Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who has vowed to not hold confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court nominee until after a new president is sworn into office, said he’s counting on conservatives to not “sit out” a larger debate over the judicial system.
“It’s about time that we have a national debate on the Supreme Court and how it fits in with our constitutional system of government,” Grassley declared at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington today.
Grassley noted the “Biden rules” — the vice president’s 1992 Senate argument about the principle of delaying Supreme Court picks in the waning days of a presidency — that “recognize the unfairness of the confirmation hearings” for a nominee during a presidential campaign.
“This year’s presidential election must be a debate about the role of the judiciary,” he said.
“Do we want justices who decide cases based on empathy, on their moral compass? Or do we want justices who decide cases based on the Constitution and the law?”
The latter, Grassley stressed, with late Justice Antonin Scalia as the model.
“We owe it to Scalia that we’re going to continue to defend [the Court] now after his death,” the chairman said. “The fight, as far as I’m concerned, has just begun and will go on for a long time. The stakes are high.”
Also at CPAC, House Freedom Caucus Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told conservatives that GOPs continue to pursue articles of impeachment against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
Koskinen is targeted for allowing the destruction of 700 backup tapes containing potentially more than 24,000 emails that lawmakers wanted to review in their investigation of conservative entities being targeted by the IRS.
Jordan briefed the crowd on the work of the conservative Freedom Caucus, noting, “We have the press write something bad about us every single day.”
“When you get involved in defending liberty you take abuse for it, you take heat for it, and sometimes you even get audited by the IRS,” he said. “Sometimes when you fight you tick people off … that’s not why we do it.”
Jordan slammed a Justice Department “more focused on politics than administering justice,” and slammed Hillary Clinton from his position as a member of the Select Committee on Benghazi.
“You cannot have people in high office not be straight with the citizens of that country,” he said.