“As he indicated last week, Grassley explained why the Senate won’t be moving forward during this hyper-partisan election year,” said the lawmaker’s office in a brief statement after the two held a 70-minute breakfast meeting.
Grassley’s refusal to hold any confirmation hearing for Garland came as Congressional Democrats and activists were launching a national campaign to push Republicans to at least hold a confirmation hearing before Obama leaves office next January.
In a clear move to pressure defiant Republicans to go back on their immediate pledge to block any of his pick after the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia, a former linchpin of a conservative majority of the Supreme Court, Obama in March nominated Garland, a centrist and highly regarded appeals court judge for the Supreme Court vacancy.
However, Republicans had long insisted that a new nomination should wait till after the 2016 election, in hopes that a Republican president would choose Scalia’s conservative successor.
If Garland’s nomination is confirmed, the conservative-liberal balance in the country’s top court would be changed for the first time in the past 25 years.
The last time a major shift in the country’s highest court’s makeup occurred was in 1991 when former U.S. President George H. W. Bush nominated conservative Justice Clarence Thomas to replace liberal justice Thurgood Marshall. Since then, a five-conservative majority in the Supreme Court has held steady. Enditem