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New Website Challenges Grassley, GOP's SCOTUS Position

The political battle over the next U.S. Supreme Court justice now includes a website where individual senators' stands on the issue can be found. (renowiggum/morguefile)
The political battle over the next U.S. Supreme Court justice now includes a website where individual senators' stands on the issue can be found. (renowiggum/morguefile)
February 26, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa - The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia set off a political battle between the president and Senate Republicans over Scalia's replacement. Now, a new website, SenateDoYourJob.org, lists the position taken by each U.S. senator on the issue of holding hearings on a nominee this year.

The website is the work of Washington, D.C.-based Common Cause. Its legal director, Stephen Spaulding, said the position taken by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is unprecedented.

"Never before, since the Civil War, has the United States Senate not done its job and held an up-or-down vote on a Supreme Court nominee," Spaulding said. "And unfortunately, Sen. McConnell and Sen. Grassley have been really leading the charge here, in an obstructionist way."

For his part, Grassley said he and the other Republicans on the Judiciary Committee signed a letter this week declaring hearings would not be held until a new president is elected because they feel the choice should not be left to an outgoing president. Republicans have noted that key Democrats, including Vice President Joe Biden, have taken the same stand when a Republican has been in the White House during an election year.

Grassley said he doesn't want to promise what his committee won't deliver.

"There's a feeling that the people ought to have a voice on this," he said. "Then, if you led people to believe that there could be action by the United States Senate, it would be misleading the nominee, misleading the president, misleading the people of this country."

With the exception of only one or two members, Grassley said, Senate Republicans are unified on the issue. But Spaulding said he thinks the GOP's approach could backfire in this fall's elections.

"This kind of rank obstruction has to yield," he said. "The American people are sick and tired of it. This kind of a knee-jerk reaction to not so much as even meet with a nominee and provide the courtesy of a hearing, I think that kind of disrespect is not going to be taken lightly by the American people."

President Obama has not yet nominated a replacement for Scalia.

More information is online at SenateDoYourJob.org.

Jeff Stein, Public News Service - IA