Only one problem. Grassley is up for re-election. And President Obama knows how to play this game. First the left hook:
President Obama is vetting Jane L. Kelly, a federal appellate judge in Iowa, as a potential nominee for the Supreme Court, weighing a selection that could pose an awkward dilemma for her home-state senator Charles E. Grassley, who has pledged to block the president from filling the vacancy.
The F.B.I. has been conducting background interviews on Judge Kelly, 51, according to a person with knowledge of the process. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House is closely guarding details about Mr. Obama’s search to fill the opening created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
The president is expected to make his selection in the next couple of weeks, a decision that could reshape the court for decades but faces heated opposition from Republicans in Congress.
Mr. Grassley is at the center of that fight as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a post in which he alone can decide whether to hold confirmation hearings on a nominee. Like the panel’s other Republicans, he has vowed not to take any action until after the November election, arguing that the choice should be left to the next president.
And then when you've got them stunned, you land the right cross.
Former Iowa Lt. Gov. and Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge will enter Iowa’s U.S. Senate race, multiple sources confirmed to The Des Moines Register Thursday.
Judge, a Democrat, will challenge long-time incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, who has been under fire in recent weeks over his refusal to hold confirmation hearings for a successor to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died unexpectedly earlier this month.
Sources in Washington, D.C., and in Des Moines – including people who have spoken with Judge as recently as this morning – confirmed to the Register that she will announce her candidacy on Friday.
Judge told the Des Moines Register late last week that she was considering a run, largely because of Grassley’s stance on the court vacancy.
"I don’t like this deliberate obstruction of the process,” she told the Register last week. “I think Chuck Grassley owes us better. He’s been with us a long time. Maybe he’s been with us too long.”
Boom, baby. Suddenly Grassley has a formidable challenger to his seat in Patty Judge, and she has an immediate issue to run on, for Jane Kelly is an eminently qualified federal judge whom Grassley himself recommended to the bench.
If you doubted Barack Obama on this, doubt no more. Do not be surprised if Jane Kelly is his pick.