Grassley, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee said in a statement on Monday, “In 2016, with an open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court and a window into the type of justice he’d nominate, the American people elected Donald Trump president of the United States.”
He added, “In 2018, having witnessed President Trump appoint two justices to the Court, as well as the ugly tactics deployed by Senate Democrats during the confirmation process, the American people reaffirmed their support for the President by expanding the Republican majority in the Senate, the body tasked with evaluating the President’s nominees to the court.”
Grassley continued, “Over the years, and as recently as July, I’ve consistently said that taking up and evaluating a nominee in 2020 would be a decision for the current chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the Senate Majority Leader. Both have confirmed their intentions to move forward, so that’s what will happen. […] In this case the people have spoken, putting power to appoint and confirm a nominee to the Supreme Court in one party.”
“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.”
But Democrats have spent the past few days resurfacing clips from 2016 in which Republicans defended blocking Merrick Garland, the judge that President Barack Obama nominated to the Supreme Court in 2016.
In April of 2016, Grassley said, “The American people should be afforded the opportunity to weigh in on this very important matter.”
He continued at the time, “Our side, meaning the Republican side, believes very strongly that the people deserve to be heard and they should be allowed to decide through their vote for the next president, the type of person that should be on the Supreme Court.”
See his past remarks below:
— Senate Democrats (@SenateDems) September 22, 2020
Grassley is not the only Republican Senator who defended keeping a court vacancy through the 2016 election but is now pushing to fill the vacancy less than two months before the 2020 presidential election.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also defended that decision, but when accused of hypocrisy, Graham quipped, “Being lectured by Democrats about how to handle judicial nominations is like an arsonist advising the Fire Department.”
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