Sen. Graham: Jackson Wouldn’t Be Supreme Court Nominee If GOP Held Majority

Sen. Graham: Jackson Wouldn't Be Supreme Court Nominee If GOP Held Majority Sen. Graham: Jackson Wouldn't Be Supreme Court Nominee If GOP Held Majority Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., questions U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, March 23, 2022 in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By Jason Clemons | Monday, 04 April 2022 02:48 PM

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., expressed his disappointment with President Joe Biden's pick for the Supreme Court on Monday, saying that Ketanji Brown Jackson wouldn't have gotten this far in the nomination process if Senate Republicans controlled the Senate.

Graham also signaled a warning to how things might work with future Supreme Court nominees in a few years.

"If we get back the Senate and we're in charge of this body, and there is judicial openings, we will talk to our colleagues on the other side. But if we were in charge, [Judge Jackson] would not have been before this committee. You would have had somebody more moderate than this," Graham said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

While no votes have been officially counted within the Senate, Graham's public words suggest he'll be choosing "no" on Judge Jackson's candidacy for the Supreme Court, replacing the outgoing Justice Stephen Breyer.

The Hill reported that Graham — who has held a U.S. senatorial post since January 2003 — never has filed a formal "no" vote for any Supreme Court finalist.

The House and Senate have been interviewing Judge Jackson about her judicial record in the lower courts for two weeks. It remains to be seen whether Graham only opposes Judge Jackson's apparent political leanings to the left.

"I want you to know right now the process [Senate Democrats] started to go to a simple majority vote is going to rear its head here pretty soon when we're in charge, then we'll talk about judges differently," a cryptic Graham said during Monday's hearing.

In 2017, Republicans voted to drop the 60-vote requirement for all Supreme Court nominees, essentially following the 2013 methodology of former Senate majority leader, the late Harry Reid, D-Nev., after that year's Dmocrat-controlled majority got rid of the 60-vote requirement for lower-court judicial nominees.

By today's Senate rules, a simple 51-vote yes majority would get Judge Jackson confirmed into the Supreme Court.

In 2016, Republicans refused Merrick Garland's Supreme Court nomination, citing the decades-long tradition of not politicizing the commander-in-chief's Supreme Court pick during presidential-election years — when the White House and Senate are not controlled by the same party.

In the fall of 2020, then-President Donald Trump was able to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with conservative pick Justice Amy Coney Barrett, just days before the presidential election, since the White House and Senate were both controlled by Republicans.

If the Democrats hadn't picked up extra Senate seats during the 2020 election cycle — including two Georgia seats via runoff elections in January 2021 — Sen. Graham might have gotten his wish about precluding Judge Jackson from advancing this far into the Supreme Court process.

However, his dissenting rhetoric could be moot, since there are already reports of Judge Jackson being confirmed into the Supreme Court as early as this week.

Graham's Monday comments were not well-received on the other side of the aisle. Nora Keefe, spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), shot back with the following statement.

"If Senate Republicans had their way, the first Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court would not even have received a hearing," said Keefe, according to The Hill. "Republicans' shameful and relentless attacks on a nominee as qualified as Judge Jackson reinforce the stakes of this year's election, and will remind voters why we must defend and expand our Democratic Senate majority with the power to confirm Supreme Court justices."

Regarding 2024, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said that President Biden wouldn't be allowed to nominate a Supreme Court pick that year — if the Republicans take back the Senate this fall.

"I think in the middle of a presidential election, if you have a Senate of the opposite party of the president, you have to go back to the 1880s to find the last time a vacancy was filled. So I think it's highly unlikely," McConnell said in a 2021 radio interview with Hugh Hewitt.

The current Supreme Court includes Justice Clarence Thomas, only the second African-American to serve on the nation's highest court. Thomas, a selection of former President George H.W. Bush, was confirmed by the Senate in October 1991.

Original Article