Immediately after President Donald Trump announced his selection of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to serve on the Supreme Court, Democratic senators began declaring the nomination “illegitimate.”
One of the loudest voices was Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will be holding hearings next month on the Barrett nomination.
Blumenthal tweeted minutes after Trump’s announcement that the entire process was an “illegitimate sham” and went on to blast Barrett’s qualifications.
Blumenthal’s Twitter thread rant concluded with the senator saying he would refuse to meet with the nominee — despite decades of Senate tradition of senators of both parties meeting with nominees to the high court — and that he would not “treat the process as legitimate.”
Later Saturday, Blumenthal was interviewed on CNN by Wolf Blitzer and was actually confronted over his comments and asked to explain how the nomination was “illegal or illegitimate.”
He couldn’t give a straight answer.
During his CNN interview, Blumenthal repeatedly returned to his claim that the nomination is “illegitimate” and a “sham.”
Following Blumenthal’s opening diatribe, Blitzer repeatedly asked the senator to explain exactly how the nomination is “illegal or illegitimate,” but the lawmaker had no straight answer.
“What are the Republicans doing that is illegal or illegitimate?” Blitzer asked, adding a note that the Constitution delineates exactly how nominations to the court are supposed to go down.
“The Constitution says the president has to nominate Supreme Court justices; the Senate has to advise and consent and confirm,” Blitzer continued. “So what what is illegal about what the president and the Republicans are doing? You say it’s illegitimate.”
Blumenthal danced around the question and claimed it is illegitimate because of the timing of the nomination, noting that “the vote on this nominee will occur literally at the end of October, a handful of days before an election.”
Blitzer wasn’t satisfied with the senator’s answer and pressed again.
“Where does it say that’s illegitimate in the U.S. Constitution or in the law?” the newsman asked. “Where does it say that what they’re doing … is illegal?”
Blumenthal was forced to admit that nothing the Republicans were doing was “illegal” or “illegitimate” under the Constitution.
But never mind that — the Republicans, he claimed, were violating the “unwritten rules.”
“Illegal it may be not under the Constitution,” the Connecticut senator stated. “Under the norms and traditions and unwritten rules of the Senate, it is illegitimate.”
Blitzer eventually forced Blumenthal to concede that, indeed, there’s nothing illegal or actually illegitimate about the Barrett nomination.
“What I hear you saying, Sen. Blumenthal, it may be inappropriate, it may be wrong — especially so close to an election — but you agree that there’s nothing illegal or totally illegitimate as to what they’re doing,” Blitzer said.
“It may not violate the letter of the Constitution,” Blumenthal admitted. “It violates the spirit of the Constitution.”
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