Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) will meet with newly named Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland after the Senate returns from its upcoming recess, according to the White House.
Grassley has been the focus of intense efforts by the White House and Senate Democrats to make it politically uncomfortable for Senate Republicans to refuse to consider any Obama nominee. It’s not clear whether his apparent agreement to meet with Garland signals a new openness, but it is somewhat at odds with Grassley’s public statements that the nomination is dead on arrival.
The Iowa senator released a lengthy statement on Wednesday attacking President Obama for nominating a justice during an election year, saying the appointment was “too important to get bogged down in politics.”
The White House said in their statement that they reached out to Senate and Judiciary Committee leaders after Obama’s announcement, following the “standard protocol” after a president names a Supreme Court nominee.
Democratic leaders Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) took the White House up on their offer to meet with Garland, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refused.
McConnell instead elected to contact Garland by phone Wednesday to reiterate that the Senate would not be confirming his nomination.