Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was considered untouchable just weeks ago. He polls very well in his home state of Iowa and he’s been around in public office since 1959. He’s been a Senator since 1981. But then as Senate Judiciary Committee chair, Grassley started floating a ridiculous excuse for refusing to do his job, claiming that we should wait until the next election before giving a hearing for a Supreme Court nominee.
Maybe Grassley has been around too long to do his job anymore.
At least that’s the thinking of former Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge, a Democrat, who is not impressed by Grassley’s sad attempt to justify not doing his job by even giving a hearing to an Obama SCOTUS nominee. “I don’t like this double-speak. I don’t like this deliberate obstruction of the process,” Judge said according to the Des Moines Register. “I think Chuck Grassley owes us better. He’s been with us a long time. Maybe he’s been with us too long.”
Patty Judge, a former Iowa lieutenant governor and secretary of agriculture, told The Des Moines Register she believes Grassley deserves a real race in 2016 — and that she’s thinking about running.
“I’m not ruling it out,” Judge, 72, said Thursday when reached at home in Albia.
Judge was a member of the Iowa State Senate in 1992 and was re-elected in 1996. She also ran for re-election as Lt. Governor in 2010 but was defeated. If she decides to run she will join three other Democrats who have already announced.
Grassley’s seat is not one of the seats Democrats considered vulnerable in 2016. In fact, Grassley has enjoyed a protected status for so long that his seat isn’t even considered worthy of spending money on challenging. Or perhaps that’s a wasn’t. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is dead-set on leading his fellow Republicans into treacherous waters of looking like lazy and petulant children who refuse to do their jobs just for political purposes.
The Republican stance is so absurd and indefensible that it makes it easy for a potential challenger to simply promise to do the job for which the taxpayers pay them. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee must be licking its chops.
“By refusing to hold a hearing on a Supreme Court nominee, Sen. Grassley has decided not to do his job,” DSCC National Press Secretary Lauren Passalacqua said in a statement. “His obstruction is yet another factor weakening his case for re-election.”
The DSCC will just have to decide where to put their money now that Senate Republicans have decided to pull a Jim Jones mass suicide.
According to the Des Moines Register, Senator Grassley’s campaign “shot back, calling the notion that the senator wasn’t doing his job ‘absurd.'”
But the Judiciary Committee Chairman is quite literally not doing his job. Holding a hearing on the President’s Supreme Court nominees is one of the most basic parts of the job and it is Constitutionally-mandated. In case that’s not clear enough, perhaps the Senator should listen to himself make the argument.
Eight years ago, Grassley argued that there should be no delay in President Bush’s judicial nominees – EVEN DURING THE LAST FEW MONTHS OF THE PRESIDENT’S TERM.
Eight years ago, Grassley said, “[The idea that July 2008 would trigger the] Thurmond Rule – that’s just plain bunk. The reality is that the Senate has never stopped confirming judicial nominees during the last few months of a president’s term.”
So in 2008 Grassley argued that of course Bush’s nominees should be confirmed, not just get a hearing – and yet now he is refusing to even grant a hearing to an Obama nominee, when the President has about 300 days left to his term. Grassley also argued that this should happen even in the last few months of a President’s term. We are nowhere near the last few months of Obama’s term. The term the people re-elected him to by a five million vote advantage.
Apparently Grassley is only willing to do his job when the President is a Republican. If only the people could stop paying him for the terms during which he refuses to work.
Grassley’s refusal to do his job is both historically unprecedented and unconstitutional. There is no excuse for this kind of legislative branch power grab, deliberate and knowing destruction of checks and balances, and unprecedented and willfully-created constitutional crisis.
Defense isn’t a good look for Senator Grassley. Neither is hypocrisy.
It would be hard to beat Grassley, but before this self-inflicted wound it would have been unthinkable. It is no longer unthinkable.