U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, left open the possibility Tuesday of a hearing on the Senate Judiciary Committee if President Barack Obama nominates a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

But he made clear that he still believes the choice of a new justice should be delayed until a new president is chosen.

Grassley is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and he and other Republicans have argued that a presidential election year isn't the time for a new justice to be confirmed.

However, when asked about the possibility of a hearing or committee vote on a call Tuesday with Iowa reporters, Grassley didn't explicitly shut down the idea.

"I would wait until the nominee is made before I would make any decision. In other words, take it a step at a time," Grassley said, according to an audio recording posted on Radio Iowa's web site.

Scalia, the court's leading conservative, died unexpectedly Saturday, prompting a political skirmish over his replacement, both in the Senate and on the presidential campaign trail.

Iowa Democrats have been critical of Grassley, saying he voted to confirm Anthony Kennedy to the high court in 1988, the last full year of Ronald Reagan's presidency. And the Democrats posted a 2008 video of Grassley saying then, "the reality is that the Senate has never stopped confirming judicial nominees during the last few months of a president's term."

Grassley declined to comment Tuesday on the Democrats' claims he was being inconsistent, saying he would need to look into the context of his remarks. But he said his views today are consistent with remarks that Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, made in 2007.

In July 2007, Schumer said that except for "extraordinary circumstances," the Senate should not approve any other Bush administration nominee to the Supreme Court.

At the time, liberal groups were complaining about the decisions of the court, and Schumer said then that the court was out of balance. Bush still had about a year and a half left in his term.

Schumer objected Tuesday to Republicans trying to use his remarks for political cover. He said he wasn't trying to block hearings or votes, as Republicans are now. But Grassley said Tuesday that since Schumer "thought that the balance on the Supreme Court was so important that particular year, we're very consistent with the philosophy he expressed."

Conservatives have argued confirming a justice nominated by Obama would tilt the court to the left.

(29) comments

longjohn412

Brilliant strategy Rebumblicans, let's stall until Hillary or Bernie is President and the Senate is Majority Democrat again in 2017

Cut your losses now, accept the Moderate President Obama appoints or you can just wait and see a hardcore Liberal appointed in 2017

Choice is yours, choose wisely

Klaatu
Klaatu

Neither Crazy Bernie or the elderly Clinton will be the next POTUS. The country has had enough of radical left wingers. The Senate should not confirm an Obama nominee. Drag the hearings out and do to Obama what the democrats did to Reagan and Bush with their appointees. Payback is tough, isn't it?

longjohn412

Just another Republican that forgot to actually read the US Constitution ....
NOTHING in the Constitution setting a limit. There is however clear and concise wording saying it is the sitting President's DUTY to make appointments to SCOTUS when openings happen during his watch .....

Klaatu
Klaatu

Takes a lot of nerve for you to be citing the Constitution after utterly ignoring it and destroying it, but there is no requirement for a rubber stamp. They can drag it out and stall it, and then they can refuse to confirm, just as the democrats have done in the past. Does it hurt that Harry Reid changed the Senate rules and now it is coming back to bite you? I wish I could see your head explode at the irony.

PainfullTruth

Yet another example of why people oppose Obama? The last chief justice to pass while in office was Justice Rehnquist in 2005. Then president Bush not only attended the funeral but he delivered the eulogy. This time a sitting supreme court justice dies while in office and Obama doesn't give the eulogy. That is because he isn't even attending the funeral. That my friends is the lack of class that this man has.

Al Bundy

There is a good reason O did not appoint someone yesterday and he easily could have. He deliberately wants to embarrass the repubs and help the party win election by nominating a female who is black and hope for a rejection by the party. That seals it for Hillary. Huge ammo to run on against anyone the repubs come up against.

Klaatu
Klaatu

Not at all. The election won't be decided by a SCOTUS appointment. The people are sick of Obama and they are sick of open borders. They are sick of watching the establishment favor immigrants over citizens, and they are sick of seeing their jobs leave. It is going to be a beatdown in November.

GiantRobot

Yea, I remember the good-old days under Reagan where we had 72 consecutive months of private sector job growth, record low deficits, and sub-5% unemployment following a major recession......oh wait, that's Obama.

Al Bundy

It was uterly stupid to come out and and throw down a gauntlet. Nothing is served by it. No purpose or reason for it. Smarter to just say nothing and let the process happen. If they don't like a candidate fine that's how things work. But to slam the door before anyone is recommended thinking the public will understand is foolish.

Mirage

It's pretty simple, ask the nominee if he would strike down Obamacare, if they waffle, or say no, they are UNQUALIFIED. Add any other litmus tests. The President has a duty to nominate, and the Senate has a duty to prevent far left wing extremists on the court. Obama has already nominated two of those.

Jim Wiseman

"(H)e still believes the choice of a new justice should be delayed until a new president is chosen."
Then shut. It. Down.

Lkdog

Sorry to inform you in case you are also in denial as Grassley and the Republicans have been for 7 years, but Obama won the last two elections quite easily. He is President for another year. Deal with it.

It is his Constitutional duty to nominate and the Senate has a duty to hold hearings.

It doesn't say "except when a Black guy is President who Grassley and the other old rich white racist hillbillies hate".
Failure to do so is a dereliction of duty.

But dereliction of duty is what Grassley has done best for seven years with a record number of filibusters in the Senate to block legislation, and a record number of obstructions of judicial appointees.

Maybe you should watch this video of your beloved Reagan.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_3PEIUEGto

Mirage

The Senate does not have a duty to do anything with the nomination. They can ingnore it, they can just say anyone Obama nominates is unqualified, like his last two nominees...

silentmajority

The Senate has a constitutional duty to provide " advise and consent", in the manner the chamber's rules provide. They do not have a duty to hold hearings. If a blatantly poor candidate is named, they don't have to hold hearings to determine that.


That being said, refusing to consider a nominee before they know who it is isn't proper either.

PainfullTruth

Hey dog,

Why does everything have to be about race? Every time someone disagrees with your President it is because he is black. You are proof that Obama has divided the country more in 7 years than the past 100. To shove the foot in your mouth further you then insult those who oppose Obama by calling them rich white racist hillbillies?

You do realize that Obama blocked a supreme court justice when he was a Senator, right? Was that because he wasn't black enough for Obama's taste? No. I was because the choice presented didn't suit his political ideology. Not because of race. Stop making it about race...

There are several senators over the course of the supreme court nomination process that have filibustered votes. They come from both sides of the isle also. Doesn't make it right for either side to do, but you have a problem when one side does it and forget about when Reid, Schumer, Obama and others have done it.

For me it is quite simple. Elections have consequences. Presidents earn the right to nominate whoever they want to serve on the supreme court. But the senators earn the right to vote "NO" when they don't want that particular person to serve. Just vote yes or no and move along to the next person until someone is voted in. Blocking votes is wrong regardless of political party and especially race.

Wheezy
Wheezy

At 82, maybe Grassley is deciding he should start being the adult in the room.
Maybe.

PainfullTruth

Maybe he should sit with your president. Obama did the same thing when he was a Senator.....

Wheezy
Wheezy

I don't recall Obama being chair of the senate judiciary committee.

crv2017

[thumbdown]

The democrats passed a law in the 60's whi ch states that you cannot nominate a Supreme Court Justice during an election cycle

Now they are cheating and disregarding law and are doing anything to destroy our constitution

GiantRobot

If you believe this, you need to go back to school. Or, stop getting your news from Facebook newsfeed.

TheTruthWillSetYouFree

If Obama gets to appoint a 5th liberal justice, you might as well have a double funeral...one for Scalia and one for the constitution. This must be stopped at all costs, because nothing less than the survival of the country is at stake!

JayneCobb

This is why Donald Trump is so popular. He will stand up to this anti_American president unlike the gutless republican party

Lkdog

For Grassley to even suggest the idea that he might try and obstruct the process is absolutely shameful and pathetic, as well as clearly unconstitutional.
Once again he will show himself as a complete joke and embarrassment for Iowa and the nation.

Steve J

It's not unconstitutional for a senator to obstruct the process, it's called politics. Both parties have routinely done this in the last year of a presidential term, and the democrats did it the last 18 months of Bush's 2nd term. So rather than just making stuff up, you might want to spend 5 minutes googling history before commenting.

PainfullTruth

So when Obama did it when he was a Senator was that unconstitutional then? Take off your liberal kool-aid glasses.... Remember when Chuck U Shumer said in 2007 that President George W. Bush shouldn’t get to pick any more Supreme Court justices and to block any appointments that he made? Then-Senator Barack Obama said in 2006 that he supported the Democratic-led filibuster to stop Justice Samuel Alito from making it to the Supreme Court.

So just stop with your attacks on the right when your President has done it himself.

GiantRobot

Yea, what ever happened to that poor guy Alito?

Joe Francis

How bogus! Kennedy was confirmed in the final year of Regan due to the senate democrats borked Reagans first choice Robert Bork. Let Obama nominate whoever he wants. Then let Schumer's cooling saucer that is senate reduce that nomination to the footnote of obscurity that will coincide with the rest of this administrations failres.

Poor62

As long as constitutional scholar and President Obama nominates another constutionalist to replace Justice Scalia, the person should be given a fair hearing.

Steve J

Obama was never a constitutional scholar, and was never a professor, he was a part time lecturer - that's it. And so far, his other nominees weren't close to being qualified, and have proven to be 100% partisan libs. This president is a proven liar (you can keep your plan, your doctor, and avg family will save $2500 a year, or just as big a lie, he laughed about the shovel ready jobs that weren't so ha ha "shovel ready"). He's a clown, and is disrespected by world leaders regularly.

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