Lindsey Graham mocked for storming off after ranting at Ketanji Brown Jackson

Senator is irate that Judge Jackson has liberal defenders

Senator Lindsey Graham storms out of Ketanji Brown Jackson hearing following Guantanamo rant
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South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham used his time meant to question Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on Tuesday to air a litany of grievances before storming off in a huff, drawing mockery from attorneys and political figures.

Mr Graham appeared upset that a number of prominent liberal groups had supported Ms Jackson over a South Carolina judge, Michelle Childs, who was also considered for the Supreme Court seat Ms Jackson will fill if confirmed by the Senate. He also took issue with legal arguments she made while acting as a defence attorney representing accused enemy combatants detained at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Ms Jackson repeatedly denied any knowledge or involvement with what Mr Graham characterised as attacks on Ms Childs, who President Joe Biden has nominated to fill the District of Columbia Circuit Court seat Ms Jackson will vacate upon joining the high court. She also repeatedly pointed out that the arguments she made were part of her duty as a defence attorney and did not necessarily agree with them personally.

But Mr Graham didn’t seem to be moved by her denials, and instead promised more questions about her judicial philosophy on subsequent days of the four-day hearing before ranting at her about groups she has nothing to do with.

“Here's what I would say: Every group that wants to pack the court, that believes this court is a bunch of right wing nuts who are going to destroy America, that consider the Constitution trash, all wanted you pick,” he said. “And … all I can say is the fact that so many of these left wing radical groups that would destroy the law as we know it declared war on Michelle Childs and supported you is problematic for me”.

He then dramatically left his seat in full view of the cameras.

Mr Graham’s opponent in the 2020 election, Democratic National Committee chair Jamie Harrison, tweeted that the South Carolina senator — who spent years serving in the Air Force as both a prosecutor a defence attorney — “knows damn well that a lawyer’s brief on behalf of an attorney is the client’s position & not the personal position of the attorney”.

Attorney and Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin also weighed in on Graham’s lines of questioning, calling them “simply bizarre”.

Another attorney, MSNBC host Katie Phang, also criticised Mr Graham’s questioning of Ms Jackson’s public defender work.

“Let's be clear, Sen. Graham knew LAST YEAR WHEN HE VOTED TO CONFIRM HER FOR THE US COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE D.C. CIRCUIT about Judge Jackson's prior work as a federal public defender, her affiliations, her opinions, her positions on issues, etc,” she wrote.

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