|United States Senator
from South Carolina
January 3, 2003
Serving with Tim Scott
|Preceded by||Strom Thurmond|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 3rd district
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2003
|Preceded by||Butler Derrick|
|Succeeded by||J. Gresham Barrett|
|Member of the
South Carolina House of Representatives
from the 2nd District
January 12, 1993 – January 3, 1995
|Preceded by||Lowell William Ross|
|Succeeded by||William Edward Sandifer, III|
|Born||Lindsey Olin Graham
July 9, 1955
Central, South Carolina
|Residence||Seneca, South Carolina|
|Alma mater||University of South Carolina (B.A., J.D.)|
|Service/branch||United States Air Force|
|Years of service||1982–1988 (active)
1988 – present (reserve)
|Unit||Judge Advocate General's Corps|
Lindsey Olin Graham (born July 9, 1955) is an American politician who serves as the senior United States Senator from South Carolina, serving in office since 2003. Graham, a member of the Republican Party, was first elected to the 108th Congress.
Born in Central, South Carolina, Graham graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1977, where he later received his Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1981. He served in the United States Air Force from 1982 to 1988 and served as a reservist in the South Carolina Air National Guard, with the rank of a Colonel. He worked as a lawyer in private practice before he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1992; serving one term from 1993 to 1995. Graham served in the United States House of Representatives, representing South Carolina's 3rd congressional district from 1995 to 2003. He was elected to four terms, receiving at least 60% of the vote each time.
Graham announced he would run in South Carolina's 2002 Senate election, after eight-term incumbent Strom Thurmond announced he would not run for reelection. He won in an uncontested primary and defeated Democratic opponent Alex Sanders in the general election. Graham was reelected to his second term to the Senate in 2008, defeating Bob Conley.
- 1 Early life, education, and law career
- 2 Military service
- 3 South Carolina House of Representatives
- 4 U.S. House of Representatives
- 5 U.S. Senate
- 6 Electoral history
- 7 Personal life
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
Early life, education, and law career
Graham was born in Central, South Carolina, where his parents, Millie and Florence James Graham, ran a liquor store, the Sanitary Cafe. After graduating from D. W. Daniel 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 Pi Kappa Phi social fraternity.
He 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 commissioned as an officer and judge advocate in the United States Air Force, placed on active duty and sent to Europe as a military prosecutor. He eventually entered private practice as a lawyer.
Graham joined 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 and the U.S. Air Force Reserve. 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. He later transferred from the Air National Guard to the Air Force Reserve.
In 1998, according to the Congressional daily newspaper The Hill, Graham was describing himself on his website as an Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm veteran. In reality, he never left South Carolina. Graham responded "I have not told anybody I'm a combatant," he said. "I'm not a war hero, and never said I was. I never intended to lie. If I have lied about my military record, I'm not fit to serve in Congress," further noting that he "never deployed."
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. He also served in Afghanistan during the August 2009 Senate recess.
South Carolina House of Representatives
U.S. House of Representatives
In 1994, 20-year incumbent Democratic U.S. Congressman Butler Derrick decided to retire. Graham decided to run for South Carolina's 3rd congressional district in the northwestern part of the state. With Republican U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond campaigning on his behalf, Graham won the Republican primary with 52% of the vote, defeating Bob Cantrell (33%) and Ed Allgood (15%). In the general election, Graham defeated Democratic State Senator James Bryan, Jr. 60%–40%. As a part of the 1994 Republican Revolution, Graham became the first Republican to represent this district since 1877.
In 1996, he was challenged by Debbie Dorn, the daughter of longtime Democratic U.S. Congressman W.J. Bryan Dorn and niece of Butler Derrick (both of whom represented the 3rd district). However, Graham won re-election to a second term, defeating Dorn 60%–40%. In 1998, he won re-election to a third term unopposed. In 2000, he won re-election to a fourth term with 68% of the vote.
During his service in the House, Graham served on the following committees:
- Committee on International Relations, 1995–1998
- Committee on Education and the Workforce, 1995–2002
- Committee on the Judiciary, 1997–2002
- Committee on Armed Services, 1999–2002
In 2002, longtime U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond decided to retire. Graham decided to run and won the Republican primary unopposed. In the general election, he defeated Democrat Alex Sanders, the former president of the College of Charleston, 54%–44%. He became South Carolina's first new U.S. Senator since 1965. He was first Republican elected since Reconstruction. Graham served as Junior Senator for only two years, serving with U.S. Senator Fritz Hollings, until he retired.
When he ran for a second term in 2008, he was challenged in the Republican primary by Buddy Witherspoon. Graham defeated him 67%–33%, winning all but one of South Carolina's 46 counties. Graham then defeated Bob Conley in the general election.
- Alito confirmation hearings
During the Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearings for the nomination of Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court, a question arose concerning Alito's membership in a Princeton University organization which some said was sexist and racist. Alito "deplored" racist comments made by the organization's founder. While Graham said that Alito may be saying this because he wanted the nomination, he concluded that he had no reason to believe that because "you seem to be a decent, honorable man." Alito's wife and sister characterized Graham's statements as supportive.
- Free speech
During an appearance on Face the Nation on April 3, 2011, Graham "suggested that Congress take unspecified though formal action against the Koran-burning by Florida preacher Terry Jones," in light of an attack on United Nations personnel triggered by Jones' actions. In asserting that "Congress might need to explore the need to limit some forms of freedom of speech," Graham argued that "Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war," and claimed that "during World War II, we had limits on what you could say if it would inspire the enemy."
- 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' use of a filibuster and the 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.
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 to a Department of Defense Authorization Act[clarification needed] attempting to clarify the authority of American courts. The amendment passed in November 2005 by a vote of 49–42 in the Senate despite opposition from human rights groups and legal scholars who say it limits the rights of detainees.
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.
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.
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.
In a May 2009 CNN interview, Graham referred to the domestic internment of German and Japanese prisoners of war and US Citizens 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."
- Immigration reform
Graham was 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 Ted Kennedy, earned Graham the ire of conservative activists. The controversy prompted conservative activists to support a primary challenge in 2008 by longtime Republican national committeeman Buddy Witherspoon, but Graham won the nomination by a large margin.
In July 2010, however, Graham suggested that U.S. citizenship as an automatic birthright guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution should be amended, and that any child born of illegal immigrants inside the borders of the United States should themselves be considered illegal immigrants. Graham alleged that "Half the children born in hospitals on our borders are the children of illegal immigrants."  Responding to the Graham claim, the New York Times cited a Pew Foundation study estimating that illegal immigrants account for only 8 percent of births in the United States and that 80 percent of the mothers had been in the U.S. for more than one year.
On January 28, 2013, Graham was a member of a bi-partisan group of eight Senators which announced principles for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). On June 23, Graham said that the Senate was close to obtaining 70 votes to pass the reform package.
- Second Amendment
- Health care
Graham opposed President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; he voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009, and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
Graham is a cosponsor of the Healthy Americans Act.
- Same-sex marriage
As a Senator, in 2004 he voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment. He received a rating of 0% from the Human Rights Campaign, a lobby group which promotes LGBT rights in the United States, in each reporting period from 1995–2008, with the exception of 1999, when he received a rating of 9%. Graham has also voted against same-sex adoptions in Washington, D.C.
- Climate change
On December 10, 2009, Graham co-sponsored a letter to President Barack Obama along with Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman announcing their commitment to passing a climate change bill and outlining its framework. Graham has been identified as a leading supporter of passing a climate change bill and was thought to be a likely sponsor for the final bill. The Senators have identified a green economy, clean air, energy independence, consumer protection, increasing nuclear power and regulating the world's carbon market as the key features to a successful climate change bill. In response to Senate Democrats shifting their priorities to immigration issues, a reaction to Arizona's passage of an illegal immigration law, Senator Graham withdrew his support for the climate bill, leaving its passage in doubt.
Graham told reporters in June 2010 that "The science about global warming has changed. I think they've oversold this stuff, quite frankly. I think they've been alarmist and the science is in question. The whole movement has taken a giant step backward." He also stated that he planned to vote against the climate bill that he had originally co-sponsored, citing further restriction of offshore drilling added to the bill and the bill's impact on transportation.
- Foreign policy
Graham has supported an interventionist foreign policy. On November 6, 2010, at the Halifax International Security Forum, he called for a pre-emptive military strike to "neuter" the Iranian regime. He has also argued that "the U.S. needs to keep at least 10,000 troops in Iraq into 2012," saying that "If we're not smart enough to work with the Iraqis to have 10,000 to 15,000 American troops in Iraq in 2012, Iraq could go to hell."
In August 2011, Graham co-sponsored with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen Senate Resolution 175, wherewith he contended that "Russia's invasion of Georgian land in 2008 was an act of aggression, not only to Georgia but to all new democracies." The claim that Russia instigated the aggression in South Ossetia, however, has been contradicted by many observers, including a European Union investigation. The resolution passed unanimously.
He is an advisor to the Atlantic Bridge.
Graham is an unabashed supporter of Israel. Graham threatened to derail the confirmation of President Obama's nomination for secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel, remarking that Hagel "would be the most antagonistic secretary of defense towards the state of Israel in our nation’s history."
On February 28, 2013, Graham on the Senate floor criticized President Obama, and both majority political parties for allowing the budget reduction to occur with "two-thirds of the budget" exempt from reductions and said the impact on the Department of Defense would create a "hollow military" that "invites aggression".
On July 16, 2013, Graham suggested the United States should consider boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia because of "what the Russian government is doing throughout the world." Graham also said the U.S. should aim to "drive the Russian economy into the ground."
Graham has signed Grover Norquist's Taxpayer Protection Pledge. However, in June 2012 he went on record supporting the closure of tax loopholes without compensating decreases in other tax revenue, saying "We're so far in debt, that if you don't give up some ideological ground, the country sinks."
- Committee on Armed Services
- Committee on the Budget
- Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
- Committee on the Judiciary
- Committee on Veterans' Affairs
- Special Committee on Aging
- Previous assignments
- Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, 2003–2005
- Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, 2007–2009
- Select Committee on Intelligence, 2007–2009
- International Conservation Caucus
- Senate National Guard Caucus (Co-Chair)
- Sportsmen's Caucus
- Senate Oceans Caucus
|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||67,170||30%||Lindsey Graham||150,180||68%||Adrian Banks||Libertarian||3,116||1%||*|
|Year||Democratic||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%|
- "Lindsey Graham, a Twang of Moderation". The Washington Post. October 7, 1998.
- United States Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina : About Senator Graham
- "Enlightenment". The Experience Festival. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- The Hill February 18, 1998.
- Pareene, Alex (May 20, 2010). "Lindsey Graham’s war lie: Bigger than Richard Blumenthal’s". Salon. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
- After Tour of Duty in Iraq, Graham Backs 'Surge' – washingtonpost.com
- Day, Thomas L. (September 6, 2009). "Military Notebook: Robins to hold birthday bash for Air Force". The Sun News. Retrieved September 7, 2009.
- "Lindsey Graham Supports Obama | McChrystal". Mediaite. June 23, 2010. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- Gay Stolberg, Sheryl. "In the Senate, a Chorus of Three Defies the Line". 11-21-2005 (New York Times). Retrieved June 6, 2014.
- "104th Congress / House / 2nd session / Vote 300". Washington Post. July 11, 1996. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
- "The Education Of Senator Lindsey Graham". Business Week. February 27, 2005. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
- Porteus, Liza (January 24, 2006). "Sparks Fly at Alito Hearing". Fox News.
- Sethi, Chanakya (November 18, 2005). "Alito '72 joined conservative alumni group". The Daily Princetonian.
- "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.
- "Alito disavows CAP". The Daily Pricetonian. January 11, 2006.
- Kelley, Tina; Nate Schweber (January 13, 2006). "Thrust Into Limelight and for Some a Symbol of Washington's Bite". The New York Times.
- Mataconis, Doug (April 3, 2011) Lindsey Graham On Koran Burning: “Freedom Of Speech Is A Great Idea But We’re In A War.”, Outside the Beltway
- Greenwald, Glenn (April 4, 2011) The most uncounted cost of Endless War, Salon.com
- Sullivan, Andrew (April 3, 2011) "Free Speech Is A Great Idea, But ...", The Atlantic
- Hunter, Jack (April 7, 2011) Lindsey Graham’s War on Freedom, The American Conservative
- Military's Opposition to Harsh Interrogation Is Outlined, New York Times
- Savage, Charlie, "Senate Declines to Clarify Rights of American Qaeda Suspects Arrested in U.S.," The New York Times, December 1, 2001:.
- S8859, The Graham Amendment
- ACLU Urges Congress to Reject Court Stripping Measure
- Right To Trial Imperiled by Senate Vote by Jeremy Brecher & Brendan Smith
- FRONTLINE Interview: Rumsfeld's War. Retrieved February 10, 2009.
- FRONTLINE Interview: The Choice 2008. Retrieved February 10, 2009.
- Invisible Men: Did Lindsey Graham and Jon Kyl mislead the Supreme Court?, by Emily Bazelon – Slate Magazine
- "I Just Saw This on CNN.com: Sen. Graham on Gitmo detainees". CNN. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
- "Kennedy alliance costly to GOP senators" The Washington Times
- "Immigration stance hurts Graham at home, poll finds". TheHill.com. June 22, 2007.
- "RNC official inches toward Graham battle". TheHill.com. November 14, 2007.
- "Graham romps to easy win over challenger Witherspoon". The State. June 11, 2008.
- Elyse Siegel (July 29, 2010). "Lindsey Graham: 'Birthright Citizenship Is A Mistake,' 'We Should Change Constitution'". The Huffington Post.
- Jessica Vaitis (January 20, 2012). "Graham visits NMB Republican Club". North Myrtle Beach Times.
- "Births to Illegal Immigrants Studied" The New York Times, August 11, 2010, p. A-19
- "Senators Reach a Bipartisan Agreement for Comprehensive Immigration Reform". The National Law Review. Fowler White Boggs P.A. January 31, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
- Isenstadt, Alex. "Graham: We're close to 70 votes on immigration reform". Politico. Retrieved June 24, 2013.
- "Project Vote Smart".
- "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Senate.gov. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 108th Congress – 2nd Sessio". U.S. Senate. July 14, 2004. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
- "Project Vote Smart – Senator Lindsey O. Graham – Interest Group Ratings". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
- "Lindsey Graham on Civil Rights". On The issues. On The Issues. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
- Greenenergyreporter.com, Green Energy Reporter
- NYtimes.com, New York Times
- New York Times
- "Lindsey Graham Said What About Climate Change?". Mother Jones.
- Broder, John M. (April 24, 2010). "Graham Pulls Support for Major Senate Climate Bill". The New York Times.
- Burns, Robert (April 11, 2011) Pentagon Has Second Thoughts About U.S. Troop Withdrawal From Iraq, Associated Press
- "Lindsey Graham: Hillary Clinton ‘got away with murder’"
- "Awesome". Senators on Automatic Spending Cuts Feb 28, 2013. C-Span. February 28, 2013. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
Jeremy Herb (February 28, 2013). "OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Senate bills fail on sequester’s eve". The Hill. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
Dan Friedman (February 28, 2013). "Capitol Hill lawmakers still show no desire to compromise to lessen economic impact of $85 billion in automatic spending cuts, set to hit books March 1". New York Daily News. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
Kara Rowland (February 28, 2013). "Senator Lindsey Graham blasts fellow Republicans and President Obama". Fox News. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
- Hunt, Kasie. "Graham: US should consider Olympic boycott over possible Snowden asylum". NBC News. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- "Senators press Obama to crank up Russia punishment, warn of Ukraine ‘civil war’". Fox News. May 4, 2014.
- Karl, J.; et al. "Top conservative says read my lips: Don't sign 'no new tax' pledge" Spinners and Winners, ABC News, June 12, 2012.
- International Republican Institute web site, Retrieved July 16, 2010.
- "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved August 8, 2007.
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at The Library of Congress
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lindsey Graham.|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Lindsey Graham|
- "Swing Conservative: The perilous bipartisanship of Lindsey Graham." Washington Monthly, April 2005
- "The American Ghosts of Abu Ghraib", Sam Provance, Consortium News, March 27.2007
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 3rd congressional district
J. Gresham Barrett
|United States Senate|
|U.S. Senator (Class 2) from South Carolina
Served alongside: Ernest Hollings, Jim DeMint, Tim Scott
|Party political offices|
|Republican Party nominee for United States Senator from South Carolina (Class 2)
2002, 2008, 2014
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Senators by seniority