Graham to hold confirmation hearing this week for controversial Trump court pick

Graham to hold confirmation hearing this week for controversial Trump court pick
© Greg Nash

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDACA court ruling puts weight of immigration reform on Democrats Senate braces for a nasty debt ceiling fight Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor MORE (R-S.C.) confirmed on Monday that the panel will hold a hearing on a controversial circuit court nominee on Wednesday. 

Graham told reporters that he would include on the committee’s agenda district Judge Justin Walker's nomination to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court, which is viewed as the second most powerful court in the country behind the Supreme Court. 

Asked if he would give Walker a hearing on Wednesday, Graham told reporters, "yeah." 

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"We need to get moving," he added. 

Graham announced last week that he would hold a hearing on some of President TrumpDonald TrumpRonny Jackson, former White House doctor, predicts Biden will resign McCarthy: Pelosi appointing members of Jan. 6 panel who share 'pre-conceived narrative' Kinzinger denounces 'lies and conspiracy theories' while accepting spot on Jan. 6 panel MORE's nominations, but, as of early Monday evening, the agenda for the meeting had not been publicly released. 

A Senate aide had told The Hill last week that Republicans were discussing including Walker as part of the nomination hearing, which would be a precursor to scheduling a committee vote on his nomination.

Democrats on the committee sent Graham a letter last week urging him to delay the hearing, which will come two days after the Senate returned from a five-week break sparked by the coronavirus. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) also warned last week that he thought Republicans were trying to quickly move Walker's nomination.

"The rumor is he wants to put a judge on the calendar whose claim to fame seems to be that he worked for [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGrassley pressured to run as Democrats set sights on Iowa House Democrats grow frustrated as they feel ignored by Senate Democrats question GOP shift on vaccines MORE (R-Ky.)] as a staffer. ... The ABA [American Bar Association] rated him unqualified," Schumer said during an interview with "Morning Joe."

Walker was confirmed along party lines in October to be a judge for the Western District of Kentucky. The ABA rated him "not qualified" at the time, saying that the "Standing Committee believes that Mr. Walker does not presently have the requisite trial or litigation experience or its equivalent.”

But Walker has powerful backers including Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, for whom he previously clerked, and McConnell, who attended his swearing-in ceremony in March.