1997 - Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), speaking in support of Merrick Garland's nomination to the Court of Appeals, DC Circuit:
"His intelligence and his scholarship cannot be questioned...His legal experience is equally impressive...Accordingly, I believe Mr. Garland is a fine nominee. I know him personally, I know his integrity, I know his legal ability, I know his honesty, I know his acumen."
2016, March 13 - Senator Orrin Hatch speaking at a Federalist Society lunch in Washington D.C.:
"The President told me several times he's going to name a moderate (to fill the court vacancy,) but I don't believe him. (He) could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man...He probably won't do that because this appointment is about the election."
2016, March 16, just three days later - The President nominated Merrick Garland. One day after that, on March 17, Mr. Hatch spoke to the media.
"I remain convinced that the best way for the Senate to do its job is to conduct the confirmation process after this toxic Presidential election season is over."
His reaction to the nomination is not only a slap in the face to Judge Garland's "integrity," a quality Senator Hatch claimed to admire, but also paints a huge question mark on his own senatorial rectitude. With his own words, Orrin Hatch has made himself look like a fool--one who thought he was being clever and then found out there was a true genius in the room.
Yes, this election season is "toxic," but the president isn't the one serving up the Wolfsbane.