tv Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats Hold Forum on Judge Merrick Garland CSPAN May 18, 2016 8:22pm-9:29pm EDT
senate democrats on the senate judiciary committee held a forum on judge merrick garland's nomination to the supreme court. lawyers and a former judge were among those who spoke about judge garland's legal experience. senate republicans have said they will not post hearings or votes on president obama supreme court pick.
>> before restart a couple of members are coming over and we have a number of civics teachers and the audience. if they will raise their hands please. i was telling, i was telling some of them i am delighted to see schools teaching civics and history. and when you get done it might be good for you to come and do a little seminar for the senators. i'm sorry, that was my out loud voice. you know this morning i called members here this morning, chairman grassley convened at judiciary senate confirmation hearing. i wish we would confirm some of the people that are then voted out but the glaring omission in the hearing was chief judge
merrick garland. it's been two months since he was nominated to fill the vacancy on the supreme court. in fact, it's totally impressive than it. he had a public hearing. he would be poised to report out of the committee. what bothers me is because he does not have a hearing and we do not allow him to have a hearing his record is being smeared by outside groups. some of these packs and others to senate republicans have denied this distinguished jurist a public hearing and a fair opportunity. i can't convened confirmation hearing. we are in the minority but just because republicans refuse to do their job on judge garland's nomination doesn't mean that we democrats -- we take her constitutional duties seriously and if there's any doubt about
the need to have a fully functioning supreme court, decisions handed down this week are the latest evidence of the harm stemming from it. the supreme court has repeatedly failed to have the decision. they let the courts repeal in limbo because they don't have a full court and can't make a decision. now, i know that the decision not to give them a hearing was done in a closed-door hearing. this is an open one. we have four people here who know him personally. we have don bucella from arlington vermont. she is a former prosecutor. she worked for the justice department from 1993 to 1997 area she is part of the team that investigated and prosecuted the oklahoma city bombing one of the most complex investigations and prosecutions we have had in
this country. justin driver is a professor of law the university of chicago. before he clerked for the supreme court for justice sandra day o'connor and justice stephen breyer and as you know we have now retired justice o'connor and we should be having a full nomination hearing. secretary rodney slader is a former secretary of transportation under president bill clinton. he previously served as the first african-american administrative highway administration. judge timothy k. lewis is a former judge on the u.s. circuit court of appeals with the third circuit so he knows very well how circuit courts work. he was appointed by president
george h.w. bush in 1992. i had the privilege of voting to confirm him. he also served as a federal district judge of the western district of pennsylvania so what i would suggest we do. we will put their full statement in the record but we could ask questions of the witnesses and i wonder not just because of the vermont connection or the fact that you are both former prosecutors. >> you could say because she is a woman. >> as we also have ancestry. >> and she is a woman. she should go first.
>> i will be the last person to argue with senator feinstein one of the most valuable members of this committee. please go ahead ms. bucella. >> thank you. it's my honor and privilege to be here today to talk to you a little bit about someone who i know very very well who we worked closely together judge merrick garland. marek and i have known one another. we were at doj in 1993 to 1997 but i think probably in the time we really bonded were the days of the oklahoma city bombing. he and i were out there. we were probably the first people out there from the department of justice excluding the team from the western district of oklahoma the oklahoma city prosecutors. i got an opportunity at that time to see merrick first-hand deal with the utmost chaos and
tragedy and the entire time just focusing on what needed to be done that the prosecution a ticker that the investigation needed to be done in the right way and to be sure that the rule of law was going to be followed and that emotions would not take any part of what we were doing. it was an interesting time. it was chaos. everybody probably wanted to stop what they were doing because it was a worse crime on american soil at the time that we had to go forward. we had to bring the perpetrators to justice. we had to find out what was going on and what had actually happened. we also had, like it never seen before in my entire professional life, as a prosecutor more tools, more agents, more cops, more first responders all in one spot and all anybody wanted to do was to help. we needed somebody to be the
conductor. all that energy, all that smartness, all those brains, all that power to go ahead and investigate the case and i can answer plenty of questions but merrick and i literally when he got there, we walked the building, we walked through the building around the murder building. at the time we walked through the daycare center. neither of us said anything. we just kept walking and there were cars that literally were still smoldering and between the building and the daily register. there were cadaver dogs rescued dogs and cadaver dogs trying to find the remains of the people that perished in that building that day. and walking through their, actually we didn't talk about it until the 20 year reunion we were both in oklahoma city and we finally just talk about it
and both of us had tears in her eyes the whole time. there was too much adrenaline and trying to make sure we were doing our job for the american people that there were a lot of people that had strong personalities and watching merrick literally navigate his way to make sure everybody had a role, everybody had their voices heard was just something remarkable. merrick is calm under pressure. you never really know what's going on in his head and he is always 25 steps ahead of everybody else. ..
>> thank you and judge lewis, we have heard that we can't move forward because it's election year. you were nominated to the third circuit, september 1992 which two which was an election year. it was a presidential election year. you are nominated by a republican president for the senate -- where the senate republicans were the majority. am i correct on those dates? >> you are correct. >> so it would be safe to say that if the democrats had to
nominate you and there was a election year exception, you would not have been confirmed. >> i think it is fair to say that. i think it's also fair to say that especially when it comes to nominations for the united states supreme court, i have never been aware of and election-year exception until this happens. yes, i was nominated by president george hw w bush for vacancy on the third circuit court of appeals on september 18, 1992. this of course this of course was on the eve of presidential election. it was a hotly contested one, of course, as they they all are. i was unanimously confirmed on october 8. the election was november 3.
i am living proof that that can happen. i am also living proof that the republic still survives and goes on and does fairly well, i hope. you know, it's also true that not only did the party who then was the majority party in the senate and obviously on the committee proceed with my nomination and confirmation, as well as others, on the eve of the election, but that party also took the white house so there was, as i wrote wrote in my statement really no harm no foul and i think at that time, and this was now 24 years ago, there was a culture of
bipartisanship that is severely lacking today. that's most unfortunate. you know, i come from the wonderful commonwealth that has produced the likes of hugh scott, dick schweiger, arlen specter, my current senator casey. this is so unfortunate to those of us who have witnessed over the years my home state senators cross the aisle, reach out, work to get things done, in so many ways. john heinz, and today we are mired in a very unfortunate and dysfunctional place that is resulting in what is going on
now with respect to a wonderful judge, a highly qualified nominee and incidentally, a terrific human human being america garland. so you ask why i am here. i am here because i refused to accept that. i think the country should refuse to accept that too. i believe that it is the responsibility of the united states senate, just as it is the responsibility of citizens of this country to rise above these petty self interests and to act with honor and decency, and i think that is compelled by the very oath that members of this body have taken. i think that we respect values and traditions that are time-honored such as the confirmation process, just a hearing, whether or not a
confirmation even even happens remains to be seen, but a hearing. the decency to provide a hearing and let the american public view judge garland under questioning vetted fully, at a minimum, is the decent thing to do. whether or not it is compelled by law it is certainly compelled by tradition and decency. i am also here because i believe that the united states supreme court should never be viewed as a political arm in ideological arm of any party. i detest, as a former judge and citizen seeing that occur today. i believe the supreme court must remain above the fray because it is the symbol of our greatest aspirations of a society.
i believe we have to do whatever we can and that's why i'm here today to help ensure that continues. thank you. >> thank you very much. i had the privilege of serving both senator hugh scott and john heinz. i agree with what you said. of course we have former secretary rodney slater who i mentioned before and we talked about this and this nomination so i will turn to you secretary slater. please go ahead. >> thank you. thank you senator, thank you senators. i would actually like to begin with reference to the comments just made by judge lewis because it's interesting that i was making my way to washington, hopefully, because we were in the mist of a very rigorous
campaign in 1992. i was working for young governor from a small state, arkansas, and for me, just the anticipation of what that journey could be about, it never became clear until now the interesting thread that actually ties us all together as we move across the political process through our system that can take us from one administration to the next, that allows our country to continue to move forward as a beacon of light for democracies around the world. it's clear from judge lewis' comments that we gather not for any partisan purpose, but as believers in the constitution.
the constitution that has caused us all to take a solid move to defend and support the constitution, and has given some of us the opportunity to be nominated by our president and then confirmed by the senate. that is a very sacred and special process. it is something to be treasured and guarded. it is also something to be defended. so in that spirit of just seeing how one administration can move to the next and a process can go forward to bring one appropriately to a seat on the bench and another into an administration, frankly that would have the opportunity to say to ms. priscilla priscilla,
thank thank you and thank you judge garland for the work that you did and responding to the oklahoma city bombing. i was the federal highway administrator during my first stint in the federal government and we lost 11 individuals, members of our team who were part of the 168 killed that day. it was in that breach of a hollowed out federal building, of shattered lives and of grave uncertainty that ms. priscilla and judge garland step forward to protect and defend. so i am here to say thanks for that effort. i'm also here to say to judge garland and to say to all of you
that he and i actually have the special relationship within individual that i would also like to lift up at this moment. his name is mr. william t coleman. he was the first african-american secretary of transportation. he was appointed, nominated and confirmed during the ford administration. he too came at a special time. he gave me counsel when i was going through the process, but he is also a very dear friend to judge garland. interestingly, they both are honored and distinguished graduates of the harvard school of law, they both clerk at the supreme court, and they both have a fond and committed respect for the law and the rule of law. so i lift up his connection as well.
finally i would just like to say this, when my wife and i came to washington we didn't know a lot of people. we had a young daughter, her name was bridget, and we met the garlands who had two daughters and their daughters rebecca and jesse gave us a sense of a place and helped us become comfortable in the place. over the years, we have gone to a host of parent-teacher meetings. we've gone to parents nights, we've gone to sporting events, we have talked about the hopes and dreams and aspirations for our daughters, so i come also to say that this is a good man. he is a devoted husband and doting father and he is an engaged and committed parent. i am just very, very pleased to be here in this connected group
of individuals to lift my voice in support of judge garland's nomination to the knopp and united states supreme court. >> inc. you very much. he is also clerk for two supreme court justices, sandra day o'connor who was nominated by ronald reagan who was nominated by president bill clinton. please go ahead. >> members of the senate, i am honored to have this opportunity to appear before you today in order to comment on the nomination of chief judge garland to be on the supreme court of the united states.
i have the privilege of serving as a law clerk to judge carlin on the u.s. court of appeals for the d.c. circuit from 2005 - 2005 - 2006. clerking for judge garland was an invaluable expense. it was without question, the most single year of my entire career. as has been well documented by now, he possesses an unbelievably sharp analytical mind. he works very long hours in order to make sure that his cases come out in the right way. he is, as many people have said, a judges judge. he is a judicial craftsman of the highest order and in order to do that it takes long hours immersing himself in the cases and the briefs, talking to the clerks about the case to make sure he is reaching the right conclusion. in his approach to the law
deliberately avoids some sweeping pronouncements and instead keeps the opinions narrow so as to dispose of the cases that are before him and to honor the existing. he also make sure that he he never loses sight of how the opinions they produce impact the lives of ordinary citizens. he's always aware of that. he is meticulous in his approach. nothing better exemplifies that an idea than before he would circulate the opinions to his colleagues on the d.c. circuit, he would have two law clerks, one standing on either side of him and he would read each word of the draft opinion allowed in order to make sure that everything was exactly right as he opened last minute. so that is his attitude toward the law.
he is also measured in his approach to the law. he had an uncommon ability to identify common ground among his fellow judges. he brought people from different backgrounds and viewpoints together when fostering consensus. he did this on the d.c. circuit. he has first-rate demeanor. one of the first questions he would ask after we would return is how was my demeanor on the bench. he wanted to make sure he was asking tough questions but that he was also being fair to the attorneys before him and demonstrating respect for these people who were working with him in order to shape our legal enterprise. it's that attitude and that
willingness to see people and try to see things from their perspective that has won him a host of admirers on, who are republicans and he is open-minded and fair and demonstrates all of the qualities of being a first-rate justice. i just want to close by saying some words about his personal characteristics which inspire deep loyalty among the law clerks. you clerk for judge garland for one year and he stands by you for the rest of your life. there are two instances in my own life that demonstrate that he stands by his law clerks through times difficult and joyous alike. my mother died a little more than two years ago. judge garland wrote an incredibly warm note offering condolences for my loss. when i received an endowed chair
at the university of chicago a few months ago, he was one of the first people to reach out and congratulate me on that honor. so through times difficult and joyous he is there by your side. so the other thing is that, one of the really vivid images from my time during the clerkship is that right around 6:00 p.m., judge garland would be fiercely packing cases in binders into his briefcase and then rushing out of the office with a quick good night to make sure he made it home to have dinner with his wife lynn and his two daughters. there was nothing that was more important than that. he definitely wanted to have the materials later in the evening to review, but nothing was more important than that. i remember a very early conversation that i had. he had insightful views about
adam levine's vocal styling and maroon five. he is incredibly insightful commentary about the relative merits and i was confused. he is a seemingly stayed guy but he knows this pop dance and of course that's because he would drive his daughters to school and at least periodically would allow them to commandeer the cars audio system. the lesson to this father was you need to engage your children at least sometimes on their own terms and when you do so to do it with vigor. so with his intellect, temperament and experience i am confident he would make an excellent associate justice of the supreme court. conversely, the fairly to confirm his nomination to the
supreme court would represent not only a grave injustice for this particular nominee, but may also, i fear have catastrophic consequences for our constitutional order. thank you. >> thank you very much. senator feinstein spoken strongly on this eloquently and was joined by senator casey and i'm not sure if you heard the comments judge lewis made earlier about you and some of your predecessors. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. to those who have testified today, i just want to say thank you and specifically to rod slater. i can say i knew you before you had gray hair and i hope it
wasn't the federal government that put it there but it probably was. welcome back, it's good to see youth. >> thank you. >> i would like to ask this question because it's one of the things that has really bothered me and that has to do with leaving for substantial amount of time the united states supreme court and a tied position. a4 - 4 position when we know the court is divided. what impact that's going to have, i think there are many of us that estimate that the time will be likely a year and a half by the time you get through the vetting process and all of this that you can process another nominee. so i wanted to ask the question as to what has happened when the court accepts, what happens when the court is tied and the lower
courts are split and unable to resolve the case? we've seen that already in for tie votes, a labor case from my home state, is death penalty case, a state sovereignty case and a gender discrimination case. this week the court essentially deferred on an important issue involving weather religiously affiliated nonprofits can withhold contraceptive coverage from their employees. that's an issue that is vitally important to women nationwide. so i would like to have your views on what happens when you have a 424 split? could we begin with you professor driver? >> sure, so the technical answer is when the court is 4 - 4, it's affirmed by an equally divided court without setting any precedential value.
exactly as the senator suggests, the result is that a conflict that exists in the federal court remains a conflict. it's an issue that the court has identified as needing a uniform federal law. that's the major reason the supreme court exists and that function cannot happen when the justices are equally divided. >> could you explain what does happen when the appellate court has made a decision and then the court is tied? >> yes, so the results is a lack of uniformity where the courts of appeals have reached differing answers and it creates , often time, uncertainty for the law and that's difficult for all sorts of citizens. i should also say that given the
potential lengthy timeline of an absence that it could shape the cases that the court ends up hearing. cases that are currently not being decided in effect were already in the pipeline before justice scalia's death. during this stage where they are contemplating whether or not to resolve a question, one could imagine a scenario where they would say there's a chance we could be deadlocked and in order to avoid that deadlock there is still a lack of uniformity with respect to the federal law. the justices have gone to great lengths in order to avoid reaching ed deadlock, but sometimes that will introduce more uncertainty into the law like you mentioned earlier where one send something back down without deciding, as we saw on
the important reproduction rights decision. the court views itself as determining generally acceptable terms rather than a disagreement between two parties. >> thank you. >> please go ahead. >> thank you, i want to to thank the witnesses. what you are doing is allowing the public to see what we senators have had a chance to meet marek and see what a fine jurist and judge he is and what a fine individual he is. the fact that the public can share some of that is extremely important. each of your testimonies really was powerful in regard to that. it's a shame my republican colleagues, especially those who did not sit down with judge garland and aren't here to see that.
there's only one benefit, i can go immediately after senator feinstein. i'll trade that away in a minute for them being here and having a real hearing. one of the things i would like to focus on is what i have learned about judge garland and his ability to bring different sides together and unify an opinion. he has the reputation, at least you on that would know better than me of being a great listener. he's a brilliant man but he listens. he doesn't make up his own mind and then try to push people in that direction. it's particularly important this week to think of being a unifier because were celebrating the anniversary of the brown the board which was a contentious case but due to the efforts of one of our greatest chief justices it was handed down
unanimously and that helped move the nation forward and heal the nation. so the importance of personality on the court is really important. the importance of a personality to find consensus. first let me ask you, and by the way, to show you this, i understand judge lewis testified on behalf of judge alito who was one of your colleagues on the third circuit when he had his hearing, even though i believe he was nominated by george bush and there was no attempt to block it or hold it up. you were there as a witness for him. is that right? >> what i'd really like you to talk about a little bit as a fellow judge, give us a sense of how judge garland brings people together and then to protect it
the same with his clerk, how his has a unique ability to do that. if you could elaborate on that please. >> thank you very much senator schumer. i especially thank you for reminding us that this is a period of time where we celebrate the supreme court's decision in brown's versus the board of education which was handed down in the year of my birth, 1954 and has thus played a very significant role throughout my entire life in many different ways. i say that for more than just the fact that we are observing it this week. i first met judge garland at the home of one of the key advisors to the legal team, justice
thurgood marshall and others in that case. i was at coleman's home and he was hosting a dinner to honor the integration of the federal judiciary. we were cochairing an event that was held here in washington and it was a gathering of all of the federal judges of color called just the beginning and we were hosting a dinner with some people and marek garland was my dinner mate. he sat right next to me. we had a wonderful conversation and i got to know him then. of course in the later years, i obviously followed his work on the court and to answer your question directly, was especially impressed with the number of unanimous decisions he authored, which as you pointed out is an indication of a
consensus builder. that is at the very center, the importance of brown versus the board of education. do you unanimous decision. the justices demanded it be unanimous and did everything possible to ensure that because he knew the import of that case and what it would mean for the country. why is that also very significant to why we are here today? on monday the supreme court issued the subic opinion which we talked about. forgive me for calling that a compromise decision, but that's how i view it. just imagine for a moment if during this period of a 424 split on the court, brown versus
board of education had come up. think about the implications for the nation if that case on monday was brown versus board of education. think about that. as an african-american and as someone who is and always been committed to issues of social justice and civil rights, i can't help but think about that. i can't help but think about it in the context of other cases that are bound to come up to the court during this period. senator leahy, i am am glad that you pointed out that we have some civics civic students pointed behind us. i hope they are learning something, but think of the lesson that where we are at this moment we can, in connection with this nomination and what that stitching them. these are matters that should be of critical importance to all of us on both sides of the aisle.
the future really is at stake. these kinds of decisions that were issued on monday have real consequences. in brown versus board of education, like the subic case, you had decisions in one part of the country that went one way and in delaware, in particular, my former colleague on the third circuit, collin seitz was the chancellor of delaware at that time it was the only judge who was affirmed by the united states supreme court in that case. but imagine if the court said, you know were going to punt on this and hope that you all will work together and figure it out so that in one part of the country we have people continuing to pursue one set of policies and in another we have another. these matter. elections matter. the do newly elected president of the united states has elected a highly qualified person to a
position of great importance. that matters. not the future president, this president president with almost a year left nominated merrick garland to this position. elections matter, decisions decisions matter and the supreme court is a wonderful piece in this morning's new york times about the marginalization of the supreme court as a result of this effort. i just hope, and i join you in wishing that some of your colleagues across the isle were here today to understand this and hear this. there are real consequences affecting real people. some of these are matted matters of life and death. i don't know if you're familiar with the case of duane buck. he is an inmate in texas on death row who was sentenced based on testimony that he pos
a future danger because he was black. that issue, whether whether one's race can be considered a future danger, in texas you have to establish future danger, can be taken into account for eligibility of the death penalty is now before the united states supreme court. this is the 15th consecutive week that the court has not acted in conference neither declining or accepting the case. these are matters sitting there. he's on death row wondering what's going to happen. it matters a great deal senator and thank you very much for the question. >> one of the members of our town, while there several of us that are members of the bar of the supreme court, please go
ahead senator blumenthal. >> thank you very much. thank you for having this hearing and i must say, there is is a lot of history and wisdom and insight and eloquence on this panel. i am deep plea respectful to each of you for your public service to the nation but if i may say so you're no substitute for the real thing. i think you would agree. >> we agree. >> this hearing is no substitute for the real thing. we should be talking not about the damage to our justice system that results from the refusal to have a hearing and a vote, but the qualifications of judge merrick garland with judge
merrick garland in the place where you are sitting now. that's what the american people deserve. i think judge lewis, you you made a very telling point that there is damage to the court and to our justice system from the politicized nation, dragging the court which has affected this place and the american people. i was a law clerk to justice harry blackmun. then u.s. attorney and attorney general of our state. i've argued for cases before the united states prima court. i have a deep respect and reverence for our judicial institution. they should be above policy. i am deeply saddened by the polarization, politically of the
confirmation process and the refusal of our colleagues on the other side to do the right thing and to do their job and instead to obstruct. i think that is not only for deadlock but to use the very apt freezing that you cited from the new york times article, the court is not so much deadlocked as diminished because the effect is not only to fail to resolve but also to duck issues as they did in the ruling in zoo bit and also to fail to take cases and resolve them. i spoke yesterday on the anniversary of brown versus board of education on the anniversary but also on the effect of the court. i have no doubt that brown the board would have never been
decided unanimously given the history and we know more about the history now about what they did in that court. the dynamics would've been totally different and the dynamics now are totally different. the effect is to marginalize the court, diminish it as a branch branch of government which in turn diminishes our democracy. so i think we owe it to the american people to move forward with a hearing and a vote with a man who has superb, in fact impeccable credentials. i would like to ask you, mr. driver, and i have known judge garland for many years. i first met him when i was u.s. attorney decades ago, when he had a hearing in a case and i
think you mentioned it in a letter that you and other clerks wrote, did he come to the hearing and make a decision based on a predetermined point of view or did he, was his mind changed by what he heard, what he read, what he exchanged with you his law clerk? >> yes, i described his attitude and approach toward court cases as being very much bottom-up rather than top-down. by that i mean, he does not have some sort of overarching judicial ideology that he is imposing on the facts of particular cases. instead, he is committed to reading the binding precedents in the briefs and the record and immersing himself in those materials in order to reach an appropriate outcome. i think that is a big part of the reason that he has been so successful at fostering
consistence. in addition to his temperament of not demonizing people, i never heard him utter a disparaging word of any of his colleagues on the d.c. circuit or any other lawyers that appeared before him. i think it's not that he sort of has doesn't have those thoughts but there's a certain generosity of spirit that one sees with judge garland. the immersing himself in the materials allows him to identify points of commonality for himself and other people on the panel so people should not think that the relative lack is indicative of someone trying to cut a deal or sacrifice his court judicial principles. that's not the case at all. nevertheless he is able to identify points of commonality
to have the court speak as a court rather than as three individuals who are sort of offering their own views. >> and someone who believed most deeply in the rule of law. >> absolutely. >> thank you. >> thank you very much and we've talked about pennsylvania and i have great memories of when i served there and i was very proud to serve was senator casey my father, this this is on the irish side of the family, my father was a huge fan of senator casey's father when he was governor. >> senator leahy, i want to thank you for that introduction.
i referred him to senator leahy rather than chairman leahy because this is an unusual form. it's a public meeting, not a hearing. it's so unusual that a member of the senate who is not a member of the judiciary committee was allowed to parachute in and take a seat where the name card initially was senator white house. >> he didn't have unanimous consent. >> i want to thank you for giving me this opportunity. i want to thank the panel because if you hadn't shown up i wouldn't have this opportunity that would give my mother and my wife pride and would cause concern of my three brothers who are lawyers. i won't have a long question, just a brief statement and i'll direct my question to judge lewis. i want to thank you for not just being here and your testimony, and your commentary, your commentary, but also for your
great service. i wasn't here when you were confirmed but i am struck by how different the process is that led to your confirmation is with regard to what were talking about with judge garland. what struck me, the obvious attributes that you would hope every judge or justice would have, the kind of character and experience that you would want, in his case a combination of being a lawyer a prosecutor and the judge, it's just a mark remarkable range of experience and all of that was impressive in his demeanor and his character, but what's interesting to me in meeting him for the first time in sitting in my office talking to him were two things that might be unusual
for a judge, might be evermore unusual for a public official. humility and gratitude. the kind of humility that i think is consistent with what you said judge lewis and one of the statements you made, i think it was with regard to the confirmation of then judge alito about no one having ideas about what is right in that theme that you struck there. that kind of humility that even with all of his academic training and experience, he doesn't have all the answers, but also the ability to listen to other people. secondly, gratitude. i've never met or rarely met someone more grateful for the opportunity to serve as a prosecutor prosecutor and to serve as a judge.
talk us through how those attributes in addition to the others i mentioned are critically important to have on the supreme court even though that word supreme would lead you to believe that there's no need of humility. >> thank you very much senator casey. it's always good to see you. it's certainly good to see you here today. well, you have touched upon the two qualities that come up for me are the most important for anyone holding any public office, but in particular for a judge and perhaps more so for a justice on the united states supreme court. i will explain this by telling you about why i testified on behalf of of justice alito's nomination nomination to the
supreme court ten years ago. i had worked with him for a number of years on the third circuit. i found him to be intellectually honest. i found him to be a person of both humility and gratitude and all of the other qualities that i think go into making a good judge and a good justice. we disagreed on a lot. we disagreed many times on very key areas. we did sometimes join one another in votes. some of them in matters that might surprise people, employment discrimination matters and very significant ones in some other cases.
he was willing to go along with or join a majority where it may have appeared to be inconsistent with his approach which was one that was steeped in far more conservative one than my own. but he was nominated by the president of the united states. he clearly had all of the qualifications necessary to serve on the united states supreme court. he had an educational background and a terrific record service to his country. the solicited generals office in the u.s. attorney and then as a judge. i did not believe, and i do not believe that the mere fact that i disagreed with him ideologically should stand in the way of my standing up and saying yes, of course he is qualified to be on the supreme court in my view. i don't think that a monolithic court that reflects everything i
believe in is appropriate for the country. i am very much in favor and i think it is one of the best features of democratic government that we have a multitude of views that go into the judicial decision-making process and the legislative process. it's very important. the capacity to reach across the aisle, or the bench, in order to do that and do that well is critical. i had observed that during my work with then judge alito. i believe that judge garland reflects that in volumes. as i've mentioned before, the fact that he has been a part of so many cases that have resulted in so many decisions it is an indication that he can do exactly what i'm describing. it's so important, corporate
decision-making if you will, group decision-making at that level requires a capacity to be selfless and to instead look out for the interest of the parties and the litigants before you and also the united states of america. so the record that we have with respect to judge garland is exemplary when it comes to the qualities that you mentioned and i think these are not just personal traits, these are traits that we have to bring with us to the important work that we do on behalf of the nation. thank you. >> thank you and i want to think the panel. we are grateful that you are here and appreciate your time and ongoing public service. the work that you are doing today is public service but i want to thank senator leahy for leading us in this effort to focus on the qualities and the attributes in the experience of
judge garland. not just being the chairman of the committee, but being committed to what i think is hungering and thirsting for justice which is one of the reasons he does such good work as our chairman. thank you very much. >> thank you. i know you and judge lewis have known each other for a long time. i want to thank all the board members and the panel. what we wanted to do on this, obviously not a hearing. it's not a substitute for a substitute for a hearing with judge garland, but those of us who have known him from a long time and i have, we know his qualities. i get frustrated when i hear some of these lobbying groups with attacks against him. he can't respond to those.
if he had a hearing, he could be asked those questions. knowing judge garland as i do, he would have an answer to all of them and swap them down. what you've done, the four of you, has spoken to the quality of a good person. a very good jurist one that any of us who are in court whether plaintiff or defendant, no matter which side were on, we would feel comfortable having him as the jurist there. you know you would have a fair hearing. to quote a former guilty accused person here, the worst expression i've ever heard what
happened in oklahoma city and what you did judge garland was to cross every tn.every eye. i remember your testimony and you are very honest and forthright and you were here today. secretary slater i think of all the times he's been in my office. always speaking on behalf of others and never asking for anything for himself. we have good people in both parties who should be considered i appreciated how you would talk about how he handled his cases. it must've been a pretty exciting time to be a law clerk
[inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation] >> senate majority leader mitch mcconnell was critical of democrats for scheduling a meeting on nominee merrick garland. we will also hear from harry reid who has urged republicans to hold confirmation hearings for president obama's supreme court pick. >> last week they said somewhat like to do some sort of pretend
hearing on the president's supreme court nomination. he went on to dismiss the idea by knowing that the senate is not a pretend office. apparently, he was overruled. later today democrats democrats will have what he called a pretend hearing, the democrats initially invited a witness, who at the beginning of the wit bush administration wrote this. the senate should not act on any supreme court vacancy that might occur until after the next presidential election. he also wrote that this would be a quote responsible exercise of the senate constitutional power. apparently that witness is no longer available.cond the would be witness is a former democratic congressman and federal judge and white house counsel. he wrote these words in the second year of president judge don't be a british first term. e