Senator Al Franken (D-MN) is a former comedian and says he used to make a living identifying absurdity. He finds the reasons from Republicans to block President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland are that – absurd. Watch this clip from Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee meeting where he proceeds to dismantle the GOP logic and has an intense discussion with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT).
“Let the people decide and so the presidential election should decide,” said Franken quoting the reason Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has used as a reason to push off any hearings on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee until there a new president is elected.
“The president has a four-year term,” said Franken. “Scientists tell us that there are approximately ten months left in his term.”
“But then I hear colleagues from the other side saying ‘well you know what, if the election goes the wrong way, I’d be happy to consider this nomination during the lame duck.’ How absurd is that? So it’s ‘let the people decide’ unless they decide on Hillary Clinton, in which case ‘let us decide.’
“Do you guys talk to you each other? That’s what I want to know. I just hear such contradictory stuff coming out from your side.
“The American people know exactly what this is. This is just underscoring the obstruction that we have seen since this president came to Washington. And it’s been no secret. The House getting together and saying ‘we are not going to vote for anything’. The now Senate Majority leader saying ‘our number one goal is to see that this is a one-term president.’”
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) tried to argue that Republican nominees for the Supreme Court have not gotten a hearing.
“Who we talking about?” asked Franken.
“How about Robert Bork, one of the greatest legal minds we’ve had,” said Hatch.
“I believe Robert Bork had hearings, said Franken. “I was in the job of identifying absurdity during Judge Bork’s hearings. And so for you to say to me that Judge Bork didn’t get hearings, I don’t know what I was watching.”
“No I didn’t say that,” replied Hatch.
“Yes you did,” shot back Franken.
“I meant to say that’s where it all began,” said Hatch
“The tit for tat argument has been made and there has been some of that,” replied Franken. “But let’s be honest. Let’s at least be honest while we’re talking about this stuff. You can’t say I want the people to decide, wait for the next president, oh wait a minute, if we lose the election then we’ll vote for this guy. Then we’ll have this. Will you at least admit to me that is contradictory?”
“If I were in your shoes, I’d be saying ‘oh that’s wonderful,’” said Hatch. “At least you’re going to vote for this nominee, one way or the other.”
“No, it’s double-talk. Don’t you see that as double-talk?” asked Franken.
“No,” said Hatch.
“You cannot see that?” asked Franken. “You cannot see to say ‘let the people decide’ and forgetting that the people have decided that the President of the United States is the one who makes the nomination and we do advise and consent. The President is still in his term. But then to say ‘we want the people to decide’ so it’s the next president, but then if we lose that election then we will take up this president’s nomination because that will be better than the next president’s nomination and we probably will have lost the Senate because people will be seeing what we’re doing here and react in a way where they will elect, throw out Republican Senators — I’m just extrapolating on what I’m hoping happens. Don’t you see that though? Doesn’t anyone here see that? I guess not. I guess not. Maybe it was my training in my previous career. Thank you.”