Washington, D.C., November 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Sen. Lindsey Graham, the moderate Republican from South Carolina who has emerged as one of President Donald Trump’s most unexpected boosters, is poised to take over the critical Senate Judiciary Committee when the new Senate convenes in January.
Politico reports that the current chair, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, announced Friday he intends to leave Judiciary to take over the Finance Committee in January, leaving Graham his likely successor. Graham said in August it would “be an honor” to take the position.
Among the Judiciary Committee’s responsibilities are overseeing the confirmation of a president’s nominees for both judicial vacancies and executive positions, a role in which Graham would likely deliver mixed results for pro-life and pro-family Americans.
Graham has increasingly warmed to Trump since the 2016 election and was one of the most passionate critics of Democrats’ efforts to block Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh with unsubstantiated, last-minute claims of sexual assault. He asked Kavanaugh substantive questions about Roe v. Wade and originalism during his confirmation hearings, and would likely be a reliable supporter of future pro-life nominees.
On the other hand, Graham is a moderate Republican who doesn’t just support rape exceptions to pro-life laws; he has attacked pro-life Republicans for insisting on protecting babies conceived in rape. He also prides himself on an interpretation of “bipartisanship” that extends to confirming the pro-abortion nominees of Democrat presidents.
During his infamous September remarks excoriating Democrats for their treatment of Kavanaugh, Graham stressed that not only did he treat former President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees fairly, he ultimately supported them. “When you see [Justice Sonia] Sotomayor and [Justice Elena] Kagan, tell them Lindsey said ‘Hello,’ because I voted for them,” he said.
In 2015, during confirmation hearings for Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Graham specifically highlighted Lynch’s past support for partial-birth abortion to make the point that “if there’s a Republican president in the future, an attorney general nominee takes an opposite view on an issue like abortion, I hope our friends on the other side will acknowledge it’s okay to be an advocate for a cause, as their lawyer. That doesn’t disqualify you from serving.”
Last month, Graham also said that if a Supreme Court vacancy opens up during the last year of Trump’s first term, he would support waiting until after the election to confirm a nominee to fill it, potentially blocking what could be one of Trump’s last opportunities to appoint a pro-life originalist to the nation’s highest court.
Some conservatives have advocated that the more conservative Jeff Sessions, who the president fired as his Attorney General last week, run in 2020 to reclaim his old Alabama Senate seat, which would allow him to reclaim his seniority status in the chamber and potentially take over the committee. Sessions is reportedly considering whether to run again.