South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham on Tuesday used his time meant to question Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson to air a litany of grievances before storming off in a huff.
The US senator appeared upset that a number of prominent liberal groups had supported Jackson over a South Carolina judge, Michelle Childs, who was also considered for the Supreme Court seat Jackson will fill if confirmed by the Senate.
He also took issue with legal arguments she made while acting as a defence attorney representing accused enemy combatants detained at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
News organisation CNN reported that Jackson denied any knowledge or involvement with what Graham characterised as attacks on Childs, who President Joe Biden has nominated to fill the District of Columbia Circuit Court seat Jackson will vacate upon joining the high court.
However, Graham did not seem to be moved by her denials, and instead promised more questions about her judicial philosophy on subsequent days of the four-day hearing before ranting at her about groups she has nothing to do with.
“Here’s what I would say: Every group that wants to pack the court, that believes this court is a bunch of right wing nuts who are going to destroy America, that consider the Constitution trash, all wanted you pick,” he said.
“And … all I can say is the fact that so many of these left wing radical groups that would destroy the law as we know it declared war on Michelle Childs and supported you is problematic for me,” he added.
In a tweet, Democratic National Committee chair Jamie Harrison, Graham’s opponent in the 2020 election, said that the South Carolina senator — who spent years serving in the Air Force as both a prosecutor a defence attorney — “knows damn well that a lawyer’s brief on behalf of an attorney is the client’s position & not the personal position of the attorney”.
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Attorney and Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin also weighed in on Graham’s lines of questioning, calling them “simply bizarre”.
Another attorney, MSNBC host Katie Phang, also criticised Graham’s questioning of Jackson’s public defender work.
“Let’s be clear, Sen. Graham knew LAST YEAR WHEN HE VOTED TO CONFIRM HER FOR THE US COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE D.C. CIRCUIT about Judge Jackson’s prior work as a federal public defender, her affiliations, her opinions, her positions on issues, etc,” she wrote.