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Richard Durbin Selected as Senate Judiciary Committee Chair

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发表于 3-11-2021 13:17:54 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
on Feb 2, 2021 (by his colleagues). In the 116th Congress, he was Ranking Member (top Democrat) in that Committee (controlled by Republican; chaired by Lindsey Graham).


Carl Hulse, A Warning to the GOP: Don't Block Judge Picks. New York Times, Mar 2, 2021, at page A17.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/ ... iciary-garland.html

Quote:

(a) "After nearly four decades in Congress, Senator Richard J Durbin finally presided over a full committee hearing as chairman last week, gaveling the Judiciary Committee to order to consider the nomination of Judge Merrick B Garland to be attorney general.  It was a crowning moment for Mr Durbin, Democrat of Illinois. With his party gaining the Senate majority, he took the reins of a panel [Senate Judiciary Committee] * * * Mr Durbin, who is also the No 2 [official title: Whip] Senate Democrat [after Sen Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as Majority Leader]

(b) "Offering a warning to Republicans on judges, Mr Durbin said he would reserve the right to end their ability to block district court nominees through the arcane “blue slip” process — which allows senators to bless or blackball nominees from their home states * * *" (See quotation (c)).

(c) Q: "How do you intend to handle blue slips?

A: "I can remember circuit court judges 20 years ago, when I came; they said basically it is a presidential pick and watch the parade go by and salute. And then there came a time when there was the equivalent of a blue slip on circuit court judges. But Senators [Charles E] Grassley and [Lindsey] Graham [the previous Republican chairmen of the judiciary panel] put an end to that. So the blue slips were not applicable. They are applicable for district court judges." (brackets original).

Q: "So you will abide by that precedent?

A: "Yes, but I will tell you this: I'm going to keep an open mind. If I think it’s reached a point where the blue slip on district court judges is really not a question of temperament or philosophy or academic background and experience, but really gets down to some base issues involving race and gender, I reserve the right to revisit that. I'm not going to be party to that. I am not going to let the blue slip perpetuate prejudice in America.

(d) Q: "Should Justice Stephen G Breyer [1938- (82 years old); Supreme Court justice 1994- ] retire this year?

A: "Should he? You are asking me? I am going to leave this entirely up to him, obviously. Give me a break! I've been in this chair for four days.

(e) Q: "On immigration, what is your preferred approach for advancing legislation? Piecemeal or comprehensive?

A: "I think you know how I feel about the issue. That's my mother's naturalization certificate over there. The son of an immigrant and proud of it. I’ve really been, I guess, to pat myself on the back, outspoken on the issue for a long time. As author of the Dream Act, I'm still waiting 20 years later for passage into law. And I view this as an opportunity not just on the Dream Act but on the issue of immigration.

"Now, let's step back and look at the political reality. It's a 50-50 Senate, which means that any measure that I support, and all the Democrats support, still needs 10 Republicans — 10 — to weather the storm on the floor [to overcome filibuster, the wining side in senate needs 60 votes; neither US House of Representatives nor England ever has filibuster], and to beat back unfriendly amendments. That’s what I’m setting out to find. I think I have three that are prepared to work with me, and I'm trying to figure out what to put together in an immigration bill that brings 10 Republicans on board that is acceptable to the 50 Democrats. I'm working on it literally every day.

Note:
(a) Richard Durbin (1944- ; "was born in East St Louis, Illinois, to an Irish-American father, William Durbin, and a Lithuanian-born mother, Anna (née Kutkin; Lithuanian: Ona Kutkaitė)"/ BS in foreign service from Georgetown University in 1966, JD Georgetown 1969; Democrat; US Representative 1983-1997; senator 1997- )
(b) When president and senator of a certain state are of the same political party, the president almost always defer to that senator to pick federal judges (as well as United States attorney, but the rest of this section is all about nominees for federal judiciary) and. If both senator of that state are of the same party as the president, the senior senator has the prerogative -- not the junior senator. However, if the president and both senators are from different parties, president defers to some officials of the same party in that state (governor, etc). That is when a blue slip comes in, from senators of a different party in that state, which is akin to a veto. For that particular nominee.
(c) The 117th United States Congress started on Jan 3, 2021. Somehow, chairman of US Senate Judiciary Committee remains Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. I am clueless as to why that Committee did not change hand earlier. Is it because it takes time to seat the Committee?  Right now (as of today), there are ten Democrats and ten Republicans in that Committee, but in the 116th Congress, there were more Republicans than Democrats in that Committee (as there were 52 Republican senators and 48 on the Democratic sides (including two independents: Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, who have caucused with Democrats).

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