A bill introduced in October by Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) would ban racial profiling by law enforcement officials, including neighborhood watch groups.
Cardin and Durbin said the case could help Democrats win support for the bill, which currently has only 13 Democratic co-sponsors.
“Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, you know that you have a problem in this country with racial profiling,” Cardin said at a press conference after the hearing. “Quite frankly, the Trayvon Martin case has put a national spotlight on this, and the American public were outraged with what they saw.”
Still, only one Republican from the committee — Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) — appeared at Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. The five lawmakers who testified were all Democrats.
Questions from Graham, which focused primarily on how counterterrorism activities would be affected by the bill, drew hisses from some attendees.
The ranking member ended his questioning abruptly, pledging to work with Cardin in search of “something more bipartisan.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., speaks with reporters following a vote in the Senate. Gillibrand’s proposal to remove military commanders from the process of reviewing sexual-assault cases was left out of the bicameral deal on the defense authorization bill, but the senator is pushing for a vote on her plan soon.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.