Justice Scalia's Successor Could Be Orrin Hatch

Presidents’ Day, 2016


ON THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN TRAIL — The GOP has been salivating since November 2008 to put one of their own in the White House.


The principal salivator is, of course, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined at the hip by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. Moments after learning of the unexpected death on Saturday of Justice Antonin (“Nino”) Scalia, McConnell announced that he will not allow the Senate to vote on any nomination to succeed Justice Scalia submitted to the Senate for its advice and consent by President Obama. To a man, all the Republican presidential candidates have fallen in lockstep behind McConnell, with Sen. Ted Cruz (TP-Texas), trailing Donald Trump but nipping at his heels ahead of South Carolina’s primary on Saturday, saying that the presidential election this year should be a referendum on the Supreme Court. Also eagerly following McConnell’s direction, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), said “The fact of the matter is that it’s been standard practice over the last 80 years to not confirm Supreme Court nominees during a presidential election year.” This is in stark contrast to Grassley’s 2008 position, when he said “The reality is that the Senate has never stopped confirming judicial nominees during the last few months of a president’s term."


A solitary reporter sneaked into McConnell’s office and asked his legislative assistant whether McConnell’s view might change if President Obama were to nominate McConnell’s colleague, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). The Beehive State’s senior senator has long expressed an interest in serving on the Supreme Court. When Robert Bork was nominated to the Supreme Court by Bush One in 1987, Hatch vigorously supported the nomination, which was rejected by the Senate.


After McConnell’s legislative assistant whispered to his boss that a fervent Democrat wondered whether McConnell might change his position by instructing Obama to nominate Hatch, McConnell, after sipping several glasses of vintage Kentucky bourbon, laughed uproariously, saying “SR, you damn fool. Orrin’s 81. When the first President Bush nominated that great patriot, Clarence Thomas, to the Court, Thomas was a mere boy at 43. Everybody knows that serving on the Supreme Court is a lifetime appointment. Son, you gotta get ‘em in there real early so they can do the most possible good for the Republican Party and against the interests of the underclass, the lower class, and the middle class.”


In other developments, our associate solitary reporter, Jim Smith, caught up with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in Nevada, where the Independent senator from Vermont is campaigning against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. “Sen. Sanders,” Smith said, “I saw that great Oscar-nominated movie, The Big Short, today, and I wondered whether you wish that you had been the screenwriter for that superb movie, which shows its viewers the intense cynicism of the hedge fund traders who used credit default swaps to make millions for themselves, while nearly bringing down the American economy in the first decade of the 21st century.” Sanders (who was in Denver on Saturday, holding a rally at the Colorado Convention Center attended by 18,000 people, while his opponent, former Secretary of State HillaryClinton, attended a VIP reception at the Downtown Sheraton Hotel) told Smith, “No, Jim, but I really want Hillary to see that movie, because she’s given highly paid speeches to Wall Street executives and I wanna know what she told them."


Meanwhile, Donald Trump, campaigning in Greenville, South Carolina, told a rally there, “I’d rather run against a socialist-slash-communist [Sanders], but I think Hillary will get the nomination because she’s being protected by the Democrats.”  Later, however, Trump changed his mind, after receiving a report (from Republican moles who attended the Colorado Democratic Party’s annual gala dinner on Saturday) that, although Sanders gave a good speech at the gala, Hillary’s speech was stronger and more robust. “Hillary has a lot of baggage,” Trump told his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, “and I’m gonna beat her in every State and I will be the greatest gift of God to the American people since George Washington."


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