In a move that surprised no one Thursday, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said that he will vote against Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court — although his opposition will ultimately be purely symbolic.
The longtime senator from South Carolina made the announcement on the Senate floor and later in a Twitter post.
“After a thorough review of Judge Jackson’s record and information gained at the hearing from an evasive witness, I now know why Judge Jackson was the favorite of the radical left, and I will vote no,” he said.
Graham flatly told Jackson during confirmation hearings last week that he preferred to see South Carolina federal judge J. Michelle Childs get the Supreme Court nomination to replace the retiring Stephen Breyer. Childs was on President Joe Biden’s short list, along with Jackson.
“My decision is based upon her record of judicial activism, flawed sentencing methodology regarding child pornography cases, and a belief that Judge Jackson will not be deterred by the plain meaning of the law when it comes to liberal causes,” Graham said in a tweet.
“I find Judge Jackson to be a person of exceptionally good character, respected by her peers, and someone who has worked hard to achieve her current position. However, her record is overwhelming in its lack of a steady judicial philosophy and a tendency to achieve outcomes in spite of what the law requires or common sense would dictate.”
At a confirmation hearing last week, representatives of the American Bar Association rejected GOP accusations that Jackson has been lenient in sentencing in the past, saying that the claim is not supported by their investigation. They also said that they found no political biases with Jackson, who’s now an appellate judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Graham, incidentally, voted for Jackson less than a year ago when Biden nominated her for the appeals court — something that’s almost sure to revive frequent criticisms that Graham “flip flops” on various issues. He vehemently opposed Donald Trump when he announced his White House run in 2015, and later became one of his biggest supporters.
In 2016, Graham supported ignoring Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination by then-President Barack Obama, arguing that the high court vacancy was too close to a presidential election. Four years later, he went back on that claim and voted to confirm Trump’s nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, to the Supreme Court — about a month before the election.
Graham’s opposition will do little to stop Jackson’s confirmation. Only a simple majority, 51 votes, is required and at least one Republican senator has already said that she will vote to confirm her.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. — a moderate Democrat who often votes with Republicans — has also said that he will vote for Jackson.
“In recent years, senators on both sides of the aisle have gotten away from what I perceive to be the appropriate process for evaluating judicial nominees,” Collins said Wednesday.
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney is also said to be considering a “yea” vote for Jackson to ascend to the Supreme Court.
The Senate judiciary committee is scheduled to vote on Jackson’s nomination Monday, which would be followed by a full Senate vote. In confirmed, Jackson will join the high court bench after its current term ends in June.
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