Grassley to Chair Senate Judiciary

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), formerly ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is the new chairman (replacing Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) of the newly Republican-controlled body, promising to try and reduce regulation and protect kids from predators.

Grassley was elected Wednesday, but the vote was not ratified until Thursday during a meeting of the Republican conference, according to Grassley's office.

“The Judiciary Committee handles a broad policy jurisdiction and oversight portfolio, as well as the vetting of nominees for lifetime appointments to the federal judiciary," said Grassley in a statement. "These are all important responsibilities that committee members take very seriously. My goal is to promote transparency and accountability, restore the committee’s role as a true check on the massive and powerful federal bureaucracy, and forward issues key to keeping America on the cutting edge of technology and business growth. We’ll have an agenda that enhances the economy and protects consumers; reduces regulatory burdens on businesses and curbs abuses to our civil justice system; shields kids from drugs and child predators; protects taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud and abuse; focuses on securing the border and improves legal immigration opportunities; and adapts our criminal laws to rapidly advancing technology."

Grassley is a familiar name in communications circles, particularly after he put a months-long hold on the nominations of FCC commissioners Ajit Pai and Jessica Rosenworcel back in 2011-2012 over an issue unrelated to the pair.

Grassley has been a supporter of cameras in the court legislation but has raised concern about multiple station ownership. Grassley was also a big critic of FCC process under then-chairman Julius Genachowski, particularly document production, the issue that prompted his hold on the FCC nominees.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, he also teamed with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) back in 2013 on a bill to study the impact of video games on real-world violence.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.