tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 21, 2014 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT
who have those qualities i spoke about -- integrity, a sense of fairness, a sense of caring -- they're people who if you work with them will give back to you. >> those values fit perfectly with another theme i wanted to ask you about, which is the importance of public service. there's many moments in the book, in your life, that you've had the opportunity either to seek out some important kind of public service or that somebody has asked you to participate in public service. so i wanted to just ask you to reflect a little bit about why and how you sought those opportunities out and maybe what they taught you about yourself and the world. >> there's nothing more boring to me than living in my own head all the time. no, seriously.
you know, if you spend your life in the i, i need, i want, i think, i feel, that becomes pretty boring and very limiting because your sense of self is only fed by you and that's limited by you. and by that i mean you can only give so much to yourself because you need to feed yourself in positive ways to be able to create and give back in more meaningful ways. so i understood that from public service mostly when i got to college, where i began to do a little bit of it and realized that each experience gave me so
much more in return than i gave it, because it taught me about people, about their needs, about the structure of society. some of its weaknesses in helping people. in one of the first community projects i got involved in in college, it came as a result of reading in the local newspaper that a gentleman had been coming from puerto rico and the plane had been diverted from a new york airport to newark. while at newark, when it landed, he became a little bit upset because he didn't understand what was happening around him. today we think of the u.s. as being filled with bilingual people, but remember, we're talking about the 1970's where there was a sizeable hispanic population, but it was not as
sizeable as it is today. and bilingualism wasn't as welcomed the back then as now. anyway, in his agitation he became a little bit unruly, and the police stepped in and took him to trenton psychiatric hospital. it took weeks for someone who understood spanish to interview him and to determine that he wasn't crazy, but that -- what had happened and reach out to his family before he was released. that story shook me. the idea that a group of patients in a hospital had no one to talk to in their own language really bothered me. and so i went to the latino community on princeton's campus and i asked them whether they would join me in volunteering there once a week. we would take turns.
and just go to talk to the people there. we had holiday parties. we had get-togethers. we played games with them, for those who could participate, obviously. and we just provided companionship. it wasn't as if we were treating them. we didn't have any capacity to do that. but that experience actually made me feel better about, not myself, but better about understanding the world and trying to change it a step at a time. a lot of people think that the only change you can do that's meaningful is change that i do in the position i hold. it's pretty impressive sometimes when i get to write a really great opinion or when i'm in the majority in a really great opinion. [laughter]
when i'm in the dissent, it's a little disappointing, but even then i've been a voice in the conversation. those big things impress a lot of people, but they're not the things that matter to most people. it's those little things. it's the human companionship. it's the trying to make the community you live in a little bit better, a little bit happier. so that's what i think public service is. it's the kind of public service that says to people, you don't have to be a politician. you can work in almost any endeavor you want and make a difference in people's lives by just giving some time and some effort to that enterprise. judge katzmann mentioned dean treanor earlier. you know that dean treanor here and as he did in his prior
deanship has always believed that the law should have some practical effect and that students who are in law school should be working in that area so that it's not always theoretical. you can remain theoretical. and, boy, do i do that a lot. ok? that's what a lot of my job is about. but the other part of it is being a human being and giving in those small circles around you. >> i'm going to follow up on that -- >> so hence, my first day of meeting the people in the cafeteria. >> right. so i'm going to ask you now a little bit about your day job but also in sort of the context of the previous two judicial day jobs you held. i think when president obama think he said -- well, you had
i think when president obama nominated you, i think he said -- well, you had 17, i think, years of judicial service, which i think he said was more than any other justice had had in the past 100 years. that's a lot of experience. so you are sort of uniquely qualified to talk a little bit about the differences in the kinds of work you've done at each of those levels. maybe for the students here you could just talk a little bit about your role as a district court judge, role as a circuit court judge, and how those things contrast or compare with your current job. and maybe if there's anything you miss about your work on the other two courts that would be interesting to hear also. we know you miss new york. >> horribly. the supreme court would be perfect if i could cut it out and put it in lower manhattan. [laughter] some people are clapping. i actually miss all of my two
prior jobs because each was very different and important in meaningful ways. quoting a colleague, rina rodgey, who once said work a district court is controlled chaos, but chaos nevertheless. ok? the pace of a district court judge's life is non-stop. you are running from, every day, 200 and whatever days a year you work, if not more, from one judicial activity to another. you're having hearings, but you're having multitude of different kinds of hearings, whether they're suppression hearings, discovery hearings, plea hearings. i could keep naming them. there's a wide variety of types of interactions that you're having with lawyers and different kinds of legal situations that you're dealing with.
this is on top of sitting in on trials where a wide variety of procedures take place that are each different in and of themselves -- picking the jury, working with lawyers on opening statements, the presentation of evidence, the preparation of charges afterwards so that can you tell the jury what it's supposed to do, and then supervising the jury's deliberations. all of these things are constantly taking you from one point to another. at the end of one activity to another, all day long, at the end of my first year i once said, "i now know why the brain is a muscle. this job has showed me how much it can stretch." there was so much new information my first year on the bench that i was absorbing that i didn't have a headache, i had
a head that ached. there's a big difference. that was what continued for my five years on the bench on the district court. you do get to interact with the lawyers in the courtroom. you get to see a lot of human nature in terms of witnesses and what they're talking about. but the job of a district court judge is to develop a record, to get the evidence out, and then to rule on it. and i've often described their job as doing justice in the individual case. they've got two parties. they have to resolve that dispute according to the law. and so they're worried -- basically their attention is focused on these two people who sit before them. you get on an appellate court and you're no longer the master of your courtroom.
you now have to share responsibility with three people. and things that were routine as a district court judge now become a conference. the first day that i had to confer with my colleagues about giving an extension on the number of pages that somebody's brief had to be, i thought to myself i'm going to hate this job. it seemed like such a silly waste of time. ok? it was a silly waste of time, but not institutionally. because that collaborative decision making is what appellate work is about. it's sharing the responsibility of thinking through whether a lower court has made an error of law. and that is a process that takes some of the burden out of judging. because when you can share your
thinking and your analysis with two other people and when you can work at convincing them that either you're right or they're wrong or however you want to approach it, or them convincing you it's a very satisfying job. but what circuit court judges are doing is more deciding justice for the law. you see, circuit courts are announcing what the law is for that circuit. there's 13 circuits in the united states. a number of states are divided up among the circuits. mine was three states. but the 9th circuit out in california has nine states. and some -- three i think is the minimum, if i'm remembering correctly. but some have four or five or six. the circuits were divided
according to their historical entry into the union. so the second circuit was actually the mother court. we take pride in claiming that we were the first court, the first circuit got started right after us, maybe on the same day, but we still call ourselves the mother court. at any rate, what you're trying to do is find the legal errors in the decision below. and in doing that you're trying to determine what you believe the law is as dictated by precedent. so what happens when you get on the supreme court? if you didn't think you were master of the courtroom when you had three people, when you have nine, you're nothing, alone, because you have to decide something with at least a
majority, with five people. and convincing five very independent, sometimes hard-headed -- myself included -- people is not an easy -- not an easy task. but what you're doing on a supreme court is announcing what the law says in a case where precedent doesn't necessarily control. by definition, the supreme court generally only takes, with few exceptions, only takes cases when there's a circuit split. what that means is that circuits below among the 13 have disagreed as to what the answer is under the law. assuming, as i think you should, that most judges, and certainly
in panels of three, are trying to do what's right under the law, the fact that they've disagreed means that there's no clear answer. and what you're asking the supreme court to do is to provide that clarity. but that also means that the responsibility on us is enormous because our decisions generally involve matters that affect not the law of your circuit alone, but the law of the country and sometimes of the world. and so the supreme court is really the court operating where there is no clear answer in virtually every one of their cases. there is a real problem relying on the news to tell you what supreme court cases say. and i know we make it a little bit hard because when you pick
up our opinions, they tend to be long and they often have a lot of jargon. i encourage you, however, not to rely on the news as citizens. read the opinions. when you do, and if you actually read them with an open mind, you'll often come out saying they both seem right. how can that be? well, that can be because the law is unclear, because precedents don't really settle that question. and you have to believe, the way i do, that this group of nine are each passionate about trying to find the right answer. and even though we disagree as to what that answer may be or may not be, we all are filled with the same passion. that's how i can stand being, sometimes, on the losing end of a case.
>> a more personal question about your day job before i turn to the student questions. what has surprised you about the day job, working with the nine or the kinds of cases that you get? maybe we'll leave it at that. what surprised you? and five years in, are you doing something different now than you did when you started? >> worrying more. seriously. after you're a judge for 17 years, you don't take your responsibilities lightly, but you do understand that you're not the final word, that there are courts ahead of you. if you're on the district court, there's an appellate court. if you're on the appellate court, you know there's a supreme court. so on those unclear cases there's a lot of comfort from knowing that you're not the final word, that if you're
wrong, someone can fix it. when you're on that last, final court, you recognize that if you get it wrong you are really affecting people's lives, if not forever, for a very, very long time. it takes a long time for congress, if it can at all, to change any statutory decisions we make that they think are wrong. and obviously if we're wrong on our interpretation of what the constitution means, then it takes even longer to undo that if at all. and so the burden of this job and how much i feel it came as an enormous surprise to me.
it's not a bad one, but i have more restless nights. >> in a way that i hope will not give you more restless nights, i have some student questions. so i'm going to turn to them now having been instructed that now is the moment to do so. >> ok. i don't know who pointed that out. whoever asks the question, would you please get up? if you're up there, with the lights, i can barely see up there, just say, "i'm here" or something like that. at one place i said, "say yo." [laughter] i just like knowing who's asking the question. so i don't want to embarrass you, but please do stand up. >> so the first question is from maria mendoza. hi. >> hello. >> now i feel silly reading her question since she's there. but i will continue on as instructed. hello.
her question was, what's the one piece of advice you would tell your younger self as a female? and that's underlined. >> not to lack confidence so much. i was afraid an awful lot. as i have lived to almost get to the age that i am -- if i'm saying it, it's because it's surprising me. and my friends know this. i'm about to turn 60, and i'm shocked. ok? [applause] it's really a little disturbing. but the problem is that inside myself, the image i have of me is still that 9-year-old kid with the curls running down that street in puerto rico i end my book with. ok? that's the image i still have of myself and the idea of having
grown to what they say is the new middle age is shocking. ok? but in this i've had a lot of opportunity to talk to a lot of women of all ages, older and younger. and i know that for many of us, and it's still a problem, we don't come to our lives with the same self-confidence that sometimes men do. and i think part of that may be because of societal gender treatment differences. but whatever the causes are, i think women are more afraid of taking chances. if i could talk to the younger sonia, i would spend a lot less time in that state of constant fear, include doing this job. eloise can talk about it.
i spent my first year petrified. it takes -- zaps a lot of energy out of you. and i still have moments of it and probably will forever. and i wish i could change that. as i said, embarrassment or the fear of embarrassment holds you back. and the lack of confidence may not hold you back but it certainly burdens you unnecessarily. >> here's the question from josh. >> josh, where are you? ah, hello. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> thank you all for coming. i know i've taken you -- some of you or a lot of you -- from classes. so thanks. >> i'll, again, read josh's question. with a career in the law,
particularly one which involves so much time on the bench, have you found it appropriate to set goals or are you wary of having an agenda? >> oh, i'm assuming from the question that you're talking about professional goals or goals as a justice. josh? he's shaking his head yes. i don't know if i'm afraid of having an agenda. i don't think that that's what motivates me against having goals. i think what motivates me is understanding that it's not within my control, meaning we respond to cases as they come to us, and it does happen that a lot of those cases are important but when they come and how they come, in what factual setting, is not within our control. and neither is are you going to have colleagues who are going to
agree with you. and i think if you're a sensible person, you understand that although you might have confidence in what you think your vision is and what the law should be, you might be wrong. and you should take pause when people are disagreeing with you to think through carefully their side of things. now, that doesn't mean that principle won't lead you to still disagree. i've had already my fair share of single dissents, but i do them because i think there's an important reason to do it. but my point is that i don't think i do it from fear of setting an agenda, but more from the recognition that my agenda may not be the best. that's really dangerous to think
that youave all the answers. so i do try very hard to grow with my job, to teach -- to deal with each case on its own terms, and to understand each side of the arguments being presented so that i can render a decision based on that set of facts, that issue, and not my idea of what's right or wrong. the most dangerous thing in judging is playing god. that to me is the most dangerous thing. >> here is a question from bibi. >> hi. >> [inaudible] >> thank you. >> again, i'll read her question.
i follow direction. which aspects of your childhood have been most salient in your legal career? >> you know something? i don't think that there's one salient aspect of anything you do in life that should take over who you are in your work or in your personal life. the person we become is a mesh of a whole bunch of different experiences. who i am as a judge is not sonia from the bronx. ok? it is being a prosecutor.
it's become a civil litigator. it's being a trial judge. it's being a court of appeals judge. it is all of those things that i learned about, about our society, about how it functions, about our place in it. and all of that influences my career and has influenced my career. i think, and i hope you may have gone through my book. but if you didn't and you read it, i wrote it so that people would take my life journey with me, to understand how each stage of my life what new understandings it gave me and to, i hope, evoke in people as they read it reflections upon what they learned from each part of their life. i talk in the book -- i start the book with describing when i
was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and the discipline and determination that it taught me. and that condition will be with me my entire life. it has been and will be. and that discipline and that determination have been with me and will be. but so has every other experience, whether it's the sort of love that my grandmother gave me and the understanding of family and loyalty to it that has been a part might have career -- a part of my career in the sense, as the chief judge said, i make time for my family and friends and i was taught that from my childhood. so everything influences you. you can tell i'm very spanish. can't you? i talk with my hands. actually, i don't know if it's only spanish. it's very mediterranean.
[applause] >> here's a follow-up question from chris, college 17. >> hello, chris. >> so chris asks, what challenges have you faced reconciling your hispanic background with a traditionally anglo-american institution? he's got a sneaky follow-up, which is, what do you read for pleasure? [laughter] >> there has not been a lot of that. a lot of my reading has been legal reading. if you talk about the times i did like pleasure reading, i love sci-fi. i really -- it is a perfect escape from this world, ok? even with all the lectures,
lessons it does about human nature -- i just adore it. if it has dragons and elves and dwarves, i like it even more. [laughter] i was a harry potter aficionado. [applause] i often think of myself walking to the supreme court -- when you come to see the building, you know what i mean. lots of marble and lots of portraits, mostly of men. not a lot of women, except sandra day o'connor, up on the walls. i would walk through on the weekends and hear my footsteps on the ground and think, these paintings are going to talk to me. [laughter] and, you know, it was a little bit scary. i will tell you my favorite story that first year. i came to work one day, and i
was leaving to go to a meeting. i walked around the corner and i stopped. there was a stairwell there. i looked at the stairwell. i looked around and i said, did i turn the wrong way? i looked all around, thinking, i am lost. how did i get lost coming out of my office? i went back to my office, with my face in a total state of shock. i looked at my assistant, who had been justice souter's assistant at the time. i said, shelley, i think i am going crazy. she said, justice, they took the wall down last night. [laughter] they had been doing construction in the building, and they had
walls up in places i did not know were artificial balls, you know? i'm so sci-fi is really important to me, ok? anyway. that is what i tend to read. but going back to your question, this is a line i say in my book, about talking to hispanic students who share my background and who find themselves going into institutions where they are not in the majority, or which are, as princeton was to me, completely alien environments. and i talk about the need to find comfort in your own community, because i do not think that without the latino students in princeton, who had more similar backgrounds to me, that i would have felt at home there at all.
and i may not have stayed unless i found commonality somewhere. but i also understood that i was being given an opportunity to learn about a world i knew nothing about, to learn about people who did things and came from places i knew nothing about. and that it was very, very important for me to use my community as an anchor, so i would not fly away, but not as an anchor that did not let me reach out and fly away when i needed to. it had to be a removable anchor, up and down. it so was important to me, when i was there to be a part of every world i could be and to learn as much about other worlds as i could. and that is how i have navigated.
i still do that, you know? i certainly had continuing involvement with the communities i came from. but i also am very enmeshed in the world i am in, and i am navigating it by learning about it, but becoming part of it, not separate from, but building bridges between the worlds. that is what my book is about, to show the wider world what my life was like, but also to show them the commonalities we have. i cannot tell you how many people from vastly different backgrounds than my own have come to me to share stories about how similar something in their life was.
justice ginsburg read my book, as most of us have, if we get to read anything during the term, with small breaks at a time. she read it in chapters over a series of a few weeks. every time she finished a section, she would come and tell me, share something about her life that was similar. and yet we had very, very different lives, and yet the same. and you will fine that, i hope, everybody who reads the book will experience that. that is what the book is about. not to talk about our differences, but to talk about our commonalities. >> here is a question from marta. >> marta. ah.
>> [indiscernible] >> thank you. >> she wrote that on a card, and i was going to read it to you. she also wrote a big thank you. her question is, what do you think is the most significant barrier to female and latino leadership? >> oh, that is a slightly different question. hmm. not that i have not been asked that before. i am trying to think, what can i think that is. i think we are getting better at it. but we do not have one culture. in the latino community. we come from very, very different countries and backgrounds that the larger
community in the united states paints us with the same brush often does not mean that translates to us feeling like we are one group. we laugh. i was at dinner with some friends the other night, and we were talking about the differences in words that guatemalans, puerto ricans, dominicans, and mexicans use. those were those four people there. and we were having fun trying to figure out each other's words. and we were having fun about it, but it is a reflection of the difference in our cultures. and i think we are, as communities, going to understand that at least here in america we have to create our commonality. we are going to have to work toward understanding that that will give us greater strength.
and once we do that, i think it will be easier for us to recognize leaders, because until we do that, we will not be able to speak with a common voice. not one voice, by the way. i think that is a mistake. i do not think any ethnic group speaks in one voice. there are common issues we talk about. if we can do that, leaders will form. >> here is the last student question i have. >> i am going to ask them to pass up some more. >> here is some water right now. >> pass up some more questions. i think we are early. pass up some more questions, you guys. [applause] >> i need ricky. >> where is ricky? did she leave?
pass up some more of those questions. [laughter] >> i will ask the last question. here is a question from thomas. oh, people. this is what professors like it when you type your exams. thomas' question is, how has your status as a minority giving -- given you motivation and strength during your professional career? >> thomas, where are you? hello, thomas. >> could you describe your experience? like how do you -- during your undergraduate career, how was your identity as a minority important in terms of
integrating yourself -- >> i think there are two different questions. your first question, the one on the paper -- i know i use my minority status and people's lack of expectations of me to my advantage. and i still do that. by that i mean you will read in my book about my being in law school and being asked by an interviewer whether i felt i had gotten into yale simply because i was a minority. it helped a little bit that i was summa cum laude phi beta kappa from princeton. [applause]
and that is what i told him. but i remember being in the courtroom as a district court judge. here i am, all of 38 years old. a young hispanic woman. sitting in a courtroom with an attorney who i know had to have been practicing about 40 years. and he was treating me dismissively. i could respond to that, or i could do what i did. i kept asking him questions. and i kept asking him questions. and all of a sudden, he who had been standing there, just looking to the side like with a
note of being exacerbated there, and then all of a sudden, i asked him a question. i saw him turn around and look up and look at me. i realized he realized, she's not dumb, i'd better be careful. i got his attention all right. all right, i do not worry that much about what others expect of me. i try to worry about what i expect of myself. and sometimes what others expect of me does brings me down. when i do that, i end up not liking myself, because i realize i am setting the wrong
standard. when i concentrate more on proving what i can do to me, i am a happier person. and i think that is what can give you strength as a minority, is not to go through life living to the expectations of other people, but just working on advancing yourself. every step you take to become a better student, to become a better professional, to educate yourself, both in terms of knowledge and skill, that is what counts. and i think that if you are a minority where people are not having expect expectations of you, it is really satisfying to prove them wrong. and you can take well-earned pride from that. now, the question you asked when
you are standing up was i think -- you were talking more about, what do you do when you are here, either to take a pride in that identity or to prove it in some way. and i do not think that is a helpful way to look at it. as i explained earlier, i think it is more helpful to think about, how do i build bridges in this larger community? what do i do to learn more about people and community who have lived different lives than me, and how do i share with them the life i have lived, recognizing that both have equal value? if you can do that, you will live in both worlds relatively comfortably. and occasionally still feel a
stranger in both. look, you are at georgetown. if you come from the background i did, you are going to find that people in the communities you came from, they are going to start treating you differently, because the reality is that you are no longer going to be completely like them. you are going to be better educated. you are going to have more opportunity. in some ways, you are going to speak differently. these are not bad things. they are just the realities of the opportunities you have been given. it does not mean you have to feel badly about those things. it means you accept them and give comfort to the people who love you by reminding them you
are still you. the first year i was on the supreme court bench -- as you know, i got a lot of public attention -- i went to my family holiday party, which my cousin miriam hosts every year. i walked in and sat down. for about 10 minutes, everybody was silent, waiting for me to talk. and at some point i said to them [speaking spanish]. [applause] what is wrong with you? i said, do not tell me you have fallen for the stories they are telling you out there. they started to laugh and started to do what they always do -- talk over each other, scream at each other. i guess they had come to the
white house and seen me sworn in at the court. they had the reception at the white house. it is a little bit scary, scary for me. imagine for my family, who had never visited washington. i had to take time to remind them that sonia was still sonia. >> i saw two more questions passed up for me. so this is -- thanks. ok. so, zaiyajawadi? >> [indiscernible] welcome. >> he asks, what are your thoughts on the retirement age for supreme court justices? >> you know something? when i started my job as a
judge, i was 38. and my assistant teresa, who is still with me, started with me. from the first week or so, the other judicial assistance in assistant -- judicial assistants in the court took her out to lunch. she said, justice -- judge -- actually, she called me sonia. sonia, i feel kind of stupid. would you please tell me what senior status is? every one of those assistants knew when their judge would take senior status to the year, month, week, and day. senior status is when a judge can retire. i looked at her and i said, teresa, i am 38. we are too far away from thinking about it. it is never going to come. i am now 60. it would be five years away.
and now i have a job for life. [laughter] a little crazy. i'm the only person who is a few years away from retiring and takes a job that is longer, but i did. i do not know the answer to that. i'll tell you why. i worked with john paul stevens, who retired at 90. he was smarter, more active, and more insightful than any judge i have ever met at 90. and i was heartbroken when he left the bench. but he said to me, when he talked about his decision, that he wanted to leave on top, and not in his declining years.
and that he still felt that he was on top, but that he feared that the turn might happen and he would not realize it. justice souter retired at 70. when i asked him why, he said to me, because he had lived at a time when some justices who had stayed longer than they should have. so what is the answer? it is not making fixed rules, because fixed rules are very, very dangerous. they deprive you of the wisdom and the knowledge of people. because of your fear that one or two people might stay a little longer than they should. we have got a vibrant court of nine people. if one of them is a little bit
not quite at the top of their game, you have got another eight that can hold on until they make their decision with dignity. i think the founders' belief that keeping us immune from political pressure by giving us life tenure has made our institution as strong as it is. and i think that has value for our society. i am not quite sure that i think there is an actual age. and the reality is that age tells you nothing about a person's capacity. it is more complex than age. >> i think this really is going to be the last question. >> ok. i know i have probably run over a little bit. i do that all the time, and i am sorry. >> this question is from yvonne
hernandez. >> hello. [speaking spanish] >> on the card, how do you build consensus around an idea or a position? >> one at a time. [laughter] that is, seriously, one at a time. it is not easy when you are working with a group of nine. it was much, much easier on the court of appeals. a group of three is more manageable. a, because you can talk -- each person can talk more, longer, and because there is a sense of each being so vital to the conversation that each engages more.
when there is nine, there is sort of the group dynamic of smaller groups that support each other around ideas, and that makes it harder to be able to peel off one vote at a time on occasion. but we end up doing it one person at a time, sort of talking and re-talking. we do vote on cases, but we continue to talk after the voting in smaller groups. and our writings then, as they get circulated, there is still conversation going on. there are still discussions with those people who have expressed doubts or expressed reservations about the votes they have cast. it is a dynamic that is ongoing. frankly until the day the decision is issued. i should not say quite that day.
you know when it is finalized? when we clear the decision for announcement. and that is usually the friday conference before the week of announcements. that is basically the end of the conversation. >> this has been an incredible conversation. and in a minute, i know the audience is going to join me in thanking you. i have been asked to do two more things before i bring the conversation to a close. the first thing is that if i read your name, or if your question was asked, please after the event is over, after you do get a chance to clap, which i know you want to, please come to the front row. the justice is going to come say hello. and the second thing i have been asked to do is to -- >> and take a picture. >> and take a picture. and the second thing i have been
asked to do -- i know it's killing you -- is to invite professor bailey on to the stage, chair of the government department, who is going to make a few closing remarks. then i know we will all thank the justice with enthusiasm. >> thank you. yes, being here and having this event makes me realize how good we have it here at georgetown. not only do we get the chance to do the theory and the history and the analysis and so forth, but we really get a chance to see this on a personal level and see the law, the justices, how it plays out, and the personal connections. that is not what everyone gets to do, so that is pretty neat. in addition, not only do we have a good georgetown in general, we here in this room have it good that we are getting books. i want to give you a couple notes on how we are going to do that. when we're done, this set of folks is going to exit first. when everyone else is exiting, you will take your orange
ticket, and in the main lobby, we will be distributing the books. you exchange the orange ticket for those books. and they have been generously and probably laboriously signed by justice sotomayor. that is pretty neat. i would also like to thank -- there's a lot of people to thank for this. they have been important in setting this up, and we appreciate that. we appreciate the lecture fund, students giving able service for this. we appreciate the friends of margaret bernstein, who have made this possible. and i just learned that when they set this symposium up, they basically bound judge cashman to this. and they had the foresight to
say he would be involved in this whether or not he was at georgetown. they seemed to know what your future was even back then. that has been very fortunate for georgetown. a big thanks to judge cashman for all he has done. he is a huge, huge asset for georgetown and the government department. thank you, professor, for really guiding a fun and stimulating event. and most of all, i am sure everyone joins me in thanking justice sotomayor. the event has been great. [applause]
>> you stay in the front. i want to take a picture with you. >> thank you, everyone, and have a good evening. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> you can watch this event with justice sotomayor your anytime. good to our website, www.c-span.org, and check the c-span video library. justice stephen breyer will be part of discussion about human rights. before him am a posted by
georgetown university law school, will be live at 4:00 p.m. today. president obama leaves tomorrow for a weeklong asian trip beginning in japan, south korea, malaysia, in the philippines. the visits were originally planned for october. here's a preview of this trip. obama is headed on a trip to asia. topic iso discuss the michael green, the senior vice president at the center for strategic international studies. thank you for being with us. tell us about the importance of this trip. this was rescheduled. guest: the president was supposed to go last fall for a series of summits in the region, and they had to boast phone that because of the government shutdown. that also happened to bill clinton. this was a makeup trip. he is going to japan, korea,
malaysia, and the philippines in southeast asia. since president bush, the president has gone about once a year at least to asia. it is americans say the most important region in the world in polling. the korean peninsula is most heavily armed place in the world . china's power is growing. tensions among players in the region. a reassuring presence are much appreciated across the countries the president will visit. >> japan, south korea, malaysia and the philippines, why does specifically? >> we have a lot of important allies and partners in the region. this time because the president will go to china date or this year and will have a chance to talk to the chinese leaders. there will be a summit of other states.
these are in effect the maritime state. the longtime ocean border that are feeling pressure from china over territorial disputes and have felt somewhat it in policy. and mostthe biggest important ally in many ways. the biggest troop we have. korea is a long-standing close ally. been pressedes had hard by the chinese. the natural disaster. malaysia has not had an american president visit since lyndon johnson. growing economy. you mentioned china earlier. despite the fact that the on thent is not going trip, how much is about china and chinese relations?
about china. china is the largest trading partner for all of the countries the president will visit. pressurefeeling in or as the chinese economic pressure grows. the chinese are claiming small rocks in ireland. stretches to the philippines. the president has put a lot of attention on asia, but not really sent a consistent signal for how we think about china in my view. wants ahe has said he great relationship or respect the court interest. other times he is hundred ready to. one key thing he will have to do is find a way to explain to the region how we are standing by allies and do not tolerate pressure on them. at the same time, we like
friends and allies and want to have mutual benefit and a whole range of areas from economics to climate change. he will have to make that message clear, while not actually visiting china. >> i want to read a little bit of a snippet of the story from the washington post. on one level the president has a long list of tasks awaiting him. trying to make headway on japan, were to ease tensions between the japanese prime minister in korean president and muslim majority malaysia. sure up support from the president of the philippines. but also an interim step in the administration's larger project of seeking to rebalance the relationship with the most economically and socially dynamic region of the world at a time when china continues to expand the influence. >> i want to ask you about the idea of rebalancing or pivoting to asia. so-called event
was announced in 2010. the basic idea is we were spending on too much time -- too much time in iraq and the middle east. incrediblycs are important. a lot of drama. a lot of spin to this pivot. i worked for the white house for almost five years. the administration wanted to put an exclamation on the region. hillary clinton was very well-liked throughout much of the region because she spends a lot of time on it. there are questions about the second term. many asking whether secretary kerry has the same amount of interest. the president is trying to say we are still committed in this is important to us. there will be specific things
that will tell whether that is true. one is the trade agreement with 11 other countries in the region. the most important biggest is japan. questions about the defense budget that is being cut at a time when defense budgets are growing. a lot of questions to ask -- answer about the commitment. the president of the united states on a trip like this carries so much attention and influence. just going out there in itself is a great opportunity for who. >> the president of joe biden as he landed in ukraine where he meets with embassy staff and get everything from the ambassador. he will meet with the congressional group. tomorrow vice president biden scheduled to meet with ukraine officials. >> i want to thank the distinguished member of the committee for all the work he has done this week.
a lot of us have lost sleep and book that the situation. when secretary paulson came to us a week ago he gave us a three page bill that said give me a blank check. i was offended at that time. what happened since then? we added 107 pages of taxpayer protection to that bill. we understand the gravity of the situation, and we worked with our colleagues on the other side to make this bill a better bill. we made sure there is upside to the taxpayers so that when this happens, when profits come to the companies, we get the stock or and so the first person in line is the american taxpayer to get their money back. made sure there is an insurance program that make sure wall street shares in the cost of the recovery plan. we also made sure the executives of the companies do not profit
from the rescue recovery plan. we cut the initial cost in half. congress will have to approve the second half of this next year. why did we do all of this? because the wall street crisis is quickly becoming a main street crisis. it is quickly becoming a banking crisis. mean? why does not matter to ask? why does that matter to wisconsin? if it goes the way it could go, that means credit shuts down. businesses cannot get money to paythe payroll, to employees. students cannot get student loans. people cannot get car loans. not have access to savings. are we standing at the edge of the abyss? no one knows. but maybe. it is very probable. offendsaker, this bill
my principal but i will vote for this bill in order to reserve my principles, in order to preserve the free enterprise system. this is a herbert hoover moment. he made a few mistakes after the great depression, and we lived those consequences for decades. let's not make that mistake. a lot of fear and panic out there. about gettingis the fear and panic out of the market. i think the white house tumbled -- fumbled this thing. they have brought this issue to a crisis. so that all eyes are here on congress. a heavy load to bury, to bear. we had to deal with the panic and fear. colleagues, we are in the
moment. this bill does not have everything i want, but it has a lot of good things in it. we're here, in the moment. if we fail to do the right thing , heaven help us. if we fail to pass this, i fear the worst is yet to come. the problem we have is we are away from anmonth election. we're all worried about losing our jobs. most of us say this needs to pass but i want you to vote for it, not me. unfortunately the majority of us will have to vote for this. we will have to do that because we have a chance of arresting that crashed. maybe this will work. for me and my own conscious, so i can look myself in the mirror, go to bed with a clear conscious, i want to know i did
everything i could to stop it the getting worse to stop wall street problem from infecting main street. i wanted it on my airplane and see my wife and three kids that i have not seen in a week in the them in the eye and know that i did what i thought was right for them in their future. believe with all my heart as bad as this is, it could get a whole lot worse. that is why i think we have to pass this bill. i yield. >> find more highlights on the facebook page. c-span, created by america's cable companies 35 years ago and brought to you today as a public service. >> outgoing chair of the national transportation safety board gave her last -- last speech this morning. she reflected on her time as head of the safety agency and what remains to be done.
she finishes up friday. she will take over as president and ceo of the national safety council. >> good morning and welcome. professor,unct former international bureau chief for the associated press than 107th president of the national press club. we are the world leading professional organization for journalists committed to the profession's future through programming and events such as this. for more information about the national press club, please visit the website.
i would like to welcome my speaker and those attending the event. if you hear applause, not necessarily an national evidence of lack of a journal -- observance objectivity. you can follow the action on twitter. guests beach concludes, we will have a question and answer time that what i discuss many questions as time permits. time to introduce the head table guests. i would like each of you to stand briefly. from your right, aviation week editor in chief. john boyd, editor of the new seat to -- cq.
.ill cassidy alan levin, bloomberg news aviation reporter and guest per speaker. john well am a senior account executive at edelman. the national transportation safety board director of public affairs and guest of our speaker. chairman of the beaker committee and past president of the national press club. it's giving over the speaker, angela riley playing, bloomberg news white house correspondent, speaker committee member who helped organize today's event at national press club resident. thank you. jim brown, airplane crash survivor and guest of the speaker. jeff plunges, bloomberg news transportation reporter.
bonnie rollins, recently retired gave nelson, automotive news, washington correspondent. [applause] 10 years since president george w. bush appointed deborah hershman to the national transportation safety board she has used her bully pulpit to highlight a long list of transportation safety issues. motorcoachbuses -- buses, motorcycle riders, regional airlines, truck drivers -- texting and otherwise distract the driver's. even boeing have found themselves in their crosshairs -- her crosshairs. she even holds a commercial drivers license to better understand the industry she investigates. her agency is responsible for investigating transportation crashes and accidents and determining causes also issues
determinations on safety. -- term theerm board put distracted driving into the lexicon and reformed regional airline safety following a devastating crash in buffalo. as she wraps up come them mrs. hershman trying to figure out how to safely transport oil by rail. she will leave the board -- leave the board to become ceo of the national safety council in suburban chicago. she said she will continue her focus on transportation safety. even with a broader focus. looking at the deadliest accident into his street of new york metro north railroad.
early in her career, the west virginia native worked on the staff of the senate commerce committee. here to get there well for marxist chairman of the national transportation safety board, please help me give a warm national press club welcome to deborah hershman. [applause] >> thank you for the gracious introduction and thank you to the busy people who had made time out of their day to be with me today. thank you for the introduction and invitation to come back to the national press club. does anyone remember the reliable source before it was remodeled in the 1990's fiasco little brass plates that had quotes on them that were all over the walls. perhaps some of you that our
reporters might still have those brass weights. a lot of them had quotes on them about the independent press as a check on government. a government where i have spent most of my working career. but i have spent much of it at the national transportation safety board are independence is critical. , report and gote where the facts lead us? yes. is that something similar to what you and the press to do? i think it is. responsibility is to inform the public. our primary responsibility is to investigate to reduce future risk. ? whenn do we intersect risk becomes news.
that is what i would like to talk about. risk,d like to talk about especially unlikely risk and when they become news. so let the start with a story about a secluded village high on a mountaintop in a prosperous kingdom where life is treasured. the only way to visit the secluded village was to be hoisted up in a rope drawn basket, accompanied by a village elder. one day a visitor notices as he is approaching the basket that is badly frayed. he rationalizes that surely such a place would never put at risk their own elders and visitors. basket is off the ground, the wind starts to pick basket is swaying
and sure the rope has a little too much give to it. he rationalizes that they must find a extra special rope that has a lot of give because of the windy conditions near the village. the rope isfway up andaking and groaning, feels like he has to say something. so he turns to the village elder in the basket next to him and says, how often do they rip laced the rope? the village elders thanks for a moment, and he says, whenever it breaks i guess. so, do you think that is good governance? or perhaps more relevant for the audience here today, when the rope breaks, would you write a story about it
?eah com i can see your headlines now, beware on the village of death. let's make the question of little bit harder. is very expensive and 10,000 passengers make the trek in the passenger before the rope breaks. now should you wait until the rope rakes? -- breaks? what if they break -- cost as much a solid gold? should you wait until it breaks? we can add all sorts of different variables, but what if you or someone you love is the 10,000 visitor? or what if you write the story of the 10,000 visitor. then that stranger becomes and thewe all know
trouble is by that time the rope has already broken. let me tell you what happens when the rope breaks and real life. 25 years ago the ntsb investigated the crash landing in sioux city of the united airlines dc-10, flight 232. the crew of the airplane did an no-win job in a situation. if anyone here in the room is a is theek fan, and this kobayashi marrufo of the dc-10 simulators. the flight took off from denver, bound for chicago. mounteday, the tail engine exploded, severing the hydraulics. plane had to wing mounted engines that were still operable, the crew had no control over the very essential
control services of the airplane. crewmembers shuttled back to visually inspect the tail and wings, while others tried to access the control surfaces to no avail. they kept the plane flying using the difference interest between the engines. realize theyt would have to perform a crash landing and informed the crew. the crew had the task of preparing passengers on the flight for that landing. there was no way to prepare the littlest passengers. there were children under two on board, and they were permitted to sit on their parent's lap. so as the passengers and cabin crew waited for the brace signal, a senior flight attendant picked up the
microphone and reminded the parents to buffer their babies by wrapping them in towels and blankets and placing them on the floor, embracing them with their hands and legs. what to mother's day. rs did.mother' wasfinal approach speed over 240 miles per hour. the right-wing caught on the runway. the plane broke into three pieces, caught on fire and ended up in a cornfield. crew could notat control the landing. nobody could. those mothers could not hold onto their babies. nobody could. amazingly, 100 and 85 people survived that crash, but
people lost their lives. in the aftermath of the crash in the burning fuselage, lori and could not find their 11-month-old daughter, sabrina. thathad to make a choice no parent should have to make. whether to escort therefore and of ther-old son's out burning aircraft to safety or tuesday and look for sabrina. thick smoke, they made the chase ashtrays to get them out safely. mark ran back for sabrina. he heard her cry but only once. returnand now tries to to the plaintive look for her son evan. the senior flight attendant blocked her path and told her she could not return to the burning aircraft. she said helpers would find the baby.
sylvia looked at the flight attendant and said, you told me to put my baby on the floor, and i did, and now he is gone. ever since then, that senior flight attendant has been on a crusade to ban lap held children on flights. advocates in forcibly on the issue, testifying before congress, and some journalists have drawn attention to the issue, telling the stories of flight 230 two and others. 10 years earlier, 1979, the ntsb a research and rulemaking on restraint of small children. we recommended restraint from that told children after the sioux city accident, and we have been recommending it ever since. some people say the risk is
small. , a baby is small. we secure laptops and coffee but we do not secure our most precious cargo, our children. are there other risks that the ntsb should pay attention to? of course. how many people die in large airplane crashes? handful in the past four years in the united states. people haveousand died every year on our nation's highways. we should back off boaststion safety? people do not. -- most people did not. most people want the frayed ropes replaced before they break. safety isbut now
never about the numbers. people died when the titanic take sank. there was room in the life force for scarcely half a board. but because of ill defined safety procedures, some of them were left half empty. in response, 100 years ago this year i'm a 13 nations concluded work on the state the of life as he't sea. then world war i broke out, followed by the spanish flu pandemic where tens of millions died. did we forget the titanic? no. because the story had been told in newspapers on art and poetry. people learned what happened to strangers and wept. did we forget about soulless?
no. are one hundred 59 countries that have signed on to that agreement. once the rope breaks, you cannot let a break again. some things from government. and a good and improving standard of safety is one of those things they expect from their government. because who we are transcends statistics and facts. it has to do with how our brains are wired. to thinkike to ask you back. for the journalist in the room, i want you to think back to an interaction with your first editor that has really stuck with you. for the rest of us, think back to your first boss. think back to it interaction you really remember. ok.
you got that memory. i would like to see a show of hands. how many of the memories were good memories. how many of the memories were neutral.ies? i saw a lot of hands go up for bad. only one for good. i think that really helps to prove a point. that has to do with how we remember things. the amygdala influences the coding of episodic memory or in layman's terms, that memory stick. some actors will not read their own reviews because if nine out of 10 things say good things about them, what are they going to remember? table remember the 10th that
said something bad about them. that is why companies spend a lot of money tried to help employees through change because there are a lot of people who say we tried something different 20 years ago and did not work. we have evolved that way to survive. if you are a caveman and sabertooth tiger eats your friend a mile away from the case, it is really important to not go to that place a mile east of the cave. we learn by seeing. so when you raised your hand before in response to my question, a set of motor neurons fired. musclesons tell the what to do. when you lowered it, another set of motor neurons fired. something else happened just now when you watch me raise my hand,
some of your motor neurons fired again as if you had raised your hand. these are called mirror neurons and they are key to learning and teaching. if you are teaching your child to tie their shoelaces, you do at first, you show them how to do it, and then they copy you. think how much it easier that is then for a child to have to learn to try and not all by themselves in a new way. andthis is very home full human survivability. it is another reason why we have survived. when i scratch my hands, sensory neurons fire in your brain. just because you were watching me. the only reason you do not feel it in your hand is because you have a combination of sensory and mirror neurons.
if you numb your hands so there is no feedback, you would feel your hand being scratched. the spanish phrase for i am siento. isi i'm sorry. it is about human beings at their core when we see suffering or hear about suffering, we feel it. might overridee it. we have a mix of mirror and normal neurons to do just that. we're hardwired for empathy. mirrorwant more on neurons check out the head talks on it. i have borrowed from him shamelessly. neurons have to do
with replacing the ropes? we know bad things stick with people. we know we empathize. so we have to replace the rope. weknow there are some risks cannot personally control. that means sometime we have to cooperate to replace the rope. fortunately we are wired to do just that. we form society to teach each other where the predators live. against enemyher tribes. we teach each other where to find food so we do not starve. this contrast is the theories of social darwinism am in the idea some people are weeded out and the few that remain get all of the goodies. ,obody wants the rope to break
so the other safer villages get so the visitors to the secluded mountaintop die, and the village is cut off from the kingdom and withers away. because the person in the basket could be you or someone you love . in fact, part of your brain may think it is. so you demand they replaced the rope. united flight 232 crashed in sioux city. last year flight 214 crashed in san francisco. with more than 300 people aboard the flight. the plane that struck a seawall short of the runway. it ended up thousands of feet down the runway. only three people died. 111.
in part because of the crash is being very different. hasart because a lot improved with safety since 1989. these were the first three fatalities in the united states and more than four years for commercial aviation. 99% of the passengers on flight 200 14 survived. i know you have all seen footage of it. it was a catastrophic crash. do you think that statistic comforts families of the three people who were lost? was thehem, this crash ultimate tragedy. this summer the ntsb expects to issue a final report on the crash in the hopes of preventing the tragedies. the next life lost could be yours, could be mined or any of ours.
mine.ld be i begin telling you about two mothers. a cannot hold their babies in place in 1989. to the michelson story because there was another passenger there whose name was jerry semel. he heard sabrina's cries and thearound and -- in overhead bin which at this time was on the floor. he felt around until he could grab the leg, and then pulled her out into his arms. outside ande got reunited her with the michelson's. later they were able to thank jerry schimmel for doing the right thing. for doing what his human empathy impelled -- compelled him to do, for acting in a selfless way.
like so many heroes, when he was interviewed, he said i am not a hero because you would have done the same thing. but there was no hero for evan tsao. there is someone who is never forgotten that. the senior flight attendant that day was jan brown. i am honored to share the stage with jan today and that she came from chicago to join us. within a month of arriving at the ntsb as a new board member, i got a call from janet imploring me not to remove the issue of child passenger the in aviation off of the most wanted list. she always mentions and then every time she talks about this issue. saying this year as an would
have been 16 and maybe giving -- getting his driver's license. this year evan would have been 18. maybe leaving home for college for the first time. beenyear evan would have 27, and maybe circumstances would have been different, a reporter covering another speaker here today. above --hy we protect against tail events and wide p all want to write and read and watch the story of tail events because we are wired to do it. it would have been us. because making sure karen that the rope gets replaced. and we know it is the right thing to do. cars withoutaccept seatbelts today.
we would not accept airliners without evacuation slides. yesterday's tragic lessons are today's safety wishlist. is the- tomorrow unacceptable risk. in the 10 years since i started working with the ntsb, i have seen more news segments that talk about proactive solutions. people replacing the rope before it breaks. for reporters reporting on a disaster is covering the beat. let's preventing it gets you a pulitzer. we have a whole list afraid ropes called the most wanted list. occupant or texan is one of the issues on that list. to decide what is news. when society is assigned the job of preventing such strategies,
it is forever judged by the ability to do so. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you so much. how good is the international cooperation been in the malaysian airlines investigation , and can you update us on that investigation? i expected i would get a lot of questions on 370 so i will start off by letting you know the ntsb is not leading the investigation and deferring all release of information to our counterparts in malaysia but have been assisting the investigators in malaysia. resources onded the grounds and we will continue to do that.
this has been an incredibly challenging investigation. i know you all in the media know that as well as anyone. we are hopeful they will find the aircraft. certainly if we recover the recorders, we will have a lot better chance of figuring out what happened. >> a smaller country like malaysia will never have the resources or experience of an agency like the ntsb when it comes to answering such questions. that being the case, is there a need for international protocol. will bring the world's leading experts in to supervise such an investigation and never an international flight crashes? >> the good news is we do have international protocols. they are governed by the international civil aviation organization.
amex 13 actually specifies how accident investigations are conducted. the u.s. as the manufacturer has the right, ability to participate in any international aviation accident and we do regularly. we wend assistance. in addition to the assistance of the federal aviation administration and manufacturers. whether it is boeing, ge, we have a lot of partners around the world. leads the investigation? the country of origin is the first believed. if the accident does not occur within territorial waters or country on land, it is the aircraft, which in this case does malaysia. annex 13 has served well over the past years and has allowed us to anticipate and a lot of foreign accident and allowed
countries to come to the united states to help us. whether it is bombarding a friend canada or airbus from france, we have enjoyed international cooperation. aviation knows no boundaries. save the issues are international issues and we work together to find the answers. withve a good framework annex 13. is there room for improvement? there is always room for improvement and that is what people won't work on in the coming years i am certain. to figure out what can be done better. water recoveries are in the torilla sleep difficult and very expensive and time-consuming. we continue to work on better recorder technology and better information coming from aircraft. >> here in america we are hearing a lot about hybrid
rules oncoming from pilot experience and fatigue. do the you think they are causing problems, and if so, are they worth the gains in safety? leave the economics up to others. there was a very good reason why rules were passed and why regulations have changed. we had accident. we learned lessons from them. we made recommendations. many of them have been implemented. that is a good thing and raises the level of safety for all of us. if there are issues that need to be addressed, i am confident in the society like ours with the means that we have as the world's largest economy that we can figure them out. safety has to come first. biggest remaining
safety challenge in the aviation 121a, particularly part youercial operations? >> are asking me to pick amongst my children. we have a lot of issues we care about at the ntsb and have a most wanted list of top 10 issues we care about. a number of issues in commercial aviation. is one of those issues. we have certainly seen that. even issues that are not on the most wanted list. been long, top-of-the-line favorites. we still have cargo operator carveout in the fatigue rules.
we have a lot of them coming up with accident that took place last summer. we have identified a number of issues. i think you heard about them in the hearings. issues with respect to preparedness for flight. we need to make sure we continue to stay on top of all of those. i did dodge the question. not just one issue but many and we need to have a multi pronged approach to address them all. thought on the ferry accident in south korea? how do you believe the south koreans are handling the goestigation? >> our hearts out to the tragic loss that occurred in south korea, particularly in the case with so many students.
we always investigate accidents to try to find out what happened . there is not one cause for an accident the multiple issues that need to be addressed. to myeached out counterpart in south korea offering my condolences and assistance if needed and will continue to support them if needed. we are deferring to the koreans and their leadership on this investigation. this is their vessel and occurred within their purview. r>> from watching the general motors unfolding legal crisis, do you think the regulatory framework is strong enough to protect the public? i would start out the high 30el and say we still lose thousand people every year on the nation's highways. there is certainly room to do better. we must continue to work to do that every day.
i think what we have seen in the recent recalls is the system is not perfect and can be improved. if there is information out there, it needs to be shared and acted on. we need to figure out how to do that in a better way. obviously this is not the role of the ntsb. we did not investigate or have information about these accidents but we will be looking in the ongoing investigations and issues associated with recalls. that has been going on for some time. so if we have comments or insights we can provide to improve the process, we will do that. but when the ntsb put out its list in 2012, it called on the government to mandate to ologies and motorntervene
vehicles to prevent collisions. no mandate was issued but the recommendation dropped from the most wanted list in 2013. are you satisfied the government industry is moving quickly enough? >> no. the government and industry need to move quicker. we mentioned dirty thousands of talent is that occur every year and does occur for many different reasons. many of them have their fruit and human details -- human failure. distraction, fatigue, and impairment. but at the end of the day, what will it take to reduce crashes? what we have seen in aviation is technology holds the key to reducing the accident that have occurred. ,hen we had midair collisions and even though air traffic controllers, pilots and everyone worked hard to prevent those, we still had problems. ofwas not until the advent tea casts that we actually saw
the elimination of midair collisions for commercial aircraft. and it was operating and working. same thing with enhanced crown proximity warning systems. saw a perfectly good airplanes being flown into terrain. we try to make improvements. onwork long and hard accidents. but it was not until enhanced ground proximity warning systems that we began to reduce the accidents. technology has the ability to intervene when humans fail. technologyake the that is already in vehicles, adaptive cruise control, preemptive braking and can work on the technology to the point where it can eliminate or mitigate crashes, we will save a lot more lives.
done fastis not being enough. yes there is a lot of people working on it, but the challenge is most of the technology is only available in the highest end cars. there is collision technology. in fact, i got to ride in a car to test it out at rfk stadium. i got to do that when i was president -- pregnant with my son jackson who is now eight years old. there is the ability to prevent collisions. it should not be just in the most expensive cars. safety should not just be for people who can afford it. >> as a staffer on the senate commerce committee, you helped shape legislation that overhauled how the transportation of transfer overseas the trucking industry. what is your assessment of how
the federal safety carrier administration is doing you go what surprises you about the agency as it is today versus the one you envisioned? us have bestl of hopes for things. whether it is the children or work or things that we do and create. i think back in the 1990's, the jackie and joan, when we worked on the legislation to create the motor carrier safety administration, the clinton administration had a goal of reducing motor carrier crashes by 50% in a decade. that did not happen. we have not really driven down the accident numbers, the taliban numbers. in the past couple of years the fatality numbers have been rising. that is very disappointing.
and theed administration to crack down on this. faster the ntsb issued a report where we investigated for accidents. where we found the motor carrier safety administration or their surrogates and the state had visited carriers in the months yet then accident, but carrier had a fatal accident and were put out of service. one of the trucking companies beforen visited the week the crash and had been given a satisfactory rating but the week after a crash they were given unsatisfactory and put out of service. we have to get the port -- port operators before the crashes and after -- not after. they are doing better connect and the data but they have to act on the data and put people
out of service and out of business permanently. >> the united states is experiencing a significant bus boom. at the ntsb you have documented cases in which bus companies have engaged in woefully inadequacies safety practices that led to fatal crashes and instances in which the federal carrier motor safety board did not catch the violations or look the other way. how scared should u.s. bus riders be and how can the best avoid a company with a shoddy safety record? >> thank you for asking the question, because i think we have to remember, we investigate the bad things. we investigate the works -- worst companies. when he think about it and the busty and you talk about
operations, there are more people that ride buses then fly on airplanes every year. almost everyone of them its to their destination safely. large, transportation safety industries doing a good job. it is about the rope breaking. it is about the worst of the worst. it is about the areas where we need to make improvements. we know we need to make improvements and not making them. that is where the problems are. the bad companies not following the rules come in not honoring hours of service. they are creating unfair competition for the companies that do. we have to get bad operators out of business so the people that do a good job, that invest in safety, whether it is technology or people, have a reward. right now there is no incentive or them to do that.
necessarily at seal of approval or more business. there is a website. many of youou, how have been involved in planning a trip for church, kid school group, wedding and understood how to look up a bus companies safety record? and would it mean anything to you if you stall they were satisfactory, and conditional or unsatisfactory? when it -- wouldn't you think the government was taking care of it to make sure the bad ones could not hold themselves out for service? i think that is the challenge. we do not have a system that is transparent. >> the senate held a hearing earlier this month on rail
safety. giving big increasing amount of oil being shipped by rail, how great do you think the concern is about the commodity increasingly moving by mail? should regulators due to be increasingly ahead of the curve? what we know is regulators are increasingly behind the curve. though shipments have increased by over 440%. and if regulations have not changed. you might have a train one tanker that had of ethanol and one tanker of crude oil, you now have an entire train of 100 cars ofrying aliens of gallons the hazardous liquid coming through many communities.
it.ave to get on top of the ntsb will hold a two-day forum where we will discuss this issue. will bring in experts from the petroleum industry, rail industry and first responders to talk about what we are dealing with. we have seen a number of catastrophic accidents. we are supporting colleagues in canada, they had it tragic accident last summer in québec. people inalmost 50 the accident and the whole town was devastated. have accidents here in north dakota. we are losing cars, millions of gallons of petroleum, and we are not prepared. communities are not restored to respond to this. this can be a worst-case scenario event. we do not have provisions in place of how to deal with it,
either on the industry side or first responders. again, it is going back to when the rope breaks. people may not pay attention until it happens in their backyard or community. trains running through a lot of people's backyard and a lot of people's community. we need to be thinking about it now. >> train cars increasingly used to ship oil east. do you think they are unsafe, and should tens of thousands the now now being used labeled unsafe at any speed? >> this is a long session. a lot of questions here. about theas spoken tank cars. we have said they are not safe enough to be carrying hazardous liquids.
we have investigated accidents including a less -- ethanol train accident. we issued recommendation several years ago and said they either need to remove or retrofit the cars if they will continue to carry hazardous liquids. carrying corn oil is fine. carrying crude is not. they were not designed to carry hazardous liquids. at this point industry and others agree. they are working to improve the tank car designs and have built some improved tank cars tomorrow but we need more needs to be done, and that is why we are having our forum this week. transport'stment of agencies often try to urge industry groups to make changes that the companies resist over implementation costs. are the agencies to close to the industries they regulate?