Orrin Hatch Gives Away the Game

This is priceless:

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) hasn’t yet met with Supreme Court nominee Merrick B. Garland for what has been a long anticipated encounter between the former Judiciary Committee chairman and the federal appeals court judge he has long praised.

But when the meeting does happen, don’t expect Garland to succeed in convincing Hatch to support his nomination, because Hatch has already declared that it won’t.

“Like many of my Senate colleagues, I recently met with Chief Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court. … Our meeting, however, does not change my conviction that the Senate should consider a Supreme Court nominee after this presidential election cycle,” Hatch wrote in an op-ed published on the website of the Deseret News early Thursday morning and later removed. It remains available in a Google database.

This is the same Orrin Hatch who recommended that President Obama nominate Merrick Garland to replace John Paul Stevens when he retired back in 2010.

This is the same Orrin Hatch who said this less than one week before President Obama actually did nominate Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court:

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) told Newsmax on Friday that President Obama wouldn’t nominate a “moderate” like Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. On Wednesday, the Utah senator was proven wrong.

“The President told me several times he’s going to name a moderate, but I don’t believe him,” Hatch told the conservative news site on Friday.

“[Obama] could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man,” he continued. “He probably won’t do that because this appointment is about the election. So I’m pretty sure he’ll name someone the [liberal Democratic base] wants.”

Now he’s decided he won’t support a hearing for Garland and has actually written an opinion piece to rationalize his decision, and he’s done it before meeting with the judge.

This is a perfect illustration of the kind of obstruction the president has faced from the Republicans. I’m not sure I could ever find a more apt demonstration.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.