There’s no other way to put it: Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is blocking President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination so that a racist can fill it instead.
Donald Trump’s bigoted attacks on Judge Curiel’s Hispanic heritage finally did what so many other insane ramblings from the nominee haven’t: they shocked Republicans into condemnation. Paul Ryan called it the “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk rescinded his endorsement and said he wouldn’t vote for Trump in November. An Iowa State Senator even left the Republican Party over it yesterday.
What took them so long?
Grassley, however, has been dancing around the topic for days. On Friday at a town hall forum in Humboldt County, a local man directly challenged Grassley on Trump’s comments. After giving his usual answer on checks and balances, he just briefly touched on the Curiel subject.
“There’s a process for anybody that doesn’t like the judge you have, you think that judge isn’t going to be fair, you can file a petition,” Grassley said. “And if you file a petition that a judge should get out, and that judge says you shouldn’t get out, then you’ve got a right to appeal that to a higher court and get fair judgement that way.”
As he so often does at his forums, when Grassley is presented with a topic he’d rather not comment on, he falls back on process-talk. He explains what the situation is and how people could resolve it rather than offering his own opinion. It’s a very effective skill of his, and in some cases he’s completely justified in removing himself from a touchy subject. But on the Supreme Court matter, he’s the one leading the charge to prevent Merrick Garland from getting a hearing. He can’t run away.
Reporters continued to press him on the topic in the days to follow. In a conference call with Iowa reporters on Monday, Grassley started to budge, saying he disagreed with Trump’s comments.
“I can only tell you what I would do in a like situation and I wouldn’t say what Trump said,” Grassley told the media. “On the face of it, I disagree with Trump’s assessment, but I’ve also got to tell you I don’t know the facts of the case and whether there’s some disagreement.”
Oh, I don’t know the facts of the case. Again, Grassley does his best to feign helplessness in the situation.
“A person’s got to be judged as a person, not on their ethnic background,” he replied to one reporter’s question. This is what Republicans are having to clarify in the year 2016.
It’s obvious that Grassley is getting uncomfortable with this situation. Every single day Donald Trump could say something new and incendiary. He has somehow gotten more unhinged after securing the Republican nomination. His penchant for using racially-tinged rhetoric or just outright racist attacks is unnerving.
So here’s what Grassley should start considering: why on earth would a President Trump be any different?
That has real consequences for who he nominates to the Supreme Court. Trump’s campaign released a list of 11 potential nominees, which Grassley has praised as reassuring him he’d pick strict constructionists. But then literally the day after, Trump said the names were merely a “suggestion.” Yet Grassley pretends like this didn’t happened.
The truth of the matter is we have no idea who Trump would nominate to the Supreme Court, and neither does Chuck Grassley. We do know that Trump is a racist. Maybe you could explain away one or two questionable statements, but Trump has doubled-down on bigoted attacks on minority communities for his entire campaign.
Would he build a “whites only” bench? He’s clearly stated he thinks a person of Hispanic heritage can’t be unbiased. An adviser dismissed picking a woman or minority for their Vice President choice, saying it would be “pandering.” His spokesperson suggested a woman might be biased as a judge as well.
This is what Grassley is delaying for. It’s ridiculous. It’s shameful. It’s downright dangerous. And it’s not the Chuck Grassley Iowans thought they knew.
Democrats chose their nominee to take on Grassley last night: Patty Judge. The longer Grassley obstructs this process, the more endangered his reelection gets. It’s not going away. Because at the end of the day, Grassley is undermining the entire judicial process just to let a disgusting bigot get his way.
by Pat Rynard