Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) issued a public plea for conservative judges who are considering retirement to step down now, allowing President Donald Trump to fill their seats, according to The Hill.
He put forward his plan this week during an interview with conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt.
“A good time to do it”
Calling the remaining months of Trump’s first term a “historic opportunity” for judicial appointments, Graham noted that the administration has already added more than 200 federal judges since Inauguration Day.
“So if you’re a circuit judge in your mid-60s, late 60s, you can take senior status,” he said, according to The Hill. “Now would be a good time to do that if you want to make sure the judiciary is right of center. This is a good time to do it.”
As some Republican insiders express anxiety over the possibility of losing both the White House and control of the U.S. Senate in November, Graham’s call to aging judges is aimed at making the most of the party’s current status.
If the GOP does hold on to power, he said “it would change the judiciary for several generations,” echoing remarks made last year by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
“So we do believe with a second Trump term and a continued Senate Republican majority, we can transform the courts even further,” McConnell said, also in an interview with Hewitt.
“I need some time”
Graham appears to be hedging his bets, though, and wants to see as many judges step down as possible prior to Election Day.
“So do it now… I need some time,” he cautioned, explaining that Congress would still need time to complete the confirmation process, according to The Guardian.
As for the U.S. Supreme Court, Trump has already made two appointments.
Graham acknowledged that another vacancy on the nation’s highest court is unlikely, although McConnell made it clear to Hewitt that Republicans would press on with the confirmation of Trump’s pick if such a situation did arise.
Pundits on both sides of the aisle understand the potential impact of the courts, which means the opportunity to nominate judges is politically valuable. Whether Graham’s current efforts are successful or not, Trump’s supporters know he has already left a mark on the judicial branch for years to come.