In a Friday op-ed article for Deseret News, a prominent newspaper in Hatch’s home state of Utah, the longtime Republican lawmaker wrote a defense of the coming nominee amid a highly polarized and evenly split Senate.
“Too much is at stake to allow politics to corrupt the Supreme Court confirmation process,” Hatch wrote. “That’s why in the coming weeks, I will lift heaven and earth to see the president’s nominee across the finish line.”
The op-ed was notable for one reason: Hatch referred to the nominee using the pronouns “her” and “she.”
“Just as he did with Neil Gorsuch, the president has promised to nominate an impartial judge, a wise and seasoned jurist committed to upholding the Constitution at all costs,” Hatch wrote. “But no matter the nominee’s background or credentials, progressives will do everything they can to paint her as a closet partisan, if not an outright extremist.”
He added: “As the senior member of the Judiciary Committee, I will fight to keep jurisprudence as the sole focus of our confirmation hearings. And I will devote all my energies to ensuring that we confirm the kind of Supreme Court justice America needs: a justice who says what the law is, not what she wants it to be; a justice who calls balls and strikes instead of swinging for the fences; a justice whose foremost allegiance is to the American people and to the Constitution.”
Trump’s shortlist of potential nominees has been narrowed down to just a few candidates. Amy Coney Barrett, a circuit court judge, is the only woman on the list at the moment.
While Trump’s decisions and favorability of potential nominees can change at a moment’s notice, the selection is coming down to the wire as the president prepares to announce his pick on Monday night.
Hatch’s decision to use those pronouns could just be an effort to encourage Trump to pick Barrett — or it could be a clue about an already made decision, as he is one of the highest-ranking members of the Senate and could be in a position to know.