“There’s a process to overturn a precedent, and I think he understands that process,” the GOP senator said.
Graham, who opposes abortion rights, said he believed President Donald Trump’s pick for the high court understands the process for reversing a precedent like the one established by the court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, which made abortion legal in all 50 states.
“Here’s what I hope [Kavanuagh] will do: If there’s a case before him that challenges Roe v. Wade that he would listen to both sides of the story, apply a test to overturn precedent,” Graham said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“The bottom line here is there’s a process to overturn a precedent, and I think he understands that process, he will apply it,” he continued. “If it were up to me, states would make these decisions ― not the Supreme Court. But it is a long-held precedent of the court. It will be challenged over time, and I hope he will give it a fair hearing.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday will hold its first confirmation hearing with Kavanaugh, Trump’s second nominee for the Supreme Court.
Democratic lawmakers have spoken out against the nomination of Kavanaugh, a conservative circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would likely shift the Supreme Court further to the right, giving its conservative faction a five-vote majority.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), as well as Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), have expressed concerns that Trump may have picked Kavanaugh as a way to shield himself from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Kavanaugh has argued that presidents should be exempt from civil suits, criminal investigations and criminal prosecutions.
“Should a president be allowed to appoint somebody who’s already made it clear that he would give immunity to him should anything come before the Supreme Court?” Booker asked in an interview with Business Insider in July. “So this is a stunning thing to me that is so shocking that we’re going to have to allow this to happen.”