At this weekend’s Family Leadership Summit, an annual event hosted by the Iowa Religious Right group The Family Leader, Sen. Chuck Grassley boasted of his role in blocking President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court while claiming that the whole thing was a principled “odyssey” in the spirit of the Founders.
As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley prevented Garland from receiving so much as hearing, helping to keep a Supreme Court seat open for more than a year before it was filled by Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch. Conservative groups have hailed Grassley and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as heroes for their Supreme Court gambit, which is clearly why Grassley chose to bring it up in his speech to The Family Leader. A recording of the event posted by the group shows that his mention of the Supreme Court blockade was met with loud applause.
“In 1776, our Founders laid claim to self-rule and self-government,” Grassley said. “They started our destiny for free consent, free elections and a free society. These exactly are the principles that guided me in my decision last year to hold off in the Supreme Court vacancy.”
Grassley said that with the Supreme Court vacancy, he found himself “leading an unexpected odyssey, and it wasn’t about politics, it was about principle.”
He said that he stood strong even as he was attacked by “the hounds of 21st century partisan warfare.”
“Let me tell you something, though, the 2016 election confirmed that the courage of one’s conviction withstands the test of leadership, and it doesn’t hurt to have a thick skin,” he said.
“Many consider the Gorsuch nomination a political victory for conservatives who showed up to vote on Election Day,” Grassley added. “Rather, I consider this a consequential victory of our system of self-government, letting the people decide, strengthen the founding principles articulated so eloquently in the Declaration of Independence.”