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Charles Grassley Orange City meeting

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, addresses an audience at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, on March 29, 2016.

Now five days into his presidency, President Donald Trump has announced he is set to name his pick to fill the yearlong vacancy in the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump on Tuesday said he would make the nomination next week, which will begin a process where Iowa's senior U. S. senator, Charles Grassley, will lead committee hearings.

Grassley, a Republican, is the Senate Judiciary chairman. He had a notable 2016, when Grassley over the majority of the year refused to take up the nomination of Merrick Garland by then-President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

Grassley steadfastly said he wouldn't hold hearings. He remained firm in his position that the court vacancy should remain until 2017, so Americans could pick a new president in November.

"It ought to be carried over 'til the next president is sworn in," Grassley told people last March at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, and that was a position he never left.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also refused to schedule a confirmation hearing.

There was a risk with Grassley's stance, as it was no lock that a Republican would win the presidency. But Trump defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and Republicans holding power in the U.S. Senate have a chance to place Trump's nominee on the court, to succeed Antonin Scalia.

Trump in May 2016 released a list of 11 people he said were on his short list of court nominees.  Grassley at the time said Trump's list was "pretty encouraging."

The list included one Iowan: Steven Colloton, a federal judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

The others were federal judges William H. Pryor, Raymond Gruender, Thomas Hardiman, Raymond Kethledge and Diane Sykes, Allison Eid of the Colorado Supreme Court, Joan Larsen of the Michigan Supreme Court, Thomas Rex Lee of the Utah Supreme Court, David Stras of the Minnesota Supreme Court and Don Willett of the Texas Supreme Court.

Grassley this morning chaired the first executive business meeting of the Judiciary Committee. He welcomed a new committee member from the tri-state area, Ben Sasse, R-Neb.

In Grassley's opening comments reported by his staff Tuesday, he didn't address the Supreme Court nomination. Grassley did note one important piece of work, as "Senator (Jeff) Sessions’ nomination to serve as Attorney General is on the agenda for the first time."

UPDATE: Just before 3 p.m. Central time, Grassley tweeted the following short message, "Just finished meeting at White House on filling Supreme Court vacancy."

Here are a few replies to Grassley's tweet:

"Are you going to obstruct this one for a year too?"

"Shouldn't you vote on the nominee you've had for a year first?" 

"Proud of u Mr. Grassley. U are such a hard worker. Live it!"


County and education reporter

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