Illinois senators split on judge votes, exposing division

Johnston and Valderrama received 77 and 68 votes in favor, respectively, while Dugan and McGlynn each received only 55 yes votes.

Senators don’t get much input these days on circuit court judges in their states, but they do on the district level because Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham has said he continues to honor the blue slip tradition for that level. Home-state senators return the small blue-tinted questionnaires, checked with “approve” or “oppose,” for judges on the district level.

Durbin, who is in his fourth term, joined Duckworth, who is in her first, in joint statements in February and December voicing support for Dugan and McGlynn.

In a statement provided to CQ Roll Call, Duckworth said the two nominees were “reviewed by the non-partisan expert screening committee” and were deemed qualified.

“After my own careful review of their qualifications, however, I found both have a troubling record on constitutionally-protected reproductive health rights demonstrating extreme bias against women’s rights and science that undermines my confidence that they could serve as the fair and independent judge that every Illinoisan deserves in the courtroom,” she said.