In his opening statement for a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Committee Chair accused Democrats of trying “to score as many political points as possible” by demanding President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee be considered by the Senate.
He pointed yet again to a speech made by then-Judiciary Committee Chair Joe Biden in 1992 discouraging nominees be considered months before election. Democrats, including Biden, insist the speech is being taken out of context by Republicans and note that the Senate has not refused to take up any previous nominee.
“We’re already witnessing how raw politics is infecting the process. Regardless of what some are willing to admit publicly, everybody knows any nominee submitted in the middle of this presidential campaign isn’t getting confirmed. Everybody. The White House knows it. Senate Democrats know it. Republicans know it. Even the press knows it,” Grassley said in the statement, according a version released at the start of the meeting.
The statement came at a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is the committee that typically host hearings for Supreme Court meetings. Thursday’s meeting offered Democrats and Republicans on the committee the first major public face-off on the GOP’s threat to not even with President Obama’s yet-to-be-name nominee. Republicans insist that it should be the next president who choses the justice to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died unexpectedly last month.
Their meeting comes as the White House prepares to announce who the President has chosen as his successor. Obama reportedly met with a handful of potential nominees earlier this week.
In Thursday’s opening statement, Grassley also railed against the idea that White House would nominate an Iowan judge that Grassley previously praised to put pressure on him to hold nomination hearings, which Republicans have vowed not to hold.
“We’re not going to drop any nominee into that election-year ‘cauldron’,” Grassley said, referring to a term used in Biden’s speech. “And I’m certainly not going to let it happen to an Iowan.”
He also slammed Democrats for how they handled the nomination of Robert Bork, who was nominated by President Ronald Reagan but not confirmed by the then-Democratic Senate. He also shot back at criticisms of a Republican-only, closed-door meeting last month where the Republicans on the committee agreed to not hold hearings.
“We knew the Minority Leader and others were going to make this as political as possible. That’s unfortunate, but ultimately it doesn’t matter, because it’s the right thing to do,” he said.
Read the full statement below: