Grassley: "I was just speculating about hearings for Garland"

Published: Sep. 1, 2016 at 12:09 AM CDT
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Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he was just speculating Monday when he said there might be a chance he'll hold hearings for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

President Obama nominated Garland in March to fill the vacancy resulting from the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. And Grassley has said his Judiciary Committee would not hold confirmation hearings on any supreme court nominee until the next president takes office.

But Monday in Sioux City, Grassley said if Democrat Hillary Clinton wins the election, he might consider holding them during the lame duck session of Congress. That's the time between election day and inauguration day.

He also said he would only consider holding hearings for Garland if a majority of senators favored the hearings.

Today in Dubuque, Grassley backed away from that, saying his original opinion has not changed.

"Everybody who heard me say what I said got the wrong opinion. People ask me to speculate, maybe I shouldn't be speculating, and that's all it was," said Grassley.

He went on to say "my position is exactly the same as it was when I wrote the letter signed by 10 other members of the judiciary committee to other senators that it's advised by the principle of the 30 year understanding, that if you have a vacancy in the last year, the people are going to have a voice.

"So my position is, it's going to be decided by whoever is elected president."