U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is going to have breakfast next Tuesday with Merrick Garland.
Yep, he’s going to break bread with the Supreme Court nominee whose nomination he intends to block.
I’m trying to imagine how this conversation will proceed. Here’s what I have come up with:
Grassley: Welcome, Judge. I’m glad you could find time to meet me for breakfast.
Garland: Thank you, Mr. Chair …
Grassley: Oh, call me Chuck.
Garland: Sure thing … Chuck. (laughter)
Grassley: Let’s get down to brass tacks. I don’t think the committee I chair should consider your nomination. In fact, I’m on board as saying that the next president should make the nomination. The current president is a lame duck, you know. This election could change everything.
Garland: I get that. But why are we meeting? I’ve read the papers. I know what you’ve said.
Grassley: I just wanted to get together so I could explain in detail …
Garland: Detail? What detail? You don’t support President Obama. You’ve never supported him. Look, he sought to pick someone who wouldn’t rock the court. He looked for a moderate judge. He found one. Me. My time on the D.C. Circuit Court has been the model of moderation.
Grassley: But the Supreme Court balance is, well, in the balance. Antonin Scalia was a stalwart conservative justice. We need to maintain that balance on the court.
Garland: Why the need? Didn’t a majority of voters re-elect Obama three years ago? Didn’t they do so knowing full well what kind of judge he’d appoint if given the chance. I mourn Scalia’s death, too. He was a brilliant jurist. He had a seriously rigid point of view. But I’m no slouch, either. I just don’t lean nearly as far to the left as Scalia did to the right. He could have picked a flaming lefty activist. I’m neither a lefty or an activist.
Grassley: I get that, Judge. You do understand that we on the committee are politicians, correct? We’ve got political interests. I happen to like my job as a senator from Iowa. I’ve been doing it for some time. I’d like to keep doing it. We’ve got this faction within our party that won’t tolerate compromise. It won’t tolerate me or any other of my Republican ilk from compromising with those Democrats.
Garland: So, you’re not going to allow the president, who has another nine months in office, to fulfill his duty because you’re getting pressure from constituent groups and political action organizations?
Grassley: I wouldn’t put it quite that way.
Garland: But that’s what it sounds like to me. You know what? I just lost my appetite. Thanks for the invitation, Chuck.
Grassley: Uh, judge? On second thought, you now may call me “Mr. Chairman.”