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GOP Leader Skeptical There Will Be A SCOTUS Vacancy Soon

Sen. Chuck Grassley speaks during FBI Director Chris Wray's confirmation hearing. (YouTube screenshot/SenChuckGrassley)Sen. Chuck Grassley speaks during FBI Director Chris Wray's confirmation hearing. (YouTube screenshot/SenChuckGrassley)

GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, said this weekend that he does not expect another vacancy to arise on the Supreme Court in the near future.

“Evidently [it’s] not going to happen,” Grassley told Reuters from his home state of Iowa. “I don’t have any expectation we will have a vacancy as I thought there would be[.]”

Grassley’s committee handles nearly all judicial nominations, including those to the Supreme Court. Earlier this year he expressed optimism that President Donald Trump would have the opportunity to name another justice during this summer. Other prominent Republicans echoed those aspirations, including Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz.

He declined to elaborate on rumors he touted earlier in 2017 about the serious prospect of further vacancies on the high court. Those rumors likely concerned Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has told prospective clerks that he his mulling retirement. Speculation abounded that he would announce his departure from the Court at the conclusion of this year’s term in June. No such announcement came.

The absence of a Supreme Court confirmation allows Grassley’s committee to focus on vetting the president’s nominees to scores of vacancies in the lower federal courts. There are currently 139 vacancies in the lower courts.

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Kevin Daley
the authorKevin Daley
Kevin J. Daley is the Daily Caller News Foundation's Supreme Court reporter. Follow him on Twitter @KevinDaleyDC.

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