When Justice Antonin Scalia died, the president insisted he was going to do his "constitutional duty" and nominate a candidate to fill his seat. He chose Merrick Garland in hopes that the judge's moderate record would appease congressional conservatives.
Not so. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley are two leading GOP congressmen who have been determined to prevent Garland from getting a vote. Grassley reportedly even told Garland to his face.
A new poll from North Star Opinion Research, provided by the Judicial Crisis Network, shows that most Iowa voters agree with the senators and would rather Scalia's replacement be appointed by the next president.
All voters prefer that the vacancy be filled by the newly-elected president by 47 to 45 percent, a change from March when they preferred the vacancy be filled by Obama by 49 to 44 percent. Republicans want the vacancy to be filled next year by an overwhelming 77 to 17 percent margin, while independents agree by a much slimmer 48 to 44 percent margin, and Democrats want the vacancy to be filled this year by 86 to 10 percent. Again, Republican base voters are particularly adamant on this question, with 82 percent of strong Republicans and 85 percent of very conservatives wanting the vacancy to be filled by the next president.
Iowans may want Obama to wait, but that doesn't mean they believe a new SCOTUS nominee is a non-factor in the 2016 election. Fifty percent of Hawkeye voters said the decision is either the “single most important” (3 percent) or “very important” (47 percent) issue to consider when voting in November.
Carrie Severino, chief counsel for the Judicial Crisis Network, applauded Iowans for their priorities.
“Senator McConnell and Senator Grassley stood on principle in rejecting Garland's nomination, and this research confirms that Iowans are on their side," Severino said. "Democrats have wasted millions of dollars on advertising, PR stunts and astro-turf activity, and if I were one of their donors I would be asking for my money back."