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

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyMcConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill GOP chairmen hit back at accusation they are spreading disinformation with Biden probe On The Money: Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions | Pandemic reveals flaws of unemployment insurance programs | Survey finds nearly one-third of rehired workers laid off again 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 McConnellTrump signs executive orders after coronavirus relief talks falter Coronavirus deal key to Republicans protecting Senate majority Coronavirus talks collapse as negotiators fail to reach deal 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 TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally 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 GarlandThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Biden VP possible next week; Meadows says relief talks 'miles apart' Senate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  Hawley will only back Supreme Court picks who have said Roe v. Wade was 'wrongly decided' 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 GrahamSeveral GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Graham says he appreciates Trump orders, but 'would much prefer a congressional agreement' Sunday shows preview: White House, congressional Democrats unable to breach stalemate over coronavirus relief MORE (R-S.C.) said last week.

Republicans have been celebrating the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughMcConnell has 17-point lead over Democratic challenger McGrath: poll Davis: My recommendation for vice president on Biden ticket Kavanaugh urged Supreme Court to avoid decisions on Trump finances, abortion: report MORE, who was confirmed in a narrow 50-48 vote in the Senate on Saturday.