Amid reports the White House is gearing up for the potential replacement of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he would make it his mission to appoint a conservative in her place.
Graham, chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, said during an interview on “Fox News Sunday” that he would fight to further increase GOP power on the court if Ginsberg, who has been treated for lung cancer, steps down.
“I hope Justice Ginsburg serves for a long time, but if there’s an opening on this court, I’m going to be hell-bent to put a conservative to replace whoever steps down for whatever reason,” Graham told host Chris Wallace.
Graham said it was Democrats who made it easier to confirm partisan picks for federal courts. He appeared noticeably angered recalling former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) 2013 move embracing the so-called nuclear option, which meant nominees for circuit court could be approved with a 51-vote majority instead of a 60-vote supermajority. Reid took the option after Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) kept pushing back on President Barack Obama’s judicial picks.
In 2017, McConnell decided to go nuclear with Supreme Court nominations, too.
“My Democrat colleagues felt, when they were in charge, we should confirm judges by a majority vote,” Graham said. “They changed the rules to accommodate President Obama, they tried to stack the court, they never thought [Hillary Clinton] would lose, so what you’re going to have is Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer’s desire to stack the court on their Democratic watches come back to haunt them.”
Graham said he would “urge the president to nominate a qualified conservative” if Ginsburg’s seat opens.
“Hopefully that person will get through and I expect it to be along party lines,” Graham added. “And this is what happens when you change the rules. This has come back to bite them, I predicted it would, and we’ll see.”
Ginsburg, 85, has been working from home and will be absent for another week of the court’s oral arguments, according to Axios.