Things got heated between Ted Cruz and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) during day three of Ketanji Jackson’s SCOTUS confirmation hearings on Wednesday.
The Senators clashed in a contentious moment towards the end of Cruz’s allotted time for questioning, with Durbin – who Cruz accused of taking up a substantial amount of his time by filibustering for Jackson – jumping in and attempting to move to the next speaker before he could get an answer to his last question about Jackson’s lenient sentencing for child porn offenders.
After completely demolishing Jackson over her judicial record for 20 straight minutes and providing a detailed account of specific cases, Cruz asked the radical SCOTUS nominee to explain why – “in 100%” of the child porn cases she presided over – she punished the offenders with “very low” sentences that were well below the recommended punishment.
“I’m trying to understand how you see someone who possesses images of infants and toddlers being sexually violated and you sentence them to 64% below what the prosecutor’s asking for. You don’t provide a justification other than a generic concern that the guidelines are too high – you don’t provide a justification as required by statute.
I’m asking you why – and giving you an opportunity to explain to the American people – why in 100% of the cases – you had people with vile crimes, and you had language saying that they were vile crimes – but then you sentence them to very, very low sentences, and why do you consistently – 100% of the time – choose to do that?”
As she has done the whole time, Jackson filibustered with a word salad that has nothing to do with Cruz’s very specific question – one which he had laid out the context for multiple times already during Wednesday’s hearing, and that has been brought up consistently throughout the proceedings, so there is no excuse for this non-answer.
“Senator, no one case can stand in for a judge’s entire sentencing record. I’ve sentenced more than 100 people and you have 8 or 9 cases in that chart…” Jackson says before Cruz cuts her off and restates the specific ask, yet again.
“Ok, judge. You said that before. These are the 8 or 9 child porn cases,” Cruz points out.
At this point, Durbin jumps in to run interference and unbelievably tells Jackson that she can just ignore Cruz’s question and she doesn’t need to answer it.
Since when? Durbin, who was around for the Kavanaugh and Barrett confirmations, participated in the personal smear campaigns of conservative justices and sat on his hands when his colleagues asked idiotic ‘gotcha’ questions like “do you like beer?” – proving, once again, that if Dems didn’t have double standards, they would have no standards at all.
“I just want to say, judge, there’s no point in responding – he’s (Cruz) going to interrupt you,” Durbin interjects.
“Look I appreciate the chairman trying to filibuster. If you don’t like your witness’s answers you’re welcome to provide your own,” Cruz fires back. “She [Jackson] is declining to answer the question and, chairman Durbin if you want to be here on the bench [where Jackson is] you can.”
Watch (Beginning at 7:05:19):
After detailing more of Jackson’s horrific track record, Cruz is wrapping up his time with a final question when Durbin jumps in again and attempts to cut his time off and move on, sparing Jackson the need to answer the damning question.
Naturally, Cruz didn’t appreciate the curtain call, which he let Durbin – and everyone else knows loud and clear.
From Cruz & Durbin:
Cruz: “You have a pattern – it doesn’t matter how egregious the case is – Sen. Hawley talked about the Hawkins case where you had an eighteen-year-old with pictures of boys as young as eight being sexually assaulted and raped – and you sentenced him to just three months in jail. And I will point out the Stewart case… you describe that he had over 6,700 images and videos – so that’s a lot, 6,700 is a lot of kids being sexually assaulted.
Durbin: *bangs gavel* “time has expired.”
Cruz: You have taken over a minute of my time, Mr. Chairman.
Durbin: “You’ve been given extra time – you usually ask for it, you were given it.”
Cruz: “I know you want to interrupt. I know you don’t like this line of questioning. you’ve consumed a substantial time of my questioning and I’m going to ask my questions – and if you want to testify you’re welcome to.”
Durbin: “I just want you to play by the rules. You play by the same rules as every other senator.”
Not playing along for a second, Cruz plows ahead with his question to Jackson anyway despite Durbin banging his gavel and attempting to cut him off throughout.
“Judge, in the Stewert case, you said from the bench: ‘although this is not necessarily an atypical case, your child pornography possession crime was egregious in the court’s view.’ Okay, so this is a bad one. If you’re actually sentencing defendants you said this was egregious – and what did you sentence Stewert for? The guidelines said 97-120 months. The prosecution said 97 months. You said it’s egregious – 6,700 images [of child porn] – you come in with 57 months.
Why did you sentence him to just 57 months in the Stewart case? Do you want to address that? Because you claim that it’s cherry-picking. In fact, you’re welcome to explain any of these cases, but let’s take the Stewart case. Why did you sentence him for half the amount?”
Before Jackson can respond, Durbin interjects again, calling on the next Senator to speak and saying that Cruz is not being recognized, causing the pair to duke it out a second time.
Watch (Beginning at 7:10:19):
One thing is clear, the Dems are doing everything they can to protect Jackson from her own record, and to hide it from the American people.
Jackson is the most radical SCOTUS nominee in history, and it doesn’t look particularly close. If she is confirmed to the highest court, you can bet that it won’t turn out well for the rule of law as we know it.