Graham predicts controversial Trump court picks will clear panel

Graham predicts controversial Trump court picks will clear panel
© Greg Nash
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRestlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on Senator-jurors who may not be impartial? Remove them for cause Broad, bipartisan rebuke for proposal to pull troops from Africa MORE (R-S.C.) said on Tuesday that he believes two controversial circuit court picks who have been in limbo for weeks will be able to clear his panel. 
 
Graham is scheduled to give the 5th Circuit nominee, Judge Halil Suleyman Ozerden, and the 2nd Circuit nominee, Steven Menashi, a committee vote on Thursday. A vote has been delayed multiple times because of GOP pushback. 
 
"Yes, I do," Graham said when asked if he thinks Ozerden can clear the committee. 
 
 
Given the committee's 12-10 division, that means he will need support from Democrats to get a majority. 
 
Pressed about whether Democrats would vote for him, Graham added, "I'm hoping so. I think he's a well-qualified nominee." 
 
No Democrats have said they will vote for Ozerden, who has garnered criticism from Republicans who question his conservative credentials and his dismissal of a case involving ObamaCare’s birth control mandate.
 
 
Unlike Ozerden, no GOP senator on the committee has said they will oppose Menashi. Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' Tensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum No. 2 GOP leader eyes Wednesday of next week for possible votes on witnesses MORE (R-Maine), who is not on the committee, has said she will oppose him on the Senate floor. 
 
But Menashi's nomination has been in limbo as Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has weighed the nomination. 
 
Kennedy sent a warning shot to Menashi in September after the court pick sparked bipartisan frustration for refusing to answer questions about his work in the Trump administration. 
 
"He may be Oliver Wendell Scalia but I can't tell because he won't answer my questions," Kennedy said, referring to former Supreme Court Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and Antonin Scalia. "The burden of proof is on him. If someone gets mad at that, they need to call somebody who cares, because that is my job and I'm tired of them playing games."
 
Kennedy told The Hill on Tuesday that he has not yet made a decision on Menashi but that he's been reading over his previous writings. 
 
Graham predicated that Menashi will clear the committee along party lines, meaning Kennedy's support would be crucial. 
 
"Yeah, I think he'll make it too," Graham said. "I don't think he'll get any bipartisan support."