Senate Judiciary Committee head Charles Grassley of Iowa said Tuesday, if he still leads the panel in the 2020 presidential election year, and a Supreme Court seat becomes vacant, the panel will not consider a nominee.
In an interview on Fox News' "The Story," Grassley's refusal shows a potential break in GOP ranks on the issue.
The remarks start at the 12:25 mark.
"If I'm chairman, they won't take it up, no," Grassley replied when asked if he would take up the confirmation of a new justice to the nation's high court should a spot be vacant.
"Because I pledged that in 2016, if the ball is the same as it is," he continued. "Now, if somebody else is chairman of the committee, they have to decide for themselves. But that's a decision I made a long time ago."
That stance puts Grassley at odds with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
McConnell said Sunday he could reverse himself and consider what would be a third high-court nominee for President Donald Trump should a vacancy arise in 2020.
McConnell blocked President Barack Obama's election-year nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016.
"You have to go back to 1880 to find the last time a Senate controlled by a party different from the president filled a vacancy on the Supreme Court that was created in the middle of a presidential election year," McConnell told "Fox News Sunday." "That's been the history."
But he also made sure the door was not shut tight on the issue.
"The answer to your question is we will see if there's a vacancy in 2020," McConnell said.
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