Robert Barnes at The Washington Post notes that the justices have been uniformly silent on the question of whether President Obama’s nominee should get a hearing before the Senate, likely because they’re worried that it would further politicize the institution. Barnes writes that Senator Chuck Grassley, the head of the Judiciary Committee, has been especially sensitive to any interference from sitting members of the Court, preemptively warning Chief Justice John Roberts last week against such a “political temptation.”
Grassley also rebutted Roberts’s assertion prior to Antonin Scalia’s death that the Senate’s increasingly polarized confirmation process had helped politicize the Court. “The confirmation process doesn’t make the justices appear political,” Grassley said. “The confirmation process has gotten political precisely because the court has drifted from the constitutional text and rendered decisions based instead on policy preferences.” He went further, “Many of my constituents believe, with all due respect, that the chief justice is part of the problem.” He said Roberts’s decisions “reflected political considerations, not legal ones.” He added that Obama was also to blame: “Not surprisingly, [the Court’s] approval rating has dropped most drastically in recent years following the president’s appointment of Justices Sotomayor and Kagan.”
It looks like it’s everyone’s fault but the Senate. For sure, Chuck.