DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa’s Republican U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst say they will consider any nominee that President Donald Trump appoints to the Supreme Court filling a vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Grassley, a senior member and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released a lengthy statement explaining his position:
“In 2016, with an open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court and a window into the type of justice he’d nominate, the American people elected Donald Trump president of the United States. The vacancy was among the key issues on voters’ minds at the polls.
“In 2018, having witnessed President Trump appoint two justices to the Court, as well as the ugly tactics deployed by Senate Democrats during the confirmation process, the American people reaffirmed their support for the President by expanding the Republican majority in the Senate, the body tasked with evaluating the President’s nominees to the court.
“Over the years, and as recently as July, 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. 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. The Constitution gives the Senate that authority, and the American people’s voices in the most recent election couldn’t be clearer. 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.
“Our colleagues on the other side made clear long ago their intentions to upend norm after norm to hijack the judiciary. From Bork to Estrada to Kavanaugh; from torching the filibuster to threatening justices who rule against their wishes, Senate Democrats have a long, sordid history of politicizing the courts and the confirmation process. Even before the current vacancy, Democrats discussed plans to pack the Supreme Court and eliminate the legislative filibuster, just because they can’t get the results they want at the polls. In this case the people have spoken, putting power to appoint and confirm a nominee to the Supreme Court in one party.
“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.”
Ernst said she too would consider the president’s nominee.
“We have much to consider over the coming days. The Supreme Court plays a fundamental role in the defense of our Constitution and in the protection of our rights and liberties. 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,” she said.
Polling shows that a majority of Americans believe the winner of the November election should appoint the nominee. A Politico/Morning Consult poll showed 50 percent of registered voters said the winner of the election should appoint the nominee, while 37 percent said President Trump should. A Reuters/Ipsos poll showed 62 percent of American adults said the winner of the election should nominate the Supreme Court pick, while 23 percent disagreed.
A Marquette University Law School Poll showed the exact opposite of the Reuters poll. They found 67 percent of American adults want the Senate to conduct confirmation hearings this year.
The electorate, however, is likely more evenly split than the previously mentioned polls suggest. Rasmussen polled likely voters, which typically are a better reflection of the electorate, shows 51 percent say the seat should be left vacant for the winner to nominate a replacement, while 45 percent believe President Trump should nominate a justice.