Sen. Chuck Grassley took the Senate floor to call out Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday. “The chief justice is part of the problem,” Iowa’s senior senator said.
Ten days before the late Atonin Scalia died in February, Roberts made a speech in which he decried the Senate confirmations, saying, “The process is not functioning very well.”
“We don’t work as Democrats or Republicans,” Roberts said at the time. “When you have a sharply political, divisive hearing process, it increases the danger that whoever comes out of it will be viewed in those terms.”
Grassley said that Roberts, nominated by President George W. Bush in 2005, has it “exactly backwards.”
“The confirmation process doesn’t make the justices appear political,” Grassley said. “The confirmation process has gotten political precisely because the court itself has drifted from the constitutional text and rendered decisions based instead on policy preferences.”
“Many of my constituents believe, with all due respect, that the chief justice is part of the problem,” Grassley said. “They believe that [a] number of his votes have reflected political considerations, not legal ones.”
Grassley has said he doesn’t want to confirm President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, this year, although he revealed that would meet with Garland next week.
— Senate Judiciary (@senjudiciary) April 5, 2016
Garland, born in Chicago in 1952, has worked as a chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals since 1997 in the District of Columbia. He is the second cousin of Gov. Terry Branstad.