For A Third Time, Senate Republican Blocks Durbin's Attempt to Confirm U.S. Attorney Nominations on the Senate Floor
Once again, Senator J.D. Vance objected to Durbin’s request
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today on the Senate floor requested unanimous consent (UC) to schedule confirmation votes on two U.S. Attorney nominations being held by U.S. Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH)—Rebecca C. Lutzko, nominated to be United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio; and April M. Perry, nominated to be United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. U.S. Attorneys are empowered to prosecute all federal criminal offenses and are an integral part of our justice system. Despite their eminent qualifications, U.S. Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH) once again objected to the unanimous consent request.
Last week, Durbin attempted to confirm these two nominees, as well as Todd Gee, nominated to be United States Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi; and Tara McGrath, nominated to be United States Attorney for the Southern District of California, by UC, but Vance objected to that request. Earlier this week, Durbin requested to vote on these nominees, which resulted in the eventual confirmation votes of Mr. Gee and Ms. McGrath. But Vance reversed his position on scheduling votes for Ms. Lutzko and Ms. Perry.
“Two days ago I came to the floor to request unanimous consent for the Senate to take up and confirm four pending U.S. Attorney nominations that were being held up by one United States Senator, the junior Senator from Ohio, Senator Vance,” Durbin said. “And two days ago he said, ‘my position is we should have a full Senate vote on each of these Justice Department nominees.’ He also said, ‘if it is so important to confirm these folks, bring them to the floor for a vote.’ But now, that is exactly what he is attempting to prevent today.”
Durbin continued, “For decades, the Senate confirmed U.S. Attorney nominees of both political parties by voice vote or unanimous consent in the Senate after they have been reported by the Judiciary Committee. Before the beginning of the Biden Administration, the Senate had not required a roll call vote in confirmation of a U.S. Attorney since 1975, almost 50 years. In fact, during the Trump Administration, Senate Democrats allowed every one of Trump’s U.S. Attorney nominees, all 85, to move through the committee and be confirmed by a voice vote or unanimous consent… U.S. Attorneys are too important to be used as political pawns in a national debate. They lead our nation’s effort to prosecute violent criminals. Don’t tell me that you’re for‘law and order,’ but you want to stop criminal prosecutors from being appointed to the job.”
Durbin concluded, “For… the Senator… to say ‘I will hold all DOJ nominations. We will grind the Justice Department to a halt,’ really? That’s your agenda? That’s why you came to the Senate? If the Department of Defense is being ground to a halt because of the promotion of officers, and to do the same thing in the Department of Justice, and we’re facing a government shutdown over MAGA members of the House of Representatives, the American people have a good picture, a good photograph of the future if we go down one particular path in terms of the future in politics in America.”
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 here for TV Stations.
For decades, the Senate has confirmed U.S. Attorneys by voice vote or unanimous consent after they have been considered in the Judiciary Committee. Before the 117th Congress, the last time the Senate required a roll call vote on confirmation of a U.S. Attorney nominee was 1975. During the Trump Administration, 85 of President Trump’s U.S. Attorney nominees moved through the Judiciary Committee—of those 85, the Senate confirmed all by unanimous consent.
That precedent changed last Congress when Durbin went through this exercise twice when a Republican colleague refused to allow the Senate to confirm nearly a dozen Justice Department nominees by voice vote—the typical practice. Following one of Durbin’s unanimous consent requests, that Senator eventually lifted his objections and allowed those nominees to beconfirmed.
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