! News from U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) !
July 22, 2009
Today, Senator Graham announced he intends to vote in support of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Graham is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Select Quotes from Senator Graham’s Speech:
- “I understand the path of least resistance for me personally would be to vote no. That is probably true anytime you are in the minority party and you lose an election. But I feel compelled to vote yes, and I feel this is the right vote for me and, quite frankly, for the country in this case.”
- “On balance, I do believe the Court will not dramatically change in terms of ideology due to her selection. Justice Souter, whom I respect as an individual, has been far more liberal than I would prefer in a judge. I think Justice Sotomayor will not be any more liberal than he. On some issues, quite frankly, she may be more balanced in her approach, particularly when it comes to the War on Terror, the use of international law, and potentially the Second Amendment.”
- “What standard did I use? Every Senator in this body, at the end of the day, has to decide how to give their advice and consent. One of the things I chose not to do was to use Senator Obama’s standard when it came to casting my vote for Judge Sotomayor. If those who follow the Senate will recall, Senator Obama voted against both Justice Alito and Justice Roberts, and he used the rationale that they were well qualified; that they were extraordinarily intellectually gifted; but the last mile in the confirmation process, when it came to Judge Roberts, was the heart. Because 5 percent of controversial cases may change society, one has to look and see what is in a judge’s heart. I totally reject that.”
- “I went back to a standard I think has stood the test of time — the qualifications standard. Is this person qualified to sit on the Court? Are they a person of good character? Do they present an extraordinary circumstance — having something about their life that would make them extraordinary to the point they would be unqualified? There was a time in this country where a Justice, such as Justice Ginsburg, who is clearly left of center, received 90-something votes in this body. There was a time in this country, not long ago, where a conservative judge, such as Justice Scalia, received over 95 votes from this body. ……What happened to those days?”
- “Having said that, to my colleagues who vote no, I understand your concerns and there are things about this nominee that are troubling. The speeches she has given in the past are troubling because I think they embrace identity politics, something I don’t embrace. The “wise Latina” comment that has become famous, that she believes more often than not that a wise Latina woman with her experience and background would reach a better conclusion than a White male — we had a long discussion about how that does not set well with most Americans and that is not what we want to be expressed by people trying to become Supreme Court nominees. But having said that, do we want to exclude from consideration people with boldness, who are edgy? Do we want milquetoast nominees who are afraid to speak their minds and to disagree with their fellow citizens? I think not.”
- “She grew up in the Bronx, came to this country from Puerto Rico. Her mother joined the Army. She lost her dad when she was very young. Her mother raised Judge Sotomayor and her brother under difficult circumstances. Her brother is a doctor. She has been able, Judge Sotomayor, to excel academically and reach the highest rung of America’s legal system. That, to me, is a hell of a story.”
- “I choose to vote for Judge Sotomayor looking at her from the most optimistic perspective, understanding I could be wrong but proud of the fact that my country is moving in the right direction when anybody and everybody can hit it out of the park. I would not have chosen her if I had to make this choice as President, but I understand why President Obama did choose her and I am happy to vote for her.”
Kevin D. Bishop
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)
101 E. Washington Street, Suite 220
Greenville, South Carolina 29601
(864) 250-1417 office