There’s been a lot of buzz from those opposed to the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that he doesn’t have the right temperament to be a Supreme Court justice. But Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, doesn’t buy it.
The talking point started with Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and her criticism of Kavanaugh’s “agressive and belligerent” testimony in his own defense. Now even committee wild card Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., has, somewhat softly, joined the chorus.
“I’ve thought about this temperament issue,” Grassley responded when asked about the issue by reporters on Tuesday. “And I’m one of three or four people in the Senate that was around during the [Clarence] Thomas hearings. And that issue came up then.”
Grassley was indeed a senator in 1991 when President George H.W. Bush’s nominee was accused of sexual misconduct by Anita Hill and responded to the allegations with a rousing, impassioned speech in his own defense.
“I’ve observed Justice Thomas for the last 28 years, and I don’t know that any resentment that he had because of what was in his words ‘a high-tech lynching’ has ever entered into anything that he did as a justice,” Grassley said of Thomas’ tenure on the court.
“So I assume that you’re going to find the same thing when Kavanaugh gets on the Supreme Court,” Grassley concluded. “So if you looked at history, I don’t think you would even ask that question.”
Grassley — who was first elected to the Senate in 1981 — along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., was one of the handful of sitting senators present in 1991 for Thomas’ confirmation.