New judge should be named in January
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
“I want you to use my words against
me. If there’s a Republican president in
2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year
of the fi rst term, you can say Lindsey Graham
said let’s let the next president, whoever
it might be, make that nomination.”
Graham, the South Carolina Republican
who himself is up for reelection in
November, made these remarks in March
2016, the day that President Barack Obama
nominated Judge Merrick Garland, who
sits on the federal Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia Circuit, to replace the
late Antonin Scalia, who died suddenly the
Graham was voicing support for the decision
that Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell of Kentucky had already announced
— that Garland would get no Senate
vote or even Judiciary Committee consideration
because Obama was in his fi nal
year as president and the voters nearly
eight months later should decide the president
who names Scalia’s replacement.
Now, in the wake of Justice Ruth Bader
Ginsburg’s death, Graham, who chairs the
Judiciary Committee, has reversed course,
pledging to move — “without delay” — a
nominee Trump is expected to name by
week’s end to allow for a vote prior to the
November 3 election.
BRONX TIMES REPORTER,12 SEPT. 25-OCT. 1, 2020 BTR
So we’re here to use Graham’s words
Graham and McConnell’s vow to confi
rm Trump’s pick is nothing short of a
hypocritical and naked power grab. Four
years ago, McConnell stressed that an
election year vote on a Supreme Court
nominee was inappropriate. Now, he has
qualifi ed that condition — approving a
nominee is inappropriate only when the
president and the Senate majority are
from different parties. Voters, he contends,
gave Republicans a majority going
into 2016 to block an Obama appointee,
but gave them a majority again going into
2020 to approve a Trump nominee.
McConnell is making up the rules
as he goes along — and is doing damage
to Senate institutional norms along
In polls over this past weekend, more
than 60 percent of Americans — including
about half of all Republicans — said
the next president, either Trump or Democrat
Joe Biden, should choose Ginsburg’s
success. With Biden showing a consistent
polling advantage over Trump, Republicans
fear they will lose the chance to
name another Supreme Court justice —
this after robbing Obama of his right to
name one four years ago.
There are 53 Senate Republicans. Susan
Collins of Maine, who faces a tough
reelection vote in November, and Lisa
Murkowski of Alaska have announced
they oppose any vote on a Trump nominee
prior to November 3. Iowa’s Chuck
Grassley, who was chair of the Judiciary
Committee in 2016 when Garland was denied
a hearing, said in July regarding
the prospect that Ginsburg’s seat might
become vacant, “If I were chairman
of the committee and this vacancy occurred,
I would not have a hearing on it
because that’s what I promised the people
Grassley must not go back on his
word, but even if he stays true to it, the
GOP would still have 50 members plus
tie-breaker Mike Pence to move forward.
This cannot happen.
Voters should put particular pressure
on Republican senators who themselves
face the voters on November 3: including
Cory Gardner of Colorado, Martha Mc-
Sally of Arizona, Thom Tillis of North
Carolina, Steve Daines of Montana, Jodi
Ernst of Iowa, and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
There are others, too.
Trump’s presidency has time and
again broken down norms vital to the institutional
stability that has held the republic
together for more than two centuries.
The Senate Republicans have backed
him consistently with their votes and
looked the other way when he’s taken outrageous
This time, at least four Republican senators
need to be willing to stand up to this
president and say, “Enough is enough.”
This story fi rst appeared on gaycitynews.
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Those gathered remembered Ginsburg’s legal advocacy for women’s rights at the American
Civil Liberties Union in the years prior to her appointment to the federal bench.
Photo by Donna Aceto