Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Senate Judiciary Committee
June 14, 2018
morning. Today we intend to vote on 3 judicial nominees and important
legislation. At the minority’s request, we will hold over for one week the
nominees to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
along with several other nominees, we’re voting on the nomination of Georgia
Supreme Court Justice Britt Grant to the 11th Circuit. Justice Grant
is a well-respected judge and public servant. Since joining the bench, she has
a clear record of being fair and impartial. In five different cases, she’s
ruled for criminal defendants when she found their sentences did not match the law.
In each case, she ordered the lower court to correct the errors. Regardless of
whether it is a criminal defendant or the State of Georgia, every individual is
equal under the law when they come to Justice Grant’s courtroom.
also previously served as Georgia’s Solicitor General and clerked for the DC
Circuit. I have confidence she’ll make an excellent appellate judge, and I look
forward to supporting her nomination.
on today’s agenda and ready for a vote is Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Patrick
Wyrick. Before his appointment to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Justice Wyrick
served as Oklahoma’s first Solicitor General where he argued, and won, a case
before the United States Supreme Court. He also clerked for a federal judge on
the same court to which Justice Wyrick is now nominated.
my Democratic colleagues sent me a letter asking that I delay the vote on
Justice Wyrick because the American Bar Association has not yet issued its
rating for him. The ABA has had plenty of time to perform its evaluation. I’ve
said before that I won’t allow outside groups to dictate the Committee’s
I’m skeptical of the usefulness of ABA ratings. Members on the other side have
voted on a party-line against numerous nominees who received well-qualified
ratings from the ABA, including Andy Oldham, John Nalbandian, James Ho, Don
Willett, and Kyle Duncan. Democrats have voted against a number of well
qualified women and minority candidates.
seems that the ABA’s ratings are used only as a political weapon by the
minority. Well-qualified ratings are ignored when the Democrats already oppose
a nominee, but non-ratings or not-qualified ratings are used against clearly
qualified nominees, such as newly appointed 8th Circuit Judge Steven
member of this Committee has had the opportunity to vet Justice Wyrick and has
enough information to form their own opinion on his qualifications. I think
it’s clear that—regardless of the ABA’s opinion—Justice Wyrick is highly
qualified to serve on the district court. He has the support of his colleagues
on the Oklahoma Supreme Court, from current and former state solicitors general
who worked with Justice Wyrick when he held that office, and many members of
the Oklahoma legal community. Accordingly, we will be holding a vote on his
addition to the nominations, we will be voting on S.2837, the Preventing
Drug Diversion Act. Last week, this committee voted to approve a manager’s
amendment and an amendment by Senator Lee. However, because we did not have
quorum, we did not successfully report this bill to the floor. I hope
that today, all members of the committee will remain so that we can have the
necessary quorum to vote on all of our agenda.
other opioid-related bills have already been reported to the floor, and with
this bill, we will have successfully worked together in a bipartisan way to
move important legislation out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
glad we are considering S. 974, the CREATES Act. I’d really like
to thank Senator Leahy, Senator Klobuchar, and Senator Lee for working on this
bill with me from the very beginning. This bill targets abuses that
undermine free-market competition and the integrity of the Hatch-Waxman Act
process. It allows for disputes over drug samples to be litigated under a
clear and narrowly-tailored legal pathway in federal court. The CREATES
Act will actually send more parties to the bargaining table instead of the
courtroom by improving and streamlining existing litigation options.
Congressional Budget Office estimates that the CREATES Act would save
federal programs approximately $3.8 billion by increasing generic drug
competition and associated cost savings. Savings to consumers and private
insurers likely would be far greater.
CREATES Act is a conservative, market-based solution. I wouldn’t support
legislation that encourages frivolous lawsuits, jeopardizes patient safety, or
undermines intellectual property rights. The only remedy available to the
generic is injunctive relief and specified damages, which is within the
discretion of the judge based on what is necessary to deter future
misconduct. This isn’t a trial lawyers’ windfall. Moreover, this bill
was drafted not to punish branded drug manufacturers acting in good faith, but
to establish an effective deterrent for improper behavior.
co-sponsors and I have worked closely with the FDA and the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) to ensure that the legislation is effective at reducing
prescription drug prices.
CREATES Act is also consistent with the goals of Secretary of Health and
Human Services Alex Azar and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, to fight abuses
in the system and address the high cost of prescription drugs.
received wide outside support for the bill ranging from FreedomWorks to Public
Citizen. Alden Abbott, acting general counsel for the FTC and former
senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, described the CREATES Act
as “a ‘win-win’ for free market drug market competition and for American
objection, I’d like to put letters in the record from groups in support of the
going to offer a manager’s amendment which makes several technical changes
based on feedback from the FDA and FTC, as well as concerns raised by BIO and
PhRMA. Among other things, the amendment adds a definition for
commercially reasonable, market based terms, verifies that a sale of samples in
accordance with the bill will not be a violation of REMS, clarifies the
limitation of liability language, and ensures that any shared system REMS
waivers maintain the same level of safety.
KIWI Act will be held over again for one week while the bill’s sponsors
continue to resolve outstanding issues.