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Sen. Lindsey Graham stormed out of a nomination hearing for Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson, who is President Joe Biden’s pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, following a heated exchange over the status of prisoners still being held at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility.
The South Carolina Republican had words with Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin, the long-serving Illinois Democrat, after the latter noted that the detainees — plucked off various battlefields during the Global War On Terror that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — are being held at a cost of around $12-$13 million per year, suggesting the government could dramatically lower those costs by transferring them to a prison in Florence, Colo.
Durbin then claimed that the recidivism rate of a released terrorist detainee is only 5 percent.
“Mr. Chairman, according to the Director of National Intelligence, it’s 31 percent,” Graham interjected. “Somebody is wrong here.
“If you’re gonna talk about what I said I’m going to respond to what you said. If we close Gitmo and move them to Colorado, do you support indefinite detention under war for these detainees?” Graham demanded to know.
“I just want to be clear here that I’m giving the facts –” Durbin said in response before Graham cut him off.
“The answer is no,” Graham interrupted. “What does it matter when it goes back to? We had them and they got loose and they started killing people. If you were one of the people killed in 2005, does it matter to you when we release them?”
He went on to say that the “system has failed miserably,” noting that “advocates to change the system, like she was advocating, would destroy our ability to protect this country.”
“We’re at war, we’re not fighting a crime. This is not some passage of time event,” he continued.
“As long as they’re dangerous, I hope they all die in jail if they’re gonna go back and kill Americans,” the South Carolina Republican added. “It won’t bother me one bit if 39 of them die in prison. That’s a better outcome than letting them go and if it costs $500 million to keep them in jail, keep them in jail because they’re gonna go back to the fight!
“Look at the friggin Afghan government, it’s made up of former detainees in Gitmo. This whole thing by the left about this war ain’t working!” he noted.
At that, Graham got up from his seat and left the hearing.
Sen. Lindsey Graham gets angry and walks out after Sen. Dick Durbin fact checks him on the rescidivism rate at Gitmo, which Durbin says was six times lower than Graham stated. pic.twitter.com/fDd7ribloa
— David Heath (@davidhth) March 22, 2022
The Daily Caller added:
A recurring topic at the hearing regarded Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s representation of four Guantanamo Bay detainees during her time serving as a public defender. She defended her past record arguing that a criminal defense lawyer does not choose their clients and defends their clients in order to serve the Constitution and the court.
“September 11  was a tragic attack on this country,” Jackson said. “We all lived through it, we saw what happened and there were many defenses, important defenses, that Americans undertook. There were Americans whose service came in the form of military action.”
“After 9/11, there were also lawyers who recognized that our nation’s values were under attack, that we couldn’t let the terrorists win by changing who we were fundamentally,” she said. “And what that meant was that the people who were being accused by our government of having engaged in actions related to this, under our constitutional scheme, were entitled to representation, were entitled to be treated fairly. That’s what makes our system the best in the world. That’s what makes us exemplary.”
She also said that in the past, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that detainees could seek a legal review of their imprisonment and that she had been assigned to represent them in a legal capacity.
“Federal public defenders don’t get to pick their clients,” she continued. “They have to represent whoever comes in, and it’s a service. That’s what you do as a federal public defender, you are standing up for the constitutional value of representation. And so I represented, as an appellate defender, some of those detainees.”
She emphasized a criminal defense lawyer’s role is to serve the Constitution and the court by arguing on behalf of their clients and that the Constitution “does not get suspended in times of emergency.”