Walkback For The Ages: Graham Ditches McConnell Rule He Promised To Apply Evenly

US Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham (R-SC) discusses the impeachment of US President Trump and the FBI's Russia inquiry on Capitol Hill December 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery / AFP) (Ph... US Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham (R-SC) discusses the impeachment of US President Trump and the FBI's Russia inquiry on Capitol Hill December 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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September 19, 2020 5:01 p.m.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has perhaps made the biggest flip-flop yet seen as the GOP races to reverse former comments condemning the confirmation of Supreme Court justices during an election year. 

Graham now says he supports “any effort to move forward” to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat. Earlier Saturday, President Trump tweeted that he intended to  move forward with nominating Ginsburg’s successor “without delay.”

Back in 2016, Graham was singing a very different tune. When Senate Republicans refused to even hold a hearing on Obama-nominee Judge Merrick Garland, Graham said it was too close to the election even though at the time of late Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February it was roughly nine months away. 

“I want you to use my words against me,” Graham said at the time. “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 has since reissued that promise several times over.

In 2018, he said that following a potential seat vacancy in the final year of Trump’s term the Senate would “wait to the next election.” 

“If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait to the next election,” he said.

But Graham began to set the stage for his epic reversal more recently when he said in May that “appointing judges is a high priority for me in 2020,” and 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,” Graham said during a “Full Court Press” interview with Greta Van Susteren.

Graham completed his reversal Saturday — the day after the Ginsburg’s death — that he would support a Supreme Court nomination by President Trump. 

“I will support President @realDonaldTrump in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg,” Graham wrote.

 

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