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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 10, 2016 10:00am-12:01pm EST

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host: morning. caller: i am going to europe next month. i just wanted to tell the people that sanders and mrs. clinton, what they are doing, they will destroy this country just like they are doing in europe right now. host: i apologize to be abrupt but on capitol hill, the senate judiciary committee is about to gavel in. they are marking several pieces of legislation and also probably discussing the current supreme court vacancies. we will renew their lives to the senate judiciary committee. thanks for watching. we will see you tomorrow morning.
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>> i can't officially start this
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meeting until we get one more member here, but i was semi-opening remarks so we don't waste a lot of time because this is very important debate we will have. i am saying this not for my members, but mostly for people oftenng on c-span that think that everything we do in washington, d.c., is political or partisan. this debate coming up will be very partisan, i hope people remember that over the last 14 months, this committee has acted in a very bipartisan way from the standpoint of 21 bills getting out of this committee that have gotten out either on a consensus basis or on the very broad bipartisan basis. one of those bills is going to iss the senate this morning think by a very wide margin. the opioid heroin addiction bill that is before the senate.
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realizehat people will that there is strong feelings on both sides of this issue. they are very much divided along party lines. this particular debate, i hope everybody realizes that these viewsnest strongly felt that are going to be expressed, and we ought to encourage that sort of dialogue within our democracy, and that is what you will see this morning. you couldke to ask if go ahead first. i will wait. leahy.s went for senator i will wait now. i was asking staff if he thought it was ok if i go ahead. i will stop now and wait for senator leahy.
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>before i give my opening and ient, senator leahy will give a little bit about the agenda. i know we will have several debates in this committee on the floor on this subject. was undue to me because i did not know we had a vote scheduled for 11:30, but i would like to finish about 11:40 so we all get a chance to vote. but anyway, we have several bills on the agenda for the first time as well as four nominees. for a vote.ght i would hope to move those three out of committee last week, but we know we had difficulties between the two parties on that issue, and i will go over that. as i said yesterday, i want to open this meeting up for
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discussion on the supreme court vacancy before we turn to the agenda. assuming we get to the legislation of nominees today, we will hold over the legislation on one nominee and then vote on the other three nominees. there has been a lot of discussion about the supreme court vacancy the last couple of weeks. the record is pretty clear about how the senate approaches vacancies that arise in a presidential election year and why we are going to approach it the same way. i have spoken at length on the floor about these issues. somehow, i doubt that my colleagues have been spending their free time reading my speeches, so i thought i would spend a few minutes reviewing where we are and dispelling some of the myths i have heard repeated a number of times. the most appropriate place to begin is with chairman biden's famous speech in 1992. as we all know in that 20,000
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word speech, biden went into great detail about supreme court vacancies during a heated presidential debate. now that we are pretty familiar with the biden rules, i will not repeat them. based on what i have been hearing, there appears to be confusion about the matter, so i would like to clear a few things up.first of all, there has been some suggestion that somehow chairman biden did not really mean what he said. it has been suggested that when he explained why the senate should not consider a supreme court nominee during a heated presidential election campaign, somehow the actual words he used had a secret were completely different meaning. i note that this sounds a lot like how some judges tend to read the constitution. thankfully are all of us, chairman biden spoke at length as he so often did when he was in the senate, and he was very clear.
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for the benefit of my colleagues who have not heard it, here is it just a part. this will not be as long as what you heard me say on the floor of the senate. oh darn. yeah. ok. " should a justice resigned this summer and the president moved to name a successor, actions that will occur just days before the democratic convention and weeks before the republican thatntion meets, a process is already in doubt in the might of many will become distrusted by all. of ae consideration nominee under these circumstances is not fair to the president, to the nominee, or to the senate itself. w if that wasn't clear enough, chairman biden continues president, where the nation should be treated to a consideration of a constitutional philosophy, all it will get in such
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circumstances is partisan bickering and political posturing from both parties from both ends of pennsylvania avenue. as a result, it is my view that if a supreme court justice resigns tomorrow or within the next several weeks or resigns at the end of the summer, president bush should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not name a nominee until after the november election is completed." of course,om there chairman biden went on to say that if the president did not follow the practice of the majority of his predecessors and submitted a nominee anyway, then the senate should not consider the nominee. let me offer a couple of observations. i said over the last few days, some have tried their best to recast what chairman biden actually said in an attempt to give it a totally different meaning. even the vice president
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suggested that what he said in 1992 his not what he really meant. instead, the argument goes his 1992 speech was about brady corporation between the president and the senate. chairman biden did talk about more cooperation. there is only one problem. he said that cooperation should occur "in the next administration." discussing whyer the president should not set a nominee if a vacancy arose and only after explaining why the senate should not consider any such nominee regardless of how good a person is nominated that chairman biden turned to how the process should change in his view in the next administration. here is what he actually said. 'let restart with the nominating -- "let restart with the nominating process and how that
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might change in the next election." just so they would not be any confusion he repeated it to sentences later. "with this in mind, let me start with the nomination process and how that is this might be changed in the next administration and how i would urge to change it as chairman of the judiciary committee were i to be chairman in the next administration." chairman biden was very clear. whatever you do, all the spin in the world is not going to change that fact. now, we have talked a lot about the biden rules, but we have not talked about why he felt so strongly that conducting hearings in these circumstances would be bad for the nominee, but the process, and bad for the senate. it was because under these circumstances, the process would not be about constitutional interpretation and the proper rule of the court -- role of the
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court. it would be a hyper political slugfest as chairman biden said. "were the nation to be treated to a consideration of -- all it will get in such circumstance is partisan bickering and political posturing from both parties from both ends of pennsylvania avenue." chairman biden was making the point that all of us know to be true, but only some of us are .illing to admit considering his supreme court nomination in the middle of a presidential campaign would be all politics and no constitution. if there is any doubt that this was chairman biden's view, just look at how he described the problem in an interview about a week before his famous speech in 1992. "can you imagine dropping a
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nominee into that fight, into that cauldron, in the middle of a presidential year?" the result of such supercharged environments would be this. mever the nominee was would become a victim." i raise this in part because we are already witnessing how raw politics is infecting the process. regardless of what some are willing to admit publicly, everybody knows any nominee submitted in the middle of this presidential campaign is not getting confirmed. everybody knows that. the white house knows it. senate democrats know it. republicans know it. even the press is saying so. why be surveyed? why all this outrage? might be demand for a hearing as somebody knows will never result in a confirmation? it is because the other side is
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committed to using this process to score as many political points as possible. that if it. plain and simple. -- that is it. plain and simple. the minority leader has taken on a daily basis to attack me. we have seen that kind of thing around here from him before. it is all about using this process to score political points. it is that simple. we are even seeing reports from the white house election process is guided by raw calculation, what they think will exhort the most political pressure on me. be misguided logic appears to be that if they nominate someone who i were other republicans supported for a lower court will somehow conclude that it is a good idea to drop that nominee into what chairman biden called the cauldron of a hearing during a heated presidential campaign.
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people conveniently forget that judge bork was confirmed unanimously to the d.c. circuit, but that was before the other side viciously attacked and smeared him when he was nominated to the supreme court. it has even been suggested that if the white house elects a judge from iowa, i would try to convince my colleagues it is a good idea to hold a hearing. we have been upfront and very clear, but in case there is any confusion over whether this obvious political ploy would work, i think we need to be crystal clear. it will not work. when are not going to drop any nominee into an election-year kaufman. i am certainly -- election-year cauldron. i am certainly not going to let it happen to the good people of iowa. some of the arguments we have asburd, they barely merit rebuttal.
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but my colleagues are under the impression that if they repeat something often enough, it magically becomes true. take a couple minutes. i have heard it said that the borg-kennedy episode somehow lends support to the notion that he senate should consider nomination during the middle of a presidential campaign. the argument is because justice kennedy was nominated in 1987 and confirmed in 1988, this disproves german violence this disproves chairman biden's argument. the only was this happened is because it was treated to an unprecedented and shameful smear campaign in 1987. those of us who were here remember it very well, in that brings me to another related point. it has been suggested that the democrats who were here in 1987 and night to 91 and chairman biden in particular should be applied for how they handle the nominations.
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i will set aside the obvious notion that neither of those nominations occurred during a heated presidential campaign. the argument appears to be that judge bork and justice thomas were treated to a fair process because even though they did not have the support of a majority in this committee, they were reported to the floor. i am not going to relive those nominations, but i say this. i was here. i thought would happen to both of them -- i saw what happened to both of them, to their record , to their repetition, and to the shameful impact it had on their families. if anyone wants to argue that either one of those individuals were treated to a fair process, they are free to make that argument, of course, but to the senator, it would be laughable if it were not so sad. it has also been said that the biden will somehow -- the
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rules do not apply b. chairman biden spoke on the floor that day before the and of the courts term. that is the day when justices often announced their retirement. it is true that was the vacancy but the chairman of the senate judiciary committee wins to the floor of the senate -- went to the floor of the senate and put the public all nine justices and the president of the united states on notice. if any justice was considering retirement, they should know that the senate was not going to consider any replacement consistent with past practice is. based on what we have heard over the last few days, you would think those who were pressing gone totoday would have the floor to express their disagreement with chairman biden in 1992, but for some reason,
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that is not happen. not a single democrat went to the floor that day or in the days or weeks that followed to stand up and say no, mr. chairman. you have the history wrong. not want. went to thecrat floor and said no, mr. chairman. there may be the senate's history and there may be good reason for it, but i think we should press ahead with an election year nominee anyway. not a single one. not one said no, mr. chairman, i disagree. we have not located any newspaper editorials taking him to task either. so much between fairness then and now. what we should keep in mind when we hear all of this outrage today. keep that in mind. let me make one final point. if this particular argument were not so transparently absurd, it would be worthy of more debate. it is this idea that because
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republican senators met to discuss the issue that somehow we were not being upfront and open. we could get into all the secret meetings that the other side health before they walked into the chamber on november 21, the nuclearvoke option, why i don't think that would be a constructive debate. knows wein this room meet to discuss important matters, the reason i know everyone in this room knows it is because i met with each one of you on one issue or another, and you did not invite in the press or the public. when i first became chairman, i met with every single republican individually and privately, and i offered to meet with every democrat individually and privately, and in fact i did meet with most of you on that side of the aisle. i met with each of you so i can learn what are your priorities. i wanted to know what each one of you wanted to see accomplished. in most cases on every side of
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the aisle, i have cosponsored legislation with you even when you let the battle -- led the battle as senator government has done on sentencing reform, for example. can agree, where we cannot, and where we can work together to an agreement, that is how we get things done. that is how you lead. the bottom line is this. we did not play games. we did not hide the ball. we made clear up front to the president, the senate democrats, and the public exactly what we are going to do and why we are going to do it. we did it with eyes wide open. we knew the minority leader and others were going to make this as politically as possible. that is very unfortunate. but ultimately, it does not matter because it is the right thing to do. senator leahy. senator leahy: thank you, mr. chairman. through everything
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i disagree with your accounting of the past. we have been here too long and we have been friends for too long. one thing we talk about with it is joe biden or anyone else, and election-year nominee, the last year of president reagan's term -- in the last year of president , the democrats senate.rge in charge of the he was going to be leaving the presidency, and we voted on a supreme court nominee of president reagan's. talking about bipartisanship, every single democrat voted for president reagan's nominee in a presidential election year. i am sorry that you feel that somehow this attention is
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directed at you and this is about you. it is not. it is about the constitution, which is a lot more important than you, me, or anyone else in this room. the president has a constitutional obligation to nominate when there is a vacancy in the supreme court. -- ise a constitutional this not working? is that better? ok. mentioned earlier, we talk about what happens in presidential election years. the democrats were in control of the senate. president reagan's last year in office, a presidential election
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year. every single democrat voted for his nominee to the supreme court. i know my good friend from iowa has said that somehow this effort is directed at him. i say it is really not about him us.nyon one of it is about the constitution, which is more important than any one of us. if the president is to a holy constitution, which requires hi and it requires us to exercise our consent to vote yes inno, but we cannot sit here closed-door meetings and agree that we will vote maybe. the american people want us to do our job.we are paid to do our job . every single day, we are paid to do our job. voting maybe is not an option.
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chairman, senator grassley, we have been friends for a very long time. i hope while we disagree on this we will continue to be friends. we worked together on legislation and oversight matters as well as nominations. is absolutely correct. a live cosponsored legislations, and we try to do that in the best tradition of the senate. he is a man who embodies those traditions in the courtesies of this body is something that is unfortunately lacking, but those of us that have been here for a while appreciate it. i was disappointed to weeks ago when the majority leader was not on this committee. the judiciary committee has unanimously recommended that the next supreme court nominee will not receive any consideration this year. there was no unanimous
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recommendation. it is our first meeting to consider since the untimely passing of justice scalia. in fact, the first member of congress or who said anything at publicly about justice scalia's passing was the republican leader who said there will be no replacement. a lot of us would like to have at least had the memorial and the burial of the justice before that debate started. tos our first meeting consider anything on this. the committee has not had the opportunity to discuss how we proceed. while the majority can determine what they want to do, it is not unanimous and contrary to what the republicans have said that it was a unanimous decision by this committee. it was not. it was not. it was not. that was just blatantly false.
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unanimous requires all of us. we were not part of the closed-door meeting. i want to work with you as all previous chairs have for supreme court nomination. i know that you want to conduct the work of this committee fairly and i hope you return to our practice of working together. before decisions are made how to proceed. you may disagree. we may disagree with each other. but tradition has always been that the chair and the ranking member and i have been both on these kind of major decisions of this committee meet together and talk about it first. it's important that we try to work together. because we are not at the end of the year. we will have many matters to grapple with over the next nine months. we were both elected to serve for six years. not five and a quarter. we are both at the five and quarter mark. we were elected by the people of
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our state of iowa and vermont to serve for six years and i intend to work every single day. right up to the end of my term. we are confronted with concerns about shutting down the process for the next supreme court senators have pivoted to complain about how lower court nominees have been treated in the past. we could go back about these statistics for days. the last few years of president bush's term in office, we confirmed 68 of his judges. i think you have allowed 16 so far. this committee has always treated supreme court nominees differently than other nominees. since i have served in the senate, i have served for almost 42 years. the senate judiciary committee held hearings on supreme court nominees, has always reported them for consideration.
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am glad to see your senator hatch here. when i became chair of this committee in 2001 during the bush administration, i and senator hatch memorialized how this committee would continue. would continue to consider supreme court nominees in a letter to all senators. senator hatch and i wrote the judiciary committees traditional practices and reporting supreme court nominees. this has been true even in cases where supreme court nominees were opposed by the majority of the judiciary committee. even in a case where both republicans and democrats had voted against the supreme court nominee, we said they should because uttered by the full senate. the republican leader at that time then read our letter into the congressional record to ensure that it was available for all americans to see and every
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single senate republican and democrat at nobody disagreed with senator hatch and i. it showed the long understanding of this committee's commitment to an open fair process for supreme court nominees. this has been our committee's practice. gavelless of who held the and who was in the white house. groupeek a distinguished of scholars wrote, the constitution gives the senate every right to deny confirmation of the presidential nomination but then i'll should come after the senate deliberates over the nomination which in contemporary in thencludes hearings judiciary committee, open hearings, and full debate and vote on the senate floor. is aing less than that serious and unprecedented breach of the senate's best practices and noblest tradition for much of our nations history.
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that unanimous consent this letter be included in the record. >> without objection, so ordered. >> i love the senate. i love the tradition. i believe the senate should be and can be and at time has been the contents of the nation. we are elected for a six-year term. every one of us takes the oath to uphold the constitution, so help me god. the senate has never denied a supreme court nominee a hearing or a boat. you cited comments from vice president biden. actiont is we have taken every time there has been a supreme court vacancy. i can read all kinds of things from debates. this.d say the actions continue to speak louder than any words. our actions speak louder than
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words and our actions show we have always -- we have always done the hearings and had votes when there has been a supreme court vacancy. that's what both senator hatch and i said in our letter and the importance of the supreme court to constitutional democracy cannot be overstated nor can the responsibility of this committee to fairly consider the next nominee to serve in this court. take a deep breath. return to taking things one step at a time and returned to how this committee has long treated supreme court nominees no matter which president nominated them. soonresident will nominate a person. he will fulfill his duty that he swore to do, so help me god. , i would remind
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everybody the consideration of a supreme court nominee is a constitutional duty of each and every senator. i hope they are all going to do our job here. the one that we took an oath so help me god that we will do. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator hatch. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this is an interesting meeting as far as i'm concerned. the question regarding the vacancy created by the death of supreme court justice antonin whetherf his when, not the senate should consider a nominee. democrats say that the constitution answers this question for us requiring a prompt hearing and floor vote whenever the president chooses a nominee. anything else they say would not be doing our job. mr. chairman, rarely have so few words been so misleading for so many. the constitution gives the nomination power to the president and the advice and consent power to the senate. the constitution does not tell either the president or the
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senate how to exercise their power. the senate must decide how to exercise its power of advice and consent in each situation and has done so in different ways at different times under different circumstances. knowurse the democrats that this is true and their past positions and actions confirm it. during the 102nd congress, joe dozensenied a hearing to of judicial nominees and recommended that if a supreme court vacancy occurred, the appointment process should be deferred until after the election season was over. democrats03 and 2007, voted dozens of times to deny any confirmation vote to republican judicial nominees. in 2005, harry reid said that the constitution does not require the senate to vote on a
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president's nominees. when he chaired this committee under a republican president, senator leahy denied hearings to dozens of nominees who were never confirmed. schumer senator charles said that the senate should not confirm supreme court nominees for the rest of president bush's second term except under what he called exceptional circumstances. democrats oppose judicial filibusters under president clinton. support of them under president bush and abolish them under president obama. democrats had their reasons for these statements and actions and i'm sure that each time they believed that their position was legitimate. those statements and actions are incompatible with the newly minted position that the congress requires prompt hearings and floor votes for all nominees. if what democrats said today is
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ine, vice president biden 1992 advocated violating the constitution. many of our democratic colleagues voted repeatedly to violate the constitution. and the minority leader was flat wrong in 2005. , democratshe case liberal allies are equally confused. we have received a letter signed by left-wing groups claiming that the constitution requires "timely hearings and votes". some of these same groups advocated denying floor votes to republican nominees. we received a letter signed by law professors claiming it is the senate's "constitutional duty" to hold a prompt hearing and timely floor vote on a nominee for the scalia vacancy. i'm well familiar with law professors in this country.
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they make a lot of different claims. of theseware that any professors objected to the minority leader's assertion that the constitution does not require the senate to vote on a presidents nominate. did any of these professors complain when senators to find read, clinton, biden, and obama voted over and over to deny -- to republican judicial nominees? of course they didn't. this is a political stunt that is seriously misleading the public and law students i might add the constitution has nothing whatsoever to do with it. mr. chairman, neither the constitution nor the other party's political priorities to take how the president or the senate exercise their respective powers in the judicial appointment process. compellinghere are reasons for deferring the confirmation process regarding
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the scalia vacancy until after the next president takes office. finally i would remind those who say that the constitution requires a prompt hearing that this committee was not created until 29 years after the constitution was drafted. a constitutional obligation to conduct the confirmation process in a certain way and democrats had when the partisan roles were reversed. of these absurd claims about when the constitution plainly does not required. if my colleagues want to argue that republicans today should not have the same ability to structure the confirmation process as democrats did in the majority, then they should make that case. they know the american people would not accept such a disingenuous position. mr. chairman, i'm really concerned about this because it just seems to me that this is a presidential election mess.
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i've never seen it worse. i've never seen the country more at odds. and more on edge over a presidential nomination process. whoever picksat the next nominee for the supreme court it is going to be a big battle no matter what happens. at least that's the way it looks to me. that is based on only 40 years here in the senate. all i can say is that we have every right to determine that this is not the time to bring up a nominee for the supreme court of the united states of america and that we have every good reason to not do it under these circumstances. i just hope that we can all work together in the future and this will all resolve itself as it should. >> thanks very much, mr. chairman. words are saidy
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this morning with considerable disappointment. i have great respect for you, mr. chairman, and for most of my colleagues on the other side. let me begin with some history. [laughter] >> some of those on the other side would say the same thing about their side. [laughter] >> already. let me begin with some history. .- all right let me begin with some history. no supreme court seat has been kept vacant by a senate in action for over a year since the civil war. i think it's important to realize what that means in terms of history. ago last week, march
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4, 1861, president lincoln delivered his first inaugural address here at the capitol building. incoln had won the election november. the nation was about to enter years of brutal civil war. lincoln closed his momentous inaugural by appealing to avoid the bitter conflict that was to come. he said, we are not enemies, but friends. we must not be enemies, though passion may have been strained. it must not break our bonds of affection. he then appealed to the better angels of our nature. lincoln's appeal, the war came. the first battle of bull run happened in july 1861 in manassas, virginia about 32 miles from here. there was real concern that washington itself was at risk. amidst all of this up people, there was a vacancy on the supreme court.
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supreme court justice peter daniel died in 1860. president buchanan sent up a nomination in 1861, 3 months after lincoln's election. and only a month before lincoln's inauguration. multiple states had already voted to secede by that point. the nominee, jeremiah black, received a vote on the senate floor. rejected by a was single vote. president lincoln ultimately nominated samuel miller, an n, to filliowa that seat. miller was confirmed in 1862. esther chairman, that was the last time the senate kept a supreme court seat vacant for more than a year. tearingok our nation apart for the senate to keep a supreme court vacant for more than a year.
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and that was the last time it happened. no supreme court seat has been kept vacant by senate inaction for over a year since that time. so what's happening today is contrary to our committee's practices. even in divided government and election years. also, no nominee for a supreme court vacancy has been denied a hearing since 1916 when the committee first started holding hearings on such nominations. that's 100 years of precedent. we have confirmed nominees in presidential election years. most recently a democratic senate confirmed justice kennedy , a republican in the final year of reagan's term. court nominees in fact have been confirmed in presidential election years. clarence thomas did not receive
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a majority vote of support in this committee. but still he was confirmed by a democratic senate in october of 1991. after the presidential election campaign had begun. it clearly because it was during my first campaign for this body. in 2001, as senator leahy has said, senator hatch and senator leahy recognized our long-standing practice to give nominees fair consideration. a vote in the committee and a vote on the floor. and this was done in the joint letter that senator leahy referred to and it was entered into the congressional record for all time. that was an agreement made and when aocratic senate republican, george w. bush, was in the white house. job to lookody's
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carefully at the nominee and give that person a fair hearing and a vote. the effect of this obstruction is likely to leave the court with only eight members over two yous of that court if actually think about the timing. what does that mean? forof 8000 petitions review, the court gets a year, this is according to the supreme court's website, the court takes about 80. it chooses those primarily where there is a disagreement among lower courts about important federal issues. over two years, we are talking about 160 cases and 16,000 requests for review. that are potentially impacted. requestention emergency that do not have the luxury of time. court isn't going
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to deadlock in every case. but the potential for deadlock is greatly increased when the court has only eight members and the court previously was divided 5-4 frequently. tie votes in the supreme court do not settle the dispute heard and they don't create precedent for other cases. this means uncertainty in the law continues and the law varies around the country when it could have been settled. this is why as president reagan said before justice kennedy was passesed, every day that with the supreme court below. thatpairs the people in crucial body. supreme court justices themselves including scalia and request have noticed the dangers of an evenly divided court. justice scalia decided not to
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recuse himself in 2004, saying that if you did, the court proceeds with eight justices, raising the possibility that by reason of a tie vote, it will find itself unable to resolve the significant legal issue presented by the case. that should be sobering. scalia quoted the courts recusal policy, signed by six republican appointees stating that even one unnecessary recusal impairs the functioning of the court. we have gone through a lot of and wetes -- tie votes have those. when you go through them, you see the impact of a 4-4 divided court. let me give you one example. i have picked it because it involves the ninth circuit.
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in 2008, the ninth circuit decided a case called united states versus floris vr. ae question was whether person born abroad to an unwed u.s. citizen parent was a citizen of the united states. the law differed. depending on whether the citizen parent was the mother or the father. here's how the ninth described the issue. if a united states citizen father had a child out of wedlock of broad with a non-united states citizen mother, the father must have resided in the united states for at least five years after his 14th birthday to confer citizenship on his child. but a united states citizen mother had to reside in the united states for a continuous period of only one year prior to
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the child's birth to pass on citizenship. difference that florez versus vr claims makes an impermissible classification on the basis of gender and age. the ninth concluded that this disparate treatment was permissible under the constitution and so ruled against the individual claiming u.s. citizenship. the supreme court accepted the review in the case. deadlocked 4-4 because justice kagan was recused. that left the ninth decision in place in california, arizona, and other states in the ninth, but did not set a nationwide president. five years later in 2015, morale lynch,us santana versus
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the second cup circuit -- second circuit came out the opposite way. argues that this violates the fifth amendment guarantee of equal protection and that proper remedy is to extend to unwed fathers the benefits unwed mothers receive under the statute. se agree and hold that morale s derives citizenship at birth through his father. vote can havetie real significance. here's the bottom line. even today in the situation presented by this case, children in one judicial circuit may not be citizens, but in another circuit they would be. that's not the fault of the child.
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it's all because of how the law treats parents of different genders. and it makes no sense when the issue could have an result six years ago. let me just conclude by saying that the path republicans have put us on goes against more than a century of history. it's going to compare the functioning of the supreme court. and no doubt members are going to point that out. i believe it's going to have most importantly real impact on people and real businesses in real cases both this year. other side ofe the aisle has been trying for years to deny this president the right of appointment whether it is for ambassadors, his cabinet, or other top level staff appointments. but this is really something different. so i am appealing to the better
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angels of your nature. when there is a nominee, do as we have done in the past. give the nominee careful consideration. linked with the nominee. -- meet with the nominee. ask the nominee questions. hold a hearing. hold a vote here on the floor. vote no if you want. process thate the is our tradition. that is our job. thank you very much. >> thank you, senator feinstein. -- 1970, the917 court had 452 days of vacancy when justice ford is retired. and in 1955, justice jackson took a one-year leave of absence to service chief prosecutor at the war crimes trial in november. -- november -- nu
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remberg. chairman.ou, mr. our republican colleagues, there is a history here. our democratic colleagues have not had a consistent print -- three. -- principled history. all of us have dirty hands. i remember when clinton was president, a nominee came up in california that i helped. trent lott fired a cloture on the nomination to move it or rude and i voted for cloture. because we did not believe in filibusters. it was only after president bush
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won and the republicans had a slim majority in the senate that the democrats held those nominees systematically and then they quickly got a majority. nobody moved. none of them. theominated 11 judges for court of appeals. i'm talking about the court of appeals nominated 11. two of them work re-nominations that president clinton had put up. .nd we confirmed those quickly everybody else was blocked. it was two or three years. when we got the majority back it was filibustered. it went on and on until finally the american people got frustrated with it. they wanted judges who would follow the law. good judges they could trust. senator graham and others in the gang of 14. they cut this deal and said, we will not filibustered anymore except in extraordinary circumstances. we can vote no but we will won'tster except --
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filibuster except in extraordinary circumstances. we debated it unopposed. i didn't previously believe in filibusters but i will use the filibuster only in a restrained way when i feel it was really important. i have tried to do it here today and i think republicans have. and then what happened? we get back in the majority and they are unhappy that the republican majority was not willing to fill judges for the needcircuit that had no whatsoever. they had the lowest caseload by far of any court in america and we said we are not going to affirm those. they had already blocked president bush. we worked together and blocked it and had it sent to some other court like the ninth circuit because they had a shortage. changed the entire rule again. now they say you cannot filibuster.
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all of us are less than perfectly consistent. i will knowledge. i want to say first and foremost, republicans have been more principled and more responsible in handling judicial nominees than our democratic colleagues. they have not hesitated to change any rule to advance the immediate agenda they have. i just saw the wall street journal today. percent of people say the democrats would do the same thing that we are doing in this circumstance. late in a campaign year, no nominee having been put forward. they say the democrats wouldn't move the nominees either. of course that's correct. if you took a poll of all senators and they told you the truth, it would be 100% in the senate. under these circumstances, it is just not likely that any
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majority in the senate would confirm another nominee at this late date. president obama has gotten two of his nominees confirmed to the court. we had hearings on those, full debate. he will cast their vote. that's the way it went. i wanted to say that. a majority of the united states senate does not want to move forward with this nomination. the senate does not want to move. it's not a minority filibuster. it's a majority of the senate that decided not to move forward to let the next president who will be taking their case to the american people and certainly we will be discussing what kind of judges they would like to see on replace thecourt to fabulous, grade justice scalia. who will replace justice scalia will be decided in the next election. the court is not going to cease 8.function because it's
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fully awarei am that my colleagues want to make a political point and push this issue. but it's what the senate would do. this is not an unreasonable position. i think we have to go back to 1888 before somebody under these same circumstances was confirmed late in the session. theseairman, you know rules. you know the history of this. senator hatch knows the rules. that thisly convinced is what the democrats would do if they were in this situation. this is what you would expect the senate to do. let the american people have a voice in who would replace justice scalia next year. thank you very much. >> senator schumer. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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i would like to thank you for allowing these remarks. i want to thank the ranking member from vermont for his able remarks and associate myself with his and with senator feinstein's outstanding presentation as well. i appreciate also the chairman moving forward with nominees today as well as two bills before us. adam walsh and of on case law lawlaws that i -- avante's are laws that i care deeply about. i have to say that the work of this committee and congress will be shamefully incomplete if this committee refuses to do that important job of weighing a supreme court nomination. we are given a job to do by the constitution. a job the american people want us to do. and the chairman of this committee is saying that for the next year, the judiciary committee will not do its job.
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my republican colleagues claim this isn't about politics or the fact that they don't like this president. they say, the american people ought to have a say in deciding who will appoint the next justice. they say let the people decide. the people have decided. if you ask the american people, they will tell you. they want a hearing in this committee. the data is overwhelming. poll last week found 58% of americans want to see the president nominates someone to the court this year. and have the person have a hearing. the wall street journal, hardly a liberal journal, found that 55% of regular voters disapprove with the republican decision to block a court nominee. post poll, 63% say the senate should hold hearings. these numbers hold steady in red
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states, blue states, and purple states. another poll found clear majorities in iowa, arizona, missouri, north carolina. all favored the filling of the vacancy. i say to my colleagues, the people have decided and they are saying to the republican majority, do your job. the american people are speaking loud and clear and they are saying to the republicans just that. we have a constitutional responsibility. it's up to this committee to do a job. decisionman has made a unilaterally that this committee will have no voice and no ability to examine a nominee's record and qualifications and no ability to perform the duty of advise and consent spelled out in the constitution. it's a shame. because even the chairman admitted this wasn't the consensus view at first.
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last week the chairman indicated there were members of this committee majority who might like to see us hold hearings. i suspect that is still the case. she said, as any chairman ought to do, i went to the members of my committee. they all agreed with me for different reasons. not just because i'm chairman. all signed the letter declaring there would the no hearings. bottom line, some have reluctance but all signed. i have a great deal of respect for my friend from iowa. his ability to lead the committee's majority. i also believe the right of each member of the committee to hold his or her views. i suspect there are some in this room who want to debate. one senator said, he likes a good scrap. let's have one. let's have a debate. after the president makes a nomination, let's have the kind of serious long detailed
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that we have had in the past. the last not forget, four justices who were nominated got bipartisan support to get on this court. the divisionspike we have. we are able to have serious hearings and come to a conclusion in a bipartisan way. i want to add one more thing. a hearing next week. a debate on a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. i'm happy to have it. we've been through that one before. post't ignore that this hearing is a convenient political cover for republicans backtracking off their promise to do a budget. i'm happy to have a debate. but i must say.
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before we start trying to edit the constitution, don't you think we ought to follow it? committee, one of the original 11 standing committees of the senate, holds a profound and storied place in the history of the senate. it has resisted the territorial claims of other chairman. the whims of senate leaders. even presidents of the same party. the waves of politics and pressure have rogue against the wall of the senate judiciary committee time and time again. not always in a noble fashion. but nonetheless, this committee and the senators in this room obligation to consider that legacy. not once. since this committee again holding hearings on supreme court nominees a century ago. because the committee refused to report a nominee to the floor for the consideration of of all 100 senators.
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there's lots of back and forth. they are on both sides. everyone has said a bunch of things. let me repeat. in this committee began holding hearings on supreme court nominees a century ago has the committee refused to report a nominee to the floor for consideration of all 100 senators. i know the just english chairman from iowa holds the same reverence that i do that the ranking member does for the reputation of this committee. so i asked him to think on that legacy. as he walks in lockstep with the majority leader and republican presidential candidates to the decrement -- detriment of this committee and the constitutional duty that we as senators all have. i thank the chairman for his courtesy. >> there was reference to polls.
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we all quote polls. you obviously know that they can be manipulated depending on who's asking the questions and what the question is. i happen to believe that we are supposed to make decisions they started what's right, not based on polls. on the that the people other side of the aisle right now, there happens to be a call that 61% of americans believe that we ought to continue immigration into the country -- ought to be debated. i think the other side isn't letting that affect their immigration policy. go ahead. >> i can tell you one person who doesn't believe in polls and that's hillary clinton. she was 21 points ahead of bernie in michigan and lost. according to the real clear politics page. so. the moral high ground is a shaky place to be in the senate when it comes to judges. so i want to go there -- won't
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go there. it is fascinating. a long life allows you to be lectured to regarding fairness about judges from people who i think have been exceedingly unfair. and i like you all very much and i will work with you where i can but the senate is evolving in a very bad way. we don't need to go back to the civil war to find out where we are headed. we are headed to changing the rules probably in a permanent fashion. when president bush's nominees were filibustered en masse, there was a temptation on our do the nuclear option. i was one of the gang of 14 that said, let's not go down that road. us are left and we have found a way to confirm most of president bush's nomination. he lost a handful. i got the crab beat out of me at home. beat out of meap
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at home. we don't want to change the 60 vote rule. nobody wanted to hear that until we lost. arethe very same people beating the crap out of me now. so i know what i'm getting. here's what's going to happen. in the unlikely event we lose the white house, just in case we lose and i know that seems almost impossible to imagine, hillary clinton is going to be president. unless bernie keeps doing well and something happens i don't know about. let's just assume for a moment she is president. my telling everybody on side, she's going to pick somebody probably more liberal than president obama is going to send over in a few days and i'm going to vote for that person if i think they are qualified. i voted for sonja sotomayor and elena kagan not as i would have
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asked them but because the president deserves the right to pick judges of their philosophy and that goes with winning the white house. this history of the senate is pretty clear here. the current vice president in 1992 argued for what we're doing. the sitting president of the united states filibustered two republican supreme court justices. when he called me i said, is this the same guy who filibustered? you are asking me to do something you can do yourself? i never thought you were fair to our judges. it's not about me paying you back. it's trying to have some process i think will stand the test of time. this will stand the test of time. this is the last year of a lame-duck president. and if ted cruz or donald trump get to be president, they have all asked us not to confirm or take up a selection of president obama.
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if a vacancy occurs in the last year of their first term, guess what. you will use their words against them. i want you to use my words against me. if there is a republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can take, lindsey graham said let's let the next president make that nomination and you can use my words against me and you would be absolutely right. we are setting a precedent today. that in the last year of a term thateight-year you cannot fill a vacancy in the supreme court. based on what we're doing here today. that's going to be the new rule. when you change the rules about appellate court judges to get your way, i thought it was a really abuse of power. what you have done is you have not the caucuses -- are now
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going to have to reach across the aisle when it comes to appellate judges to get input from us. what does that mean? asswill pick the most hard people we can find. and there someone in the conference to vote against that person. you will have the most liberal members of your caucus pushing you to pick the most liberal judges because you don't need to have to reach across the aisle to get their input. and we will do the same. over time, the judiciary is going to be more ideologically driven because the process in this and it does not require you to get outside your own party. radio be fighting talk when someone on my side puts up a nut job. and they will. and i will fight it if i think they are truly a nut job. so this is where we find ourselves. i'm saddened by the fact that the senate is gone down the road we've gone. i'm very supportive of what you are doing mr. chairman.
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i don't think you are doing anything wrong. i want the members on this site to know, if we lose this election, my view of what the president to come will be able to do is the same. if it is hillary clinton or bernie sanders and they send over a qualified nominee i am going to vote for them in this committee and on the floor because i think that's what the advise andn means by consent. there is no roadmap of when to do it. the senate has always done what it thought was best for the time it was in. what's best seems to be to play politics with judges on both sides. y'all started a new game when you change the rules. there were come a day when you have a republican or democratic president with a republican or democratic senate and they are going to change the rules of the supreme court and you are going to get frustrated. it's just a matter of time before the senate becomes the
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house when it comes to judges and i really hate that. members. ask all the i said we probably ought to stop at 11:40 two vote. -- to vote. if there's a desire to do on the -- what's on the agenda, keep that in mind because i would like to move along. senator durbin. >> a few very much, mr. chairman. i have served on this committee for 18 years. i consider the senate judiciary committee to be one of the most -- major committees of the senate. an importantayed role in history of our country. but we are now faced with a historic decision and i hope we get it right. anduld say to my friend
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knowledge in the feinstein i would include senator graham as one of my friends and personally i respect on this. to say that if we make a mistake today, we will make it again in the future, doesn't give me any comfort at all. if there's one thing that our pollsters that we pay a lot of money for on both sides of the ,olitical equation will tell us it's the disappointment and anger people feel about us. about congress. better aso two points democrats than republicans, but i don't take any comfort in that nor should we. the question is what we will do to either confirm those suspicions and hatred or to change them. and we have a chance right here and now. let me say at the outset that senator grassley, my neighbor in has been my fellow traveler for over 30 years.
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we have spent more time on airplanes together and in airports than most of the members. know one another on those circumstances and we have come to work together on a lot of issues. the first time i came to this committee we worked on bankruptcy reform together. we were working on important issues together. i am hopeful we can produce something bipartisan again in cooperation. i also think that what brings us is the feeling that there is a midwestern attitude toward things. even if we disagree, we can be respectful to one another and try to find common ground. i think that is one of the issues in this debate about the filling of the vacancy of the supreme court. i think there is a basic feeling ,f fairness where we live is
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that flat and fertile part of america where you can see a long way in every direction. there's just a feeling about fairness to your neighbors, even to those who are not your friends. that's what should dictate what we try to achieve here. i don't question at the end of the day -- it is still going to be 54 republicans and 46 democrats voting on any nominee. sent by the president. and if that nominee is suspect or controversial, there may not be any republican votes for that nominee. i understand that reality, particularly in an election year. is thison't understand notion that for the first time in the history of our country, this senate judiciary committee will not offer a hearing on a nominee. they've gone so far as to say that some members have said publicly, i will not even meet with this nominee whoever it may be.
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then, statement made by one of my friends on the committee, warning, warning people who are being asked to consider being a nominee, be prepared. you are going to be treated like a piñata. a piñata. we all know what that's about from birthday parties. we are little kids. we are blindfolded. given a bat. papier-machet this animal to a pulp until all the candy falls out. i would hate to think that this process is being likened to a we arecontest where blindly going to swing at whoever the nominee happens to be. think we should warn people off of the possibility of serving this nation on the highest court in the land for fear of what we are going to do to them. theard it again today from
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chairman. he is trying to protect the potential nominee from the hot boiling cauldron of this committee. who's turning up the heat? we have the responsibility to be fair. of course ask the important questions, go through the hearings. responsibility to be fair and this will be the first time in the history of the united states, the first time that this committee and the senate will deny a hearing -- a hearing to a nominee sent to us by president. and has been said over and over again, deny a vote. that is hard to explain. in fact it is so hard to explain, the american people have rejected it. we can argue about polls. i can tell you that the polls show that even among republicans, it's 46 in favor of the hearing and 49 against. they get it.
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they get the basic fairness of the question that is before us. let me also say that there exists for this committee the creation of the chairman and his staff a website. on this website has a page the supreme court of the united states and i would like to read from our website of our committee, a website that has been created by the chairman of this committee and it reads: when a vacancy occurs in the supreme court, the president is given the authority under the constitution to nominate a person to fill the vacancy. the nomination is referred to the united states senate where the senate judiciary committee holds a hearing where the nominee provides testimony and response to questions from members of the panel. traditionally the committee refers to nomination to the full senate for consideration. this is our website.
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we have just announced on this website that this is the practice of this committee. the announcement made and the letters signed by the republican senators on this committee is in direct contradiction of what we have announced to be our policy. is chairman, i know this unusual, but i would like to make a motion. first ask unanimous consent to make a motion very briefly, very directly. says, it is the sense of the senate judiciary committee that and then to read directly a vacancyebsite, when occurs in the supreme court the president of the united states is given the authority under the constitution to nominate a person to fill the vacancy, the nomination is referred to the united states senate, or the senate judiciary committee holds a hearing where the nominee provides testimony and responds to questions from members of the panel. traditionally the committee refers the nomination to the full senate for consideration.
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misswould ask you to consent to offer a sense of the senate judiciary committee that this is our stated policy. >> i would like the objection noted for the record which member objected. >> senator vitter is the objector. you did not yield the floor, you may proceed. >> i will conclude very quickly. mr. chairman, it's time to change your website. i yield the floor. >> senator cornyn. whilean't help but think listening to our colleagues across the aisle that if flip-flops were an olympic sport, there might be some gold medals awarded. it's really breathtaking. i do believe the debate we are having here today is an important one and we should welcome it.
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it's important for us to have public and and visible to the american people. the question is simple. , the majority of whose members were elected as a check on a president clinton -- on a president with little regard for congress, confirmed a supreme court nominee of that primacy -- president and the last months of his office when that nominee would likely change the ideological balance of the supreme court of the united states for decades? justice scalia served for 30 years. clearly the stakes are high. decided thewe have american people should have their voice heard in the selection of this next lifetime appointment. the center has clear constitutional authority to demand this and my republican colleagues and i do intend to do the job we were elected to do on
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the people's behalf. it's fair to say our friends across the aisle don't like this idea. they are fanning a lot of outrage. we know they would do exactly the same if the shoe were on the other foot. we know that because they told us. presidents about what biden said when he was chair of the judiciary committee. you don't have to go back that far. senator schumer said, 18 months before president bush left office that i will recommend to my colleagues that we should not perform it -- confirmed a supreme court justice. and have a presumption against confirmation. and then there is senator reid.
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the bush administration stated this. he said, the duties of the senate are set forth in the constitution. nowhere in that document does that say that the senate has presidential appointees a vote. while i find myself disagreeing often with the democratic leader, he is correct in that statement. there is no duty. the president can make a nomination. it was noted by senator graham that the president himself when he was united states senator filibustered semele olid -- samuel alito. our democratic colleagues rewrote the rulebook and simple justice requires that they abide by it. our friends claim that our position, the people should
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choose. who makes that selection is unprecedented that it is not the case. no vacancy arising in an election year with a divided government as we have today in well over a century. that's the tradition. that is a rich criticism coming from friends across the aisle. is the president returning supreme court nominations into scorched-earth political battles as they did with eminently qualified nominees like judge for or justice thomas? what was the president for that. and the appellate judges in the bush administration? there is no precedent for that. our democratic colleagues rewrote the rulebook. and where was the president last congress? back to this
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hearing momentarily. it continues on here on c-span, the house is gaveling in for a brief pro forma session. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the chair lays before the house a communication from the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's rooms, washington, d.c. march 10, 2016. i hereby appoint the honorable george holding to act as speaker pro tempore on this day. signed, paul d. ryan, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: the prayer will be offered by the guest chaplain, reverend mike al, society of jesus, quantico, irginia. the chaplain: let us pray. lord, you are the author and sustainer of our lives. yours is the love that bears
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mercy and the sweet waters that never run dry. by the power of your word, you stilled the chaos of prime evil seas, the made the raging waters of the flood subside, and etched the charges of fruitful rivers from the jordan to the nile, from the mississippi to the rio grande. we gather this day not far from the river called potomac to pray for your blessing upon the members of this house. much has been given them and from them much will be required. assist them with your help that they may arrive at the final role call vote in your grace and favor. grant all of us here on the shores of this nearby river a sense of hope as we strive to be instruments of your peace. in this brief transit, teach
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us, lord, to care and not to care, teach us to sit still. our peace is in your will. we ask this for your greater glory, amen. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to section 2-a of house resolution 635, the journal of the last day's proceedings is approved. the pledge of allegiance will be led by the gentleman from kentucky, mr. whitfield. when -- mr. whitfield: i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker pro tempore: for what reason does the gentleman from kentucky seek recognition? mr. whitfield: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that the committee on energy and commerce be authorized to file
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a supplemental report on the bill h.r. 4596. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives. sir, pursuant to the permission granted in clause 2-h of rule 2 of the rules of the u.s. house of representatives, the clerk received the following message from the secretary of the senate on march 9, 2016, at 9:29 a.m. that the senate passed senate 2426. that the senate concur in the house amendment to the bill senate 1580. that the senate concur in the house amendment to the bill, senate 1172. that the senate passed without amendment h.r. 1755. that the senate agreed to without amendment house concurrent resolution 113. with best wishes, i am, signed sincerely, carn l. haas. -- karen l. haas. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house a communication.
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the clerk: the honorable the speaker. house of representatives. sir, on march 2, 2016, pursuant to section 3307 of title 40 united states code the committee on transportation and infrastructure met in open session to consider 24 resolutions included in the general services administration's capital investment and leasing programs. the committee continues to work to reduce the cost of federal property and leases. of the 24 resolutions considered, the six alteration projects include space, consolidations, security improvements, and improvements to space efficiency. the three construction projects include two land ports of entry and a federal courthouse consistent with existing funding. the prospectus for site acquisition and design and for a building purchased both result in significant cost savings from avoided lease costs and the 13 lease prospect tusses include significant
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reductions of leased space. in total these resolutions represent $386 million in avoided lease costs and offsets. i have enclosed copies of the resolutions adopted by the commetion on transportation and infrastructure on march 2, 2016. signed, sincerely, bill shuster, chairman. the speaker pro tempore: referred to the committee on appropriations. pursuant to section 2-b of house resolution 635, the house stands adjourned until noon, monday, march 14, 2016, for morning hour debate. and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business.
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>> and i say, do our job and follow the law and follow the constitution and the history that backs it up. thank you. >> senator vitter. >> with the vote coming up, it looks like i have prior response ability. i would like to have my remarks cited in the record. >> thank you very much, they will be put in the record. >> thank you for holding this important discussion. instructives really and somewhat ironic, given that justice scalia vacancy, we hear all of these arguments from the left that the constitution requires demands on a hearing and devote in a certain timeframe. most folks on the left with that
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--up, minute creditors senators on the left are clearly making that argument. it is sort of ironic given that we are debating a vacancy created by justice scalia staff -- death, because he taught us first inform most, read the words. words have meaning, don't just make it up as you go along. don't use vague rules like legislative history to get to whatever and you want to get to. i think it is instructive because the left wants a new supreme court justice who is not going to read the words, who will make it up as they go along and get to a preordained stopping point. however the end up there. but again, words matter, and the gaza touche and -- and the constitution and the other words
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in senate rules are clear, and they don't require a hearing. they don't require action on any particular timeframe. know, thean, as you constitution says simply in article two, clause two, the president shall nominate by and with the advice and consent of the senate shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and councils, treasurers of the supreme court, and offices of the united states whose offices are here and otherwise not provided for in which shall be established by law. that is what it says pure and simple. it does not talk about any timeframe, it does not talk about any required act. governsother text which the senate rules, the constitution rights makes it very clear that the senate can establish rules to follow within the bounds of the constitution.
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in the senate rules, feel and think they have to say about the timing of action is when the vote won't occur. it shall not be put on the same day in which the nomination is received, nor on the date which it may be reported by a committee unless by unanimous consent. that is 31.1. and then there is 31.6, which is very relevant and instructive, nominations neither confirmed nor rejected during the session at which they are made shall not be acted upon at any succeeding session without being again made to the senate by the president. that nomakes explicit hearing or action is required during that session. now, everybody here has voted for those rules. i don't know why folks taking a ,ontrary view in the minority
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didn't change that rule, didn't vote no to that rule or aren't proposing a change that rule now. everybody here voted for that rule. and again, these arguments somehow that the constitution required us to act a certain way or a certain timeframe just isn't true. and in honor of justice scalia, i do think we need to read the words first and foremost. and again, i think it is instructive. that is really what this debate is all about. are we going to have a new justice who reads the words and applies them as written, or are we going to have a justice who helps make it up as you are she legislates from the bench, tries to get to a certain and point using whatever arguments they have at his or her disposal.
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and of course, as had been said clearly, so many leading members on the other side have confirmed this in the past when they were in a different position. schumer.eid, senator senator schumer with a lot farther back than where we are now. he said 18 months before the end of the bush presidency, no supreme court justice should be confirmed except underinsured underry circumstances -- extraordinary circumstances. this is not in a short night circumstance, it is an election coming up. i would defer to the people. so the question is, what is the right thing to do moving forward ? i am very come to the with referring to the people and empowering citizens, putting them in charge.
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that is certainly what my constituents want in louisiana. they are crying out in frustration of there not being in charge of washington , ignoring their wishes of this trend. legislating from the bench and making it up as they go along, continuing. they want to avoid this, and they want a voice to be able to stop this. so i defer to the people, we have a unique opportunity to do that with this very important presidential election before us. i often think in virtually every presidential election that the most important issue in the election, which gets little or no attention, is supreme court appointments, because that can impact for decades to come.
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we have an opportunity this year where that won't be the case. where hopefully, it will be front and center, we will have an important debate about a proper role of the supreme court, the proper way for judges to make the decisions, namely to read and apply the law as written. and certainly, my constituents in louisiana one that. they want to have a leading voice. they want to be in charge. the great majority of them strongly object to the trend of nine, or really five, unelected lawyers making huge decisions for society, which are not mandated by the gaza touche in. -- the constitution. so i strongly support the path adopted, andd with i vote for putting people and
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citizens in charge through the .residential election i think it is important, and a somewhat unique opportunity. thank you. >> senator lee has a statement i want to put in the record. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would ask senator grassley if he could stay so that i can speak. otherwise -- chuck grassley: you can certainly speak. do i have to stay for corum? >> we would give it unanimous even if he goes. i would like to address a couple of things that you said. you can put them in the record or something, because this idea justicesnelected making lots from the bench, that is what we have seen with the robert court.
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this is one of the most activist courts we have had, and the center, senator vitter has not been on this committee until this congress. but my goodness, how many times have i spoken to this? , ande have sotomayor here my first year in the senate -- this year in the senate, and this is an activist court. and he was talking about the irony of justice scalia. justice scalia on 100 votes, we had 100 votes in the voting rights act. unanimous vote by the united states senate. and what did justice scalia say? , the senatorswell voting for him because it was named to the voting rights act. remember that? argument a half-hour
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towards hundreds of hours of debate. >> i mean, this is insulting. to hear that. it is just insulting. thingst me say a couple about some of the things i have been hearing. biden, biden, chairman when he spoke, does anyone here know, anyone, chairman, do you know when he spoke? i don't mean -- i'm sorry. i apologize. >> june 1992. it was late june as the session was ending. and when he was talking about is somebody resigning to game the system. that is what he was talking about. here abouting confirming someone to replace a
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justice who has died. think about how different that is, everybody. when chuck schumer says in its ordinary situation -- an extraordinary situation, he is talking about someone dying. scientists tell us there are 10.5 months left in this president's four-year term. , god bless scalia him, i did not agree with them, i thought he was a very witty, funny guy. that is a high compliment coming from me. i value that very highly, not because -- >> why is that? >> no one dies to game the system. about -- whating
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biden was talking about, as soon the supreme court session orderthen resigning, in to game the system. as senator obama when he was senator, voting the filibuster alito, that is the 60 vote threshold on supreme court justices that you all so hold so dear. that is what a filibuster is. ok, the chair is hearing from someone. can i say something here? we are going to hold this record open, and you can keep talking. i have the vote of 1893. let me just wrap it up. you can listen to it as you go.
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i think i can get it done. -- justice thomas was confirmed 52-48 by democratic senate. say that some to of the things i been hearing bit, have made me a little it just irritated me a little bit. and i think the chair for his indulgence and all of my colleagues. thank you. >> and i seem to be, mr. chairman, the less person sitting or standing, and i have permission to include my remarks in the record, but i want to be associated with a number of my colleagues, including senator feinstein. >> the order is standing. recess. [laughter]
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>> how are you? >> i guess you wouldn't know. [background chatter]
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] announcer: the senate judiciary committee has been meeting for almost two hours. all of this morning has been consumed by discussion, debate over whether the senate should consider a nomination for the president for the supreme court vacancy caused by the death of antonin scalia aback on february 13. we are opening up phone lines. we expect the judiciary committee will gamble back in, and there will be a vote on the senate floor they are attending to. we will open phone lines. should the senate consider a supreme court nomination from the president? by all indications, there will be some sort of nomination coming from the president. reports this week he is interviewing several candidates. democrats. 01 (202) 737-0002 republicans.
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(202) 628-0205 independents. we will welcome your tweets as well. is at c-span -- @cspan. >> good to hear lindsey graham speaking the truth. this should not be politicized. tonot allow republicans obstruct the president and justice nominate this cripple the supreme court. and from property, a tree to that says we demand our voice. let cards fall. the country is at stake. @cscan tweet, the handle is pan. let's go to rome, georgia on the democrat line. caller: i think people should
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not only vote in this committee but also the full senate. they had the lowest approval ratings in my life. they to quit obstructing and do their job. i don't care what happens with joe brydon or ronald reagan or abraham lincoln. we are dealing with this now. and so the shoe is on the other foot, and the republican president there, elections coming up. they will be saying just the opposite. it is time to quit bickering with each other. time to let them do their job just like i have to do my job. if i don't do my job, i get fired. they don't seem to have to worry about that. they get paid health care. they don't have to do their job. it is their turn to do their job. the president, mr. obama, will nominate someone who is
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qualified. they can bicker back and forth like they should do, which is their job, just do it. and as soon as mr. scalia died, and i disagree with almost everything he said, as a supreme court justice, but as soon as he died, they said no, we are not going to vote on him. host: we appreciate that. yesterday the attorney general loretta lynch was before the committee. the day before, shia taken herself out of consideration for a judicial nomination. should this data consider a nomination from the president? and james now, are you on the line? caller: the senate should consider this. this is bold, straight out talking about scalia like he was some sort of dog. he was good for some people, but other people did not like his rules. this is what i am talking about.
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republicans, if this was a democratic resident -- when ronald reagan was in office, people worked with him. they confirmed three supreme court justices. they put everything ronald reagan's wanted on the floor of the house. him.refuse to work with they shut the government down. they refuse because republicans wanted. nancy pelosi worked with him, but these republicans kept on going. this is how they read the election, on hate, obstruction, and if you read the rhetoric, 75, you assume or they are going with this trust. they are trying to stop progress of america. they talk about the constitution. it is not a stop on the supreme court justice, it is a violation on the president. host: that is james from rome,
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georgia. public and called now -- republican call in tennessee. caller: hello. host: you your television and go ahead with their comment. -- mute your television and go ahead with your comment. caller: i am a retired police man, and i'm so tired of this congress. everybody wants to cause trouble and obstruction and don't want to do the right thing the because the two should say we should do when it comes to nominating a supreme court nominee. just because the president, this is his last year and he has already put two people on the supreme court, just do your job. when i was on the force, i didn't have any choice on which call to take. just do it if you don't like it. if you don't like a supreme court nominee, you don't have to approve them. host: we welcome your comments
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and calls about whether the senate should take up a nomination from the president. no nominations yet. reports say he is interviewing potential nominees this week. the headline in the new york nominees,e potential and just a bit from this article, the white house is interviewing five potential nominees for the supreme court vacancy. federal judges merrick garland, this onto brown jacket -- brown jackson -- a short list. sources say they were the only ones under investigation. the president actually was interviewing folks, said npr. and now on the independent line. california, you are on the air. all right, let's go to new york, and david on the republican
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line. caller: how are you doing today? host: i am doing well, how about yourself? caller: i am well. i think we need to filibuster, filibuster, filibuster. if obama get someone in the office, is simply unjustified. that is not how america works. we are supposed to be coming out and voting in huge numbers, voting for someone that can call this. thingsas been discussing , and he can go in front of the supreme court. we are not going to discuss anybody at all that he picks out. filibuster, filibuster, filibuster. that is all i have to say. york.that is david in new we are waiting for the senate judiciary committee to come back. they haven't going to a series of votes on the senate floor -- they are going to a series of votes on the senate floor. they have been debating drug .buse for several weeks
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a bill actually out in the senate judiciary committee, the final passage of votes is over on c-span2. in's your next from robert lorain, robert, are you there? hello. who is on the line? caller: this is jean from virginia. host: should the senate take up a supreme court nomination? caller: i think that the senate to get onertunity person on the court. i'm a voter and i would like that very much. the republicans are saying it is the wrong time to take up
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a supreme court nominee. how do you feel about that? scalia was a conservative and a constitutionalist and we should go with whatever -- i don't think we should undo the balance. that is what i have to say about it. it is a shame that it comes at this time. it is a shame that he died when he died. i think the voters should begin the opportunity and the senate has that way of doing things and i think they should take it. host: one of those senators not in the meeting room was ted cruz. we go next to lorain, ohio.