By Lydia Wheeler - 02/13/16 07:39 PM EST
It is "standard practice" to not confirm nominations to the Supreme Court in an election year, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyDemocrats pounce on Cruz's Supreme Court comments Cruz: Precedent exists for keeping Supreme Court short-staffed Sanders to Justice Department: Block AT&T purchase of Time Warner MORE (R-Iowa) said Saturday, following news of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
As a result, he said the Senate shouldn't confirm President Obama's nominee to replace Scalia.
"Given the huge divide in the country, and the fact that this president, above all others, has made no bones about his goal to use the courts to circumvent Congress and push through his own agenda, it only makes sense that we defer to the American people who will elect a new president to select the next Supreme Court Justice.”
His comments follow those of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellCures bill in jeopardy amid drug pricing push Senate Democratic super PAC sets fundraising record Five takeaways from Florida Senate debate MORE (R-Ky.), who said the next president should choose Scalia's successor.
Democrats have fired back, arguing it would be irresponsible for the Senate to not confirm a replacement until after the lame-duck session.
One example of a Supreme Court justice being confirmed to the court in an election year happened in 1988.
President Ronald Reagan nominated Anthony Kennedy to the court on Nov.30, 1987. He was confirmed in a 97-0 vote on Feb. 3, 1988. Grassley was one of the 97 votes in favor of Kennedy. Democrats held the majority in the chamber.
In his remarks, Grassley called Scalia, who died at the age of 79, “an intellectual giant."
“He had an unwavering dedication to the founding document that has guided our country for nearly 230 years," he said of Scalia's interpretation of the Constitution. "His humor, devotion to the Constitution and quick wit will be remembered for years to come.”