On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee began hearings to consider President Joe Biden's nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court.
The hearing comes after weeks of Republican elected officials decrying Biden's commitment to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, often suggesting that whoever was chosen would be granted the distinction based on their race rather than their qualifications. Judge Jackson, however, would be one of the most experienced Justices on the current bench, and the American Bar Association has given her its highest rating adjudicating her qualifications.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who expressed support for Biden's pledge to nominate a Black woman, was among the Senators to deliver opening remarks on the first day of the hearings.
Like virtually every other Republican on the committee, Graham dredged up the contentious hearings of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to smear Democrats.
He also cautioned anyone against accusing Republicans of racism for asking tough questions to Judge Jackson, the first Black woman ever nominated to the nation's highest Court, in the coming days.
"It's about 'we're all racist' if we ask hard questions. It's not gonna fly with us. We're used to it by now. At least I am. So it's not gonna matter a bit to any of us, we're gonna ask you what we think you need to be asked."
Republicans have repeatedly been accused of racism after decades of advocating for racist policies and defending racist rhetoric. They've endorsed voter suppression laws that disproportionately affect Black Americans, for instance. In defending those policies earlier this year, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that "African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans,” making an apparent distinction between Black voters and "Americans."
Just last month, two Republican members of the House of Representatives—Paul Gosar of Arizona and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia—appeared and spoke at a gathering of unapologetic white supremacists.
Graham himself has defended racist rhetoric as well. He advocated for former President Donald Trump's urging of four Democratic Congresswomen of color to "go back" where they came from. At the Senate Judiciary's 2020 confirmation hearings for now-Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a Trump nominee, Graham joked about going back to the "good old days of segregation."
So Graham's dismissal of racism allegations against Republicans because they're "used to it" wasn't the defense he seemed to think it was.
Graham's comments amounted to what social media users describe as a "self-own."
Jackson has been confirmed by the Senate for lower courts three times on a bipartisan basis.