Oct 15 2005
Wes Hickman (202) 224-5972 or Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417Aside from fighting the War on Terror, President Bush’s appointment of judges to the federal bench -- including two Supreme Court justices -- will be the defining legacy of his time in office. Like President Bush, I want judges who make good decisions based upon the law as written. I don’t want them to make new laws or take the law into their own hands. That role should be left to elected representatives in Congress and the President. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee for the past three years, I’ve had a front-row seat in the confirmation process of judges and I’m very concerned about what I see happening. The Senate seems to be getting away from judging a nominee’s experience, ethics, character, temperament and qualifications. We increasingly want to administer political allegiance tests to judicial nominees. This new standard wants potential judges to agree with a Senators values and beliefs in return for a vote for confirmation. The Senate didn’t always operate this way. Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative nominated by former President Reagan, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a liberal nominated by former President Clinton, are both examples of nominees who were qualified for their positions and received overwhelming votes (98 for Scalia, 96 for Ginsberg) -- even though may Senators did not agree with their legal philosophies. A prime example of our new standard was the recent confirmation of John Roberts as the 17th Chief Justice of the United States. There’s no doubt President Bush chose wisely when he nominated him for the position as Roberts was a well-qualified nominee who may be the best legal mind in the country today. However I was greatly concerned by the fact he did not receive an overwhelming, near-unanimous vote in the Judiciary Committee (13-5) or on the Senate floor (78-22) like previous nominees. What was equally disturbing was some of the comments made by Senators who voted against him. He was called “incredible, probably one of the most schooled appellate lawyers at least in his generation,” “well qualified, well-spoken, unflappable,” “an outstanding lawyer, well educated and serious,” “obviously qualified in his legal education and litigation experience,” “Earnest, incredibly intelligent, a superb lawyer,” “brilliant, accomplished,” and “a judge who will be loyal and faithful to the process of law.” If being intelligent, brilliant, a superb lawyer, the greatest legal mind of your generation, personally decent and well qualified for the position is not enough then what is? There’s no doubt this new standard some Senators are adopting is bad for the judiciary and will prove to be bad for the country.
Oct 11 2005
South Carolina National Guard Readiness Center in Charleston to Receive Nearly $10.3 Million
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint secured more than $79 million for military construction projects in South Carolina in the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2006 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill. “As we have recently witnessed, the men and women of our armed forces have a dual role in protecting this nation,” said Graham. “They defend our interests abroad and are called upon to respond in times of crisis at home. The projects funded in this bill recognize the dual nature of our military and demonstrate a commitment to providing state-of-the-art facilities for training and medical care.” "South Carolina is the best place in the nation for the military to live, train, and support our global war on terror and this bill helps ensure we continue this tradition," said Senator DeMint. "Our men and women in uniform risk their lives to protect us, and they deserve our highest support." The bill provides $10,298,000 for the South Carolina National Guard Readiness Center in Charleston. This project will be constructed in partnership with The Citadel and will be located on its campus. The Center will serve as the headquarters of the 218th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) and will serve as an emergency operations center in the event of a hurricane or flood. The Citadel will contribute 25 percent of the total project cost. Other projects in the bill include:
- $35,000,000 for a consolidated medical clinic in Charleston.
- $15,524,000 for the Army Reserve Center in Greenville.
- $9,730,000 for the U.S. Central Command Air Forces Communications Squadron Facility at Shaw Air Force Base.
- $6,424,000 for the Marine Corps Reserve Center in Charleston.
- $2,583,000 for the fitness center at Charleston Air Force Base.
Oct 06 2005
Graham Amendment Reforms and Strengthens Guantanamo Bay to Make it More Effective in the War on Terror
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)’s amendment to the defense spending bill passed the Senate late last night. The amendment passed by unanimous consent. “The United States desperately needs effective detention and interrogation policies,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We need good intelligence and we need to keep terrorists off the battlefield. I’m confident we can do this while living up to the high standards we have always adhered to as a nation.” The major provisions of the Graham amendment include: The President would be required to submit to Congress the procedures for the Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) and the Annual Review Board (ARB) at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (Gitmo). The CSRT is the tribunal that determines whether a detainee is an unlawful enemy combatant. The ARB reviews the combatant’s status on an annual basis to determine if the individual is an enemy combatant, still holds intelligence value and/or, still presents a threat to the United States. The amendment requires the president to make two changes to current procedures. First, the Designated Civilian Official responsible for overseeing detainees in U.S. custody would require Senate confirmation. Second, the CSRT and ARB may not consider statements obtained with undue coercion when determining the status of a detainee. The president is also given flexibility to update CSRT and ARB procedures by giving Congress 30 days notice. “We must have procedures in place at Gitmo that will keep terrorists off the battlefield as long as necessary to protect our nation,” said Graham. “Without congressional authority we run a real risk a federal court will either take over or impede our efforts at Gitmo. We are winning in some courts and losing in others. I firmly believe the Executive branch will fair better in court now that Congress has given guidance regarding the operations at Gitmo.” “My amendment reforms and legitimizes the current system in use at Gitmo,” said Graham. “It bolsters the case in federal court that enemy combatant status is a proper and legal term. It also strengthens the legal case that conferring enemy combatant status on terrorists is a recognized legal concept.” Graham’s amendment, along with one introduced by U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), were both approved last night by the Senate. The McCain amendment, which passed 90-9, requires interrogation procedures to be followed as outlined in the Army Field Manual and prohibits the use of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of anyone in military custody. “We’re trying to create certainty from chaos,” said Graham. “The amendments give guidance to our troops to ensure they don’t get into legal trouble while detaining and interrogating terrorists. The McCain amendment will be invaluable in assisting our own troops in understanding the policies of interrogation. I firmly believe the confusion created in the past will be resolved by using the Army Field Manual as the standardized method of interrogating enemy combatants.” “Our troops will have guidance as to what the rules are and hopefully it will provide them protection when carrying out their duties when interrogating enemy combatants,” said Graham. “We don’t want our troops to run afoul of the law inadvertently.” #####
Oct 05 2005
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Talatha Rural Community Water District and the City of New Ellenton will receive a $1,517,511 grant for water and sewer infrastructure improvements. The funds will be used to construct a new well, a 600,000-gallon elevated water tank, 4,000 linear feet of 12-inch water line, and 8,000 linear feet of gravity sewer line. The improvements will serve a manufacturing facility. “Adequate infrastructure is a major factor in future economic development,” said Graham. “This is an investment in the community and will have an impact for years to come.” The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce. ####
Oct 05 2005
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced more than $325,000 in grants to fire departments across South Carolina. “Firefighters and emergency service personnel dedicate themselves to protecting the health and safety of South Carolinians,” said Graham. “These grants help fire departments save lives by providing the means to obtain the best equipment and training available.” The Operations and Firefighter Safety Program grant may be used for training, wellness, and fitness programs; the purchase of firefighting equipment and personal protective equipment; and modifications to fire stations and facilities. The grants awarded include: Latta Dillon County Fire Department Area 2 will receive $74,052. Liberty Walker McEmoyle Fire Department will receive $94,150. North Charleston City of North Charleston Fire Department will receive $67,528. Spartanburg City of Spartanburg Public Safety Department will receive $90,666. The Assistance to Firefighters grant program awards one-year grants directly to local fire departments, enhancing their ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards in the community. The program supports departments by providing them the tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and their firefighting personnel. Grantees share in the cost of the funded project at a percentage based on the population of their respective jurisdiction. Grantees that serve jurisdictions of 50,000 or fewer residents are required to provide a non-Federal cost-share of 10 percent while grantees that serve jurisdictions of over 50,000 provide a 30 percent cost-share. The match must be in cash without the use of in-kind contributions. In addition, the maximum amount of federal funds that an applicant can be awarded is $750,000 during any fiscal year. The grants are made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ####
Oct 03 2005
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $650,000 in grants for two organizations in South Carolina to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. “Domestic violence remains a major problem in South Carolina,” said Graham. “We have a responsibility to do all we can to assist victims and prosecute offenders.” The National College of District Attorneys in Columbia will receive a $400,000 grant. The funds will be used to sponsor the Fifteenth Annual National Conference on Domestic Violence. The conference is expected to be attended by approximately 1,000 attendees and will focus on providing the tools necessary to help victims rebuild their lives. The South Carolina Centers for Equal Justice in Columbia will receive a $252,590 grant. The funds will be used to provide on-site advocacy, improved legal services, and specialized training for attorneys in the areas of domestic violence and sexual assault. This project is a collaboration between South Carolina Centers for Equal Justice and other victim services organizations including the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault, Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons, Laurens County Safe Home, Safe Passage, SAFE Homes-Rape Crisis Coalition, and My Sister’s House. The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice. ####
Oct 03 2005
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced two South Carolina organizations will receive more than $460,000 in grants to support employment programs for persons with disabilities. The South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department will receive $252,924 to recruit, train, and maintain twenty “Disability Specialists” who can serve as coaches and mentors for rehabilitation staff throughout the state. These specialists will have the skills necessary to better serve those with the most significant disabilities, including spinal cord injury, brain injury, deafness, and mental illness. The Disability Action Center, Inc. (DAC) in Columbia will receive $207,109 to help increase opportunities for people with disabilities to enter competitive employment in the residential construction industry. DAC with partner with the National Association of Homebuilders and the Home Builders Institute for this project. Both grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. ####
Oct 03 2005
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Clemson University will receive a $799,938 grant to provide support and funding to local faith-based and community organizations. As a recipient of a Compassion Capital Fund Demonstration Program grant, Clemson will serve as a bridge between the federal government and faith-based and community organizations. The University will provide training and technical assistance as well as small financial awards ranging anywhere from $5,000 to $40,000. Clemson is one of 45 intermediary organizations nationwide. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ####
Oct 03 2005
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on President Bush’s selection of Harriet Miers to serve as a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. Graham is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “President Bush has made a solid pick for the Supreme Court. “Harriet Miers has been in the legal trenches throughout her career and has a tremendous understanding of how the law works in people’s everyday lives. Her legal experience combined with her life experience makes her a solid choice. “I hope for and anticipate a smooth confirmation process with a significant bipartisan vote in support. In my opinion, there will be no filibuster as she is a mainstream conservative who will be a strict constructionist on the Supreme Court. “I expect the liberal left to make demands upon the Administration to produce information protected by attorney-client privilege. Efforts such as these to derail a qualified nominee like Miers should fail.” ####
Oct 03 2005
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the University of South Carolina (USC) will receive more than $2.2 million dollars in grants to support health care and medical research programs. Grants awarded include:
- $1,585,298 to support efforts to eliminate disparities in health care.
- $329,871 for drug abuse research.
- $295,387 for genomics and biomedical research.