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Tipsheet

Tom Cotton Responds to Attacks from Senate Dems As He Stands Up for U.S. Marshals in 'Frivolous' Lawsuits

Tom Williams/Pool via AP

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is not one to shy away from making himself heard, especially when it comes to claims from his fellow senators that he says are "false." On Wednesday, "Tom Cotton" was trending over Twitter, as a result of his objecting to confirm six nominees for U.S. attorneys and two nominees for U.S. marshals. With Cotton's objection, the nominees must be confirmed by voice vote, rather than unanimous consent.

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Such a move is a consistent one from Cotton, though, despite Democratic colleagues, including Sen. Dick Durbin (IL) claiming there is no sufficient reason from Cotton. 

As Landon has reported, Cotton has indicated he's blocking Department of Justice (DOJ) nominees because he hasn't had a sufficient response from the department about why they're not paying the legal bills for four U.S. marshals in Portland. The marshals were sued by protesters during the riots and looting that occurred across the country, particularly in that city, in 2020.  

"So if my colleagues think that I am going to just roll out the red carpet for Department of Justice nominees to be confirmed to politically-connected positions, while GS11 and GS13s are hung out to dry, they have another thing coming," Cotton promised from the Senate floor.

In his floor remarks, Cotton referred to U.S. marshals as "heroes" and said "they should be celebrated." He also discussed some of the horrors they went through in Portland, including being blinded by lasers and locked in a courthouse they barricaded and set fire to, as Cotton called the lawsuits "frivolous." Townhall has reported extensively on the violent actions taken by rioters in Portland. Julio has also been on the ground in Portland. 

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"These Marshals face financial bankruptcy and ruin because the Department of Justice won't represent them—in many cases won't even give them an answer or explain why the representation was denied," Cotton said in a What I’m asking is very simple: why won’t the Department of Justice defend U.S. Marshals who were protecting federal property?," Cotton said in a statement for Townhall. 

Many of Cotton's Democratic colleagues took issue with what they claimed was him blocking the move. Some did so by making it about politics, which Cotton took issue with, especially when it came to claims from Durbin. "I don't consider that a political issue, I consider it standing up for law enforcement," Cotton said while speaking on the Senate floor. 

Cotton also made a point that his taking a stand was not merely for those four marshals, but for "every deputy marshal across the country who forms the backbone of the marshal service, the backbone of the marshal service all across the country. Who have to wonder, if they're going to be the ones hung out to dry by the Department of Justice, if they confront a rioter with the wrong politics. It's not a political issue."

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer turned out to be factually incorrect in his criticism of Cotton. Rachael Rollins was confirmed by the most narrow of margins last December, about two months ago. Rollins was confirmed as U.S. attorney for Massachusetts after Vice President Kamala Harris cast her tie-breaking vote in favor. 

According to a report from Jim Puzzanghera with the Boston Globe on her confirmation:

But Rollins, 50, a former assistant US attorney in Massachusetts, immediately drew objections from Cotton, who linked her to policies he said have contributed to a jump in violent crime nationwide. He joined with his Republican colleague, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, to blast Rollins at a September Judiciary Committee hearing that ended in an 11-11 deadlock along party lines on her confirmation, with outraged Democrats strongly defending her.

Rollins was elected district attorney as the first Black woman to hold the office in the state and launched ambitious reforms. Republicans seized on her policy not to prosecute 15 types of low-level, nonviolent crimes, including shoplifting, possession of drugs with intent to distribute, and resisting arrest.

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As Katie covered just earlier this month, Schumer had claimed on the Senate floor that the U.S. Supreme Court was comprised of "all white men" until 1981. In reality, Justice Thurgood Marshall became the first African-American man to sit on the bench when he was confirmed to the Court in 1967. 

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