But now Graham is going back on his word. On September 19, he tweeted:
“I will support President @realDonaldTrump in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg.”
“He’s just so two-faced. He’s so duplicitous!” says Elizabeth Hill, a South Carolina voter who attended the 2016 town hall where Graham made his now-broken promise. “What makes me so mad is they lied and they have no compunction about it, like, oh yeah, we just lie. No big deal.”
Thirty-six other Republican Senators also made similar pledges in 2016 when they blocked consideration of President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court vacated by conservative jurist Antonin Scalia. They wouldn’t even schedule hearings.
But now 31 of them have gone back on their word (we’re still waiting to hear from five other Senators who opposed considering Garland in 2016). Having refused to consider Merrick Garland because his nomination happened in an election year, they now support moving forward on Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Court, right before the 2020 election.
Ginsburg died just 46 days before the 2020 election, whereas Scalia died 236 days before the 2016 elections—five times longer. Yet just weeks before the election, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are racing to fill Ginsburg’s seat.
And they are moving fast. Trump nominated Barrett just eight days after Ginsburg died, on the day after Ginsburg lay in state at the Capitol and before she was buried. The nomination came just 37 days before the election.
Recent nominations to the high court have taken anywhere from 65 to 89 days. The fastest in recent memory was Ginsburg’s nomination, which took 42 days. Senate Republicans will have to move at record speed to confirm Barrett before the election.
On the other hand, in 2016, Republicans held Scalia’s seat open for 342 days—over eleven months—until after the inauguration of Donald Trump, denying President Barack Obama his right to make an appointment on the Court.
How did the senators justify refusing to consider President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016?
“I strongly support giving the American people a voice in choosing the next Supreme Court nominee by electing a new president,” said Lindsay Graham.
Senator Ron Johson asked, “Why not let the American people also decide the direction of the Supreme Court? In the politicized atmosphere of an election year, you probably shouldn’t even nominate someone. It’s not fair to the nominee, it’s not fair to the court.”
Senator Cory Gardner said, “Our next election is too soon and the stakes are too high; the American people deserve a role in this process as the next Supreme Court Justice will influence the direction of this country for years to come.”
Senator Pat Tooney said, “With the presidential election fewer than eight months away, it is wise to give the American people a more direct voice in the selection and confirmation of the next justice.”
Apparently, these guys no longer care about what the American people have to say.
Senator Tom Cotton said, “I respect President Obama’s right to nominate someone to the Supreme Court. But the stakes are high and we cannot rush this decision. This nomination should not be considered by the Senate at this time.”
In 2016, eight months was a rush—but now six weeks is plenty of time to put a new justice into a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court.
Senator Chuck Grassley has tried to justify his hypocrisy by noting that the Garland nomination occurred under a divided government, when the president and senate majority were of different political parties and nominations are less likely to be confirmed, whereas now they are of the same party.
Two female Senate Republicans do not support moving ahead with the Barrett nomination—Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Susan Collins. Senator Murkowski remains consistent in not supporting the confirmation of Supreme Court justices in an election year. Senator Collins has also come out against confirming a justice so shortly before election day, which is a reversal of her support of confirmation proceedings in 2016.
Not every senator has made their current position clear, but so far Murkowski and Collins are the only senators who are clearly against proceeding with confirmation. Four are needed to block the nomination.
Sen. Lindsay Graham: We are accepting your invitation to use your words against you. Your lies and hypocrisy have earned yourself a place on the Wall of Shame, along with 31 of your Republican Senate colleagues.
Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden implored Senate Republicans not to go ahead with the hearings during a speech in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware on Sunday evening.
“I urge every senator to take a step back from the brink, take off the blinders of politics for just one critical moment, and stand up for the Constitution you swore to uphold. Just because you have the power to do something doesn’t absolve you of your responsibility to do right by the American people. Uphold your constitutional duty, summon your conscience.”
Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell have been willing to bend and break so many rules over the last four years. But with abortion rights, birth control access and the Affordable Care Act at stake, many Senate Republicans are following in their footsteps, and going back on their word. Their unfairness is a betrayal of our democratic form of government.
“I am extremely pleased with President Trump’s selection in nominating Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court… Our next Supreme Court Justice must be a steadfast supporter of upholding our nation’s Constitution. I have no doubt in Judge Barrett’s qualifications and I look forward to supporting her nomination.”
“The President has a Constitutional right to nominate a candidate to fill this vacancy, but the Senate has made it clear that we do not intend move forward on it. The Constitution clearly defines the roles of each branch and the President’s ends with selecting a candidate for the vacancy… Our country is very split and we are in the midst of a highly contested presidential election. My colleagues and I are committed to giving the American people a voice in the direction the court will take for generations to come.”
“There is no room to dispute the constitutional authority President Trump has to nominate an individual to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. Likewise, the Senate can also choose to exercise its role in confirming a nominee to the nation’s highest court…I have confidence that my colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee will give the president’s nominee a thorough hearing so the full Senate can have a fair and thoughtful debate and vote on the merits of President Trump’s nominee.”
“In a few short months, we will have a new President and new Senators who can consider the next Justice with the full faith of the people. Why would we cut off the national debate on the next Justice? Why would we squelch the voice of the populace? Why would we deny the voters a chance to weigh in on the make-up of the Supreme Court? There is no reason to do so. I respect President Obama’s right to nominate someone to the Supreme Court. But the stakes are high and we cannot rush this decision. This nomination should not be considered by the Senate at this time.”
“The Senate will exercise our constitutional duty,” Cotton said, saying the Senate would process the nomination and hold hearings. “We will move forward without delay. “”There will be a vote, there have been some cases like Justice Ginsburg herself” when the confirmation process “took less than 44 days,” Cotton said. “There have been other cases which it took longer, so it’s too soon to say right now.”
“That is why the next president of the United States should have the opportunity to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. In 1992, even then-Senator Joe Biden stated the Senate should not hold confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court nominee until after that year’s presidential election. Our next election is too soon and the stakes are too high; the American people deserve a role in this process as the next Supreme Court Justice will influence the direction of this country for years to come.”
“When a President exercises constitutional authority to nominate a judge for the Supreme Court vacancy, the Senate must decide how to best fulfill its constitutional duty of advice and consent. I have and will continue to support judicial nominees who will protect our Constitution, not legislate from the bench, and uphold the law. Should a qualified nominee who meets this criteria be put forward, I will vote to confirm.”
“I don’t think we should be moving forward on a nominee in the last year of this president’s term. I would say that if it was a Republican president.And number two, even if this was the third year of this president’s term, [Merrick Garland] is not someone I would support.”
“In 2016, President Obama exercised his Constitutional duty and nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, and the Senate exercised its Constitutional obligation and decided not to consent. Now, President Trump should exercise his duty to name a nominee…. I will review the record of President Trump’s nominee, and I will provide my consent if I find they are qualified and will respect the law as written. If I conclude they do not meet this standard, as I did in 2016, I will withhold consent. And unlike President Obama in 2016, President Trump is on the ballot and can be rewarded or held accountable for his choice in November.”
“The Constitution is clear: the President shall nominate judges to the Supreme Court, but the power to grant, or withhold, consent of such nominees rests exclusively with the United States Senate. What’s at stake here is the balance of our nation’s highest court and the direction of our country for decades. I remain firm in my decision to exercise my Constitutional authority and withhold consent on any nominee to the Supreme Court submitted by President Obama.”
“Georgians want a Supreme Court that applies the law, not makes the law. Judge Amy Coney Barrett is an outstanding choice to serve on our nation’s highest court… The Senate will now move with due haste to consider Judge Barrett’s nomination. This is about more than one seat. This is about saving our Republic by maintaining the balance of power between our three branches of government.”
“The Constitution gives the President the right to make nominations to the Supreme Court, with the advice and consent of the Senate. As part of its role in this process, the Senate may, at its discretion, withhold consent. The next Supreme Court justice will make decisions that affect every American and shape our nation’s legal landscape for decades. Therefore, the current Supreme Court vacancy should be filled by an individual nominated by the next President of the United States.”
“…I take seriously my constitutional responsibility to thoroughly review this nomination, and have long maintained that judges at every level of our judicial system must interpret the law as it is written, not legislate new positions from the bench… I will conduct all due diligence to ensure my consideration of and votes regarding her nomination remain consistent with the principles and values of Idahoans.”
“A lifetime appointment that could dramatically impact individual freedoms and change the direction of the court for at least a generation is too important to get bogged down in politics. The American people shouldn’t be denied a voice. Do we want a court that interprets the law, or do we want a court that acts as an unelected super legislature? This year is a tremendous opportunity for our country to have a sincere and honest debate about the role of the Supreme Court in our constitutional system of government.”
“The difference is this time, we have unified government between the White House and the Senate…I will consider the president’s nominee based on her merits and qualifications, just as I always have during confirmation hearings. I haven’t missed a vote in the U.S. Senate since 1993, in fact, I hold the longest consecutive voting streak in history. By that measure, when a nominee to the Supreme Court comes up for a vote in the United States Senate, I will cast my vote on behalf of Iowans.”
“In the midst of a critical election, the American people deserve to have a say in this important decision that will impact the course of our country for years to come…I support Senator Grassley’s decision to exercise the Senate’s constitutional authority to withhold consent to a Supreme Court nomination until the next president is sworn in. We must wait to see what the people say this November, and then our next president will put forward a nominee.”
“We have much to consider over the coming days. The Supreme Court plays a fundamental role in the defense of our Constitution and in the protection of our rights and liberties. Once the president puts forward his nominee for the Supreme Court, I will carry out my duty—as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee—to evaluate the nominee for our nation’s highest court.”
“By nominating a replacement for Justice Scalia, President Obama is attempting to deny the American people a voice on the next Supreme Court justice. The next justice will have an effect on the courts for decades to come and should not be rushed through by a lame-duck president during an election year. This is not about the nominee, it is about giving the American people and the next president a role in selecting the next Supreme Court justice.”
“It is the U.S. Senate’s constitutional duty to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court of the United States, and I support the decision to do so. Twenty-nine times, previous presidents have made SCOTUS nominations during election years. In fact, on 19 occasions, the political parties of the president and the Senate majority were the same. Nominees were confirmed on 17 of those occasions. The Senate precedent is clear to support filling this vacancy this year.”
“I am opposed to President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee and this administration’s attempt to put another liberal judge on the Supreme Court. As I have said since the vacancy was created, I believe I have a duty to ask tough questions and demand answers. I am certain a thorough investigation would expose Judge Garland’s record and judicial philosophy, and disqualify him in the eyes of Kansans and Americans.”
“Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a well-qualified nominee, having served as a clerk for Justice Scalia and distinguishing herself as a law professor at Notre Dame before receiving bipartisan support during her confirmation to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. I will review Judge Barrett’s legal writings in the coming weeks, and I look forward to meeting with her to learn more about her views of the judicial branch and the Constitution.”
“The next justice could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court and have a profound impact on our country, so of course the American people should have a say in the Court’s direction…The American people may well elect a President who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration. The next President may also nominate someone very different. Either way, our view is this: Give the people a voice in the filling of this vacancy.”
“I look forward to meeting with the nominee next week and will carefully study her record and credentials. As I have stated, this nomination will receive a vote on the Senate floor in the weeks ahead, following the work of the Judiciary Committee supervised by Chairman Graham. The Court, the Senate, and the American people — not to mention the nominee and her family — deserve a fair process that is focused on Judge Barrett’s qualifications…”
“The American people should have the opportunity to make their voices heard before filling a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court…our time should be spent addressing the many other legislative matters before us to strengthen our economy, create jobs, and secure our nation.”
“President Trump and Senate Republicans promised to confirm well-qualified, conservative judges and justices to the federal courts. We should continue to fulfill this promise and our constitutional duty for all vacancies as long as we are in office. I look forward to consideration of the President’s nominee by the full Senate.”
“The Senate should not confirm a new Supreme Court justice until we have a new president.”
“This is a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. The president has every right to nominate someone, and the Senate has the Constitutional responsibility to decide if it’s the right person at the right time. I will not vote for this nominee to the Supreme Court.”
“…I was proud to support [Barrett’s] confirmation to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and look forward to supporting her confirmation to the Supreme Court. I urge our colleagues across the aisle to give this nomination the fair, thoughtful consideration it deserves.”
“…The American people have already begun voting on who the next President will be and their voice should continue to be reflected in a process that will have lasting implications on our nation. The U.S. Senate should exercise its constitutional powers by not confirming a new Supreme Court justice until the American people elect a new President and have their voices heard. I will oppose any hearing or votes for President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court.”
“Judge Barrett is a conservative, well qualified judge, who has faithfully honored and defended the Constitution… Judge Barrett will defend our Montana way of life from those that want to take away our 2nd Amendment rights and destroy our jobs…I now look forward to casting my vote to confirm Judge Barrett to the United States Supreme Court.”
“It is crucial for Nebraskans and all Americans to have a voice in the selection of the next person to serve a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court, and there is precedent to do so. Therefore, I believe this position should not be filled until the election of a new president.”
“…voting on President Trump’s nominee is what the people who elected him in 2016, along with an enhanced Senate majority in both 2016 and 2018, expect us to do. It is also what Democrat leaders have said they would do if they were in our position. As such, once President Trump makes a nomination, I look forward to engaging in the process and evaluating the nominee on the basis of their qualifications, temperament, understanding of the Constitution, and commitment to the rule of law.”
“While President Obama is entitled to nominate an individual to the Supreme Court, the Senate has made it clear it will be exercising its Constitutional authority to withhold consent of the nomination. We are in the middle of a presidential election, and the Senate majority is giving the American people a voice to determine the direction of the Supreme Court,” he said…”
“Judge Amy Coney Barrett is an excellent choice for Associate Justice on the Supreme Court and I support her confirmation… She understands the job of a Supreme Court Justice isn’t to legislate from the bench and I’m confident she’ll protect the religious freedom and liberty of all Americans. I look forward to advancing Judge Barrett’s nomination out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and voting for her confirmation on the Senate floor.”
“The American people need to have an opportunity to voice their opinion at the ballot box as to what kind of judge they want to replace Justice Antonin Scalia. In fact, that is actually a bipartisan position expressed by numerous Democratic leaders in recent years.”
“I look forward to voting on the President’s nominee, and that person should be someone who will uphold the law and not legislate from the bench.That is what I believe is best for North Dakota and the nation.”
“…during a very partisan year and a presidential election year, that both for the sake of the court and the integrity of the court and the legitimacy of the candidate, it’s better to have this occur after we’re passed this presidential election,” he said.
“Leader McConnell has said that he will hold a vote on any nominee President Trump sends to the Senate, and I intend to fulfill my role as a U.S. Senator and judge that nominee based on his or her merits… In 2016, when the vacancy occurred following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, I said ‘the president has every right to nominate a Supreme Court justice … But the founders also gave the Senate the exclusive right to decide whether to move forward on that nominee.’… I look forward to seeing who President Trump plans to nominate and thoroughly assessing his or her qualifications for this important role.”
“While I will evaluate the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, the next president should be the one to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. I will oppose this nomination as I firmly believe we must let the people decide the Supreme Court’s future.”
“The precedent here is clear. In the case of a united government, with voters having elected a Senate and White House of the same party, it is our constitutional obligation to consider a nomination of a Supreme Court justice. I look forward to a thorough and swift consideration of@realDonaldTrump’s nominee. I’ve been pleased at the short lists President Trump has put forward and am confident his nominee will be a well-qualified, constitutional judge.”
“…While the Constitution says the President shall nominate judges to the Supreme Court, it does not say the Senate shall approve a nominee. Based on previous historical precedent, I support Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s intent to give the American people a say in Justice Scalia’s replacement this year at the ballot box.”
“I look forward to meeting Judge Barrett and considering her nomination to fill the Supreme Court vacancy… I supported her nomination in 2017 for the Court of Appeals, and I look forward to working through the process of advice and consent for the highest court in the land.”
“With the U.S. Supreme Court’s balance at stake, and with the presidential election fewer than eight months away, it is wise to give the American people a more direct voice in the selection and confirmation of the next justice.“
“The circumstances surrounding the current vacancy are, in fact, different. While there is a presidential election this year, the White House and the Senate are currently both controlled by the same party. The Senate’s historical practice has been to fill Supreme Court vacancies in these circumstances…”
“I want you to use my words against me. If there is 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,’ and you can use my words against me, and you’d be absolutely right.”
“The American people deserve to have their voices heard on the nomination of the next Supreme Court justice, who could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court for a generation. Since the next presidential election is already underway, the next president should make this lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.”
“I believe Americans sent a Republican president and a Republican Senate to Washington to ensure we have an impartial judiciary that upholds the Constitution and the rule of law. We will fulfill our obligation to them. As Leader McConnell has said, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate.”
“I believe it is reasonable to give the American people a voice by allowing the next president to fill this lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. Under our Constitution, the president has the right to nominate, but the Senate has the right to decide whether to consent at this point in a presidential election year..”
“I have voted to confirm Justices Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh based upon their intelligence, character and temperament. I will apply the same standard when I consider Judge Barrett’s nomination to replace Justice Ginsburg.”
“While the President has the constitutional authority to make a nomination to fill this vacancy, the Senate also has the authority and responsibility to determine how to move forward with it… At this critical juncture in our nation’s history, Texans and the American people deserve to have a say in the selection of the next lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. “The only way to empower the American people and ensure they have a voice is for the next President to make the nomination to fill this vacancy.”
“Just as the Senate has always done, we will thoroughly review the qualifications and experience of whomever the President nominates. We should not rush that process. It should be conducted carefully and consistently with how the Senate has previously handled Supreme Court nominations. And when that process is complete, the Senate will vote on that nominee sometime this year.”
The American people elected [Trump] president and expanded the Senate Republicans’ majority in 2018 because we’ve delivered on that promise. I have every confidence she will be confirmed before Election Day.”
“In light of the contentious presidential election already well underway, my colleagues and I on the Judiciary Committee have already given our advice and consent on this issue: we will not have any hearings or votes on President Obama’s pick. Any meeting with any nominee put forward by President Obama would only be a waste of the Senate’s time. The Court has very ably dealt with temporary absences in the past and will do so again now.”
“This year, President Trump will nominate a replacement for Justice Ginsburg and, consistent with the Constitution, we will again give our advice and consent,” he added. “If we like the nominee, we will confirm her. If we don’t, we won’t. It’s that simple.”
“Before a Supreme Court justice is confirmed to a lifetime position on the bench, West Virginians and the American people should have the ability to weigh in at the ballot box this November.My position does not change with the naming of a nominee today…With just a few months until the election, West Virginians should have an opportunity to express their views and elect a new president who will select the Supreme Court justice.”
“President Trump has selected another outstanding Supreme Court candidate by nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Judge Barrett has had a distinguished career as a law professor, law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia, and federal appellate judge. She has demonstrated a strong commitment to the rule of law and to carefully considering the text and history of the Constitution. I look forward to meeting with Judge Barrett soon as the Senate moves forward with the confirmation process and will consider her based on her merits as West Virginians would expect me to do.”
“Well, what I said is that we’re in a pretty unique moment in time here in history. We’ve – you know, obviously the composition of the court – liberal versus conservative – is really in the balance, and we’re only eight months before an election where the American people are going to decide the direction of the country. Why not let the American people also decide the direction of the Supreme Court?”
“Less than three years ago, Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed on a bipartisan basis as a judge on the Federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. I was pleased to vote for her then, and I expect to support her confirmation as a justice on the Supreme Court.”
“A president on his way out of the White House should not make a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. The American people will soon decide our next president. That person should get to choose the next Supreme Court nominee. Give the people a voice, and let them chart the course for the court and the country.”
“My congratulations to Judge Barrett and her family. I look forward to reviewing her judicial record and other writings and following her confirmation hearings. This is a historic choice by the president. Judge Barrett is a highly qualified nominee. She will apply the law, not legislate from the bench. This Senate will give Judge Barrett full and fair consideration, and a timely vote on the Senate floor.”