Government

Grassley aiming for September hearings, confirming Kavanaugh before Oct. 1

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley waves as he arrives for a town hall at the Fayette County Courthouse in West Union on Tuesday, Jul. 3, 2018. The Fayette County meeting was part of Sen. Grassley’s annual 99 county tour of the state. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley waves as he arrives for a town hall at the Fayette County Courthouse in West Union on Tuesday, Jul. 3, 2018. The Fayette County meeting was part of Sen. Grassley’s annual 99 county tour of the state. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Sen. Chuck Grassley expects confirmation hearings on President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh will begin in September despite the Senate foregoing its summer work session to remain in session this month.

“The earlier, the better,” Grassley, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, told radio talk show host and podcaster Hugh Hewitt Wednesday. The confirmation process typically takes 65 to 70 days, he said, with about two-thirds of that time consumed by senators and their staffs reviewing the nominee’s writing, speeches, judicial decisions and other background material.

“And then you have a week of hearing,” said Grassley, who has participated in 15 Supreme Court confirmation hearings as a member of the Judiciary Committee and presided over the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch.

The nominee is given a week to answer those questions submitted in writing in addition to oral questioning during the hearing.

Grassley’s timeline calls for committee debate two weeks after Kavanaugh answers those questions. Once he’s voted out of committee, the nomination could go to the full Senate within two days.

“So if we could get this all done by Oct. 1 when the Supreme Court starts its fall session, would be ideal,” Grassley said. “But I think we can get it done soon after that if we don’t get it done by Oct. 1.”

Hewitt pressed Grassley on the possibility of Senate hearings on Kavanaugh this month.

“So is there a 10 percent chance of that happening, Senator?” he asked.

“I don’t think so,” Grassley said.

However, he pointed out that by staying in session in August rather than returning to their states for constituent work and vacation, “we’re going to put in more workdays in the United States Senate this year than any time since 1971.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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