Former Minnesota Senator Al Franken argued that the U.S. Supreme Court is illegitimate because Republicans stole two seats, a statement which he repeatedly asked CNN political commentator Alice Stewart to refute with proof of the contrary, but she doesn’t, i.e., she can’t.
Franken joined Stewart and Jim Acosta in a conversation on CNN Saturday about the questionable legitimacy of the Supreme Court. Friday, Chief Justice John Roberts said he was disappointed in the public impression of the court and blamed it on Democrats, whose claim of illegitimacy, he said, is based on the party’s disagreement with the Court’s decisions.
Franken took umbrage to Chief Roberts’ comment.
“I disagree with what the chief justice said. The legitimacy of the court was undermined when they wouldn’t take up Merrick Garland. And you’ll remember that [then Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell said it was because it was during an election year. And you remember Lindsey Graham pledging that if a vacancy came open during an election year in 2020, that he wouldn’t vote for — they wouldn’t take up a nominee,” Franken said.
“They’ve stolen two seats: The one that Merrick Garland wasn’t given a hearing for and the one that [Amy Coney Barrett] was, where she was seated a week before the election. That destroyed the legitimacy of the court.”
Acosta tossed it to CNN political commentator Alice Stewart — who worked on Mike Huckabee’s campaign when he ran for president in 2015 and was also a campaign communication director for Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann at various times — saying that the Court has become “titled to the far right.”
“To throw some accuracy in what Al said there, Merrick Garland was held up because we had divided government, a Democrat in the White House, and Republicans in control–,” she started, only to be interrupted and corrected by Franken.
“That’s not what McConnell said,” Franken argued. And the back-and-forth arguing began.
“But that’s the way historically this has been. When you’re in close to an election year and you have divided government–,” Stewart said, only to be interrupted by Franken’s, “No, that’s not the way it’s been historically done. Tell me when this happened before. Tell me when it happened before.”
“Well,” she started, “Merrick Garland is certainly one. When there’s a–”
Again, Franken, popped in. “No, before Merrick Garland. Tell me when it happened before. You said this is what happened historically. Tell me when it happened before.”
“I can’t give you an exact example when this happened in the past,” she answered.
“You know why you can’t? Because it hasn’t happened before,” Franken shot back.
She attempted to divert the subject, but he wouldn’t let her.
“This is total hypocrisy,” a fired-up Franken said. “And actually, I’m surprised that you’re claiming this, and you can’t come up with an example because there is none.”
She tried to respond and get back to what she called “the point of the conversation,” but Franken stepped on that with a boisterous “This is the point!”
Watch the entire conversation in the video above.