Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) may say this week if he will leave his post as the leading member of the powerful judicial committee.
Grassley may decide as soon as this week if he will continue to lead the powerful Judiciary Committee and if he will pursue the chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee, which will open with the retirement of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).
Chairman Grassley signaled for months that he would make his decision after the 2018 midterm elections, but now will wait to converse with Senate Republicans that will be impacted by his decision.
“You ask me that in a few days, and I’ll have an answer for you,” Grassley told reporters on Tuesday.
Sen. Grassley continued, saying that he has an “obligation to consult with colleagues and I haven’t done that yet.”
Grassley’s retirement will put Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) next in line to serve as the Judiciary chairman, who oversees the confirmation of a new attorney general, more judicial nominations, as well as filling potential Supreme Court vacancies.
If Grassley retires from his post, he will leave a significant legacy, as he managed to confirm Judges Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court amidst historic levels of resistance and disruption from Senate Democrats. Graham, next in line for the Judiciary chairmanship, led the charge in defense of President Donald Trump’s nominee Kavanaugh during the Supreme Court nomination process.
The Judiciary Committee serves as a contentious committee to lead, although it may have more power during the next congressional term compared to the Senate Finance Committee as the Democrats regain control over the House of Representat. and the Republican-controlled Senate Finance Committee may not pursue significant legislation with a House Financial Services Committee controlled by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).
Senate Republicans can confirm more judicial nominees, executive nominees, as well as Supreme Court nominees without Democrat votes, making the position more influential than the chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee.
If Grassley remains the chairman of Judiciary, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) could become the next chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees tax law. Crapo current serves as the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and if he were to lead the Senate Finance Committee, then Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) might become the next Banking chairman.