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Graham shoots down request for Merrick Garland confirmation hearing Feb. 8

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump announces new impeachment legal team after reported departures 5 lawyers leave Trump impeachment team ahead of trial: reports Biden reignites immigration fight in Congress MORE (R-S.C.) rejected a Democratic request on Monday to schedule a affirmation listening to subsequent week for Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandDemocrats weigh expanding lower courts after Trump blitz Biden begins staffing commission to study Supreme Court reform: report Over 40 lawmakers sign letter urging Merrick Garland to prioritize abolishing death penalty MORE, President Biden’s choose to be legal professional common.

Although Democrats have the Senate majority, Graham continues to be the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman as a result of the chamber hasn’t but handed an organizing decision for the 117th Congress. 

Which means the Senate panels are nonetheless working beneath final yr’s setup — during which Republicans had the bulk.

Graham’s letter comes after Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinProgressives push controversial proposal on budget reconciliation Democrats weigh expanding lower courts after Trump blitz Biden reignites immigration fight in Congress MORE (D-Sick.), the incoming committee chairman, urged him to schedule a hearing for Feb. 8, arguing that there was “merely no justification” for not scheduling it and hinting that behind-the-scenes talks had been at an deadlock.

However Graham, in his own letter, mentioned Garland ought to have a two-day listening to and pointed to the upcoming impeachment trial, scheduled to start out subsequent week, as a roadblock. 

“The Senate is about to conduct its first ever impeachment trial of a former president, and solely its fourth trial of a president, incumbent or not. Underneath the process the Senate has adopted, Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden reverses Trump last-minute attempt to freeze .4 billion of programs Trump announces new impeachment legal team after reported departures Republicans scramble to unify heading into next election cycle MORE’s trial is about to start out on February 9. However you need us to hurry by Decide Garland’s listening to on February 8. An impeachment is not any small factor. It requires the Senate’s full focus,” Graham wrote. 

He added that Democrats “don’t get to attain political factors” by the impeachment trial whereas “additionally making an attempt to assert the mantle of fine authorities.” Graham additionally famous that the committee is lacking paperwork from Garland. 

Underneath a pretrial deal reached by Senate management, Trump’s impeachment trial will begin as quickly as Feb. 9. Democrats are hoping to have the ability to go laws and ensure nominations within the morning and maintain the trial within the afternoon, however Republicans have warned they are going to block that from taking place. 

“I sit up for questioning Decide Garland and doubtlessly supporting his nomination, however not on February 8. Governing requires trade-offs,” Graham mentioned.

It’s unclear when the Senate will go a power-sharing deal organising how an evenly cut up chamber will function.

Senate leaders indicated that they had been near an settlement final week after they defanged a combat over the legislative filibuster, however the Senate adjourned for the weekend with out voting on a deal. 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe president has changed, but Washington hasn’t Biden aides signal president is open to talks on COVID-19 relief Sunday shows – COVID-19 relief dominates MORE (I-Vt.),who’s poised to develop into Senate Finances Committee chairman, told MSNBC that it may go the Senate on Tuesday. Spokespeople for Senate Majority Chief Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCongressional Democrats are on the wrong side of impeachment politics Proposal for permanent Capitol fencing sparks bipartisan pushback Immigration reform can’t wait MORE (D-N.Y.) did not instantly reply to a request for remark. 

The standoff between Graham and Durbin is not the primary time Garland has run into roadblocks from Senate Republicans. 

In 2016, Senate Republicans, who held the bulk on the time, refused to provide Garland a listening to or a vote for his Supreme Court docket nomination, citing the looming presidential election.

In 2020, Senate Republicans set a brand new report for a way near a presidential election a Supreme Court docket nominee has been confirmed once they positioned Justice Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettDemocrats weigh expanding lower courts after Trump blitz South Carolina Senate votes to outlaw most abortions in state Biden begins staffing commission to study Supreme Court reform: report MORE on the bench. 

As soon as Garland’s nomination is on the Senate ground, Democrats can affirm him over GOP objections. 

Durbin, in his letter, warned that if Graham refused to arrange a Feb. Eight listening to, he may attempt to pace up Garland’s affirmation. 

“Though I hope we will proceed in a bipartisan vogue, I’m ready to take different steps to expedite the Senate’s consideration of Decide Garland’s nomination ought to his listening to not go ahead on February 8,” Durbin wrote. 

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