Grassley says he wouldn't consider a Supreme Court nomination in 2020

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Democrats target Ernst in bid to expand Senate map Zoom, grocery delivery, self-isolation: How lawmakers are surviving coronavirus MORE (R-Iowa) says that his panel wouldn't consider a Supreme Court nomination if a vacancy appeared in 2020, breaking from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell to try to pass small business funds Thursday, warns against holding it 'hostage' Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal House Republicans, key administration officials push for additional funding for coronavirus small business loans MORE (R-Ky.).

"If I'm chairman they won't take it up," Grassley said when asked during an interview with Fox News's Martha MacCallum if the committee would consider a nomination in the last year of President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal Trump says he'll look into small business loan program restricting casinos MORE's current term.

"Because I pledged that in 2016," Grassley said. "That's a decision I made a long time ago."

ADVERTISEMENT

McConnell has said he may be open to confirming a nominee brought forward in the next presidential election year, though he noted that doing so would be highly unusual.

"We’ll see if there is a vacancy in 2020," McConnell said on Monday.

However, he added, "You have to go back to 1880 to find the last time a Senate controlled by a party different from the president filled a vacancy on the Supreme Court that was created in the middle of a presidential election year."

Critics have gone after Republicans for blocking the confirmation of Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandDC wine bar loses appeal in lawsuit against Trump hotel Mitch McConnell may win the impeachment and lose the Senate The Trumpification of the federal courts MORE in 2016, President Obama's final year in office.

Republicans at the time defended their decision to not hold hearings or a vote on Garland by citing the 2016 presidential race, arguing the winner of that election should instead get to fill the seat.

Grassley is not the only Republican on the Judiciary Committee who has said they would not consider a Supreme Court nominee in 2020.

“If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait until the next election," Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump attacks WHO amid criticism of his coronavirus response Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill UN biodiversity chief calls for international ban of 'wet markets' MORE (R-S.C.) said last week.

Republicans have been celebrating the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughWisconsin Democrats chair bashes Supreme Court decision on voting: 'I am about to explode' Supreme Court blocks Wisconsin from extending absentee voting deadline A woman accuses Biden of sexual assault — and few liberals listen MORE, who was confirmed in a narrow 50-48 vote in the Senate on Saturday.