Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Monday that the Senate Republicans have enough votes to confirm President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee before Election Day.
“We’re going to have a process that you’ll be proud of,” Graham told Fox News host Sean Hannity in an interview Monday night. “The nominee is going to be supported by every Republican in the Judiciary Committee, and we’ve got the votes to confirm the justice on the floor of the Senate before the election. And that’s what’s coming.”
“We are going to move forward in the committee,” Graham added. “We’re going to report the nomination out of the committee to the floor of the United States Senate so we can vote before the election. That’s the constitutional process.”
Graham on Saturday said he will support Trump “in any effort” and pledged to move the nomination process along in the Senate.
“I will support President Trump in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg,” Graham tweeted.
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.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) September 19, 2020
His new position has triggered Democrats who pointed to his past remarks where he stated he wouldn’t confirm a Republican President’s nominee during an election year.
In 2016, Graham backed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s move to block Senate confirmation hearings on Merrick Garland in the last year of President Obama’s presidency.
“I want you to use my words against me. If there’s 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,” he said.
Graham reiterates this position again in 2018, saying the Senate should not take up a Supreme Court nomination in the final year of Trump’s first term.
“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 said during the 2018 “Atlantic” Festival.
The Judiciary Committee chair cited the confirmation process for Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018 as a reason for the change in views.
“After Kavanaugh, everything changed with me,” Graham said. “They are not going to intimidate me, Mitch McConnell, or anybody else.”
“It’s pretty obvious that if they want an outcome, they’ll just destroy anybody’s life to keep the seats open,” Graham added. “They said they tried to destroy Brett Kavanaugh, so they could fill the seat. They were dumb enough to say that. I’ve seen this movie before. It’s not going to work. It didn’t work with Kavanaugh.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on a call with Democrats “our number one goal must be to communicate the stakes of this Supreme Court fight to the American people,” according to a source on the call.
“Let me be clear: If Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans move forward with this, then nothing is off the table for next year,” Schumer said. “Nothing is off the table.”