This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Sen. Orrin Hatch was scheduled to meet Thursday with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, but a guest essay he wrote for the Deseret News mistakenly posted early shows he had already made up his mind.
In a column that briefly appeared Thursday morning on the newspaper's website, Hatch, R-Utah, wrote that his meeting with Garland didn't change his "conviction" that the Senate should wait until after the presidential election to consider Supreme Court nominees. The column has since been taken down.
Deseret News Executive Editor Paul Edwards apologized to Hatch and readers for the "unfortunate error." He said in a statement the op-ed was a draft copy awaiting edits from Hatch following the meeting that was inadvertently published in the paper.
President Barack Obama has nominated Garland to fill the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February.
Hatch has been among the most outspoken Republicans in Congress, vowing not to hold hearings or a confirmation vote until a new president takes office.
The senator issued a statement Thursday, confirming his meeting with Garland, whom he calls a longtime friend, but not addressing the early posting of his op-ed.
Hatch praised Garland's track record in the statement, but said despite his personal affection for the judge, the right move is to wait to pick a new Supreme Court justice.
He explained his reasoning in the op-ed in the Deseret News that remains available in an online database.
"This decision is about the confirmation process and has nothing to do with the qualifications, character or record of the nominee," Hatch wrote. "The reasons for considering a nominee after the political fireworks of a presidential election remain just as compelling today as they were in February following Justice Scalia's death."