Strong words are being thrown about by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley and his critics as the debate rages over keeping a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court vacant until a new president is elected next year.
“We’ve lost one of the great jurists,” Grassley said today. “It’s up to the American people to decide whether we preserve his legacy.”
Grassley and other Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee say they won’t hold a hearing or vote on whomever President Obama may nominate to replace the late Justice Scalia. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid suggested Grassley is proving to be the “most obstructive” chairman of that committee in history.
“The committee is failing the people of Iowa and the nation,” Reid said yesterday. “To the senator from Iowa…I stress, I plead: ‘Don’t continue down this path. Reject this record-setting obstruction and simply just do your job.”
Grassley took to the Senate floor today to defend his stand.
“It’s the principle, not the person, that matters,” Grassley said.
Reid called Grassley inept.
“Pretending a nominee doesn’t exist won’t make the Supreme Court vacancy go away,” Reid said today. “It won’t make the president’s nominee vanish.”
Grassley said Obama has tried to “pack the courts” with judges who will uphold his executive orders.
“Why should we be concerned about who the next person on the Supreme Court’s going to be?” Grassley asked rhetorically. “Because we have a president that said: ‘I have a pen and…a phone and if congress won’t, I will.'”
Reid suggested Grassley is “refusing to do his duty.”
“This is a sad day for one of the proudest committees in the United States senate,” Reid said.
Grassley said Reid’s words are just a “childish tantrum.” Grassley began his senate speech today by accusing Reid of doing “tremendous damage” to the U.S. Senate when he was majority leader.