Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) presides over a hearing about the influence of social media companies on the 2020 election on November 17, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) presides over a hearing about the influence of social media companies on the 2020 election on November 17, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Lindsey Graham Under Fire for Latest Blockade of Merrick Garland's Senate Confirmation

"If Sen. Graham refuses to work in good faith to quickly confirm President Biden's highly qualified nominees, then it's time for him to step aside and let more serious legislators get to work."

Andrea Germanos

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham was accused Tuesday of exercising "the last vestiges of power" by obstructing—again—Senate confirmation of Merrick Garland.

President Joe Biden last month tapped Garland—whose 2016 nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court was blocked by the then-Republican controlled Senate—to be U.S. attorney general.

Graham (R-S.C.) is able to exert the control over the new nomination even though his party no longer controls the chamber, as Politico explained Monday:

The dispute over Garland's confirmation hearing is the latest complication of the 50-50 Senate. While Democrats control the Senate, party leaders have yet to finalize an organizing resolution that will determine the committees for the upper chamber. Until the organizing resolution is approved, Republicans like Graham still hold committee gavels from the previous Congress.

As such, Graham still chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee; Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois is the committee's incoming chair.

In a letter to Graham on Monday, Durbin wrote that "there is simply no justification for delaying Judge Garland's hearing any further." Durbin called for a hearing on February 8, a timing he said would align with Republican requests that the hearing not coincide with former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Durbin wrote, in part:

On January 6, then-President-elect Biden alerted both Democratic and Republican committee members and staff that he would nominate Judge Garland as the nation's next attorney general. Given the attorney general's role as the nation's top law enforcement officer, this committee should promptly consider attorney general nominees as a general practice. But the events of January 6—when armed insurrectionists attacked the Capitol, killed Officer Brian Sicknick, injured dozens of other law enforcement officers, and threatened the lives of lawmakers and staff—made even clearer the need to quickly process Judge Garland's nomination.

Graham rejected the request.

Responding to Durbin, Graham asserted that the request was "highly unusual" and that Democrats want to "rush through Judge Garland's hearing" while the impeachment trial "requires the Senate's complete focus."

"Democrats do not get to score political points in an unprecedented act of political theater on one hand while also trying to claim the mantle of good government on the other," said Graham.

Writing at MaddowBlog, Steve Benen pointed to Republican senators' "unprecedented blockade" on Garland's Supreme Court nomination five years ago, and how Graham joined that effort, "refusing to even give Garland the courtesy of a meeting."

And now, Benen wrote, "the GOP senator is managing to mishandle a Garland nomination for the second time." Benen suggested Graham "apparently has a knack for leaving Merrick Garland hanging."

Graham's fresh blockade also drew criticism from Mairead Lynn, spokesperson for the government watchdog group Accountable.US's Senate War Room campaign.

"Since apparently it wasn't enough for Senate Republicans to refuse Merrick Garland a hearing when he was nominated to the Supreme Court—now they are delaying his hearing to head up the Justice Department," Lynn said in a statement.

She blamed Republicans who "sat on their hands during the lame-duck" for the chamber being behind on Biden's agenda and called it "ridiculous that Sen. Graham is now holding onto the last vestiges of power to delay the confirmation of the administration's top law enforcement official."

"It's well past time for this obstruction to end," Lynn said, "and if Sen. Graham refuses to work in good faith to quickly confirm President Biden's highly qualified nominees, then it's time for him to step aside and let more serious legislators get to work."


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.

Africans Should Be 'Applauded, Not Punished,' Say Advocates Amid Omicron Travel Ban

"What is going on right now is inevitable," said African Union Vaccine Delivery Alliance co-chair Dr. Ayoade Alakija. "It's a result of the world's failure to vaccinate in an equitable, urgent, and speedy manner."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Drilling Report Blasted as 'Shocking Capitulation to the Needs of Corporate Polluters'

"Greenlighting more fossil fuel extraction, then pretending it's OK by nudging up royalty rates, is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·


UNESCO Members Adopt First Global AI Ethics Agreement 'To Benefit Humanity'

"We're at a critical juncture in history," said Ethics in Tech founder Vahid Razavi. "We need as humans to come together and decide what is the best course of action to take with these technologies before they surpass us in their abilities."

Brett Wilkins ·


Progressive US Lawmakers Mark Black Friday With Calls to Pass the PRO Act

"The right to organize, fight for better working conditions, and fair pay must always be protected."

Jessica Corbett ·


'We Are Fighting Back': Global Black Friday Strikes and Protests Seek to #MakeAmazonPay

"We are workers and activists divided by geography and our role in the global economy but united in our commitment to Make Amazon Pay fair wages, its taxes, and for its impact on the planet."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo