“Over the years, and as recently as July, I’ve consistently said that taking up and evaluating a nominee in 2020 would be a decision for the current chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the Senate Majority Leader,” he said in a statement provided to the Des Moines Register. “Both have confirmed their intentions to move forward, so that’s what will happen. Once the hearings are underway, it’s my responsibility to evaluate the nominee on the merits, just as I always have.”
It’s a reversal for Grassley, who in 2016 was the face of Republican efforts to block Democratic President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. He said at the time the Senate should not confirm a nominee in a presidential election year. He has since reiterated that stance, saying in a July 2018 taping of Iowa Press that he would not support confirming a Supreme Court nominee in an election year.
“It was very legitimate that you can’t have one rule for Democrat presidents and another rule for Republican presidents,” he said at the time.