By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, said out loud on Monday what many may have thought about the Supreme Court nomination hearings where Republicans verbally lynched Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
“Judge Jackson is a better person than me,” Durbin announced.
He praised the nominee’s restraint in the face of unhinged GOP senators who many suggested posed questions that bordered on being racist and obscene.
“She stayed calm and collected, showed dignity, grace, and poise. It is unfortunate that some moments in our hearing came to that. But if there’s one positive to take away from these attacks on her, it is that the nation saw the temperament of a good strong person ready to serve on the highest court in the land,” Durbin asserted.
As most observers speculated, the Senate Judiciary Committee split down the middle, voting 11-11 along party lines on Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination.
Following the initial vote, Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) moved to dismantle the filibuster, allowing for a debate window of four hours.
Schumer appears to have the votes, with all 50 Democrats supporting Jackson and at least one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, also pledging a “yes” vote.
“I hope both sides can work together to advance her all but certain confirmation through the Senate without delay,” Schumer said, adding defiantly that she “will be confirmed.”
“It’s not easy being thrown suddenly and abruptly into the national spotlight,” Schumer asserted.
The most recent committee hearing appeared headed on a spiral toward earlier confirmation sessions when Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who three times had voted to confirm Jackson to other seats, spewed more venom.
“[Jackson] is embraced by the most radical people in the Democratic movement to the exclusion of everybody else,” Graham spouted.
He also referred to Jackson as an “activist” judge, noting that if the GOP controlled the Senate, she would already have been voted down.
“If we get back the Senate and we are in charge of this body, and there [are] judicial openings, we will talk to our colleagues on the other side, but she would not have been before this committee if we were in charge,” Graham railed.
Another yet unexpected concern reared its head for Democrats when an unidentified passenger’s emergency medical situation delayed the arrival of California Sen. Alex Padilla.
Traveling from California on the same flight as the troubled passenger, Padilla didn’t show up until late Monday.
Padilla’s vote counted as desperately needed to advance Jackson’s nomination with the committee voting along party lines.
Unlike other ballots cast in the Senate, only dissenting votes are allowed when attempting to advance a nominee out of committee.
D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said while the vote to advance and ultimately confirm Jackson “is historic,” there’s still some emptiness for the District of Columbia.
“D.C., as with every other SCOTUS nominee in history, will have no vote on confirmation even though D.C. and its residents are bound by the court’s rulings,” Norton stated.
Still, Jackson’s confirmation remains on pace for a dramatic conclusion either on April 7 or 8.
“We applaud the Senate Judiciary Committee for taking a critical step towards a U.S. Supreme Court that represents our communities and fulfills the promise of equal justice under law,” Wade Henderson, the CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, remarked.
“At her hearing, Judge Jackson showed the nation why she will be a justice for all — her years of experience as an even-handed jurist, her brilliance and passion for the law, and her commitment to fairness and to upholding the constitutional rights of all,” Henderson said.
“In the face of dishonest attacks and shameful attempts to derail her nomination, Judge Jackson demonstrated her thoughtful judicial temperament and perseverance. She is ready to serve on our highest court, and we call on the full Senate to confirm this distinguished and highly qualified nominee immediately.”