Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned fellow lawmakers Wednesday about going off the deep end with personal attacks when opposing Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
“To my Democratic colleagues, I ask no more of you than I ask for myself, use the qualifications standard, having said that, I know most won’t,” Graham said. “I know what you’re trying to do. Your base is all over you. They are threatening your very existence. You can challenge Judge Kavanaugh on his legal reasoning.”
Graham spoke with reporters immediately following a private meeting with Kavanaugh in his Senate office. The South Carolina Republican said afterward that the days of a more balanced court are over, with Kavanaugh’s nomination pushing it in a more conservative direction.
But that’s all the more reason, he warned Democrats, not to let their opposition get out of hand.
“I know that you can’t vote ‘yes’ because of the politics of the moment. And I am afraid that’s the future when it comes to confirming judges. The one line, please don’t cross. Don’t suggest that Brett Kavanaugh is a bad guy because he disagrees with you. Don’t defame him for living a life most of us would be proud of,” Graham said.
Trump had not announced his selection Monday night before at least one Democrat, Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, said he would oppose whoever the chief executive chose. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) also notably refused to take Trump’s courtesy call prior to his announcement.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has vowed to oppose Kavanaugh with every means at his disposal.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other Republicans quickly praised Kavanaugh for his commitment to interpreting the law without considering personal politics. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other critics bashed him for his rulings on issues such as reproductive rights and health care.
Justice Anthony Kennedy opened up a seat on the court by announcing his retirement June 27. Kavanaugh is meeting with many lawmakers during his confirmation process to give them chances to talk with him personally. He will eventually need a majority vote in the Senate to approve his nomination.
Kavanaugh was previously confirmed by the Senate when former President George W. Bush nominated him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where he has served as a judge since 2006.
Graham told reporters after his meeting that he has known Kavanaugh since the nominee held several key positions working for Bush in the White House.