We’ve written a lot about the failure of the United States Senate to confirm judges. But that failure is part of a wider failure – the failure of the Senate itself, brought on by the unprecedented misuse of arcane rules and procedures by the Republican minority.
[UPDATE 3:40 p.m.: SCOTUSBlog reports that the Court took no action on these cases at today's conference. The next opportunity for the Court to issue orders will be at 9:30 a.m. Monday.]
At their Conference today, the Justices will consider petitions raising federal constitutional issues related to same-sex marriage. These are the most significant cases these nine Justices have ever considered, and probably that they will ever decide.
Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) recently responded to a letter sent to him from 16 national and Iowa groups criticizing him for unnecessary delays in confirming judicial nominees. In his response Grassley claimed that:
“[F]or the four years of this administration, we approved 160 nominations, and during the same period of time in the last Bush administration, there were 120 nominations.”
This statement is both wrong and intentionally misleading.
First off, Grassley is comparing the first four years of the Obama Administration to the second four years of the Bush Administration. This is not “the same period of time.” Second, this is particularly misleading because Bush had a comparatively huge number of confirmations in his first term—202 in fact (see chart below). During Bush’s second term, there simply were not that many vacancies to fill.
With his statistical slight-of-hand, Grassley is trying both to minimize his—and his fellow Republicans’— obstruction of President Obama’s nominees during the last four years and make himself look reasonable!
You might expect more transparency and honesty from the ranking member of the venerable Senate Judiciary Committee. Instead, it seems, we’re getting one more attempt to mislead the public and obstruct nominees going forward. Iowans—and Americans—deserve better.
For Senator Grassley’s information, here are the facts: