WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Chuck Grassley will support the Republican push to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this year despite his stand in 2016 that a new justice shouldn’t be confirmed in a presidential election year.
Grassley says in a statement that “the Constitution gives the Senate that authority, and the American people’s voices in the most recent election couldn’t be clearer.”
As the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2016, Grassley and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold a hearing for President Barack Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, after the February death of Justice Antonin Scalia. They said the new president should decide on Scalia’s replacement.
Since then, Grassley has said that if he were the chairman in 2020, he would not take up a new nomination. But he said if there were a new chairman, that person would have to make that call. Current Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and McConnell have said the situation is different this year because Republicans hold both the Senate and the presidency.
Grassley is backing them up, saying, “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.”