Senate Republicans would continue to block President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee in order to preserve restrictions on abortion rights, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said Monday in a conference call with anti-choice activists.
Grassley’s statements were first reported by Right Wing Watch.
Obama in March nominated D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Merrick B. Garland to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Republicans have vowed to obstruct the nominee until after the presidential election in November.
During a conference call hosted by the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-choice organization dedicated to electing candidates who oppose abortion rights and pursuing anti-choice policies, Grassley said Senate Republicans “continue to stand by our commitment not to move forward.”
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Grassley was joined on the call by fellow Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and James Lankford (R-OK).
Grassley, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that “it is vitally important that we don’t have another liberal Supreme Court Justice,” and that allowing Obama to fill the vacancy could lead to the Roberts Court striking down anti-choice measures passed by GOP-controlled state legislatures.
“If another liberal is nominated to the Court then even the reasonable restrictions on abortion, that have been enacted into law through the democratic process, these would be swept away,” Grassley said.
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser asked Grassley to respond to the widespread criticism that Senate Republicans are neglecting their responsibility by refusing to consider Garland’s nomination.
“Well, we could have a hearing, we aren’t going to have a hearing, but let’s just suppose we could have a hearing,” Grassley said. “And I know 52 people, at least 52 in the Senate, aren’t going to approve it. So you have a hearing and you spend a lot of taxpayers’ money gearing up for it, you spend a lot of time of members, a lot of research that has to be done by staff, and then it ain’t going to go anyplace.”
While Senate Republicans have balked at holding confirmation hearings for Garland, Grassley had time to conduct a two-hour hearing in March on a pair of anti-choice bills. One was an unconstitutional bill to ban abortion care after 20 weeks’ gestation and the other was a measure that would impose criminal penalties on abortion providers who fail to properly “care” for a fetus “born alive” when a pregnancy is terminated.