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The Des Moines Register editorial board excoriated Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for his "simple stubbornness" in refusing to hold hearings on President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. The board slammed Grassley for his willingness to leave the court "weakened' calling his position purely partisan and "un-American."
On March 16, President Obama nominated Garland, the chief judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Conservative media have urged Republican senators to refuse to even consider any Obama nominee, and the GOP lawmakers have said they will not even give a nominee a hearing, an unprecedented obstructionist move. However, Iowa newspaper editorial boards including the Register, have been steadfast in their criticism of Grassley's "obstructionism" since he initially announced opposition to holding hearings for an Obama nominee.
The Register's April 4 editorial condemned Grassley -- head of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- for refusing to give Garland a hearing, calling the move "pure partisanship -- and simple stubbornness," and noting that while the Supreme Court is functioning, it's "not to its full effectiveness." The editorial lectured Grassley, noting, "Senator, this seat needs to be filled, regardless of whether the presidency and your own seat is up for grabs in November," and concluded by castigating his refusal to give Garland a chance as "unsatisfying" and "un-American":
Ties are unsatisfying, even un-American. Nothing against sports like soccer and rugby, but most U.S. sports fans prefer contests in which draws rarely if ever happen. We want a winner.
Americans might need to get used to deadlocks, thanks to Sen. Chuck Grassley. The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee seems just fine with stalemate.
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.