Advertisement

Hatch brushes aside his 1998 vote for Sotomayor: ‘Now we’re talking about the most important court on Earth.’

In 1998, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was one of just seven Republicans to break ranks and approve Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. But today on MSNBC, Hatch said that although he found her suitable for the federal bench then, he now might have problems with her:

HATCH: In 1998, for the circuit court of appeals, I did vote for her because I believe in giving the president due deference, especially for circuit court of appeals nominations.

But now we’re talking about the most important court on Earth. We’re talking about the court of last resort. We’re talking about a court that everyone of us takes great interest in. And now we’re talking about a woman who has been in the federal judicial system since 1992, who has all kinds of decisions that she’s made, all kinds of opinions that she’s written, who has written articles, who has spoken in public — all of that has to be looked into.

Watch it:

Advertisement

As Brian Beutler points out, “Hatch cites, among other things, an article Sotomayor wrote in 1996 — two years before he supported her confirmation to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Transcript:

MITCHELL: But let me ask you this, Senator. I mean, first of all, George Herbert Walker Bush first nominated her to the bench.

HATCH: Wait a minute, Andrea. Wait a minute, wait a minute. I was on the Judiciary Committee back then. At that time, district court judges were really effectively chosen by the senate. So in this case, both…

(CROSSTALK)

MITCHELL: OK. I understand both senators from New York —

HATCH: — Senator Moynihan and D’Amato, they had a one-for-one deal, so she was chosen by a Democrat and George Bush — George Herbert Walker Bush really basically had no choice but to appoint her.

MITCHELL: So you’re saying by senatorial courtesy, she was Pat Moynihan’s choice for the court.

HATCH: That’s right.

MITCHELL: Let me ask you about your own — (CROSSTALK)

HATCH: So — but I think the media — (CROSSTALK)

MITCHELL: — in 1998, sir? I mean, you voted for her, did you not? Or do I have that wrong?

HATCH: I think the — No, wait a minute — (CROSSTALK)

MITCHELL: You were one of the seven Republicans.

HATCH: Well, let me just say this. I think the media tries to make something out of that because George Herbert Walker Bush was president. They shouldn’t. She was basically picked by Senator Moynihan, a Democrat.

In 1998, for the circuit court of appeals, I did vote for her because I believe in giving the president due deference, especially for circuit court of appeals nominations.

But now we’re talking about the most important court on Earth. We’re talking about the court of last resort. We’re talking about a court that everyone of us takes great interest in. And now we’re talking about a woman who has been in the federal judicial system since 1992, who has all kinds of decisions that she’s made, all kinds of opinions that she’s written, who has written articles, who has spoken in public — all of that has to be looked into. And it is — it’s done for Republicans. It’s done for Democrats. And it’s the fair way to do it, and I think anybody who doesn’t understand that is saying we shouldn’t do our jobs.