Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Supreme Court Nominee Merrick Garland had their much anticipated breakfast meeting Tuesday morning in the Senate Dining Room. The Iowa Republican describes the conversation as “very pleasant," though he still won’t hold confirmation hearings for Garland.
"We discussed the Chevron case, we discussed the Administrative Procedures Act, and the deference that judges have to give to agencies. Things like that," says Grassley. "I won't go into any more detail because I want everyone to understand that we had a very friendly discussion."
Grassley says he doesn’t think it’s fair to discuss Garland’s answers, other than that Garland answered adequately.
Despite mounting criticism, Grassley isn’t budging from his position that the people should decide who the next Supreme Court justice should be when they vote for president in November.
Keith Uhl, a Des Moines attorney and former Grassley staffer, says Grassley needs to "man up," because the Supreme Court needs to get past ties, regardless of a how a ruling cuts. Uhl is a registered Republican, though he donated to the Obama presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012.
"My position is to try to get Chuck Grassley to start representing Iowans again with Iowa values, the way Iowans believe life should be lived," said Uhl in a press release. "If the senator does what’s right and does his job, I firmly intend to vote for him again. If he doesn’t, we’ll analyze that situation when the time comes.”
Grassley says the court functions fine with eight justices, and that despite this disagreement, considers Uhl a very good friend.
"In my early campaigns for the Senate, he planned a prominent role. And I thank him for his support. I still consider him a friend. We have honest differences of opinion," says Grassley.
The longest Supreme Court vacancy since the Civil War was 391 days, after Justice Abe Fortas resigned in 1969. For that record to be broken, the current vacancy would have to last until March 12, 2017.