Durbin on Supreme Court Obstructionism: How's it Playing in Peoria?

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – As Senate Republicans continue to refuse to give any Supreme Court nominee a fair hearing, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked on the United States Senate Floor today, “How is this playing in Peoria, Illinois?”


“I want to read from an editorial in the February 28 edition of The Peoria Journal-Star. I quote: ‘The most worthless Congress in memory became more so last week with Senate Republicans doubling down on their decision not even to hold hearings for any Obama nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the Scalia vacancy.’”


“They went on to say: ‘Even as awful as Congress is, it’s not often that its members combine dereliction of constitutional duty (see Article II, Section 2) — with political cravenness (the aversion to tough decisions in an election year) in one fell swoop, but so Senate Republicans have here. Not only have they unconstitutionally changed a president’s term from four to three years, not only are they renouncing their “advice and consent” role, not only are they effectively suggesting the Constitution be amended to popularly elect Supreme Court justices, but even more “lame” are the lengths Republicans went to in order to rationalize their decision.’ No more excuses. The Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate should do its job.”


Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.


Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.


Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available for TV Stations using FTP in high definition here and in standard definition here.


Senate Republicans announced last week that the Senate Judiciary Committee will not hold a hearing on a Supreme Court nominee, and that senior Republican Senators will decline to meet with that nominee, as is customary.


Since the Senate Judiciary Committee started holding hearings on Supreme Court nominees a century ago, no pending Supreme Court nominee has ever been denied a hearing. In fact, in the past three decades it has taken the Senate an average of about two months to consider Supreme Court nominees from nomination to confirmation.


Durbin has served on the Senate Judiciary Committee for 18 years, during which time he has considered the nominations of four current Supreme Court justices. He is also the Ranking Member of the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, formerly known as the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights. The Subcommittee has jurisdiction over all constitutional issues.