Ultimately, it’s up to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa to decide whether or not to hold a confirmation hearing for President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court. I’m sure Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has strong opinions about the subject, but it’s really Grassley’s responsibility.
Despite this, Grassley just announced that he’s making a phony kind of concession to the Democrats:
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said the Senate Judiciary Committee will have a “full-blown debate” Thursday on whether to hold a hearing on a Supreme Court nomination.
“If you want to hear a full-blown debate on this issue, I think we’ll probably have one before our committee tomorrow while we’re also considering three of four judges and a piece of legislation as well,” he said.
The Judiciary Committee will be considering other routine business tomorrow, including nominations to the U.S. Court of International Trade and the District Court of Hawaii. And they’ll probably have a “full-blown debate” on the SCOTUS nominee. But the committee has 20 members, eleven of whom are Republicans. Even if Ted Cruz doesn’t show up, there’s still a 10-9 advantage for the GOP. So, unless a Republican defects, the refusal to hold a hearing will stand.
And I’m assuming a vote on the matter, but that actually seems unlikely. I expect this to be more in the nature of an argument than a vote.