Patty Judge

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Patty Judge is pictured during a visit to the Marion County Democrats' headquarters on Wednesday, Nov. 2. 

The Marion County Democrats baked a cake and sang "Happy Birthday" to Patty Judge, candidate for U.S. Senate, who visited the party's headquarters in Knoxville on Nov. 2. This was Judge's 73rd birthday. 

The candidate is 10 years younger than her opponent, incumbent Republican Charles Grassley. Judge opened her visit by discussing Senate Republicans' "number one goal" of making Barack Obama a one-term President, and the role Grassley has played in that. 

When U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away on Feb. 13, Grassley - as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee - said he would not hold hearings on any Obama appointees to fill the vacancy. 

"It's (Obama's) right to submit a name," Judge said. She went on to say that no one was trying to force Republicans to vote to confirm the nominee, but that the Senate owes it to all of us to hold a hearing. 

Judge said the Supreme Court issue continues to come up along the campaign trail. The ideological division of the court is even right now, with four liberals and four conservatives. 

"We just have a court that's gridlocked," she said. Judge believes that Republicans chose to wait to hold hearings, in the hopes that Donald Trump would win the Presidency and appoint someone. 

"He's not going to get elected," Judge said of Trump. She believes Republicans made a "bad bet" by counting on a Trump victory. 

In an article published in the Guardian, Sen. John McCain vowed to block any nominations to the Supreme Court if Hillary Clinton becomes President. In that same article, Grassley said, “If that new president happens to be Hillary, we can’t just simply stonewall."

Judge fears that blocking a nominee to the court, and leaving it with eight members - or less, as a few more vacancies are expected to be created within the next presidential term - would set a bad precedent and undermine the Constitution's vision of three, separate but equal, branches of the federal government. 

"Chuck Grassley is in charge and he's got to own that," Judge said. 

In her stump speech, Judge went on to say that she believes "trickle-down economics" does not work. The gap between the most wealthy people in America and everyone else has increased. 

She also shared her frustration regarding debates. Judge and Grassley will debate on WHO Radio and television on Friday, Nov. 4, at 4 p.m. 

Steve Woodhouse is the Editor of the Knoxville Journal-Express. He can be reached at editor@journalexpress.net

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