Grassley: “No such ambiguity” to confirm new justice in 2020 election year vs. 2016

Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 5:40 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (KCRG) - Iowa’s longest-serving senator expressed his intent to support his party’s intention to move forward this year to fill the vacant seat left by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday.

Sen. Chuck Grassley issued a statement on Monday, saying that, after the expressed intention of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell to move forward in the Supreme Court confirmation process, he would fulfill “my responsibility to evaluate the nominee on the merits, just as I always have.”

Grassley’s statement comes after comments he made in July to members of the press, saying he would not recommend that the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Graham, to move forward with hearings on a nominee, according to the Quad Cities Times.

Grassley was instrumental as judiciary committee chair in preventing then-President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia after his death in 2016. He, along with other Senate Republicans, cited the ongoing election campaign as the reason to not hold confirmation hearings. After Donald Trump’s victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton, the Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch as an associate justice in 2017.

Grassley said that circumstances in 2020 do not align with those in that election year, despite this vacancy coming months closer to the election.

“The Constitution gives the Senate that authority, and the American people’s voices in the most recent election couldn’t be clearer. While there was ambiguity about the American people’s will for the direction of the Supreme Court in 2016 under a divided government, there is no such ambiguity in 2020,” Grassley said, in a statement.

Grassley chided Democrats in his statement for their treatment of the confirmation process with Robert Bork and, more recently, Brett Kavanaugh, saying the opposite party had a “long, sordid history of politicizing the courts and the confirmation process.”

“In this case the people have spoken, putting power to appoint and confirm a nominee to the Supreme Court in one party," Grassley said. “So, make no mistake: if the shoe were on the other foot, Senate Democrats wouldn’t hesitate to use their Constitutional authority and anything else at their disposal to fill this seat.”

President Trump indicated on Monday that he would announce his nominee by Friday or Saturday.

Sen. Joni Ernst released a statement on Monday night confirming her intent to move forward with the nomination process.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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