Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is still fending off attacks from activists in his own party for allegedly blocking the nomination of William Haynes for the 4th Circuit. Yesterday, he sent a letter that outlined not only his own deep reservations, but those of high-ranking retired military officers, as well. (Graham also points out that he is not the lone Republican senator concerned about Haynes: other senators are also interested in calling Haynes back for another Judiciary Committee hearing so he can answer some questions about his role in formulating policies that led to the abuse of detainees.)
Lindsey Graham is not shy about pushing the president’s judicial nominees, as evidenced by his pride in the role he played in confirming Samuel Alito and Janice Rogers Brown, among other controversial nominees. So, for Graham to take such a stance on a nominee certainly tells us something (dare we say the circumstances are, in fact, extraordinary?). Of course, Graham’s 20+ years of experience in military law is not enough to prevent his traditional allies from attacking him for standing on principle, so we can’t imagine that the testimony of additional military personnel will be enough to convince them that an official who condoned cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of military detainees should not be, in the words of Retired Navy Rear Admiral John D. Huston, "'promoted' out of [his] failures to such an important life time position as a judge on a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals."