Durbin: Senate GOP Refusal to Meet with Supreme Court Nominee a New Low

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today spoke on the floor of the Senate to call on Senate Republicans to uphold their Constitutional obligation to consider the President’s nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Durbin read a passage from Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution stating that the President “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint….Judges of the Supreme Court.” 


“For the first time in the history of the United States of America, Senate Republicans are prepared to defy this clear statement of the United States Constitution,” Durbin said.


Senate Republicans yesterday announced 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.


“A seat on the U.S. Supreme Court lies vacant,” said Durbin. “The President of the United States has the constitutional obligation to name a nominee to fill that vacancy.  If the President sends a name, and he will, to the Senate to fill that vacancy, they have said they will not hold a hearing, they will not schedule a vote, and listen to this: yesterday, Senator McConnell said ‘I won’t even meet with that person.’ This is a new low.” 


Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate Floor is 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 for TV Stations using FTP in high definition here and in standard definition here.


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 67 days to consider Supreme Court nominees from nomination to confirmation.


Durbin has served on the Senate Judiciary Committee for 16 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.