April 04, 2022

Durbin Delivers Opening Remarks Ahead of Judiciary Committee Vote on Supreme Court Nominee Judge Jackson

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered opening remarks at the Judiciary Committee markup on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The Committee also is considering the nominations of Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis, nominee to be United States Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit; Arianna J. Freeman, nominee to be United States Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit; Robert Steven Huie, nominee to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of California; Evelyn Padin, nominee to be United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey; Jennifer H. Rearden, nominee to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York; and Vanessa Roberts Avery, nominee to be United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut. 

Key quotes:

“This is the fourth time the Committee has voted on Judge Jackson in some capacity, a reflection of her extraordinary legal career. It’s the first time that the Committee has had the opportunity to advance the nomination of a Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court. This is an historic moment for this Committee, and for America.”

“In the course of this comprehensive review, a few things became clear. For one, she has impeccable qualifications. We don’t agree on much in the Senate, but not one Senator on this Committee has questioned that she is well-qualified. She has nearly a decade of experience on the bench, at both the trial and appellate level. She clerked at every level of the federal judiciary, including for Supreme Court Justice Breyer. She has worked in private practice and she served as a member of the bipartisan Sentencing Commission. Judge Jackson would be only the second trial court judge currently serving on the Supreme Court and the first public defender ever to serve on the Court. These critical experiences would bring a missing perspective to the Court, [so] it is truly unfortunate that some are trying to use them as reasons to vote against her.”

“Her methodology is one that promotes fairness, independence, and judicial restraint. It’s reflected in her decision making. In short, Judge Jackson showed us that she is committed to equal justice under law, and to ensuring that the Constitution works for all Americans—not just the wealthy and powerful.”

“I was also impressed with her judicial temperament…Judge Jackson is a better person than me. She stayed calm and collected. She showed dignity, grace, and poise. It is unfortunate that our hearing came to that, but if there is one positive to take away from these attacks, it is that the nation got to see the temperament of a good, strong person truly ready to serve on the highest Court in the land.”

“Judge Jackson herself characterized Justice Breyer’s legacy as one of, ‘the highest level.’ That’s what we saw [in] this room last week. Rather than simply another Justice Breyer, she will be the one and only Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. And Justice Jackson will bring to the Supreme Court the highest level of skill, integrity, civility, and grace.”

“Throughout its history, the Senate Judiciary Committee has been the venue for some of our nation’s most significant issues, debate, and nominees. I've often thought that if you had to choose one place to stand and witness the march of America, the noble and ignoble struggles of our democracy, I would seek out a chair in this room. Today’s vote is such a moment. This Committee’s action today is nothing less than historic. I am honored to be part of it. I will strongly and proudly support Judge Jackson's nomination.”

Video of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s opening statement is available here for TV Stations.

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