The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday decided to delay until next week a likely vote to submit to the full Senate the nomination of Omaha attorney Steve Grasz to fill a seat on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The delay will allow Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and other committee members time to further review new material submitted at Feinstein's request in response to earlier American Bar Association testimony opposing Grasz's confirmation to a seat on the federal court.
Pamela Bresnahan, speaking for the ABA, referred to Grasz's use of "information that was confidential to change an outcome of a nonpartisan judicial nominating committee process in order to provide the governor an opportunity to appoint a preferred candidate."
In a written response presented to the committee this week, Grasz said the information was provided "in the course of my representation of a client."
"The purpose of the complaint was to rectify what my client and I considered to be improper and unethical political manipulation of a non-political merit selection process by a political party process," Grasz wrote.
The ABA's characterization of the event is misleading, he said.
In an accompanying letter to Sen. Ben Sasse responding to questions raised by the senator, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said Grasz "did not violate state law or rules regarding judicial nominating commissions in either filing the complaint in question or in disclosing such complaint."
In a rare action, the ABA previously rated Grasz as "not qualified" to serve on the federal bench.
The Judiciary Committee is expected to send the nomination to the floor of the Senate on what is likely to be a party-line vote. The Senate would then determine whether to confirm President Donald Trump's nomination of Grasz, who is a former chief deputy attorney general of Nebraska.