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Graham: Durbin Request to Rush Attorney General Nomination “Highly Unusual”

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today responded to Senator Dick Durbin’s (D-Illinois) request that the committee rush a nomination hearing for Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland on Monday, February, 8, 2021 – one day before the Senate is set to begin an impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump. 

Graham wrote, “Your request is highly unusual. The Senate is about to conduct its first ever impeachment trial of a former president, and only its fourth trial of a president, incumbent or not. Under the procedure the Senate has adopted, Donald Trump’s trial is set to start on February 9. But you want us to rush through Judge Garland’s hearing on February 8. An impeachment is no small thing. It requires the Senate’s complete focus. This is why I didn’t consider any judicial nominees during last year’s impeachment trial. Democrats do not get to score political points in an unprecedented act of political theater on one hand while also trying to claim the mantle of good government on the other.”

In Graham’s letter, he noted:

  • The last five attorneys general—Bill Barr, Jeff Sessions, Loretta Lynch, Eric Holder, and Michael Mukasey—all had two day hearings.
  • Senator Durbin wrote that a February 8 hearing will give 13 days from the receipt of Judge Garland’s questionnaire until the hearing. The standard practice is 28 days. While the Committee held a hearing on Justice Barrett’s nomination only 13 days after receiving her paperwork, the Committee had just processed her nomination to the Circuit Court three years prior. The Committee last considered Judge Garland twenty-four years ago.
  • Both Senator Sessions and Attorney General Barr submitted their questionnaires a full 28 days prior to their planned hearings. Like Judge Garland, both Senator Sessions and Attorney General Barr had extensive public records but that did not impede them from giving the Committee a full 28 days to consider their materials.
  • Although Judge Garland’s nomination was announced almost a month ago, the Committee is still missing important and standard paperwork for him.

Graham concluded, “I look forward to questioning Judge Garland and potentially supporting his nomination, but not on February 8. Governing requires trade-offs. When the Senate’s focus is required to consider whether to bar a former president from being reelected, other business must stop. Proceeding with the confirmation of an attorney general and the impeachment of a former president at the same time would give neither the attention required.”

The full text of Graham’s letter to Durbin can be found HERE.