With Kagan vote, Graham shows respect for Constitution

Contributed by Warren Mowry

As predictable as the sun rising in the east or Osama bin Laden saying “Death to America” was the grousing by some over Lindsey Graham’s affirmative vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s examination of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.

Let me make this clear – I would be much happier if Kagan wasn’t on the Court.  I had rather there’d be clones of John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia to replace the three tired liberals already there and the one on the way, but science and Barack Obama aren’t going to allow that.  It is not, however, the province of Senator Graham to make sure leftists don’t get on the bench.  Rather, we rely on the American voters for that.  As he said in announcing his vote, elections do have consequences, and Sen. Graham’s vote was a concession to that.

We haven’t had much of a history in the United States of playing games with judicial nominees, and nearly all of the shenanigans for the past 40 years have been pulled by Democrats.  But that doesn’t mean that Republicans need to get down in the muck with them.  Senator Graham is trying to return to the day when there was much more civility and decorum in the nomination process.  Remember, both Justice Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the yin and yang of the Court, were affirmed by near-unanimous votes.  Indeed, with only rare exceptions, Supreme Court nomination hearings were about as exciting as a 0-0 soccer game.  Only with the nominations of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas were there unseemly fireworks.  Almost invariably, if a nominee was found to be qualified and to have judicial temperament an affirmative vote was inevitable.  It attracted extraordinarily qualified individuals who were not put off by a long, intrusive, and drawn-out process.

But beginning with Sen. Chuck Schumer’s declaration in 2001 that a nominee’s political views were fair game (not coincidentally with the inauguration of a Republican candidate), we have seen a nearly sordid airing of nominees’ past views and opinions.  Granted, it’s important to know much about someone who might end up with lifetime tenure, so perhaps some of the questioning is acceptable.  But Schumer opened a can of worms that Sen. Graham is trying to reseal.  Rather than looking at whether a nominee is “liberal” or “conservative,” Senator Graham is using only “qualified” as a litmus test.  Remember, one of the reasons that the GOP won an historic midterm election in 2002, retaking the Senate in the process, was Democrat filibustering and stonewalling of judicial nominees.  Surely the Republicans don’t need to pull the same stunt.  Whether we like the idea of Justice Kagan – and I don’t – I cannot argue with Sen. Graham’s vote.

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One Comment to “With Kagan vote, Graham shows respect for Constitution”

  1. In an earlier time, the idea of restoring the air of civility and decorum to this process would be considered a noble and honorable path to choose but now we find ourselves in the battle to save our Nation. Sen. Graham has developed a pattern over the years of being the one to reach over the aisle to compromise with the liberals on various large pieces of legislation, immigration, energy, and now Kagan, in the Senate. Every time this happens conservative values are whittled away, that is the very nature of a compromise, a slice at a time. The lose is so slight at each concession that it is not missed until you look for the whole loaf and find that it was negotiated away. Now is the time to hold the line, vote in the Senate in the vein of your speeches you give to South Carolinians.

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