Durbin Joins Merkley in Protest Against Gorsuch Nomination on the Senate Floor

WASHINGTON – Before sunrise, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined his colleague Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) on the Senate floor to discuss their opposition to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch. Senators Durbin and Merkley slammed Senate Republicans’ unprecedented obstruction of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee last year as well as the Republican Senate Majority Leader’s rush to limit debate on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination.

Senator Merkley held the Senate floor for over 15 hours to protest Judge Gorsuch’s nomination.

“As I recall, there was a moment in 1988, in the last year of President Reagan’s presidency, when there was a vacancy on the Supreme Court. This Republican President was in his last year, his so-called lame duck year as many Republicans now characterize it. At that time, the Senate was in the control of the Democratic Party. Of course, the Senate Judiciary Committee, I believe, was chaired by Joe Biden, if I’m not mistaken, in 1988. President Reagan sent the name [of] Anthony Kennedy to the Senate to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court in his last year in office... [T]he Democratic Senate held a hearing and a vote and sent Anthony Kennedy to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, where he continues to serve. So those who argue on the other side that everybody's doing it, you'd do the same thing if you could, and that sort of thing, I believe that's belied by the recent history when the Democrats were in the majority in this chamber,” said Durbin. “Is the Senator from Oregon saying this is not the only time in history this has occurred, and Senator McConnell ignored this and decided not to even have a hearing or vote on Merrick Garland, something that has never been done in the history of the United States Senate, which brings us to this moment?”

Merkley responded, “In the middle of the night, a few hours ago, I pointed out that this evidence of different style of action didn't just depend on the history books, because you could look a few yards here from the Senate out at the Supreme Court, where Justice Kennedy sits and gone through the process you just described.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are 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.