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Kavanaugh triggers concern and discussion at Grassley town hall meeting

Senator Chuck Grassley speaks to constituents during a town hall meeting Thursday at the Corning Opera House. President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee sparked concern and discussion.
Senator Chuck Grassley speaks to constituents during a town hall meeting Thursday at the Corning Opera House. President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee sparked concern and discussion.

CORNING – Senator Chuck Grassley (R) held a town hall meeting Thursday at the Corning Opera House.

During the forum, Grassley fielded questions ranging in topic –  from the USDA’s conservation reserve program (CRP), the federal budget, to immigration. However, it was President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, that garnered the most comments.

Attendee Barb Nelson expressed concern about Kavanaugh’s appointment.

“It feels kind of like a double standard right now that you’re rushing through this confirmation when you wouldn’t even consider the confirmation when Obama was president,” said Nelson.

Grassley said the appointment will actually take longer than average as the judiciary committee is reviewing the 307 opinions Kavanagh has written and the 17,000 pages he submitted to supplement a 111 page questionnaire.

“If you take the last three or four, they would average about 65-70 days between the time the president would announce it and the senate votes for it on the floor,” said Grassley. “So, this would be some time.”

Members of Concerned Women for America (CWA), who made a stong presence, urged Grassley for Kavanaugh’s swift appointment.

“He is a constitutionalist,” said one member. “He is following the law and not changing the law.”

CWA, who made a stop in Corning during its bus tour in support of Kavanagh, describes themselves as the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization. The organization seeks to bring biblical principles into public policy through “prayer and action.”

The appointment of Kavanaugh, who was nominated to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, would tilt the balance of the Supreme Court to the right.

“We’re very grateful to have a constitutionalist nominated who has great character and is uniquely qualified for this position,” said Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America.”Eighty-one percent of evangelical women voted for President Trump. ... Of those women, ... the Supreme Court was the top issue.”

Although Kennedy was nominated to the court by President Ronald Reagan, his role has been the key swing vote in many landmark decisions.

Kavanaugh, who is expected to be a more conservative vote, has many worried that he will make decisions that will come before the court, including a possible repeal of Roe v. Wade, which gives women the constitutional right to have an abortion.

Some argue that the Supreme Court nominee should be chosen by the next president, and not by Trump.

They fear that Trump’s appointment is a conflict of interest as this person would be making decisions on Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 election, which includes allegations of collusion and possible obstruction of justice.

“It seems not right to me that a justice appointed by this president will decide his fate,” someone said during the public forum.

However, Grassley said, after hearing the thoughts of his constituents, his views on Kavanaugh have not changed.

“... a person who has a very outstanding record, that’s best evidenced by 307 decisions that he actually wrote ... for the D.C. circuit,” said Grassley. “I think he has an outstanding academic background, and also approaches from the standpoint of leaving his personal view points out of it.”

Grassley said documents on the judiciary committee’s review of Kavanaugh can be found at https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/.

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