Heard on the Hill: Leahy and Hatch — Work Husbands?

Posted June 29, 2010 at 5:44pm

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan have provided plenty of tense debate. But there also have been a few fun moments, including an exchange Tuesday between Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and longtime friend Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah.).

Their banter seemed more like a quarrel between an old married couple than rival lawmakers — which is appropriate, considering the Senators have served together for six terms.

Hatch was quizzing Kagan about the recent Citizens United Supreme Court decision when Leahy chimed in over the fairness of his questioning.

“Let me ask my questions the way I want to,” Hatch responded. “I’m going to be fair. I intend to be, and you know that after 34 years.”

Hatch’s response drew laughter from the audience, leading him to muse on his life in the Senate.

“We have to have a little back-and-forth every once in a while or this place would be boring as hell, I tell you,” Hatch deadpanned to Kagan.

“And it gets the spotlight off me, you know, so I’m — I’m all for it,” Kagan replied. “Go right ahead.”

Hatch’s response: “And by the way, I’ve been informed that hell is not boring. So you can imagine what I mean by that.”

Who Is Courtney Love’s Mystery Senate BFF?

When celebrity trainwreck, er, rock star Courtney Love and her band Hole showed up an hour late for a performance at the 9:30 Club on Sunday, she reportedly explained her tardiness by saying, “I have a friend who is a Senator who can’t really be photographed with me, so we were hanging out and I’m late.”

While HOH doesn’t actually believe Love is friends with any Senator (and we definitely agree no Member of the chamber would ever be photographed with her), we still thought it might be fun to come up with a list of her potential Congressional buds.

• Sen. Orrin Hatch

While the Utah Republican is among the chamber’s most buttoned-up Members, he’s also the most musical, having made tens of thousands of dollars over the years moonlighting as a songwriter. We’re guessing Hatch and Love could talk music, although Hatch’s love of patriotic hymns don’t exactly mesh with Love’s rocker style.

• Sen. Barbara Boxer

The California Democrat is one of the chamber’s most celeb-friendly Members, as she is frequently spotted with famous folk in Los Angeles, so it wouldn’t be a shock if Boxer hung out with Love. Ditto for Boxer’s fellow Californian, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D).

• Sen. Patrick Leahy

Like Boxer, the Vermont Democrat also has famous friends. And he’s even caught the acting bug, making several cameo appearances on the big screen, most notably in the 2008 hit “The Dark Knight.” Plus, Leahy is a big music fan and is friends with musicians such as Bob Weir and Mickey Hart from the Grateful Dead.

• Sen. Patty Murray

While Murray and Love might not appear to have much in common, HOH notes the Washington Democrat has represented the state in the Senate since 1993. And the early ’90s were the golden age of the Seattle punk scene, led by deceased Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, Love’s husband. Could the pair be old friends?

• Sen. Scott Brown

In his younger, wilder days, the Massachusetts Republican famously posed in the buff for Cosmopolitan magazine. In her younger, wilder days (and, um, old and still wild days), Love frequently posed sans clothing. Need we say more?

The Braley Brothers Act

This sounds like the plot for a sitcom that HOH is calling “The Rep and the Rev”: Rep. Bruce Braley is welcoming his brother, a Presbyterian minister, to the Capitol, where he’ll be the House’s guest chaplain. (Well, it might make for a better sitcom if they moved in together and had to, say, raise an orphan kid, but HOH digresses.)

The Rev. Brad Braley will give the morning prayer Thursday to open the session — and looking on proudly will be his little brother, the Iowa Democrat. The brothers Braley (they’re three years apart) grew up in Iowa but apparently heard very different callings.

Brad Braley, the pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Cedar Falls, was nominated by his brother to be the guest chaplain. “Welcoming my brother to the Capitol as guest chaplain is one of the proudest moments of my career,” Braley the layman says. “Brad has spent his life working to improve his community through faith and friendship.”

Although the younger Braley has done pretty well for himself, he still looks up to his older sibling. “I wanted to be like Brad when I was growing up, and that’s still true today,” he says.

Overheard on the Hill

“Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) issued the following statement on the passing of Senator Richard Byrd.”

— Introduction to a statement released by Norton’s office Monday afternoon, referring to the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who died early Monday morning. HOH notes Norton got Byrd’s first name correct in the actual statement.

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