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Sen. Lindsey Graham Monday decried a “wholesale” effort by progressives to oppose Judge J. Michele Childs – his preferred Supreme Court pick – and support Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who President Biden eventually chose.
The comments appeared to set up a possible pretext for Graham, R-S.C., who’s voted for many of Biden’s judicial picks, to oppose Jackson’s elevation about one year after he voted to put her on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“So you say, Judge Jackson, you don’t have any judicial philosophy, per se?” Graham, R-S.C., said. “Well, somebody on the left believes you do, or they wouldn’t have spent the money they spent to have you in this chair.”
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, listens during a hearing on May 26, 2021. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) ((Photo by Stefani Reynolds / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images))
“I think it does matter that the groups that came to your aid at the expense of Judge Childs – how did that happen and why were they doing what they were doing?” Graham said. “What is it about your nomination that the most liberal people… threw in their money, their time, their support and threatened Joe Biden if he picked Judge Childs?”
If Graham does oppose Jackson, it narrows Democrats’ margin for error in the 50-50 Senate. But most experts expect all 50 Democrats to stick together in support of Jackson.
Graham was a vocal supporter of Childs to join the Supreme Court while the White House was still deciding who it would pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. He lavishly praised Childs, who like Jackson is Black, and predicted many Republicans would also vote for her.
Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., who was key in Biden’s campaign, also supported Childs. And Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., indicated he might back the South Carolina judge if she were nominated.
But some progressives opposed Childs over worries she was not liberal enough, particularly on labor issues, among others.
Graham Monday took exception to what he said were “vicious” attacks against Childs. And he said he will ask Jackson for an “explanation” why progressives so fervently supported her and opposed Childs.
“This game is particularly disturbing to me because there’s been a wholesale effort of the left to take down a nominee from my state. And I don’t like it very much,” Graham said. “I’ll have a response and I don’t expect it to reward that way of playing the game.”