Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham raised some eyebrows recently when he made a comment about Supreme Court vacancies.
During an interview on “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren,” the South Carolina said if there’s a vacancy on the High Court in 2020, Senate Republicans would work to confirm a nominee.
When asked about Senate Republicans rejecting hearings back in 2016 when former President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace the late-Antonin Scalia, Graham noted how the circumstances are different.
“Well, 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.
“If you look into the history of the country, there had not been an occasion where somebody was confirmed in a presidential election year after primary started when you had divided government,” he added.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has also said the Senate would consider nominations to the Supreme Court this year.
“As soon as we get back in session, we’ll start confirming judges again. We need to have hearings, and we need to confirm judges. … The pandemic will not prevent us from achieving that goal,” McConnell said last month. “My motto for the year is to leave no vacancy behind. That hasn’t changed.”
Earlier this year, McConnell argued that the situation is different now than in 2016 because the Senate and the White House are now controlled by Republicans.
“Let me remind you of what I said in 2016. I said you’d have to go back to the 1880s to find the last time a vacancy on the Supreme Court occurring during a presidential election year was confirmed by a Senate of a different party than the President. That was the situation in 2016. That would not be the situation in 2020,” he said.
It didn’t take long for liberals to lose their minds:
Tired: "It's an election year. Let the people decide."
Now: "We have all the power!!"https://t.co/9FstvIq9ox
— Zack Ford (@ZackFord) May 18, 2020
When it comes to the courts, Lindsey Graham and his fellow Republicans care about one thing: power.https://t.co/AFCnkBGH0R
— Demand Justice (@WeDemandJustice) May 18, 2020
— A Big Big a Brian (@BigBigaBrain) May 18, 2020
Republican Lindsey Graham: Supreme Court election year vacancy ‘would be different’ this time from Merrick Garland in 2016
— Raw Story (@RawStory) May 17, 2020
Why do Graham’s comments even matter now?
Well, it seems that Graham may know something that most of us do not.
Radio host Hugh Hewitt declared this week that conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito may be seriously considering stepping down.
Most would certainly have though liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be the first to step down out of the nine justices given her ailing health.
Ginsburg has faced a slew of hurdles concerning her health, fueling speculation that her possible exit from the court could provide an opportunity for Trump to appoint a third justice to the bench.
Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess which justice may step down — but both options are good for Trump.
If it’s Ginsburg, then Trump would have the chance to nominate his third judge to the nation’s highest court.
If a conservative justice steps down, Trump will have the opportunity to nominate a much younger judge who will serve on the court for decades.