Senator Chuck Grassley had breakfast with President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, Tuesday morning. After the meeting, Grassley announced there would be no change with regard to moving forward with confirmation hearings this year. The AP reports:
Grassley’s breakfast meeting with federal judge Merrick Garland was “cordial and pleasant” and lasted about 70 minutes, according to a written statement released by the Iowa Republican’s aides.
Grassley has been a favorite target of Democrats criticizing Republicans for their refusal to consider Obama’s nomination this year. GOP opposition has been led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., with Grassley refusing to allow his committee to hold even the usual hearings for the nominee.
Grassley evaded reporters waiting for him outside the Senate Dining Room in the Capitol, where he met with Garland. He had said in advance that he would recite to the judge the Republican position that the Senate won’t consider a nominee until the new president elected this November makes a selection.
“As he indicated last week, Grassley explained why the Senate won’t be moving forward during this hyper-partisan election year,” Grassley’s five-sentence statement said. “Grassley thanked Judge Garland for his service.”
After the meeting Grassley published this image to his Instagram account:
The caption on Grassley’s photo reads, “Had pleasant bfast w Judge Garland this morning. Explained why the Senate won’t be moving fwd w his nomination. Next prez will decide after the ppl have a voice.”
After his meeting with Sen. Grassley, Garland met with Sen. Murkowski of Alaska. Politico reports that meeting also failed to move the needle but did give Murkowski a chance to talk to Garland about issues important to Alaska:
Her mind didn’t change after meeting with Garland, her office said. But their 30-minute sit-down delved deeply into Alaska-specific issues, considering Garland’s current role as chief judge for the D.C. Circuit, whose decisions often affect her state.
“Senator Murkowski used the meeting as an opportunity to share the importance of protecting Alaskans’ Second Amendment rights, our access to public lands, and resource development around the state,” a Murkowski spokeswoman said. “Senator Murkowski continues to respect the Judiciary Committee’s decision not to hold hearings, but hopes Judge Garland now has a greater understanding of Alaska as a result of their conversation.”
Democrats can continue to hyperventilate about it in the media but unless they can change Sen. Grassley’s mind none of that is going to matter. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley has the final say on whether or not any hearings take place. For the moment, he is sticking to a polite but firm no.