WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham had his meeting with Supreme Court Justice nominee Merrick Garland on Wednesday, as expected.
Also as expected, the South Carolina Republican has not changed his mind on the question of whether Garland should be confirmed.
In a 27-second video posted on Graham’s Twitter account, Graham announced that the Capitol Hill meeting had occurred with President Barack Obama’s choice to succeed the late-Justice Antonin Scalia.
“I just had a good meeting with Judge Garland,” Graham said. “He’s honest and capable, and his reputation is beyond reproach.”
Graham continued, “I told him that I believe that the Scalia vacancy should be filled by the next president. Judge Garland is a fine man, but this should be done by the next president.”
A Graham aide confirmed the meeting had taken place in Graham’s D.C. office and lasted 20 minutes.
Obama has dispatched Garland to meet with as many senators as are willing to host him on Capitol Hill. Such visits to members of both parties are customary in the lead-up to confirmation hearings in the Judiciary Committee and a vote on the Senate floor. In this case, the visits are part of a White House effort to compel Republicans to stand up to their leadership, which is refusing to move any Obama nominee through the pipeline.
At one point, the Obama administration saw Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee, as a possible ally.
But while Graham relented from an early position against meeting with Garland under any circumstances, he isn’t relenting in his opposition to Garland’s confirmation.
The meeting was strictly a “courtesy” to Garland, Graham spokesman Kevin Bishop has emphasized repeatedly.
In efforts not to create any confusion around that point, the meeting time and location for the two men was not advertised, and no photographers or journalists were invited to observe.
Critics say a failure to confirm Scalia’s successor will cause deadlocks and unintended rulings on the high court. A 6-2 decision on Wednesday, however, yielded a victory for Graham: The majority of justices ruled that families of victims of the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut and other terrorist attacks could collect nearly $2 billion in frozen Iranian funds. Graham signed an amicus brief in January to express support for the plaintiffs.
Emma Dumain is The Post and Courier’s Washington correspondent.