Note: The following is a recent letter I sent to Utah Senator Orrin Hatch on the recent decision of the Senate Judiciary Committee to avoid holding a confirmation hearing for Judge Merrick Garland. It is my personal belief that this decision is erroneous and shortsighted. If you share this belief, I invite you to send your own letter, or copy the letter below and use it. If you think I'm completely wrong, tell me why in the comments! Oh, and though I fear sounding like a broken record, I want to make it clear that ALL opinions expressed in this blog are my own, and do not necessarily reflect those of any of my employers or affiliates.
You Can Email Senator Hatch on this or any other issue here.
Dear Senator Hatch,
I am writing to urge you to use your influence as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee to advocate for an immediate hearing for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
You are no stranger to Judge Garland’s experience and scholarship. When Garland was under consideration for a position on the D.C. judicial circuit, you praised him extensively, noting that Garland was “highly qualified to sit” on the circuit and that his “intelligence and his scholarship cannot be questioned.” Further, in 2010, when Garland was among those considered for the Supreme Court seat which ultimately went to Elena Kagan, you believed Garland was the “consensus nominee” and that there was “no question” that he would be confirmed.
Finally, just days before President Obama announced Judge Garland as his nominee, you lamented that Obama had told you several times that he would nominate a moderate, but that you believed he was lying. You went on to add: “[Obama] could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man.”
In spite of this, there appears to be little to no effort on the part of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Republican wing to even conduct a hearing for candidate Garland. I am well aware of the letter signed by you and your esteemed colleagues prior to Garland’s nomination, noting your intention to ensure the American people a “full and robust debate” over the next Supreme Court justice. While I admire the spirit of this letter, I take issue with its erroneous insistence that this debate take place upon the swearing-in of the next President of the United States. Debate on the future of the Supreme Court has already begun. Preventing a hearing for candidate Garland will merely serve to diminish the full and robust debate you are purported to endorse.
Former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick once called Judge Garland a “brilliant lawyer with excellent judgment, utterly without any political agenda, other than to do right.” Now, I’m asking you to do right — by the Supreme Court, by the responsibility of your office, and by The People of the United States. Begin the confirmation hearing for Judge Merrick Garland.
Zachary J. Stickney