On dignity, cellphones and "dumbass questions"

Sen. Orrin Hatch brings his unique brand of decorum to the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice.

Published September 23, 2005 3:15PM (EDT)

When George W. Bush announced that he was nominating John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court and called for a "dignified confirmation process" for him, we recalled the kind of dignity that Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch displayed when Roberts was first named to the federal bench in 2003. In the middle of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing back then, Hatch came unglued on Sen. Chuck Schumer and accused him of asking "dumbass questions" of the nominee.

Today, on the morning after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of Roberts' nomination to serve as chief justice, we're pleased to report that things have come full circle. While Hatch apparently refrained from cussing out any of his colleagues during yesterday's committee session, he added his own unique sense of dignity to the proceedings by repeatedly snapping photographs with his cellphone camera. And in a brief if bizarre moment of bipartisanship, Joe Biden shot right back.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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