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Grassley Interested in Specter’s Judiciary Post

Even as GOP sources were indicating that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) would likely replace Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) as the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) suggested Wednesday that he, too, is interested in the post.

Grassley is the top Republican on Finance, and barred from immediately taking over for Specter on the Judiciary panel, even though he is next in line. But Grassley will be termed out of his ranking slot on Finance at the end of the 111th Congress, and he said Wednesday that he hopes the conflict that currently exists doesn’t preclude him from ultimately being considered for the Judiciary slot.

“Three or four years ago, I figured I had a choice between Budget or Judiciary, after my term on Finance got done, and I made up my mind a long time ago, I wanted to head the Republicans on Judiciary,— Grassley said. “I hope that that decision doesn’t have to be made right now. And, if it has to be made right now, I don’t know what I would do.—

Continued Grassley: “Is something going to happen in the interim that would cut me out of being ranking member two years from now?—

Specter, a moderate up for re-election in 2010, on Tuesday bolted the Republican Party to become a Democrat.

On Wednesday, Republican sources on and off the Hill were predicting that Sessions would be named to replace Specter as the ranking member on Judiciary. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) is next in line for the post after Grassley, but is unable to assume the position because of his leadership status.

Sessions was in Alabama to attend a funeral, and his office had not yet returned a call requesting comment. The fallout from Specter’s move on Republican committee assignments is set to be worked out next Tuesday, when the GOP Conference is next scheduled to meet.

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