Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) recently came forward to say that, if a majority of the Senate supported the idea, he wouldn’t stand in the way of a lame duck hearing for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.
Grassley has been among the very vocal Republican Senators who have said that Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February of this year, should not be replaced until a new president is sworn in. He appears to have softened his position, though, based on the response he gave during a question and answer session on Monday at the Sioux City Rotary Club.
The Huffington Post reports that Grassley was clear that he, personally, did not support a lame duck hearing. However, he also was clear about not standing in the way if a majority of the Senate were to change their minds:
‘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.
‘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.’
Grassley is open — at least somewhat — to a lame-duck hearing. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah have also said that Garland should get a lame duck hearing if Clinton wins. Despite some members of the Senate softening their stance on the issue, though, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is still firm in his refusal.
Don Stewart, McConnell’s spokesperson, said in an email that, at this time, the idea is not being considered. Stewart wrote,
‘The Leader has been clear, the next President will make this nomination.’
According to the Sioux City Journal, during his time speaking at the Sioux City Rotary Club meeting, Sen. Grassley spoke highly of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. He told the crowd, making a reference to Ronald Reagan,
‘Everybody thought a movie star could not be a president of the United States.’
Grassley also criticized Trump’s opponent, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He said that a vote for Clinton would be a vote for a continuation of President Obama’s policies from the last eight years. Grassley claimed that it is those policies that have led to higher taxes and a stagnation of income growth for the middle class.
Grassley ended his speech by saying that he is not trying to convince people to vote for Trump. He told the Rotarians in attendance to “look at all the candidates and satisfy yourself.”
The video below, courtesy of Huffington Post, shows Grassley discussing his feelings about a lame duck hearing for Merrick Garland.
Featured image via Getty Images.