Durbin Questions Judicial Nominees In Judiciary Committee Hearing

WASHINGTON – During today’s Senate Judiciary Committee nominations hearing, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked Leonard Stark, nominated to be a United States Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit, to discuss his tribute to Judge Walter Stapleton in the Delaware Law Review and the lessons he learned from him.

Stark said he clerked for Judge Stapleton and was taught about the importance of careful scrutiny and respecting binding precedents from the Supreme Court and the Third Circuit. Stark also said that Judge Stapleton taught him how to write opinions clearly and concisely, and how to focus on only the issues presented to the court in a case.

Durbin then asked Sarah Geraghty, nominated to be a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Georgia, about her experience representing individuals who were incarcerated because of their inability to pay a fine or fee.

“In 2020, a prominent legal publication in Georgia, the Fulton County Daily Journal, named you the Attorney of the Year, in large part for this work. In your experience, what are some of the negative consequences, both to the individuals and to America, for the practice of incarcerating people because they’re poor?” Durbin asked.

Geraghty answered by stating the Supreme Court has said there can be no equal justice under law when the kind of trial a person gets depends on the amount of money that they have. Geraghty said she has tried to enforce the rule of law on behalf of indigent defendants and has been critical of incarceration for debt under circumstances that do not comply with the Supreme Court’s direction in that area.

Durbin then asked Dale Ho, nominated to be a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, about the difference between the role of an advocate and the role of a judge.

Ho answered by stating he understands his current role as an advocate is very different from the role he’s been nominated for. He said like every judge, he would set aside his past advocacy work he has done on behalf of clients so he can serve as a fair, neutral, and impartial arbiter of the law.

Durbin then asked Ho to explain how his family background plays an important role in his life.

Ho said his grandmother has helped instill the values of hard work and love for family that he has tried to carry with him throughout his life and career.

Video of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here for TV Stations.