The top GOP Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee said the committee may have to go into a closed session Thursday when it discusses President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.
A vote on William Baer was delayed last week when the committee decided to push consideration back until this week, a routine procedure. But what wasn’t routine was Sen. Charles Grassley’s (R-Iowa) somewhat mysterious comment that the committee “may have to go into a closed session,” when it finally considers Baer. Grassley added: “But I’m not going to go into the details for the reason for that now.”
A spokeswoman for Grassley, the committee’s ranking member, told the Blog of Legal Times that issues arose during a nominee’s “standard background investigation.” Spokespeople from the Justice Department and Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy’s office also declined comment to the BLT.
Baer’s nomination hearing proceeded without issue earlier this summer. A well respected and long-time competition law practitioner, Baer currently heads Arnold & Porter LLP’s antitrust practice in Washington, D.C. He disclosed his financial and career histories to the committee earlier this year as is routine with executive nominations.