Wednesday, April 06, 2016

The Republican Party's Grassley-McConnell Blockade Of The Supreme Court Continues


Iowa Republicans obstructing the Supreme Court

If I was a senator, I'd be predisposed to vote against Merrick Garland. He's just too conservative. I wrote about it on the day President Obama nominated him. But I would have not the slightest reticence about speaking with him and examining him in an open hearing. Anything less is strictly anti-democratic, hyper-partisan obstructionism, disrespect for the Constitution and for the American voters who elected Barack Obama. If I remember correctly, Obama's approval rating is 53% (45% disapprove) whereas the Congress is barely in double digits and Mitch McConnell, the Republican who came up with the No Hearings strategy has a 15% approval rating.

Monday's Des Moines Register published another editorial on Chuck Grassley's role in the Republican obstructionist strategy. Grassley, whose seat is up in November, is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has refused to agree to hearings on the president's nominee, something I don't remember ever have happened before in history.
The Supreme Court will continue to function, but not to its full effectiveness as a third branch of government. There are already signs that the pace of rulings has slowed in the last two months.

How long should the nation’s highest court be weakened, and in some situations, effectively neutered? For more than a year, according to Grassley and other Republicans.'

Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has argued that the appointment should be delayed until a new president is sworn in 2017-- even if Democrat Hillary Clinton wins in November.

He calls it a waste of time to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee for the court, Merrick Garland. Even though few disagree that Garland's resume is superb. Grassley even said so in 1997, when the Senate was considering Garland for an appeals court nomination: “He seems to be well-qualified. He would probably make a good judge in some other court … where the seat needs to be filled."

Senator, this seat needs to be filled, regardless of whether the presidency and your own seat is up for grabs in November.

We have admired Grassley’s principled stands on issues in his 35-year tenure as U.S. senator. In most cases, these stands have ensured government works more effectively and efficiently for his constituents and taxpayers.

But refusing to hold hearings on Garland is pure partisanship-- and simple stubbornness.

Grassley won’t give Garland a chance, to even let him in the game.

That’s unsatisfying. And un-American.
If I remember correctly, the Des Moines Register is not just the biggest newspaper in Iowa, it is also a newspaper that regularly endorses Chuck Grassley for reelection. One of the few Republicans who have rejected the McConnell-Grassley strategy is Maine's senior senator, Susan Collins. And she thinks the strategy stinks. Unlike Mark Kirk, who is fighting for his political life, Collins' seat isn't up this year. But yesterday she was the second Republican senator to meet with Garland. Afterwards she told the media that she's "more convinced than ever that the process should proceed. The next step, in my view, should be public hearings before the Judiciary Committee so that the issues that we explored in my office can be publicly aired... He has a humility about him. He has clearly thought very deeply about the issues confronting the courts, there was not any question he could not handle, and he has a long record of accomplishment."
Collins said Tuesday that it was “premature” to say whether she would support Garland in a floor vote but said she “found the judge to be extremely straightforward” during a lengthy conversation that touched on the Second Amendment, the limits of executive power and the role of the court in American life.

“He gave very thorough, impressive responses to all of my questions,” she said.

Asked about the blockade favored by Grassley and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Collins said the Senate is “best served by following the regular order” but added that she was “not optimistic that I will be changing minds on this issue.”

She added: “It would be ironic if the next president happens to be a Democrat and chooses someone who is far to Judge Garland’s left.”
McConnell's strategy is working... to decimate the Senate Republicans

Another Republican up for reelection in November is John Boozman of Arkansas and he was pressured into taking a meeting as well. He's not bright enough to follow Collin's logic about someone "far to Judge Garland's left." After his 20 minute long meeting, he couldn't wait to tell the media that he still opposes holding Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination. Boozman has been pressured by right-wing extremist groups who he normally counts on for support.

Garland deserves a serious hearing and senators owe it to their constituents to vote yes or no based on the merits, although perhaps some-- Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, I guess-- would prefer a Donald Trump nominee. I suggest that if you don't, you consider any or all of the Blue America Senate candidates by tapping on the thermometer below:
Goal Thermometer

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At 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to very reluctantly stand with the GOP on this issue, but for only one reason: Why is Obama selling out his base AGAIN just to ensure that the Republican Party (which he rescued from oblivion instead of grinding it under his mandated heel) doesn't lose their Judicial majority at SCOTUS?

Garland may well have successfully prosecuted Tim McVeigh, but does that one case qualify him to decide the Constitutionality of laws intended to cover ALL of us? I don't like Garland's list of rulings, and as long as this is the best Obama has to offer (and spare me the crap about 11-dimensional chess), then this nomination should be delayed, considering that the GOP isn't about to do anything positive for the 99% anyway.


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