On the day after the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it’s interesting to revisit the words of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) from just a few years ago:
“This is the last year of a lame-duck, and if Ted Cruz or Donald Trump get to be president, they’ve all asked us not to confirm or take up a selection by President Obama. So if a vacancy occurs in their last year, of their first term, guess what, you will use their words against them. You will use their words against them.
“I want you to use my words against me. If there is a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said ‘let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination,’ and you could use my words against me and you’d be absolutely right.”
The Washington Post reports that in 2018, when Graham was in line to take over the committee with jurisdiction over Supreme Court nominees, he said that ‘if an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait till the next election.’”
Graham is in a tight race for reelection himself this year – the most recent polls show him tied with his Democratic challenger, Jaime Harrison. How will his state react if he supports a vote on RGB’s replacement before the election?
Two other Republican Senators have signaled opposition to confirming a new justice so close to an election.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told The Hill in August of this year: “When Republicans held off Merrick Garland it was because nine months prior to the election was too close, we needed to let people decide. And I agreed to do that. If we now say that months prior to the election is okay when nine months was not, that is a double standard and I don’t believe we should do it. So I would not support it.”
And Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), also in a tough reelection campaign, told the New York Times‘ Jonathan Martin earlier this month, she would not seat a Supreme Court justice in October.
“I think that’s too close, I really do,” she said. She added she’d also oppose seating a justice in the lame-duck session if there’s a change in presidents.