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Oops! Senator’s article tells of phantom meeting with Obama nominee

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Republican U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch wrote in an opinion piece published on Thursday that his meeting with Merrick Garland failed to change his view that the Senate should not act on President Barack Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee.

The problem is that no such meeting has taken place.

Paul Edwards, executive editor of the Deseret News in Hatch’s home state of Utah, said by email the article was a draft that was mistakenly published on newspaper’s website, and apologized to Hatch and the newspaper’s readers for “this unfortunate error.”

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“Like many of my Senate colleagues, I recently met with Chief Judge Merrick Garland,” Hatch wrote in the piece.

“Our meeting, however, does not change my conviction that the Senate should consider a Supreme Court nominee after this presidential election cycle,” Hatch added.

The 82-year-old Hatch, first elected to the Senate in 1976, is the longest-serving Senate Republican and is a long-time and influential member of the Judiciary Committee that considers Supreme Court nominees.

Hatch has joined with the Senate’s Republican leaders in asserting that Obama’s successor, to be determined in the Nov. 8 presidential election, should fill the vacancy left by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in February.

Hatch’s office declined to comment on the matter.

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But his spokesman J.P. Freire told the Washington Post that Hatch has made clear that he intends to meet with Garland “out of respect for their longtime friendship.”

“He looks forward to their meeting and the opportunity to explain his position on the current Supreme Court vacancy,” Freire added.

A copy of the article was archived by Google after the Deseret News removed it. “The electronic publication of this version, awaiting edits from the Senator following his meeting with Judge Garland, was inadvertent,” Edwards added.

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The article illustrated how unshakeable Republican opposition has been to Obama, a Democrat, appointing a replacement for Scalia. If a Democratic president appoints Scalia’s replacement, that would likely end decades of a conservative majority on the court.

Obama nominated Garland on March 16.

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In the article, Hatch praised Garland’s “character and credentials.” Hatch helped break a partisan log jam in the Senate against Garland two decades ago when President Bill Clinton nominated him to an appeals court. Garland won Senate confirmation in 1997.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

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2020 Election

Here are 3 winners and 3 losers from the 2020 Democratic presidential primary debate

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Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined the other leading Democratic presidential primary candidates Wednesday night in the fieriest evening of the race so far.

His presence on the stage drew fire from the other candidates, but it also seemed to change the overall tone of the debate, with more attacks, counter-attacks, and passion than was generally seen earlier in the campaign.

Here’s a (necessarily subjective!) list of the winners and losers from the fray:

Winners

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — Warren hit her stride right as the debate started by attacking Bloomberg for his record on the mistreatment of women, racist policies, and his tax returns. She repeatedly came back to skewer the former mayor, making herself the biggest and most notable presence in the debate. But importantly, she also continuously brought the discussion back to the issues she cares about — like expanding health care, environmental justice,  and consumer protection — while getting in digs at the other candidates on the stage.

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Michael Bloomberg ‘lost everything’ in Las Vegas: MSNBC analyst

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Senior editor for "The Root," Jason Johnson, concluded that the biggest loser of the Democratic debate in Las Vegas Wednesday was Michael Bloomberg, but not merely because of his debate performance.

"The big new name was going to be Michael Bloomberg," he said. "This was probably the most expensive night in Vegas I've ever seen. He lost everything. This guy has spent $320 million. He had the opportunity to stand on stage, and appear to be an equal, and he looked bored. He looked disenchanted. He stumbled over obvious questions that anybody would have anticipated about sexual harassment and stop and frisk. I thought it was a bad night for him."

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Pro-immigration protesters interrupt Joe Biden’s closing statement at debate

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Former Vice President Joe Biden's closing statement was interrupted by protesters at Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate.

As Biden began his remarks, demonstrators began shouting about the Obama administration's record on deportations.

WATCH: Protesters interrupt the #DemDebate as the debate nears end. pic.twitter.com/TKCn6eIEsN

— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 20, 2020

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