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Al Franken Presses GOP Strategist About Her Misleading SCOTUS Take On CNN

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Former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) put a GOP campaign strategist on blast Saturday, repeatedly asking her to defend a claim about why Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination was “held up” in 2016.

Franken and Alice Stewart, a CNN analyst and onetime aide to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), were weighing in on recent remarks by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

In those remarks, Roberts, in his first public appearance because the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, defended the legitimacy of the court.

Franken told CNN host Jim Acosta that he disagreed with Roberts’ take.

He said the court’s legitimacy was undermined years ago, when a Republican Senate majority led by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) didn’t “take up” Garland’s nomination, submitted by President Barack Obama. On the time, McConnell cited what he called a “longstanding tradition” to not fill Supreme Court vacancies during an election yr.

PolitiFact has described McConnell’s “longstanding tradition” claim as “misleading.”

Franken identified that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) later supporting filling Supreme Court vacancies in election years, which also had the effect of undermining the court’s legitimacy.

“They’ve stolen two seats: the one which Merrick Garland wasn’t given a hearing for, and the one which [Justice Amy] Coney Barrett, where she was seated every week before the [2020] election,” Franken said. “That destroyed the legitimacy of the court.”

Stewart said she desired to “throw a bit accuracy” into what Franken said, claiming that the Garland nomination was held up because “we had a divided government ― we had a Democrat within the White House and we had Republicans on top of things [of Congress].”

Franken immediately fired back: “That’s not what McConnell said.”

“But that’s the way in which, historically, this has been,” Stewart replied. “If you’re near an election yr and you’ve divided government … there typically is an inclination to attend ―”

“Tell me when this happened before,” Franken interrupted. “Tell me when it happened before.”

You possibly can watch the exchange, starting across the 3:06 mark, below.

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