Floor Updates

Nelson-NE, Grassley

Executive Session (Gerrard Nomination)

Jan 23 2012

05:41 PM

Senator Nelson-NE: (4:48 PM)
  • Spoke in favor of the Gerrard nomination.
    • SUMMARY "It is important to recognize that in Moore, the issue was not whether the death penalty itself was constitutional. It was whether a particular means of execution was constitutional. Those are completely different questions. Senator Sessions claims that Judge Gerrard stayed the defense execution in light of a "changing legal landscape.â€? However, it's not uncommon for a court when presented with different cases involving related issues to withhold ruling on any one case until all of the related issues are resolved. Therefore, the Moore order reflects a pragmatic decision to wait until both cases could be resolved. Now, I agree with Senator Sessions that this is about the duty of a judge to be faithful to the law and to serve under the law. However, I strongly disagree distinguish Senator Sessions' characterization as Judge Gerrard as an activist judge As a matter of fact, he has no personal beliefs that would prevent him from enforcing the death penalty. In fact, he's authored several opinions and voted to confirm the death sentences. As I said, Judge Gerrard believes the death penalty is an acceptable forum of punishment and he understands the significant difference between a judge on a court of last resort interpreting state court constitutional law and a federal district judge who follows U.S. Supreme Court precedents. So I'd like to reiterate that Judge Gerrard is held in the highest regard by both the bench and the bar in Nebraska."

Senator Grassley: (4:54 PM)
  • Spoke on the constitutionality of President Obama's recent "recessâ€? appointments.
    • SUMMARY "I do not believe that we should let the powers vested in elected representatives of the American people slip through our fingers because we place partisan interests above the Constitution. I have shown how the framers understood how supposedly expedient departures from the Constitution risk individual liberty. The Constitutional text in this situation is very clear. It must be upheld. We must take appropriate action to see that it is done, nor should we wait for the courts. Although the NLRB appointments are already the subject of litigation, we should take action ourselves rather than rely upon others. The stakes are too high. On the other hand, own the OLC opinion recognizes the litigation risks to the president. For more than 200 years, presidents haves made very expansive claims to power under the recess appointment clause. The president and the Senate have worked out differences to form a working government. Now this administration seeks to up-end these presidents and that working relationship. It may well find as the Bush administration did that when overbroad claims of presidential power find their way to the courts, that not only does the President lose but that the expansive argument of the presidential power that had long been a part of the public discourse can no longer be made. Although I believe that this ironic result will ultimately occur here as well, the Senate must defend its Constitutional roles on its own as intended by the framers of the Constitution that we all swore an oath to uphold."