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tv   U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Durbin on Supreme Court Confirmation  CSPAN  April 8, 2022 2:10am-2:24am EDT

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could hardly be a more definitive expression of congressional intent than sole and unreviewable discretion. these are just a few examples of judge jackson's judicial activism, because her record clearly shows she does not leave in or act within the limited or proper role of a judge. so i will vote against her confirmation. mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, this capitol building has served as the backdrop for some of the most notable moments in america's history. in this building, wars have been declared, peace treaties have been signed, and the march toward progress has either moved forward or has been stopped in its tracks. today the members of this senate have the opportunity to take a
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monumental step forward. we will vote to confirm a once-in-a-generation legal talent, a jurist with outstanding credentials and a lifetime of experience and the first ever african american woman to serve as justice of the supreme court, judge ketanji brown jackson. judge jackson's confirmation will be a glass-shattering achievement for america. consider this moment in history -- when the supreme court first met in this building in february of 1801, there were one million slaves in this nation, a nation of five million people. this very building was built with the labor of enslaved people. and at the time the court met, neither black americans nor
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white women had a constitutionally guaranteed right to vote. women had no place in that first supreme court chamber, and black women would only enter to clean it in the dark of the night. we know what followed. america's battle to end slavery saw a bloody civil war, decades of efforts to break down racial barriers, and the efforts continue to this day. and our struggle to enfranchise and empower women did not end with the 19th amendment 102 years ago. it continues to this day as well, as we strive to give our daughters the same opportunities we give our sons. this confirmation of the first black woman to the supreme court honors the history that has come before it. it honors the struggles of the past of the men and women who waged them. and this confirmation draws america one step closer -- one
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step to healing our nation, one step closer to a more perfect union. nearly a century after our founding, we guaranteed the rights of citizenship finally to every american, including for the first time those who were born into bondage with the ratification of the 14th amendment. it took a long century later for us to expand the bounds of liberty again. we ensured the federal government could vigorously protect the right to vote, the most fundamental of rights, with the passage of the voting rights act of 1967. one victory for progress beget the next. two years after the voting rights act, we confirmed the first black american to ever serve on the supreme court -- justice thurgood marshall. but i'd like to remind you, that's 50 years ago. now with the passage of that time, we are beginning to write another chapter in our nation's quest for equal justice under
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the law, and that chapter begins with three letters -- k kbj. with judge ketanji brown jackson to the highest court of the land, elevating one of our nation's best and brightest legal minds to an honored position of service. there is no one more deserving of this high honor. as we've learned over the past month, she is the best of us. she has devoted her life to serving our country. she's done so at every level of the federal judiciary, and at every turn she's distinguished herself. when i hear the critics say she's soft on crime, i wonder how they explain that she was endorsed by the largest law enforcement agency and organization in america, the fraternal order of police, as well as the international chiefs of police, as well as an army
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of federal prosecutors who have appeared in her courts. she's dedicated to protecting judicial independence, to advancing freedom and liberty, and deciding every case as, she says, from a neutral posture. that's exactly what you'll find in evaluating nearly ten years of service on the bench. i hear senators come to the floor and say, well, there's one opinion i disagree with. for goodness sakes, she's issued almost 600 written opinions in ten years on the bench in the district court. she's been reversed a small percentage of the time. her work speaks for itself. and when you evaluate it, you'll find out she's thoughtful and even handed. as the american people saw during last month's hearing in the judiciary committee, judge jackson has the right judicial temprament. she answered every question even when the questions were hostile
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and confrontational. she answered them with dignity and grace and stood by for more than 24 hours of questioning. she's a proven consensus builder. she's been confirmed by the senate on a bipartisan basis three times and soon we hope she'll be confirmed again by a bipartisan majority. she's earned the support from leaders across the political and ideological spectrum, civil rights leaders, leaders in law enforcement, former federal judges appointed by democrats and republicans. all of them have lined up proudly to endorse her. perhaps most importantly, justice jackson will help ensure that the law works for the people and that the people understand the workings of the court. for many americans, what happens in a courtroom can be cold and impersonal. judge jackson has made a habit of making it real. she looks people in the eye, walks them through her decision-making with patience and empathy, and she reaches
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every one of her decisions by following the facts and the law wherever they lead. she said that her opinions can run long. that's by design, because she wants america to rest assured whether she writes in the majority of the concurrence or dissent, they want to know exactly where she stands on the most important issues. serving as chair of the senate judiciary committee during judge jackson's confirmation has been one of the highest honors of my senate experience. i want to give a special thanks to the man who spoke before me, republican senator chuck grassley of iowa. his friendship and fairness have really guided our relationship throughout this historic process. in the weeks since president biden announced her nomination, judge jackson has already lifted the spirit of countless americans, inspiring a new generation of aspiring jurists and public servants, millions of americans see themselves in judge jackson -- black americans, members of law enforcement families, working
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moms, public high school graduates like her fellow palmetto panthers in it florida. everywhere i've gone for the last few weeks when i go home, visiting law schools, going to the grocery store, i've been approached by people who have been following this nomination closely. they tell me how deeply impressed they are with judge jackson, even under fire from her critics. hannah munson is one of those people. she's a law student in waukegan, illinois, a city on the shores of lake michigan. in a letter to my office, hannah wrote, and i quote her in saying, if you can see it, you can be it. and i'm very excited to see america's first black female justice. rev rend christa allson is a baptist minister in chicago. comes from a long line of baptist ministers. she calls herself a civil rights baby. born in 1964, the year l.b.j. signed the civil rights act.
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ricki jones is also from chicago, working for civil rights for nearly 60 years since she was a teenager. late last month rev rend allston and ricki jones drove 11 hours from chicago to attend an hour of judge jackson's hearing. reverend allston said she imagined what it will be like years from now to tell her future grandchildren what it was like to be nbltions room for that historic -- in that room for that historic moment. ricki jones said she never even expected to hear about a black woman being nominated to the supreme court, let alone to be in the room for her hearing. she said as she watched judge jackson, it felt like the fulfillment of everything i've worked for my whole life. she thought of all the strong black women who came before her and helped make the movement possible. sojourner truth, harriet tubman, idab. wells and my
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personal late friend, the reverend willie barrow, a block woman minister from chicago who worked alongside dr. martin luther king. this moment was about them too, she said. and this moment was possible because of judge jackson and who she is. her qualifications, her dignity -- integrity and record of splens. excellence. that is why it is important several members on the judiciary committee did not approach judge jackson's hearing with that same level of fairness and respect as their colleagues. thankfully there are members of the senate who are willing to rise above the partisan fray. i want to particularly commend senator susan collins of maine, senator lisa murkowski of alaska and senator mitt romney for their political courage and their willingness to support her to the supreme court. when senator romney announced
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his support for judge jackson's confirmation, i couldn't help but remember his father, the late george romney who served as governor of michigan in the 1960's during the height of the civil rights movement. governor george romney knew a thing or two about political courage. as a proud republican governor in 1963, he marched alongside of the naacp detroit president edward turner in support of civil rights. that same year when dr. martin luther king organized a march in detroit, governor george romney declared the occasion freedom day in michigan. to my colleague senator mitt romney, you are your father's son. this week marks 54 years since the shot rang out in memphis, tennessee claim be the life of dr. martin laoser king, an american who spoke with greater moral clarity than any other in our history. the night before he died, dr. king spoke at a rally in support of the city striking sanitation workers. there was tension in the air. from the moment he set foot in
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memphis, he'd received a barrage of death threats. as dr. king spoke to the crowd at the mason temple, death was on his mind. he said like anybody i'd like to live a long life. longevity has its place, but i'm not concerned about that now. i just want to do god's will. and he's allowed me to go up to the mountain. his next words proved prophetic. dr. king said i've looked over and i've seen the promise land. i may not get there with you, but i want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promise land. ricky jones said that she thought about dr. king's prophecy when she realized the judiciary committee was voting on judge jackson's nomination on the anniversary of dr. king's death. it felt like the prophecy had come to pass. dr. king didn't make it to the promise land, but judge jackson's ascension to the supreme court brings us closer to that longed for place.
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i'd like to close with one last personal plea to my senate colleagues. i hope you'll think about this. in the years to come, long after we've left the senate, one of our grandchildren may ask where we were on this historic day, april 7, 2022, when america broke down what seemed like an impossible racial barrier and voted to send the first african american woman to serve on our highest court. i will be proud to say i was on the senate floor standing at my desk and casting my vote with pride for the next associate justice of the supreme court of the united states, justice ketanji brown jackson. i hope my colleagues will join me in sharing this with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: president biden was elected on the promise that he would govern as a moderate and unite the country. he insisted t


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