[Des Moines]— On October 30, representatives of the American Bar Association released a statement unanimously deeming federal judicial nominee Leonard Steven Grasz “not qualified”. Grasz is the third nominee since 1989 to receive this rating unanimously, and the previous two were not confirmed. If confirmed, Grasz would oversee Iowa from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals bench.
Today, representatives of the ABA will testify at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting about the rating. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley invited these representatives to testify before his committee votes on Grasz’s nomination.
Iowa Citizen Action Network Executive Director Sue Dinsdale, One Iowa Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel, Americans for Democratic Action Iowa Director Chris Schwartz, and Progress Iowa Executive Director Matt Sinovic issued the following joint statement on behalf of Why Courts Matter Iowa in advance of today’s Judiciary Committee meeting:
“Leonard Steven Grasz has a long history of anti-LGBTQ stances that indicate he would not be able to decide cases fairly. He’s claimed the Supreme Court’s ruling declaring same-sex marriage constitutional ‘threatens freedom’, claimed that families of same-sex couples are ‘less optimal’ than families of heterosexual couples, and supports the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy according to Lambda Legal. Grasz is unqualified to serve on a federal court bench, and we urge Sen. Grassley and the Judiciary Committee to listen to the ABA and reject his nomination.”
Sen. Grassley has a history of trusting the ABA’s judgment. The ABA gave Supreme Court Justice NeilGorsuch its top “well-qualified” rating on March 9, 2017 before he was confirmed. Sen. Grassley responded positively to this rating in a statement, citing Former Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s assertion that the ABA is the “‘gold standard’ in evaluating federal judicial nominations.”
The Why Courts Matter Iowa coalition is focused on ensuring that the federal judiciary is representative of America’s diverse population and ending the judicial vacancy crisis so that every American can have his or her day in court. Why Courts Matter Iowa is led by Iowa Citizen Action Network, Americans for Democratic Action Iowa, Progress Iowa, and One Iowa.
For more information visit www.whycourtsmatteriowa.org.