GRASSLEY DETAILS PLANS: “Sen. Charles Grassley said Thursday afternoon that he would not hold confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland during the lame duck session, even if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency,” The (Knoxville, Ia.) Journal Express reported. “However, should Clinton win and renominate Garland, and if the Republicans hold on to the Senate majority, he would begin the confirmation process.”
That news about Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley seemed to seal the likelihood of no hearings on Judge Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court in the upcoming lame duck session. What may unfold next year, if Clinton is president and the Senate is controlled by Republicans, remained the topic of speculation and controversy despite the Journal Express report.
“That Supreme Court Stonewall May Not Crumble Anytime Soon,” a New York Times headline declared. And a headline in The Hill said, “Heritage calling for Supreme Court blockade if Clinton wins.” Yet Politico reported about an Arkansas Republican, “Sen. Cotton won’t join indefinite Supreme Court blockade.” A Dallas Morning News article also reflected divergent GOP stances, saying, “Cruz, other senators suggest blocking Clinton Supreme Court nominees, while Cornyn would consider them.” And The Associated Press reported about Republican Sen. Richard Burr (see Gavel Grab), “North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr is walking back from his promise to block any nominees Democrat Hillary Clinton would make to the U.S. Supreme Court if she’s elected president.”
On the opinion front, Steve Chapman wrote in The Chicago Tribune about Franklin D. Roosevelt’s efforts to increase the court’s size in 1937 and said, “There is nothing sacred about the number nine. But changing the size of the court in an attempt to influence how it decides future cases would be a cynical assault on the judiciary and republican government — as it was seen to be in 1937.”
STATE COURT ELECTIONS: A National Law Journal article (available by Google search) said state judicial elections on Tuesday also are grabbing media attention, and for good reason: “Tuesday’s judicial elections promise to surpass past spending on television ads, with a record $14 million spent by outside groups so far on races for state Supreme Court seats.” The Brennan Center for Justice had the latest statistics here.