A group of 360 legal scholars from across the country says Iowa’s U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley and other Senate Republicans are exceeding their constitutional authority by refusing to agree to Supreme Court confirmation hearings. A letter from the scholars was organized by a liberal-leaning legal advocacy group, called the Alliance for Justice.
Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, says he will not consider any Obama nominee, regardless of his or her qualifications.
The AFJ letter decries the gridlock. Its signatories include three professors from the University of Iowa College of Law and four from Drake Law School.
Mark Kende is the director of the Drake’s Constitutional Law Center. He says Grassley’s opposition to confirmation hearings is completely inconsistent with Iowa’s senior Senator’s “clean government” legacy, and contrary to the constitutional framers’ original intent.
"There's a sort of element of hypocrisy here that should not be tolerated. The president was elected to four years not three," says Kende. "This was jumping the gun in a polarized, politicizing way that I think has really hurt separation of powers."
Since the president nominates Supreme Court justices, Grassley says voters should have a say in who makes that decision when they go to the polls in November.