Lindsey Graham: Wikis


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Lindsey Graham

Assumed office 
January 3, 2003
Serving with Jim DeMint
Preceded by J. Strom Thurmond

In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Butler Derrick
Succeeded by J. Gresham Barrett

Born July 9, 1955 (1955-07-09) (age 54)
Central, South Carolina
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) none
Residence Seneca, South Carolina
Alma mater University of South Carolina
Occupation Attorney
Religion Southern Baptist
Military service
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1982 – 1988 (active)
1988 – present (reserve)
Rank Colonel
Unit Judge Advocate General's Corps
Battles/wars Gulf War
Iraq War
War in Afghanistan

Lindsey Olin Graham (born July 9, 1955) is an American politician from South Carolina. A member of the Republican Party, he is currently the senior United States Senator from that state. He serves on the Armed Services and Judiciary Committees.[1]


Early life and education

Graham was born in Central, South Carolina, where his father, Florence James Graham, owned a liquor store. After graduating from high school, Graham became the first member of his family to attend college and joined the Reserve Officers' Training Corps. When he was 21 his mother died, and his father died 15 months later. Because his sister was left orphaned, the service allowed Graham to attend University of South Carolina in Columbia so he could be near home and care for his sister, whom he adopted. During his studies, he became a member of the fraternity Pi Kappa Phi.

Graham graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Psychology in 1977 and from the University of South Carolina School of Law with a J.D. in 1981. Upon graduating, Graham was sent to Europe as a military prosecutor, and eventually entered private practice as a lawyer.[2]

Military service

Graham decided to join the United States Air Force in 1982, and served on active duty until 1988. Following his departure he stayed in the military, joining the South Carolina Air National Guard[3] and the U.S. Air Force Reserves. During the Gulf War, he was recalled to active duty, serving as a Judge Advocate at McEntire Air National Guard Station in Eastover, South Carolina, where he helped brief departing pilots on the laws of war.[4]

In 2004, Graham received a promotion to Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves at a White House ceremony officiated by President George W. Bush.

Graham served in Iraq as a reservist on active duty for short periods during April and two weeks in August 2007, where he worked on detainee and rule-of-law issues.[5] He also served in Afghanistan during the August 2009 Senate recess.[6]

Political career on the national stage


House of Representatives

In 1992, Graham was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives from a district in Oconee County. In 1994, he became the first Republican to represent South Carolina's Third Congressional District in Washington since 1877. After only one term, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives from South Carolina's 3rd congressional district in the northwestern part of the state after 20-year incumbent Butler Derrick retired. With U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond campaigning on his behalf, Graham won by a large margin; the 3rd District had never elected a Republican before. In his first reelection bid, in 1996, Debbie Dorn, daughter of longtime 3rd District congressman W.J. Bryan Dorn and Derrick's niece, challenged Graham. However, Graham turned back this challenge fairly easily, winning by almost 20 points. He was unopposed for reelection in 1998 and handily defeated an underfunded Democrat in 2000.

In Congress, Graham became a member of the Judiciary Committee during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998. Graham opposed some articles, but vigorously supported others. In January and February 1999, after two impeachment articles had been passed by the full House, he was one of the managers who brought the House's case to Clinton's trial in the Senate which did not convict Clinton.[7]


In 2002, upon Thurmond's retirement, Graham defeated his Democratic opponent, Alex Sanders, the president of the College of Charleston. Graham became South Carolina's first new Senator since 1965, and the state's first freshman Republican Senator since Reconstruction when sanctions were imposed on South Carolina by Radical Republicans. Graham served as Junior Senator for only two years, serving with U.S. Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings. Graham became Senior Senator in 2005 when Jim DeMint won election to Hollings's seat. In 2008, Graham was easily reelected against North Myrtle Beach native Bob Conley.[8].

Alito confirmation hearings

During the Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for Judge Samuel Alito for a seat on the United States Supreme Court, the topic of Alito's membership in Concerned Alumni of Princeton was raised by other members of the committee.[9] Critics of Concerned Alumni of Princeton said that, when it was founded, the group opposed the admission of women into Princeton University, and it also opposed affirmative action policies. The founder of Concerned Alumni of Princeton had written racist comments in the group's magazine.[9][10]

While being questioned by Graham, Alito said that he had never written any articles for Concerned Alumni of Princeton, and also said that he "deplored" the racist comments the founder had written.[11] Graham then said, "If you don't mind the suspicious nature that I have is that you may be saying that because you want to get on the Supreme Court; that you're disavowing this now because it doesn't look good. And really what I would look at to believe you're not — and I'm going to be very honest with you — is: How have you lived your life? Are you really a closet bigot?"[11] Alito responded, "I'm not any kind of a bigot, I'm not."[11] Graham then responded, "No, sir, you're not. And you know why I believe that? Not because you just said it — but that's a good enough reason, because you seem to be a decent, honorable man. I have got reams of quotes from people who have worked with you, African American judges."[11]

Alito's wife, Martha-Ann Alito, cried and left the hearing briefly.[12] Rosemary Alito, Samuel Alito's sister, said that Martha-Ann Alito took the comments as a message of support. Rosemary responded, "Martha understood them to be kind comments. ... It was that expression of warmth, the feeling of support for Sam, that triggered an emotional response." After Judge Alito's participation in the hearings ended, Martha-Ann Alito gave Graham a quick hug and he responded that he planned to give her children a book compiling "all the documents that we have from so many different people saying nice things about her husband."[13]

Committee assignments

House of Representatives

During his service in the House, Graham served on the following committees:

U.S. Senate


Previous assignments

Political views

Though Graham's stances are often socially conservative[14], he has gained a reputation for sometimes speaking out against or criticizing the party line, as well as being open to making economically liberal compromises, such as was demonstrated with his support for nationalizing American banks.[15] Graham notably supported John McCain's presidential bid in 2000, and served as national co-chairman of McCain's 2008 presidential bid.

Gang of 14

On May 23, 2005, Graham was one of the Gang of 14 senators to forge a compromise that brought a halt to the continued blockage of an up or down vote on judicial nominees. This compromise negated both the Democrats' threatened use of a filibuster and the so-called Republican "nuclear option" as described in the media. Under the agreement, the Democrats would retain the power to filibuster a Bush judicial nominee only in an "extraordinary circumstance", and three conservative Bush appellate court nominees (Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen and William Pryor) would receive a vote by the full Senate.

Detainee interrogations

In July 2005, Graham secured the declassification and release of memoranda outlining concerns made by senior military lawyers as early as 2003 about the legality of the interrogations of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay.[16]

In response to this and a June 2004 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing detainees to file habeas corpus petitions to challenge their detentions, Graham authored an amendment[17] to a Department of Defense Authorization Act attempting to clarify the authority of American courts which passed in November 2005 by a vote of 49-42 in the Senate despite opposition from human rights groups and legal scholars because of the lack of rights it provides detainees.[18][19]

Graham has said he amended the Department of Defense Authorization Act in order to give military lawyers, as opposed to politically appointed lawyers, a more independent role in the oversight of military commanders. He has argued that two of the largest problems leading to the detainee abuse scandals at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib were this lack of oversight and troops' confusion over legal boundaries.[20]

Graham further explains that military lawyers had long observed the provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention, but that those provisions had not been considered by the Bush administration in decisions regarding the treatment of detainees in Guantanamo Bay. He has claimed that better legal oversight within the military’s chain of command will prevent future detainee abuse.[21]

The Graham amendment was itself amended by Democratic Senator Carl Levin so that it would not strip the courts of their jurisdiction in cases like Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that had already been granted cert; this compromise version passed by a vote of 84-14, though it did little to satisfy many critics of the original language. The Graham-Levin amendment, combined with Republican Senator John McCain's amendment banning torture, became known as the Detainee Treatment Act and attempted to limit interrogation techniques to those in the U.S. Army Field Manual of Interrogation. Verbal statements by Senators at the time of the amendment's passage indicated that Congress believed that Levin's changes would protect the courts' jurisdiction over cases like Hamdan, though Levin and his cosponsor Senator Kyl placed in the Congressional Record a statement indicating that there would be no change.

In February 2006, Graham joined Senator Jon Kyl in filing an amicus brief in the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case that argued "Congress was aware" that the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 would strip the Supreme Court of jurisdiction to hear "pending cases, including this case" brought by the Guantanamo detainees.[22]

In a May 2009 CNN interview, Graham referred to the domestic internment of German and Japanese prisoners of war as a model for domestic detention of Guantanamo detainees by saying, "We had 450,000 Japanese and German prisoners housed in the United States during World War II. As a nation, we can deal with this."[23]

Immigration reform

Graham has been a supporter of "comprehensive immigration reform" and of S. 2611, the McCain-Kennedy Immigration Reform Bill of 2006 as well as S. 1348 of 2007, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007.

His positions on immigration, and in particular collaborating with Senator Kennedy, earned Graham the ire of conservative activists.[24] Graham responded by saying, "We are going to solve this problem. We're not going to run people down. We're not going to scapegoat people. We're going to tell the bigots to shut up, and we're going to get this right."[25] The controversy prompted conservative activists to support a primary challenge in 2008 by longtime Republican national committeeman Buddy Witherspoon,[26][27] but Graham won the nomination by a large margin.[28]

Second Amendment

Graham has been given an A rating by the NRA and a B rating by the Gun Owners of America. [29]

Health care

Graham is a cosponsor of the Healthy Americans Act.

Same-Sex Marriage

As a member of the House of Representatives, in 1996 Graham voted for the Defense of Marriage Act.[30] As a Senator, in 2004 he voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment.[31] He received a rating of 0% from the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign in each reporting period from 1995-2008, with the exception of 1999, when he received a rating of 9%.[32]

Electoral history

South Carolina's 3rd congressional district: Results 1994–2000[33]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1994 James E. Bryan, Jr. 59,932 40% Lindsey Graham 90,123 60% *
1996 Debbie Dorn 73,417 39% Lindsey Graham 114,273 60% Lindal Pennington Natural Law 1,835 1%
1998 (no candidate) Lindsey Graham 129,047 100% Write-ins 402 <1%
2000 George Brightharp
(On United Citizens line)
Lindsey Graham 150,180 68% Adrian Banks Libertarian 3,116 1% *
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1994, write-ins received 13 votes. In 2000, Natural Law candidate LeRoy J. Klein received 1,122 votes and write-ins received 33 votes. George Brightharp ran under both the Democratic and United Citizens Parties.
Senate elections in South Carolina (Class II): Results 2002–2008[33]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2002 Alex Sanders 487,359 44% Lindsey Graham 600,010 54% Ted Adams Constitution 8,228 1% Victor Kocher Libertarian 6,648 1% *
2008 Bob Conley 785,559 42% Lindsey Graham 1,069,137 58% Write-ins 608 <1%
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2002, write-ins received 667 votes.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ United States Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina : About Senator Graham
  4. ^
  5. ^ After Tour of Duty in Iraq, Graham Backs 'Surge' -
  6. ^ Day, Thomas L. (September 6, 2009). "Military Notebook: Robins to hold birthday bash for Air Force". The Sun News. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b Porteus, Liza (January 24, 2006). "Sparks Fly at Alito Hearing". Fox News.,2933,181286,00.html. 
  10. ^ Sethi, Chanakya (November 18, 2005). "Alito '72 joined conservative alumni group". The Daily Princetonian. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Second Round of Graham Questioning Judge Alito". Office of Senator Lindsey Graham. United States Senate. January 11, 2006. Archived from the original on October 2, 2006. 
  12. ^ "Alito disavows CAP". The Daily Pricetonian. January 11, 2006. 
  13. ^ Kelley, Tina; Nate Schweber (January 13, 2006). "Thrust Into Limelight and for Some a Symbol of Washington's Bite". The New York Times. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Military's Opposition to Harsh Interrogation Is Outlined, New York Times
  17. ^ S8859, The Graham Amendment
  18. ^ ACLU Urges Congress to Reject Court Stripping Measure
  19. ^ Right To Trial Imperiled by Senate Vote by Jeremy Brecher & Brendan Smith
  20. ^ FRONTLINE Interview: Rumsfeld's War Retrieved 10 February 2009
  21. ^ FRONTLINE Interview: The Choice 2008 Retrieved 10 February 2009
  22. ^ Invisible Men: Did Lindsey Graham and Jon Kyl mislead the Supreme Court?, by Emily Bazelon — Slate Magazine
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Kennedy alliance costly to GOP senators" The Washington Times
  25. ^ Newt Gingrich on Immigration Bill, Foxnews
  26. ^ - Immigration stance hurts Graham at home, poll finds
  27. ^ - RNC official inches toward Graham battle
  28. ^ "Graham romps to easy win over challenger Witherspoon". The State. June 11, 2008. 
  29. ^ "Project Vote Smart". 
  30. ^ "104th Congress / House / 2nd session / Vote 300". The U.S. Congress Votes Database. Washington Post. 1996-07-11. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  31. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 108th Congress - 2nd Sessio". U.S. Senate. 2004-07-14. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  32. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Senator Lindsey O. Graham - Interest Group Ratings". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  33. ^ a b "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Butler Derrick
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 3rd congressional district

1995 – 2003
Succeeded by
J. Gresham Barrett
United States Senate
Preceded by
Strom Thurmond
United States Senator (Class 2) from South Carolina
Served alongside: Ernest Hollings, Jim DeMint
Succeeded by
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Saxby Chambliss
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Lamar Alexander


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Lindsey Olin Graham (born July 9, 1955) is an American politician from South Carolina. A member of the Republican Party, he is the senior United States Senator from that state as of 2007. He serves on the Armed Services and Judiciary Committees.


  • I'm not a libertarian. If you are, you're welcome to vote for me and help this party, but we're not gonna build the party around libertarian ideas.
    • South Carolina GOP convention, May 16, 2009 [1] [2]


  • Let's just get to the political heart of the matter, No matter what you want to call it, beyond border enforcement, a lot of people, particularly on our side, don't want to have a debate about this. Even if you debate it, you're wrong. Even if you're open-minded about compromise, you're wrong. It's a very simple answer to a complex problem. Send them all back. End of discussion, end of debate. Now that to me is not a realistic approach to a real problem.
    • On immigration.
  • Our footprint will be here for a long time. We’re a long way from being able to leave with honor.
    • Of a visit he made to Iraq in February 2005.
  • The more you drink, the better you’re able to cope in Washington.
    • January 05, 2005

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