Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) arrive for a meeting with GOP senators in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, May 19, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

'Someone Sees the Writing on the Wall': As Election Looms, Lindsey Graham Urges Older Right-Wing Judges to Step Aside

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has also reportedly reached out to older judges to ask them to retire.

Julia Conley

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Thursday indicated he's joined Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's campaign to push older conservative federal judges to retire in the coming weeks, to ensure that President Donald Trump will be able to nominate their successors before the November election. 

In radio interview with Hugh Hewitt, South Carolina Republican said any judges in their mid-60s or older should consider taking "senior status," which would put them in semi-retirement and open up their seats for a new Trump nominee.

"This is an historic opportunity. We've put over 200 federal judges on the bench. I think one in five federal judges are Trump appointees," Graham said. "So if you're a circuit judge in your mid-60s, late 60s, you can take senior status, now would be a good time to do that if you want to make sure the judiciary is right of center. This is a good time to do it."

Graham urged judges to make their decision quickly, so the Senate Judiciary Committee, which the senator chairs, can rapidly hold confirmation hearings for nominees. 

With a number of Republican senators—including Graham, Susan Collins, and Cory Gardner—tied or polling several points behind their Democratic challengers less than six months before the election, Democrats have gained confidence that they may win control of the Senate in November. 

"Someone sees the writing on the wall," tweeted comedian Erik Bransteen after Graham's interview.

Graham's comments came three weeks after progressive advocacy group Demand Justice denounced U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts's decision to not direct an investigation into the abrupt retirement of Judge Thomas Griffith from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the second-highest court on the nation.

The group wanted to know whether McConnell had been in touch with Griffith, as the Republican leader has reportedly also been pushing judges to retire.

On Wednesday, Democrats in the Senate released a 54-page report detailing how the GOP has "captured" the judicial system with the help of outside advisors and dark money groups. 

According to the report, right-wing activist Leo Leonard and a network of groups linked to him have lobbied for the nominations of conservative judges during Trump's term, leading the president to appoint nearly 200 judges.

"Our report exposes a twisted web of dark money, and special interest groups who behind the scenes are investing millions and millions to plant ideological activist judges completely remake the courts, and ultimately rewrite the Constitution," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

On Cyber Monday, Climate Activists Take Aim at Fashion Industry

"The fashion industry is one of the largest polluting industries globally. We can all do better, but it's on companies to make this industry better for workers, the planet, and consumers alike."

Jessica Corbett ·


Analysis Finds State Legislators Proposed 306 Bills Targeting Trans People in Past 2 Years

"Right-wing state lawmakers are obsessed with taking away the rights of trans people and we're obsessed with knocking them out of public office," said one rights group.

Julia Conley ·


Biden Mulls Sending Long-Range Missiles to Ukraine

While Ukrainians and supporters welcomed Boeing's proposal to arm Ukrainian forces with long-range precision-guided bombs, one anti-war voice accused the American military-industrial complex of "dictating the U.S. foreign policy and profiteering from wars."

Brett Wilkins ·


Democracy Defenders Vow to Sue After GOP-Led Arizona County Refuses to Certify Election

The secretary of state plans to sue after GOP officials put the votes of more than 47,000 Arizonans at risk.

Kenny Stancil ·


Amazon Workers to Protest 'Corporate Law-Breaker' CEO Jassy, Demanding End to Union-Busting

"If Jassy comes to New York he should come to bargain a contract with Amazon workers, not bluster or practice union-busting."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo