In a letter sent on Monday to his Democrat colleagues, Graham began by expressing his sadness over the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who he said "served honorably on the federal bench" and was a "trailblazer for women in the law."
Graham added, however, that Republicans were elected to take control of the Senate in 2014 to provide "checking and balancing" at the end of the Obama administration and reaffirmed that Senate Republicans followed the 140-year "precedent" of an opposing party not confirming a Supreme Court nominee during an election year.
"Because our Senate majority committed to confirming President Trump's excellent judicial nominees – and particularly because we committed to supporting his Supreme Court nominees – the American people expanded the Republican majority in 2018," Graham wrote. "We should honor that mandate. And unlike in 2016, President Trump is currently standing for reelection: the people will have a say in his choices."
After previously stating on the record that he himself would oppose confirming a SCOTUS nominee during an election year, Graham told the Senate Judiciary Democrats that his views have changed following the bitter 2018 confirmation battle of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
"Lastly, after the treatment of Justice Kavanaugh I now have a different view of the judicial-confirmation process," Graham said. "Compare the treatment of Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh to that of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, and it’s clear that there already is one set of rules for a Republican president and one set of rules for a Democrat president."
Graham added: "I, therefore, think it is important that we proceed expeditiously to process any nomination made by President Trump to fill this vacancy. I am certain if the shoe were on the other foot, you would do the same."
The letter was addressed to Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Chris Coons, D-Del., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii., Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif.
President Trump is expected to announce his Supreme Court nominee by the end of the week and has strongly indicated that it will be a woman.
Fox News' Shannon Bream contributed to this report.