WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his apparent amnesia in discussing the growing opposition to President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch. Durbin pointed to Republicans’ treatment of President Obama’s nominee and debunked Republicans’ claim that the Senate has not confirmed Supreme Court nominees in a president’s final year. He also criticized the politicization of Supreme Court nominees, noting that Judge Gorsuch was hand-picked by Washington DC-based Republican advocacy organizations.
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“[W]hen the Majority Leader comes to the floor to talk about how cooperative he's been with previous presidents when it came to Supreme Court nominees, he conveniently omits the most obvious reason for our problems this week: the unilateral decision by the Majority Leader to preclude any vote on Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy of Justice Scalia,” said Senator Durbin. “Clearly, he was banking on the possibility that the electorate would choose a Republican president – and that's what happened – so that a Republican president, in this case Donald Trump, could fill the vacancy, not Barack Obama. So when I hear the speeches on the floor by Senator McConnell about his bipartisan cooperation, he leaves out an important chapter, the last chapter, the one that brought us to this moment in the United States Senate.”
Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are available here.
Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.
In January, Senator Durbin held a courtesy meeting with Judge Gorsuch. Senator Durbin attended four days of hearings on the Gorsuch nomination, and he cast a vote in opposition to the nomination in the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. Senate Republicans denied Judge Merrick Garland a hearing and a vote, and Senator McConnell refused even to meet with President Obama’s nominee.