News & Politics

Grassley Wisely Plays Chess with Administration Over Scalia Replacement Hearings

Sen. Chuck Grassley (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Via Reuters:

The Republican head of the Senate panel that weighs Supreme Court nominations said on Tuesday he will wait until President Barack Obama names his pick to fill the vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death before deciding whether to hold confirmation hearings.

Republicans have threatened not to act on any nominee put forward by the Democratic president for the Supreme Court seat. Obama’s nominee could alter the court’s balance of power. Before Scalia’s death, it had five conservatives and four liberals.

Republicans control the Senate, which the U.S. Constitution assigns responsibility for confirming a president’s nomination to the court.

“I would wait until the nominee is made before I would make any decisions” about confirmation hearings, Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said, according to Radio Iowa. “In other words, take it a step at a time.”

Senator Patrick Leahy, the committee’s top Democrat, prodded Republicans to act on whomever Obama nominates for a lifetime appointment to the court.

There are plenty of LOUD NOISES coming from the Democrats on what the Republicans HAVE to do, though based on their previous behavior,they’re completely out of legs to stand on.

Media concern trolling for what might befall the GOP should they not roll over and play dead for Obama again has already begun in earnest, but even the Washington Post is admitting that the thoroughly divisive and execrable Harry Reid kind of brought this on the Democrats.

Grassley is essentially saying, “Hey, maybe we will have hearings if you don’t nominate someone entirely objectionable.” Merely hinting at that possibility creates some cover for Senate Republicans. Should he nominate someone polarizing (does he even know anyone who isn’t?) Grassley and Co. can say, “Hey, we tried.”

That, of course, would require some media handling finesse from the McConnell crowd.

Not a strong suit, but let’s hope for the best until there is a reason not to.