Graham commits to supporting Trump ‘in any effort to move forward’ in filling Ginsburg’s seat
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham on Saturday said he will support President Donald Trump “in any effort to move forward” with a nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, just hours after Trump made clear he wants the seat left vacant by her death filled “without delay.”
Graham claimed in a string of tweets that “the two biggest changes regarding the Senate and judicial confirmations that have occurred in the last decade have come from Democrats,” adding later: “In light of these two events, I will support President @realDonaldTrump in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg.”
Earlier Saturday, Graham responded to Trump’s tweet calling for Republicans to act quickly on a nominee, saying, “I fully understand where the President is coming from.” The South Carolina Republican pointed to recent comments he made about filling a Supreme Court seat, including telling reporters in April that “the rules have changed as far as I’m concerned” after Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation battle in 2018.
Graham has offered differing views about whether he would try to confirm a nominee during the last year of Trump’s term. His Saturday tweet marked a notable shift from his comments to CNN in July that he didn’t know how practical it would be to try to fill a vacancy in the remaining months.
Ginsburg, appointed to the high court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, died Friday at age 87 due to complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer. Her death sets up a high stakes political battle in Congress over the future of the Supreme Court, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to bring Trump’s nominee to a vote on the Senate floor.
Senate conservatives, seeing a potential to expand the bench’s conservative majority to 6-3, are already pressuring McConnell to move on Trump’s nominee before Election Day.
Democrats are calling for Republicans to delay until after the next president is sworn in and follow the precedent McConnell set in 2016 when he blocked a vote on then-President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
On Twitter Saturday, Graham pointed to another news article in which he’s quoted arguing that “Merrick Garland was a different situation.”
“You had the president of one party nominating, and you had the Senate in the hands of the other party. A situation where you’ve got them both would be different. I don’t want to speculate, but I think appointing judges is a high priority for me in 2020,” he told “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren.”
In July, however, CNN’s Manu Raju asked Graham, and GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley, the former Judiciary Committee chair, about potentially filling a Supreme Court seat before the November election.
“Well, I’d like to fill a vacancy, but we’d have to see, I mean I don’t know how practical that would be,” Graham told CNN.
Grassley said the question wasn’t his to answer.
“My position, is if I were chairman of the committee, I couldn’t move forward with it but you’d have to ask Graham what he’s going to do. I can’t answer that question,” Grassley told CNN.
CNN’s Manu Raju and Nicky Robertson contributed to this report.