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tv   [untitled]    May 2, 2012 10:00am-10:30am EDT

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gentlemen, i just wanted to add one note about general martins, and that is that he did not seek this particular position, but in order to ensure that this job be done with a certain level of continuity and optimal professionalism, he requested that his tour be extended so that until i think it was november, 2014, and in doing so, he voluntarily gave up the possibility of having another appointment and a promotion to another -- a higher rank to major general. this is an extraordinary personal sacrifice that has been done in the interest of ensuring that this job be well done. and i just wanted to just make a comment here about this. this is a model of the type of
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service to a cause higher than ones self which is one of the central lesson oz of moral leadership that we here try to incull indicate and encourage in our students. there are so many people are worried about their careers and worried about their position and their corner offices and their personal power, and to have officers like the general doll this kind of service is really the height of civic nobility. i just want to thank you for embodying this and for honoring us with your presence here and your outstand presentation. thank you, sir. >> i've got something for you upstairs. these are symbolic. this is our coin. >> oh, thank you, sir. >> then i've got something here for you. i brought some of these back from afghanistan. this was the cup that we used in
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14 contested provinces of afghanistan. rule of law field support officers go in to try to help build rule of law capacity in local and provincial afghan institutions. we have these cups, john, i wanted to give you one for the command. it's a field cup now, you never have to wash it. rub it on your leg. but afghanistan on the front, my favorite afghan proverb pastun proverb that this institute embodies -- [ speaking foreign language [ speaking foreign language ] a country with outlaw is jungle. and i wanted you to have one of these. >> thank you, sir. we're honored. thank you so much. [ applause ] >> fantastic. >> thank you for coming, ladies and gentlemen. have a great afternoon. >> here's what's coming up on
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the c-span networks today. newt gingrich is planning to officially end his campaign for the republican presidential nomination. he'll make an announcement today in arlington, virginia. c-span will have live coverage of that starting at 3:00 p.m. eastern. c-span2 will also be live at 3:00 with a discussion on the impact of broadband on job creation. a new report says increasing number of african-americans have internet access and that could translate into the more jobs. that the discussion live this afternoon on c-span2 starting at 3:00 p.m. eastern. here on c-span3, it's american history tv primetime all this week while congress is on break. tonight historians on the battles of shiloh and fort donaldson as we look at the 150th anniversary of the civil war this year. c-span's "washington journal" goes on the road this weekend. live from north carolina. leading up to that state's republican presidential primary saturday, the journal will be in greensboro for a visit with international civil rights
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center cofounder melvin alston. sunday we'll talk with the city's mayor about state politics and monday journal will be in raleigh for a chance with the poe foundation chair on conservative free market causes. >> spend the weekend in oklahoma city with book tv and american history tv. saturday at noon eastern, check in on literary life with book tv on c-span2, including governor mary fallon's must read book. former senator david boren on his letter to america, if also rare books from gail lay low, coperson cuss and others from the history of science collection at ou, and sunday at 5:00 p.m. eastern, oklahoma history on american history tv on c-span3. tour the oklahoma city bombing material with codesigner torre booster. plus a look at african-american life and native american artifacts from the special collections at the oklahoma
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"history center." once a month, local content vehicles explore sfe cities across america. this many weekend everybody oklahoma city on c-span2 and 3. >> a discussion now on the role of courts in a democracy. a panel of legal scholars examine whether it's possible for courts to be fair and impartial and maintain public confidence. from the wilson interecenter, t about an hour 40 minutes. >>. >> so we starting on our own cue and we don't need to wait? okay. then it's on your cue. you can begin when you're ready to go. >> okay. good evening. my name is bill robinson. it is my privilege this year to serve as president of the american bar association. welcome to today's special law day program, the courts and constitutional democracy in america. it is truly a pleasure to be
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here at the woodrow wilson international center for scholars in the heart of our nation's capital. if you have the opportunity, please look around this spectacular building and facility. this is our 11th annual leon ja wore skill public program to commemorate law day and our third year conducting it here at the wilson center. we are very pleased to have the wilson center as our host and program partner. at this time, i have the pleasure of introducing my good friend and a great american bar leader, mark agras who is serving as national law day chair. mark? >> thank you, bill. and thank you all for joining us for this annual law day celebration. the tradition we observe today began in 1958 when american bar
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association president charles ryan persuaded president dwight d. eisenhower to establish law day as a day of national dedication to the principles of government under law. since then it, every u.s. president, including president obama, has issued a proclamation recognizing may 1st as law day throughout the united states. i'd like to acknowledge the support and assistance of our partner organizations, our host the woodrow wilson international center for scholars, the federation of state humanities councils represented by president eser mcintosh, justice at stake and its executive director bert brandenburg, the league of women voters represented by executive directder nancy tate, and the national center for state courts represented by its president mary mcqueen. please join me in thanking all of them for their support. i'd also like to acknowledge the
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american bar association staff which has worked so hard to organize this and our other law day activities and particularly those in the aba's public education division which organizes this annual event and the communications and media [division. each iraqi the aba selects a theme that can inform and inspire the hundreds of law day programs and activities that take place in courthouses, schools, state capitals and city halls across america. this year's theme "no courts, no justice, no freedom" was chosen to call attention to a problem of which many of our fellow americans are unaware, the serious underfunding of our state courts and the effect of inadequate resources on the quality of justice in our nation. i'd like to share with you a brief excerpt from the law day proclamation signed today by president barack obama. this year's law day theme no courts, no justice, no freedom, recalls the historic role our
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courts have played in protect protecting the fundamental rights and liberties of all americans. our courts are the guarantors of civil justice, social order, and public safety, and we must do everything we can to enable their critical work. the courthouse doors must be open and the necessary services must be in place to allow all litigants, judges and juries to operate efficiently. likewise, we must ensure that access to justice is not an abstract theory but a concrete commitment that delivers the promise of council and assistance for all who seek it. we all join the president in the hope that this law day has provided an opportunity for all-americans to reflect on the vital role of the courts in providing for the just and peaceful resolution of disputes and safeguarding our rights and lishes and in bringing us closer to the day when the dream of equal justice under law will be a reality. we now conclude our law day observances with this discussion of the courts and constitutional
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democracy in america. thank you for being with us. i hope you enjoy the program. [ applause ] >> thank you very much, mark. at this time, it's my privilege to introduce and call to the microphone the director president, and ceo of the woodrow wilson international center for scholars, jane harman. jane? >> it is my pleasure to welcome all of you to the wilson center for this important event. this is the second time at least on my watch that i have welcomed this group, many of whom are dear friends, especially mark agrast with whom i practiced law in another century in another lifetime, but many people on this podium are also very good friends and it will be exciting for all of you to hear this
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panel discussion. just want to make a few brief points. number one, on this is taken, yesterday, john brennan who is a deputy national security adviser and special assistant to the president, told the world for the first time that yes, in fact, the u.s. operates a drone program that will targets certain individuals under certain circumstances. he said it was very important to him and to the administration that this program be as transparent as possible and that it operate fully under the rule of law. it was a very important speech. and the lawyer in me was pleased to hear him say how important it was that our programs operate fully under the rule of law, as everyone knows in the news lately, there have been -- there has been a lot of conversation about some actions in this era of terror that some, including
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me, feel have exceeded or been outside of the rule of law, and it was very comforting to me to hear yesterday this point. one of the reasons this is matters is, as we all know, that our constitution is the center of really basically the center of the way our country operates. but secondly, as lawyers, i think most of us are lawyers, we will believe that this is important, but in this battle against bad guys around world, one of the values that we have that is rock solid most important is our i think our obligation top operate fully under the rule of law. so i was very comforted by what brennan said. it kind of sets up law day to me this year in a way that is particularly special. let me just finally say that i actually knew leon jaworski and i think tom susman who just
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walked in did, too. he wasn't a close friended of mine but many of the people who worked for him on that watergate commission i guess it was called were people we worked with on the hill and knew as peers. and that was a very difficult and stressful time in our history. many may not have lived through it in this room or listening to this broadcast, but the fact that our country survived things like the saturday night massacre when i personally thought the city might erupt into gunfire is another testament to the rule of law. let me just say that the wilson center loves hosting this event. i personally think it signifies something very important to all of us as lawyers, but also in these stressful times when there are a lot of issues about some of the operations of our government. it is comforting to know that officials do come to the wilson
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center like john brennan and pledge to uphold the rule of law. thank you for being here. i hope you all enjoy the panel. [ applause ] >> thank you very much, jane. our law day theme this year as all of you here now know is no courts, no justice, no freedom. we selected this theme to emphasize why courts are so important. we also want to underscore that without our courts, we simply could not sustain the rule of law in the united states. indeed, open and accessible courts are the cornerstone of a free and democratic society. the framers of our constitution recognize the importance of the courts when they made the judiciary one of three coequal branches of our federal government. our courts, federal and state,
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are where we go to have our rights protected, our injuries redressed, and our disputes we solved. our courts, however, need adequate funding to ensure that all americans have access to justice. without the access to justice, the fundamental freedoms that we all enjoy and treasure be are profoundly threatened. unfortunately, there has been a troubling trend in our state courts as a result of declining budgets, and increasing work loads. many of our state courts are seriously underfunded. this is especially disturbing because state judiciaries handle over 95% of all cases processed in this country. courts simply prumust be open, available, and properly funded and supported. courts are the very guardians of our fundamental freedoms.
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we must all do our part to sustain them so that they can do their work to sustain constitutional democracy in america. constitutional democracy is the key to freedom. and freedom is what we're talking about today. i am pleased to introduce our program moderator, john milewski. john is managing editor and host of the wilson center's award-winning radio and television program "dialogue." he also serves as the wilson center's director of communications. john is a veteran broadcast journalist and communications professional with extensive experience as i moderator, interviewer, anchor, reporter, and producer. jon is a frequent moderator for the leon jaworski series and other public programs and panel discussions of the american bar association division for public
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education for which jon, we are very grateful. i am now pleased to turn it the program over to jon and look forward to this panel discussion. jon? [ applause ] >> thank you, bill. you were kind enough to not add that i was born the same year as law day. but in the spirit of transparency, welcome to the wilson center. i know you've been welcomed before but i want to add my welcome, as well. some of you are familiar faces from these past programs that you referenced some newcomers. we're glad to have you here. i also want to say hello to those of you joining us via c-span. we're happy america's favorite network is here today to cover this event because we have a lot of interesting things to talk about. my job in addition to leading the conversation is to introduce to you our panel. all of you did pick up a program on your way in. so you can get extensive bios within that program. i'm going to give you the abbreviated version and those joining us via television. i'll do it from your left to
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right. next to me is christine durham, a member of utah's supreme court since '82. she served as chief justice and chair of the utah judicial council from actual to 2012. also with us, mickey edwards. he was a member of the u.s. house of representatives from oklahoma from 1977 to 1992. he's now vice president of the aspen institute and an associate of the program in law and public affairs at princeton university. linda greenhouse is a senior research scholar in law and knight distinguished journalist in residence at yale law school. previously, she covered the supreme court for "the new york times." share lynn ifill is a professor of law at the francis carey school of law. previously she served at the naacp legal defense and educational fund. and finally jeffrey rosen, professor of law at the georgetown university lieu
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school and is a nonresident senior fellow at the brookings institution. please welcome our panel. i want to begin with the the concept, everybody know the concept of the elevator speech? did any of you have to tolerate one on your way in today? this is in sort of sales or marketing or public relations this idea that if you have only captured a person's attention for the time it takes an elevator to reach its destination and let's pretend it's the wilson center, not the empire state building, the question is what the elevator speech if you're responding to the question about the role of our courts in our constitutional democracy? what is the brief version of that? what would you tell a newcomer to the country or an alien invasion force from a different planet or someone you were trying to educate what that's all about. let's do it in reverse order of introduction. you thought you were going to go to go last. >> i thought i would have at
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least time as it takes to go up the elevator. what is this -- >> we're on the sixth floor of an 8th floorable 12345078 seconds. >> start your timers. >> the role of the court is to enforce constitutional limitations when they're clear and to defer to the legislature when the constitution doesn't clearly speak. basic rights like freedom of speech, freedom of expression, privacy, all these have been enforced by courts but ultimately our constitutional liberties are guarded not only by judges but also by the engaged citizens of the united states of america. how is that? 30 seconds. >> not bad. terrific. >> hard to follow. >> everyone is fleeing from the elevator at this point. looking at those little c pan things. >> if i had a wrench, i'd stop the elevator. i would say that will no right that you hold in a democracy has any meaning without the presence of fair and impartial courts.
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it is the one branch of government in which we all eventual equal interest, should have equal interest, and it's the one branch of government that i think actually cannot, that its absence means the absence of democracy. there can be problems in the legislature, problems with the president. some of you have mentioned watergate, for example, but when the courts lose their essential function, when is they become corrupted, you cannot have a democracy. >> okay. very good. linda? >> just to build on that and you're talking to somebody who long ago in my reporting career i was once late for an interview with the mayor of baltimore and i consumed an entire bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich in the elevator on the way to his office and the office was on the second floor. it was not a pretty sighting. >> wow. elevator speech, heimlich maneuver if necessary. >> so independence i think is really the key to making work the principles that jeff and share lynn just enunciated, and
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i'm going to quote, there's a lot of very good little essays in this booklet, but one of my favorite and it was my favorite before i saw it here is from justice breyer who talks about judicial independence. this is on page 12. and he says, ultimately, independence is a matter of custom, habit, and institutional expectation to build those customs, habits and expectations requires time and support not only from the bench and bar but from the communities where the judges serve. so we're talking about a culture that respects our courts, trusts our courts, supports our courts and i think that's part of what law day is about, and that's why we're here. >> great. terrific. congressman? >> democracy is not an end. it's a means, and democracy is about process, not outcome. and the important barometers of what is a healthy democracy like the kind we try to get
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established in other places and to preserve in our own country are two things, one is the ability to choose for ourselves who will make the laws that we will live under and second, to establish justice. that's right at the very beginning of why we created the constitutional system we have, to establish justice and that's not known dispute settlement and protection against overreach by government but it's also to make sure that from citizen has a day in court in front of a fair and impartial bench. >> okay. now we've kicked this to the utah supreme court. >> well, i sit perhaps in -- where the rubber hits the road with respect to state courts at least. i think i'd offer an answer to the question that suggests that the mission of courts is the fulfillment of the states' constitutional obligation to its citizens to provide a fair and impartial forum for the resolution of private and public
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disputes and for the vindication of individual rights. thank you. that concludes our discussion. the final word. >> the "american idol" version. >> now what i'm going to ask you to do is a little free-for-all. put your heads together and you've already begun to do it. what are the essentials of this system? what are the nonnegotiables? what are the primary things without which it cannot function effectively? you've touched on some of those things like independence and access. but let's see the what kind of list we can put together for the next few minutes. who would like to begin? linda? >> well, i was going to say i'll take the pragmatic approach again and suggest that resources are essential. one of the things that i learned in my experience with leading a state court system and working with state court systems all around the country is that courts are no longer small private fairs.
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state courts. which they once were. they were once local courts existing in small communities. they are now large complex organizations and the shear volume that that 95% of the nation's judicial business that will president robinson alluded to translates into close to 50 million filings exclusive of traffic in state courts throughout the country every year and without adequate resources, those cases can't lead to just resolutions of disputes. >> you shared, speaking of numbers you shared a number with me in an earlier discussion earlier today, the difference between the amount of federal cases versus the amount of state cases. >> right, when you translate the 95% for the last number we have relatively accurate figures, in a single year, the federal courts exclusive of bankruptcy saul about 385,000 cases filed per year. in the state courts nationally for the same period of time --
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and that's for the whole country. in the state courts the aggregate number was over 47 million cases. so it's truly a staggering disproportion. i don't mean to be disrespectful to the federal court buzz they just don't do as much work as we do. >> jeffrey? >> how about it the power of judicial review? we've got a great excerpt from alexander hamilton who says that without the ability. judges to strike down unconstitutional laws, then the people cannot be supreme. and he says it's better than anyone else so he says that it is crucial, there is -- here it is. no legislative act contrary to the constitution can be valid. to deny this would be to affirm that the deputy is greater than his principal, that the servant is above his master, that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves. and then doesn't suppose that judges are superior to everyone else. it supposes that the power of the people are superior to both
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and when the will of the legislature stands in opposition to that of the people declared in the constitution, the judges ought to be governed by the latter rather than the former. that's the basic idea that legislatures represent themselves and the temporary passions of the people but fundamental values are embraced in the constitution and unless judges country enforce those, then limitations will be lost. >> resources recent judicial review. linda? >> i was going to mention the concept of transparency because i think people have to feel that the courts are doing their work in the public's space. and you know, you can debate the kind of finer points of it, but i think one area of concern is the -- is the privatization of justice to the extent that dispute resolutions of various kinds move outside the courts into the hands of private arbitrators or whatever. you know, that's fine for efficiency and it probably works
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pretty well much of the time for the parties, but it cuts out the public. and i think that's, you know, something we have to keep in mind. >> yeah, i was going to vote for transparency, as well. i'd say it's transparent not only of the process of judicial decision making but also the process of judicial selection. i think the public has to be able to feel and see justice. justice is not something you can hear about by rumor. you have to kind of experience it and encounter it to believe in it. so this question of transparent sit is critically important. public has to feel not that they necessarily have a direct role in the selection of everyone who sits on the court but that they can see the mechanics, the mechanisms at work that show how judges get selected, how they come to sit on the court. >> no mysterious star chamber appointments. >> no behind the curtain selection of justices. because judges have such power and we want to have a this level
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of respect for them and that really requires this be france parent sought public. to linda's point, the transparency issue is critically important. the open court, the idea of being able to walk in and sit down and watch any proceeding and watch a justice on the bench engage until oral argument or preside over a trial is critically important to our sense of the courts as being real, as being real democratic institutions. and to the legitimacy, frankly of the bench. anything that happens behind closed doors leads to rumor, innuendo, and so forth. i think linda's being quite charitable. i think the move towards the privatization of litigation is actually a danger, frankly, to our damecracy and a danger to the legitimacy of our justice system. the more that the public doesn't see, the more mischief can happen but more importantly the appearance is that we don't oper


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