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Judiciary Committee Advances Five Judicial Nominees, Bipartisan Public Safety Officer Support Act

Durbin also spoke on the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas; highlighted nominee to lead ATF

WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee today advanced the nominations of Julianna Michelle Childs, to be United States Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit; Nancy G. Abudu, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit; Ana Isabel de Alba, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of California; Nusrat Jahan Choudhury, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York; and Natasha C. Merle, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York.

Abudu received a vote of 11-11. Under the provisions of S. Res. 27, Leader Schumer may now file a discharge motion on the Abudu nomination to be placed on the executive calendar.

The Committee also advanced S. 3635, the Public Safety Officer Support Act of 2022, sponsored by Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), by a unanimous voice vote.  Durbin is a cosponsor of the bill.

Ahead of the votes, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke on the devastating mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and urged his colleagues to support common sense gun safety legislation to prevent such appalling acts of mass murder in the future.  He also highlighted yesterday’s Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Steven M. Dettelbach to be Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

Key Durbin quotes:

“In the hours since we learned about the devastating mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, one message has come in loud and clear from the American people, to Congress: do something. This Committee is the Committee that has to do something.”

“This Committee held a confirmation hearing this week on the nomination of former U.S. Attorney Steve Dettelbach to serve as the Director of ATF. Mr. Dettelbach is well-qualified, with strong backing from law enforcement, including the National Sheriffs Association.  It’s time to confirm an ATF Director, and Mr. Dettelbach will receive a prompt vote in this Committee.”

“We also have the opportunity to pass legislation that will help reduce gun crime and deadly shootings… There are two bipartisan bills that have passed the House of Representatives and are now on the Senate calendar.  Both would close longstanding gaps in the background check system that have been exploited by criminals and mass shooters.”

“The Senate should vote on these bills. They won’t prevent every shooting, but they will prevent many. Making sure a person passes a background check before getting a gun is just common sense.” 

“I know the issue of guns is politically contentious.  But when we have more than one mass shooting per day in America, when children are gunned down in their classrooms, we need to put partisan differences aside and work together.  I’m ready to do my part.”

Key Durbin quotes on today’s judicial nominees:

“With 16 years of judicial and practical administrative law experience, Judge Childs is highly qualified for this position.  Since 2010, Judge Childs has presided over almost 5,000 cases, including over 60 trials, as a District Court Judge. For four years before that, she presided over thousands of cases during her four years as a state court judge in South Carolina. She’s been rated ‘Well Qualified’ by the ABA. I would also note that Senator Graham strongly supports her nomination.”

“A civil rights and voting rights litigator for over 15 years, Ms. Abudu has significant trial and appellate experience, including arguing five cases before federal courts of appeals… As a civil rights litigator, Ms. Abudu has dedicated a significant part of her career to defending religious liberty.”

“Judge de Alba has served as a Superior Court Judge for the Fresno County Superior Court for the past four years, where she has presided over thousands of matters and seven bench trials. Prior to joining the bench, Judge de Alba spent 11 years in private practice at a Fresno law firm. In addition to an expansive state court practice, she also tried several administrative law trials. The American Bar Association has unanimously rated Judge de Alba ‘Qualified’ and she enjoys the strong support of her home state Senators—Senators Feinstein and Padilla.”

“Ms. Choudhury is a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Law School.  She clerked on the district and circuit court levels.  She has served as the Legal Director of the ACLU of Illinois.  She has been rated ‘Well Qualified’ by the ABA.”

“Ms. Merle is an experienced litigator who has practiced at virtually every level of the legal system. Since 2016, Ms. Merle has worked at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), where she has devoted her practice to ensuring equal justice under law.”

Key Durbin quote on the Public Safety Officer Support Act of 2022:

“The tragedy of officer suicide is felt by so many, including the police officers who worked alongside a fallen officer.  But it is particularly devastating for the families… It’s time we take on the stigma of officers dying by suicide, and it’s time we honor these officers and their families. That’s why this bill is so important.”

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.