Earlier this evening the office of Senator Grassley released this statement: This morning, after being notified of the Supreme Court nomination, Chairman Grassley agreed to take a call from Judge Garland. They talked at 3:19 p.m. Chairman Grassley congratulated Judge Garland and reiterated the position of the Senate majority, that it will give the American people a voice and an opportunity this year to debate the role of the Supreme Court in our system of government. Senator Grassley will reiterate the position again if an in-person meeting is scheduled.
Background on Judge Merrick Garland
Throughout his career, Chief Judge Garland has shown a rare ability to bring people together and has earned the respect of everyone he has worked with. Chief Justice John Roberts, Garland’s colleague on the D.C. Circuit, once said that “anytime Judge Garland disagrees, you know you’re in a difficult area.” In 2010, as the Senate was beginning the process of confirming a successor to Justice John Paul Stevens, Senator Orrin Hatch said he saw Chief Judge Garland as “a consensus nominee” for the Supreme Court, adding “I have no doubts that Garland would get a lot of [Senate] votes. And I will do my best to help him get them.”
Judge Merrick Garland is second cousin of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad
Back in 1995 Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad wrote to senator Grassley asking for his support of Garland confirmation when he was nominated for the D.C. Circuit
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad: “I am writing to ask your support and assistance in the confirmation process for a second cousin… Merrick Garland has had a distinguished legal career.” [Letter from Gov. Terry Branstad to Sen. Chuck Grassley, 10/10/1995 via Congressional Record, 3/19/97]
Branstad is on vacation this week and according to the Des Moines Register his spokesman Ben Hammes said that despite the family connection and previous support Branstad “will support the path chosen by Sen. Grassley” to withhold consideration of Garland’s Supreme Court nomination.