WASHINGTON — It’s extremely unusual, but Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) can surprise people when he really wants to do the right thing.
Grassley emerged from a protracted Committee meeting moments ago, accompanied by associate solitary reporter Maggie Smith, to announce to a startled public that his Senate Judiciary Committee did
what it should have done a year ago: it recommended to the full Senate that it confirm Judge Merrick Garland to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Ranking Judiciary
Committee Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) was all smiles.
When he saw what Grassley had done, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went temporarily apoplectic, but soon, his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, calmed him down so he could face
“I’ve only lost a few fights in my long political career,” McConnell said as his triple chin moved with great agitation, “but Elaine told me that I don’t really want to go down in history as the
author of the McConnell Rule, which says that I can change the rules of the Senate whenever I want to, to suit my purposes.”
“That’s what I did last year as soon as I heard that Justice Scalia had passed, when I said that no Republican senator would even be allowed to meet whoever President Obama nominated, let alone
allow the nominee of the Democrat Party to have a hearing.”
“But then when Elaine explained the facts of political life to me, and that surely I didn’t want history to remember me as Senator No, I changed my mind. Grassley’s right: Judge Garland should
succeed Justice Scalia."
Disappointed by Grassley’s announcement, Donald Trump’s much-touted nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, returned to Colorado, a state whose scenic beauty he clearly loves, and returned to work at the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, vowing never again to allow himself to be embroiled in presidential politics.
For his part, President Obama’s nominee, Judge Garland, walked the short distance from his chambers at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to thank Grassley for his
change of heart.