Dick Durbin attempts to demean Coney Barrett: ‘I’d be afraid to ask her about the presence of gravity on Earth’

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Sen. Dick Durbin’s apparent intellectual inability to comprehend Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s otherwise well-reasoned answers during her confirmation hearings this week provoked an angry outburst from him Thursday.

During the fourth day of the judge’s hearings Thursday, the Illinois senator basically suggested she’s a know-nothing dullard who doesn’t believe in gravity.

The suggestion came as part of a rant in which he complained about those instances in which Barrett had answered politically charged questions by arguing that she’d first have to “hear arguments from the litigants” to reach a conclusion.

“Consider that here we are in a situation where Sen. Feinstein asked the nominee, can a president unilaterally delay a presidential election? She couldn’t answer it,” Durbin said, spouting his first of many, many, many complaints.

But that’s wasn’t even the question Barrett had been asked …

Listen to Durbin’s full rant below:

“Does the Constitution give the President of the United States the authority to unilaterally delay a general election under any circumstances? Does federal law?” Sen. Dianne Feinstein had asked while questioning Barrett on Tuesday.

In response, the judge had rightly noted that the decision on whether or not to allow a delay in any election would have to be based on the evidence (or lack thereof) provided by the federal government.

“Well senator, if that question ever came before me, I would need to hear arguments from the litigants, and read briefs, and consult with my law clerks, and talk to my colleagues, and go through the opinion writing process,” she’d said.

“So, if I give off the cuff answers, then I would be basically a legal pundit, and I don’t think we want judges to be legal pundits. I think we want judges to approach cases thoughtfully and with an open mind.”


But apparently, this answer was beyond Durbin’s comprehension.

“Three express provisions in the Constitution that spell out that that is the standard for the United States of America. She can certainly have alluded to that,” he continued complaining Thursday before going on to kvetch about another question/answer.

“I asked her as a follow up, can a president unilaterally deny a woman the right to vote? 19th Amendment. Sorry, can’t answer, could be case come before me someday.”

Fact-check: FALSE. During Wednesday’s hearings he specifically asked Barrett whether the president has the authority to “unilaterally deny the right to vote” based on race.

In response, Barrett didn’t just say “sorry, can’t answer,” but rather provided a lengthy answer explaining how the U.S. Constitution “contains provisions that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race and voting.”

But again, this was beyond Durbin’s comprehension.

“It even reached the point where Sen. Kennedy asked this learned attorney, professor, and jurist, if she had any opinion on the issue of climate change, and basically she said [she] never thought about it. Don’t have any views,” he continued ranting Thursday.

“What are we dealing with here? We are not dealing with the reality of who this person is and what she believes but some kind of artifice that we have constructed between the nominee and our questions.”

But the fact is, as noted by Sen. Ted Cruz in a spiel of his own Thursday, that virtually none of the questions asked by Democrats have pertained to Barrett’s qualifications to serve as a Supreme Court justice. Instead they’ve all been political.

Regardless, Durbin concluded his rant by essentially suggesting that Barrett may not believe in the otherwise widely accepted theory of gravity.

I would be afraid to ask her about the presence of gravity on Earth. She may decline to answer because it might come up in a case, you know, it could come before a court someday,” he said.

The uncouth remark — and the entire rant itself, in fact — provoked backlash on Twitter from those (including Sen. Cruz) eager to point out that being a justice has nothing to do with gravity, climate change and other scientific matters. It’s about the law. Others were equally eager to simply call Durbin a “jerk.”


Durbin’s rant comes as Democrats continue to try to portray Barrett as some radical know-nothing. Ironically, however, they appear to be making themselves look like the radical know-nothings


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