Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyFBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Klobuchar taking over Franken's sexual assault bill Lawyer: Kushner is 'the hero' in campaign emails regarding Russia MORE (R-Iowa) said he had a "positive" initial reaction to Judge Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court, signaling an openness to President Obama's first Supreme Court nominee from the GOP.

Grassley, one of the top-ranking Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee -- which will first handle Sotomayor's nomination -- said that the judge will start with a "clean slate" going into her nomination vetting and hearings.

"I've got lots of thoughts," Grassley said during a regular press conference when asked about his initial reaction to the Sotomayor nomination. "They start out positive because I don't remember from a long time ago when she was nominated to be chief judge."

"A president is entitled to nominate who he wants to nominate," Grassley continued. "She does have a record for our review but, obviously, I'm just now today starting to look at that record and will be consulting with my staff on the key points that I ought to be reading about her there."

25 Senate Republicans crossed party lines to support Sotomayor's nomination in 1998, but Grassley wasn't one of them.

"So other than that, I would say she starts out with a clean slate," Grassley said.