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ReplaceLindseyGraham.com

The website is still available.  Let’s hope that’s not the case in 2014.  Lindsey Graham is on a mission – one that leaves Democrats cheering and Republicans baffled.

Late last year I reported on South Carolina’s Missing Senator.  We would be fortunate if he had never reappeared.   As Hogan reported recently, Graham made a cameo in the Senate Judiciary Committee to tell Republican Senators how stupid they were to be casting votes against Elena Kagan, President Obama’s nominees to the Supreme Court.  (Lindsey Graham Thinks You’re Stupid)

No one felt the impact of Senator Graham’s statement like Senator Grassley, who for the first time is not in a runaway re-election effort.  The Des Moines Register cited Graham’s support for Kagan in a partisan attack piece against Grassley, unsupported by any journalistic integrity.  (Grassley’s Pitiful Excuse for Voting No) The Register even refused to print editorials defending Senator Grassley’s position.

How stupid are the other six Republicans on the Committee?  Senator Jeff Sessions, the Ranking Member, cited a number of reasons for voting against Kagan, including the following:

1.    Throughout [her] testimony … Kagan repeatedly chose to provide the Committee with political spin rather than clearly and honestly admitting or describing events that were objectively capable of description.

2.    Ms. Kagan denied the reality that she had banned the military recruiters from Harvard … in order to punish them because of the ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy. .. Her testimony regarding this issue was at best inaccurate and, at worse, intellectually dishonest.

3.    Ms. Kagan’s testimony regarding her actions in the Witt case, in which the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law was challenged, was perhaps even more disturbing to me. Despite the clear record, she denied the reality that she abdicated her duty as Solicitor General by refusing to appeal the Witt decision.

Basically, Kagan lied to the Committee.

Senator Kyl noted that he was voting against Kagan for a number of reasons, including the following:

1.    Ignoring her own advice in a now famous University of Chicago Law Review article, she did not testify meaningfully before the Judiciary Committee.

2.    In explaining why I could not support now Justice Sotomayor, I said I thought she was disingenuous [to the] Committee.  Obviously, reaching such a conclusion precludes support, notwithstanding other qualifications for the position.  Reluctantly, I have reached the same conclusion regarding Elena Kagan.

3.    Exhibit A is her insistence on redefining her position on military recruiting on the Harvard campus. Her ‘separate but equal’ defense and attempt to downplay the steps she took to undermine the legal policy of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ were, ultimately, unbelievable. It is almost unfathomable, for example, that someone with Ms. Kagan’s considerable legal acumen could have, as she asserted, ‘always thought that we were acting in compliance’ with the Solomon Amendment.

4.    “Exhibit F is the explanation of several of her bench memos to Justice Marshall insisting that they were not her views, but only a ‘channeling’ of his. Ms. Kagan offered this explanation for a memo categorizing litigants as ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys,’ a memo stating that the government was ‘for once on the side of the angels,’ and a memo expressing fear that the Court might ‘create some very bad law on abortion and/or prisoners’ rights.’ In memo after memo, one gets the sense that Ms. Kagan was not simply ‘channeling’ her boss, but was instead expressing her own personal policy views on matters before the Court, and, that they had as much to do with who the litigants were as what the issues were.

Basically, Kagan lied to the Committee.

The other stupid Senators went on to provide concrete reasons for opposing a nominee who elevated herself above the law.  The brilliant Graham – he’s supporting Kagan, because President Obama won the election.  Like Kagan’s testimony, nothing could be further from the truth.  Graham is supporting Kagan because he loves courting democrats (ask Maria Cantwell) and stealing the spotlight.  He did the same thing with Sotomayor.  If he votes no, he doesn’t make the Sunday morning shows.

Every other Republican member of the Judiciary Committee shows up most Thursday mornings to process legislation and vote on controversial nominees, not Graham.  He is always missing and votes by proxy.  On Sotomayor and Kagan, he has been present and voting yes.  How stupid does Graham think we are?  Are we really to believe that the Constitution requires a yes vote for someone who abhors the constitution?  Even Senator Voinovich, who is no conservative, does not think so.  Here is what he said about Ms. Kagan:

The President deserves deference in his nominations, and of course Presidential elections have a direct impact on the makeup of our Judiciary; that is to say, elections have consequences.  But, Senate confirmations should not be a simple mechanical affirmation of the President’s selection, especially when the nominee will enjoy a lifetime appointment.  A Senator is duty bound to conscientiously review the qualifications of the President’s nominee and make an independent assessment of the nominee’s qualifications.

Because there is such a limited written record with General Kagan and because she has gone out of her way to not answer questions, I have no idea what she will do on the bench and whether she will be able to suppress her own values to apply the law.  The fact is we really do not know that much about her views.

Some of my colleagues would like to have had a less liberal person nominated by the President.  My position is that this President will surely nominate a liberal.  The most important question is “is that liberal nominee qualified to be a member of the Supreme Court?”  I would argue that General Kagan has been nominated based on her friendships and personal attachments with President Obama and others at the White House, not based on objective qualities that would indicate she is qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice.

We can only assume that Graham would say Voinovich is stupid as well.  Does Graham really think we’re buying this?  If it was really a matter or deference to the President, why did Graham vote to give Kagan a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court but oppose James Cole for a limited appointment as Assistant Attorney General in the same meeting?  Graham probably does not know he voted against Cole.  After voting for Kagan, he went missing again, and his staff voted against Cole by proxy.  The cameras at that point, were basically off, and he had no opportunity to steal the spotlight.

ReplaceLindseyGraham.com is still available.  Let’s hope it is not in 2014.  Trust me, when Graham goes missing, no one on the Republican side is going to lead the search mission.  He would be one missing person that no one would ever hope to find.

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