by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) will be in the news a lot this month. Beginning March 21, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee will preside over the confirmation hearings for President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Mainstream media outlets have already started praising Durbin for his “historic” role in the confirmation of the High Court’s first black female justice, and it’s only going to get worse. Last month, the Washington Post published a lengthy profile of Durbin highlighting the career politician’s determination to “make history.” He could not have asked for a friendlier (as in whitewashed) assessment of his 40-year career in Congress.
The Post examined how Durbin is preparing “to make his star turn on the Senate’s biggest stage” by overseeing a historic confirmation that “would represent a capstone moment in a long, storied career.” …
… The triple-bylined “fluff piece,” in the words of former Republican Senate aide Gregg Nunziata, was a “discrediting” work of journalism that ignored crucial aspects of Durbin’s record. “This is the profile only Dems get,” he wrote. “Impossible to imagine this credulous and almost fawning tone” in an article about a GOP Senate leader. According to a Washington Free Beacon analysis of the Post profile, Nunziata’s criticism is correct. …
… Perhaps the most egregious example of Democrats blocking a qualified judicial nominee for purely partisan reasons came in 2003, when Durbin and his colleagues repeatedly filibustered the nomination of Miguel Estrada to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Estrada would have been the first Hispanic judge to serve on the court. After a delay of more than two years, Estrada eventually gave up. Durbin and the Democrats declared victory.
Weeks later, leaked memos from Durbin’s office revealed that left-wing activists groups viewed Estrada as “especially dangerous” because “he is Latino, and the White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment.”