‘But We’ve Done It Too’: Senator Says Democrats Should Have Been Nicer With Republican SCOTUS Nominees

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Brianna Lyman Commentary Writer
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Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said Wednesday on the Senate floor that Democrats have unfairly handled some Republican Supreme Court nominees in the past.

Durbin was discussing Republican criticism of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s ruling pattern related to cases of child pornography, which was brought to light by Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley.

In a Twitter thread, Hawley claimed “in every single child porn case for which we can find records, Judge Jackson deviated from the federal sentencing guidelines in favor of child porn offenders.”

Jackson has defended her record, saying in an exchange with Durbin that “as a mother and a judge who has had to deal with these cases, I was thinking that nothing could be further from the truth.” Jackson also said Congress determines how judges are supposed to sentence and that judges must take into account several aspects of an offense before sentencing.

“And the notion that she’s somehow, in the words of one Republican senator, ‘her sentencing endangers children.’ It’s basically because he said as much in front of her family, and I thought about that, how painful that must have been for her to hear those words,” Durbin said. “They’re not true. And to take one or two situations, each of them unique, in their factual circumstances and to generalize in terms of her position on an issue of that gravity, is fundamentally unfair.”

“But, we’ve done it too on the Democratic side, and I’m going to be first to admit as I look back in history, there are things that should’ve been handled better when Republican nominees were before us,” Durbin admitted. (RELATED: Three Republicans Vote With Democrats In Preview Of Final Jackson Confirmation)

“And the majority of Republican senators in the Senate Judiciary Committee led by the ranking member, Chuck Grassley, I believe, were respectful and dealt with the judge in a fair manner, asked tough questions as they were expected to but did not cross the line into personal attack.”

Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin also criticized Republicans’ handling of Jackson’s confirmation hearing, telling CNN in March that Republicans’ line of questioning was “disgraceful.”

“I listened to basically the hearings, and it was just embarrassing. It’s not who we are. It’s not what we were sent here to do, to attack other people and just try to tear them down. I won’t be part of that. I think she’s extremely well qualified, and I think she’ll be an exemplary judge.”