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Judiciary Committee Advances Nine Nominees, Two Bipartisan Bills

Durbin also speaks on the continued Republican obstruction of critical law enforcement positions

WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee today advanced the nominations of Andre B. Mathis, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit; Jessica G.L. Clarke, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York; Hector Gonzalez, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York; Fred W. Slaughter, to be United States District Judge for the Central District of California; and Andrew Fois, to be Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States.

Mathis received a vote of 12-10; Clarke received a vote of 11-11; Gonzalez received a vote of 13-9; Slaughter received a vote of 15-7; and Fois received a vote of 12-10.  Under the provisions of S. Res. 27, Leader Schumer may now file a discharge motion on the Clarke nomination to place her on the executive calendar.

Ahead of the votes, Durbin addressed three points about Sixth Circuit nominee Andre Mathis’s nomination: consultation, qualifications, and Tennessee support.

Key Durbin quotes:

“[Senators Blackburn and Hagerty] never told the White House that Mr. Mathis was unacceptable.  With respect to my colleagues from Tennessee, the record of communication and correspondence around this vacancy makes it clear that the White House did engage in meaningful consultation.”

“I want to put this issue of consultation in historical context… In a November 2017 floor speech, then-Chair Grassley said, and I quote, ‘A Senator can’t use a blue slip to block a nominee because it is not the person the Senator would have picked.’  Under Senator Grassley’s stated standard, the fact that the President chose to nominate Mr. Mathis is not a legitimate reason to block his nomination.”

“Born and raised in Memphis, TN… litigated hundreds of civil cases… defended approximately 150 criminal cases… tried 19 cases to verdict or final judgement, briefed 23 appeals and argued 10 of them personally… For those who claim this experience is insufficient, I’d urge you to look at the litigation experience of several Trump nominees… For example, at the time of her nomination to the Seventh Circuit, Justice Amy Coney Barrett had never argued an appellate case.”

The Committee also advanced the nominations of two U.S. Attorneys and two U.S. Marshals.  However, when Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) made clear he would continue to delay these nominees on the Senate floor, Durbin called out the dangerous obstruction of these and other chief law enforcement officers by the Republican Senator.

“In a time when we’re all giving speeches on law enforcement and our respect for police and law enforcement, you’re showing your respect for law enforcement by telling me that, in the Northern District of Illinois, I have to wait on an appointment of a U.S. Marshal,” Durbin said.  “No one has questioned his qualifications.  You are not just punishing him, but you’re really striking out at a situation, in my state, that desperately needs attention.  That is law enforcement [needed] to stop the gun violence and death.  How can this be in honor of U.S. Marshals when you’re holding up a U.S. Marshal?”

Durbin continued, “If you’re going to make a speech about the violent crime and the death statistics that we’re seeing across the United States… plead your case, but don’t take it out on innocent people.  Don’t take it out on law enforcement.”

The Committee also advanced S. 3538, EARN IT Act of 2022, and S. 3103, Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act, by voice vote.

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.