Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley Leaves Open Possibility of SCOTUS Hearings Before Obama Leaves Office

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) hinted at the possibility of confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court.

During a town hall-style event at the Sioux City Rotary Club in Iowa Monday, Grassley said that if a majority of Senators pushed for hearings during the period in between the election and the inauguration, otherwise known as a lame duck session, that he would consider it:

“I, myself, could not do that, based upon the letter that we sent, that the new president should make the appointment. And 52 senators, a majority of the Senate, right of that same position.”

Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Grassley added that while Republicans have pledged to not hold hearing until there is a new president, the mood could certainly change.

“If we have the election, and there was a majority of the Senate changed their mind about doing it in the lame duck, as opposed to January 20, I don’t feel that I could stand in the way of that. But I don’t think I can promote that idea.”

In the event that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump loses the general election and Hillary Clinton wins, there is a chance Garland’s nomination could be swapped out for a much more liberal pick.

However, Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), immediately attempted to quash such ideas by Grassley, telling Politico that “the next President will make this nomination.”

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