Senator Reacts to Merrick Garland Meeting Before It Happens

Sen. Orrin Hatch's op-ed has since been deleted.

— -- It doesn’t seem that unusual: Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch wrote an op-ed, posted on a local newspaper’s website Thursday morning, about his meeting with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

Except for the fact that the two hadn’t met yet.

Hatch, a Republican on the Judiciary Committee whose opposition to Garland’s nomination this year is well known, wrote that the meeting, which hadn’t yet occurred, did not change his mind that the next president should be able to appoint the justice whom he or she wants to fill the late Antonin Scalia’s seat.

“Our meeting … does not change my conviction that the Senate should consider a Supreme Court nominee after this presidential election cycle,” Hatch wrote in an article posted on the Deseret News website.

Hatch also noted, as he frequently does when talking about Garland, that he thinks very highly of the judge, whom he says has an “excellent reputation among lawyers and fellow judges alike” and is a personal friend.

The News removed the op-ed from its website later in the morning, but it was too late: A cached version was already available online.

In a statement, Deseret News executive editor Paul Edwards said the paper’s website had inadvertently published a draft of Hatch’s statement before it received edits from Hatch that were to come after his meeting, which Hatch’s office said happened later Thursday. The op-ed was re-posted around 7:10 pm Thursday evening.