On Wednesday, during the Supreme Court hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, an argument erupted after Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) complained that Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) is spending too much time rebutting Republican criticisms during the questioning,
The Republicans took particular issue with how he had responded to smears of Judge Jackson's record on child sex offender cases by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) — and Durbin noted that previous Republican chairs had done exactly the same thing after Democratic comments when they controlled the majority.
"I want to lodge a protest and say I don't think it's appropriate for the chairman, after every time someone on this side of the aisle asks questions of the judge, you come back and denigrate and attack and criticize the line of questioning," said Cornyn. "I think the judge is doing a pretty good job of defending her own position and answering questions."
"Thanks, Senator Cornyn, it's known as chairman's time," said Durbin.
"May I make my statement?" cut in Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA). "I agree with Senator Cornyn, you and I talked about this before. I have great respect for you, you know that, but I've had the same issue in normal hearings, non-Supreme Court hearings where you make editorial comments after our question. I appreciate your input but they're not offered in an evenhanded way and I just don't think it's productive."
"It's called chairman's time, a tradition exercised by Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Grassley," said Durbin. "In the minority, we waited through the chairman's time when we had Republican chairs, and there won't be a separate set of rules for Democrats in control of this committee. That was used as a response time, and again, by both of those senators, and it was accepted. If what I said was somehow problematic or painful yesterday, I'm sorry, but the Democrats are going to use the same mechanisms the Republicans used in this committee."
Sparks fly at Judge Jackson’s hearing as GOP senator lash out at Dick Durbin over 'chairman's time' www.youtube.com