The Republican chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on Thursday said he and others won't bow to pressure to hold hearings on President Barack Obama's pick for the Supreme Court.
"When I make a decision on sound principle, I am not about to flip-flop because the left has organized what they call a pressure campaign," Sen. Chuck Grassley said on the Senate floor.
"The so-called pressure being applied to me now is nothing, it's absolutely nothing compared to what I have withstood from heavy handed White House political operations in the past," Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, said.
Grassley, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and other GOP leaders say they won't hold hearings on Merrick Garland, Obama's pick to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia. They say the next president should make the nomination.
Democrats, including Obama, say the Senate has a Constitutional obligation to consider his choice. Obama has repeatedly decried what he called a system choked by partisanship.
"The process is so broken, so partisan that an eminently qualified jurist can't even get a hearing," Obama said in an address at the University of Chicago Thursday. "Our democracy can't afford that," Obama said.
The Judiciary Committee holds hearings on nominees, and then sends the nomination to the Senate for a vote. Grassley said he and others opposed to hearings will not budge.
"Our side knows and our side believes that what we are doing is right," Grassley said. "And when that's the case, it's not hard to withstand the outrage or the pressure that they've manufactured."