According to a report from the Washington Post, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) definitively said a Republican-majority Senate would not hold hearings for a President Joe Biden Supreme Court nominee in the 2024 election year and held out the possibility that no nominee would be considered at all if the GOP takes control of the Senate in November.
As the Post’s Paul Kane is reporting, Graham has said a GOP-controlled Senate would invoke the so-called “Garland rule,” a non-existent rule that Republicans used to keep current Attorney General Merrick Garland off the court after former President Barrack Obama’s nominated him.
The refusal of then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to hold hearings and a vote allowed incoming President Donald Trump to fill the seat opened up by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia with current conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch.
According to Graham, that same scenario might not only play out in 2024 but also in 2023, meaning the court could be down to eight members for almost two years.
As Kane wrote, “Graham, the always loquacious lightning rod of the Senate, openly wondered and gamed out the potential scenarios. Should a Supreme Court vacancy occur in 2024, Graham said, ‘the Garland rule’ takes effect and Republicans will not contemplate processing a Biden nominee in the election year.”
The columnist continued, “The tricky situation, Graham said, is if [Clarence] Thomas or another justice were to die in 2023, before the actual primaries and caucuses start in the presidential campaign,” adding that Graham replied, “This is sort of uncharted territory.”