Durbin: The Senate Needs to Do Its Job & President Obama's Supreme Court Nominee a Fair Hearing and a Timely Vote

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke on the Senate Floor today to tell his Republican colleagues that “the Senate can’t afford to sit on its hands for one year and leave the Supreme Court hanging in the balance.”


Durbin called attention to the practical and legal ramifications of leaving an extended vacancy on the Supreme Court, noting that, “Major legal and constitutional questions are constantly brought before the court. When the Court is frozen at an even number of justices, many of those questions go unresolved and millions of Americans who are impacted by these questions have to wait.”


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. Today Durbin warned, “My Republican colleagues can choose to vote for or against President Obama’s nominee. That is their prerogative. But they should not simply duck the vote. We weren’t elected to this job to ignore important issues. We were elected to cast votes on important issues. And this is too important an issue to simply ignore.”


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.


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.