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tv   President Biden on Justice Breyer Retirement  CSPAN  January 28, 2022 6:43am-7:00am EST

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capital. -- capitol. our series talking with features conversations with historians about their lives and work. many of our programs are available as a podcast. >> next, president biden on the career of retiring supreme court justice breyer. he will make his pick by the end of february and reiterated his promise to choose a black woman. this runs about 15 minutes.
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pres. biden: good afternoon. let me begin by recognizing both dr. breyer and dr. biden and being here. this is a bittersweet day for me. justice breyer and i go back a long way. pres. biden: good afternoon. let me begin by recognizing both dr. breyer and dr. biden, for being here. this is sort of a bittersweet day for me. justice breyer and i go back a long way. all the way back to the mid-1970's, when he first came on the judiciary committee. but that's another story. i am here today to express the nation's gratitude to justice stephen breyer for his remarkable career in public service and his clear eyed commitment to making our country's laws work for its people. and our gratitude extends to his family, for being partners in his decades of public service, and particularly his wife, who is here today and has stood by him for nearly six decades with her fierce intellect, good humor, and enormous heart. i thank you. the country owes you, as well.
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goldberg, a prosecutor in the department of justice, a member of the watergate prosecution team. i first met stephen breyer as a senator on the judiciary committee. he started off taking care of one of the subcommittees for teddy. then he became chief counsel during his tenure as ted's chairmanship of the judiciary committee. beyond his intellect and hard work and legal insight he was famous for biking across washington virtually every day for face-to-face meetings with the republican chief counsel, the ranking republican counsel. over breakfast they discussed what they would do for the country together. in those days we tried to do things together. that spirit stuck with me when it took over the judiciary committee as chair after senator kennedy's tenure.
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it was my honor to vote to confirm justice breyer to serve in the u.s. supreme court -- court of appeals first in 1980. 14 years later, 1994, i got to preside as chairman of the judiciary committee over the supreme court confirmation hearings. we were joking with another, did he ever think he would serve decades on the court and i would be president of the united states on the day he came in to retire? he looked at. i will tell you what he said. i'm joking. i'm proud and grateful to be there at the start of his distinguished career, supreme court. i'm very proud to be here today on his announcement of his retirement. during his confirmation hearings back in 1994, stephen breyer said, "the law must work for the people." he explained our complex legal system has a single purpose, tell people who make up our
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country. it was a different time. his brilliance, values, scholarship are what he became justice breyer by overwhelming bipartisan vote at the time. today justice breyer announces his intention to step down from active service after four decades on the federal bench and 28 years on the united states supreme court. his legacy includes his work as a leading scholar and jurist and administrative law, bringing his brilliance to bear to make government run efficiently and effectively. it includes his stature as a beacon of wisdom on our constitution and what it means. through it all, justice breyer has worked to give fate to the notion that a lot law exist to help the people. everyone knows stephen breyer's has been an exemplary justice. fair to the party before him, courteous to colleagues, carefully his reasoning. he's written landmark decisions to laws protecting our
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environment and laws that protect religious practices. page opinions are practical, sensible and nuanced. you he reflects his belief the job of a judge is not to lay down a rule, but to get it right. justice breyer's law clerks and colleagues described him and his work ethic. his desire to learn more. his kindness to those around him and his optimism for the promise of our country. he has patiently sought common ground, seeking to bring the court together. i think he is a model public servant and a time of great division in this country. justice breyer has meant everything his country could have asked. he appeared before the judiciary committee almost three decades ago. we all had high hopes for the marquis would leave on history, law and the constitution. he has exceeded those hopes in every possible way. today is his day. our day to commend his life of service and life on the court.
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let me say a few words about his critically important work -- the critically important work of choosing his successor. choosing someone for the supreme court is one of the most serious constitutional responsibility a president has. our process is going to be rigorous. i will select the nominee worthy of justice breyer's legacy of excellence and decency. while i have been studying backgrounds and writings, i have made no decision except one. the person i will nominate will be someone of extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity. that person will be the first black woman ever nominated to the united states supreme court. it is long overdue in my view. i made that commitment during the campaign for president and i
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will keep that commitment. i will fully do what i said i'd redo. i will fulfill my duty to select the justice, not only with the senate's consent but with its advice. he heard me say another nomination process that the constitution is to seek the advice and consent. i will invite senators from both parties to offer ideas and points of view. i will consult with leading scholars and lawyers. i am fortunate to have advised me vice president kamala harris. she's an exceptional lawyer, former attorney general of the state of california and former mentor of the senate judiciary committee. i've listened carefully to the advice i'm given. i will study the records and former cases carefully. i will meet with the potential nominees. it is my intention to announce my decision before the end of february. i have made no choices at this point. once i selected nominee, i will
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ask the senate to move promptly on my choice. in the end, i will nominate a historic candidate, someone worthy of justice breyer's legacy, and someone who will provide incredible service on the united states supreme court. justice breyer, on behalf of all the american people, i want to thank you and your family for your tremendous service to our nation. i will yield the floor to you, mr. justice. justice breyer: thank you, mr. president. how terribly nice. believe me, it's wonderful. i thought about what i might say to you. something i enjoy is talking to my students, grammar school students, college students. even law school students. they will come around and asked me what is it you find
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particularly meaningful about your job? what gives you a thrill? that is not such a tough question for me to answer. same thing. day one, almost. up to today, i do not have any. what i say is i sit there on the bench. after we hear lots of cases, the impression -- it takes a while. the impression you get, as you all know, this is a complicated country. there are more than 330 million people. my mother used say it is every race, every religion, and she would empathize this. every point if you possible. it is a kind of miracle when you sit and see all those people in front of you. people that are so different and
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what they think. yet they have decided to help solve their major differences under law. when the students get too cynical, go look at what happens in countries that don't do that. people have come to accept this constitution and accept the importance of the rule of law. i want to make another point to them. i want to say, look. of course people don't agree. but we have a country that is based on human rights, democracy and so forth. i will tell you what lincoln thought and what washington thought and what people today still think. it's an experiment. it's an experiment. that's what they said. joanna paid our children certain amount of money to memorize the gettysburg address. what i want the students to pick up, if i can remember the first two lines, fourscore and seven
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years ago, our forefathers brought upon -- created a new country. a country that was dedicated to liberty and the proposition that
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all men are created equal. conceived in liberty. those were his words. dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. we are now engaged in a great civil war. to determine whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. those are the words i want to see. an experiment. that is what he saw. it's an experiment. i found some letters that george washington river he said the same thing. it's an experiment. that is permit existed then because even the liberals in europe -- they were looking over here and saying it's a great idea in principle but it will never work. we will show them it does. that is what washington and lincoln thought. that is what people still think today. i want you, and i'm talking to the students now. i want you to pick this up. it's an experiment that still going on. i will tell you something. you know who we will see if the esperance works? it is you, my friend. it is you, mr. high school student. it is you, mr. college student, mr. law school student. it is us but it is you. the next generation. and the one after that. my grandchildren and their children. they will determine whether the experiment still works, and of course i am an optimist and i'm pretty sure it will. does it surprise you that is the thought that comes into my mind today? i don't know. but thank you. pres. biden: doctor, i don't
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know if you have been to the lincoln bedroom but i invite you both come and stay. the lincoln bedroom has against the wall between the windows looking out a handwritten copy of the gettysburg address written by lincoln. is in the sitting room. you have to come and see it. and bring your grandchildren so they can see it as well. thank you all for being here. i am not going to take any questions because it's inappropriate to take questions with the justice here. he is still sitting on the bench. but you will have plenty of opportunity to give me later today and the rest of the week. next week too. thank you very much.
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>> here is a look at what is live today. i 10:00 a.m. eastern on the common sense society holds a conference in palm beach, florida. on c-span 2, at 8:30 a.m. eastern, the nato secretary-general speaks with the atlantic council. that is followed by a discussion on nato's defense strategy. at one, former national's from the trump, obama, and george w. bush administrations discussed challenges facing the u.s.
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you can watch these events live on or on the go with our free speech -- free c-span video app. c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by these television companies and more, including media,. >> the world changed in an instant, but media, was ready. schools and businesses went virtual. we powered a new reality. because, at mediacom, we are built give -- keep you ahead. mediacom supports c-span as a public service, along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> coming up this morning on "washington journal," we talk about russian threats to invade ukraine with retired general philip breedlove. then, roben


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