Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT., talks to reporters as he walks to the weekly Senate policy luncheons in the U.S. Capitol on June 4, 2013.
Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call/Getty

Orrin Hatch’s partisan games keep catching up with him

Updated
There was a fair amount of chatter this morning about Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) writing a controversial op-ed on the Supreme Court for the Deseret News, so I was eager to read it. The newspaper promoted it via social media, but the link didn’t work. Google News pointed to it, but that link didn’t work, either.
 
The Deseret News’ online opinion page highlighted it as today’s big feature, but it, too, led to a message that told readers, “Oops, the page you are looking for cannot be found.”
 
I knew it existed – I saw tweets featuring actual text from the piece – but I just couldn’t figure out where it was. Was there some kind of technical glitch? Not exactly. The Washington Post explained what happened:
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.
Reflecting on a meeting that hasn’t occurred, the far-right Utahan wrote, “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.”
 
Unless Hatch has uncovered a time machine we’re not aware of, his op-ed talking about the yet-to-happen meeting in the past tense suggests the senator has no intention of keeping an open mind about the judge, his qualifications, or the merits of his Supreme Court nomination.
 
Hatch, incidentally, is the one Republican senator who urged President Obama to select Garland, identifying him specifically as the kind of compromise judge who deserved a nomination. Evidently, the longtime GOP lawmaker doesn’t care about that anymore, either.
 
The senator’s op-ed went on to argue that it would be “unfair” to treat Garland the way other Supreme Court nominees have been treated, suggesting Hatch is confused about the meaning of “fairness.”
 
“Because I care for Judge Garland personally and want to maintain the integrity of the Supreme Court, I believe the Senate is right to fill the current vacancy after the political season has ended.”
 
Oh, I see. Senate Republicans, for the first time in the history of the United States, are imposing a blockade against any Supreme Court nominee, regardless of merit. Hatch urged the president to nominate Merrick Garland, and when Obama agreed, Hatch joined the blockade, denying the judge a hearing and a vote, before writing an op-ed about their joint meeting that hasn’t happened.
 
Yes, senator, please tell us more about your “personal” affection for the Garland and your concerns about “integrity.”
 
 

Merrick Garland, Orrin Hatch and Supreme Court

Orrin Hatch's partisan games keep catching up with him

Updated