Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said Wednesday that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh could be confirmed by October but that hearings would be held in September “at the earliest.”
“If we could get this all done by Oct. 1, when the Supreme Court starts its new fall session, that would be ideal,” the Iowa Republican told radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt. “But I think we can get it done soon after that, if we don’t get it done by Oct. 1.”
The Supreme Court’s term starts the first Monday in October and continues through late June or early July.
Grassley, who was first elected to the Senate in 1980, said Kavanaugh’s hearing would be held “sometime during September, but the earlier, the better.
“September would be the earliest,” he reiterated. “The point is we need to get this done — and we will get it done early this fall, so that we don’t have to worry about it being brought up in the election.”
Trump nominated Kavanaugh, 53, a federal appeals court judge in Washington, to succeed retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose last day on the court was Tuesday.
Kennedy, 82, was nominated in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan.
Grassley said the Kavanaugh timetable could be affected by when Congress received documents requested from his tenure as White House staff secretary to President George W. Bush.
Democrats have accused Republicans blocking their efforts to obtain the records.
“If these documents coming from the archives and from George W. Bush’s presidential library and other things get up here soon, then the sooner the better we can have a hearing,” he told Hewitt.
Turning to the appeals court confirmation process, Hewitt noted that 24 Trump nominees have been confirmed, with another 10 awaiting hearings.
Grassley said those nominees — and any others from the White House — could be confirmed in December or into next year “if the Senate stays Republican.”
“Those names that don’t get done in December can be resubmitted to the Senate and don’t have to have a second hearing,” he said. “So, you don’t have to go through the whole process again — and they could come up in early 2019.”
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