South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Monday that Republicans will vote to confirm President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the 2020 presidential election. Appearing on Fox News, Graham said that Republicans have enough votes in the United States Senate to push the nominee through, and have no qualms about doing so in a hurry. He refuted any arguments of hypocrisy after former President Barack Obama's Supreme Court debacle in 2016.
"I've seen this move before. It's not going to work," Graham said. "We've got the votes to confirm Justice Ginsburg's replacement before the election. We're going to move forward in the committee. We're going to report the nomination out of the committee to the floor of the United States Senate so we can vote before the election."
Graham spoke confidently, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has yet to say whether he will call the vote before the election. He has said that he intends to call the vote before the end of 2020, and political analysts believe he will not risk doing so after the election, since Trump might lose and the Republicans could lose the majority in the Senate as well.
McConnell was Senate Majority Leader in 2016 when he refused to call a vote on Obama's nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia passed way in March of that year, and McConnell claimed that it was too close to an election to vote on a replacement. With Ginsburg's passing now six months closer to the election than Scalia's was, many are accusing McConnell and other Republican leaders — like Graham — of hypocrisy.
"We're going to have a process that you will be proud of," Graham said on Monday. "The nominee is going to be supported by every Republican in the Judiciary Committee. And we've got the votes to confirm the... justice on the floor of the Senate before the election, and that's what is coming."
Graham has been prepared for this contradiction since 2016, as seen in an old video that went viral this weekend. It showed Graham in 2016 saying: "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 first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let's let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination."
According to a report by The Hill, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee sent Graham a letter about this controversy over the weekend, urging him to delay a vote on the Supreme Court nomination. Graham responded in his own letter on Monday, writing: "I am certain if the shoe were on the other foot, you would do the same."