May 05, 2022

Grassley Statement at Markup of NOPEC Act and on SCOTUS Leak

Prepared Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee
Executive Business Meeting
May 5, 2022
 
On Monday evening, we saw a shocking leak from the Supreme Court. This was a monumental, historic breach of trust.
 
A number of Democrats and their allies in the media have tried to focus on the substance of this leaked three-month-old draft. Before everyone sets their hair on fire, there’re a few reasons that makes little sense.
 
First, it’s a draft, not a final decision. There will be time to discuss the actual decision in the case when it’s issued. We shouldn’t reward this leak by speculating about it. Second, the person who violated the court’s tradition of confidentiality chose to leak a draft that’s nearly three months old. We don’t know what changes might’ve been made. Third, what we do know right now is that this leak happened. I don’t know why some on the left want to lionize the leaker. This was a dishonorable act. We should all be willing to say so. It risks hurting important values at the court.
 
The justices must be able to discuss cases without worrying that a member of the court family would run to the press seemingly in an attempt to influence an outcome. The Chief Justice has announced that the Marshal of the Court will investigate the leak. I look forward to learning the results of that investigation.
 
Sadly, we’re already seeing the predictable result of this disgraceful leak. We’ve seen the far left dark money groups calling for court packing. And we’ve seen a public pressure campaign to influence the court. A liberal activist group even went so far as to organize a “walk-by” of the conservative justices’ homes. This seems to be nothing more than an appalling attempt to intimidate the justices.
 
Appropriately, the Chief Justice announced that the “work of the court will not be affected in any way.” We should also remember the numerous dedicated employees who work at the court. The justices respect and cherish the court as an institution and its place in our government. We should recognize and honor those employees and the justices who’ve respected the confidentiality of the judicial process.
 
Separately, I want to thank Chairman Durbin for listing the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, known as NOPEC. I also want to thank Senators Lee, Klobuchar and Leahy for their cosponsorship of this bill. NOPEC has been marked up by this committee before and has always enjoyed broad bipartisan support.
 
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, is a collection of countries that operates a cartel controlling the price and production of oil worldwide. With its partner countries, including Russia, OPEC controls 70 percent of all petroleum traded internationally and 80 percent of all oil reserves. The anti-competitive conduct of OPEC and its partners to manipulate oil prices directly harms American consumers.
 
NOPEC would allow the Department of Justice to hold OPEC and its partners accountable for their anticompetitive activity.  Importantly, the legislation only allows the Department of Justice to bring suit against OPEC and its members. It gives the Attorney General another tool in the toolbox to go after antitrust violators, while still allowing the administration to weigh foreign policy implications.
 
Americans are feeling the pain at the pump with record high gas prices, while Russia, Venezuela, Iran and other hostile countries are benefitting. NOPEC is a bill that will help our government enforce the antitrust laws against these countries. Let me remind my colleagues that President Trump supported NOPEC, as did President Biden when he was in the Senate. So I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting NOPEC.
 
I also want to thank the chairman for listing the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Reauthorization Act, which I cosponsor. Encouraging treatment and supporting those with mental health challenges in the criminal justice system is critical to improving outcomes and protecting public safety. This bill updates successful initiatives to do just that. I’m proud to help move this bill forward.
 

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