During Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s hearing today, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina stormed out of the room in a fit of rage and defensiveness after being corrected by Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin.
Graham had delivered an inaccurate account about recidivism rates out of the federal detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
After conducting a line of questioning of the nominee about her judicial philosophy in an attempt to pin her down as an “activist judge,” Graham proceeded to deliver an unsolicited opinion about Democratic President Joe Biden's selection for the bench.
Following Graham’s monologue, Democratic Senator Durbin of Illinois explained the 39 current detainees being held in Guantanamo Bay are costing the United States government over $500 million.
You can see the exchange here:
Durbin compared this to less-costly alternative domestic detention saying:
“Each of these detainees is being held at the expense of $13 million per year."
"If they were to be incarcerated at the SuperMax federal prison in Colorado, the amount would be dramatically, dramatically less.”
Durbin detailed today’s recidivism rate out of Guantanamo Bay is 5% to which Graham interrupted, alleging the rate is 31%. To this interjection, Durbin calmly reminded the Republican Senator that his stated statistic was outdated by over a decade.
Those who watched applauded Durbin's correction online:
"I appreciate Dick Durbin schooling Lindsey Graham on what's what - it's good not to let the misinformation, disinformation and outright lies stand."
"Dick Durbin fact-checking Lindsey Graham after that hissy fit is [fire emoji]."
Graham glossed over his errors and directed his rage back to nominee Jackson, yelling:
“The system has failed miserably, and advocates to change the system—like she was advocating—would destroy our ability to protect this country!”
Regarding the detainees, he added:
“As long as they’re dangerous, I hope they all die in jail.”
“If they’re going back and kill Americans, it won’t bother me one bit if 39 of them die in prison.”
"That’s a better outcome than letting them go."
“If it costs $500 million to keep ’em in jail, keep ’em in jail, because they’re going to go back to the fight.”
His rant continued while the Supreme Court nominee sat patiently, unphased by his petulant conduct and accusations against her.
Viewers noticed Jackson’s composure.
One viewer stated:
"If you needed a demonstration of judicial temperament and maturity, watching Jude Jackson answer the likes of @LindseyGrahamSC is perfect ..."
The GOP Senator concluded his rant by shrieking:
“This whole thing by the left about this war ain’t working!”
He then stood up from his seat and stormed out of the room.
Many watching agreed his actions were unprofessional, calling him childish:
"The hyperventilating childish Sen. Lindsey Graham stormed out of the SCOTUS nominee hearing after being neutered by Sen. Dick Durbin."
One person noted:
"GRAHAM CHALLENGED [Jackson] on DEFENDING GUANTANAMO detainees."
"Sen DURBIN followed & DESTRYOYED Graham's NARRATIVE. GRAHAM HYPERVENTILATED & then STORMED OUT."
"Lindsey Graham worked himself into a rage when fact-checked by Dick Durbin."
"The line of questioning during the confirmation hearing for Katanji was mostly inappropriate."
"Yelling and screaming like an idiot, does not look good on a Senator."
"Graham just can't stand the truth."
"His behavior is akin to an infantile screaming temper tantrum, and shameful."
"Result: ZERO credibility."
Some viewers pointed out the truth does, in fact, matter.
However, Graham's unprofessional conduct was barely a blip on the momentous day.
History was made the instant Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the first Black woman nominated to the United States Supreme Court.