Orrin Hatch: My meeting with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland

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  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    May 31, 2016 1:06 p.m.

    Sen. Hatch may come to regret not holding confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland when Justice Obama joins the bench in the new Clinton administration.

  • Contrariuses mid-state, TN
    May 28, 2016 7:41 p.m.

    @Riverton Cougar --

    "Ever heard of Robert Bork?"

    Bork got TWO confirmation votes -- first in the judiciary committee, and then by the full Senate. Unlike the current Repub Senators, that senate did their jobs.

    Bork was a corrupt politico who exchanged political maneuvering (firing Nixon's enemies) for the promise of a SCOTUS nomination. Bork colluded with Nixon in return for the promise of a nomination to the SCOTUS bench -- IOW, he was bribed. Bork himself admitted to receiving this promise in his personal memoir, which was only published after his death. And despite this collusion, **he got hearings**.

    Like I said -- history is a better predictor than personal opinion.

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    May 28, 2016 5:37 p.m.

    "History is a much better predictor than personal opinion."

    Ever heard of Robert Bork?

  • Contrariuses mid-state, TN
    May 28, 2016 3:36 p.m.

    @Pops --

    "I'm positive that if the President were a Republican in his final year, the Senate were controlled by Democrats, and the balance of the Supreme Court were at stake, Democrats would do precisely the same thing."

    Unfortunately, your personal certainty has very little to do with reality. History is a much better predictor than personal opinion.

    May 28, 2016 12:33 p.m.


    Nice bit of misdirection, but I'm positive that if the President were a Republican in his final year, the Senate were controlled by Democrats, and the balance of the Supreme Court were at stake, Democrats would do precisely the same thing. That's how the game is played.

    But thanks for demonstrating my point.

  • contrariuss mid-state, TN
    May 28, 2016 9:06 a.m.

    @Pops --

    "I'm pretty sure the same thing would occur if the roles were reversed"

    Actually, it wouldn't. This is all part of an unprecedented wave of obstructionism by the Repubs.

    Yet again --

    "According to a detailed study by the Brookings Institute, the Senate has already slowed down the pace of judicial confirmations to record levels. In the case of Reagan, Clinton, and Bush, confirmations didn't slow down until the second half of the presidents' eighth year in office. In their seventh years, the Senate confirmed 23, 17, and 29 judges, respectively. In Obama's seventh year? 10. In other words, the two-term Republican presidents fared almost twice as well as the two-term Democrat presidents, with Obama faring the worst by far."

    May 28, 2016 7:19 a.m.

    On the issue of the Senate refusing to hold hearings, I'm pretty sure the same thing would occur if the roles were reversed - Tweeedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, two sides of the same coin. Those who find occasion to accuse or ridicule Republicans on this account invite the same in response to their own political machinations.

    The real question is, how do we end the seemingly endless cycle of finger-pointing and name-calling? How do we rise above it? I think the first part of the answer is that we have to want to. But it seems the only thing anyone wants any more is to "win", not to find ways to get along. It starts here on the comment boards, and in our families and communities, and works its way all the way to DC. Some blame Donald Trump on the Republicans (and Clinton on the Democrats). I think Trump and Clinton being the choices of the parties is the inevitable result of what we have become. Read the comments on any comment board on any political topic if you don't believe me. Shame on us.

  • Tango Dancer Bronx, NY
    May 27, 2016 6:41 p.m.

    Understands Math
    Lacey, WA

    If Republicans could have their way as they tried with Barack Obama, a Democratic president would never exist. As soon as a Democrat is sworn in to office, the obstruction would begin, the propaganda to discredit the new president disseminated, and his/her presidency considered illegal and not worthy of respect. Hence, nothing gets done.

    It doesn't matter where we are in the president's term, the Senate has the right (according to the Republican approach to government) to not act on any and all appointments until a Republican occupies the White House. Be it one year or four years left in the term, House and Senate need not do anything because "it's not in the Constitution" according to conservative "scholars" in these threads.

    They want chaos. They got Donald Trump. Maybe once he gets into office (assuming he gets in) he will do things his way as there is no need to pander to the GOP establishment. He can go on a Executive Privilege tear even though Mitch McConnell has said he can't. So much for Mitch McConnell.

  • Taterhead West Jordan, UT
    May 27, 2016 3:25 p.m.

    When the D News prints an Op-Ed that was crafted prior to the meeting, even after they acknowledged it was done before the meeting took place, it makes both Hatch and the News look completely dishonest.
    At least we still have the Tribune to deliver something worth reading.
    Shame on Hatch, shame on the Deseret News, and shame on your owners for allowing this sort of shady "journalism" to occur.

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    May 27, 2016 3:00 p.m.

    @FT – “Agreed but the question is will BO pull the nominee citing the new Democrat Senate should be the ones reviewing the nominee instead of the ones who are on the way out the door?”

    I doubt it for two reasons.

    First, it would look nakedly political. Right now Obama has the moral and constitutional high ground while the GOP are exposed as unprincipled partisans. As the saying goes, "when your opponent is committing suicide, don’t shoot him."

    Second, I doubt he would do that to Judge Garland, who by all accounts is a superb jurist widely respected across party line and a very decent guy.

  • Sandy Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2016 2:49 p.m.

    Mr. Hatch, your chance to be a true statesman came and went when you 1)sided with McConnell against taking a vote on this nominee; 2) capitulated to supporting Trump as the Republican leader.

    You have nothing to lose by doing what's right, Senator, since you've assured us you don't plan to run again--which is a blessing considering the kind of leadership you've been offering at these crucial moments.

  • Anneke Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2016 1:38 p.m.

    I am so disappointed that there is not a clearer apology for the dishonesty behind this op-ed. The Associated Press has reported on the fact that an initial version of this piece was published Thursday morning, before Hatch had even met with Garland. The Deseret News says that it was an "initial draft." Well, an initial draft that has already responded to a political event is bad journalism and it reveals the dishonesty behind this piece. I'm saddened that the Republican party line is more important than honesty and integrity both for Senator Hatch and for the Deseret News. Poor form.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2016 12:10 p.m.

    The Constitution lays out many obligations and responsibilities of the Senate that have long term implications for the country and are subject to election year manipulation and influence, yet this single judicial confirmation is the only one that GOP Senators are refusing to act on. Should they not also abstain from any budget negotiations, international agreements, voting on legislation, etc., lest their actions be unduly influenced by the election cycle (or have an undue effect on the election cycle)? What makes a SCOTUS nomination unique in this respect?

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    May 27, 2016 12:07 p.m.


    Please count mine among those in oblivion. As frustratingly predictable as Hatch's piece.

  • fuziz Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2016 12:07 p.m.

    There is no precedent for waiting until the election, and establishing that precedent is dangerous. If the Senate may refuse to advise and consent in an election year, then it actually has no obligation to advise and consent and in the future may refuse to consider any nominee for any reason.
    The 1916 vacancy left by Justice Hughes is pretty analogous to the present. Hatch draws a distinction without a difference - Hughes' resignation and Scalia's death both created a vacancy.
    The 1956 vacancy was different from the current situation because the window between vacancy and election was short, and the seat was filled anyway. Justice Minton announced his retirement two months before the election, and retired one month before. The Senate was adjourned and could not give its consent. Regardless, Eisenhower made a recess appointment of Brennan.
    The 1968 situation was also different, and complicated. Justice Fortas, a sitting associate justice, was nominated to succeed Chief Justice Warren. Fortas's nomination was filibustered, mainly on concerns about him, though the election was also raised. The filibuster prompted the nominee to succeed Fortas as associate justice to withdraw from consideration because there was no vacancy. The court was not short a justice.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    May 27, 2016 10:35 a.m.

    Obviously, Senator Hatch, like most Congressional Republicans, is in need of a truth translator.

    "I have taken this principled position in accordance with decades of established precedent and the guidance provided in the Constitution."

    Translated into the TRUTH, Senator Hatch actually said this:

    " I've never really had any principles. I just say I do. My constituents aren't discerning enough to know the difference anyway, and even if they were, they themselves are not principled enough to care. And yes, I know, it is my DUTY as a Senator to come to some decision about a new SC Justice. But I can SHIRK my duty if I want to. I've been doing it for years."

    And guess what? According to the Washington Post, Hatch did NOT even meet with Merrick Garland before he wrote THIS op ed for DN.

    Yes, Hatch needs a truth translator . . . But you know what would be better?

    Personal HONESTY!

    The Party of Trump is showing very little of that lately.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    May 27, 2016 10:32 a.m.

    I just wrote a strongly worded email to Mr. Hatch, i'm very angry that he has time travel technology, and has refused to allow the rest of his constituents to participate in this exciting new field. I'd encourage all of my fellow Utahns to do the same. Having the ability to bend the laws of space and time, and not even telling us is simply unacceptable.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    May 27, 2016 10:32 a.m.

    1st there is the stalled Senate hearings - for political reasons.
    now this,
    Phantom articles to the News,
    published without validation,
    about the OUTCOMES of meetings,
    BEFORE they ever take place or happen?!

    I do not know which is worse,
    the outright lies and deceptions for political purposes of Senator Orrin Hatch,
    or chummy media LAP-dog [not watch-dog] friends at the Deseret News...

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    May 27, 2016 10:22 a.m.

    Orrin Hatch, Time Traveler, Talks About Meeting With Merrick Garland That Hasn't Happened Yet


    “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.

    [Update, 5/27: Hatch met with Garland on Thursday afternoon, and the Deseret News RE-published the op-ed shortly thereafter.]

    Crooks and liars

  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2016 10:20 a.m.

    Looks like the Deseret News and Hatch had already collaborated this article even before the meeting. Huffing Post has a scathing expose on this.

    Where is the apology from Hatch and The Deseret News?

    Someone got caught here. Very sad that this was already for print, even before any meeting.happened.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    May 27, 2016 10:16 a.m.

    @Tyler D
    "After the November election the Senate will move quickly to confirm Judge Garland thereby exposing the lie of their “let the next president pick the nominee” narrative."
    Agreed but the question is will BO pull the nominee citing the new Democrat Senate should be the ones reviewing the nominee instead of the ones who are on the way out the door?

  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2016 10:05 a.m.

    This is as shameful as it gets. This comment by Hatch and this article are a complete fraud and are absolutely dishonest. For this paper to have this false article up after it is getting nationwide attention due to it's flat out falsehood is shameful.

  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2016 10:00 a.m.

    Deseret News, I know you don't want to print anything that shows you made a huge mistake. But National News is reporting this, and it is all over the internet.

    It is sad that Hatch can falsify this ,meeting and get away with it.

    Print this letter, take your licks and come clean about this. You made a huge mistake and Hatch needs to be called out for it. That is what real journalism and integrity is about.

    Everyone knows across the country this happened. Too bad it happened, but you need to acknowledge this.

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    May 27, 2016 9:33 a.m.

    After the November election the Senate will move quickly to confirm Judge Garland thereby exposing the lie of their “let the next president pick the nominee” narrative.

  • louie Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 27, 2016 9:30 a.m.

    Unfortunately for Hatch the inaction by the Senate to at least hold a hearing is unprecedented. As I have said before the approval for congress is at a sky high fourteen
    percent. So what should we expect.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    May 27, 2016 9:22 a.m.

    I know mine hasn't been posted. I honestly can't believe they decided to re run the article after the fact. I'll also be surprised if this comment is posted.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    May 27, 2016 9:12 a.m.

    What a hypocrite. If the shoe was on the other foot, he'd be throwing a tantrum about how the Democrats were not fulfilling their constitutional duty. All the words in the English language cannot make Hatch what he is not.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    May 27, 2016 8:58 a.m.

    How many comments from readers criticizing the DN accepting this editorial prior to the meeting taking place have been rejected or held for review? This issue is as important as the Supreme Court nomination. A free press is one of the foundations of our country.

  • Understands Math Lacey, WA
    May 27, 2016 8:43 a.m.

    This just in: senator, attorney and constitutional expert Orrin Hatch thinks that presidential terms are only three years.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2016 7:46 a.m.

    The spin in this article is epic even for the Senator that is responsible for much of the divisiveness in pocketing political nominations for political or personal gain.

  • Freonpsandoz Los Angeles, CA
    May 27, 2016 12:55 a.m.

    If Trump should win the election, why on earth shouldn't the Democrats block any nomination he makes? One year, four years, what's the difference? The Supreme Court can simply dissolve by attrition.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2016 12:31 a.m.

    The Deseret News manages to look as bad as Hatch. Way to go!

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    May 26, 2016 11:37 p.m.

    The NRA is working against Mr. Garlands confirmation to the supreme Court. They feel he wouldn't support the 2nd Amendment.

    Senator Hatch should keep this in mind.

  • Whatever Springville, UT
    May 26, 2016 10:38 p.m.

    Uh, It's all over the news, Hatch hasn't met with Garland yet. The rest of America knows how bogus this article is.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    May 26, 2016 10:28 p.m.

    Do YOUR job and Constitutional duty Senator!

    BTW --
    This is the same Republican Party who just nominated Donald J. Trump for President.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 26, 2016 9:44 p.m.

    According to the Washington Post, Sen. Hatch wrote this op-ed before he met with Judge Garland. So the meeting was just for show.

  • Semi-Strong Louisville, KY
    May 26, 2016 9:24 p.m.

    I am unpersuaded. Either Judge Garland is a good nominee or not. Hold the hearings and vote. If rejected, the president will nominate another.

    That is the constitutional order. If we don't like it, we don't like the constitution.

    Playing games with the timeline is not acceptable. Now it is a year. Next it will be two. Then even more. Now it is "our" side. Next it will be "their" side. We set dangerous precedents playing such partisan games.

    This is not (for me) about Judge Garland or the president. They are (mostly) immaterial here. What is material is the obligation to attend to business as outlined in the constitution.

    May 26, 2016 9:21 p.m.

    This will be the third attempt to post on this subject! Seems the screeners are in ther sensor mode today!

    Below is a headline of an article appearing in the Washington Post today!

    "Sen. Orrin Hatch reacts to meeting with Merrick Garland before it occurs"

    It appears our illustreous Senator has yet to meet with Garland!

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 26, 2016 8:40 p.m.

    This piece was written before Senator Hatch met Garland. It's meaningless, he was never willing to consider the nomination.

  • George Joeckel Hyde Park, UT
    May 26, 2016 8:36 p.m.

    Senator Hatch: The "principled position" that you and your staff have crafted is an elegant treatise. But impassioned words and any imagined "precedent" do not change the Constitution. If we can agree that one of the signers of the Constitution is qualified to provide more clarity to this issue, then we would find a passage from the Federalist Papers instructive. "It will be the office of the President to NOMINATE, and, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to APPOINT. There will, of course, be no exertion of CHOICE on the part of the Senate. They may defeat one choice of the Executive, and oblige him to make another; but they cannot themselves CHOOSE, they can only ratify or reject the choice of the President." Hamilton's words are not elegant, but they are clear. You sir, have not chosen to "ratify or reject the choice of the President", and in doing so, you have violated the letter and the spirit of the Constitution. Your constituent, George Joeckel

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    May 26, 2016 8:27 p.m.

    This piece was originally published *prior* to Hatch's meeting with Judge Garland. Its content should surprise no one, but at least respect your constituents sufficiently to go through the motions of the actual meeting before submitting this, Senator.

  • UTCProgress American Fork, UT
    May 26, 2016 8:24 p.m.

    I believe that the only fair course of action for Mr. Garland to take would be to remove himself from consideration after Clinton wins the election in November. President Obama went out of his way to provide Republicans with a moderate nominee. They should not be rewarded for stonewalling the nominee in the hopes that America loses it's collective mind and nominates Trump. Clinton should and will nominate a qualified liberal justice once elected.

  • Utah Skeptic Salt Lake, UT
    May 26, 2016 6:54 p.m.

    "A draft of this op-ed was erroneously published on DeseretNews.com prior to final revisions and edits from Sen. Hatch."

    So let's get this straight...

    1) Senator Hatch submitted a draft editorial the night before he ACTUALLY met with Merrick Garland.
    2) In the draft, he says the meeting didn't change his mind about a potential hearing (again, meeting hadn't happened yet)
    3) You apologize to Senator Hatch for publishing his unfinished "draft" too early.

    None of this passes the smell test and you know it. Senator Hatch is a highly experienced politician and his staffers are top-notch. There's NO WAY they'd give the DN (or any news agency) an "unfinished draft." You know darn well it was finished and you simply released it too early.

    But here's the REAL question... why didn't the DN ask Senator Hatch why he was submitting an op-ed about a meeting that hadn't happened yet? WOW!

    It's okay that Senator Hatch is set in his ways, but he DOESN't get to claim he came to these decisions after the meeting. It's baffling to me as to why the DN let this go.

  • TurtleWorks Orem, UT
    May 26, 2016 6:50 p.m.

    To try and reason out the ridiculous almost makes it worse. It is a stretch to call what you are doing "principled".

  • Tango Dancer Bronx, NY
    May 26, 2016 5:37 p.m.

    Orrin Hatch will remain "thoughtful" in the decision-making proceeds until after the November election. The he'll say, "Merrick Garland is well-qualified and I support him 100%." When asked why he waited all this time, I don't think he will admit to it being a politically partisan ruse.

    Apparently his "thoughtfulness" is time-dependent and not related to "thought processing" but more a delay tactic just in case Donald Trump gets in the White House and appoints a Supreme Court justice necessary to keep the court partisan and in the tradition of Antonin Scalia.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 26, 2016 5:22 p.m.

    Correct decision and logic, Senator Hatch.

    Don't go wobbly on us now to appease the inevitable critics from the left.