Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Thursday that he will oppose Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court, marking the first time the GOP senator will vote against a nominee for the high court since joining the Senate.
“I will oppose her and I will vote no,” Graham said from the Senate floor.
Graham’s opposition was largely telegraphed — he had some of the most tense moments with Jackson in her hearing.
And while Graham’s opposition won’t prevent Jackson from being confirmed as the first Black, female Supreme Court justice, it is expected to result in Biden’s nominee facing additional procedural hurdles before she can get to a final vote.
With every other Republican on the Judiciary Committee expected to vote against her, Graham’s opposition means that Jackson will face a tie vote when the committee takes up her nomination on Monday.
It would be the first time the Judiciary Committee has tied on a Supreme Court nominee since Justice Clarence Thomas’s nomination.
That will require Senate Democrats to formally move to discharge her nomination out of the panel, something they’ve done for other executive nominees since taking over the 50-50 Senate in 2021.
But it would also be the first time a Supreme Court nominee has been forcibly discharged from the Judiciary Committee since 1853 with the nomination of William C. Micou, according to data from the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Micou was never confirmed to the Supreme Court.
Graham’s decision is a shift for the South Carolina Republican.
He’s been one of the biggest GOP supporters of Biden’s lower court nominees. He also voted for both of then-President Obama’s nominees and all of President Trump’s nominees.
Graham and GOP Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) each supported Jackson for her appeals court seat last year.
So far, Collins is the only GOP senator to say she will vote for Jackson to ascend to the Supreme Court. Murkowski and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) are viewed as potential swing votes.