Gotta admit, Al Franken is one hard-hitting advocate

More like this, please. Al Franken interrupted a Republican apologist when she started to lie, and reduced her to stammering incoherence by simply demanding that she back up her claims of historical legitimacy for packing the court with incompetents by citing examples and evidence. This is how we have to deal with Republican dishonesty, by hitting back hard.

“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!”

This is a general problem with conventional rules for debate. There’s a habit of insisting that both sides must get equal, uninterrupted time, even when they start spinning out absurd lies — don’t let them do that. If they make a claim, insist that they must back it up. Don’t give them 5 minutes to compound their lies into a tangle that will take hours to un-knot, which is what they want.

Yeah, he was rude. Ruder still is the privilege that gives liars unquestioned opportunities to make stuff up.


  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    I saw this clip last night. The response from the knuckle-draggers in the comments section were “he was so rude to keep interrupting her” and “he didn’t give her any time to think of an example!”

    Boo hoo.

  2. raven says

    The legitimacy of the US Supreme court is gone, nonexistent.
    That ship has sailed and is over the event horizon.
    The right wingnuts diligently spent several decades destroying it.

    Are we going to let 6 unelected Catholic fanatics wreck a nation of 331 million people?
    We do outnumber them by 55 million to 1.
    Strangely enough, we are for now.

    We know what happens when unpopular, pointless, and malevolent laws are made.
    People just start ignoring them.
    We’ve seen it with prohibition of alcohol and prohibition of Cannabis.
    We are seeing it now with prohibition of abortion. People in the Red states will just travel to the Blue states or go the DIY route.

  3. Larry says

    Due to the actions of Moscow Mitch, the rights of half the citizens of this country were ripped away in a single SC decision. Two of the justices who voted to do that had promised during their hearings that it was settled law and they weren’t interested in over-turning that. They are fucking liars! And there are strong indications that they won’t stop there. From same-sex marriage to social security to welfare to just about every social program implemented over the last 75 years is at risk. Don’t tell me this court is unbiased and not a republican tool! If it hasn’t been said enough, vote Democratic and continue to encourage everyone you can to do the same.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    Hitting back hard is good.
    Today 15000 nurses walked off the job in – I think- Minnesota, to protest understaffing and overworking.
    Sometimes the big tools are the only that work.

  5. says

    I disagree with the Dobbs decision – the dissent tears the majority a new one – but calling the court activist is not helpful. After all, the ’71 Swann decision (busing for desegregation) was called activist – I still remember coming to the States and watching the riots at bus stops on the nightly news. Those were probably the grandparents of the people who are now threatening school boards over “woke” books.

    Calling the court illegitimate is more on point. Accusing the GQP of acting in bad faith, that’s accurate.

  6. says

    Two of the Court’s latest decisions, on abortion and gun rights, are illegitimate AT LEAST because they’re not even pretending to be internally consistent. The gun-rights decision overturned a New York law that had been in effect, uncontested, for over a hundred years, while insisting that gun-control laws had to be based on “history and tradition.” Like a century-old law isn’t both of those things? And Roe vs. Wade was overturned on the same grounds, despite a long history of abortion bans being resisted and taken down beforehand, and despite a long tradition of ConLaw that respected people’s bodily autonomy.

    It is dangerous to declare a decision of the Supreme Court to be “illegitimate” and to call for it to be ignored and flouted. But it is even more dangerous to let such self-contradictory rulings stand. If precedent is set by a self-contradictory ruling, then there’s no way of arguing either side of any subsequent case without being both wrong and out of line legally.

  7. says

    @#3, jsrtheta

    Al Franken was the victim of a historic screwing. And we need him in the Senate.

    Al Franken left the Senate not because of the photo scandal but because he knew he had darker things in his past — he was asked if he could promise that there wouldn’t be any other revelations, and he couldn’t, so he left. If you were a proponent of #MeToo, then you should believe that he did the right thing… of course, if you were a proponent of #MeToo then you should be absolutely infuriated with the Democratic Party for nominating Joe “Credibly Accused by 12 Women” Biden, both the party leadership and the voters, who suddenly dropped support for #MeToo en masse when Biden was nominated. (Polls went from over 70% support of #MeToo by Democrats to under 40% in about 2 weeks. I suppose it’s notionally slightly superior to notice that two viewpoints are opposed and drop one to maintain consistency, unlike the Republicans who just go straight into cognitive dissonance, but that particular choice demonstrated quite thoroughly that the Democratic Party is largely made up of unethical partisan hacks who will drop their principles on a moment’s notice when those principles become inconvenient.) (Of course, we already knew that from Hillary “I Love War And The 1%” Clinton’s nomination in 2016, so I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise in 2020.)

  8. Tethys says

    Oh look, it’s the Vicar peddling some fascist propaganda about #metoo and Biden. Fact-checking reveals that Tara Reade is a serial lying grifter, which is probably why her lawyer dropped her case.

    Remember that serial lying, Putin-loving nutbag, Tara Reade?

    She was the fraud who wrote about loving Putin before making up a transparently false sexual assault allegation about Biden.

    She was literally working for Russian TV. Lost her Spotify podcast and RT job today. (March 3, 2022)


  9. drew says

    Franken wasn’t hard enough.

    There was no mention from him of how the court is actively overturning and throwing out precedent. And that loss of continuity is what may make people consider the court invalid. If the court can overturn any decision, their decisions have no weight.

  10. birgerjohansson says

    Can we please clone Al Franken a few hundred times?
    Make a few extra and export them to Britain. And- after the Sunday election- to Sweden.

  11. birgerjohansson says

    Let us not forget that three judges perjured themselves during their confirmation hearings.

  12. StevoR says

    @ ^ birgerjohansson : Truth – why aren’t all three of Trump’s picks in jail or at least facing more serious consequences of that for showing contempt of Congress* and arguably being involved in a mass Conspiracy to Pervert the Course of Justice? isn’t that what the whole Federalist society etc ,.. is – an attempt to warp and pervert the course of Justice and the law by appointing Justices favourable to your side?

    Indeed, is it that much of a stretch to say the Federalist Society and the Trump SCOTUS Injustices are guilty of sedition and deserve to be called Domestic Enemies of the USA as well?

    If I was POTUS every member of the Federalist Society would be facing charges and jailed along those lines esp those three perjuring Trump picks who would be out of office. Plus a new method of selecting and appointing SCOTUS members in a non-political way based on legal seniority and cases and legal professional group agreements or even reforming the whole USA ‘s legal system incl considering shifting from adverserial to European investigatory type system would be being undertaken. Because as it is the best lawyer rather than best case seems to win a bit too often and the Justice system doesn’t seem that just or ethical to me.

    .* See :

  13. antigone10 says

    Al Franken sexually harassed his coworker. We have pictures of it. It doesn’t matter that he claims he “technically wasn’t touching her” it was unconsented behavior of a sexual nature. He thought it was a joke, she didn’t. That is not the kind of person we want representing us in Congress.

    However, he did apologize. And being a pundit and strong advocate is a much better place for him to be.

  14. says

    Al Franken left the Senate not because of the photo scandal but because he knew he had darker things in his past

    You’re a lying maggot.

    Al Franken sexually harassed his coworker.

    You too.