‘You Interrupted Me’: Cruz, Durbin Get Into Heated Exchange At SCOTUS Hearing


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz tore into Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, during a tense moment during the Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

Durbin attempted to abruptly end Cruz’s questioning of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on her record of sentencing child pornography offenders after he had gone overtime.

Cruz was not happy about that and made it clear.

Below is a transcript of the exchange:

Cruz: “So that’s a lot. 6,700, that’s a lot of kids being sexually assaulted. You have taken over a minute of my time, Mr.. Chairman, so —“

DURBIN: “You’ve been given extra time. You usually ask for it, you’re giving it.”

Cruz: “Okay, I know you want to interrupt. I know you don’t like this line of questions —“

DURBIN: “I just want you to play by the rules.”

Cruz: “I know you like to interrupt, but you can assume the substantial question — time of my questioning, and I’m going to ask my questions and you can — if you want to testify, you’re welcome to. Judge —“

DURBIN: “Senator, you play to the same rules as every other senator.”

Cruz: “— In the Stewart case, you said from the bench: ‘Thus, although this is not necessarily an atypical case, your child pornography possession crime was egregious in the court’s view.’ Okay, so this is a bad one. If you’re actually sentencing defendants, you said this was egregious. What did you sentence Stewart for? The guidelines said 97-121 months. Prosecutor said 97 months, you said it’s egregious. 6,700 images, you come in 57 months. (crosstalk)”

DURBIN: “Time has expired. Senator, you’re two minutes over the allotted —“

Cruz: “Why did you sentence him to just 57 months in the Stewart case? Do you want to address that? Because you’re claiming it’s cherry-picking. In fact, you’re welcome to explain any of these cases, but let’s take the Stewart case. Why did you sentence him for half the amount?”

DURBIN: “Senator Coons. You’re not recognized, Senator. Senator Coons.”


Cruz: “You don’t want to answer that question?”

DURBIN: “You wouldn’t allow her anyway.”

Cruz: “Mr.. Chairman, she may answer the question. I’ve asked her why she sentenced Stewart at egregious —“

DURBIN: “You’ve gone over the time, Senator, by two minutes.”

Cruz: “Because you interrupted me for two minutes, Mr.. Chairman. Will you allow her to answer the question? Or do you not want the American people to hear why, with someone she described as an egregious —“

DURBIN: “There comes a point, Senator, where you get a little bit —“

Cruz: “Chairman Durbin, will you allow her to answer the question?”

DURBIN: “You won’t allow her to answer the question.”

Cruz: “I will happily allow her. The question is why —“

DURBIN: “Senator Coons, you may proceed.”

Cruz: “— did you sentence Stewart, an egregious child pornography possessor, to half of the amount requested by the prosecutor?”

DURBIN: “Please, Senator.”

Cruz: “Will you allow her to answer the question, Chairman Durbin?”

DURBIN: “Senator Coons?”

Cruz: “Why are you not allowing her to answer the question? There’s not another senator here that you’ve not allowed her to answer the question. I’m not asking another question, but allow her to answer the question, Chairman Durbin.”

COONS: “Thank you, Chairman Durbin.”

Cruz: “Why do you not want the American people to know what happened in the Stewart case? Or any of these cases? Chairman Durbin, I’ve never seen the chairman refuse to allow a witness to answer a question. You can bang it as loud as you want.”

DURBIN: “I can just tell you, at some point you have to follow the rules.”

Cruz: “Okay, will you let her answer the question? You’ve been interrupting — and by the way, with Senator Graham it went 10 minutes over. You’ve taken a big chunk of the time. Will you allow her to answer the question?”

DURBIN: “You’ve given her —“

Cruz: “Why are you afraid of her — she’s welcome to answer it right now. Will you let her?”

DURBIN: “Senator Coons?”


Cruz: “Will you let — so no? You don’t want her to answer the question?”

DURBIN: “Senator Coons.”

Cruz: “Will you let her answer the question?”

COONS: “Chairman Durbin —“

Cruz: “Apparently, we’re very afraid of the American people hearing the answer to that question.”


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