WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, applauded the confirmation of the 150th lifetime judicial appointment during the Biden Administration in a speech on the Senate floor. The Senate has confirmed more women nominated by President Biden to the federal bench than any previous Senate in any previous President’s first term.
“We have been building one of the most important accomplishments of the Biden-Harris Administration: the confirmation of highly qualified, independent, and evenhanded judges to the federal bench. This week, the Senate confirmed the 150th lifetime judge since President Biden took office. This is an historic slate of judges who I believe will rule with reason and restraint. These judges respect the rule of law, adhere to precedent, and, above all, answer only to the U.S. Constitution,” Durbin said.
During his speech, Durbin spoke on the high qualifications of the judges confirmed under President Biden versus President Trump. For each judicial nominee that comes before the Senate, the American Bar Association (ABA) conducts a nonpartisan peer review that ranks their qualifications. Those rankings are based on integrity, professional competence, and judicial temperament.
Durbin continued, “And during the Trump Administration, Senate Republicans confirmed eight Trump nominees who were found unqualified to serve on the federal bench by the American Bar Association. Compare that to President Biden’s record. During the Biden Administration, not one of the 150 judges we have confirmed had an unqualified rating. Not one. So when I hear some Senate Republicans waxing about the glory days of judicial nominees under President Trump, I can’t help but wonder what they are talking about. Are they talking about the district court nominee who had never tried a case, and had instead worked as a ghost hunter and written blog posts defending the Ku Klux Klan? What about another Trump trial court nominee who had never tried a case, never examined a witness, never taken a deposition, and never argued a motion? Or the Sixth Circuit nominee who likened abortion to slavery? How about the Ninth Circuit nominee whose colleagues called him, ‘arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice’ of law?”
Durbin then condemned Senate Republicans’ unreasonable criticism of President Biden’s nominees. Some Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee criticized one nominee as “soft on crime” after she had dedicated her career to exonerating wrongfully imprisoned individuals, mainly using DNA evidence. One of Durbin’s Republican colleagues recently criticized a nominee who has served as a federal prosecutor for 16 years because he did not ask a judge to impose a sentence that was higher than the maximum sentence allowed by the law in one case.
Durbin continued, “Those types of attacks are simply not credible. President Biden’s nominees are qualified, and they have demonstrated impeccable temperament.”
Durbin then highlighted the professional and demographic diversity these nominees bring to the bench. Under Chair Durbin and President Biden’s leadership, the Senate has confirmed more Black women to the federal circuit courts than all prior Presidents combined; the first-ever Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court: Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson; historic numbers of Asian-American judges, Latino judges, and LGBTQ judges; more circuit judges with experience as public defenders than all prior Presidents combined; state court judges, federal magistrates and bankruptcy judges, public interest lawyers, civil rights attorneys, and prosecutors; jurists with experience protecting voting rights, workers’ rights, civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and more.
Durbin continued, “Another notable aspect of this record is that the vast majority—nearly 90 percent—of all these judicial confirmations have been bipartisan. Even on the appellate courts, over three-quarters of President Biden’s nominees have received support from both sides of the aisle. This focus on qualified, consensus nominees will go a long way toward restoring trust and faith in our judiciary.”
“The American people deserve federal judges who not only look like America—but understand what it means to be an American. That is an important part of our work that began under President Biden—and it’s the work we must finish. We celebrate these 150 judges, and we will continue elevating jurists who are qualified, principled, and committed—above all—to protecting our Constitutional rights. The American people deserve nothing less,” Durbin concluded.
Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.
Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.
Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.