News & Politics

Chuck Grassley: We Haven't Put Any Women on the Senate Judiciary Committee Because It's Too Much Work for Them

The Senate Judiciary chairman somehow found yet another way to stomp on women.

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On Friday, Senate Republicans finally whipped the votes they need to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who is facing an imminent vote on Saturday amid a cloud of sexual assault allegations, partisanship, and national outrage.

It was a dark day for women. But somehow, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) — who has been instrumental in ramming through Kavanaugh's nomination — found a way to make things even worse.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, in conversation with reporters, Grassley was discussing the fact that the Republican Party has never put a single woman on the committee. The explanation, according to him: women don't want to have to do that much work.

"It's a lot of work — maybe they don’t want to do it,” said Grassley. "My chief of staff of 33 years tells me we've tried to recruit women and we couldn't get the job done."

Later, apparently realizing his misogyny could spark outcry, Grassley tried to claim he didn't mean women per se were more work averse than men — just that it was hard to get anyone period to come and work on the Judiciary Committee. "We have a hard time getting men on the committee. It's just a lot of work whether you're a man or a woman, it doesn't matter."

Even if Republicans were so inclined, it might indeed be difficult for them to put women on the Judiciary Committee — not because women are lazy or incapable, but because Republican voters elect so few of them. There are only six Republican women in the Senate. Of those six, only one of them, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, is a lawyer.

The fact that Kavanaugh's first sexual assault accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, would be interrogated in her Senate testimony only by men on the Republican side was not lost on the GOP, who feared the optics of the situation. For that reason, they hired Rachel Mitchell, a sex-crimes prosecutor from Arizona, to lead the questioning during their turns, which Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) all but telegraphed the point of when he referred to her as their "female assistant."

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Matthew Chapman is a video game designer, science fiction author, and political reporter from Austin, TX. Follow him on Twitter @fawfulfan.