While the Senate Judiciary Committee was debating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Sen. Lindsey Graham confirmed what many people suspected: If Republicans win control of the Senate this fall, qualified nominees like Judge Jackson won’t get confirmed.
“If we get back the Senate, and we’re in charge of this body, and there’s judicial openings, we will talk to our colleagues on the other side. But if we’re in charge, she [Judge Jackson] would not have been before this committee. You’d have had someone more moderate than this.”
While Senator Graham is not clear on what procedural devices he would use, what is clear is that in a Republican-controlled Senate, Biden nominees no matter how qualified would not be confirmed unless they pass a far-right litmus test – set by Lindsey Graham. Call this the “Merrick Garland on steroids” tactic.
What this means:
- No more inspiring judges like Ketanji Brown Jackson.
- No one like Myrna Pérez, the voting rights champion whom Biden named to the Second Circuit.
- No one like Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, the dedicated public defender whom Biden named to the Seventh Circuit.
- No one like Jennifer Sung, the experienced labor lawyer whom Biden named to the Ninth Circuit.
And how does that affect our lives?
- It means that the tremendous progress made toward having a federal judiciary that looks like America will come to a screeching halt.
- It means empowering the people who want to take away our right to vote.
- It means making it easier to get away with racial discrimination.
- It means hurting trans kids.
- It means making it harder to hold people accountable for police violence.
- It means severely curtailing access to abortion care.
- It means accelerating climate change.
Fair and just courts are vital to protecting our health, our rights, and our lives. That’s why we need federal judges with a demonstrated commitment to civil rights – judges who will protect the rights of all of us, not just the powerful.
How do we know courts are so important? Because if they weren’t, why would the Far Right be fighting so hard to defeat people like Ketanji Brown Jackson and to fill the courts instead with people like Brett Kavanaugh?
Freeing our courts from far-right domination is a long-term project that will require a lot of work. Lindsey Graham has given us a good reminder of the stakes in November.