May 26, 2021

Durbin Gives Opening Remarks in Judiciary Committee Hearing for Judicial and Executive Nominees

Hearing includes nominees for the Federal Circuit, District Court of New Mexico, ATF, USCIS, DEA, and Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered his opening statement during the nominations hearing for Tiffany P. Cunningham, to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit; Margaret Irene Strickland, to be U.S. District Judge for the District of New Mexico; David H. Chipman, to be Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Ur Mendoza Jaddou, to be Director, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; Anne Milgram, to be Administrator of Drug Enforcement; and Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr., to be an Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division.  During his statement, Durbin argued that these nominees have deep experience and strong credentials for the positions to which they have been nominated.

Key quotes:

“I want to thank the White House for sending us nominees with extraordinary experience and credentials for the positions to which they have been nominated.”

“Many of the positions that are aspiring to be filled today by these nominees have been vacant for long periods of time.  For example, former President Trump never nominated an Administrator for the Drug Enforcement Administration.  There hasn’t been a Senate-confirmed head of that agency in six years—since 2015.”

“Given her [Ms. Cunningham] experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants, she understands the importance of the law being applied evenhandedly.  Ms. Cunningham will be ready from day one to serve on the bench.  She has the technical expertise, deep knowledge of patent law, and almost 20 years of experience as a litigator.”

“Finally, I would note that when confirmed, Ms. Cunningham will be the first Black judge to serve on the Federal Circuit.  This historic nominee will bring both professional and racial diversity to the court.”

“While at ATF, Mr. Chipman led or assisted in multiple efforts to combat gun trafficking and the proliferation of gun violence.  He also worked tirelessly to bring more attention to the health, safety, and wellness of law enforcement officers nationwide.”

“Since leaving ATF, Mr. Chipman has continued his work advancing bipartisan, commonsense measures to protect responsible gun ownership while reducing the use of firearms against law enforcement officers and innocent individuals.”

“It’s worth noting, as well, that Mr. Chipman would be only the second confirmed ATF Director in the agency’s history… and the first Director to ever have served as an ATF Special Agent.”

“His [Mr. Chipman] knowledge of the agency and its purview is unparalleled.  In my estimation, he has what it takes—acumen, leadership experience, and the commitment to lead the ATF.”

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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