Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley announces reelection bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B MORE said Tuesday the Senate cannot "stonewall" a potential Supreme Court nomination from Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE, roughly a day after a GOP colleague pledged united opposition.
"We will very clearly vet, and then once that's done we will make a decision whether we will vote for or against, but ... if that new president happens to be Hillary we can't just simply stonewall," the Iowa Republican told reporters on a conference call, which was published by Radio Iowa.
Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, added that, based on this cycle's second presidential debate, he expects Clinton to nominate "judicial activists." But he said senators will examine any nominee sent to the Senate.
"We have the same responsibility for [Donald] Trump. We know more the type of people Trump would nominate because he’s listed 20," Grassley told reporters during the call. "They fall more into the category of strict constructionists.”
If Republicans maintain control of the Senate and Grassley keeps his post on the committee, he will be responsible for giving a Clinton or Trump nominee a hearing and initial vote.
Grassley's comments come a day after Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainWhoopi Goldberg signs four-year deal with ABC to stay on 'The View' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Meghan McCain: Country has not 'healed' from Trump under Biden MORE (R-Ariz.), who is not a member of the Judiciary panel, told a Philadelphia radio station that Senate Republicans would be "united against" a Clinton Supreme Court nominee.
McCain's staff later walked back his comments, saying that he would examine any nominee before deciding how he would vote. Grassley called the modification "the right thing to do."
But the Arizona Republican's comments sparked criticism from some Democrats and outside groups that Republicans would refuse to take up a Supreme Court nominee if Democrats keep control of the White House in 2017.
Republicans have refused to take up President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, arguing the Senate shouldn't take up a nomination during an election year and that the next president should be able to fill the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia's death in February.
Democrats hounded Grassley over the decision and hoped the Supreme Court would make him vulnerable as he seeks a seventh term. But Grassley is expected to win his reelection bid. He is currently leading Democratic challenger Patty Judge by roughly 15 percent, according to RealClearPolitics.