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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 25, 2014 12:00am-2:01am EDT

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every morning at 7:00 a.m. on c-span. isduring this month, c-span pleased to present the winners of our studentcam video documentary high school. it encourages middle and high school students to think critically about issues. humans were asked to place their documentary on the question what is the most important issue congress should consider in 2014? first prize winners -- are sophomores from montgomery blair high school in silver spring maryland. they want congress to take action against water pollution in our nation's waterways. ♪ >> water. it makes up 75% of our bodies. ay, and humanity would perish within a week. water is the most vital substance to a human body, yet
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it is because of us humans that 50% of all streams, lakes, bays and estuaries are unsuitable due to pollution. in the u.s. we have learned to take water for granted. toilets, and flush reinforce the same idea -- water is an unlimited resource. but step outside to our local and their diminishing condition tells a different story. water pollution kills marine life, destroys ecosystems, and disrupts an already fragile food chain. and animals are not the only ones that suffer the negative effects of water pollution. >> clean water and clean air. we cannot live without it. >> what chance are we giving children to grow up and florist that we cannot protect the rivers and bays they swim in? to takeess, it is time charge of the situation. you have the power to take
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action against water pollution in the u.s. and help protect one of our most vital resources. ♪ one of the most polluted rivers in the state of maryland is the anacostia. the anacostia was once full of life and ecological diversity, the symbol of prosperity in the d.c. area. it is now known as the forgotten river. the entirety of its eight miles is polluted beyond recognition by sediment, pathogens, and wastewater. between 75% and 90% of this pollution is confined -- sewage overflows. washington, d.c., and the surrounding area uses the sewer system that carries sewage and storm water to the same set of
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pipes. twice a week, it overflows. the hardest hit is the anacostia. between the 17 entry points to the river, 2 to 2 billion awagens of sewe pollutes the river every year. dc water has started a project. the clean rivers project -- constructs massive tunnels that will capture cso'ls. we took a tour of the waste stream and plant to learn more. isso this title itself designed as a storage title and a conveyance. what that means is that when the the combined, sewer system, instead of going and potomaccostia rivers, specifically the anacostia, it will overflow into hafts,unnel through s
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filling up the tunnel and transferring all of that overflow water down here where it could be slowly pumped back out. so captures, stores, and it conveys it top t the plant. >> one of the biggest sources of pollution is confined -- conbine d sewer overflows. it will make a huge difference. instead of overflowing 70 or 80 times a year, which is more than once a week, it will overflow twice per year which will make a huge difference to the river. there is a major combined sewer overflow going on out there. so it's unsafe to be on the river during those periods. the bacteria. people get sick. the clean rivers project will fix that. 98%. it reduces the overflows to the
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anacostia by a 98%. >> when fully implemented, the project is expected to help take the anacostia river off of the list of impaired waterways in the u.s. d.c. is not alone in its struggle for clean water. >> raw sewage, industrial -- and storm water come pouring into the harbor. we need to stop that. >> the seriousness of the pollution of rivers have endured over the years is unknown. >> it would be nice of you to jump off your boat and not worry about what you're going to get. >> one of the problems we have to address is sewage, pollution. >> 772 american cities were built with combined sewer systems. >> the biggest of the pollutants is combined sewers overflow. >> the overflow. >> combined sewer overflow. >> the clean rivers project will help benefit our waterways tremendously, but it comes at a price. >> funding. like you mentioned. it is a heavy burden.
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the biggest thing the government can do would be to help fund this, and take some of the burden off taxpayers. >> behind every river, there is a treatment agency. 2014, you must provide federal funding to wastewater treatment across the country. the lifeblood of our nation is tainted with the negligence of generations and it must stop here. watch all of the winning videos and learn more about our competition, go to and click on studentcam. tell us what you think about the issues the students want congress to consider. post your comment on student cam's facebook page or tweet us. >> a couple of live events to tell you about. on thean-2, a discussion implementation of the affordable care act, the health care law, by states. that is live tomorrow from the
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american enterprise institute at 9:00 15 a.m -- 9:15 a.m. detroitmer, the city of filed the largest by group c in u.s. history. in the afternoon, the city's emergency manager will deliver remarks to the american bankruptcy institute. that is at 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. according to a report 49 million americans are food insecure. eat less, sometimes go hungry, or eat less nutritious meals because of costs. "usa today" a reporter about this on thursdays "washington journal." our focus is hunger in america. marisol bello is a reporter for usa today. think you for being with us. the headline, a crisis working for 49 million americans. what did you learn?
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based this was a story off a report that feeding america -- published earlier this month, it basically found there are 49 million americans who are food insecure. that is not the same is not the same as hunger. basically, food insecure is having the feeling you do not have enough money to pay for nutritious meals. since thehat recession, the number has not gone down. it has her main pretty steady since 2007 and 2008. one quote i want to highlight. he would say, the saddest thing is when my oldest son would say, mommy, you could eat my food. was pretty sad. i talked to a family in philadelphia, a married couple and twins. they had moved around quite a
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bit, trying to find afford housing. their children have epilepsy and asthma. time to find homes -- trying to find homes that were safe and not filled with mold and mice and cockroach infested, trying to balance all of that, they ended up having to forego meals and cut back on food. not for the kids but parents. the parents would skip meals so they would eat a slice of bread and give it to the kids. when you have a six and seven-year-old saying that for the mom and dad, they response -- respond to that and say, have some of my food. the department of agriculture is responsible for the food and snap oh gram. receivinge person assistance, 14 years ago, it was about $73. it is now $133 and $.41.
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time, theyng that had a really big boost in food stamps with the stimulus bill. up theally boosted amount families receive a month. that was cut late last year. cost of inflation and the rising cost of food. some people would say the formula is not quite right and not going up as much based on the cost of food and other costskr such as utilitiesill and that sort of thingin4. snap, foodlk about assistance program. half our children.
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that has also been -- that has changed in terms of the number of children. when the program started 50 years ago after the one poverty, the poor or elderly. with social security and some of seniors, you had a flip, more families and children now who are considered poor and will receive food stamps and the elderly. if you look at northeast, it is fairly -- in maine. it is especially heavy. the number of those on food as a percent of the population. it is particularly heavy in new mexico and oregon and lighter in
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colorado, wyoming, nebraska, north dakota. guest: poverty and food insecurity are connected. community,the generally, you hire food insecurity. in this -- in this country, poverty rates tend to be higher. then you have places in new indianbecause of the reservation, particularly. you see some of that. oregonu have states like where you have an outlier and you wonder what is going on in oregon. it has a robust economy. oregone economy is bad, goes bad also. what happened during the recession is oregon made a strong effort to make -- half more families sign up for food stamp for that reason. what you're seeing is a correlation of both poverty rates around the country and organ, anhe case of
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effort to more families sign up for snap. host: how do you define the working poor in terms of income? guest: they do not need -- meet the poverty line. they are generally working, and, in fact, what is interesting is when you look at snap recipients, something like 80% of recipients are in households where there is an adult or two working. most of the people who receive food stamp benefits are working. workinge people who are seven dollars an hour, eight dollars an hour, nine dollars an hour, and cannot make ends meet. you cannot meet the utilities or rent. you will see in the story i have written there and previous
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stories, countless stories of arounds having to bounce or working temporary jobs. working fora woman an auto plant store. making something like nine dollars an hour. do not have enough funds to pay rents. struggling. here are some figures. if you are an individual who earns under $12,000 a year, your declared to be in poverty. 42 people, $15,730 a year. under $24,000. that varies if you are in a city. it will vary significantly in terms of what you can live off of. guest: absolutely but the guidelines do not change. 2000 $50 a costs
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month, or 800 a-month for a two-bedroom apartment, the federal guideline is still the same. l.a., live in new york or what you will have to pay will be higher. the 2012eport on survey. a large study conducted saying 49 million americans are food insecure. people who sometimes he lets go hungry or eat less nutritional meals because they cannot afford to eat better. is first ladyues michelle obama, the food deserts. you travel in cities and there is no place to buy bread and vegetables. absolutely. you see it a lot in world communities where people drive miles. kentucky was one of the places where president had -- president
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johnson had visited. to get to a supermarket, you have to drive 45 minutes there. you definitely have issues related to access. when there is access, it is very expensive. folks end up buying things like ramen noodles or a lot of processed foods that then create their own set of health problems. me give more information in terms of what you found. across the country, mostly by south, one in five are food insecure. nationally, it is one in seven. say they need on average an additional $50 and $.82 per person per week in 2012 to buy enough groceries. people are seeing food costs also go up.
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it is where you live. when you have something like, they were first doing the study and you had eight counties with high food insecurity also in places where the meal costs were high. this is back in 2009. today, 23 counties. high food security and high food costs as well. increase folkshe are seeing. we all see it. it would have cost us $100 to buy a weeks grocery -- groceries. now it cost 220 dollars for fresh food and fresh meats. for those who make decisions on this, the white house and congress, what does the report do for them? poverty and the varying programs that help the poor have
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been since the creation 50 years ago, they are political footballs. big debates. depending on which side of the isle you fall on, it really depends on what you want to do. and a lot of discussion about trying to reform food stamps. depending on what side of the line they fall on, they will have to add more funds to it and change some of the guidelines that reflect the rising costs of utilities and food. on the other side, you have folks that say, you cannot just give people blank checks. you cannot give people blank benefits. you have to make sure there is a work component. the debate continues and the debate has been raging 60 years. , who's withl bello usa today, on 49 million
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americans who face the risk of hunger or are food insecure. thank you for being with us. we will get to your calls and comments. from hollywood, florida, good morning. caller: good morning. [crying] i am just calling because i want you to help me. host: tell us your story. caller: [crying] host: i will put you on hold. we will come back you. i promise. stay with us. we go to bill, good morning. caller: hello. i would just like to say to people being able to eat, a
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decent meal, have nothing to do with fraud or anything on this part of food stamps. food stamps have had a low rate of fraud. it comes down to the tea party and people like the coke the koch wrote this. the koch brothers. aboutok at what they are -- getting rid of social security. preamble,ry in the the united states of the people, by the people and for the people. brothers.e koch stampsin terms of food
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him of the caller is cracked. there is a low percentage of fraud related to food stamps. i have visited places where people have used their food stamp cards to barter for other and by cases of soda and go out and sell it for cash. that does happen. it what it is very minimal -- but it is very mental. -- it is very mammal. minimal.very have many of the food stamp recipients are workers. 70-75%e something like of folks that are receiving food
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stamps are actually working. you have everyone else who is the answer would be, no. it is a misconception that people may have of people that receive food stamps. many of them do work. the majority of them are working. let me share with our audience this chart. 1-2013.rom 2000 it has leveled off and went 13. was between 18-20,000,000 at the start of 2001. it is just below 50 million now. let's go back to maryland from hollywood, florida. you ok now? caller: yes. i was working and i have no income at all.
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survive?pposed to how am i supposed to survive? -- my my social security drivers license was taken away from me so i don't have my drivers license. and in american citizen have my social security. the only thing i do not have is my drivers license. citizen. host: how long have you been out of work? caller: since june of last year because i used to work for aarp. the last employment was macy's incorporation. that was last year. june. i did not even receive my w-2. host: how is your health? caller: i'm 42. my health is good.
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my sugar levels, which are high because i'm not eating properly. host: thank you for phoning in. very --ail and story is i have heard maryland's story around the country. what happens with families that were doing generally well before the recession -- people were able to get out of party -- get out of poverty, there were still a lot of people left on the margins of poverty. they were out of poverty as long as they were working. or ify lost their jobs they had a health condition or you name the circumstance that may have happened to them, it was very easy to them to fall back into poverty.
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-- maryland's story is very typical of stories that i have heard. i would say to maryland that you might want to think about going to your closest food stamp store or offices. you might qualify. of yourknow all economic circumstances, but you might want to start there. in the land of plenty, many go without. this is the headline from last thursday's usa today. one of your viewers sang the hunger game is not a fun game. let's go to tom from texas. good morning. caller: good morning. you need to go from the food bank to the voting booth.
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are we in russia or north korea? how can you sit there and let people cry? go ahead and get your license or whatever and vote. host: tom from texas. we will go to dave from california. i just wanted to make a statement -- i don't understand why the republicans are always cutting food stamps or anything that is good for this country. and why they don't raise the minimum wage. the minimum wage in australia is $22 an hour. a bit above mexico. i don't understand why democrats and republicans -- democrats say, if we raise the min wage, there will be less jobs. making $22 ans
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-- these people are starving in this country and those republicans cut food stamps. i don't understand what's wrong with them. they should not be in congress. they should make the minimum wage -- raise the minimum wage. democrats want food stamps. dave from california. i won't offer an opinion on what the republicans or democrats are doing. what i can tell you is that when you talk to advocates for the poor or when you talk with researchers who study this
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issue, what they say is that programs such as food stamps are extremely helpful for families. -- they not dependent should be higher because they really are the biggest help you can offer families. others will say that they are supplemental issues. they can help offer and add a bit more to the cost or to help pay for the cost of food. folks,u talk to something like food stamps is considered one of the really big helps to families that need it. host: in terms of the hunger are in the mides to low teens. north dakota is the lowest. just seven percent of the overall population.
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based on reports from mississippi, it is at the highest and nearly put the three percent -- at the highest at nearly 23%. think for taking my call. i just have a comment -- whenever congress and the cutting social programs, their gop should take some of their own advice. if they want to cut the stem nap program,tep cut the taxand breaks for the top one percent. it costs $80 billion per year. that is nowhere near what we are spending on food stamps. read the bible. it says feed the poor. it does not take take from the poor and give to the rich.
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the 95% are going to wake up because we can take control of this country. want to change in this country, you can if you have money. host: this is from one of our other viewers. created?ood deserts that's a good question. to laces like detroit -- i lived and worked in detroit for several years. good luck finding a supermarket in detroit. i mentioned this other community that i visited in kentucky earlier. -- if there isat a business decision at play who arer the folks opening or not opening stores. you look at businesses like
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walmart. they are often in rural communities. they don't end up in all places. i don't completely know the answer to why you end up with that kind of circumstance. you talk to folks and there seems to be some concerns about whether or not they can even make money. you occasionally hear things like that. you have a population of people that want food. not sure i understand the argument. host: this is a tweak for michael who says, "poverty is .he root cause it should be the government's responsibility." let's go to rick from new jersey. caller: good morning. way that we can
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fight poverty in our country without talking about martin luther king. before what he was doing his death. the poor people's campaign. you figure the money that was being funded, that stopped this war in vietnam and put it towards the poverty in our -- that is where he had to go. it was the same with bobby kennedy as well. wars and youbig put that money towards what needs -- from we have this tweet a viewer who says, "food and health care are basic needs. programs must be efficient. they are not even close."
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how would you respond to that? guest: that's a very typical sentiment. you have a lot of people on both sides of the aisle who say something like food stamps is needed and helps, but how you administer it is more of the question. sayll have folks who you need these complicated formulas so they reflect the cost of families and the other side says you can't keep throwing money at this thing. you have to have people work for it. with cash welfare. there is a lot of debate about how to change and improve it. we have seen various proposals from members of congress related to that as well. host: rick, did you want to weigh in on that?
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after 9/11, i figured clinton had our deficit down. every time there is a crisis, they shoot the deficit back up. host: thanks for the call. "mostlyon or comment -- women and children?" guest: mostly women and children because you have a high percentage of single-parent families that are poor. whether or not mom is , but earning minimum-wage salaries that maybe enough to support
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children. 49 million americans who are food insecure. mike is joining us from burlington, vermont. good morning. caller: good morning. i would like to make a comment and ask two questions. she keeps reiterating about most of the people on snap -- they work. the reason why they work is because it's a requirement from federal law. they require the recipient to work. one of my questions -- i wanted to know, have you heard of any type of requirement -- if you ,re homeless, are you required
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out of the are section, they have a certain amount they can get from the state. do she believe that some states use the food stamp program to classify certain individuals based on race or other special classes? i'm not sure if i quite understand the first question. it sounded like what he was asking was whether or not you qualify automatically if you are homeless. anon't know if there is actual qualification that says youou are homeless automatically receive food stamps. it is really based on income guidelines. ,f you make a certain amount
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that is what will guide whether or not you're eligible. that does vary by state even though there is a federal guideline. if the state chooses to increase -- a particular student can choose to increase it to a certain amount. if just the fact that someone is homeless is enough of a requirement. the second point deals with one of the points in your piece, that issue of food insecurity. you make these points. of hunger or not having money to buy enough healthy food for everyone in the household is how you define food insecurity. it has remained at the same .evel since 2009 85% of food insecure households have a working adult.
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guest: you talk to folks who study this issue. one of the things they will say is while the recession has improved and we are at the lowest levels of unemployment that we have seen since the seeing thewe're stock markets bounce back and a lot of ways in which we are bouncing back. the recovery still very slow. particularly for those working families. what ends up happening is you eithermilies that have -- cannot find a job that is paying enough or giving them they usedrs. may be to make $10 an hour and they are making seven dollars now. or you have families who would have been considered pre-recession middle-class. families with parents having to
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-- they were laid off and are coming back at half their income. that was exactly the case in california. the grants for a nonprofit agency were cut and the husband was laid off. , theyey have found work were homeless for a wild -- they have since found work but they are making less than half of what these two. -- less than half of what they used to. they don't qualify for food stamps. that is another story we see quite a bit of. host: elise makes this point. if the husband walks out? we are seeing single homes andingle-parent households headed by single
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parents with children that tend to be one of the largest populations of families that are poor and food insecure. you do have families with grandparents, single grandparents and single father, but the majority is single moms. host: an ap story dealing with hunger on college campuses. tuition alone has become a arising 27%en him at public colleges and 14% at private schools over the last five years. that according to the college board. you add in expenses for books and other necessities and many are left to choose between eating and learning. most students are not eligible for food stamps. thestory was posted in huffington post. what does this tell you? guest: i talked to folks who say, it's me, i'm your neighbor.
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thats one of the things she said. "i am your neighbor and i have gone hungry. ." when the ncaa tournament was happening, we had a student from the university of connecticut who said that there were nights that he has gone to bed hungry. what ends up happening is that, if a student is from a family , you'refood insecure also giving them additional have moneyy food and to buy other things. you're not going to have that additional funds. at everythat it hits level. host: michael from new jersey. good morning. caller: good morning. a pointanted to make about money.
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there is only a certain amount of it. , want people to understand when curtis granderson is making $15 million this year, which is enough for 2000 people to live on -- when you talk about poverty come you're talking about and in balance. .inbalance host: thanks for the point. most likelycing has caused millions of americans to become unemployed and therefore have to depend on food stamps." it definitely hints at
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income inequality there. we have seen the gap growing wealthier and the rest for quite some time. we have been saying the decrease of that middle class. the recession really brought these home. these are trends that have been happening for years. this has not happened because of the recession. this has been happening for some time. the recession rutted home because you have some people in the middle-class suddenly on food stamps. and suddenly visiting their local food stamp pantry. this is a trend that has been happening for a while. you have a lot of debate about how to fix it or even how much of an issue it is. when you look at issues of inequality where not doing as well as some other countries and the rest of the world, that is
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the first point. to the second michael, related to outsourcing, what you will see in a lot of -- i have visited a lot of communities around the country. what you will see is that factories have closed in communities where maybe that was the primary employer. thathas happened, once land leaves and goes somewhere else, there is not a lot of options left for folks. i remember visiting a community in north carolina where they make a lot of bottles. the industry there really has shrunk. there isn't much left. there wasn't anything left for folks. folks who maybe had been earning $18 an hour with benefits no longer have that and don't
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qualify for other kinds of jobs. they have to go back and retrain. trying tolot of folks retrain in the health care industry. we see that all the time in the midwest when in comes to the car industry. you see that in community after community in michigan or ohio or wisconsin. there was a report looking at bill class in america and it says that the u.s. has fallen to canada and a number of european countries. how does that impact your reporting in this debate over food insecurity? -- whate end up having i end up seeing with these families i have talked to is that we have a wider pool of who .s poor or who is food insecure i will see families and have talked to countless families since 2009 who would have been considered middle-class and were
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year. $40,000 a suddenly, they have lost their jobs and they don't have much to fall back on. maybe they have a community college degree or maybe even a four-year degree. because of where they specialized or they were able to find another job, that job is now paying them $35,000. when people fall, they can try to climb out but maybe they're not climbing as high as they had been before. host: in the 48 contiguous states, poverty for a family of atr defined as an income $23,000 or less. david is joining us from brooklyn, maryland. good morning. callr: i just want to because i hear a lot of other colors call in. i guess i'm one of these
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heartless republicans that he's people. -- that hates people. republicanism stands for personal response ability. for how responsibility you deal with your problems. i live in a neighborhood that is very impoverished and i do ok. i'm definitely in the middle-class. the people around me, i can tell you, if they had any idea of financial literacy, they couldn't solve their problems. this is what happens to some people. they make bad choices and poor decisions and want to use those decisions that they made as reasons for their needs, which may be this program and many others. also this from
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john who says the same thing. food stamps were meant as a hammock.t, not a 90% of the recipients are lifetime recipients. guest: i don't know about the 90% figure. you definitely do have a lot of generational families that are on food stamps. you look at communities like this one in kentucky where president johnson went during the war on poverty. you talk to families there and and will say, food stamps some of these programs really helped. this was an extremely poor community where they did not have running water or children were malnourished. now you go back there and you don't see that. yet, their poverty rate has gone -- 50%few percent to 30%
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to 30%. it has gone down, but what they have done is create a culture of dependency. you have a lot of young people who know that if you don't have to work, you can apply for food stamps and cash welfare benefits which are harder to get in the last few years. they know they don't have to work and they can go on disability. you can go to places where you will see that. on the other hand, you will talk to folks who say poverty is endemic. generational and we need to find ways to help people get out of that. what we have been seeing with this recession is that when well andstart to do you have something like the
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recession, they can pull themselves out of poverty. you have a health scare or an -- they're not quite at the place where they can pull themselves out and they end up falling back in. highlight the other side of what folks about these programs. host: hungry in america. for 49 million americans. based on a study of more than 44,000 americans across the country.
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joined by nicole jones who wrote an article for callstlantic" i was she re-segregating them some schools here you can join the conversation on the phone or on facebook and twitter. "washington journal" every morning on c-span at 7:00 a.m. oment, supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg joins a discussion on women in leadership and the court. then a panel of supreme court reporters and law professors talk about transparency. later, a look at veterans mental health care issues. some independent scientists corn andt monsanto's found a gene that assignment was switched on. that gene produces an allergen. so you may have an allergic
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reaction, someone may die from eating corn that is genetically engineered. but the process of genetic engineering created a switch on of that gene and a change of 43 other genes. monsanto's soy has a sevenfold increase in a known allergen. this was not intended. this is the background side effects of the process of genetic engineering, the process that's sused. --here are the organizations national academy of sciences, american medical association, no problem with gmo's. are all of these a conspiracy that someone with no scientific training has suddenly uncovered? if that is not enough for you, here are a whole bunch of other organizations. these are not only organizations with scientific sounding names. these are real medical and protective organizations.
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in europe, which is very anti--gmo, in australia, all over the world. here is the epa, which we pay attention to when it comes to global warming or something like that. they say, would not pose an unreasonable risk to human health and the environment. i could come up with dozens of these. c-span,weekend on genetically modified food saturday morning at 10 a.m. eastern. this weekend on book tv, the los angeles times festival of books on the realities of war, feminism, journalism, world politics, and finance. saturday starting at noon and sunday starting at 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span-2. on american history tv, bonnie morris on title ix, discrimination against women in sports. saturday at 8:00 p.m. and midnight on c-span-3. a conversation on women
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judicial leaders. we will hear from supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg, along with canadian supreme court justice rosalie -- abella. plus a former member of the israeli supreme court. judy woodruff moderates this event that was held at the national museum of women in the arts in march. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> good afternoon, everyone and welcome to the national museum in the arts where leadershiparts, and come together every day. and we are so glad to have you for this evening with our three justices. to be very pleased partnering once again with the embassy of france and especially want to give a thanks to madame sofie for being a a us.erful partner with [applause]
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my remarks tonight are logistics. willuldville this -- we have this wonderful conversation this evening and that will end with q&a. at 6:00 we will go to the third floor for a reception and then be an hour later, i town in at 7:00 p.m. town in the great hall. to introduce madame dalatra to make her remarks. very >> rest reassured we will be to english. h is a very personal event and i to thank you all for being here tonight. many of you have come from washington, from
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chicago and new york and canada it is very special. you are here because of the three extraordinary women. of whom i have had the know.ege of getting to justice abella from the supreme dan, the justice from andsupreme court of israel justice ginsberg from the united states.f th before we introduce each of the and begin an historic and extra order conversation i this event about how came to being and why we wanted to do it. justice and her husband erving were friends when we were posted years ago. few i was as you will all be her personald by journey and undying faith in humanity. she andearned that
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justice ginsberg were girlfriends. to washington it seemed natural to arrange a conversation between these two extraordinary women. that opportunity arose when i had the privilege of attending a private dinner at the former mayor of montclair's home. had justice ginsberg with her and i said ask her if she interested in conversation and she immediately agreed and she said well, why doris my friend? thiso it then became threesome with chief justice dorek. not have been possible ginsberg mottns remembering not reached out. this evening is the result of extraordinary women who pulled resources together. mary, which we just talked about, the three justices, of
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course. willhelmina. woodruff an icon in journalism. mrs. benefit, a force of nature washington. millstein.onnie others., many this evening's conversation is truly historic and for the first time we gather three women from courts who are girlfriends and from three countries. monument.ach a living at a time when so many people are asking where are the women, is a response. they are here. they are there. they are everywhere. have to look. we have to ask. we have to listen and we have to act. and france, my country, is taking action. each of us in this room has the power to identify leaders and
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ourselves.ader what has astounded me with the three justices from very backgrounds growing up in different countries, each took very similar paths. united states theed statecanad, israel, each of these women were firsts in their countries. of womens rights is a conversation worldwide across all cultures. looking to identify those anding the path for change today we have an opportunity to give three of them even more visibility. when you think about it, these women have an impact on the future of their countries for generations to come. decisions canals be altered by the courts, and it is the supreme courts that of those difficult societyial issues tad which will impact future generations.
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in the decades that follows as culturals look at changes in our societies around the world these leaders will be at the forefront. historians will read their interviews and biographies and this one will stand out. evening.ou enjoy this judyay i please allow you di this historicgin conversation. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, for bet evening.on behind this what a treasure it is to bring womenthree extraordinary together. it is not only my great privilege, it is an extraordinary honored and a great pleasure to be here with you. want to thank susan sterling and wilhelminas
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idea it was to have the museum and have the conversation in the perfect place in the city of washington this moment. let's get started. no more time wasting. just heard from sophie three path-breaking women. biographies inll the program. i want to remind everybody about who he are and where they came from truly. i'm going to lead off the conversation and then we will leave some time at the end for from you in the audience. talk.p that in mind as we first, from your left, the honorable justice rosalie silverman ibella. 2004. been appointed in just 29 years old when
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first appointed as a judge. making her the youngest and first pregnant judge in canadian history. she had press conference tisdaleed civil and criminal law for several years and from the moved to the ontario court of appeal before being named to the supreme court. been the way she has actively engaged in employment law,y, labor relations access to legal services by those with disabilities. so is considered and for many other reasons, and is canada'sd one of foremost experts in human rights law. the justice was born in a displaced persons camp in germany soon after the end of ii.d war her family came to condition da later.gees four years besides the distinguished legal credentials she has a degree royal conservatory of piano.n
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abella. [applause] [applause] plows. dorit. the honorable she sevenned in the capacity for six years, the first woman in that position. recognize the among many focus onngs for her protecting civil rights and andn rights, women, socially vulnerable immigrant workers and emphasized the review of of judicial activities of the executive government.rael's her service as president of the supreme court followed 10 years as justice of that court. to this she served as a district attorney, director and deputy in the state attorney's office and as the state attorney of israel. the first woman in that position. was born in tel aviv. dorit benish.
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>> and third, someone we know ruthwell, the honorable bader ginsberg, associate justice of the united states. ginsberg serving in her 21st year, only the second woman to the u.s. supreme court when she was named in 1993 by president clinton. prior to her appointment she spent 13 years serving as a forral appeals court judge the district of columbia. following a distinguished teaching career at rutgers university where she cofounded the first law journal in this country to focus exclusively on rights and at columbia university. as general counsel of the unionan civil liberties she argued landmark cases before the supreme court on gender discrimination. she was described in a profile magazine asorker the supreme court's most
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accomplished litigator. brooklyn,rn in new york. and as a measure of how far come whenhe law have she graduated from law school in of her class she did not receive a single job offer. bader ginsberg. [applause] talking wheret by you grew up and how you grew up. it is clear by talking to you you haveng about what written and said in the past that that shaped you. start with you, justice ginsberg. brooklyn. growing up. tell us just a little bit about was like? >> i grew up with world war ii presence.elming
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it was both a sad time and then i remember the exhilaration in country first on d day and then vj day. doing ting contribute to the war efforts so we were from oure wrappers foil to roll them into bags. gardens in our school and we saved from our allowance money to buy stamps to war bonds so that the end of world war ii i think was a very our
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>> and so it was new york city you spent your formative the heart of that not travel, not a lot of travel in the heart of that busiest most populous city in the country. >> yes. and note addirondacks in the summer. that is a good thing. that is a good thing. about you, you said you were born in tel aviv. growinga little about up, your family? >> i was born in tel aviv. parents came in 1933 to israel which was then palestine. israel.t the state of they were kind of pioneers movementr the
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forebyish people coming to israel. my background. my mother was a kindergarten was i think the for manyus in israel years for the important that she to education and to educate young children. she wrote in this field and she active. publicer was working in service. it was't an easy time, time of war and everything. was world born, it war ii. last post carde that my family got from my my aunt fromand poland was congratulations for the baby and then they were murdered there. they didn't want to come because burdenought it will be a on their children to be there in
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onestine and, of course, no foresaw what the terrible future for them. inas always interested education as a child even, in activity and it was just to law andhat i came came to love it so much. hebrew,w where we spoke we were -- the first israelis, was 6 years old when the state was established. years old. >> when, when the state was established. that?you remember >> yes, it was such an excitement that even a remember. child can it was really excitement and the were during the war, of course. and you know, we all accompany development of this state
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since my childhood. up to today. so that is the background in which i grew up. withu really grew up israel at the same time. >> yes, yes. >> now, you were born the war in three of brought the you together, different times and different plays but affected all of you. >> defining for the three of us. >> you were born in germany as we mentioned. is a displaced persons camp? polish.rents were moi father was a lawyer who grad my mother'skow and family were business people in the city of poland. and operatinge under german agis. married september 3, 1939 injuries not 1939. and them had a child and spent
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four years in concentration camp. the child was killed. found each other -- it is quite a remarkable story when i it.en to my parents tell my father ended up in a place from my mother. when she came back to poland she where my father was rails to pr api e a ty primeas epickic.hoid nobody was allowed in so she garbage with the detail. she found him in the back of the camp frail listening to the radio because they were announcing who had survived. germany.d up in i -- i'm just stunned by the have more children after something like that, but i was born july 1, 1946 so it was very soon after they got
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together. speak my mother tongue is german us to feely wanted like we belonged. didn'tome level that i really understand i realized there wasn't any hate, there was just the dough sire to evercome -- desire to overcome and make us feel normal. polish to each other and my grandmother spoke yiddish. my father taught himself english hired as a lawyer for persons. i have wonderful letters from judges and lawyers qualifying forand recommending him when he was able to come into canada which we were finally able to do in 1950. >> why did he choose canada? >> hehood a relative here. as you know not a great record of allowing in refugees.
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your husband.or >> right here. but more of him later. i remember my father -- one of canada,est memory ms they quickly learned english and in the home.nglish and i remember my father coming to theom having gone loss society of upper canada to speak english, i'm a lawyer, i have done my eight years of training in europe and hired we,ans have what do i have to do to practice law in ontario and they said you can't, you have to be a citizen. that would have taken five years my sister andand my mother to look after so he became an insurance well and did well. i never heard him complain. but there was a moment when i think about it when my brain said fine, if they won't let him
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be a lawyer i'm going to be a lawyer. to --pent my life going >> how old were you when -- >> 4. >> so i spent my life going to barmitzvahs and wedding when people said what are you going be when you grow up i said a lawyer? i knew no women who were lawyers. all i news he couldn't be it and he wanted to be it and i would be it. it wasn't until i was 13, i read weekendsbig books on because nobody ever asked me out but that is okay. and i read -- don't believe this. >> i thought it so hard to believe now when you -- [laughter] you?at can i tell missables was the book
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that made me see what justice injustice was. the childhood aspiration caught up with a theory of fairness and thatught okay it was good i decided to be a lawyer. but i didn't know any women who were lawyersnd when i got pregnant in 1973 with our first son i didn't know any mothers were lawyers but i was tenacious in my desire to he couldn't be. but the most important thing childhood as an immigrant you have zero of entitlement. it is all about opportunity. working rolely hard to pay back the country for member,you to be a working really hard in school so you are the top student in school. app kno piano two hours every day because it was important to my parents. they wanted it and i was all that i livedsure in accordance with their values.
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was of all --it we don't grow up in a jewish neighborhood. were maybe two or three kids that were jewish of all of up,kids i knew growing public school and high school. it was the happiest home. they never complained. were bitter. there was no sadness. demons ind a sense of the house and i didn't know until much older that that was typical for the homes of survivors. they made me think i could do anything and i can't take any credit for it. they also said you will get married and have children. jewish, right? of course, you can be a lawyer but you are going to get married and have children. a way it was easier because there wasn't should i do this or should i do this. merger of aspirations and. and havell get married children. >> and you will be a lawyer. ginsberg, i don't
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think you mentioned your occupation of your parents. did they of influence have and other family members have on your ultimate interest the law? reader.ther was an avid she never dreamed, i never dreamed that it would be possible to be a lawyer. i was going to be a high school teacher. asked me did you always want to be a judge? when i got out of law school the object was to get a job. any job in the law. days were pretitle seven so employers were up front that want any women. my class in law
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school had about 500 students, them were women. can imagine what a tremendous opportunity i had women's movement came thee again at the end of 1960's and there i was a law and able to contribute whatever talent i had to nudge this movement a little further. >> what do you think pulled you law andirection of the toward the idea of wanting to have something to do with justice? >> in large part it was a cornellr that i had at university. his name was robert e. cushman. attended from 1950 to 1954. country.e for our it was the heyday of senator mccarthy who saw a
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communist in every corner. wanted me tosor wasrstand that our country straying from its most basic values, that there were lawyers people, many of them in the entertainment reminding ourwere house on american activities senate security committee that our constitution freedomrst amendment, fifthression, and a amendment, protecting people from self-incrimination. so it was the idea that a lawyer a profession and it was a field in which you could make things a little better. to say also that my thely was not too keen on
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idea of my going to law school mainly because they were my being able to support myself. but then when marty and i be aed, it was okay to lawyer because if it didn't work out i had a man to support me. [laughter] -- they weret was tamp relaxed about it after that? yes. you allurious about how have spoken a little bit about, you no, the direction of the law wasn't just the law. you all have been advocates in our own way. mentionedll as we human rights has been a passion for all of you. wasalong the way there something that kept you going. it wasn't just as you are wasn't just seeing that laws get passed by legislative bodies or that lawyers get a case argued, it justice ginsberg
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just said, making things better. you hearda point when inside, justice bainisch your head that said this is what i want? backwards,, looking to be sincere, i think how did i it wasn't my first -- my first dream was to be also a high for history.r and i went to the university to literature.y and but really i believed that you yourto do something for society. this was part of the education i i thought thed best thing is to influence beiety through education to with a young againation. and -- generation. know how last minute decision was that i have to do a change from my routine thinking about education and i thought it
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go into lawn to school. you know,. >> where did that idea come from? >> i don't know. because i wanted a change. really felltarted i in love with this profession, with law. surrounding everyone, i always tell the after i went, i started to law school i met my school master from high school. was a very important personality in education. very influencial. and she said dorit, what are you going to study? then just released from the military service. i said well, i decided on law. disappointed. [laughter] >> at the end, she said you will be a judge in couldvenile courts this >> why was she disappointed
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initially? i think she didn't know anything. she had values about young people. what do they do? how can we contribute? only when eyes started law school i realize you can contribute much more than any other field. it took time. lawyers have their business, and this is a sin. we were looking for something with value.
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little girls come to me many times a month and they say, what iall i do to be a judge, and always wonder, i never thought of being a judge when i was your .ge you just do good what you have to do. it comes if you do that. done, butr said than they already start when they are eight years old, 10 years old, 12, to think what should they do ? >> yes? >> law is still a first degree in israel, isn't it?
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>> yes. >> you were rather young when you entered law school. not more than two years, and only then i started law school. it's the second after you study your first degree. i started when i was 20 years old. time i really thought i would prefer literature and history. i love every minute of it. >> the first woman on the israeli supreme court, who was it? the 70' i think women's career in law in israel was in a way easier than in the united states. >> why?
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paved the someone has way. during the british mandate in israel and palestine, they had a mandate. women were not allowed to argue cases in court. that. they fight for came to london. they learned women could argue someone paved. the way. women.'t have many the 70's the first woman justice. it was a few years before. what about being a woman?
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you made a very important point. it was inconceivable when we when weng and even started practicing law that we would ever be a judge. inconceivable. there were no women judges. the reasons that was an advantage, and especially if you are kind of an outsider. i know it's hard to talk about it if you are on the supreme court, but we know what it feels like to be an outside insider. you do what you feel is the right you to do. >> what do you mean? >> if you know you are different. i was jewish, immigrant, female and a male profession that was largely -- grandfather was a supreme court judge.
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a supreme court judge. it can be a great advantage to understand you are different, that you are never going to be like anyone else, and that's good. enjoy the fact that you are different. don't try to homogenize. things not to the possibility of an ultimate object does, i.e., one day i want to be on the supreme court. and you measure all your choices. you take risks. you say, sure, i will run a labor board. i will be judge at 29. nothing was against my ultimate objective because i was having a wonderful ride in the legal profession. i now give advice when i am asked to young people and say you don't know where you're
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going to end up. give yourself a chance. the great tin pan alley songwriter was asked, what comes first, the music or the words, and he said the phone call. i get that. the other advantage our generation had is we had the banality of the 50's with the un-american activity, but then you had the 60's. andwomen's movement, race, in the 70's the dialogue came. in which generation change was all around us. that was a great advantage.
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a lawyer in an environment where it was all about legal change, where you have all these groups screaming for entry into the mainstream, that was a privileged time. we wanted a better world. >> what did that time feel like for you? you were teaching during a chunk 1970's. >>eer in the 63 until i got my first job in d.c. towhat did that feel like you? you plunged right in. in civilinvolved rights issues from the beginning. >> exhilarating and exhausting.
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what touched me most was one of the people who came forward and said, i have experienced an in justice. system -- anegal injustice. i think our legal system can make it right. the first case in the supreme sally reed's case. she was a woman from boise, idaho. she had an adopted son. husband separated. custody of the when the boy was a teenager the father said i want to have the
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child for part of the time. he needs to be prepared for a man's world. the family said ok. sally was distraught. she had a reason to be. her son was terribly depressed and took out one of his father's miniguns and killed himself -- many guns and killed himself. idaho have a law that settled the matter. it is between persons equally entitled to administer an estate , the mail must be preferred to female. wrong,hought that was and she took that case through three levels of idaho courts.
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when idaho supreme court ruled brilliant lawyer said that is the case that is going to change the court. they will hold the classification is inadmissible. they said once the women's movement was conspicuous more i don't people thought have to put up with this. it should be changed. >> literally she came to you? a lawyer from the aclu read the report of the supreme court called the local
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lawyer in boise, idaho and said the aclu would like to assist. the aclu has a mixed history early on that opposed the equal rights amendment because it was framed to protect the that women were threatened by the equal right women, but after sally reed's start aey decided to women's rights project, so from 72 until 80, i spent most of my time -- haved you -- i know you written and spoken about this. how much did being a woman affect what you were able to do and you were arguing cases
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before the court? >> the women of my generation had to overcome certain obstacles. ok to make indulgent buts on race or religion, women were fair game. i will give you one example. i was talking to a federal court in new jersey, and they said, i understand women have made great progress. opportunity in and i said women
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are not allowed to have flight training. the judge responded, don't tell women have been in the air always. i know that from experience with my own wife and daughter. say, you you don't sexist pig. you want to win the case. if you got angry that would be self-defeating. say, i haveng is to met many women who don't have their feet on the ground and then race into the next line. the last argument i had with the 1978. it was about putting women on juries in missouri. systemi had an opt out
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where women were not required to serve and the summons that went woman youyou were a need not serve. serve,don't want to check off here. how many people would volunteer? argument with the public defender of kansas city. i thought i had gotten out the report -- the point i wanted to make. then the justice said, you won't settle. many years later he wrote a of the familyion
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medical leave act. live you canu learn. justice, i described some of before you were appointed to the supreme court. how much did being a woman deputy state attorney and state attorney? >> i don't know how much it ffected. i think the story we just heard, is it is aimpressive vehicle to promote human rights and women's rights. we don't really have the equality we are struggling to
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achieve. what was difficult as a woman, was when i was in the ministry , i needed many times to confront the politicians. i thought they don't respect minorities,ight of so i had many fights inside the system, inside the administration. to takeyou don't have
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it too seriously what you say. you have to fight when you want it's rather easy. some people said i couldn't get jobs when i had to. i don't know. woman.ecause i was a we can never know what was the real reason. i think women always have to be much better to achieve. accepted for many jobs, many things. do what remains and more than that, it wasn't easy. >> you know justice o'connor's ?tory she graduated from the top of her class in stanford. no one would hire her.
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she said, i will work for he. after four months of you think i am worth that you can put knee on the payroll. >> that was how she got her foot in the door? is for women at the , you werewere serving fighting a lot of behind the scenes. it wasn't in the public arena. >> this was behind the scenes. it was sometimes the decisions that were taken. it wasn't easy at all. i thought if you believe you are ight, don't give up. try again and again not to give up. i think i never gave up.
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you stick it out? where did that come from? >> i thought we have to do justice. this is part of it. law andt to respect the respect for the both of the law. sometimes it's not so excepted. you have to fight for that. this was my experience. >> what's your experience? >> i never knew whether it was sexism or anti-semitism. it's hard to tell the reason there were exclusions. we knew there were. you just did what you did knowing you were in early days of the women's movement. in those days we all gave toeches on women and the law
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talk about -- here is how the law treats women. in law school i didn't know any of that. school is a meritocracy. if you work really hard you do well in school. you think life is going to be like that. then reality hit. it was from my women clients that i realized how the law treated women. opened my eyes. >> what is example? who getsts custody, divorced, matrimonial property laws? it used to be when the couple got married the husband and wife became one person. there were many examples of how the law had to catch up with the emerging reality.
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now we give lectures and seminars on women in the law. now the panels are, do you lie down, do you stand up? having achieved the numbers -- when we went to law school there were five women out of 150. and thes 50% conversation is different. is anestion you ask interesting one. i had to think about it when you said, what do you feel as a woman? they'll would ask judges this. does being a woman make a difference. jewish, having experienced what we experience ws and when itje gives you an insight into the importance of understanding that s a judge have to be open
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to reality in front of you and be ready to really listen, because their story may not be your story. difference between a judge having an agenda and a judge ally listening, i remember the conversations in the 80's and the 90's. all of those things meant to dismissively rebut arguments about why he quality was important for women. i remember thinking, you can't judge it from a majority perspective. you have to look at how the law looks to the people who want access to it who don't have the views of the majority. that's how i learned to understand what judging was all to twothat you listen
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sides. one side is always mad at you. you have to be ready to be unpopular. when you are a judge, you are an theitution that has responsibility and independence to take a stand that is unpopular, so when people say it's an agenda or activism or reverse discrimination, i think what they are saying is, i don't like the results, so they throw a label around the decision-maker to say, what do you expect? she's a woman. whatever identity they attribute to the decision. i think the best judges are people who understand what it feels like not to have the same privileged world we all experience. >> you use the word outsider.
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you know what it's like to be an outsider who is empathetic to others. like to clarify one thing. you used the word agenda twice. agendas don't make agendas. we are receiving always. we don't make the controversies that come before us. but we do our best when they are on our plate to decide them. we are not like the political branches that do have an agenda. >> it attributed to us. the 90's,he 80's and the discourse was extremely critical of judges who were progressive. it was critical because they said they had an agenda, which is the worst thing you can say about a judge, because what it suggests is that the decision-maker has an intellectual basket that will
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accept evidence and information and keep the shape of the basket, and judges are supposed to allow the basket to change. when somebody said you have an agenda, it's a way of dismissing results and saying what do you absolutely at is contradiction to what judges actually do. we listen, but that doesn't mean we have an agenda other than trying to get it right every time. >> there is another restraint on you. you don't sit alone. i am 800.people i say, imagine making every single major decision every day with eight husbands. don't know about you, but isiding to go to a movie
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hard enough, but eight, and they didn't choose you and you didn't choose them? it's really extraordinary. eight forced marriages. it butave never heard that way. >> and the three of us have in to filehat it allows us dissenting opinions. >> i don't want the afternoon to and without -- i don't know where we are because i don't have a watch and i am having such a good time. i think that three of us have another thing in common, speaking of eight husbands. have been very lucky because having a partner at home who is utterly supportive and encouraging and therefore you -- there for you and lets you be
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really exuberant when you feel feelst, cries with you, the joy when the children are crucialll, that is so to the soothing soul that people in difficult jobs have. i'm not saying it's difficult, but it's stressful, and that makes all the difference. tribute. ay to stand up while you are having tribute paid? [applause] >> and marty. >> we all agree. you've made it. you really made it. >> i want you to weigh in on this conversation we have been hearing. >> about the husband.
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>> about the husband i must say. it's much more difficult for me decide what toto do in court. those are the most difficult. courts do not have an agenda. we all agree. people do not understand it, because they think different. they should have an agenda. we come from a different point of view. this is the branch of government. we don't have an agenda. we can choose the cases.
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they started -- especially in our court -- we opened the door we don't decide. we can dismiss the case and say there is no legal cause, but when it comes and we express our say,ons, some people may of course, it's their agenda. about they care about arabs because they are a minority. this is not a truth. we are independent. this is the right value. one government comes, and one
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government does. those are the values that exist in this society. >> how hard is that to do justice in such a polarized environment especially like the one we have in this country. >> one of the things that makes is that all of us with highercourts statutory questions. we have many more questions involving statutes congress and i wish the press more often would notice the cases in which we have unusual s, where you can't predict who is going to be on what side.
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we are also in systems where judicial independence is pride. i have a job i can keep as long as i am able to do it. . -- to do it. -- to do it full steam. you retired. >> a political point, and then i will take questions. >> this is supply-side rhetoric. we all got the language throwing around here when people try to delegitimize the integrity of supreme court's. important toreally deconstruct what the criticisms were.
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activism was not an expression i ever heard about a decision that restricted rights. i only ever heard it when a court expanded rights. reverse discrimination i understood as a remedy to reverse discrimination. the merit system. you would have to look in the meurer and say we had one until 2000, so merit system is a suggestion that affirmative action contradicts it made no sense to me at all. we were trying to get people into the system who had been next looted. we say that because the rhetoric around rights is the most controversial of all. governments are elected by and they are
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responsible. if you want to be reelected you are attentive to what the majority says. committed to being controversial. people debate our decisions, and they should. 75 to life soith we can make calls that we think are the right calls. think about what this public opinion means, which newspaper, so the notion there is such a magical thing that will vindicate or censure what you want to do, you don't have that constituency. your constituency is time. >> i think in my country it's a
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special situation. easily that weed have to decide sometimes the need to protect rights is more important. we need security. security, but we try to balance. this is not popular. sometimes this is what is riticized. >>to the public interest.
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this is tough sometimes. feel you need courage for this? >> it necessary for the judge to decide if it is the right thing. >> i think you need courage, and do you want to comment? >> we have those cases. i don't think there's any country in the world that has them in a more tense atmosphere than israel. your colleague said, if we are so overwhelmed by security that we surrender our abilities than our enemy has one because we , so become just like them
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the idea this can't be swept up by the need for security. basic valuesntain of the system. >> because israel has done it the way they have, every western democracy and the world follows their jurisprudence because they have been able to transcend daily stress and find jurisprudence of right anyway. it has made them a world leader in that area. >> this is the guarantee for democracy. we have the values of democracy to keep. question from the audience. right here. >> is adrian.
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>> hi. >> i think you are right. >> my mother was the first woman judge in delaware. rosalie came many years ago to speak in delaware. see you today. my mother was appointed i the governor. -- by the governor. electaware we do not judges. in many areas where it was an appointment, and the olden days it followed the male line. over time appointment of judges has given the appointing party more than an opportunity to bring diversity. have many places in the united states where judges are did.


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