by Bob Vander Plaats
An Iowan is under ferocious and unwarranted national criticism right now, and he needs to hear our support, not misinformed condemnation.
Iowa’s U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley is not only well within his constitutional rights to refuse hearings on President Obama’s Supreme Court pick, he’s also taking a courageous stand to defend the best interests of our country.
Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does it require the Senate to hold hearings on Obama’s nomination. Instead, it requires (in Article II, Section 2, Clause 2) that no appointment can be made without the Senate’s “Advice and Consent.”
Just as the president has the right to nominate, the U.S. Senate also has the constitutional right to advise the president to wait until after the election. It can also withhold its consent until then.
“So long as the Senate has established rules that allow it to refuse to vote on a nominee, it can do so,” wrote Ilya Somin, professor of law at George Mason University, in the Washington Post recently. “Blocking a Supreme Court nominee may be unwise … but it is not unconstitutional.”
Only in this case, it is wise.
President Obama has a history of nominating activist judges willing to trample sound constitutional reasoning to advance his agenda, and Grassley’s Republican colleagues in the Senate have a history of capitulating to these nominations. Sen. Grassley’s stand may well be the last line of defense against an effort to seismically shift the court and nation away from constitutional rule of law. Grassley should be commended for showing such singular backbone.
The American people should not be surprised, however, that Grassley is willing to take this stand. In 2010 Iowans sent a clear message that reverberated across the country condemning judicial activism. And yet we continue to see it. Through the Iowa Supreme Court’s recent “tele-med abortion” decision, for example, we witness judges usurping the people’s voice while ignoring the constitution’s separation of powers. Iowans have rejected these efforts to circumvent the will of the people through judicial activism before, and Grassley is defending our convictions now.
His Iowa leadership for the country should be applauded!
Without Grassley’s stand, however, a weak-willed Republican Senate might well confirm the current nominee, whom a New York Times panel of experts determined would be among the most radical justices on the court, to the left of even Justice Elena Kagan.
At this critical moment, when the erosion of religious liberty is barely one court decision away, when issues like life, marriage, gun control, health-care freedoms, parental rights and your personal property rights are hot-button issues sure to be appealed to the Supreme Court, America needs to put the brakes on Obama’s radical reshaping of the Court.
Sen. Grassley, it appears, understands those stakes.
So, Sen. Grassley, thank you for doing your constitutional job and advising that the people need to speak before any further appointments are constitutionally confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States.