Republican senators erupted in anger Thursday after Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin of Illinois refused to allow Republicans to speak about the judicial nominations being put to a vote.
The panel first considered two District court nominations in Oregon and California, according to Bloomberg Law.
Durbin dismissed a call from Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee to speak about the two nominees by telling her, “I understand what you would like to do, but I’m saying that in fairness, we have debated these nominees twice,” according to video posted to X.
PATHETIC: Senate Democrats won’t even let Republicans speak against the far-left activists they’ve nominated for the federal judiciary.
WATCH IN FULL: pic.twitter.com/FR1PSHD4g7
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) November 30, 2023
Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas argued that shutting down debate was a mistake.
“There’s going to be a lot of consequences,” Cotton said.
“You’re gonna have a lot of consequences coming if you go down this road. I’ve cautioned a lot of you,” Cotton said. “Listen to me. I’ve cautioned a lot of you.”
Durbin ordered a roll call to begin and shut down Blackburn when she tried to speak.
“You’re telling us to shut up? You want us to shut up?” she said.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina sought to be the voice of reason, telling Durbin, “A lot of people didn’t speak on the two nominees before.”
“We want to tell you again why these nominees are awful,” he said.
“You’re just going to sit there and ignore us?” Cotton interjected.
As time ticked by without an answer, Cotton spoke to Durbin directly.
“Is your plan to end all debate? Do you have an answer, or are you going to rely on someone whispering in your ear?” Cotton said.
After Blackburn continued to demand to speak, without a reply from Durbin, Cotton resorted to mockery.
“I guess Sen. Durbin is not going to allow women speak either. I thought that was sacrosanct in your party,” he said.
Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said Durbin had damaged the institution of the Senate.
“Mr. Chairman, you just destroyed one of the most important committees in the United States Senate,” he said.
“You have set a precedent, which will be repeated every time one party or the other takes advantage and takes the low road — it sets a precedent that will then become the norm. Congratulations on destroying the United States Senate Judiciary Committee,” he said.
Cornyn later warned that “what goes around comes around.”
The panel then voted on the nomination of Seth Aframe, an assistant U.S. attorney based in New Hampshire to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
Graham tried to persuade Durbin to open up debate, noting a number of senators had not spoken.
Blackburn objected again that it was “completely inappropriate not to let us be heard on these nominations.”
“Is this an illegal vote?’ she later asked.
A representative for Durbin later said he followed precedent.
“Chair Durbin has said time and again that there cannot be one set of rules that governs Republicans and a different set that governs Democrats. And so, consistent with the past actions of Republican Chairs, he proceeded with votes on the items on our agenda today,” the representative said, according to Newsweek.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.