Democrats had been hoping that Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina would be a GOP vote for President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson. On Thursday, he dashed those hopes.
In a speech from the Senate floor, Graham — who had previously supported Jackson’s appointment to a federal court position — announced he would vote against her Supreme Court nomination.
“I will oppose her and I will vote no,” Graham said, according to Business Insider.
“My decision is based upon her record of judicial activism, flawed sentencing methodology regarding child-pornography cases, and a belief Judge Jackson will not be deterred by the plain meaning of the law when it comes to liberal causes.”
Jackson was, in Graham’s estimation,”a person of exceptionally good character, respected by her peers, and someone who has worked hard to achieve her current position.”
That wasn’t enough to overcome problems he had with her judicial inconsistency.
Jackson’s record, Graham said, “is overwhelming in its lack of a steady judicial philosophy and a tendency to achieve outcomes in spite of what the law requires or common sense would dictate.”
“I now know why Judge Jackson was the favorite of the radical left and I will vote no.”
While it’s rumored that Graham had favored South Carolina federal district judge J. Michelle Childs and was displeased when she wasn’t the nominee, Jackson’s contentious hearings had apparently convinced the senator to vote nay.
In particular, Republicans took exception to Jackson’s lenient sentencing of child pornography offenders. In one case, she sentenced a man to three months in prison when federal sentencing guidelines called for up to 10 years.
Graham was among those who grilled Jackson about the light sentences when she appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
“I have no doubt that you find child pornography disgusting as the rest of America. You are a mother, you seem to be a very nice person,” Graham said to Jackson. However, he questioned whether she believed in deterring offenders by applying sentence enhancements for using computers to distribute child pornography.
“Would you want to deter people from going down the road abusing the computer that allows these people to have access to millions of photos because of the technology? I want those people deterred,” Graham said.
“The computer and the internet is feeding the beast.”
Jackson responded that she had imposed “substantial supervision” on computer habits for those she had sentenced.
“You think it is a bigger deterrent to take somebody who is on a computer looking at sexual images of children in the most disgusting way is to supervise their computer habits versus putting them in jail?”
“No, I didn’t say versus,” Jackson responded.
“That’s what you said,” Graham shot back. “I think the best way to deter people from getting on a computer and viewing thousands and hundreds and over time maybe millions, the population as a whole, of children being exploited and abused every time somebody clicks on is to put their a** in jail, not supervise their computer usage.”
As of Friday morning, only one Republican has announced they would support Jackson’s nomination: Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.
While the nominee almost certainly has the votes necessary to be confirmed, Graham’s announcement significantly dims the possibility she would receive substantial bipartisan support.