South Carolina's Lindsey Graham was the only question mark going into the Senate Judiciary Committee's vote on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan; the six other Republicans voted no, with all 12 Democrats voting yes. Graham sided with the Democrats this morning, using his remarks to ruminate on Congress' current crisis of partisanship. "No one spent more time trying to beat President Obama than I did, except Sen. McCain," said Graham:
I missed my own election -- I voted absentee. But I understood we lost. President Obama won. I've got a lot of opportunity to disagree, but the Constitution, in my view, puts an obligation on me not to replace my judgment for his, not to think of the hundred reasons I would pick someone different. ... I view my duty as to protect the Judiciary and to ensure that hard-fought elections have meaning in our system.
Graham went on to question the role of the minority, asking, "How do you stay within keeping your job and honoring the fact that the people have spoken?" His sweeping contemplation stood out in a nomination process that has provided so few surprises, but it was not dissimilar from what he said during Justice Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings last year. Justifying his "yea" vote (again, the only Republican "yea" vote on the Judiciary Committee), Graham had explained then that "elections have consequences."
Today, Graham praised Kagan's work on Guantanamo Bay cases while solicitor general, and dismissed her military recruiting decision at Harvard by saying that "this Harvard Law School exercise said more about Harvard than it did about the military. I also want to put it in its proper perspective -- I believe that she is a loyal American who loves the military as much as anyone else."