Jan 30, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Sen. Durbin says SCOTUS nominee will have "a deliberate, timely hearing"

Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) speaking in a hearing on Jan. 22.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) speaking in a hearing on Jan. 22. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that President Biden's Supreme Court nominee will have a "timely" confirmation hearing, though the time between nomination and confirmation will depend on how recently the person was before the committee.

Why it matters: Biden said last week he would nominate a Black woman to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer and that he would have a name by the end of February.

The big picture: Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is seen as a potential nominee to replace Breyer, was just confirmed to the D.C. Circuit last summer.

  • Durbin did not say if he believes she is a "front-runner" for the nomination, saying the president had not made the decision and he doesn't want to speculate.
  • "I think suggesting there's a front runner or this person is now moving ahead, that’s unfair to all the nominees. This is in the hands of the president, as it should be."

What they're saying: "A great deal depends on the nominee. If the person has been before the committee seeking approval for a circuit court, then the committee knows quite a bit about that person, and that can be taken into consideration," Durbin said when asked about long he believes the confirmation process will take.

  • "If there are no new developments for someone who's been before the committee in the previous year or two, it makes a real difference. I can just say this: it's going to be fair, it's going to be deliberate and we're going to be timely about it too," he added.
  • "This is a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. We should take it seriously."

Go deeper: The front-runners for Biden's Supreme Court pick

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