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Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley On The Timing Of The Kavanaugh Hearings

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Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley joined me this AM:




HH: I’m so pleased to welcome back to the studio West Coast, Chuck Grassley, Senator extraordinaire from Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Soon, he will be on cable 24/7 as the Kavanaugh hearings get underway. Senator, welcome back, good to talk to you.

CG: Yes, glad to be with you, and thank you for introducing a very important thing on the history of the country, the history of the Supreme Court, and maybe bringing some legitimacy to the judiciary being a referee in our political system as opposed to being a super legislature.

HH: They are not that. And I think that’s going to come out in the hearings. When are the hearings going to start, Senator Grassley?

CG: Well, all I can tell you at this point, and maybe a week from now I can be more specific, sometime during September. But the earlier, the better, and 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. But we normally take, let me give you some sort of a ballpark rationale for what I just said. July 9th, the nominee is appointed by the President. Then usually, 65-70 days on average, Kagan took about 80-some days. So about two-thirds of that time would be used for staff and senators going over everything that we have on a particular candidate, and then you have a week of hearing. So you hope to do it on a Tuesday and Wednesday, or it might be a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and then you’re going to have a day that week for people that are for Kavanaugh and people that are against Kavanaugh, and then there’ll be a week for him to answer questions in writing, because not every question is going to be asked orally. And then he’s put on the agenda, and our rules allow a person to be held over. So probably two weeks from the time he gets all the questions answered, he’d be debated in our committee, voted out the same day, then probably within two days, go to the Senate floor. So if we could get this all done by October 1st when the Supreme Court starts its new fall session, would be ideal. But I think we can get it done soon after that if we don’t get it done by October 1st.

HH: There’s no way to start the hearings in August, because some people had hoped that we would have that special session, part of it would be given over to the Kavanaugh hearings?

CG: I kinda doubt it. I wouldn’t say no at this point, because this is only August 1st. But it seems to me like early September would be the earliest. But I’d rather say at this point sometime in September. But 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.

HH: All right. Now Senator, Britt Grant became the 24th federal Appeals Court judge confirmed. It’s a record. It’s a great record. There are another 10 nominees to the federal Appeals Court. Will all of them have hearings and votes before the end of this Congress?

CG: The answer is according to what McConnell told me, the answer is yes to that.

HH: And do you expect others in addition to these ten to be coming forward from the White House who will also get hearings and votes before the end of this Congress?

CG: Well, if they have a hearing in December, they won’t get done before the end of the Congress. But 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, so you don’t have to go through the whole process again and could come up early 2019. The point is let me give you an overall view to answer your question. Every other Wednesday, we usually have four or five district judges, one or two Circuit Judges. So we’ve already laid out a calendar for this year, so every other Wednesday, we’re going to have hearings on what I just described. And then that means every other Thursday, there’ll be some votes voting out both district judges and other judges.

HH: And if Don McGahn gets you additional names by the end of August, do you think they make it through by the end of December?

CG: If they’re, yeah, if we get them in August, that’s probably true, they would.

HH: All right.

CG: And could I give you another overview?

HH: Yes, sir. One minute.

CG: That in this, right now, with the Senate working during August, not just for judges but for legislation as well, and particularly appropriations, we’re going to put in more workdays in the United States Senate this year than any time since 1971.

HH: Well, I’m glad to hear that, but I sure would love to get those Kavanaugh hearings going in August. And so is there a 10% chance of that happening, Senator?

CG: I don’t think so.

HH: Okay, so definitely in September. I’m not coming back, then. I thought I was coming back for the Kavanaugh hearings. It’s too hot to come back there in August, Senator.

CG: Well, then we’re fitting it into your schedule. So if anybody asks me, I’m going to tell them we have a Hewitt schedule for the hearing on Kavanaugh.

HH: Chairman Grassley, always a pleasure, good to talk to you. Keep up the great work. Let’s get all these Circuit Court judges as well as Justice Kavanaugh confirmed sooner rather than later.

End of interview.


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