People For the American Way

Graham Says Judge Jackson Would Not Have Come Before a Republican-Controlled Judiciary Committee

News and Analysis
Graham Says Judge Jackson Would Not Have Come Before a Republican-Controlled Judiciary Committee
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina addresses the National Guard Association of the United States 138th General Conference, Baltimore, Md., Sept. 11, 2016. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill)

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.

Here’s what Graham said:

“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:

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.