Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham lavishly praised possible Supreme Court nominee South Carolina US District Judge J. Michelle Childs as “qualified by every measure” and “one of the most decent people I’ve ever met.”
“I can’t think of a better person for President Biden to consider for the Supreme Court than Michelle Childs. She has wide support in our state, she’s considered to be a fair-minded, highly gifted jurist. She’s one of the most decent people I’ve ever met,” Graham, who represents South Carolina and sits on the Judiciary Committee, said in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
“She’s highly qualified. She’s a good character, and we’ll see how she does if she’s nominated. But I cannot say anything bad about Michelle Childs. She is an awesome person,” Graham continued.
The White House confirmed Childs was among the candidates President Joe Biden is considering to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created when Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement on Thursday. Childs was initially nominated to serve on the Court of Appeals, but her nomination has been delayed as Biden considers her for the Supreme Court.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn also advocated for Childs in an interview on CBS on Sunday. CNN has previously reported Clyburn, who represents South Carolina’s 6th District, has lobbied Biden personally for Childs to be nominated to the Supreme Court.
Clyburn said seeing a Black woman on the high court would show children “growing up under moderate circumstances” that they’ve “got just as much of a chance” to succeed as anyone else. He alluded to Childs’ public education at the University of South Carolina School of Law, in contrast to the majority Ivy League-educated justices who have historically served on the bench.
“What this says to every little child out there growing up under moderate circumstances, needing the entire community to help raise it, getting scholarships to go off to school because couldn’t afford to go, otherwise going to public schools because you didn’t get an offer from one of the big private schools – it says to them, you’ve got just as much of a chance to benefit from the greatness of this country as everybody else,” Clyburn said.
Graham, who agreed that Childs’ educational background would benefit the court, refuted arguments from fellow Republicans that Biden is unfairly imposing race and gender criteria on his nomination. He defended Childs as “highly qualified” and cited Republican President Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor as precedent for making nominations based partly on demographic criteria.
“President Reagan said running for office that he wanted to put the first female on the court. Whether you like it or not, Joe Biden said, ‘I’m going to pick an African-American woman to serve on the Supreme Court,” Graham said. Asked about Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker’s comment that the nominee would be the “beneficiary” of affirmative action, Graham said that wouldn’t be the case with Childs.
“I believe there are plenty of qualified African-American women, conservative and liberal, that could go on to the court. So I don’t see Michelle Childs as an act of affirmative action. I do see putting a Black woman on the court, making the court more like America,” Graham said. “So let’s make the court more like America, but qualifications have to be the biggest consideration, and as to Michelle Childs, I think she is qualified by every measure.”