Lindsey Graham Grills Ketanji Brown Jackson on Brett Kavanaugh Hearing - Rolling Stone
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Lindsey Graham Is (Still) Melting Down Over Democrats Questioning Brett Kavanaugh

The senator from South Carolina promised Ketanji Brown Jackson’s hearings wouldn’t be a circus. It’s not going well

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., questions Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., questions Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) questions Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, March 23, 2022.

Alex Brandon/AP Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was disgusted four years ago when Democrats sought to question soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh about a credible accusation of sexual assault. He’s made abundantly clear this week that he’s still disgusted, and on Wednesday he unleashed his ire on Ketanji Brown Jackson, badgering President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee about Kavanaugh’s confirmation process so relentlessly that Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) had to intervene.

“How would you feel that if I had a letter from somebody accusing you of something — a crime or misconduct — for weeks and I give it to Senator Durbin just before this hearing is over and not allow you to comment on the accusation,” Graham began. “How would you feel about that?”

Jackson had no idea what he was talking about. “Did you watch the Kavanaugh hearings?” Graham continued.

It spiraled from there.

Durbin eventually told Graham his time was up. Graham kept going, claiming Jackson “filibustered every question I had,” detailing the accusation against Kavanaugh, and ranting about how Democrats handled it. “Senator, she’s had nothing to do with the Kavanaugh hearing,” Durbin interjected, only enraging Graham further.

Jackson would have had a hard time filibustering Graham’s questions, because Graham kept interrupting her.

Graham, like several other Republican senators, has tried to paint Jackson as a pedophile sympathizer. The idea that she’s doled out unusually lenient sentences to child pornographers was dredged out of conspiracy theory circles and popularized by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who was even condemned by the conservative National Review. “The allegation appears meritless to the point of demagoguery,” the publication wrote. ABC News later reported that Hawley had voted to confirm judges who gave out sentences similar to the ones Republicans are using to attack Jackson.

The ludicrous idea that Jackson is pro-child porn is all Senate Republicans have — outside of racist dog whistling — as they work to turn the hearings into a culture-war sideshow pre-packaged for right-wing media. Graham may be the worst culprit, despite his promise on Monday that he and his colleagues would be civil. “The hearings are going to be challenging for you, informative for the public, and respectful by us,” he said in his opening statement. “I hope we can meet those criteria. It won’t be a circus. We’re off to a good start.”

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