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Lindsey Graham declared that 'the radical Left has won' as Biden selected Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for Supreme Court seat

Business Insider logo Business Insider 2/25/2022 bmetzger@insider.com (Bryan Metzger,Oma Seddiq)
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on his way to a vote on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images © Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on his way to a vote on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
  • Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the Supreme Court.
  • Graham declared that 'the radical Left has won,' though he voted to confirm Jackson to her current position.
  • The South Carolina Republican had openly advocated for J. Michelle Childs, a judge in his state.

Following news that President Joe Biden will nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Friay blasted the decision, declaring "the radical Left" has won.

Graham, a confidante of former President Donald Trump who was once close with Biden, had openly pushed for the president to nominate South Carolina federal district judge J. Michelle Childs for the seat that will be left open by Associate Justice Stephen Breyer when he retires this summer. 

"If media reports are accurate, and Judge Jackson has been chosen as the Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Breyer, it means the radical Left has won President Biden over yet again," Graham said in a statement. "The attacks by the Left on Judge Childs from South Carolina apparently worked." The White House announced that Biden has nominated Jackson for the nation's high court roughly an hour later.

Since Biden pledged last month that he'd fulfill his 2020 campaign vow to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, Graham and other lawmakers, including Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, publicly praised Childs.

Yet Childs had come under scrutiny for her record as a labor and employment lawyer in South Carolina, where she represented clients accused of discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace.

"She comes from an anti-union law firm where she spent time defending employers from claims of civil rights and labor law violations," David Borer, the general counsel of the American Federation of Government Employees, told the Washington Post earlier this month. "That's not what we need."


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Despite Graham's initial criticism of Biden's decision, it's not immediately clear whether or not he would oppose Jackson's confirmation — he was one of three Republican senators that voted to confirm her to the DC Court of Appeals, her current position, less than a year ago.

Graham on Friday also called attention to the fact that Jackson is a Harvard-educated lawyer. Childs, on the other hand, would have been represented the rare addition to the top court as a jurist who went to a state university. 

"I expect a respectful but interesting hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee," Graham said. "The Harvard-Yale train to the Supreme Court continues to run unabated."

Graham also stood out as part of a handful of Republicans who praised Biden for pledging to select a Black woman for the job.

"Put me in the camp of making sure the court and other institutions look like America," he told CBS News earlier this month. "You know, we make a real effort as Republicans to recruit women and people of color to make the party look more like America."

Senate Democratic leaders say they plan to move quickly to confirm Biden's nominee, who only needs a simple majority vote to get appointed to the court. In case no Republicans support her confirmation, all 50 Democrats need to be on board, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.

"We will begin immediately to move forward on her nomination with the careful, fair, and professional approach she and America are entitled to," Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Friday.

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