In August we told you about Steve Grasz, an attorney from Nebraska who has been nominated for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
While it is impossible to know for sure, Mr. Grasz’s track record working for the Nebraska Attorney General’s office leads us to believe he would make an excellent federal judge.
Now it is up to the U.S. Senate to review and confirm Mr. Grasz’s nomination. However, this week a committee with the American Bar Association said Mr. Grasz is not qualified to serve in the Eighth Circuit.
The American Bar Association committee cited Mr. Grasz’s “pro-life agenda,” saying his personal convictions “created a lack of objectivity” and that Mr. Grasz’s “passionately-held social agenda appeared to overwhelm and obscure the ability to exercise dispassionate and unbiased judgment.”
Writing at National Review Online, legal expert Ed Whelan notes the ABA’s statement was based in large part on a longer report written by University of Arkansas School of Law professor Cynthia Nance.
Nance’s strong ideological bias is not difficult to uncover. Among other things, she signed a letter opposing the confirmation of Justice Alito. Given the ABA’s persistent complaints about Grasz’s supposed inability to separate his judging from his “pro-life agenda,” it’s notable that that letter against Alito complains about the impact that he would have on—euphemism alert!—“women’s reproductive freedoms.” Nance also signed a letter arguing that the “government’s interests in protecting women’s health and reproductive freedom, and combating gender discrimination,” meant that even religiously affiliated organizations—like the Little Sisters of the Poor—should be required to provide contraceptive coverage (including drugs and devices that can also operate in an abortifacient manner) notwithstanding their own religiously informed views on what constitutes illicit moral complicity in evil.
It is unfortunate anyone would try to argue that being pro-life or defending pro-life laws makes a person unfit to serve as a judge, but it appears the American Bar Association is doing precisely that.
Photo Credit: By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.