WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) spoke Wednesday before attendees at The Federalist Society’s first annual Legislative Branch Review Conference.
The conference was held at the United States Capitol Visitor Center’s atrium. Graham, who is also the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, gave his remarks about the current state of extremism in Congress and how he hopes to shape the Supreme Court.
“I’ve been here since 2002,” Graham said. “I’ve had six votes for Supreme Court nominees. I’ve voted for them all. I thought (Elena) Kagan and (Sonia) Sotomayor were qualified. I wouldn’t have chosen them. But it was very clear to me that they were qualified. They represent people that a Democratic president would pick from. As to the four nominated on the Republican side, I found them equality qualified. They were exactly the kind of people that a Republican president would choose from.”
Graham explained that the Federalist Society is the kind of organization that Republicans would turn to when they need advice on who to nominate for the different sects of the justice system.
“Where do you think the Democrats go? Who do you think they talk to?” Graham asked.
Graham argued that the way the parties nominate judges is similar to that of any other election. The danger to that mindset, he suggested, is that the government ends up introducing the worst elements of politics into the supposedly non-partisan judiciary branch.
“I’m afraid that we’re in a dark period now,” Graham said. “That elections, when it comes to judges, never end. That the rules have changed, against my will. I was in the gang of 14 that stopped the filibuster during the Bush years, saying that we should only filibuster judges in extraordinary circumstances. So, the politics of judges is ever increasing and eventually is going to hurt the judiciary.”
Graham pointed to Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing as a prime example of the issue. He believes that in the future, it will be difficult to find potential nominees for the Supreme Court who will willingly come forward to serve.
“What Kavanaugh went through was unconscionable and I hope it never happens again,” he said.
Graham commemorated the Federalist Society for maintaining a desire to nominate judges who uphold the Rule-of-Law from a conservative point of view. The senator said he doesn’t desire “right or left” ideology to taint the dignity of the court system.
Graham promised to do what he can to get more qualified conservative judges on Trump’s watch. On top of that, he said he’ll be looking for younger judges who can serve their role for a long time and who come out of the private sector to serve.
“I love the law,” Graham said. “It’s the one thing we have going for us that over time makes us really different. Buying into this idea that it’s about where you come from, it’s not how much you make, it’s not the group you belong to that determines your fate, but the quality of evidence.”
The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is an organization dedicated to reestablishing conservative values in the legal system. The Legislative Branch Review Conference brings together congressmen, academic figures, and policy analysts to discuss the state of the nation’s judiciary.