Senator Orrin Hatch Reverses Himself on Merrick Garland Nomination

Eric Zuesse

On March 13th, Republican U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch said of Obama’s process to nominate a replacement for the deceased former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, “This is all about the election. The President told me several times he’s going to nominate a moderate, but I don’t believe him. He could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man. He probably won’t do that.”

On March 16th, President Obama announced, “Today I am nominating Chief judge Merrick Brian Garland to join the Supreme Court.” 

On March 17th, Senator Hatch said, “I remain convinced that the best way for the Senate to do its job is to conduct the confirmation process after this toxic Presidential election season is over.”

In other words: Senator Hatch is saying that between now and 9 November 2016, the Supreme Court should be hearing and deciding cases as it currently is, with only 8 of the Court’s 9 seats occupied. President Obama nominated the exact person whom Hatch said is “a fine man.” In 1997, Hatch had said of Garland, “I know him personally, I know his integrity, I know his legal ability, I know of his honesty, I know of his acumen. He belongs on the Court [of Appeals for the DC Circuit].” However, if a Republican wins the Presidency (which means the nominee couldn’t be named until some time after 20 January 2017), then Hatch will want that new President to nominate the person to fill the empty seat — not the Democratic President we now have — not even when that Democratic President has chosen the very person whom Hatch was recommending he pick.

What, then, did Hatch mean when he said on March 13th, “He could easily name Merrick Garland”?

Did he mean it would be easy for the words “Merrick Garland” to be spoken by President Obama? Or did he mean that Merrick Garland would have Hatch’s support if the existing President nominated him? If Hatch meant the latter, then Hatch was lying. If he meant the former, then he was a fool.

Either way, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee and therefore the most influential person other than the U.S. President himself on this entire matter, is obviously a hypocrite.

He’s a liar, like all Republican politicians and almost all Democratic politicians.

Regardless of what anyone thinks of President Obama (and I, for one, detest him as a liar himself who is as much a pawn of Wall Street as Republicans are), the Republicans in Congress have been so incredibly hostile and uncooperative with this President during his Presidency, there’s nothing in U.S. history that’s comparably bigoted against any U.S. President. Do they think they can get away with it just because he’s ‘black’ and they don’t think of Blacks as human beings, and they know that in Republican primary elections the voters also don’t, and will therefore renominate these bigots, and so they’ll keep their Senate seats — as such bigots?

Some Democrats are vile, but all Republicans are — isn’t that crystal clear here?

Anyone who supports the Republican Party is just a KKK’er without his white robes and mask on. That’s what Republican ‘conservatism’ actually stands for: American racist fascism — the U.S. type of nazism. They don’t want to be ‘politically correct’ because nazis don’t — not anywhere, in any nation. At least conservative Democrats feel embarrassed to be like that — they don’t want the face under their ‘politically correct’ mask to be seen even by other Democrats. In the Republican Party, the bigotry is so out-in-the-open. Even such a largely conservative black Democrat as President draws their revulsion. The only type of Black whom they can support is blatant Uncle Toms, such as Colin Powell and Ben Carson — if even those. And even a black President under whose leadership Blacks have been harmed economically even more than Whites (who, unlike Blacks, have recovered at least a little bit from George W. Bush’s economic crash) cannot do Blacks enough harm so as to gain the support of Republicans. (And only Republican news-sites have publicized the fact that Obama has been even worse for Blacks than he has been for Whites, but it’s the case; Blacks don’t care enough to even notice it — they’ve been blind to it, and want more of the same under his chosen white successor Hillary Clinton, who likewise has done nothing but words for Blacks.)

Perhaps if Whites accept white racism, the fact that Blacks accept black racism (i.e., that they support even pro-Establishment Blacks like Obama) isn’t particularly remarkable. But the way that the Republican Party has behaved regarding America’s first black President is a historical embarrassment upon this entire nation — and it is blatant.

Even if Senator Orrin Hatch tries to be ‘politically correct’ about his display of extraordinary racism, the white face under his all-but-KKK verbal hood is visible to anyone who has eyes, and enough light to be able to see through his obvious hypocrisy. The consistent Republican obstructionism throughout Obama’s Presidency has been simply stunning.

Republicans were almost as obstructionist when Bill Clinton was in the White House, because he pretended very well to be a white ‘soul brother,’ but for Republicans now to be promising to hold up a Supreme Court nominee — urged upon this President by Orrin Hatch himself — for nearly 8 months if the Democrat wins, and for more than 10 months if the Republican wins, is simply unconscionable. It’s so blatant, they’ll almost certainly have to back-peddle and cave-in so as not to suffer major losses in the upcoming congressional elections. The fact that anyone votes for these frauds is a pathetic commentary upon today’s American ‘democracy.’


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • Don Robertson

    I’m sorry but Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland stated in his nomination-acceptance speech that “[…] the justice system works.”

    Merrick Garland used as his example of how the justice system works, his participation in a few high profile, eye-candy prosecutions. What a complete dullard this guy is.

    The justice system does not work for you or me. And anyone who says it does work, should not be a nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States.

    The justice system is a fraud. There are no honest lawyers. And there certainly are no honest judges.

    And anyone who pretends otherwise, is just part of the same ongoing problem with the justice system.

    The justice system is nothing more than a crooked fraud and a grotesque charade.

    • cettel

      What an irrelevant comment!

      • Don Robertson

        The word you were looking for is not, irrelevant. The word you were blindly reaching for is, impertinent.

        My comment is far more than relevant. If there is any role for the Supreme Court right now, it is to stringently, aggressively, forcefully and even viciously hold lawyers and judges accountable for both their actions and inaction.

        Injustice is rife in our America courts. The justice system reeks of injustice.

        And to that charge Merrick Garland is completely incapable. He thinks lawyers and judges are wonderful people who, not unlike Greek Gods, can do no wrong.

        Such a delusional, even a bizarrely euphoric, state of mind is hardly conducive to promoting the efficacy of the justice system.

        • He-Man

          It’s called living in an ivory tower your whole life. Garland nor any of these other elitists have any time for you peasants. Now move along, knaves!

      • empty

        i get that your article is pointing out the hypocrisy of hatchs position, but i think what all these ‘irrelevant’ comments are saying is this article could have been better used to go beyond the red v blue arguments (that i know youre capable of) and point out why 0bombas pick of garland further exposes him as a dino, establishment shill, etc

        garland is a shitty judge and a shitty pick by a shitty president and i wish you would have written about that instead

  • Abner Doubleday

    Yes, once again working-class Americans who have more pressing concerns than who’s nominated to the Supreme Corporate Court will get screwed: Obama’s nominee is a rubber-stamp corporatist, a nodding sycophant to business as usual in the American injustice system. Meanwhile, toxic hypocrites and traitors like Orrin Hatch place themselves far beneath any reasonable standards of governance. Truly, assholes like Hatch, McConnell, Cruz should be sent to whatever the next version of Guantanamo that Obama proffers. I’d rather save the money and just “disappear” these bigots, liars, and corporate-butt-licking charlatans. Time’s wasting while the low-lifes and cheats in Congress plot to destroy the future.

    • He-Man

      They already have. This guy voted to ban hand-guns in Washington DC, is a supporter of torture and NSA spying. Call me cynical, but I can’t help but feel that Obama nominated Garland because of his stance on the 2nd Amendment. With Scalia out of the way, any chance for preservation of gun rights is looking grim. All the more, because the only thing stopping us from full-scale dictatorship at this point is the fact that we still have guns.

      • Abner Doubleday

        That’s a complete crock! You want to stop the nascent fascist government of the US in its tracks? Stop supporting “free” trade agreements, stop patronizing any corporation — just don’t buy trinkets from the massive array of environmental pillagers and labor-exploiting houses of greed, support community-based alternative energy, stop paying taxes so long as the US government continues to support the fascist-genocidal_apartheid State of Israel, and selling weapons to every nation on earth – notably Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and all the NATO sycophants. Having guns is just the tool the neocons and neolibs want, all the better to keep killing one another instead of them! Get a clue!

        • He-Man

          Sorry, but it’s a fact that fascist governments prefer that their victims are disarmed.What you are talking about is government dealing in arms, that is completely different. The US Constitution is endowed with the 2nd Amendment for a reason. The founders understood that tyrants throughout history have taken away guns as a means to eliminate their opposition. I am certainly not suggesting that Obama is going to send brown shirts in anytime soon to take away anyone’s guns, but the federal government has made it clear that they are doing everything they can to restrict gun rights.

          The reason why I said that the country is one disaster away from a full blown dictatorship is that it’s essentially true. The NSA is right now sharing data with your local police to determine your threat level, they already have a list of people that will be rounded up and imprisoned when a national emergency is declared under Main Core. The police are using grants from the DHS to spy on all your communications using the Stingray network. The FAA established a no-fly zone over Ferguson for the intended purpose of “keeping the press out.” The NSA and FBI periodically manipulate news feeds on Facebook and other websites to gauge your reaction to certain stories. Under the NDAA, the government can use the Military to indefinitely detain you anywhere in the world without a trial. Under current US law, an American citizen can be executed by the government if he or she is deemed a terrorist without a trial. Remind me again why I should give up my guns?

          And I’ve already made very clear that I do not support any of these globalist free trade agreements. Washington understood the importance of trade tariffs, as he knew that removing them would ultimately cause the death of the country.

  • spoint

    Too many Jews (TMJ), particularly if this next jew is put on. Kiss your guns etc. goodbye. Israel firsters. The Supreme Court rules you. The other “branches” don’t me sht. Interpret the “sacred – from the mount atheist document” and it means what they say.

    • cettel

      What the hell difference does it make what religion he is? And your comment is irrelevant to this article.

      • spoint

        It makes every difference.

  • Jack

    Mr. Zuesse,
    I think your points are: Merrick Garland is a great candidate for the Supreme Court because Orrin Hatch says so, Orrin Hatch is a racist because he opposes a white Supreme Court nominee, anyone not in favor of what they perceive as the extra-constitutional actions, undeclared wars, banker bailouts, etc. of this administration is a racist, and all Republican politicians are liars.


    As an alternative approach, let’s debate ideas and discuss facts. When this blog started, the writer(s) did that.

    • cettel

      Your comment is irrelevant. And I don’t say that Garland is “a great candidate for the Supreme Court,” nor that he’s not.