WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered an opening statement at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nominations of Jacquelyn D. Austin, to be United States District Judge for the District of South Carolina; Jacqueline Becerra, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida; Melissa Damian, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida; David Seymour Leibowitz, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida; Julie Simone Sneed, to be United States District Judge for the Middle District of Florida; and Kirk Edward Sherriff, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of California.
“This is an interesting day in the Committee because both Senator Graham and I on a bipartisan basis have urged Republican Senators to sit down with the Biden White House and see if they can reach a common agreement on nominations. It is not unheard of. During the Trump Administration, Senator Duckworth and I filled every vacancy and negotiated with the Trump White House. The difference in political philosophy was obvious, but we believe that we found nominees who really would be neutral or at least objective in dealing with the law. And this has happened again today.”
“I would like to thank President Biden, and my Republican colleagues, especially my colleague, Senator Graham, for achieving this status. Some people were skeptical of the blue slip, which gives to the Senators from the state the ultimate word as to whether or not a nomination goes forward. We both believe in it if… it is used conscientiously and fairly, and today is evidence that it can be.”
“We have 35 more judicial vacancies in states with Republican Senators. I urge every single one of them to sit down with the White House and see if they can find some common ground for these nominations. It is not impossible, but it takes patience and give-and-take. But ultimately, we can fill these vacancies and the American people expect us to.”
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.
Today’s hearing continues the Committee’s work filling judicial and executive vacancies with highly qualified, diverse candidates who help ensure the fair and impartial administration of the American justice system. Under the leadership of Chair Durbin, the Senate has confirmed 156 judges to lifetime appointments on the federal bench during the Biden administration. Seventeen lifetime judges – including three circuit court nominees and twelve district court nominees – are eligible for a vote on the Senate floor.