Top GOP senator calls for Biden to release list of possible Supreme Court picks

Top GOP senator calls for Biden to release list of possible Supreme Court picks
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Ginsburg lies in repose Top GOP senators say Hunter Biden's work 'cast a shadow' over Obama Ukraine policy Read: Senate GOP's controversial Biden report MORE (R-Iowa), the former chairman and current member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is calling for Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Democratic groups using Bloomberg money to launch M in Spanish language ads in Florida Harris faces pivotal moment with Supreme Court battle MORE to release a list of candidates that he would consider for the Supreme Court. 

Grassley's push for Biden to release a public list comes after President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Romney: 'Unthinkable and unacceptable' to not commit to peaceful transition of power Two Louisville police officers shot amid Breonna Taylor grand jury protests MORE took the unusual step of releasing a list in 2016 in a bid to shore up his support with conservatives. Trump released another list last week that included an additional 20 Supreme Court prospects. 

“I hope Vice President Biden will agree with me that the American people deserve this information before the election, not after. I call on Vice President Biden to release the list of names from which he would nominate to the Supreme Court, no later than September 30th," Grassley said in a statement.

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"The Biden-Harris ticket owes voters the same transparency President Trump has demonstrated along with the same commitment to nominate from that list should there be a vacancy. There’s no reason to hide something as consequential as who would be named to our highest court,” he added.

If Republicans hold on to the Senate, and Biden wins the White House, Grassley is expected to take back the gavel of the Judiciary Committee starting in January, a position that would allow him to determine which judicial picks get taken up by the Senate. Grassley, when he was chairman of the committee, did not give a hearing or a vote to Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandPoll: 59 percent think president elected in November should name next Supreme Court justice Mark Kelly: Arizona Senate race winner should be sworn in 'promptly' Chief justice honors Ginsburg: 'When she spoke, people listened' MORE, then-President Obama's Supreme Court nominee in 2016. 

The courts, which have long been a top priority for Republicans, have increasingly been viewed as a political lightning rod during the Trump era. Republicans nixed the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees in 2017 — after Democrats got rid of it for most nominations in 2013 — and have confirmed circuit court picks over opposition from one or both Democratic home-state senators. 

Progressive outside groups have also called on Biden to release a Supreme Court list, arguing that it would help energize voters who did not view the former vice president as their first choice in the crowded Democratic primary field.

Asked about guidance on if, or when, the Biden campaign would release a Supreme Court list, a spokesman referred to a recent statement asking when Trump would release his tax returns, something he has so far refused to do.

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"We look forward to Donald Trump releasing his tax returns in the spirit of his newfound appreciation for transparency,” said Biden campaign spokesman TJ Ducklo.

The former vice president appeared to commit in late June to releasing a list of Black female judges he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court before November’s general election against Trump. But so far his campaign has not released a list. 

“We are putting together a list of a group of African American women who are qualified and have the experience to be on the court,” Biden said at the time. “I am not going to release that until we go further down the line in vetting them.” 

Top Senate Democrats, including members of the Judiciary Committee, have argued that Biden should not release a list. 

“I sincerely hope he does not do that,” Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinFeinstein 'surprised and taken aback' by suggestion she's not up for Supreme Court fight Grand jury charges no officers in Breonna Taylor death Democrats shoot down talk of expanding Supreme Court MORE (D-Ill.) told The Hill earlier this year. “We ought to go back to the regular order of things. If and when vacancies occur he can look for the very best person at that moment."  

--This report was updated at 10:39 a.m.