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Senate Judiciary Chairman Graham says Republicans have the votes to confirm new justice

"After Kavanaugh, everything changed with me," Graham said.

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Lindsey Graham
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham.
Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images
Updated: September 22, 2020 - 8:05am

The Senate Republican Caucus has enough votes to confirm a Supreme Court nominee by President Trump to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, say Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the chamber's Judiciary Committee. 

The chamber holds confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominees and votes on whether to recommend a nominee gets a full Senate vote. Republicans have 53 of the 100 Senate seats and can have only four defectors in a final floor vote.

Ginsburg died Friday from complications for cancer. Democrats are opposed to Trump appointing a replacement to the high court with about 40 days remains before the Nov. 3 presidential election.

"We've got the votes to confirm Justice Ginsburg's replacement before the election," Graham said Monday night on the Fox News' "Hannity" show. "We're going to move forward in the committee, we're going to report the nomination out of the committee to the floor of the United States Senate so we can vote before the election. Now, that's the constitutional process." 

He also warned that Democrats will go to extreme lengths to oppose any Trump nominee, as they have done before.

"It's pretty obvious that if they [Democrats] want an outcome, they'll just  destroy anybody's life to keep the seats open," Graham said. "They said they tried to destroy Brett Kavanaugh so they could fill the seat. ... I've seen this movie before. It's not going to work."

Kavanaugh was confirmed to the high court in 2018. 

Protesters begun gathering outside the Graham's Washington, D.C., residence after he announced that he would hold confirmation hearings.

Critics of Graham's decision are pointing to past statements, made as recently as 2018, when Graham said, "If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump's term, and the primary process has started, we'll wait till the next election," to confirm a new justice. 

However, Graham now cites the treatment Kavanaugh by Senate Democrats during his confirmation hearing as motivation to think differently about the process.

"After Kavanaugh, everything changed with me," Graham said on Fox. "We've got the votes to confirm the judge, the justice on the floor of the Senate before the election, and that's what's coming."

 

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