Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Thursday that he will oppose Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court, marking the first time the GOP senator will vote against a nominee for the high court since joining the Senate.
“I will oppose her and I will vote no,” Graham said from the Senate floor.
“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 a liberal cause,” Graham added.
Graham’s opposition was largely telegraphed: He had some of the most tense moments with Jackson in her hearing, including questioning her sentencing decisions and re-litigating grievances on how confirmations of GOP-nominated Supreme Court justices have been handled.
And while Graham’s opposition won’t prevent Jackson from being confirmed as the first Black, female Supreme Court justice, it is expected to result in Biden’s nominee facing additional procedural hurdles before she can get to a final vote.
With every other Republican on the Judiciary Committee expected to vote against her, Graham’s opposition means that Jackson will face a tie vote when the committee takes up her nomination on Monday.
It would be the first time the Judiciary Committee has tied on a Supreme Court nominee since Justice Clarence Thomas’s nomination.
That will require Senate Democrats to formally move to discharge her nomination out of the panel, something they’ve done for other executive nominees since taking over the 50-50 Senate in 2021.
But it would also be the first time a Supreme Court nominee has been forcibly discharged from the Judiciary Committee since 1853 with the nomination of William C. Micou, according to data from the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Micou was never confirmed to the Supreme Court.
Graham’s decision is a shift for the South Carolina Republican.
He’s been one of the biggest GOP supporters of Biden’s lower court nominees, and has generally been more hands off in opposing court picks. He also voted for both of then-President Obama’s nominees and all of former President Trump’s nominees.
“I find Judge Jackson to be a person of exceptionally good character, respected by our peers and someone who has worked hard to achieve her current position,” Graham said.
“However, her record is overwhelming in its lack of a steady judicial philosophy, and a tendency to achieve outcomes in spite of what the law says. After a thorough review of Judge Jackson’s record, I now know why Judge Jackson was a favorite of the radical left,” he added.
Graham and GOP Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) each supported Jackson for her appeals court seat last year.
So far, Collins is the only GOP senator to say she will vote for Jackson to ascend to the Supreme Court.
Collins’s support, assuming all 50 Democrats are present to support, would let Jackson avoid a history making 50-50 tie that would need to be broken by Vice President Harris.
Murkowski and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) are viewed as potential swing votes.
Romney has signaled that he could wait until the day of the vote to say if he will support Jackson.
Murkowski told reporters on Wednesday that she was still evaluating Jackson’s nomination and could set up a follow-up conversation.
Updated at 11:47 a.m.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism