Excerpts from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
The following are excerpts from Sen. Lindsey Graham's (D-SC) opening remarks:
"Now, you are the best example I can think of why hearings should be probative and meaningful. You come with no judicial record, but you're not the first person to come before the committee without having been a judge. But it does, I think, require us and you to provide us a little insight as to what kind of judge you would be. You have very little private practice, one year as solicitor general, and a lot of my colleagues on this side have talked about some of the positions you've taken that I think are a bit disturbing. But I'd like to acknowledge some of the things you have done as solicitor general that were I thought were very good. You opposed applying habeas rights to Bagram detainees. You supported the idea that a terror suspect could be charged with material support of terrorism under the statute and that was consistent with the law of wars history.
So there are things you have done as solicitor general that I think will merit praise and I will certainly, from my point of view, give you a chance to discuss those. "
"Now what do we know? We know you are very smart. You have a strong academic background. You got bipartisan support. The letter from Miguel Estrada is a humbling letter and I'm sure it will be mentioned throughout the hearings, but it says a lot about him. It says a lot about you that he would write that letter. "
"So the fact that you've embraced liberal causes and you have grown up in a liberal household is something we need to talk about, but that's just America. It's OK to be liberal. It's OK to be conservative. But when it comes time to be a judge, you've got to make sure you understand the limits that that position places on any agenda, liberal or conservative. "
"The one thing I can say without (sic) certainty is I don't expect your nomination to change the balance of power. After this hearing's over, I hope American -- the American people will understand that elections do matter. What did I expect from President Obama? Just about what I'm getting. And there are a lot of people who are surprised. Well, you shouldn't have been, if you were listening. "
"The question is: Can you make sure that you're not channeling your political agenda, your political leanings when it comes time to render decisions?
At the end of the day, I think the qualification test will be met. Whether or not activism can be parked is up to you. And I look at this confirmation process as a way to recognize that elections have consequences and the Senate has an independent obligation on behalf of the people of this country to put you under scrutiny, firm and fair, respectful and sometimes contentious.
Good luck. Be as candid as possible. And it's OK to disagree with us up here. Thank you."
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