Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Dick Durbin exchanged in a near shouting match at Wednesday’s confirmation hearing.
Durbin attempted to abruptly end Cruz’s questioning of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on her record of sentencing child pornography offenders after he had gone overtime.
“You have taken over a minute of my time, Mr. Chairman,” Cruz said. Durbin told the senator he had already been given extra time.
“Okay, I know you want to interrupt because I know you don’t like my line of questioning,” Cruz pressed. “I know you like to interrupt, but you have consumed a substantial question of mine at the time of my questioning and I’m gonna ask my questions and if you want to testify, you’re welcome to.”
Cruz turned to Jackson where he pointed to her sentencing an offender for her alleged light sentencing in the “egregious” case, United States v. Stewart. The senator then demanded she answer for sentencing outside of the mandatory minimum guidelines’ recommendation of 97-121 months imprisonment.
“You don’t want her to answer that question?” Cruz said, to which the chairman replied the Texas senator would not allow her to answer. “Mr. Chairman, she may answer the question I asked her. Why she said Stewart, an egregious—”
“You’re going over the time, senator, by two minutes,” Durbin replied. (RELATED: ‘Is He The Victim?’ Sen. Josh Hawley Presses Judge Jackson For ‘Apologizing’ To Child Porn Offender)
“Because you’ve interrupted me for two minutes, Mr. Chairman. Will you allow her to answer the question or do you not want the American people to hear why, with someone she described as egregious—” the Texas senator said. “Will you allow her to answer the question?”
Durbin repeated Cruz will not allow Jackson to answer the question then moved on to Democratic Delaware Sen. Chris Coons. Cruz continued to ask if he wants to bar the American people from knowing about the case.
“Chairman Durbin, I’ve never seen the chairman refuse to allow a witness to answer a question,” Cruz said, followed by Durbin hitting the gavel. “You can bang it as loud as you want! Apparently we’re very afraid of the American people hearing the answer to that question,” Cruz concluded.
Republican senators have pressed Jackson on alleged light sentencing for child pornography offenders. In the case raised by Cruz, Jackson sentenced the convict to 57 months imprisonment for the possession of approximately 6,700 images of child porn and had allegedly wanted to travel across state lines with a 9-year-old girl.
Jackson defended her record arguing that a judge is required to consider all circumstances surrounding the case and argued the guidelines are not properly fitting in the age of the Internet.