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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham's appearance at a Republican fundraising dinner in Omaha on Saturday will shine a political spotlight on the importance of holding onto the White House to control judicial nominations.

Graham, a South Carolina senator, is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which processes judgeship nominations made by President Donald Trump.

"Nebraska conservatives know how important it is to put great judges on the courts," Sen. Ben Sasse said Tuesday.  

"So that's what Lindsey and I are doing every week on the Judiciary Committee," he said.

Sasse, who is seeking reelection to a second term in the Senate next year, moved onto the committee after the election of Trump in 2016. 

"We've fought for (Supreme Court nominees) Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh," he said, "and for Nebraskans like Steve Grasz and Brian Buescher."

Grasz, former Nebraska chief deputy attorney general, was nominated by Trump to a seat on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, and Buescher, a former Omaha attorney, was nominated to a seat on the U.S. District Court in Nebraska. Both cleared the committee and were confirmed by the Senate.

"Lindsey is a conservative leader — that's why I twisted his arm to get him to Nebraska to fight for our Republican candidates," Sasse said.

Two months after Trump's election, Sasse changed his Senate committee memberships and took a seat on the Judiciary Committee.

"Nebraskans know that defending our Constitution means fighting for Supreme Court justices who reject 'pen and phone' theories of executive unilateralism," Sasse said at the time in 2017.

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The "pen and phone" reference tied back to former President Barack Obama's 2014 declaration that "I've got a pen and I've got a phone," both of which could be used to help implement his executive priorities. 

During a Trump rally in Kentucky earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he and the president are "changing the federal courts forever" through presidential nomination and Senate confirmation of an army of new federal judges.

"Nobody has done more to change the court system in the history of our country than Donald Trump," McConnell said.

Judicial nominations and tax cuts have been the major conservative talking points in rallying support for the president's reelection in 2020.

The Omaha event starring Graham will be held at Champions Run, a private country club.  

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.

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