Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) on Wednesday got called out by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) for insinuating that Laura Mate, who was nominated by President Joe Biden as a commissioner and vice chair of the United States Sentencing Commission, has a soft spot for child pornographers.
During questioning from a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Hawley repeatedly asked Mate to comment on a letter she signed nine years ago where she stated an opposition to mandatory minimum sentences for people found guilty of possessing child pornography.
Mate did not respond directly to questions about whether this was still her position and she said that she'd "want to carefully examine all of these issues... to gather data, research, and information and make informed recommendations, and I'd want to cooperate with the commissioners in making those recommendations."
Hawley continued pressing her on the issue, however, and concluded by saying there was no way he could support her nomination when she continued to not give definitive answers.
This prompted Durbin to speak up and chastise Hawley.
"The questioning of Senator Hawley may sound reminiscent of his questioning of the Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson," he said. "We know his position and we also know his approach to questioning about this issue."
He then said Hawley should read a report by the Sentencing Commission about the topic of sentencing guidelines for people in possession of child pornography, and chastised him for using a very serious topic as a political football.
"This is an issue that is serious and we have to treat it seriously," he said.
Watch the video below or at this link.
Josh Hawley vs Laura E Mate and Dick Durbin www.youtube.com