Speaking at a town hall in his home state, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) faced down boos and complaints from attendees unhappy with how Republicans failed to hold hearings on Judge Merrick Garland to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court. Making a pitch for Judge Neil Gorsuch, nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the seat left vacant by recalcitrant Republicans, Graham lectured the crowd as boos grew and the crowd began chanting. According to Graham, President Barack Obama was not entitled to fill the seat because “Scalia died in February after three primaries had started a week before the South Carolina primary.”
“You can boo and chant and disagree all you want; that’s not going to change the fact that you’re not the ones who get to decide who gets to take Justice Scalia’s seat,” Graham told the hostile crowd. “Believe me, I wish that it was that simple, but what can I say – we live in a country governed by laws and every single action has been carefully planned and predicted so that no one would be able to abuse their position or influence. What that means is that, theoretically, the president of the country is the only one who has the power to decide who makes up the members of the Supreme Court. I say theoretically with good reason.”
He continued, “The reason why I’m having a problem with all of this is the fact that our former president Barack Obama simply wasn’t entitled to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court of the United States because he had the lowest possible approval rating as a president right around the time of Scalia’s death. And let’s think about what that means for a moment. We had a president who was almost lynched for what he was doing to the country, and at the same time, he intended a part of his legacy, in addition to his catastrophic healthcare platform, to also be a liberal judge on the SCOTUS. That means he effectively was after power and influence that extended way beyond his position as president. Simply put, he obviously wanted someone who he could influence at will and someone who would sway the entire Supreme Court to his side.”
“To simplify things, what I’m saying is – it’s not about who he chose to fill the seat, that’s not the issue here,” Graham argued. “Obama could have chosen anyone really; if it were up to me, I would have kept my mouth shut even if he had chosen Vladimir Putin as the new justice. The fact to the matter is, at the time, he was the most unpopular president to date. And someone like that should not have been allowed to tamper with one of the pillars of justice in this country. Even if he had outright cloned Justice Scalia and decided to place him on the bench once again, it still wouldn’t have made it okay, not to mention the fact that he was rumored to be involved in his death in the first place.”
“This is not a matter of whether the new justice is going to be a Democrat or a Republican, at least not as much as it’s a matter of who it is that gets to decide on Scalia’s replacement. But, more importantly and as far as I’m aware, Donald Trump was never accused of ordering the assassination of a Supreme Court justice, but hey – that’s just my intel, I could be wrong,” he concluded.