Senate

Durbin: Some speaking out about Biden court pick ‘have never voted for a Black nominee’

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) speaks to reporters on Monday, January 31, 2022 to discuss the upcoming Supreme Court nominee process in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Greg Nash

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Thursday that “some of the people who are speaking the loudest about not choosing a Black woman have never voted for a Black nominee.”

Durbin, in an appearance on CNN, told host Brianna Keilar, “We’ve had 25 women of color come before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the first year of the Biden administration and some of the people who are speaking the loudest about not choosing a Black woman have never voted for a Black nominee.”

“And that’s just the fact, I’m sorry to say, but it is the reality of this year 2022 in American history,” he said.

Durbin said he wanted critics of Biden’s Supreme Court pick to remember that it was a Republican president, Ronald Reagan, “who announced that he was looking for a woman to serve in the Supreme Court” and “came up with a great name, Sandra Day O’Connor,” whom, he added, served with distinction. 

He said that “it was a Republican president, Donald Trump, who said he wanted a woman on the court to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

“I didn’t hear the same criticism from the Republican side,” Durbin said.

He said that lawmakers need to “face the reality here” while adding that the 108 of the 115 Supreme Court justices in U.S. history have been white men.

“I really think there’s room for us to consider not only women, but women of color to fill these vacancies,” he said. 

Durbin also shed some light on the timeline of when the public can expect the announcement of Biden’s Supreme Court nominee. 

“Well, I can’t say exactly when it will be. But the president met with Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and myself in the Oval Office and said he’s starting the process to choose the nominee. [He] wants to do it before the end of the month,” Durbin said, referring to the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.

He said that he wants Biden “to take his time and get it right” but that “the sooner we receive the nomination, the sooner we can move into action to start the committee hearings.”

“I put my fingers crossed that it’s sooner than the end of the month, but I want the president to be satisfied that he has chosen the best person and move forward from there,” he said. 

Durbin’s remarks come after Biden reaffirmed his pledge to nominate the high court’s first Black female justice, after Justice Stephen Breyer formally announced his retirement.

Tags Chuck Grassley Dick Durbin Donald Trump Ruth Bader Ginsburg Stephen Breyer

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