Sen. Lindsey Graham slammed a so-called left-wing "takedown" of his preferred high court pick on the first day of Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.
"There’s been a wholesale effort on the Left to take down a nominee from my state. And I don’t like it very much," the South Carolina Republican said Monday, referring to the White House's previous consideration of federal Judge J. Michelle Childs for the Supreme Court.
Childs received bipartisan praise from Graham and Democratic House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn last month, who urged President Joe Biden to name her as the nominee to succeed retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. But the president ultimately named Jackson, who would make history not only as the first black woman on the high court but also as the first justice with experience as a public defender, should she be confirmed by a majority vote in the Senate.
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During Jackson's confirmation hearings to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia last year, Graham voted for her, along with Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins. Since Biden's selection last month, Graham has become increasingly critical of Jackson's record.
"President Biden has every right to pick who you'd like to pick — that comes with winning the White House — and I've been very inclined to support the picks of people that I would not have chosen. But this is a new game for the Supreme Court. And this game is particularly disturbing to me," Graham said, arguing, "Childs would have gotten 60-plus votes."
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The South Carolina senator also repeated concerns raised by ranking committee member Chuck Grassley on Monday about left-wing dark money groups that have backed Jackson, such as Demand Justice, which is among the liberal groups that have backed expanding the court to include additional justices to counteract the court’s current conservative balance.
"Now we're facing a choice, sponsored by the most radical elements of the Democratic Party when it comes to how to be a judge," Graham said. "They have the most radical view of what a judge should do."