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Graham Obstructing Merrick Garland Confirmation Hearings

Graham Obstructing Merrick Garland Confirmation Hearings

The GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham rejected a request Monday evening from incoming Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin to hold a confirmation hearing next week for Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Justice Department.

In a letter sent earlier Monday, Durbin urged Graham, the outgoing Judiciary chair, to hold Garland’s confirmation hearing next Monday, Feb. 8, the day before the Senate is scheduled to begin its impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Durbin argued that further delay “jeopardizes our national security,” particularly in the aftermath of the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol.

Merrick Garland, former US Supreme Court nominee, walks to the US District Court for DC November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

The fact that Tuesday was Groundhog Day wasn’t lost on anyone as people found themselves hearing about Republicans obstructing hearings regarding Garland, which was a major point of contention during President Barack Obama’s last year in office when Senate Republicans argued it was “too close” to the 2016 presidential election and Obama’s exit from office to confirm a new Supreme Court Justice. And former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell deliberately dragged out the process to turn over control to the new one, Chuck Schumer, which held up the Democratic Committee appointments.

The GOP’s hypocrisy came back with a roar last November when most of the same Senate Republicans jammed Trump’s nominee Amy Coney Barrett through the process with only eight days left before the November 3rd Presidential election.

Graham responded to Durbin’s request by saying it was“highly unusual” given the hearing’s proximity to the start of the trial. The Senate Judiciary Committee received Garland’s paperwork last week. Typically, the committee has 28 days between receiving a nominee’s paperwork and the confirmation hearing. Graham wrote that Garland’s situation is different from Barrett’s because she had been confirmed more recently by the Senate to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. He added the previous five attorneys general had two-day hearings, and usually, any nominee testifies on the first day of the hearing while outside experts testify on the second.

“A one-day hearing as you are proposing the day before the impeachment trial of a former president is insufficient,” Graham responded in his own letter to Durbin. “Democrats do not get to score political points in an unprecedented act of political theater on one hand while also trying to claim the mantle of good government on the other.”

The dispute over Garland’s confirmation hearing is the latest complication of the 50-50 Senate. While Democrats control the Senate, party leaders have yet to finalize an organizing resolution that will determine the committees for the upper chamber. Until the organizing resolution is approved, Republicans like Graham still hold committee gavels from the previous Congress.

“Justice Barrett wasn’t given a free pass on a routine four-day hearing during her Supreme Court confirmation, and Judge Garland shouldn’t get one either,” Graham wrote. “The reason we can’t give Judge Garland two days next week is, of course, that Senate Democrats voted to
proceed with former President Trump’s impeachment trial on February 9.”

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