E.J. Dionne: Garland Controversy Speaks to Increasingly Political Role of Supreme Court

Apr 13, 2016

By refusing to schedule a hearing for President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland, U.S. Senator Charles Grassley has started a conversation about the importance and composition of the United States Supreme Court. E.J. Dionne, a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post, says the controversy is an example of how the court has become increasingly politicized. 

"I do think that the court will be more of a voting issue, if I can put it this way, for non-conservatives than it has been in the past. If you look historically, most voters don't vote for president on the basis of whom the President is going to appoint to the Supreme Court. But the voters who have voted on that issue, tend to be conservatives. Particularly pro-lifers who are still upset by the Roe V. Wade decision all these years later. I think now you have so many issues before the court that agitate liberals," Dionne says. 

"You can go down a long list of issues where voters who might not have voted on the court before might vote on the court this time. so, I think there is more of a risk to a Republican senator this year on the court issue than there has been in the past." 

During this River to River interview, Dionne talks with Iowa Public Radio Correspondent Dean Borg about Grassley's move to block the nomination by not scheduling hearings, and about Dionne's new book "Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism -- from Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond." 

Dionne will be delivering Iowa State University's Manatt-Phelps lecture on Wednesday, April 13 at 8:00 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.