Republican Iowa Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst both pledged Monday to “evaluate” a nominee put forth by President Donald Trump to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“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,” Grassley said in a statement to the Des Moines Register. “Both have confirmed their intentions to move forward, so that’s what will happen. Once the hearings are underway, it’s my responsibility to evaluate the nominee on the merits, just as I always have.”
Grassley contended there is “no such ambiguity in 2020” like existed in 2016 when the White House and the Senate were split between the two major parties.
He also accused Democrats of “a long, sordid history of politicizing the courts and the confirmation process.”
“So, make no mistake: if the shoe were on the other foot, Senate Democrats wouldn’t hesitate to use their Constitutional authority and anything else at their disposal to fill this seat,” he argued. “The circumstances are different in 2020, where the American people elected a Republican President and Senate in 2016 and expanded the Republican Senate majority in 2018.”
Grassley, who chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee during the contentious hearings to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, in July stated that if he were chairman he “would not have a hearing” on any potential vacancy, leaving any decision up to current chairman Lindsey Graham.
Ernst told the outlet that the Senate has “much to consider over the coming days.” (RELATED: Gaetz Calls On Republican Voters To Oust Sens. Murkwoski, Collins If They Don’t Help Trump With Supreme Court Nominee)
“The Supreme Court plays a fundamental role in the defense of our Constitution and in the protection of our rights and liberties,” said Ernst. “Once the president puts forward his nominee for the Supreme Court, I will carry out my duty — as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee — to evaluate the nominee for our nation’s highest court.”
With Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Maine Sen. Susan Collins already on record against any potential nominee, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only afford to lose one more senator.