CEDAR RAPIDS — Although it might have affect her re-election effort, it will be “business as usual” for Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, when the Senate Judiciary Committee begins hearings Monday on the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett.
Ernst, who is trailing or tied with her Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield in a variety of polls, said Sunday while in Cedar Rapids for a fundraiser that she will fulfill her responsibility as a member of the Judiciary Committee regardless of what — if any — effect it might have on her re-election.
“Business as usual for me is doing the right thing for the state of Iowa,” the first-term senator said. “That means I’m going through the vetting process with Judge Barrett. Is she going to uphold the Constitution?”
Ernst made a stop in Cedar Rapids on Sunday as part of her Ride Across Iowa, which raised funds for the Puppy Jake Foundation, an Iowa-based nonprofit that provides veterans with professionally trained service dog, and the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation’s Derecho Disaster Recovery, which was established to provide direct relief to victims of the hurricane-force August storm.
The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin hearings on Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ernst acknowledged the controversy surrounding the hearings starting just 22 days before an election that might not only result in a new president, but also end Republican control of the Senate.
Minority Democrats have called for waiting until after the election to give voters a voice in the confirmation of the next justice. However, Republicans say that with the White House and Senate majority in the control of the same party there is no reason to delay the process as they did in 2016 when the GOP held the Senate, but Barack Obama was president.
It will be the first time for Ernst to participate in confirming a Supreme Court nominee. Although a junior member of the committee, which includes Iowa’s Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, she may be in the spotlight. Ernst is one of two Republican women on Judiciary Committee.
She and Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn are the first Republican women to ever serve on the committee. Republicans were criticized during the lack of women on the committee during the confirmation of Bret Kavanaugh, which involved allegations of sexual assault by the nominee.
“So I think we just bring a great perspective to the committee,” Ernst said, adding “I think there will be a lot of focus on all of the women on the committee because we have a woman that’s coming in front of the committee.”
There are four Democratic women on the committee, including California Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president.
If confirmed, Barrett would be the fifth woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
Ernst also downplayed concerns about COVID-19, noting that senators who attend the hearings in-person will be physically distanced to avoid spread.
“I think it’s smart that we follow the precautions as put in place by the office of the attending physician for us in the Senate,” she said. Members who do not want to be physically present, may participate in the hearings via Zoom, a video conferencing platform.
VIDEO: Clear Lake pumpkin tree receives facelift
Buddy Holly coverage over the years
Buddy Holly coverage over the years
On February 3, 1959, rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper (aka J.P. Richardson) and pilot Roger Peterson were killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake after their performance at the Surf Ballroom. They had been traveling across the Midwest on their "Winter Dance Party" tour.
Collected here is just a handful of related coverage from the Globe Gazette over the years.
Three couples attending the Winter Dance Dance Party renewed their vows Friday at the Surf Ballroom & Museum in Clear Lake.
Photos from the day the music died.
Though the lifelong Mason City resident isn't alive to witness the honor, his music still hangs around.
The late Globe Gazette photographer who captured the iconic images of “The Day the Music Died” is being honored at the Surf Ballroom & Museum in Clear Lake.
A memorial paying tribute to renowned Globe Gazette photographer Elwin Musser is now on display at the Surf Ballroom and Museum. Musser was no…
Here's a look at the Globe Gazette's photo collections of the last five years at the Surf Ballroom and Museum's legendary Winter Dance Party..…
A lineup of all-star performers is slated for the 2020 Winter Dance Party at the Surf Ballroom & Museum in Clear Lake Jan. 30 to Feb. 1.
When he was 16, he took the girl of 15 who would later become his wife to a concert at the Surf Ballroom. It was a buck and a quarter to get i…
CLEAR LAKE | Bundled in layers Winter Dance Party attendees ventured to the memorial site of rock ‘n’ roll legends Buddy Holly, J.P. “The Big …
CLEAR LAKE | Heads bobbed, toes tapped and hands clapped Thursday afternoon as nostalgic '50s rock 'n' roll covers filled the E.B. Stillman Au…
CLEAR LAKE | A British man is on a mission to get J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
CLEAR LAKE | A new film production company plans to release a dramatic feature about Buddy Holly.
GUTHRIE CENTER -- A co-pilot in the Friday plane crash that killed four northwest Iowa people apparently tried to take over the controls after…
ARNOLDS PARK – The Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association will host an 80th birthday celebration for 2000 Hall of Fame inductee Buddy Holly at th…
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