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Judiciary chair: 'Standard practice' to not confirm SCOTUS nominee in election year

Judiciary chair: 'Standard practice' to not confirm SCOTUS nominee in election year

It is "standard practice" to not confirm nominations to the Supreme Court in an election year, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden's Treasury secretary Biden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Grassley returns to Capitol after having coronavirus MORE (R-Iowa) said Saturday, following news of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. 

As a result, he said the Senate shouldn't confirm President Obama's nominee to replace Scalia. 

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“The fact of the matter is that it’s been standard practice over the last 80 years to not confirm Supreme Court nominees during a presidential election year," Grassley said.

"Given the huge divide in the country, and the fact that this president, above all others, has made no bones about his goal to use the courts to circumvent Congress and push through his own agenda, it only makes sense that we defer to the American people who will elect a new president to select the next Supreme Court Justice.”

His comments follow those of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate approves two energy regulators, completing panel On The Money: Biden announces key members of economic team | GOP open to Yellen as Treasury secretary, opposed to budget pick | GAO: Labor Department 'improperly presented' jobless data Senate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden's Treasury secretary MORE (R-Ky.), who said the next president should choose Scalia's successor.

Democrats have fired back, arguing it would be irresponsible for the Senate to not confirm a replacement until after the lame-duck session.

One example of a Supreme Court justice being confirmed to the court in an election year happened in 1988. 

President Ronald Reagan nominated Anthony Kennedy to the court on Nov.30, 1987. He was confirmed in a 97-0 vote on Feb. 3, 1988. Grassley was one of the 97 votes in favor of Kennedy. Democrats held the majority in the chamber. 

In his remarks, Grassley called Scalia, who died at the age of 79, “an intellectual giant."

“He had an unwavering dedication to the founding document that has guided our country for nearly 230 years," he said of Scalia's interpretation of the Constitution. "His humor, devotion to the Constitution and quick wit will be remembered for years to come.”