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Denouncing 'Misogynistic Bullying' and 'Failed Leadership,' 50+ Groups Call on Grassley to Resign Immediately as Judiciary Committee Chair

"You have publicly bullied a woman who has stepped forward to report allegations of sexual assault."

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) speaks before testimony from Christine Blasey Ford at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) speaks before testimony from Christine Blasey Ford at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

As Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) put on a "genuinely unhinged" performance during Thursday's Senate hearing with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford—constantly interrupting Democratic senators and repeatedly inserting self-serving rants between questioning—more than 50 Iowa-based and national groups representing hundreds of thousands of Americans sent a letter denouncing Grassley's "failed leadership" and demanding that he immediately resign as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"You and your staff had knowledge of the allegation prior to it becoming public, and prepared a defense for the nominee while expeditiously moving through the nomination process with the hope it would never be uncovered."
—Letter to Grassley

Slamming Grassley's efforts to rush through Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh without a federal investigation of Ford's credible sexual assault allegations, the groups accused Grassley of injecting "partisan politics and misogynistic bullying" into the Judiciary Committee's leadership.

"You have publicly bullied a woman who has stepped forward to report allegations of sexual assault," the letter states. "You and your staff had knowledge of the allegation prior to it becoming public, and prepared a defense for the nominee while expeditiously moving through the nomination process with the hope it would never be uncovered. Once the allegation was made public, you rejected past precedent, and refused a request for the FBI to investigate further, instead relying on your staff to investigate."

"The nomination process of a Supreme Court nominee is not about you personally, but it is about whether Americans have confidence in your leadership," the letter concludes. "After the events of the past few weeks, we have lost all confidence you can lead the Judiciary Committee without tainting this and any subsequent nomination process with politics. For the good of the country, and for the future of an independent judicial branch free from politics, we urge you to resign as chair of the Committee on Judiciary immediately."

Grassley has come under fire repeatedly throughout Kavanaugh's confirmation process for orchestrating a "sham" that has eschewed basic standards of transparency in order to fast-track a right-wing judge accused by multiple women of sexual assault.

As Common Dreams reported, Grassley provoked widespread condemnation on Wednesday for scheduling a committee vote on Kavanaugh for less than 24 hours after Thursday's hearing.

Criticism of the Republican Judiciary Committee chair continued on Thursday after the senator kicked off Ford's hearing with a lengthy diatribe defending his conduct throughout Kavanaugh's confirmation process and attacking Democrats for demanding complete FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations against President Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick.

Read the full letter:

Dear Senator Grassley,

We, the undersigned, are writing today to request your resignation as Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

We are organizations and leaders from across the country, and have watched with alarm as you have taken the bipartisan institution of the Judiciary Committee and injected partisan politics and misogynistic bullying into its leadership. There are many of us who have expressed public disagreement with your decisions in the past, but this goes beyond simply disagreeing with your stance on a nominee or a policy position. Your actions have threatened the independent nature of the judiciary, a bedrock institution that must provide a check on the executive and legislative branches in order for our democracy to thrive.

Your tenure as Chair began with unprecedented obstruction of judicial nominations put forward by President Obama, including the hearings that never occurred for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. And while you used the blue slip process of giving deference to home state Senators to block nominees made by President Obama, you have ripped up that precedent to further steamroll nominees of President Trump. In addition, you have moved away from other long standing committee practices, speeding up the process for nominees making it harder to thoroughly vet them, and by de-emphasizing the ratings provided by the American Bar Association.

In recent days your failed leadership has once again been on full display. You have publicly bullied a woman who has stepped forward to report allegations of sexual assault. You and your staff had knowledge of the allegation prior to it becoming public, and prepared a defense for the nominee while expeditiously moving through the nomination process with the hope it would never be uncovered. Once the allegation was made public, you rejected past precedent, and refused a request for the FBI to investigate further, instead relying on your staff to investigate. However, your staff has behaved in a wholly inappropriate manner, sending tweets that indicate bias that would compromise their investigation, as well as needing to resign due to their own prior sexual misconduct allegations. Finally, in the face of mounting criticism about your handling of this process, you claimed the role of victim not for Dr. Blasey Ford, but for yourself.

The nomination process of a Supreme Court nominee is not about you personally, but it is about whether Americans have confidence in your leadership. After the events of the past few weeks, we have lost all confidence you can lead the Judiciary Committee without tainting this and any subsequent nomination process with politics.

For the good of the country, and for the future of an independent judicial branch free from politics, we urge you to resign as Chair of the Committee on Judiciary immediately.

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