Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Lindsey Graham and Lisa Murkowski Give Free Pass to Controversial Judicial Nominee

Senator Dianne Feinstein was absent from the Senate yesterday, so Senate Republicans had the votes to defeat the cloture motion on controversial Second Circuit nominee Myrna Perez, director of the left-wing Brennan Center for Justice. Had Republicans stuck together, they would have defeated the motion by a vote of 50 to 49.

Instead, Senators Lindsey Graham and Lisa Murkowski voted for cloture, giving Perez a 51-48 margin and paving the way for her confirmation.

I’m reliably informed that Graham has not voted against cloture or against final confirmation of a single Biden judicial nominee. Indeed, Graham’s vote in committee yesterday against Ninth Circuit nominee Jennifer Sung was his first vote in committee against any Biden judicial nominee. (Sung had signed a letter in 2018 slamming then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as an “intellectually and morally bankrupt ideologue.”) Here again, because of Feinstein’s absence, Committee Republicans could have prevented Sung’s nomination from being reported to the Senate floor if they had all voted against her.  But Senator John Cornyn, as an apparent favor to Feinstein, refrained from voting.

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