Charles E Grassley

Photos of the Week: Kavanaugh Hits the Hill and Strzok Strikes Back at House
The week of July 9 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Make-A-Wish recipient and “U.S. Senator For a Day” Thomas Stephenson and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., ride the Senate Subway on Tuesday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

It’s almost the middle of July, but there’s no summer slowdown on Capitol Hill. The president’s Supreme Court pick was in the Capitol on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as senators consider his nomination to replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

But the joint committee in the House that heard testimony from Peter Strzok on Thursday possibly stole the show for this week on the Hill as sparks flew between members and the FBI agent Peter Strzok.

Why Former Sen. Jon Kyl Got Tapped to Guide Brett Kavanaugh
Supreme Court nominees need an experienced ‘sherpa’ to navigate the Senate’s unique ways

White House Counsel Don McGahn, right, and former Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., arrive at the Capitol on Tuesday as they escort Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Vice President Mike Pence to meetings with senators. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

He spent 18 years as a senator on the Judiciary Committee, the last six as the Republican whip and No. 2 in leadership. Now his lobbying clients include a group already spending millions to push the federal courts hard right. His big gig on the side is rooting out perceived liberal bias on social media.

If Jon Kyl does not have the ideal background for successfully shepherding a Supreme Court nominee through this Senate, perhaps no one does.

Democrats Have Few Tactical Options to Fight Supreme Court Pick
Senate rules provide some delay tactics, but not many now that filibuster is unavailable

When he was Senate majority leader, Robert C. Byrd once ordered the arrest of senators to make sure there was a quorum present to conduct chamber business. If enough senators skip a session to, say, delay a confirmation vote on a Supreme Court nominee, such an option is available to the majority. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats can make as much noise as they want about President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, but they have few procedural weapons at their disposal to stop Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation on their own — although they can make life difficult along the way.

One strategy for the Senate Democrats may be to create as much time as possible between Monday night’s announcement and the Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings.

Senators Press Chief Justice Roberts for Faster Release of Supreme Court Audio
Letter comes as Roberts renews opposition to cameras in the Court

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., is facing a new call from key senators for faster release of Supreme Court audio. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and one of his predecessors have teamed up to press Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., to release audio of all arguments on the same day that they take place.

Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley and Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick J. Leahy made the request of the Supreme Court in a June 29 letter to Roberts that was publicly circulated on Monday.

With Only One Vote, McConnell Approves Treaty for the Blind
Majority leader used rare Senate procedure of the standing vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made use of a rare procedure to help approve the so-called Marrakesh Treaty. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A five-year campaign for a copyright exemption designed to make it easier for the blind and physically impaired to get access to foreign works of music and literature moved a step closer to being realized, under a rarely used Senate procedure.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday night engineered the approval of the so-called Marrakesh Treaty by using the chamber’s rarely used procedure of the standing vote.

Outside Groups, Democrats Form Ranks in Supreme Court Fight
‘This will not happen without a fight,’ Sen. Cory Booker says

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker called for the Senate Judiciary Committee to not consider a Supreme Court pick by the president until the Russia investigation is complete. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Less than 24 hours after Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court, liberal advocacy group Demand Justice rallied in front of the court building Thursday with a string of Democratic lawmakers with a unified message: We will fight.

A professionally printed “Ditch the List” sign featuring President Donald Trump’s face hung on the podium, an expression of dissatisfaction with his list of 25 solidly conservative potential picks. Numerous Democratic senators also seized on the phrase as a hashtag on Twitter.

Trump Talks Supreme Court Picks With Democrats Who Voted for Neil Gorsuch
Donnelly, Heitkamp and Manchin among White House invitees Thursday evening

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly, seen here at a Senate Banking meeting last year, were among the attendees at a Thursday White House meeting in which the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy was discussed. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Wednesday night, President Donald Trump was visiting North Dakota, attacking its junior senator, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, in the most recent of his campaign-style rallies ahead of the midterms.

“Heidi will vote ‘no’ on any pick we make,” the president said of Heitkamp’s vote on the next Supreme Court nominee to replace the retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. 

Senate Judiciary Advances Music Bill Plugged by Smokey Robinson
Motown icon had urged the committee to pay musicians for oldies

Recording artist Smokey Robinson, left, urges lawmakers in May to compensate musicians for older works. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved by voice vote Thursday a proposal endorsed by a Motown legend. The measure would extend federal protections to songs recorded before 1972. It would also streamline the music licensing process and help streaming music companies head off copyright infringement lawsuits.

Chairman Charles E. Grassley said after the committee markup that he hoped to work out differences of an offset for the music licensing bill and other issues before Senate floor action on the measure. The Iowa Republican said he would work with other supporters to “get it scheduled” on the floor.

Abortion Challenge May Loom After Supreme Court Retirement
Justice Anthony Kennedy has been swing vote

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, right, has been a key swing vote on women’s health and abortion issues. He’s shown here preparing to administer the judicial oath to Judge Neil Gorsuch during a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House in April 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement could pave the way for major changes in women’s health and abortion issues, possibly some of the biggest since the 1973 landmark case Roe v. Wade, if the Senate confirms a conservative justice.

Kennedy has been a key swing vote on women’s health issues. Two years ago, he joined the plurality in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a major abortion rights case, which struck down a Texas law that would have resulted in the closure of most of the state’s abortion clinics.

GOP Senators to Dems: You Can’t Stop Supreme Court Appointment by Fall
McConnell states next justice will be confirmed before midterms

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., gives a thumbs up after the Senate invoked the “nuclear option” which will allow for a majority vote to confirm a Supreme Court justice nominee, April 6, 2017. The maneuver allowed for confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the high court. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republican leaders on Wednesday quickly laid out the game plan for confirming a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, wasting no time in stating they intended to confirm a new justice before the fall elections and flatly claiming there was literally nothing Democrats could do to delay that. 

“The Senate stands ready to fulfill its constitutional role by offering advice and consent on President Trump’s nominee to fill this vacancy. We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the floor just minutes after the news of Kennedy’s retirement broke.