Senator Grassley.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley began today’s hearing on Merrick Garland’s nomination to be U.S. Attorney General by addressing his own role in denying Garland a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012.

“I had something to do with that after the death of Justice Scalia,” Grassley said. “…As you’ll recall, it was an election year with a divided congress.”

Grassley criticized how Democrats reacted to the 2018 election year nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, who was ultimately confirmed as a Supreme Court justice.

“Yes, it’s true that I didn’t give Judge Garland a hearing. I also didn’t mischaracterize his record. I didn’t attack his character,” Grassley said. “…I admire Judge Garland’s public service. Just because I disagreed with anyone being nomination didn’t mean I had to be disagreeable to that nominee.”

Grassley praised Garland for his role in prosecuting Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and called Garland “an honorable person.”

“So, Judge Garland, I just want to say that I like you, I respect you and I think you’re a good pick for this job,” Grassley said near the end of his prepared remarks, “but I have a lot of questions about how you’re going to run the Department of Justice.”

Garland’s confirmation hearing is scheduled to last two days. It takes 51 “yes” votes in the senate to be confirmed as attorney general.