When Merrick Garland was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 1997, both Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said in speeches on the Senate floor that Garland was a qualified nominee.
Hatch in particular had a lot of praise for Garland.
“I do not believe that there is anything in Mr. Garland’s record to indicate that if confirmed, he could amount to an activist judge or might only be an activist judge. Accordingly, I believe Mr. Garland is a fine nominee,” Hatch said at the time, according to video from C-SPAN. “I know him personally. I know of his integrity. I know of his legal ability. I know of his honesty. I know of his acumen. And he belongs on the court. And I believe he is not only a fine nominee, but as good as Republicans can expect from this administration. In fact, I would place him at the top of the list.”
Hatch called for Garland to be confirmed, saying, “Opposition to this nomination will only serve to undermine the credibility of our legitimate goal of keeping proven activists off the bench.”
Grassley did not vote to confirm Garland at the time, arguing that it was unnecessary to fill another seat on the DC circuit, but he said Garland was qualified to be a judge.
“We have nothing against this nominee, Mr. Garland,” Grassley said in 1997. “He seems to be well-qualified and would probably make a good judge in some other court where the seat needs to be filled.”
Watch clips from both speeches via C-SPAN:
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 16, 2016