Grassley on filibusters: They did it first
by desmoinesdem, Thu May 07, 2009 at 06:09:06 AM EDT
Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa is in line to become the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee beginning in 2011, so he will have a major role in shaping Republican strategy on President Obama's judicial appointments.
Bleeding Heartland/Daily Kos user Elise and her husband clonecone have been tracking Grassley's hypocrisy on filibusters lately. He was among many Senate Republicans who claimed in 2005 that it was unconstitutional to filibuster presidential appointments. However, last week he was among 17 Republicans who voted against cloture on Obama's nominee for U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill. He has also said he will try to block Dawn Johnsen's nomination to head the president's Office of Legal Counsel.
When Grassley appeared on a local Mediacom show a few days ago, clonecone called in to question him on his filibuster flip-flop. Elise posted the video of the senator's answer with a rough transcript at Bleeding Heartland. The shorter version is that Johnsen's views are "extreme," and as for judicial filibusters, Democrats did it first.
Over at Iowa Independent, Jason Hancock followed up on Elise's diary. Grassley's office gave Iowa Independent this statement:
"Prior to 2001-2002 there were little to no filibusters on judges. At that time, the Democrats set a 60-vote precedent that I did not agree with. I still don't like filibustering judicial nominees, but a new and higher standard was set and we are now abiding by that standard."
I expect to hear "they did it first" as an excuse from my six-year-old, not from a U.S. senator seeking a sixth term in 2010.