U.S. Eighth Circuit - The FindLaw 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Judge Leonard Grasz Confirmed Despite Unqualified ABA Rating

Former law partner and Nebraska state chief deputy attorney general, Leonard Grasz, recently had his nomination to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed by the Senate.

Despite the ABA's rarely given "unqualified" rating of soon-to-be Judge Grasz, the 50 to 48 vote cut along partisan lines, much like the Senate Judiciary Committee's 11 to 9 vote. Judge Grasz is expected to be a conservative judge, and if the ABA is correct, potentially one that is a little too passionate.

Passionate About What?

One of concerns seemed to stem from an alleged passionately held pro-life view that could cloud his judgment in cases involving reproductive rights. Given that reproductive rights are such an important hot button topic, the concerns are worthy of some pause. But the ABA's opinion seemed to carry very little weight with the party in power that approved President Trump's tenth appellate court appointment with a simple majority vote.

The ABA's concerns also included potential temperament issues where it learned of instances where Grasz was "gratuitously rude."

Judicial Learning Curve

For the new circuit judge, it might take some getting used to the new role. This appears to be the first time he will take the bench in his legal career. And while his lack of judicial experience likely didn't help his ABA rating, it is not that uncommon for federal court appointments to go to first time judges. If it turns out he doesn't have a knack for it, the lifetime appointment isn't really revocable, so he'll have plenty of time to get that experience and hopefully get it right.

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