To follow up on the previous, here’s how Lindsey Graham explained his vote for Elena Kagan for the court.
I have defended, and will defend, our senior senator for his thoughtfulness, while at the same time being mortified that it is necessary to defend someone for acting with intellectual honesty and not acting like a partisan automaton. What has our country come to that this sort of thought-based action has to be defended? What happened to us that such principle has become so rare?
In any case, he defends himself better than I could.
I like in particular that he gave a Federalist explanation for his decision. It harks back to a time when intelligence and principle were not rare at all in this country:
Graham Supports Kagan Nomination
WASHINGTON – Citing the Constitutional and historical role the Senate has played in Supreme Court nominations, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he would support the nomination of Elena Kagan.
“No one, outside of maybe John McCain, spent more time trying to beat President Obama than I did,” said Graham. “But we lost and President Obama won.”
Graham cited Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Number 76 in listing the reasons he would vote for Kagan. Graham noted Hamilton wrote, “To what purpose then require the cooperation of the Senate? I answer that the necessity of their concurrence would have a powerful, though in general a silent operation. It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the president, would tend generally to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from family connection, from personal attachment, and from a view to popularity.”
“The Constitution puts a requirement on me, as a senator, to not replace my judgment for the President’s,” said Graham. “I’m not supposed to think of the 100 reasons I would pick somebody different. It puts upon me a standard that stood the test of time: Is the person qualified? Is it a person of good character? Are they someone that understands the difference between being a judge and a politician? And, quite frankly, I think she’s passed all those tests.”
“Are we taking the language of the Constitution that stood the test of time and putting a political standard in the place of a constitutional standard?” asked Graham. “Objectively speaking, things are changing, and they’re unnerving to me. The court is the most fragile of the three branches. So while it is our responsibility to challenge and scrutinize the court, it is also our obligation to honor elections, respect elections, and protect the court.”
“I view my role as a United States Senator in part by protecting the independence of the judiciary, and by making sure that hard-fought elections have meaning in terms of their results within our Constitution,” said Graham. “At the end of the day, Ms. Kagan is not someone I would have chosen, but I think she will serve honorably.”