Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley says the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that he chairs is beefing up staff to help evaluate President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.
And Grassley says if past confirmation schedules are a guide, the new justice could be on the bench to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy by the opening of the court’s next term on the first Monday in October.
President Trump will announce his choice on Monday.
Grasssley says for the recent appointments of Justices Sotomayor and Gorsuch, it took 66 days from announcement to Senate confirmation.
“It's probably too much speculation on my part that we can get this done by the first Monday of October,” Grassley said in a weekly conference call with reporters. “But if you take that 66 days, we at least have 66 days between now and the first day of the Supreme Court.
“If we could do it for Sotomayor or Gorsuch, and maybe there are others that would fit into that 65 to 70 day time period, then I think we can do it for anybody he nominates Monday,” Grassley concluded.
Republicans are hoping to confirm a nominee ahead of midterm elections in November when Democrats could have a chance to win Senate seats.
Earlier, Grassley said he could “not guarantee” the appointment would be confirmed by Election Day.
The nominee is expected to face a tough confirmation battle. The Judiciary Committee will begin with a “deep dive” into the nominee’s past.
“That depends on how many cases they've written, how many speeches they’ve given, how many comments they've made and all that,” Grassley said. “There’ll be some additional lawyers hired just for this process.
“Both sides of the aisle will get additional resources so we can do this quickly,” Grassley added.