The Call Goes Out: It’s Time for the Grassley Rule

Steve Benen wrote at The Maddow Blog the other day that “Maybe it’s time for the ‘Grassley Rule.’” He pointed out that,

For weeks, the Republican response has been rooted in semantics. Technically, the Constitution gives the Senate an “advise and consent” role in the confirmation process, but since the document doesn’t literally say senators have to vote on a nominee, the GOP argument goes, then maybe Republicans can do their jobs by refusing to do their jobs.
It’s a clumsy and unpersuasive pitch, but that’s the talking point and they’re sticking to it.

He pointed out also that “Right Wing Watch yesterday dug up an interesting quote from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who said in 2005, in reference to judicial confirmations, “Let’s do our jobs.”

It’s telling:

Eleven years ago, with a Republican in the White House, Grassley was emphatic that the Senate act quickly on the president’s judicial nominations, telling colleagues that slowing down the confirmation process was “like being a bully on the schoolyard playground.”
According to Grassley in 2005, for the Senate to do its job, George W. Bush’s nominees would have to receive up-or-down votes.
In May 2005, Grassley said to deny a senator an up-or-down vote on a judicial nominee would be to undermine a senator’s “constitutional responsibility.”

We are all used by now to Republicans running with one set of rules for them and another for everyone else. What’s worse is claiming to champion the Constitution while ignoring its requirements, as they have for the past 7 years but never more glaringly than now.

Benen says that “Obviously, 2005 Grassley would be outraged by 2016 Grassley,” but this is to assume that Grassley has a conscience, and to date, he has not shown us that he has. Other Republicans have shown some sense of shame, and are to be applauded for it.

What Benen proposed as a solution to Congress not doing it’s job is the Grassley Rule: “in order for senators to do their job, they actually have to consider Supreme Court nominees.”

I think everyone might call it that but Grassley, who thinks he only has to do his job when it benefits his party. Perhaps a better name for it would be simply, “The United States Constitution.”

It’s the one they’ve all sworn to uphold, after all.