President Donald Trump is expected to announce the name of his pick to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court tonight at 7 o’clock Central time.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, says he’s seen a list of 21 possible nominees and all of them are “mainstream jurists.”
“All 21 of them would meet muster with every Republican and some Democrats,” Grassley says, “but I think a lot of Democrats will be against almost anybody on the list of 21.” Grassley says the confirmation process will start immediately. The nominee named tonight will be sent a questionnaire from Grassley’s committee, a questionnaire that person needs to return as quickly as possible.
“You have a certain number of days set aside for the nominee to visit individually with all 20 members of the Judiciary Committee,” Grassley says, “but also other members of the United States Senate, in fact, if he wants to visit with all 100, he would have time to do that.”
All of those meetings will take some time, Grassley says, but they’ll be on a tight schedule. “What I said stretches out probably to 30 to 40 days, maybe closer to 40 days, beyond tonight,” Grassley says. “Those are going to be very intense days for the candidate and for members of the Senate, particularly members of the Judiciary Committee.”
Ideally, Grassley says the new justice will be in place “before Easter.” Grassley says he wants to see the president pick someone who will “adhere to the law and the Constitution.” In discussing the potential nominee, Grassley used the pronoun “he” repeatedly, but later noted there are at least two women on the list of 21 possible nominees.
The opening on the court came with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February of 2016. Grassley, a Republican, was criticized for refusing to consider President Obama’s nominee. Grassley said he wanted the new president to make the choice, not the outgoing chief executive.