Sep 12 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the nomination of John Roberts to the United States Supreme Court. Graham is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said: “Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thanks for the seventh inning stretch, too. We all very much appreciate it. Judge Roberts, playing a little bit off of what my colleague Senator Feingold said, I don't think you expected it to be easy. Having to listen to 18 senators proves the fact that it's not going to be easy. But I hope we will live up to our end of the bargain to make it fair. Fair is something that comes around in September in South Carolina or it can be an idea. The idea of treating you fairly is very important to me because not only are you on display, but the Senate's on display. Senator Kennedy said something that I disagree with, but he's very passionate in his statement. He said the central issue is whether or not you will embrace policies, a certain set of policies, or whether or not you will roll back certain policy decisions. I respectfully disagree with Senator Kennedy. To me, the central issue before the Senate is whether or not the Senate will allow President Bush to fulfill his campaign promise to appoint a well- qualified, strict constructionist to the Supreme Court. And -- in this case -- appoint a Chief Justice to the Supreme Court in the mold of Justice Rehnquist. He's been elected president twice. He has not hidden from the public what his view of a Supreme Court justice should be and the philosophy they should embrace. In my opinion -- by picking you -- he has lived up to his end of the bargain with the American people by choosing a well-qualified, strict constructionist. You have been described as brilliant, talented and well- qualified, and that's by Democrats. The question is, is that enough in 2005 to get confirmed? Maybe not. Professor Michael Gerhardt wrote an article in 2000 called The Federal Appointments Process, and I think he has given some advice to our Democratic friends in the past and, maybe recently, about the confirmation process that we're engaged in today. He has written, the Constitution establishes a presumption of confirmation that works to the advantage of the president and his nominee. I agree with that. Elections matter. We're not here to debate how to solve all the nation's problems. We're not here to talk about liberal philosophy versus conservative philosophy and what's best for the country. We're here to talk about you and whether or not you are qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, whether or not you have the intellect, the integrity and the character. It has been said in the past by members of this committee -- Senator Kennedy -- I believe -- it's recognized by most senators that we're not charged with a responsibility of approving justices if their views always coincide with our own. We're really interested in knowing whether a nominee has the background, experience, qualifications, temperament, integrity to handle the most sensitive, important and responsible job. And that's being on the Supreme Court. If you're looking for consistency, you've probably come to the wrong place, because the truth of the matter is that we're all involved in the electoral process ourselves and we have different agendas. Your memos are going to be talked about. The memos you wrote while you were working for President Reagan and Bush 1, in my opinion, reflect a conservative lawyer advising a conservative president about conservative policies. To some, those policies make no sense; those policies are out of the mainstream. But this hearing is about whether or not you're qualified. Not whether Reagan conservatism is in the mainstream. Does affirmative action require quotas? From a conservative point of view, no. From a conservative point of view, we don't want federal judges setting the value of someone's wages from the bench. You wrote about that. Now, some people want that, but conservatives don't. Environmental policies: We want a clean environment, but we don't want to ruin the economy in the process. We want to be able to build levees to protect cities. Conservatives have a different view of a lot of issues versus our friends on the other side. The election determines how that shakes out. We're here to determine whether or not you and all you've done in your life makes you a fitting candidate to be on the Supreme Court. Before we got here, the Senate was in disarray. May 23rd of this year, I engaged in a compromise agreement with seven Democrats and seven Republicans to keep the Senate from blowing itself up. You're the first nomination that we've dealt with in any significant manner after that agreement. There's plenty of blame to go around, Judge Roberts. On our watch, I'm sure we did things in committee that were very unfair to Democrat nominees, particularly by President Clinton. At the time of that agreement, there were 10 people being filibustered, for the first time in the history of the Senate, in a partisan manner, that were going to be on the court of appeals. We were in chaos. We were at each other's throats. Since May 23rd, we've done better. The Senate has gotten back to a more traditional role when it comes to judges. As Senator Specter described the committee, we've done some good things on this committee and in the Senate as a whole. I hope we will take the chance to start over because the public approval of the Senate now is in the 30s. That’s not your fault, Judge Roberts; it's our fault. We have an opportunity as senators to show we can disagree based on philosophy but give you a fair shake. The question is whether we'll rise to the occasion. I'm hopeful we will based on the statements being made. What is the standard for a senator to confirm a Supreme Court nominee? Whatever the senator wants it to be. And, really, that's the way it should be. But there should be some goals, in my opinion. The way we conduct ourselves, one of the goals we should have, is to make sure we don't run good people away from wanting to be a judge. I don't know what it's like to sit at home and turn on the television and watch a commercial about you in the presence of your wife and your kids that say some pretty unflattering things. That's just not a problem you've faced. I'm sure Democratic nominees have faced the same type problem. We shouldn't, in our standard, be trying to come up with a standard to invalidate elections. The president won. The president told us what he's going to do and he did it. He picked a strict constructionist to be on the Supreme Court. If anybody is surprised, they weren't listening to the last campaign. Roe v. Wade: It divides America. If you believe in polling, most Americans would like to see the decision stand even though we're divided 50-50 on the idea of abortion on demand. My good friend from California has expressed a view about Roe v. Wade which I completely understand and respect. I can just tell you, Judge Roberts, there are plenty of women in South Carolina who have an opposite view about abortion. If we were to make our votes, base our votes on that one principle, Justice Ginsburg would not be Justice Ginsburg. In her writing, she embraced the idea of federal funding for abortion. She indicated that an abortion right was based on the equal protection clause of the Constitution. I dare say 90 percent of the Republican Caucus is pro-life. I dare say 90 percent of the Democratic Caucus is pro-choice. Justice Ginsburg got 96 votes even though she expressed a view of the federal government's role in abortion that I completely disagree with and I think most conservatives disagree with. There was a time not too long ago, Judge Roberts, where it was about the way you lived your life, how you conducted yourself, what kind of lawyer you were, what kind of man or woman you were, not whether you had an allegiance to a specific case or a particular cause. Let's get back to those days. Let's get back to the days where the Ginsburg’s and the Scalia’s can be pushed and pressed, but they can be honored for their commitment to the law and the way they live their life. Let's get back to the good old days where we understood that we were looking for well-qualified people to sit on the highest court of the land -- not political clones of our own philosophy. The reason I signed the agreement more than anything else was that I love the law. The role of the law in our society is so important. You take out the rule of law and you don't have a democracy. The law, Judge Roberts, to me, represents a quiet place in American discourse. Politics is a loud, noisy and destructive place. But the courtroom is a quiet place where the weak can challenge the strong and the unpopular can be heard. I know you will honor the rule of law in our country and that you will be a judge that we all can be proud of. God bless you and your family. ##### Note: Audio of Senator Graham's statement is available at the Senate Republican Conference radio page.

Sep 12 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement at the conclusion of the first day of hearings on the nomination of John Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court. Graham is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said: “I thought it was a good day for the U.S. Senate. I thought we acquitted ourselves well on both sides of the aisle. About two and a half months ago, that was not an assured event. “Justice [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg was liberal. She got 96 votes in the Senate. Justice [Antonin] Scalia was conservative. He got 98 votes. How many will Judge Roberts get? If people judge him based on his qualifications and the way he's lived his life, he should get 100. “Judge Roberts passed the ultimate test of anyone who wants to sit on the Supreme Court. To the public at large, I believe they saw a man they would feel comfortable with judging them and their family if they ever found themselves in a courtroom. Judge Roberts spoke from the heart and described his view of the law in a way people could understand. He convinced, I think, anyone who's reasonable that he's going to try his best to be a good judge. “The confirmation hearings have always been about whether or not the president's nominee will get an up-or-down vote. The only way he would not be confirmed is through a filibuster and until recently that's been a rare event in the Senate. After his opening statement today, I don't believe anybody will be able to mount a challenge he's out of the mainstream or he's the kind of person that should not be on the court. “Judge Roberts came across as a guy who knows what he believes, is well schooled in the law, and possesses the intellect and the integrity to sit on the court. He's a conservative. To expect George W. Bush to appoint anyone other than a conservative, you didn't listen to the last two elections.” #####

Sep 07 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $630,000 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: Chesterfield Teal’s Mill Rural Volunteer Fire Department will receive $52,440. Clio Clio Rural Fire Department will receive $67,288. Cowpens Cowpens Fire Department will receive $151,354. Lancaster Antioch Volunteer Fire Department will receive $61,375. Ridge Spring Ridge Spring Volunteer Fire Department will receive $34,067. Summerville Summerville Fire Department will receive $136,080. Whitmire Whitmire Rescue Squad will receive $109,590. Winnsboro Fairfield County Emergency Services will receive $22,140. 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. ####

Sep 04 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the passing of William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. He said: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the members of the Rehnquist family. "In his service to our nation, Chief Justice Rehnquist was the epitomy of a conservative Supreme Court Justice. His time on the Court was historic as he helped shape the Court's direction away from judicial acvtivism to a more traditional role. "I vividly remember the dignity and firmness he provided during the Senate impeachment trial of former President Clinton. I fully believe his calming and dignified influence during that difficult period served our nation well. "Chief Justice Rehnquist will be missed and all Americans owe him a debt of gratitude for his service to our nation." #####

Sep 01 2005

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced six Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) in South Carolina will receive more than $7.3 million in grants to support and expand scientific and technical programs. “In the coming decades, nuclear security and reducing the threat of global terrorism are vitally important to protecting and defending our national interests,” said Graham. “I am proud that South Carolina’s HBCU’s are taking a leading role in preparing the next generation of professionals in these fields.” Recipients include:
  • Allen University will receive $2 million to support the Mathematics, Science and Technology Expansion and Improvement Program.
  • Benedict College will receive $500,000 to support infrastructure, research and student development in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to support national security.
  • Claflin College will receive $2 million to support the Preparation of a Technologically Literate Science Workforce to Meet the Needs of the 21st Century program.
  • Morris College will receive $500,000 to support programs that prepare students for careers in nuclear security.
  • South Carolina State University will receive $1,301,926 to establish a pilot program in radiochemistry.
  • Voorhees College will receive $1 million to support Lighting the Way: The Voorhees College Virtual Learning in Cyber Security Education.
The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The goal of the NNSA/HBCU Program is to support the NNSA mission by increasing the capabilities of HBCU faculty and students to participate NNSA programs. ####

Aug 31 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $640,000 in grants to fire departments in Abbeville, Branchville, Cameron, Pickens, and Wallace. “Firefighters risk their lives to protect others, and they deserve the best equipment and training available,” said Graham. “Firefighters are some of the heroes in our midst.” The grants were awarded in one of three program areas:
  • Operations and Firefighter Safety Program: The funds 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.
  • Firefighting Vehicle Acquisition Program: The funds may be used for the purchase of firefighting vehicles including pumpers, brush trucks, tankers, rescue vehicles, ambulances, quints, aerials, foam units, and fireboats.
The grants awarded include: Abbeville City of Abbeville Fire Department will receive a $24,855 Operations and Firefighter Safety Grant. Branchville Cattle Creek Fire Department will receive a $185,250 Firefighting Vehicle Acquisition Grant. Cameron Cameron Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $190,000 Firefighting Vehicle Acquisition Grant. Pickens Holly Springs Fire Department will receive a $71,438 Operations and Firefighter Safety Grant. Wallace Wallace Fire Department will receive a $171,950 Operations and Firefighter Safety Grant. 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. ####

Aug 31 2005

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced the Columbia Metropolitan Airport will receive a $1,591,032 increase to a previously awarded grant for airport improvements. This brings the total grant award for this project to $5,998,940. The money will be used to rehabilitate and increase apron areas. The funding also improves the terminal building by acquiring and installing loading bridges to enhance passenger and airline efficiency. Safety at the airport will be enhanced by the installation of perimeter fencing around a portion of the airport boundary. In addition, the airport will purchase an aircraft rescue and fire fighting rapid intervention vehicle. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. ####

Aug 30 2005

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced South Carolina State University will receive a $150,000 grant to support the school’s rehabilitation counseling program. South Carolina State University’s rehabilitation counseling program was started in 1972 and was the first such program at a Historically Black College and University. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. ####

Aug 29 2005

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Myrtle Beach International Airport will receive $930,000 in federal grant money for taxiway rehabilitation. This is the third and final phase in the rehabilitation of Taxiway J. “I've been very impressed by the growth of air travel in Myrtle Beach,” said Graham “We must continue to build the necessary infrastructure to allow the airport to grow. There's no doubt in my mind that increased air travel will tremendously enhance economic opportunities in the Grand Strand.” The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. ####

Aug 25 2005

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) announced a grant of $500,000 to the city of Florence for the purpose of air service improvement. The grant has been awarded under the Small Community Air Service Development Program through the U.S. Department of Transportation. It will be used to institute a comprehensive marketing program to increase use of the airport. Local sources will contribute additional funds as well as provide in-kind contributions to this community effort. The program helps communities address the challenges of local air service, such as high fares and insufficient levels of service. The grants will be used by communities around the country for programs such as financial incentives to air carriers, studies to determine air service needs, and marketing programs that encourage communities to use commercial carriers offering local air service. ###