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South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) on Monday said that accusations of racism won't deter Republicans from asking Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson hard questions, reminding Democrats of their hypocrisy when it comes to minority nominees.
Graham promised that the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for President Joe Biden's Supreme Court nominee "won't be a circus," unlike the confirmation hearings for Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and other qualified conservative judicial nominees.
Republicans are still bitter about how Democrats acted during those hearings, as was evident from their comments during opening statements. Graham made a point to remind Democrats how they've mistreated Republican nominees before, including minorities, and said that Jackson, who if confirmed would be the first black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, will not face similar treatment.
He said, for instance, that the hearing was already "off to a good start," since the proceedings were courteous, unlike the 2018 Kavanaugh hearing, when "Chairman Grassley couldn't get the first word out of his mouth before they shut down the place." Graham was referring to how then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) repeatedly interrupted Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) during his opening remarks, infuriating Republicans.
"Most of us couldn't go back to our offices during Kavanaugh without getting spit on," Graham said. "Hope that doesn't happen to y'all. I don't think it will."
Anticipating that the left will accuse Republicans opposed to Jackson's nomination of being racist, Graham said that before he gets "lectured" by Democrats, "I remember Janice Rodgers Brown, an African-American woman, that was filibustered by the same people praising [Jackson]."
"I remember Miguel Estrada, one of the finest people I ever met, completely wiped out," Graham said.
Estrada, a Honduran-American, was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Though he had majority support in the Senate, Democrats filibustered his nomination in 2002, preventing him from receiving a confirmation vote. Brown was a 2003 Bush nominee for the same court, but then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and other Democrats
filibustered her nomination, though she was later confirmed in 2005.
"If you're a Hispanic or African-American conservative, it's about your philosophy. Now it's gonna be about the historic nature of the pick," he continued. Rejecting that framing, he told Jackson she will face "hard questions" about her judicial philosophy and accusations that Republicans are being "racist" are "not going to fly with us."
"We're used to it by now," Graham said.
.@LindseyGrahamSC at Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation hearing:\n\n"I remember Janice Rodgers Brown, an African-American woman, that was filibustered by the same people praising you.\u201dpic.twitter.com/8gq3AFmWH8— TheBlaze (@TheBlaze) 1647879300
Among those hard questions will be why "people on the left, the far extreme part of the left, believe you were the best bet," Graham told Jackson. He brought up how the left-leaning dark money group Arabella Advisors ran ads campaigning for Jackson over Michelle Childs, a federal judge in South Carolina who was also considered by Biden for the Supreme Court nomination.
"The attacks from the left against Judge Childs was really pretty vicious, to be honest with you. So you say, Judge Jackson, you don't have any judicial philosophy per se. Well, somebody on the left believes you do, or they wouldn't have spent the money they spent to have you in this chair."
Graham also said that Republicans will ask about her sentencing practices as a district court judge, her legal views, and the far-left groups that support her nomination.
But in contrast to Democrats during the Kavanaugh hearing, there will be tactics Republicans won't use. "You will not be vilified. You will not be attacked for your religious views. You will not be accused of something that you could not defend yourself against until it was too late," Graham said.
Sen. @LindseyGrahamSC to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson: "You will not be vilified. You will not be attacked for your religious views. You will not be accused of something that you could not defend yourself against until it was too late." #SCOTUSpic.twitter.com/h04r8rhEva— CSPAN (@CSPAN) 1647878958
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