Are Senate Democrats Working On A Plan To Force Merrick Garland Senate Hearings?

Roll Call reports that Senator Grassley has apparently hardened his stance of opposition to not hold hearings for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, after coming away from Iowa town halls during the recent senate recess.

“I came away from those meetings feeling positive about the discussions that we’ve had both before and during the recess.” Grassley said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. “In other words the recess reinforced my thinking.”

The article also drives the point that both Grassley and McConnell are attempting to repeat publicly that they will not either meet with or hold hearings until possibly after a new president is elected, before the President makes a speech at the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a constitutional professor for ten years before running for the U.S. Senate.

President Obama arrives with Airforce One in Chicago.
It’s been reported that the president’s speech will center on pressing Republicans for a Garland senate hearing, according to the Associated Press via WBTV.

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said again during a press conference that the Senate should not only hold hearings for an up or down vote, but also made clear what the administration’s intentions were in pushing the issue.

“We are going to continue to make the case to Republicans in the United States Senate that they should fulfill their constitutional responsibility, too, to give him a fair hearing and a timely up-or-down vote. Simple as that.”

U.S. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin is one of the large number of Democratic senators who met with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland this week and, according to the CBS News, he is also calling for senate hearings.

Dick Durbin meets with Merrick Garland
Democrats are not letting up on putting pressure on Republicans, despite the growing signs that some Republicans have decided to finally meet with Garland.

Republican Senator for Illinois Mark Kirk is one of the few Republicans who, early on, met with Garland, as it’s been reported that his senate seat might be at risk during this election year. He recently tweeted an image of a personal thank you note that was sent to him from the President.

The CBS News article also says that Democrats are working on some ideas where they can either force senate to hold hearings for Garland, or find some way to hold them accountable.

“We are actively considering them this week. Some good ideas have been brought up, but no decisions have been made.”

It also points out that none of the ideas are designed around a government shutdown, as they’ve said they would not fight obstructionism with more obstructionism.

The article also points out that Garland has met with 14 Democratic senators which includes Durbin so far.

Wednesday, CNN reported that Senate Democrat leader Harry Reid blasted Grassley over comments on Justice John Roberts, who said that he was the reason for the politicization of the Supreme Court confirmation process.

Earlier this week, Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and John Boozman of Arkansas are only the latest to meet with Garland, who President Barack Obama has selected to replace the late Justice Scalia after he died of a heart attack in February.

NBC News is one of the sources reporting on the meetings from the two GOP senators, which quoted Senator Collins.

“The meeting left me more convinced than ever that the process should proceed,” Collins told reporters after the meeting, noting that the next step should be public hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Here, she talks about her meeting in an interview she provided to the PBS NewsHour Tuesday evening.

NBC News also points out that Senator Boozeman claims to only have had the meeting out of courtesy.

Merrick Garland is scheduled to meet with Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio next week.

Even though Senator Chuck Grassley has apparently dug in his heels, refusing to meet with the nominee, various sources are reporting that he is set to meet with him for breakfast next Tuesday.

Sen. Collins was also quoted as to what she thought could result from that meeting.

“Let’s see if after that meeting Senator Grassley still holds to the position that there should not be hearings.”

The Inquisitr reported on a poll taken by CNN which shows that 52 percent of Americans support confirmation Garland senate hearings.

[Image by Senate Democrats via Flickr | CC BY 2.0]