Almost immediately after the sad news broke of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, D.C. was engaged in partisan turmoil over when and how her replacement should be confirmed.
President Donald Trump and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have indicated that they want to hold a confirmation vote on the forthcoming nominee sooner rather than later — and they already have some high-profile support behind their controversial cause.
“Intentions to move forward”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who formerly chaired the Senate judiciary committee, recently told the Des Moines Register that he would consider any nomination at this point in Trump’s presidency to be business as usual.
Democratic Party leaders on Capitol Hill, however, have vowed to use any political tool available to prevent such a vote or, if unsuccessful, seek retaliation when they regain a Senate majority.
Grassley made his remarks on Monday, reiterating his prior assertion that “taking up and evaluating a nominee in 2020” is something for McConnell and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the current judiciary committee chairman, to determine.
“Both have confirmed their intentions to move forward, so that’s what will happen,” the longtime senator continued. “Once the hearings are underway, it’s my responsibility to evaluate the nominee on the merits, just as I always have.”
In 2016, he supported McConnell’s decision to prevent a confirmation vote for Merrick Garland, then-President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
“No such ambiguity”
Grassley echoed the majority leader’s explanation that the current situation is not comparable to the circumstances surrounding Obama’s pick.
“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,” Grassley claimed.
As for Graham, he has cited the behavior of Democratic senators during the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a reason for the shift in his stance.
“Democrats chose to set in motion rules changes to stack the court at the Circuit level and they chose to try to destroy Brett Kavanaugh’s life to keep the Supreme Court seat open,” he tweeted on Sunday. “You reap what you sow.”
With even Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), a frequent Trump critic, expressing his support for bringing the president’s nominee up for a vote, the GOP alliance should be enough to offset whatever unified front the Democratic Party’s minority is able to form.