WASHINGTON – During today’s Senate Judiciary Committee nominations hearing, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, questioned Sherilyn Peace Garnett, nominated to be United States District Judge for the Central District of California; Nina Morrison, nominated to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York; and Trina L. Thompson, nominated to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of California. During the hearing, Durbin highlighted the judicial nominees’ extensive qualifications and asked them about their approach to sentencing.
“We’re becoming more sensitive and aware of the role of mental health in the commission of crime and circumstances leading up to it. Could you say a word about your thoughts on mental health in the context of today’s system of justice?” Durbin asked Judge Garnett.
Judge Garnett replied that, as both a prosecutor and a judge, she has done her best to ensure that those who elect to go to trial are mentally competent. Judge Garnett explained that she deeply values this principal – that all individuals should be treated fairly before a court of law – by offering alternatives for individuals who may be experiencing mental illness.
Durbin went on to ask Judge Thompson, “What lessons from your time as trial litigator and as judge will best serve you as a federal district court judge?”
Judge Thompson spoke about her adherence to the Sixth Amendment, striving to be the best attorney for anyone she represented. Despite having heard more than 150 jury trials, Judge Thompson explained that she remains committed to seeing each case as an individual by setting all preconceived notions aside.
Video of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.
Audio of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.
Footage of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here for TV Stations.