Protesters swarmed to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham’s house early Monday morning, blaring air horns, banging drums and ringing bells as Capitol Police tried to keep them off his property.
“We can’t sleep so neither should Lindsey,” said a banner carried by protesters.
Scenes of the protest hit social media.
Protests continue outside Sen Lindsey Graham’s house this morning near the US Capitol regarding SCOTUS nomination process. Started at 6am pic.twitter.com/GS38uip8FE
— Steve Chenevey FOX5 (@stevechenevey) September 21, 2020
At one point, a protester tried to get to Graham’s front door.
As head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Graham will oversee the confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, which the president said Monday will come this week. The South Carolina Republican said after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that he is “dead set on confirming” Trump’s nominee.
Critics point out that Graham opposed holding a vote for then-President Barack Obama’s pick in 2016 after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. But Graham said the behavior of Democrats during the confirmation hearing for now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh — whom they accused of sexual misconduct — has made him his change his mind on the matter.
“Democrats chose to set in motion rules changes to stack the court at the circuit level and they chose to try to destroy Brett Kavanaugh’s life to keep the Supreme Court seat open,” Graham wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “You reap what you sow.”
— Matt Gregory (@MattGregoryNews) September 21, 2020
Graham also tweeted: “Being lectured by Democrats about how to handle judicial nominations is like an arsonist advising the Fire Department.”
Being lectured by Democrats about how to handle judicial nominations is like an arsonist advising the Fire Department.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) September 20, 2020
Democrats demand that Republicans hold off on replacing Ginsburg on the court until after the Nov. 3 election. But Joe Biden, Barack Obama — and even Ginsburg herself — said in 2016 that the president has the responsibility to quickly fill a vacancy on the high court.
“The president has the constitutional duty to nominate; the Senate has the constitutional obligation to provide advice and consent,” Biden wrote in a New York Times op-ed in 2016.
“It is written plainly in the Constitution that both presidents and senators swear an oath to uphold and defend,” he wrote. “That’s why I was so surprised and saddened to see Republican leaders tell President Obama and me that they would not even consider a Supreme Court nominee this year. No meetings. No hearings. No votes. Nothing. It is an unprecedented act of obstruction. And it risks a stain on the legacy of all those complicit in carrying out this plan.”
In a speech at Georgetown University, Biden also said: “I would go forward with a confirmation process as chairman, even a few months before a presidential election, if the nominee were chosen with the advice, and not merely the consent, of the Senate, just as the Constitution requires.”
Biden has made a 180-degree turn with the death of Ginsburg, writing on Twitter on Friday: “Let me be clear: The voters should pick a President, and that President should select a successor to Justice Ginsburg.”
The vice president was echoing the words of his boss, former president Barack Obama. After Scalia’s death, Obama declared that he had a duty to nominate a successor.
“The Constitution vests in the President the power to appoint judges to the Supreme Court. It’s a duty that I take seriously, and one that I will fulfill in the weeks ahead,” Obama wrote in 2016.
Obama said he was looking for a replacement with a “sterling record, deep respect for the judiciary’s role, an understanding of the way the world really works.”
“That’s what I’m considering as I fulfill my constitutional duty to appoint a judge to our highest court. And as Senators prepare to fulfill their constitutional responsibility to consider the person I appoint, I hope they’ll move quickly to debate and then confirm this nominee so that the Court can continue to serve the American people at full strength,” Obama wrote.
But like Biden, Obama has flip-flopped on the issue — now that a Republican president is in office and the GOP controls the Senate.
“Four and a half years ago, when Republicans refused to hold a hearing or an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland, they invented the principle that the Senate shouldn’t fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in,” he wrote in a statement.