Senate Judiciary to debate issue of Supreme Court nomination

Greg Nash

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyOvernight Tech: Judiciary leaders question internet transition plan | Clinton to talk tech policy | Snowden's robot | Trump's big digital push Dozens of senators push EPA for higher ethanol mandate Civil liberties group mobilizes against surveillance amendment MORE (R-Iowa) said the Senate Judiciary Committee will have a “full-blown debate” Thursday on whether to hold a hearing on a Supreme Court nomination.

“If you want to hear a full-blown debate on this issue, I think we’ll probably have one before our committee tomorrow while we’re also considering three of four judges and a piece of legislation as well,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Senate Judiciary Committee said the debate is expected to take place during the committee’s regularly scheduled business meeting in the morning. The judges being considered are to fill vacancies on the United States Court of International Trade and the United States District Court of Hawaii.

Grassley, the Judiciary Committee chair, made the announcement during an oversight hearing of the U.S. Department of Justice at which Attorney General Loretta Lynch testified on Wednesday morning.

Grassley was responding to Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahySenate Dems rip GOP on immigration ruling Bernie Sanders’s awkward return to the Senate Senate heads toward internet surveillance fight MORE (D-Vt.), who criticized Republicans for meeting behind closed doors and voting to block any Obama nominee without any input from Democrats.

“I assume that the Democrat members have their caucus to talk about how their members feel about respective issues, and I’ve never been invited to a Democrat Caucus, and I don’t think that Democrat caucus is open to the public,” Grassley said. “Tomorrow, I think we’re going to have debate.”

The committee was expected to discuss a potential nominee at its business meeting last Thursday, but Grassley postponed the discussions after Democrats refused to allow him to hold the meeting off the Senate floor.