Sen. Orrin Hatch has once again favored his party over the good of the country, in this case specifically, the judicial branch. It was disheartening when, last year, Hatch chose to join with the Republican leadership in the Senate in refusing to even consider Judge Merrick Garland, a clearly well-qualified nominee for a Supreme Court vacancy, solely for political reasons. That seat is now filled by Justice Neil Gorsuch.
But now, Hatch and other Republican senators have reached even lower in their disregard of time-honored norms and standards regarding federal judicial nominations.
Brett Talley was nominated by President Trump for a lifetime appointment to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Even leaving aside his extreme ideological bent (after all, elections have consequences), Talley is 36 years old, has practiced law only a few years, has never tried a case, and failed to disclose that his wife is the chief of staff to Trump’s White House counsel.
The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary gave Talley a very rare “Not Qualified” rating, and did so unanimously for only the second time since 1989. Yet all of this somehow wasn’t enough for Hatch, as he and his Republican colleagues on the Judiciary Committee recently voted (the vote was 11-9, along party lines) to approve Talley and move the nomination to the full Senate for a vote.
When is Sen. Hatch going to stand up to President Trump and say “enough is enough?” When will the good of our country trump party loyalty?
Ira Rubinfield, Salt Lake City