The decision over whether to hold Senate hearings for President Obama's eventual Supreme Court nominee rests with one person: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley.

So far, the 82-year-old Iowa senator has offered a muddled message on the subject.

Hours after Justice Antonin Scalia's death, Grassley echoed his Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, saying it only makes sense that senators defer to the American people as they prepare to elect a new president.

But three days later, Grassley told reporters that he would wait until a nominee is announced before making any decisions on whether to hold a hearing.

Grassley is seeking his seventh term in the Senate and is a veteran of intense, partisan battles who also has worked well with Democrats on some issues.