September 06, 2022

Durbin: The Confirmation of Highly Qualified Judges is One of the Great, Shared Successes of President Biden and Senate Democrats

In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin speaks to the upcoming vote on Seventh Circuit nominee Judge John Lee and calls the confirmation of highly qualified federal judges one of his highest priorities as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today spoke about the upcoming vote on Seventh Circuit nominee John Lee, and Senate Democrats’ continued commitment to confirming highly qualified judges to the federal bench.

“President Biden and Senate Democrats have made it a priority to elevate judicial nominees from demographically and professionally diverse backgrounds,” Durbin said. “And during the 117th Congress, we have shattered records when it comes to diversity on the federal bench… [including] a record number of nominees with experience serving not only as prosecutors, but also as public defenders, voting rights experts, and civil rights attorneys… Every one of these jurists is highly qualified and ready to serve our nation and the American people.”

As of today, the Senate has confirmed 76 judges to lifetime positions during the 117th Congress—including 18 circuit court nominees, 57 district court nominees, and the first Black woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Of the 18 circuit judges confirmed by Senate Democrats, 14 are women and 13 are people of color. Of the 57 district judges, 42 are women and others represent historic firsts, including the first Muslim-American Article III judge and the first Latina Article III judge in the State of Illinois.

This evening, the Senate will vote on another highly qualified nominee: Judge John Lee, who has been selected for an Illinois seat on the Seventh Circuit. If confirmed, Judge Lee will be the first Asian-American judge ever to serve on the Seventh Circuit.

Durbin continued, “Since joining the bench, [Judge Lee] has written hundreds of opinions [and] presided over 35 trials that went to verdict or judgment. He has also sat by designation on the Seventh Circuit a number of times, writing several opinions for the majority. During his time on the bench, he’s always applied the law to the facts before him, in an even-handed and fair fashion… He has the strong support of myself and Senator Duckworth. I urge my colleagues to join us.”

Durbin concluded, “I want to close by emphasizing this: our work is not finished by a long shot. Judge Lee is one of the ten circuit court nominees awaiting action by the full Senate, and many more nominees are still moving through the Judiciary Committee. Each one of these public servants will bring much-needed professional and demographic diversity. The judges being confirmed by this Senate will ensure that the rule of law applies to every single one of us—without fear or favor. They will work to uphold America’s most sacred promise: equal justice for all." 

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.

-30-