FACT CHECK: Supreme Court

Grassley works to confirm judges. 

  • Justice Scalia’s unexpected passing was a watershed moment for the make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court. As then-chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley made the decision to keep the vacancy open until after the people had spoken in the presidential election. 
  • In the 2014 midterms, the American people sent a resounding message against President Obama’s liberal policies, including his liberal court appointments. We need justices who don’t legislate from the bench and confirm justices who see their job as strictly interpreting the Constitution.
  • In 2016, the American people elected Donald Trump as president. During the Trump administration, Senator Grassley helped confirm three Supreme Court Justices and more than 200 judges to the federal bench.

Mike Franken pushes to undermine judicial independence and create an activist court.

  • By ending constitutional lifetime tenure for SCOTUS, Franken’s proposed 18-year terms will undermine judicial independence and the reputation of the high court. This is what the Founders were trying to prevent.
  • Democrats like Franken never complained or threatened to ignore the court’s rulings during the decades that the court’s liberal majority issued rulings conforming to their preferred outcomes. These new schemes to rotate justices, impose terms or add seats are all court-packing by another name. President Franklin D. Roosevelt tried it, and was rebuffed by the American public and its representatives in Congress who valued and upheld the integrity of our system of checks and balances. 

Additionally, Mike Franken has criticized Senator Grassley’s membership on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which diminishes the very important, bipartisan work done by the committee to protect our people and our nation.

  • Mike Franken has said: “I have a disdain for Chuck Grassley’s reputation, which is presenting us the most partisan Supreme Court in the history of the Supreme Court in our lives.” In reality, Grassley worked on the Senate Judiciary Committee to confirm strict constructionist judges who follow the Constitution and leave lawmaking to elected policymakers. 
  • In a tweet, Mike Franken incorrectly claimed: “Senator Grassley hopped off the Finance Committee, where he could be helpful to Iowa and the nation, in favor of the Judiciary Committee.” Mike Franken doesn’t understand how Senate Committees work, which PolitiFact points out. But it’s also interesting that Franken completely diminishes the important work of the Senate Judiciary Committee — by implying the Judiciary Committee isn’t helpful to the state or nation — where Senator Grassley leads important bipartisan work including passing the First Step Act, the Survivors’ Bill of Rights and the Speak Out Act, conducting an investigation into the USA Gymnastics scandal on behalf of female athletes, and working to improve the military justice system for survivors of sexual assault.