I’ve spent the summer thus far travelling across the state, talking to small business owners on our many main streets, and finding out which issues matter most to them. As the organizer of the Iowa Main Street Alliance, hearing directly from small businesses is what I do. In that pursuit, I’ve found that easily 2/3rds of the small business owners I talk to think that Senator Grassley should get along with doing his job already, and a hold a hearing for the vacancy on the Supreme Court.
To them it’s simple; when you are paid to do a job, you show up and do the work it involves. Many understand that Senator Grassley may not want to vote for Merrick Garland, and that is fine, he does not have to vote in favor of Merrick Garland, but that does not mean he can refuse to do his job and pretend there isn’t a vacancy on the Supreme Court. As the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, it is his job alone to forward the hearing process so that the rest of the Senate can do its job in either voting for or against a nominee. Some people want a more liberal justice, some people want a more conservative justice, but almost no one thinks that there shouldn’t be a new justice to replace Justice Scalia.
Throughout Grassley’s many years of service to Iowa he has given us cause for pride and admiration. He is known for protecting whistle blowers, reducing waste and fraud in the budget, and closing off loopholes for tax dodgers; but now, that legacy is at risk of being overshadowed by his towering obstruction. Do the benefits of blocking a simple hearing outweigh the cost of losing his record of bipartisanship?
How can this obstructionism be rectified with a legacy of routing out waste? Many may recall Senator Grassley’s investigations and protection of a whistleblower that exposed $700 toilet seats and $400 hammers procured by the federal government, but that was over thirty years ago, and since then, Senator Grassley has become more concerned with partisan advantage than with serving the public. With an even number of justices on the Supreme Court, the court will be unable to effectively pass rulings, forcing many cases to be reheard at a later date, and more will simply go unheard. Indecision and retrial are not without costs, and the taxpayers and the economy at large will continue to be saddled with those costs until the Supreme Court is returned to being a functional institution.
A majority of business owners across the state see how wasteful Grassley’s obstruction on the court is, and are calling on him to do his job.
• Frank Driscoll is an organizer for the Iowa Main Street Alliance, a project of Iowa Citizen Action Network and part of the Why Courts Matter Iowa coalition. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org