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In more transparently anti-choice posturing, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley told supporters that his opposition to abortion is the real reason he won’t consider new Supreme Court nominees before the next president is in office.

Grassley, the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and an avowed foe of abortion rights, has stubbornly refused to give President Obama’s Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland, a full hearing to ascertain his qualifications for the role.

“I can’t overstate the importance of what’s at stake here,” he said in a conference call with the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. “We know if another liberal is nominated to the court then even the reasonable restrictions on abortion that have been enacted into law — through the democratic process, I might say — these would be swept away.”

One case Grassley referred to on the call, Gonzales v. Carhart, upheld a Congressional ban on partial-birth abortions. John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas joined Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion, with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens, David Souter, and Stephen Breyer dissenting. David Souter retired in 2009 and Stevens in 2010; they both were nominated by Republican presidents, Souter by George H.W. Bush in 1990 and Stevens by Gerald Ford in 1975.

Contraception and access to women’s health care — including abortion — have been the subject of major political and legal debate recently, and are expected to be on the Court’s docket next year, including notably the question of whether Texas’ new laws create an “undue burden” for women seeking abortions in the state, a question that the Court’s female justices seem to have have already addressed in oral arguments.

Grassley didn’t stop there, though. He also accused the media of distorting the judicial records of Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Breyer, Kagan, and by insinuation, Garland, referring to “headlines at the time they were nominated” that depicted the judges as moderates.

“Well, we know how those four have turned out. So don’t believe what you read in the press about people’s basic philosophy, because they got it all wrong and probably intentionally all wrong.”

Photo: Chuck Grassley, anti-abortion foe, which means he won’t give Merrick Garland a fair hearing. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

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