

Grassley also said he has concerns about Demand Justice, an organization that says it is a socially progressive movement and has endorsed Jackson. Multiple Republican senators during the hearing have called Demand Justice a dark money organization.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse on Tuesday challenged Republicans’ assertion that dark money is influencing the process, pointing to the influence the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization, has had on previous supreme court picks.