Fifteen years ago (or so), I dubbed Lindsey Graham “the Arlen Specter of the South.” Graham wasn’t then, and isn’t now, as bad as Specter in terms of giving aid and comfort to the left. But Graham represents South Carolina, one of the most conservative states in the Union. Therefore, he deserves to be graded on a curve.
So graded, Graham’s conduct, especially when it comes to judicial nominees, resembled Specter’s. Hence, the moniker.
Graham was at it again this week. Ed Whelan reports:
Senator Dianne Feinstein was absent from the Senate yesterday, so Senate Republicans had the votes to defeat the cloture motion on controversial Second Circuit nominee Myrna Perez, director of the left-wing Brennan Center for Justice. Had Republicans stuck together, they would have defeated the motion by a vote of 50 to 49.
Instead, Senators Lindsey Graham and Lisa Murkowski voted for cloture, giving Perez a 51-48 margin and paving the way for her confirmation.
Perez is a hardcore leftist. The Brennan Center she directs is a Soros-funded operation devoted, in Perez’s words, to championing a “living Constitution” capable of “meet[ing] whatever moment is with us.” In other words, capable of being stretched to accommodate the left-wing policy preference du jour.
Perez has focused in particular on undermining election integrity. According to Carrie Severino:
A major focus of the organization has been advocating for less freedom of speech in connection with elections while simultaneously attacking the most basic measures to ensure the integrity of elections. That includes any and all voter-ID measures, as well as efforts to update voter rolls. As director of the center’s Voting Rights and Election Program, Pérez has been at the forefront of the Brennan Center’s efforts in this regard.
She has not hesitated to wage her attacks in demagogic terms. She attributed what she calls “major backlashes against the expansion of the rights to vote” following President Obama’s election to “people having anxiety over the browning of America” and called recent voting regulations including voter ID and limitations on early voting “the biggest rollback of the right to vote since the Jim Crow era.”
She has taken the losing side of the Supreme Court’s voting-rights decisions in Shelby County v. Holder (2013) and the just-decided Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee. In the latter case, which involved a challenge to Arizona’s out-of-precinct policy and ban on ballot harvesting, she argued for an interpretation of Section Two of the Voting Rights Act that would have wreaked havoc on the nation’s election laws, but she argued that the contrary interpretation “would permit states to return to . . . Jim Crow-era restrictions.” She also invoked the goal of “alleviating Jim Crow efforts, past and present,” in her argument for restoring voting rights to ex-felons.
She seems comfortable hurling the ugly specter of Jim Crow at anyone with a different view of election laws — a category broad enough to include six justices of the Supreme Court.
None of this would have bothered Arlen Specter and none of it bothers Lindsey Graham.
Indeed, almost nothing about Joe Biden’s attempt to radicalize the federal bench seems to bother Graham. Whelan says, “I’m reliably informed that Graham has not voted against cloture or against final confirmation of a single Biden judicial nominee.”
Graham hasn’t always been this deferential to judicial nominees. He helped sink the nomination of Jim Haynes, George Bush’s nominee to the Fourth Circuit, for no good reason. But when the opportunity to sink the nomination of George Soros’ hard-left instrument, Graham demurred.
Arlen Specter would have been proud.