tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN May 18, 2016 11:00am-1:01pm EDT
and most of all, i'm proud to be with the heroes on the front row. and with the families who have supported them. and the family of one who made the ultimate sacrifice. it's been said that perfect valor is doing without witnesses what you would do if the whole world were watching. the public safety officers we recognize today with the medal of valor found courage not in search of recognition they did it instinctively. this is an award none of them sought. if they could go back in time i suspect they would prefer none of this had happened. as one of the honorees said about his actions i could have gone my whole career and not dealt with the situation and been very happy with that. if they had their way, none of
them would have to be here. and so we're grateful that they are. and our entire nation expresses its profound gratitude. more important, we're so grateful that they were there. some on duty, others off duty. all rising above and beyond the call of duty. all saving the lives of people they didn't know. that distinction that these 13 officers of valor saved the lives of strangers is the first of several qualities they share. but their bravery, if it had not been for their bravery, we likely would have lost a lot of people, mothers, brothers, sons, daughters, friends, and loved ones. thankfully they are still with their families today because
these officers were where they needed to be most at a critical time. at a gas station during a routine patrol. in the middle of a busy hospital, in a grocery store, on the campus of a community college. near an elementary school where a sheriff's deputy's children and his wife taught. in each of these moments these officers were true to their oat oaths. to a person each of these honorees acted without regard a for their on safety. they stood up to individuals brandishing guns and knives. one officer sustained multiple stab wounds, another endured first degree burns to his arms and face while pulling an unconscious driver from a burning car on a freeway. each of them will tell you, very humbly the same they they were just doing their jobs. they were doing what they had to
do, what they were trained to do. like on any other day. the officer who suffered those terrible burns, he left urgent care and went straight to work. he had to finish his shift. that sense of duty and purpose is what these americans embody. truth is, it's because of your courage, sometimes seen but sometimes unseen that the rest of us can go about living our lives like it's any other day. going to work, going to school, spending time with our families. getting home safely. we so appreciate our public safety officers around the country from our rookie cadets to our role model of an attorney general. not everyone will wear the medal that we give today but every day so many of our public safety officers wear a badge of honor. the men and women who run toward
danger remind us with your courage and humility what the highest form of citizenship looks like. when you see students and commuters and shoppers at risk dwroi you don't see the civilians as strangers you see them as part of your own family and community. scripture teaches us you love your neighbor as yourself. you put others' safety before your own. your proud example of public service you remind us that loving our country means loving one another. today we also want to acknowledge the profound sacrifices made by your families. i had a chance to meet some of them and they were all clearly so proud of you, but we're very proud of them. we know that you wait up late and you're worried and you're counting down the minutes until your loved one walks through the door safe after a long shift.
we know it never gets easier. we thank you for that. of course, we honor those who didn't come home including one here we honor hoposthumously. he gave his life where sergeant wilson was buying his son a birthday present. to his family who is here, his grandmother, constance, his brother and sister, please know how deeply sorry we are for your loss. how grateful we are for sergeant wilson's service. we also honor the more than 35 who have given their lives in the line of duty so far this year. one of them, an officer in virginia named ashley marie guwinden was taken from us on
her very first shift. we read the names carved on these walls of the memorial and grieve with the families who carry the fallen in their hearts forever. we've been moved deeply by their anguish but also by their pride in the lives their loved ones lived. and in those moments we're reminded of our enduring obligation as citizens that they sacrificed so much for that we do right by them. and their families. medals and ceremonies like today are important. but these aren't enough to convey the two depth of our gratitude, our words will be hollow if they're not matched by deeds. our nation has a responsibility to support those who serve and protect us and keep our streets safe. we can show our respect by listening to you, learning from you, giving you the resources you need to do the jobs.
that inmissithe mission of our force that brought together community members, civic leaders to find concrete solutions that make your job safer. our country needs that right now. we're going to keep pushing congress to move forward a bipartisan way to make our criminal justice system fairer smarter and more cost effective and enhance public safety and insure the men and women in this room have the ability to enforce the law and keep their communities safe. i signed in laws to protect law enforcement officer offices tha help departments buy more bullet proof vests. emerson once said there is always safety in valor. the public safety officers we honor today give those words new meaning. it's your courage and quick
thinking that gave us our safety. so we want to thank you for your service, we want to thank your families for your sacrifice. i had a chance before i came out here to make with the recipients and i think although this particular moment for which you are being honored is remarkable, we also know that every day you go out there, you got a tough job. and we could not be prouder of not only moments like the ones we recognize here today, but just the day-to-day grind. you doing your jobs professionally, you doing your jobs with character. we want you to know we could not be prouder of you and we couldn't be prouder of your families for all the contributions that you make. so may god bless you and your families. may god bless our fallen heroes.
may god bless the united states of america and it's now my honor to award these medals as the citations are read. >> officer mario gutierrez. medal of valor presented to officer mario gutierrez, miami-dade police department, florida. for bravery and composure while enduring a violent attack he was stabbed multiple times while fighting off an assailant.
>> officer jason solace, officer ror robert sparks and raymond buttonfield. medal of valor presented to officer jason solace, officer robert sparks and captain raymond buttonfield, santa monica police department, california. for courage and composure in ending a deadly rampage. officer solace, sparks and captain buttonfield places themselves in danger to save students during a school shooting on the campus of santa monica college.
[ applause ] major david huff. medal of valor presented to major david huff midwest city police department, oklahoma. for uncommon poise in resolving a dangerous hostage situation. major huff saved a life of a 2-year-old girl after negotiations deteriorated with a man holding the child captive at knifepoint.
[ applause ] officer donald thompson. medal of valor presented to officer donald thompson los angeles police department california for courageous action to save an accident victim. he traversed two highway dividers and suffered third degree burns pulling the victim from a car before it was ingulfed in flames. [ applause ]
officer carl walker. medal of valor presented to officer carl walker, omaha police department, nebraska. for taking brave and decisive action to subdue an active shootheart after exchanging gun fire he single handedly incapac tited a man who it killed and injured multiple victims on a shootin sprehooting spree. [ applause ]
officer gregory stevens. medal of valor presented to officer gregory stevens garland police department, texas. for demonstrating extraordinary courage to save lives. officer stevens exchanged gun fire at close range and subdued two heavily armed assailants preventing a deadly act of terrorism. [ applause ] mrs. constance wilson accepting on behalf of sergeant wilson iii. medal of valor presented to
medal of valor presented to officer nial johnson north miami police department florida. for swift action to end a violent crime spree. he pursued a man who had shot a miami police officer and two other officers and apprehended the assailant. [ applause ] special agent tyler caul. medal of valor presented to special agent tyler caul federal bureau of investigation for his
heroic actions to save a hostage. special agent caul helped rescue a woman from her exhusband who had violated a restraining order and help the victim at gunpoint. [ applause ] deputy joey torterella. medal of valor presented to him niagara county sheriff's office, new york for placing himself tin grave danger to project his community.
he confronted and subdued a gunman who had shot and wounded his parents from their home and by subduing the gunman before he could reach a nearby school. [ applause ] . >> let's give one big round of applause to the recipients of the medal of valor. [ applause ] thank you all, thank you for your dedication. thanks for your service. you are continuously in our thoughts and prayers and we are continuously giving thanks for all that you and your families
democrats on the senate committee are holding a forum regarding the nomination of merrick garland to be the next supreme court justice. senate republicans have been saying they will not hold confirmation hearings for the judge. democrats have invited people who have worked with mr. garland to talk about his legal work. we'll have live coverage starting in about ten minutes from now. right now, remarks on the senate floor from earlier today about the forum for judge garland. last week, the top democrat on the committee said they would like to do some sort of pretend hearing on the president's
supreme court nomination. he went on to dismiss the idea by noting the senate is not a pretend office. apparently he was overruled. later today, democrats will have what he called a pretend hearing. senate democrats initially invited a witness who at the beginning of the bush administration wrote this, the senate should not act on any supreme court vacancies that might occur until after the next presidential election. apparently that witness is no longer available. interesting. the would be witness is a former democratic congressman federal judge and white house counsel. he wrote the words in the second year of president george w. bush's first term. it was not like the situation today, in the eighth year of a term limited president.
democrats certainly have a complicated history when it comes to their own words and the supreme court. they had the schumer standard, don't consider a president's nominee one and a half years before the end of his final term. they have the biden rule. don't consider a president's nominee before he's even finished his first term. now they have this mandate. don't consider a president's nominee from basically the moment he takes office. it seems the more we hear from democrats about the supreme court, the more we're reminded by comparison of how reasonable and commonsense the republican position is today. now, on one final matter, that colleagues will discuss further a little later today, a video recently surfaced that should concern all of us. it was three of president obama's former speech writers
laughing it up. they were reminiscing about the time they apparently helped mislead the american people with a line that would one day become political facts lie of the year. if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it. they laughed. and laughed. it was evidently pretty funny to them. it's no laughing matter however for the millions, millions who have lost their plans. it's no laughing matter for the millions who continue to suffer under this partisan law, this partisan attack on the middle class. healthcare costs are now the number one financial concern facing american families according to a recent survey. number one, more than concerns about low wages, more even than concerns about losing a job. another survey found a clear majority of americans disapproving of this partisan law. yet another survey found that of
the americans who said obamacare had impacted them, more reported it hurting than helping them. if recent headlines are anything to go by, no wonder. americans now face premium hikes of up to 30% in oregon and 37% in virginia. they face premium spikes as high as 45% in new hampshire. in tennessee, the state's largest health insurer is planning additional rate hikes that are higher than the 36.3% implemented this january. nearly half of all americans reported increases in their insurance premiums and more than a third reported increases in co-pays and deductibles in the past two years. consider this dad from jackson, kentucky, who learned his insurer would no longer offer his current plan as a result of
obamacare. he said that the most inexpensive replacement plan would be an 80% increase over his current monthly premium. this ill conceived healthcare reform as he put it is going to be the end of good quality care for the whole nation unless it's repealed. and replaced. that from jackson, kentucky. part of the reason insurers are seeking such rate increases is to help cover the losses they've experienced as a result of the unworkable policies of obamacare. some are pulling out of the exchanges all together. several states and hundreds of counties will only have a single insurer to pick from in the obamacare exchanges. just one. no choices. that's true in parts of kentucky, too, and it's terrible for consumers. what if the sole insurers pull out of the exchanges? an administration official couldn't rule out that possibility and it doesn't appear they have a serious plan to deal with it, either.
the administration hardly ever seems to have an obamacare answer. that doesn't boil down to this, more money from taxpayers. look, this is not a law that's working. this is not a law that's fair. it's a partisan law that's a direct attack, a direct attack on the middle class. democratic leader recently said americans need to get over it. just get over it. and accept the fact that obamacare is here to stay. obamacare he says is doing so much to change america forever. maybe democrats think the middle class should just get over double digit premium increases. maybe democrats think it's funny millions of americans lost their plans because of obamacare. republicans think we should work toward better care instead. that's why we recently passed a
bill to repeal obamacare and start over with real care. obamacare may be changing america, but this partisan law's attacks on the middle class don't have to go on forever as the democratic leader would like. we can give our country a new and better beginning. and a live picture from capitol hill where we are -- have cameras for the forum for judge merrick garland. you just heard mitch mcconnell talking about. senate republicans refusing to conduct those confirmation hearings for judge garland. so senate democrats today are hosting this forum to hear from people who have worked would mr. garland to talk about his character and his legal work. among the witnesses we expect to hear from today former u.s. attorney, university of chicago law professor, former transportation secretary rodney slater is among those witnesses. and a former federal appeals court judge. this is live coverage on cspan
before we start, we're waiting on a couple other members coming over. we have a number of civics teachers in the audience. would they raise their hands, please? quite a few civics teachers. i was telling some of them i am delighted to see schools teaching civics and history. it's -- and when you get done,
it might be good for you to come and do a seminar for the senators. i'm sorry. that was -- that was my out loud voice. this morning, seeing my fellow members here this morning, the chairman grassley convened a confirming hearing. declaring a mission for the hearing was chief judge merrick garland. it's been two months since he was nominated to fill the vacancy in the supreme court. in fact, blocking the way it has is totally unprecedented. he would have already had a public hearing if he hadn't been blocked. we'd be poised to report him out of the committee. what bothers me is because he does not have a hearing and they're not allowing him to have a hearing, his record is being
smeared by outside groups. some of these pacs and others. senate republicans are denying a distinguished public hearing and a fair opportunity. i can't convene a confirmation hearing, we're in the minority. but just because republicans refuse to do their judge on judge garland's nomination, doesn't mean that we democrats would stop doing ours. we take our 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 harm stemming from it. the supreme court has repeatedly failed to have a decision. they've been tied decision. let the courts of appeals below them 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 him 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 a former prosecutor, she worked with marlerrick garland. she's part of the team that investigated the oklahoma city bombings. one of the most complex prosecutions we've had in this country. professor driver is a professor of law at the university of chicago. he clerked for the chief judge before he clerked with the supreme court for justice sandra day o'connor and justice steven briar. and justice o'connor said we should be having a full nomination hearing and a vote of merrick garland.
and secretary rodney slater is a former secretary of transportation under president bill clinton. he previously served as the first african-american administrator of the federal highway administration. he's an old friends. judge timothy k. lewis is a former judge on the u.s. court of -- circuit court of appeals for the third circuit. he knows very well how the circuit courts work. he was appointed by president george h.w. bush in 1992. i had the privilege of voting to confirm him. also served as a district judge in the western district of pennsylvania. what i would suggest we do, probably have each of the witnesses say why they're here. if we could then ask questions
of the witnesses. i wonder -- and not just because of the vermont connection or the fact we're both former prosecutors, but let me call -- >> you could say because she's a woman. >> because we have -- we also have italian ancestry. so -- >> she's a woman and should go first. >> i'll be the last person to argue with senator feinstein who is one of the most valuable members of this committee. please go ahead. >> thank you, senator. [ inaudible ] >> 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 work very closely together at the department of justice, judge merrick garland. merrick and i have known one
another. we were at doj in 1993 through 1997. but i think probably the time we really bonded were the days of 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 utmost chaos and tragedy. and the entire time, just focusing on what needed to be done that prosecution had to occur, that the investigation needed to be done in the right way. and to make sure that the rule of law was going to be followed. and that emotions would not take any part of what we were doing. and it was an interesting time. it was chaos. everybody probably wanted to stop what they were doing
because it was the most horrific crime on american soil at the time. but we had to go forward. we had to bring the perpetrators to justice. we had to find out what was going on and what actually happened. like i had never seen before in my entire professional life as prosecutor, more tools, more agents, more cops, more first responders, all in one spot and all anybody wanted to do was to help. and we needed somebody to be the conductor and orchestrate all that energy, all that smartness, all that brain, all that power to go ahead and investigate the case. and i can answer plenty of questions with you. but merrick and i literally when he got there we walked through the murrow building. at the time we walked past the day care center. we didn't say anything, we just
kept walking. and there were cars that literally were still smoldering in between the murrow building and daily register. there were cadaver dogs, first rescue dogs and cadaver dogs trying to find the remains of the people that perished in that building that day. and walking through there, it was more not being talked about. actually, we didn't talk about it until the 20 years reunion when we were both in oklahoma city. we finally just talked about it and both of us had tears in our eyes the whole time. tears in our eyes did not happen when we were in oklahoma city. too much adrenaline and too much trying to make sure we were doing our jobs for the american people. there were a lot of people that have strong personalities. and watching merrick literally navigate his way to make sure that 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. he's always 25 steps ahead of everybody else. and there were some decisions that were made early on in that investigation that but for merrick, we could have made a mistake. we could have make lots of mistakes because at the time everybody wanted to throw the evidence at us without making sure our papers were documented and that we had done exactly what was needed to be done in following the rule of law. but i'm going to allow the rest of my colleagues here to speak about merrick i'll be more than happy to answer any questions about judge garland and about his qualifications. >> thank you. judge lewis, we've heard that we can't move forward because it's an election year. you were nominated to the third circuit september 1992 which was an election year.
it's also a presidential election year. you were nominated by a republican president. there was a senate democrats were in the majority. we got you through in confirmation in october of the election year. am i correct on those dates? [ inaudible ] >> yes you are correct. >> would it be safe to say if the democrats have given the republican president -- if we said there's an election year exception you would not have been confirmed. >> i think it is fair to say that. and 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 an election year exception until this happened. yes, i was nominated by
president george h.w. bush for a vacancy on the third circuit court of appeals on i believe september 18th, 1992. this, of course, was on the eve of the presidential election. it was a hotly contested one, of course, as they all are. and i was unanimously confirmed on october 8th. the election was november 3rd. i am living proof that that can happen. and i am also living proof that the republic still survives and goes on and does fairly well, i hope. 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 in my statement, really no harm, no foul. and i think that at that time -- this was now 24 years ago, there was a culture of bipartisanship that is severely lacking today. and that's most unfortunate. i come from a wonderful commonwealth that has produced the likes of hugh scott, 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, highly qualified nominee and incidentally a terrific human being, merrick garland. you ask why i am here. i am here because i refuse to accept that. and i think that the country should refuse to accept it, 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 with decency. i think that 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 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 it is compelled by law or not, 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, an idological arm of any political party. i detest as a former federal judge and as an american citizen seeing that occur today. i believe that the supreme court must remain above the fray because it is a symbol of our greatest aspirations as a society. and i believe that we have to do whatever we can, and that's why i'm here to do to help insure that that continues. thank you. >> thank you very much. i had the privilege of serving with both senator hugh scott and senator heinz. i agree with what you said. we have former secretary rodney slater who i mentioned before. we've talked about this. and the -- this nomination. i'll turn it to you, secretary
slater, please go ahead. >> thank you. thank you senator, thank you senators. i'd 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 midst of a very rigorous campaign during that period, october 1992. and i was working for a 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 to move forward as a beacon of light and hope for democracies around the world. it's clear from judge lewis's comments that we gather not for any partisan purpose, but as believers in the constitution. and has given some of us the opportunity to be nominated by a 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. and 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 thank you and thank judge garland for the work that you did in responding to the oklahoma city bombing. i was the federal highway administrator during my first stint in the federal government. we lost 11 individuals, members of our team, who were a part of the 168 killed that day.
and it was in that breach of a hallowed out federal building of shattered lives and of grave uncertainty that judge garland stepped forward to protect and defend. i want to say to all of you that he and i actually have this special relationship with an individual that i'd also like to lift up at this moment. his name is mr. william coleman. he was the first african-american secretary of transportation. he was appointed, nominated and confirmed during the ford administration. so he, too, came to the ford a special time and he gave me counsel when i was going through
the process. he's also a very dear friend to judge garland. for the law and for the rule of law. so i lift up his connection as well. finally, i'd just like to say this. when my u wife and i came to washington, we didn't know a lot of people. we had a young daughter. her name was bridgette. we met the garlands, who had two daughters. and their daughters gave us a sense of the place and helped us become comfortable in the place.
so this is a good man. he's a devoted husband. he's a doting father. he's an engage and committed parent. so i'm just very, very pleased to be here in this connected group of individuals to lift my voice in support of judge garla garland's nomination to the united states supreme court. >> thank you very, very much.
the justice nominated by ronald reagan and the other just briar nominated by president bill clinton. so 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 an associate justice of the supreme court of the united states. senator just mentioned i have the privilege of serving as a law clerk to judge garland on the u.s. court of appeals for the circuit from 2005 to 2006. clerking for judge garland was an invaluable experience. it was, without question, the most formative single year of my entire career. as has been well documented, judge garland possesses a sharp analytical mind. he works very long hours in
order to make sure that his cases come out in the right way. he is a judge's judge. in order to do that it takes long hours in immersing himself in the cases and briefs, talking about the cases with the clerks in order to make sure that he's reaching the right conclusion. in his approach to the law, he deliberately avoids offering some sort of grand and sweeping pronouncement and instead keeps the opinions narrow so as to dispose of the cases that are before him and to honor the existing precedence. he also makes sure that he never loses sight of the fact that the legal opinions that he and his colleagues produce influence the lives of ordinary citizens. so he's meticulous in his
approach and nothing better exemplifies the idea than before the 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 aloud in order to make sure that everything was exactly right and be open to last-minute modifications. so that's emblem attic of his attitude. he's 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, from different viewpoints together as a way of fostering consensus. very few times during his years on the d.c. circuit. and he has absolutely first rate
demeanor. one of the first questions he would ask when he returns to his chambers is how was my demeanor on the bench. he wanted to make sure that 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 willingness to see people and try to see things from their perspective that has won him a host of admirers who are republicans, but who are also lawyers and identify judge garland as being someone who is open minded and fair minded and demonstrates all of the qualities of being a first rate justice. before i close, i want to say u just a couple things about some of judge garland's personal characteristics that inspire
such 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 of relatively recent vintage in my own life that demonstrate that he stands by his u law clerks through times difficult and joyous alike. when my mother died a little more than two years ago, judge garland wrote a warm note offering me condolences for my las lost. when i received an endowed chair, judge garland was among the first people to reach out and congratulate me on that honor. so difficult and joyous he's there by your side. the other thing is that one of the really vivid and dellable images from my time during the clerkship is right around 6:00 p.m. judge garland i would see him furiously and feverishly
to common deer the car's audio system. so the lesson to at least 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 by his sbeintellect he would make an excellent justice. conversely, the failure to confirm the nomination to the supreme court would represent not only a grave injustice for this particular nominee but may also protend catastrophic consequences for our constitutional order. thank you. first didn't ask by senator
casey in pennsylvania. and i u don't know 23 you heard the comments made earlier about some of your predecessors. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. and to those who have testified today, i just want to say thank you and specifically u i can say i knew you before you had gray hair on your head and i hope it wasn't the federal government who put it there but it probably was. welcome back. it's good to see you. leaving for substantial period of time. the united states supreme court on a tied position. the court is divide.
by the time you get through the vetting process, you can process another nominee. so i wanted to ask the question as to what happens when the court accepts -- what happens when the court is tied and the lower courts are split and is unable to resolve a case. we have seen that already in four tie votes, a public sector labor case from my home state, a death penalty case, a state sovereignty u case and a gender discrimination case. and this week the court deferred on an important issue involving whether religiously affiliated nonprofits can withhold contraceptive coverage from their employees.
on what happens when you have a 4-4 split is, could we begin with you professor driver? >> sure, so the technical answer is that when the court is 4-4 that it's affirmed by an equally divided court without setting precedential value. as the senator suggests, the result is that a conflict that exists in the federal court remains a conflict and it's an issue that the court identified as needing a uniform federal law. 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? >> yeah, so the result is a lack of uniformity where the courses of appeals have reached differing answers and it creates often times uncertainty sbo the law and that's difficult for all sorts of citizens. i should also say that given the potentially u lengthy timeline in absence that it could shape the cases that the court ends up hearing. so the cases that are currently not being decided, in effect, were already in the pipeline before justice scalia's death. during the search stage when they are contemplating a question, one could imagine a
scenario where there's a chance we could be dead locked and there's still a lack of uniformity with respect to the federal law. and the justices have gone to great lengths in order to avoid reaching a dead lock but sometimes that will introduce more uncertainty into the law for reasons you identified earlier where one attempts to send something back down without deciding, as we saw in the important reproductive rights decision, the court views itself as articulating applicable principles, not resolving a dispute between a few parties. it seems like a very undesirable consequence. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator schumer? >> thank you. i want to thank the witnesses. what you're doing is allowing the public to see what we
senators, who have had a chance to meet merrick garland, what a fine judge he is and what a fine individual he is. it's extremely important. and 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, aren't here to hear that. there's only one benefit. i can go after senator feinstein. but i'd trade that away in a minute for hearing them being here and having a real hearing. one of the things i'd like to focus on is what i have learned about judge garland. his ability to bring different sides together and unify an opinion. he has the reputation at least you all would know better than
me of being a great listener. he's a really brilliant man, but he listens. he doesn't make up his own mind and then try to push people in that direction. and this is particularly important this week to think of being a unifier because we're celebrating the anniversary of the historic brown v. board decision. obviously, a very contentious case, but due to the efforts of one of our greatest chief justices justice earl warren was handed down unanimously and 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. so first, let me ask you, judge lewis. and by the way, to show you the breath of this you testified on behalf of judge alito when he
had his hearing even though i believe he was nominated by george bush. you were there as a witness for him. is that right? >> that's right. >> what i'd really like you to talk about as a fellow judge, give us a sense of how judge garland brings people together and to professor driver, the same as his clerk, how his story, unique ability to do that. >> i thank you for reminding us that this is a period of time when we celebrate the supreme court's decision in brown v. board of education, which was handed down in the year of my birth, 1954, and has thus played
we had a wonderful conversation. got to know him then. and later years i obviously followed his work on the court and the number of unanimous decisions he authored, which as you pointed out is as an indication of a consensus building. he was at the meaning of brown v. board of education. a unanimous decision. the chief justice demanded that it be unanimous and did everything possible to ensure that that would happen because he knew the import of that case and what it would mean for the country. on monday the supreme court
issued the zubik opinion. forgiving me for calling that a compromised decision, but that's how i view it. just imagine for a moment if during this period of a 4-4 split on the court, brown v. board of education had come up. think about the implications for the nation if that case on monday was brown v. board of education. think about that. as an african-american and someone who and has always been committed to issues of social justice and civil rights, i can't help but think about that, and i u can't help but think about it in the other context of cases that are bound to come up to the court during this period. senator leahy, i'm glad you
pointed out that we have some civics students seated behind us here today. this nomination is teaching them. these are matters that should be of critical importance to all of us on both sides of the aisle u. the future really is at stake. these kinds of decisions issued on monday have real consequences. in brown v. board of education, you had decisions in one part of the country that went one way u and in delaware in particular my former colleague on the third circuits was the chancellor at that time and was the only judge who was au firmed by the supreme court in that case.
but naj imagine if the court said we're going to punt and hope you all will work together and figure it out. so that on one part of the country we have people continuing to pursue one set of policies. elections matter. the president of the united states has nominated a highly qualified person. that matters. this president with almost a year left nominated merrick garland to that th position. decisions matter, and the supreme court is a wonderful piece in this morning's "new york times" about the marginization of the supreme court as a result of this effort. and i just hope and i u join you
in wishing some of your colleagues across the aisle were here today to understand this and to hear this. there are real consequences affect iing real people. some of these are 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 can be taken into account in determining eligibility for the death penalty is now for the supreme court on a petition. this is the fifth consecutive week. that the court has not abouted. declining or accepting the case.
these are he's sitting on death row and there are others. so it matters a great deal, senator, and thank you very much for the question. >>. >> one of the members of our panel is several of us were members of the bar that supreme court and u.s. attorney senator blumenth blumenthal, please go ahead, sir. >> thank you very much. and thank you for having this hearing and i must say there is a lot of history and wisdom and insight and eloquence on this panel and i'm deeply respectful of each of you for your public service to our nation. but if i u may say so, you're no
substitute for the real thing. >> we understand. >> i think you would agree. we should be talking not about the damage not to our justice system from the refusal so to having a hearing and vote, but the qualifications of merrick garland with judge merrick garland in the place where you are sitting now. that's what the american people deserve. and i think judge lewis, you made a very telling point that there is damage to the court and to our justice system from the politicization, dragging the court into the mire of partisan bickering, which has infected this place much to the consternation of the american people. i was a law clerk to justice
harry blackman and then u.s. attorney and attorney general of our state and i argued four cases before the supreme court and i have a deep respect and def residence for our judicial institutions. they should be above politics. and i am deeply saddened by the polarization politically of views on 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 this process. and i think the effect is not only 4-4 dead locked, but to use the apt phrasing that you cited from "the new york times" article. because the effect is not only
to fail to resolve splits in the circuit but also to duck issues as they did in the ruling in zubik and also to fail to take cases and resolve them. i spoke yesterday on that and i have no doubt that brown v. board would never have been decided unanimously with a 4-4 court given the history and we know more about the history of what earl warren did that n that court. the dynamics would have been totally different and the dynamics now in the court are totally different. and the diminish it as a branch of government. and so i u think we owe it to the american people to move
forward with a hearing and a vote on a man who has superb, 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 the 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 was his mind changed by what he heard, what he read, what he exchanged with you, his law clerk. >> i would describe judge garland's attitude and approach toward 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's imposing on the facts of particular cases. instead he is committed to reading the binding precedence and 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's been so successful at fostering consensus in addition to his temperament of not sort of demonizing people, i never heard him utter a disparaging word of any of his colleagues on the d.c. circuit or any of the lawyers that appeared before him. so i think that it's not that he sort of had those thoughts and there's a certain generosity of spirit that one sees with judge garland. and so immersing himself in the
materials allows him to identify points and other people on the panel. the relative lack of are in indicative of someone trying to cut a deal and sacrifice his core principles. that's not the case at all. who are offering their own views. >> and someone who believes most deeply in the rule of law, as he has said. >> absolutely. >> thank you. >> thank you very much and we have talked about pennsylvania and especially judge lewis and brought back great memories. one i'm proud to serve with as
senator casey. i'm proud to serve, i told them before that my father on the irish side of the family that my father was a huge fan of senator casey's father. >> i want to thank you for that introduction. i'm referring to him as chairman because this is an unusual meeting. who is not a member of the judiciary committee was allowed to parachute in so i want to thank you for giving me this opportunity.
this opportunity that would give my mother and wife pride and would cause concern to my three brothers who are lawyers. and i won't have a long question. just a brief statement and i'll direct my question to judge lewis. and also a member of the third circuit. i wasn't here when you were confirmed, but i'm struck but how the process was compared to this one with regard to judge garland. what struck me about judge garland, the obvious attributes that every judge or justice would have, sterling academic credential, the kind of character and experience you'd want in a judge or justice.
in his case, a combination of being a lawyer, a prosecutor and a judge, just a remarkable range of experience. so all of that was impressive, obviousl obviously, in his demeanor and character. what's interesting to me and in meeting him for the first time and sitting in my office talking to him were two things that might be unusual for a judge, might be ever more unusual for a public official. humility and gratitude. the kind of humility that i think is consistent with what you said in one of the statements you made i think it was with regard to the confirmation of then judge alito. about no one having a corner on the marketplace about what is right and that theme that you
struck there. so that kind of humility he doesn't have all the answers, but also the humility to listen to other people. and gratitude, i have never met someone more grateful for the opportunity to serve as a prosecutor and 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 hue mmility. >> thank you you have touched upon the two qualities that for me are the most important for
anyone holding any public office, but in particular for a judge and perhaps even more so for a justice on the united states supreme court. i'll explain this by telling you about why i testified on behalf of justice alito and judge alito's 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 honest. i found him to be a person of both humility and gratitude and all of the other qualities that i think go into make iing a goo judge and a good justice.
we disagreed on a lot. we disagreed many times in key areas. we did sometimes join one another in votes. some of them in matters that might surprise people. discrimination matters, very dig zig cant ones in some other cases. he was willing to go along with the or join a majority where it may appear to be inconsistent with his approach, which was one of steeped in a more conservative one than my own. but he was nominated by the president of the united states. and he clearly had all of the qualifications necessary to serve on the supreme court and
then as a judge. and i did not believe and do not believe the fact that i d disagreed with him ideologically should stand in the way of my u standing up and saying, yes, of course, he's qualified to be on the united states supreme court in my view. i don't think u that a monolithic court that reflects everything that i believe in is appropriate for the country. and i very much am in favor and 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. and the capacity to reach across the aisle. and i observed that during my
work with then judge alito. so i believe that judge garland reflects that in volumes. as i mentioned before the fact that he has been a part of so many cases that have resulted in unanimous decisions is an indication of his capacity to do what i'm droibing. it's so important corporate decision making at that level requires a capacity to be self-skples look out for the interests of the party 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. >> judge, thank you. i want to thank the panel. i know it's late for the other comments that you made. we're grateful you're here and appreciate your ongoing public service in this work you're doing today is public service. i want to thank senator leahy for leading up in this effort to focus on the qualities, attributes and experience of judge garland. not just being the chairman of the committee, but being committed to what i think is in the beatitudes, which is hungering and thirsting for justice, which is one of the reasons he does such great work. >> i thank you. and i thank you very much. i know you and judge lewis have known each other for a long time. i want to thank all four members of the panel.
we wanted to do on this obviously not a hearing. obviously it's not a substitute for a hearing with judge garland, but those of us who have known us for a long time, and i have. i have known him for a very long time. we know of his qualities. i get frustrated when i hear some of these lobbying groups. he can't respond to those. he can't respond if he had a hearing he could be asked the questions.
we would feel comfortable having him as the jurist there because you know you'd have a fair hearing. it would be easy to say we got the former person the guilty accused here the worst expression ever heard and what you and judge garland did was to cross every tee and dot every eye. all the times he's been in my office always speaking on behalf of others and what we should do. never asking for anything for himself.
and professor driver, i was fascinated by how you talked to to the way judge garland would handle cases. it must have been a pretty exciting time to be a law clerk with him. and it was probably a great way to prepare for the chair you now have. so i thank you all very, very much. >> thank you. >> i'm well, how are you?
as this forum comes to a close, on facebook we're asking if the senate should consider merrick garland's supreme court nomination. join the conversation at facebook.com/cspan. you can also tweet us. . we have e reaction for you. this is from kathy. she says i think they have. they have considered president
obama's appointees and resulted in activism and revised they will not consider garland's views on abortion and second amendment. lewis says, yes, this obstructionism is unprecedented in u.s. history. another example of how the gop blocked obama based on attacks rather than the merits of his ideas. and you can offer your thoughts, conversation at facebook.com/cspan. on "american history tv" on c-span 3, this september marks the opening of the smithsonian national museum of african-american history and culture. and on saturday morning beginning at 8:30, american history tv is live for an all-day conference with scholars from across the country discussing religion, politics and culture can, historic preservation and interpretation. at 10:00 p.m. eastern on reel america, the 1975 church committee hearings convened to
intelligent the activities of the cia, fbi, irs and the nsa. the commission hears testimony from two informants and how she penetrated an anti-vooeietnam w organization and participated in violence against civil rights activists. >> you mean the birmingham policemen set up the beating of the freedom riders and you told the fbi that? >> that's correct. >> were they beaten? >> they were beaten very badly, yes. >> did the birmingham police give you the time they promised to give you? >> we were promised 15 minutes with absolutely no intervention from any police officer whatsoever. >> then at 8:00 on lectures in history -- >> what that opportunity gave them was an opportunity to go to college. they saved some of that money. they sent themselves through college. they sent siblings through
college. they became doctors and lawyers. one became the first female manager of any department. they became principals, surge surgeons, politicians, pilots and they were able to do that because they had access to professional baseball. >> marshal university professor cat williams on how women aided the war effort in factories and the rise of women's baseball leagues including the all-american girls professional baseball league that was featured in the movie "a league of their own." sunday night at 10:00 on road to the white house rewind. ladies and gentlemen of the convention, my name is geraldine. i stand before you to proclaim
tonight america is the land where dreams can come true for all of us. >> the 1984 congressman at the democratic national convention in san francisco. she was the first woman to be nominated for vice president by a major party. for the complete american history tv weekend schedule, go to c-span.org. the house oversight committee held a hearing on how the obama administration won support for the agreement. ben rhodes to testify about his efforts to build support for the agreement, but he declined to appear. the committee hear from representatives of conservative think tanks. this is about two hours 45 minutes. >> good morning, the committee on oversight and government
reform will gom to order pop the chair is authorized to declare a recess at any time. the hearing is entitled "the white house narratives on the iran nuclear deal." it's important we deal with this situation as we get going there's three items i'd ask unanimous concept. the first is the "new york times" magazine article. the second is a letter from the white house of may 16th. this is a letter addressed to me copied to the rank iing me and it's talking about how the white house would not make ben rhodes available to the committee today. and i'd also like to enter into the record may 16th letter. this is from senators cornyn, senator kirk, and senator john. >> without objection, so ord
ordered. >> iran, it's one of three countries that are still on the state sponsors of terrorism. i u think it's important that we have some clarity. there's some issues that are outstanding. it's one of the most important foreign policy initiatives that the president has taken forward, but i still think it demands a lot of clarity. we were hoping that the clarity would be provided by benjamin rhodes. he's a talented and trusted person in the white house. i do not doubt his talents and his knowledge. but the deal that had been spun up and sold to the american people i'm not sure was as clear as it should have been. i have serious questions about the transparency, truthfulness and when it started. i think those are legitimate questions as we move forward because here you have a state
sponsor of terrorism in iran. and we still don't fully know the answer to a lot of these questions. some may think they know the answers to all these questions. but there's still a shroud of secrecy and i u think this is a very viable thing to look at. mr. rhodes was in a unique position to offer this perspective given his work on this. what is mystifying to me is how readily available he made himself to the media, but only select media. those in his echo chamber. he showed disdain for people with foreign policy credentials. he showed disdain for the media himselves. he's entitled to those personal opinions, but also decided to share those with the "new york times." it's also very negative about congress going so far as to saying could not have a rational discussion, i'm summarizing here, with the congress. so we provided that. josh ernest from the podium
there at the white house openly mocked congress and said that perhaps we should be calling other members up such as and af and answer questions. i took that suggestion, shared it with senator cotton. we accommodated that. mr. cotton, senator cotton, had agreed if mr. rhodes would be here, to also be here to answer questions. and ferret out any of these details, but mr. rhodes elected not to speak. now, he does have a public speaking engagement today. he's out giving a public speech today, but refuses to come and speak with congress. i'm going to play a clip, i got two clips in my opening statement, and i think you can see where maybe some on the other side of the aisle will say, oh, we know everything about this. it's been thoroughly debated, but we're going to go to what we call clip b, if we could, and
let's watch this. >> one final question on the subject, there are been reports that intermittently and outside of the formal p5+1 mechanisms, the obama administration or members of it, have conducted direct secret bilateral talks with iran. is that true or false? >> we have made clear the vice president did in munich, that in the context of the larger p5+1 framework, we would be prepared to talk to iran bilaterally, but with regard to the kind of thing you're talking about on a government to government level, no. >> let me try it one last way. i appreciate your indulgence. is it the policy of the state department, where the preservation of secrecy is concerned to lie in order to
achieve that goal? >> james, i think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. this is a good example of that. >> so as you can see there, victoria nuland offered what turned out to be absolutely and totally not true. ms. pataki was more candid in that assessment, and then this article comes out and basically, the administration thought it was in their best interest to spin up the story that negotiations started with a more moderate regime in 2013, but that's not what had happened. that was fiction as well. i also want to talk about 24 by 7 access. i think the american people were led to believe that americans with the best interest would have access and be able to see and get in there and go into these nuclear facilities 24/7. i want to play another clip. this is clip number e or letter e.
>> so the israelis have put out this list of things they think should be in the final deal with iran, including allowing inspectors to go anywhere anytime. that seems perfectly reasonable, no? >> well, jake, first of all, under this deal, you will have anywhere anytime 24/7 access as it relates to the nuclear facilities that iran has. you're also going to have access to -- >> what about the military facilities? >> so what we'll have under this deal, jake, is the strongest inspections regime any country faces in the world. what that means is if we see a site we naed to inspect, we can get access to the site and inspect it. if it's a suspicious site that we believe is related to the nuclear efforts, we can get access and inspect that. >> he told jake tapper of cnn on
april 6th and i quote, under this deal, you will have anywhere anytime 24/7 access as it relates to the nuclear facilities that iran has. is that a lie? >> no. to the nuclear facilities, there is 24/7 access to iran's, to verify their compliance with the agreement. >> 24/7 access anytime anywhere. >> to their nuclear facilities. >> over the past week, i have spoken at length about what exactly this deal is. i also want to make clear what this deal was never intended to be. first of all, as the chief negotiator, i can tell you i never uttered the words anywhere anytime, nor was it ever part of the discussion we had with the iranians. >> you can take that down. so first of all, somebody pointed out in our committee, i
think mr. palmer pointed out, i don't think mr. kerry was the chief negotiator, but that's another point. the second part is, is there 24/7 access. can you access anything, anywhere, anytime? spinning quite a different story as we go along. we also heard a lot of numbers related to sanctions relief, dealing with escrowed oil funds. president obama was quoted in an atlantic article talking about $150 billion that would be going back to iran. the iranians say they have access to $100 billion. the treasury department says it's $50 billion. secretary kerry said they have only had access to $3 billion, and then blamed treasury. talking about a lot of money going to a state sponsor of terrorism. there's also questions about the ballistic missiles. in december 2015, there was a viles of the united nations resolution 2231 in testimony by the iran deal coordinate, but in march of 2016, you have
ambassador power to the united states ambassador power to the united nations who toned it down a little bit. now they're calling it just an inconsistent width is their quote, as opposed to a violation of the united nations resolution. then you also have issues about boosting iran's economy. secretary kerry is currently on tour in europe. the state department suggests that we're obligated, the united states of america, is obligated to boost the economy, the iranian economy. again, something we need to understand. we don't understand the side deals. there's still sanctions of terrorism on iran. we want to understand that. and then there's questions about everything that has actually been agreed to, not just in writing but side deals in any other verbal commitments that were also paid. i would also note to our colleagues that secretary -- that the chairman of armed services, mr. thorn bury has a very important amendment i think
we should all consider and look at that will be part of the ndaa issue as we move forward. again, there are a lot of outstanding questions. we wanted to get the person who is right in the thick of things from the white house to come here and testify. white house on thursday claimed that this wasn't about executive privilege and then less than 24 hours before this hearing, they reversed course and said, oh, it is about executive privilege. now, who is being inconsistent? who is being inconsistent? you have plenty of time, mr. rhodes, to go out and talk to all of the media friends and talk to the echo chamber you brag about in the "new york times." when it comes time to actually answer hard questions under oath, you decide not to do it. my time has far exceeded what we had allocated. we'll now recognize the ranking member, mr. cummings. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i thank all our witnesses for being here today. mr. chairman, i'm sitting here
today, i'm surprised, very surprised and shocked that you would invite john hannah to testify before our committee as an expert witness. particularly on the subject of false white house narratives. mr. hannah was vice president dick cheney's top national security adviser in the white house. he personally, personally helped prepare secretary of state colin powell's infamous speech to the united nations in the run-up to the iraq war. a speech that secretary powell has called a permanent blot on his record. mr. hannah was identified by the
iraqi national congress as is, quote, principle point of contact, end of quote, in the vice president's office. the inc was an organization that supplied our nation with reams, with reams of false information about weapons of mass destruction. mr. hannah worked directly for scooter libby, who was convicted after the bush administration leaked the identity of a covert cia agent, valerie plame. her husband, ambassador joe wilson, had publicly debunked the administration's false claims about the iraqi nuclear program. this was the same scooter libby who told the fbi that it was a,
quote, impossible, that vice president cheney actually directed him to leak information about ms. plame's covert status. that's mr. hannah. i don't know mr. hannah and i don't know -- i don't believe i have ever met him before today. but based on the public record alone, let me say this. if our goal is to hear from an expert who actually promoted false, false white house narratives, then i think you picked the right person. but if our goal is to hear from someone who was not involved in one of the biggest misrepresentations in our nation's history, then you picked the wrong person. listening to john hannah criticize anyone else for pushing a false white house narrative is beyond