WATCH: Lindsey Graham Promises To (Ineffectively) Obstruct Congress Over SCOTUS
Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, and Marsha Blackburn held a press conference on Thursday to share their views on expanding the Supreme Court. Highlights included hypocritical claims that Republicans would never use power to unfairly gain control of the court, and Graham promising that he’ll refuse to participate in Congress in order to prevent a vote on such a bill.
Lindsey Graham won re-election to represent the people of South Carolina in the U.S. Senate in the 2020 election. However, he now says he’ll refuse to show up if that’s what it takes to prevent Democrats from passing progressive agenda items.
“Every option is on the table for me. If I have to stay in South Carolina to deny a quorum to do this crazy stuff, destroying the court, take over our election process, on and on, I will.”
Though the people who voted for Graham presumably expect him to show up in Congress and work for them, the United States Senate rules make it clear he’s not personally necessary for the Senate to do business. A quorum only requires a majority — 51 — Senators present.
Since the 2020 general election, including the January 2021 Senate race in Georgia, the U.S. Senate is now approximately evenly divided, so every Republican would have to stay in their home state to be sufficient to deny a quorum. Otherwise, if voting is along party lines, an absent member merely helps ensure a majority for the other party.
Meanwhile, Ted Cruz and Marsha Blackburn both used their time in the press conference to express shock that Democrats would consider changing the court, and to suggest with wide-eyed innocence that Republicans would never abuse power to affect the makeup of SCOTUS, despite Mitch McConnell, then the majority leader, refusing to allow a vote on Barack Obama’s SCOTUS pick, Merrick Garland, and despite the rush to seat one more conservative Justice before Trump left office.
You can see both of those clips below, or by starting the above video at the beginning.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): "You didn't see Republicans when we had control of the Senate try to rig the game. You didn't see us try to pack the court." pic.twitter.com/reUU9WJU1d
— The Recount (@therecount) April 22, 2021
Democrats want to pack the Supreme Court so they can radically change this country & our institutions. I won’t stand by and let this happen.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) April 22, 2021
Notably, Cruz also vowed in 2016 that if Hillary Clinton won the presidency, the seat left empty by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia would, if he could help orchestrate obstruction to refuse to seat any nominee she picked, as reported by The Guardian at the time.