Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee went ballistic today on the House floor after they blew their chance to speak out against a couple of nominees.
After two debates, Democratic Chair Dick Durbin tried to move on, asking the clerk for a roll call. But an explosion of outrage by angry (as in MAGA) lawmakers stole the show, with the irate actors insisting on a third debate while Sen. Durbin kept saying nope.
"Mr. Chairman, are we going to have an opportunity to speak on the nominee?" one such flabbergasted lawmaker asked, to which Durbin, digging in his heels, said, "We've already done that, at great length." And then the circus came alive, with the quotes below just a sample of the 4-minute battle. (See video below, posted by The Recount.)
"Mr. Chairman, are you denying us the opportunity to speak on the nominee!?"
"C'mon man! Okay, do this, just do it!" [Lindsey Graham]
"We don't have a right to speak under the rules!?" [Tom Cotton]
"You're going to have a lot of consequences if you go down this road." [Tom Cotton]
"Mr. Chairman, don't we get the opportunity to speak?" [Marsha Blackburn]
"So you're telling us to shut up? You want us to shut up?!" [Marsha Blackburn]
"We've got several folks, Mr. Chairman, who didn't have a chance to speak!"
"We want to tell you again why these nominees are awful." [Lindsey Graham]
"I guess Durbin isn't going to allow women to speak, I thought that was sacrosanct in your party." [Tom Cotton]
In the end, according to Politico, Durbin explained that he was only following a precedent that Republicans themselves had set.
The panel, beset with partisan rancor in recent months, was thrown into chaos before getting to the most contentious agenda items set for votes on Thursday, subpoenas for conservative judicial activist Leonard Leo and Texas billionaire Harlan Crow regarding their relationships with Supreme Court justices.
"Mr. Chairman, you just destroyed one of the most important committees in the United States Senate," Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told Durbin. "Congratulations on destroying the United States Senate Judiciary Committee."
The Illinois Democrat eventually explained the precedent he was acting under, citing Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley's leadership of the committee, during which debate was limited on the nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and on an immigration bill.
"Republicans established a new precedent that I followed on one occasion last Congress and will follow again today. I've said time and time again there cannot be one set of rules for Republicans and a different set for Democrats," Durbin said.
"Two wrongs don't make a right," said Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.).