Hatch: GOP should shut down SCOTUS hearing
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Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchOrrin Hatch Foundation seeking million in taxpayer money to fund new center in his honor Mitch McConnell has shown the nation his version of power grab Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Utah Senate votes to scale back Medicaid expansion | Virginia abortion bill reignites debate | Grassley invites drug execs to testify | Conservative groups push back on e-cig crackdown MORE (R-Utah) on Wednesday said he doesn't think Republican senators should filibuster President Obama's Supreme Court nominee — but that they could close it down before it even gets that far in the process.

“I don't think we should filibuster Supreme Court nominees or any judicial nominees," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer after being asked whether he would support the procedural move.

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Under a filibuster, 60 votes would be required to clear hurdles ahead of a final confirmation vote.

At the same time, Hatch, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said in the interview that he would support whatever decision made by Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySmaller tax refunds put GOP on defensive High stakes as Trump, Dems open drug price talks Senate approves border bill that prevents shutdown MORE (R-Iowa), the panel’s chairman. 

He suggested that if Grassley so chooses, he could close down a debate over who should succeed Justice Antonin Scalia, who died Saturday.

"We wouldn't have to filibuster. All it would take is for Sen. Grassley to just say, ‘Look, we're not going to confirm anybody this year. The reason we're not going to confirm is because we value the court, we don't want it to be in this political atmosphere,’ ” Hatch said.

Hatch’s comments add to the mixed signals sent by Republicans over their strategy for handling an Obama nominee. 

Immediately after the news of Scalia’s death, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal Trump should beware the 'clawback' Congress Juan Williams: America needs radical solutions MORE (Ky.) said a decision on who should replace the justice should be punted to the next president. 

Democrats howled, arguing it was ridiculous to say that the Senate should not consider an Obama nominee when the president has nearly a year left in office.

McConnell and Republicans have argued that pushing the off decision until next year would give voters a voice on the decision through the 2016 election.

Since then, there have been some signs of movement from Senate Republicans. 

Grassley on Tuesday suggested there could be a hearing on an Obama nominee, saying he wanted to first wait to see who Obama chooses. 

Hatch said he supported McConnell’s call to leave the seat vacant until next year.

"I think that McConnell's right on this, and I think most Republicans feel the same way. Now whether there's a hearing or not, that's going to have to be decided by Sen. Grassley... and Sen. McConnell, who he'll consult with,” Hatch said.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), another member of the Judiciary Committee, suggested Tuesday that his party risks being viewed as "obstructionist" by pledging a blanket block on any nominee even before they know whom the president is going to nominate. 

And Wednesday, Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerTrump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary Oregon Dem top recipient of 2018 marijuana industry money, study finds MORE (R-Nev.) called on the president to choose a nominee who could win the approval of the Senate.

Obama has pledged to nominate someone "in due time" despite fierce pushback from conservatives, and the White House has reportedly begun to draw up lists of potential choices.

- Updated at 10:24 p.m.