During an interview on Fox Business on Wednesday, host Neil Cavuto quizzed Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on why he opposes consideration of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee when he has supported Merrick Garland in the past.
Throughout the interview, Cavuto called out Hatch for contributing to the politicization of the nomination process.
The Fox Business host began the interview by playing a 1997 clip of Hatch praising Garland when he was nominated to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Cavuto asked, “What changed?”
Hatch said that “nothing” changed, but explained that 19 years had passed and that the Supreme Court is different from a lower court.
Cavuto then mentioned 2010 comments in which Hatch said he would be willing to help Garland get confirmed to the Supreme Court.
“Well, I cleared the way for Merrick Garland, and I still think very highly of him,” Hatch responded. “But I do think we should not bring up a Supreme Court justice and get in this big mess again, wrecking the court, during this really toxic presidential year. And that really bothers me.”
Cavuto then asked Hatch if Republicans would regret blocking Garland if a Democrat wins the White House and nominates a more liberal judge. Hatch told Cavuto that Americans should vote for a Republican.
“I understand what you’re saying, sir, and I appreciate that, you know, it’s a crazy election year, and all. But by that reasoning, nothing would ever get done in an election year because it’s a toxic environment,” Cavuto said in response, suggesting that Republicans vote Garland down if they don’t like him, rather than refusing to hold hearings.
“Well it isn’t quite that simple,” Hatch replied, arguing that nominees should not be put up during election years.
When Cavuto asked why, Hatch said, “Because it’s a toxic environment, it demeans the court. People then make the court into a politicized institution.”
“It’s always politicized, senator,” Cavuto hit back. “It’s always politicized. And by that math you would just rule out the last year of any Congress, of any senator, of any president for getting stuff done.”
After more back and forth, Hatch again discussed politicization of the Supreme Court.
“I’m tired of the court being politicized. And this is politicizing the court during this particular year,” he said.
“Well no, no offense, senator, you’ve played a part in politicizing it. Now, maybe that wasn’t your goal, but both parties do this,” Cavuto replied.
Watch the interview via Media Matters: