Senate

Durbin says ‘several’ Republicans could be open to Biden court pick

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Monday that he is already reaching out to Republicans on President Biden’s impending Supreme Court nominee and views “several” as open to helping confirm Justice Stephen Breyer’s successor.

“I’ve spoken and texted to several Republican senators that I think may be open to the idea, no promises made, of considering a Biden nominee for the court,” Durbin said. 

“What I basically said to them is we’re going to make the nominee available and certainly any materials and information you need so that you can draw your own conclusion as to whether she is worthy of your vote,” he added.

Biden has committed to nominating the first Black woman to the high court.

Durbin said that would be continuing that outreach this week but that there were “several Republican senators who may — underline may — consider voting for a Biden nominee to the court.”

Among the GOP senators that Durbin has spoken to is Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, with whom he says he has a “good working relationship.”

“I told him that there will be no surprises as far as I was concerned, and I would never stab him in the back,” Durbin said. 

In addition to Grassley, Durbin has had discussions with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).

He declined to say who else he had spoken with. 

“I will tell you that my list is longer than you would initially imagine. And it’s based on my observation of members of the committee and working with them and my hopes that some of them will be open to making this a bipartisan majority. That’s my goal,” he said.

“I want to make this a bipartisan vote for the filling of this vacancy. I think it is not only good for the Supreme Court. It’s good for the Senate,” Durbin added. 

Democrats could confirm whoever Biden picks without any GOP support as long as all 50 of their members stay unified. 

Though Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) have been viewed as stumbling blocks to legislative priorities, they’ve supported all of Biden’s judicial nominees so far. 

Durbin said that he hadn’t yet spoken to Manchin or Sinema. But Manchin indicated earlier that he was “anxious” to confirm Breyer’s successor and that if it was someone who had previously been confirmed to the district or circuit courts that it could be sped up.

Several nominees under consideration are currently judges, though Durbin told reporters that he didn’t have a “favorite” and wouldn’t be adding a name to the list.

Republicans could cause headaches for confirming the nominee if they, for example, skipped the committee vote.

“I don’t think that’s going to occur,” Durbin said.

“I think they will accept their constitutional responsibility in the process. There may be one or two dissenters on their side, but most of the senators feel on both sides that this is a moment where we need to do our constitutional duty,” he added. 

Tags biden appointee Biden nominations Biden nominee Biden nominees Biden Supreme Court nominee Chuck Grassley Dick Durbin Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema Stephen Breyer Supreme Court nominations supreme court nominees Susan Collins

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