'Disgrace': Republicans React After Durbin Breaks Rules to Vote on Vanita Gupta

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Posted: Mar 25, 2021 2:40 PM
'Disgrace': Republicans React After Durbin Breaks Rules to Vote on Vanita Gupta

Source: Kim Hairston/The Baltimore Sun via AP

Conservative senators shared their concerns about Associate Attorney General nominee Vanita Gupta at Thursday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Gupta was a vehement critic of President Trump while she served as the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. In hearings she's said she "regrets" her "harsh rhetoric." Republicans also note that her past statements suggest she wants to decriminalize drugs and defund the police.

"Part of the reason she thinks it's inappropriate to discuss her time at the Department of Justice is because her time at the Department of Justice was more that of a partisan zealot than a fair-minded enforcer of the law," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said at Thursday's hearing. 

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) agreed, saying Americans deserve better. 

"Americans deserve a Department of Justice that is lead by someone who believes in principles like equal justice, equal protection under the law, and the rule of law." 

As Sen. Cotton was getting going, Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) interrupted him to hold a sudden vote. As more than one observer noted, that move broke the rules. 

"This is an embarrassment and a disgrace," Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) reacted when Durbin called the sudden vote.

It was a tie 11-11 vote, leaving the committee dead locked on the controversial nomination.