WATCH IT: Sen. Durbin Grills Judge Kavanaugh About Rubashkin And Agriprocessors At Senate Hearings


Millions of Americans are glued to the ongoing Senate hearings to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. To the shock of many, Shalom Rubashkin and Agriprocessors were discussed on Wednesday.

The question came from Democratic Senator Dick Durbin from Illinois.

In his question, Durbin threw in a remark that Rubashkin’s sentence had been commuted by President Trump. Clearly, this was a swipe at the president. But what Durbin didn’t tell you was that the decision was supported by politicians from both sides of the aisle, including top Democrat Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.

Here is the complete exchange:

The following background information about this exchange is via

Judge Kavanaugh sided against workers in a 2008 case involving the right of employees to unionize. The company in question was a meatpacking business called Agriprocessors in Brooklyn, New York. Many of its workers were undocumented. When they voted to join the United Food and Commercial Workers, Agriprocessors appealed the decision to the National Labor Relations Board.

Agriprocessors argued that the votes of the undocumented workers did not count, due to their immigration status. The company pointed to the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which prohibits businesses from knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. But the Labor board unanimously sided with the workers, and told the company to begin bargaining with its employees. As the Huffington Post reported, two of the three members of the Labor board were Republicans.

Agriprocessors tried again by appealing to the D.C. Circuit Court. A panel, which included Kavanaugh, upheld the Labor board’s decision 2-1. Kavanaugh wrote the dissent. He argued that “an illegal immigrant worker is not an “employee” under the NLRB for the simple reason that, ever since 1986, an illegal immigrant worker is not a lawful “employee” in the United States.” 

To put the case into broader context: all workers are protected equally under the law in the United States. The Supreme Court ruled in a 1984 case, Sure-Tan Inc v. NLRB, that all workers, regardless of immigration status, have a right to safe and fair working conditions, and have a constitutional right to unionize. The majority opinion argued that by ruling this way, businesses would NOT have an extra incentive to hire illegal immigrants. “If an employer realizes that there will be no advantage under the NLRA in preferring illegal aliens to legal resident workers, any incentive to hire such illegal aliens is correspondingly lessened.”


  1. “businesses would NOT have an extra incentive to hire illegal immigrants”

    But unions would have an enormous incentive to protect and even sneak illegal immigrants into the country and into businesses. And that is what they did and that is (partly) what dragged Rubashkin’s business down.

    And this SURE-TAN thing is interesting in that there was a total – get this – of 11 employees (at least 5 were later deemed illegal and decided to leave “voluntarily” rather than face deportation). So it was too small to make headlines.

    And get this (to quote an on-line law journal):

    > In the decision, the Supreme Court sustained the Board’s finding that an employer commits an unfair labor practice when he reports certain illegal aliens, who are among his employees, to the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

    And another kicker:

    > and ordered the traditional Board remedies of backpay and reinstatement, provided that the discriminatees [sic] could establish lawful presence in the United States.

    I think this implies that if these deportees ever made it BACK to the U.S., they were supposed to get re-hired and paid for all the time (dissenting view limited that to 6 months) they were deported because it was not fair to them that they were reported and deported.

    But also, this decision was in 1984. Seems the response in law was the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (though its ramifications on the 1984 decision have been ignored).

  2. Mr. Rubashkin was not convicted of any labor law violations. The labor law violations were dropped after he was convicted on the bank fraud charges. I thought the conviction was well-founded, but the sentence – 27 years, more than the prosecutor requested – was outrageous. His pardon from Pres. Trump came after he served 8 years, which I think is an appropriate sentence for the financial crimes Mr. Rubashkin committed.

    When I viewed the exchange between Sen. Durbin and Judge Kavanaugh, I thought both of them muddied the basis of Mr. Rubashkin’s conviction – it was bank fraud and similar violations only, nothing having to do with worker rights or immigration law.

    And just to put my possible prejudices before the YWN readers, I am a registered Democrat, an unregistered liberal, a reluctant – very reluctant – voter for Hillary Clinton, and I occaisionally daven with Chabad.

  3. Turban Durbin once again met his match and couldn’t deal with someone who actually knows what he is talking about. Rubashkin was not found guilty either of anything relating to workplace issues and illegal hiring or similar rather he was found not guilty of all of those charges as most people recall. So essentially Turban Durbins argument is that since he worked in a slaughter house when he was young and it is difficult work – the CEO must be guilty of things that he is not guilty of and we should bend the law to find him at least guilty of something. None of those people working there apparently did not like working there enough to just leave.

    And what kind of ridiculous argument that he has to agree with the majority opinion? Isn’t the whole point to get multiple people thinking and opining rather than sheeple following a herd?

  4. Quite amazing to see Kavanaugh pull out such a solid fluent answer with details when put on the spot like that. He did even better by proving he’s better than those who disagree with him by showing in a different case that the supreme court agreed with him even though all the other judges disagreed.
    Durbin looked like an idiot after quoting doc ‘a’ when Kavanaugh already told him his decision was based on doc ‘b’. Kavanaugh also showed great respect for Dirbin who was clearly out to get him. That show was the best thing Kavanaugh could have wished for……

  5. Little Richard Durbin has a box seat waiting for him in hell. Be’H he should occupy is speedily in our days! He’s a filthy liar about the Rubashkin case!!


    Hey Jews in Illinois, this is YOUR Senator.

  6. huju, you are an ignorant fool and a lier: The labor law violations were not dropped. Rubashkin was found not guilty on these charges. Only after the evil government prosecutors lost the first round they went after the bank ‘fraud’.

  7. Hashem works in mysterious ways but all of Chesed. Imagine if Rubashkin was tried and convicted on the labor and immigration laws—instead of bank fraud— would Trump ever commute his sentence ???!!!

  8. Something is wrong. The senator starts off by telling the judge that he cannot decide against so many other opinions and precedent, and that a judge dos not have authority to change the rules. The, when the judge explains that he was in fact following precedent, the senator says that following rules is no answer, a judge needs to have an independent opinion…

    Is this insane, or am I missing something here?

    > huju and MoisheInGolus

    Wikipedia seems to have it correct. The State trial on State charges of labour law violations was kicked down by the State jury. The Federal charges of immigration violation was revoked by the Federal prosecution itself which gave reasons that obfuscate rather than clarify. In my opinion, the real reason the prosecution revoked its immigration charges is because such a trial would open up the question of what actually happened in this immigration raid itself, and the Supreme Court was about to throw out the entire basis of the *way* the immigration situation was handled (basically, Judge Reade and the prosecution made uo their own interpretation of various laws, which the Supreme Court *unanimously* – nine out of nine – threw out and having no basis).

  10. Look at the arrogance of Sen. Durbin! He wouldn’t look at Kavanaugh ,barely picked up his eyes at all while Kavanaugh spoke. Clearly had an agenda and had no interest in hearing anyone else.

  11. Unbelievable that we see here Life Meluchim Vesurim Beyad Hashem.
    Trump picked such a great Judge that the Sona Yisroels can not swallow. This judge is one of the sharpest,clever ,judges that was ever picked.