As a four year resident of Aiken, I am not totally familiar with the voting record of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. My one exchange with him involved his vote to confirm Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, which leaves me with no choice but to vote for another candidate on June 10.
I called the senator following the Senate vote seeking his reasoning for support of a nomination that had no court experience. In his response, dated 8-12-2010, he stated: “Elections have consequences and one of those is that the president is permitted to choose his nominees for the Supreme Court.”
Also, “It puts upon me a ‘standard’ that has stood the test of time: Is the person qualified? Do they demonstrate good character? Do they understand the difference between being a judge and being a politician?” He stated: “In my view she passes these tests.” In my view she passed only one test; she may be of good character, I’ll give here that. Further stated in his letter, the senator wrote: “The role of the Senate in judicial nominations is changing, and I do not see the changes as positive.”
The Court is the most fragile of the three branches. So while it is our responsibility to challenge and scrutinize the Court, it is also our obligation to honor elections, respect elections and to protect the Court.” Yes, the Court is very fragile and is made more so, especially when Justices are confirmed with no court experience.
And does the protect the Court? An additional quote from the senator was that: “We must protect the independence of the judiciary by making sure that hard-fought elections have meaning in terms of their results within the Constitution.”
Since confirmation, Kagan has ruled against the Second Amendment twice and on other issues directly involving the Constitution, most notably, the Affordable Care Act. Is this protecting the Constitution, senator? Oh yes, Graham also voted to confirm Justice Sonia Sotomayer. Did he use the same logic then? Probably, but she, at least, had judicial experience. Will Graham employ the same mentality when the next opportunity arises for filling a Court vacancy? If the “standard” is the premise for confirming presidential nominees for cabinet positions, we need look no further for explanations for the crisis facing our current administration. In my opinion, “elections do have consequences,” senator.
Eldon J. Koch