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tv   U.S. Senate Sens. Mc Connell Schumer on Barrett Nomination  CSPAN  October 31, 2020 10:02am-10:51am EDT

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toht now about the threats both -- vote counting than they have been in the past. that is a good thing, because of the increase of paper records and increased coordination among the states and the federal government. there are reasons to feel good that the security of this election will be better. sundaytion security night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span q&a. last monday at the senate confirmed judge amy coney barrett to the supreme court. susan collins was the only republican to vote with all democrats and independents against confirmation. for the confirmation, mitch mcconnell and chuck schumer explained their positions. in the senate vote -- schumer: today, monday,
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october 26, 2020 will go down as one of the darkest days in the history of the united states senate. like the record show that decided toe majority thwart the will of the people and confirm a lifetime appointment to the court in the middle of a presidential election after more than 60 million americans have voted. tonightrecord show that the republican majority will break 231 years and become the first majority to confirm a supreme court justice this close to election day. tonightrecord show that the republican majority will make a mockery of its own rentable that the american people deserve a voice in the selection of supreme court
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justices, completing the partisan theft of two seats on the supreme court using completely contradictory rationales. let the record show that the american people, their lives and freedoms, will suffer the consequences of this nomination for a generation. be summede debate can up in three lies propagated by that publican majority and one great terrible truth read the first light is that the republican majority is being consistent and following its own standard, rubbish. after refusing a democratic nominee to the supreme court because an election was a months away, they confirm a republican nominee before an election that is eight days away. what is the excuse?
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mcconnell claims the principle of not confirming justices in presidential years only applies when there is divided government . this is what mcconnell said after justice scalia died. the american people should have a voice in the selection of their next supreme court justice. that is all he said. he did not say that the american people should have a voice but only when there is divided government. that last best is ex post facto. if this was about divided government, republican senators would not have promised on the record to follow their own standard if the situation was reversed. i went you to use my words against me, said the chairman of the just jury committee. if there is a republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term you can say lindsey graham said but the next president whoever it might be
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make the nomination. the claim by the leader that this is consistent with their own principle, please, rather than accept the consequences of its own words, the majority is lighting its credibility on fire. this hypocritical 180 degree turn is obvious to the american people. the second lie is that the republican majority is justified because of democratic actions on judicial nominations in the past. the republican leader claims his 's actions are justified, every escalation of significance was made by democrats. in his convoluted history lesson , mcconnell left out a lot of chapters. he omitted that republicans bottled up more than 60 nominees
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by president clinton refusing them even a hearing. he made no reference to the decision by republican senators to hold open 14 appellate court so a in the 1990's republican president could fill them. instead, a tactic republicans would revisit under president obama when republicans used filibusters to block his nominees to the d.c. circuit judge. ,t the time publican senators including my colleague from kentucky, amazingly accused president obama of trying to pack the court by the mere act of nominating judges to vacancies of the second circuit. what a double standard which thears to be endemic in recounting of history. on top of it all, the leader has
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asked the senate to play a blame 1987,hat dates back to pointing to a three minute about by senator kennedy robert gore as the original sin in the judicial wars. seriously, that is what he said. one democrat gave 13 minute speech that republicans did not can, leader mcconnell steamroll the minority to confirm a justice in the middle of an election. imagine trying to explain to someone, sorry, i have to burn down your house because of something one of your friends said about one of my friends 33 years ago. that is how absurd this game has gotten. unjustifiable the majority's actions are, how flimsy their excuses have become . the leaders final argument boils down to, but you started it.
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a declaration you would sooner here in the schoolyard than on the floor of the united states senate. the third and perhaps the greatest lie is that the republican majority is t solelyng judge barret on her qualification, not on her views on the issues. my colleagues insist that judge barrett should be confirmed on credentials alone or that is all they talk about. they do not talk about the issues, only qualifications. apparentrd is about as as a glass door. everyone can see through it. what is the real reason republicans are desperate to rush the judge onto the supreme court? it is not because of her qualifications. if my republican friends believed that the only thing that mattered about a judicial candidate's qualifications, then mayor garland would be sitting
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on the supreme court -- merrick garland would be on the supreme court now. if they truly believe judicial appointments were about garlandations, judge would be justice garland now. judge garland was among the most qualified candidates ever to be nominated to the supreme court. no republican senator has disputed that. they did not want judge garland on the bench. they do want judge barrett. they subjected judge garland to a blockade. they are erecting a monument to hypocrisy to raj barrett -- to rush judge barrett on the bench. it is not because she is more qualified. it is the difference? buts not qualifications views. we know that. we all know that. rights, gun women's
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safety, you name it, not because the far-right wants her views on the court, but it is because the far-right once her views on the court but not judge garland's. the truth is this nomination is part of a long effort to tilt the judiciary to the far-right and accomplished to the courts what the radical right and their allies, senate republicans could not accomplish to congress. senate republicans failed to repeal the affordable care act so president trump and republican attorneys general are suing to eliminate the law in court. republicans would never dare to attempt to repeal roe v. wade in laws in so they pass state legislatures that they totrol to drive the right the point of near extension --
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extinction. held theight has never majority on the court to limit roby raid -- roby wade or wade or, but -- roe v. griswold, but that might happen. under justice roberts there have been 80 cases decided by a 5-4 majority in nominated bytices republicans came down on one side and the four nominated by democrats came down on the other. 80 cases, exactly the same majority, calling calls and strikes, amazing coincidence, all that republican nominated justices think it is a strike and all of the democratic ones
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think it is a-- ball. it would be a remarkable coincidence if nine justices simply calling balls and strikes exhibited the same split in the exact configuration 80 times. we all know what the game is, so stop pretending it stop pretending they're not entire organizations dedicated to advancing far-right judges, that the political right does not spend millions to prop up the far-right federalist society and support judicial candidates because they only want qualified judges. they want a systematic and permanent tilt of the courts to the far-right. so does judge barrett have views on legal issues? you that she does. greatrings me to the one
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truth about this nomination, the american people will suffer the consequences of judge barrett far-right views for generation. she came because -- he came before the committee and refused to answer nearly any question of substance per that is the new game at the hearings. she would not answer questions about health care, she would not say whether voter intimidation is illegal. she would not say if she thought medicare and social security were constitutional. she could not even offer platitudes and responses to questions about the peaceful transfer of power and refuse to say if climate change was real. it is not because judge barrett is not allowed to answer the questions. it is because she knows how unfavorable her views on the issues might sound to the american people. the thing is, we do know how she
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thinks. she views certain rights, like the right to privacy, through a pinhole. she was closely affiliated with organizations advocating the repeal of roe v. wade. she views other rights like the right to keep and bear arms as almost infinitely expensive. only a few hours ago the republican senator from missouri probably declared from the senate floor that judge barrett is the most openly pro-life judicial nominee in his lifetime , "this is an individual who has been open in her criticism of that illegitimate decision." he was more honest than most of the talk around here which says
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it is only but qualification. probablyrett has fashion herself in the mold of her mentor, justice scalia, who before his death appeared set to declare union fees to the unconstitutional, driving a stake into the heart of the american labor movement. while workers rake their back to make ends meet and earn ever less of ever-growing corporate products, what met -- what might judge barrett apart and? what about voting rights, she has suggested that certain rights or civic right including voting rights and can be restrained to the government. other rights like the right to keep and bear arms are individual rights that cannot be subject to even the most common sense restrictions. what about health care?
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judge barrett has argued that justice roberts got it wrong when he upheld the affordable care act. she said that if justice roberts read the statute properly, the supreme court would have had to invalidate -- her words -- the law. that's the same thing, by the way, that donald trump said about justice roberts and the a.c.a. that's the great and terrible truth about this nomination. judge barrett holds far-right views well outside the american mainstream, and those views matter. to the vast majority of americans. they matter to women facing the hardest decision of her lives. they matter to lgbtq americans, like my daughter, who only five years ago won the legal right to marry who she loves and could lose it just as fast. they matter to little girls like 7-year-old penny fineman from
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west hemp stead, long island, born with a neurological disorder, bound to a wheel care, attached to a feeding tube, who is alive today -- alive today -- because of the affordable care act. we're talking about the rights and freedoms of the american people, the right to the affordable health care, to make private medical decisions with their doctors, to join a union, to vote without impediment, to marry who they love and not be fired because of who they are. judge amy coney barrett will decide whether all those rights will be sustained or be curtailed for generations. and based on her views on the issues -- not on her qualifications but her views on the issues -- judge barrett puts every single one of those fundamental rights, american rights, at risk.
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so i want to be clear with the american people. the senate majority is -- this republican senate majority is breaking faith with you, doing the exact opposite of what it promised four years ago, because they wish to cement a majority on the supreme court that threatens your fundamental rights. and i want to be very clear with my republican colleagues. you may win this vote and amy coney barrett may become the next associate justice of the supreme court, but you will never, never get your credibility back. and the next time the american people give democrats a majority in this chamber, you will have forfeited the right to tell us how to run that majority. you may win this vote, but in the process, you will speed the
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precipitous decline of faith in our institution, our politics, the senate, and the supreme court. you will give an already divided and angry nation a fresh outrage, an open wound in this chamber that will take a very long time to heal. you walk a perilous road. i know that you think this will eventually blow over. but you're wrong. the american people will never forget this blatant act of bad faith. they will never forget your complete disregard for their voices, for the people standing online right now and voting their choice, not your choice. they will never forget the lack of consist tency, honor,
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decency, papers, and principle. they will never forget the rights that are limited, constrained, or taken away by a far-right majority on the supreme court, and history will record that by brute political force, in contradiction to its stated principles, this republican majority confirmed a lifetime appointment on the eve of an election. a justice who will alter the lives and freedoms of the american people while they stood in line to vote. leader mcconnell has lectured the senate before on consequences of a majority's action. you'll regret this he told democrats once, and you may regret it a lot sooner than you think. listen to those words. you'll regret this, and you may regret it a lot sooner than you think.
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i would change just one word. my colleagues may regret this for a lot longer than they think. here at this late hour, at the end of this sordid chapter in the history of the senate, the history of the supreme court, my deepest and greatest sadness is for the american people. generations yet unborn will suffer the consequences of this nomination, as the globe gets warmer, as workers continue to fall behind, as unlimited dark money floods our politics, as reactionary state legislatures curtail a woman's right to choose, gerrymandered districts and limit the rights of minorities to vote, my deepest, greatest, and most abiding sadness tonight is for the american people and what this nomination will mean for their
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lives, their freedoms, their fundamental rights. monday, october 26, 2020 -- it will go down as one of the darkest days in the 231-year history of the united states senate. i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i think my remarks may encroach somewhat on the time previously set for beginning the vote. i ask consent that i be allowed to finish. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: well, this evening the senate will render one of the most consequential judgments it can ever deliver.
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we will approve a lifetime appointment to our nation's highest court. since the ink dried on the constitution, only 114 men and women have been entrusted to uphold the separation of powers, protect people's rights, and dispense impartial justice on the supreme court. in a few minutes, judge amy coney barrett of indiana will join their ranks. this body has spent weeks studying the nominee's record. we've examined 15 years of scholarly writings, about 100 opinions from the seventh circuit, and testimonials from legal experts running the gamut from close colleagues to total strangers. there have been one-on-one meetings for every senator who
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wanted one and a week of intensive hearings. all of it -- all of it -- has pointed to one conclusion. this is one of the most brilliant, admired, and well-qualified nominees in our lifetime. intellectually, judge barrett is an absolute all star. she graduated number one in her class at notre dame law school. she clerked on the second highest federal court and the supreme court. then she returned to her alma mater and become an award-winning academic. judge barrett's mastery of the constitution gives her a firm grasp on the judicial role.
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she's pledged to apply the law as written, not as she wishes it were. her testimony, her writings, and her reputation confirm a total and complete commitment to impartiality. and the nominee's personal integrity and strength of character are literally beyond reproach. she earned the highest rating from the left-leaning american bar association. they marvel at, quote, breadth, diversity, and strength of the positive feedback they received from judges and lawyers of all political persuasions. if confirmed, this daughter of louisiana and indiana will become the only current justice with a law degree from any
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school not named harvard or yale. any school not named harvard or yale. she'll be the first mother of school-aged children to ever sit on the court. by every account, the supreme court is getting not just a talented lawyer but a fantastic person. we've heard moving testimony from former students whom judge barrett went out of her way to help and to mentor. her past clerks describe an exemplary boss. her fellow scholars describe a winsome, respectful colleague who is tailor-made for the atmosphere of the court. by any objective standard, colleagues, judge barrett deserves to be confirmed to the supreme court.
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the american people agree. in just a few minutes, she'll be on the supreme court. two weeks ago a cnn journalist made this observation that i found particularly interesting. this is what he said. let's be honest. in another political age, judge amy coney barrett would be getting 70 votes or more in the u.s. senate because of her qualifications. in a different era. now, we know that's not going to happen. these are not the days when justice scalia was confirmed 98-0 and justice ginsburg was confirmed 96-3. and by the way, i voted for both ginsburg and breyer. seems like a long time ago now. we spent a lot of energy in
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recent weeks debating this matter. i think we can all acknowledge that both sides in the senate have sort of parallel oral histories about the last 30 or so years. each side feels the other side struck first and struck worse and has done more to electrify the atmosphere around here about confirmations. now, predictably enough, i think our account is based on what actually happened. what actually occurred, factually accurate. i was there. i know what happened. i've laid it out earlier, and i'll talk about some of it again so the american people may understand how we got to where
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we are. it was the senate democrats, our colleagues over here who amazingly enough don't seem to be on the floor at the moment, who spent the early 2000's boasting about their brand-new strategy of filibustering qualified nominees from a republican president. proud of it. found a new way to halt the process, stop those crazy right-wing judges that bush 43 was going to send up. they pioneered it. because they knew what the precedent was at that point. at that point, as we discussed before, it just wasn't done. oh, you could do it, you could, but you didn't, and the best
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evidence that you shouldn't do it was the clarence thomas nomination, confirmed 52-48, and all of us know that any unof us in this body has a lot of power to object. so in any one of the 100 senators at that time, including people who were opposed to justice thomas like joe biden or kennedy could have gotten 60 votes and he wouldn't be on the supreme court. that's how strong it was until the democratic leader led the effort in the early 2000's to establish the new standard. well, after establishing a new standard, they got kind of weary of it. in 2013, the called nuclear option was implemented because republicans were holding president obama's nominees to the same standard that they had themselves created. so when the shoe got on the other foot, they didn't like it
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too much. it was too tight. senate democrats both in 1992 and 2007 helpfully volunteered how they would have dealt with a nominee like we did in 2016. the then-chairman of the judiciary committee, joe biden, helpfully volunteered in 1992 when bush 41 was running for reelection that had a vacancy occurred, they wouldn't fill it. there was no vacancy, but he just helpfully volunteered how they would deal with it if they had one, because the vacancy won't fill it. well, to one-up him, leader harry reid and his friend now the democratic leader, chuck schumer, said 18 months, 18 months before the end of the bush 43 period if a vacancy on the supreme court occurred, they
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wouldn't fill it. that's fact. what we're talking about here are the facts. that's how we got to where we are. i understand my democratic friends seem to be terribly persuaded by their version of all of this. all i can tell you is i was there, i know what happened, and my version is totally accurate. the truth is on all of this, we owe the country a broader discussion. competing claims about senate customs cannot fully explain where we are. procedural finger pointing does not explain the torrent of outrage and threats which this nomination and many previous ones have evoked from the political left. there are deeper reasons why these loud voices insist it is a
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national crisis. you heard it. it's a national crisis when a republican president makes a nominee for the supreme court. catastrophe looms right around the corner. the country will be fundamentally changed forever. when a republican president makes a supreme court nominee. they have hauled out the very same tactics for 50 years, 50 years. some of the opposition's more intense, but the doomsday predictions about the outcome of nominating these extremist-like extremist-like -- extremists like john paul stevens, david souter. i mean, the country was hanging
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in the balance. really? well, somehow everyone knows in advance it's nominations like bork, thomas, alito, gorsuch, kavanaugh, and barrett are certain to whip up national friend sis -- frenzies. while nominations like ginsburg, sotomayor, and kagan are just calm events by comparison. this blaring asymmetry predates our recent disputes. and it comes, my colleagues, from a fundamental disagreement on the role of a judge in our republic. we just have a fundamental difference of opinion. we just heard the democratic leader name all these things that are threatened by this nominee. it sounds very similar to the tunes we've heard before.
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we like many americans want judges to fulfill a limited role the constitution assigns to them. sticks to text, resolve cases impartially, and leave policy making to the people and their representatives, which is what we do here. we just spent four years qirnlg brilliant, qualified constitutionalists to the supreme court and lower courts who understand their roles. 53 circuit judges, over 200 judges in total, and we're about to confirm the third supreme court justice. what they all have in common -- brilliant, smart, and know what a judge is supposed to be. the left thinks the framers of our country got this all wrong.
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they botched the job. the people who wrote the constitution didn't understand what a judge ought to be. several senate democrats have reaffirmed in recent days here in this discussion. they actually find it quaint or naive. to think the judge would simply follow the law? quaint or naive? scalia used to say if you want to make policy, why don't you run for office. that's not what we do here. gorsuch said we don't wear red robes or blue robes. we wear black robes. what they want is activist judges. they made it quite clear, the democratic leader just a few minutes ago made it quite clear. so what they are looking for is a small panel of lawyers with elite education to reason
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backwards from outcomes and enlighten all the rest of us, enlighten all the rest of us with their morals and political judgments. whether the constitution speaks to the issue or not. they know best for us. no matter what the constitution or the law may say. and, you know, for the last several decades, in many cases, that's what they have gotten. one activist decision after noarg, giving us subjective preferences of one side the course of law. across a variety of social, moral, and policy matters like a healthy society would leave to democratic debate the personal
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opinion of judges have superseded the will of the people. now, they call that a success, and they want more of it. president obama actually was refreshingly honest about this. he said he wanted to appoint judges who had empathy. think about that for a minute, colleagues. what if you are the litigant before the judge -- for whom the judge does not have empathy? you're in tough shape. you're in tough shape. so you give them credit for being pretty honest about this. that's what they're looking for. the smartest, leftist people they can put to make all the decisions for the rest of us, rather than leaving it to the messy democratic process to sort these things out the way the framers intended.
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and that is why, it's clearly why we have taken on such an outsized, combative atmosphere with regard to these confirmations. that's why they have become so contentious. because they want to control not only the legislative body but the judicial decisions as well. let me just say this -- there is noggin eight about legal training that equips people to be moral philosophers. there is just nothing inherent in legal training that equips people to be moral philosophers. and incidentally, as i just said, that's why these confirmations have taken on such an outsized, unhealthy
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significance. the remarks we just heard from across the aisle show exactly why the framers wanted to stop the courts from becoming clumsy, indirect battlefields for subjective debates that belong in this chamber and over in the house and in state legislatures around the country. the left does not rage and panic at every constitutional judge because they will simply enact our party's policy preferences. any number of recent rulings make that very clear. the problem that every judicial seat occupied by a constitutionalist is one fewer opportunity for the left to go on offense. for the left to go on offense. at the end of the day, this is a valid debate. the difference of opinion on the judicial role is something the senate and our system are built
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to handle, but there is something else, colleagues, our system cannot bear. as you have heard tonight, we now have one political faction essentially claiming they now see legitimate defeat as an oxymoron. they now see legitimate defeat as an oxymoron. our colleagues cannot point to a single senate rule that's been broken, not one. they have made one false claim about committee procedure which the parliamentarian dismissed. the process comports entirely with the constitution. we don't have any doubt, do we, that if the shoe was on the other foot, they would be confirming this nominee. and have no doubt if the shoe was on the other foot in 2016, they would have done the same
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thing. why? because they had the elections that made those decisions possible. the reason we were able to make the decision we did in 2016 is because we had become the majority in 2014. the reason we were able to do what we did in 2016, 2018, and 2020 is because we had the majority. no rules were broken whatsoever. so all of these outlandish claims are utterly absurd, and the louder they scream, the more inaccurate they are. you can always tell, just check the decibel level on the other side. the higher it goes up, the less accurate they are. our democratic colleagues keep
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repeating the word illegitimate as if repetition would make it through. you just say it often enough, does it make it true? i don't think so. we're a constitutional republic. legitimacy does not flow from their feelings. you know, legitimacy is not the result of how they feel about it you know, you can't win them all, and elections have consequences. and what this administration and this republican senate has done is exercise the power that was given to us by the american people in a manner that is entirely within the rules of the senate and the constitution of the united states. the irony indeed, think about how many times our democratic
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friends have said -- have been berating president trump for allegedly refusing to accept legitimate outcomes he does not like. how many times have we heard that? president trump won't accept outcomes he does not like. well, they're flunking that very test right before our eyes. that's their problem. they don't like the outcome. well, the reason this outcome came about is because we had a series of successful elections. one of our two major political parties increasingly claims that any -- any -- political system that deals them a setback is somehow illegitimate. and this started actually long before this vacancy. as we all know. one year ago senate democrats sent the court -- the court,
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directly -- an amicus brief that read like a note from a gangster film. they wrote, the supreme court is not well, in their amicus brief. the supreme court is not well. perhaps the court can heal itself, heal itself, before the public demands it be restructured, restructured. in march of this year, the democratic leader stood outside the court, went over in front of the court, and threatened multiple justices by name. here's what he said. you won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions. you will pay the price. that's the democratic leader of the senate in front of the supreme court mentioning
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justices by name and in effect saying, if you rule the wrong way, bad things are going to happen. for multiple years now, democrats in this body and on the presidential campaign stump have sought to revive the discredited concept of court packing. every high school student in america learns about franklin roosevelt's unprecedented assault on judicial independence. so now they're thinking about repeating it. former vice president biden has spent decades condemning the idea here in the senate immediately says he'll look into it. most importantly it the late ruth bader ginsburg said last year -- last year -- when asked about this, she said, nine is the right number.
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that's the vacancy we're filling right now. i don't think any of them have quoted heard on this issue, have you? ruth bader ginsburg said nine is the right number. these latest threats follow decades of subtler attempts to take independent judges and essentially is put them on political probation. you don't rule the way i want, something dire might happen. how many consecutive nominees have democrats and the media insisted would, quote, tip the balance of the court? how often the do we hear that? tip the balance of the court. has anyone tallied up how many hard right turns the courts have supposedly taken in our lifetimes? all this ominous talk is a transparent attempt to apply
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improper pressure to impartial judges. rule how we want, or we're coming after the court. rule how we want or we're coming after the court. vote how we want or we'll destroy the senate. by adding new states. these have been the democratic demands. this is not about separation of powers. it's a hostage situation, a hostages situation. elections come and go. political power is never permanent, but the consequences could be cataclysmic in our colleagues across the aisle let partisan passions boil over and scorch -- scorch -- the ground rules of our government. the framers built the senate to be the nation's firewall. over and over, this institution,
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our institution, has stood up to stop recklessness that could have damaged our country forever. so tonight, colleagues, we're called on to do that again. tonight we can place a woman of unparalleled ability and temperament on the supreme court. we can take another historic step toward a judiciary that fulfills its role with excellence but does not grasp after power that our constitutional system intentionally assigns somewhere else. and we can stand loud and clear that the united states senate does not bow to intemperate threats. voting to confirm this nominee should make every single senator proud. so i urge my colleagues to do just that.


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