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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in a letter to his Democratic colleagues on Monday he has a "different view" of the judicial confirmation process "after the treatment of Justice Kavanaugh" during his 2018 confirmation fight.

Why it matters: Graham opposed holding a vote President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland following Justice Antonin Scalia's death in 2016, arguing that voters should get to decide in the next election who is appointed to the court.

  • “I want you to use my words against me," Graham said at the time. "If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination."
  • He repeated in an Oct. 3, 2018 interview with The Atlantic: "If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump's term and the primary process has started, we'll wait until the next election. ... Hold the tape."

Yes, but: Graham argued that circumstances have changed since the Scalia vacancy because the Republican-controlled Senate at the time had been elected because it "committed to checking and balancing the end of President Obama's lame duck presidency."

  • The current Republican majority, which expanded after the 2018 midterm elections, has "committed to confirming President Trump's excellent judicial nominees," Graham wrote.
  • "We followed the precedent that the Senate has followed for 140 years: since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president's Supreme Court nominee during an election year."
  • Graham added: "[A]fter the treatment of Justice Kavanaugh, I now have a different view of the Supreme Court nomination process. ... [I]t's clear that there already is one set of rules for a Republican president and one set of rules for a Democrat president."

Go deeper

Updated Dec 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Georgia's GOP senators back $2,000 stimulus checks ahead of runoff

Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) on Tuesday both came out in favor of increasing direct payments in the coronavirus relief package from $600 to $2,000 per person.

Why it matters: The two Republican senators are on the ballot in a pair of runoffs in Georgia next week that will determine control of the Senate.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: President Trump becomes increasingly rash, and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.