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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 24, 2015 3:00am-5:01am EDT

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better and slows it down or puts conditions and makes it more difficult. increasingly, it is foreign military sales that the harder we make it to sell stuff overseas, the more we are hurting ourselves. another area that we don't solve is the intellectual property issue. i can recite a fair number of issues we don't -- but, i me ntion we have a database of more than 1000 suggestions. we will use that database when it comes to these problems in future years. some of my colleagues may offer it at the end of this year. as far as i am concerned, we will keep after it for a variety of these issues until we try to,
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until we come closer to the kind of system we all hope and need out of our department of defense. the bottom line goal is how to defend the country. that is what this is all about. host: we have come to the end of the hour. thank you for being here this morning. a really great start. a continuation of the effort. we very much look forward to having the legislative language released on wednesday. i imagine there will be lots we will be interested in. good luck in your efforts. thank you. [applause] >> on our next washington journal, we we will talk to tend
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his congressman michael burgess about a bill that tries to solve the annual medicare doc fix. congresswoman glewen moore will talk about the budget. then jeff mauer will discuss world oil and gas prices. washington journal is live every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern. >> texas republican senator ted cruz announced he is running for president. here is part of what he said and you can watch the entire remarks at www.c-span.org. senator cruz: i believe in you. i believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of america.
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and that is why today i am announcing that i am running for president of the united states. [applause] >> the house approved a resolution urging president obama to send weapons to ukraine in its fight against the russian backed rebels. the vote was 3848-48. here is the house floor debate before the vote took place. speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, sir. as always, mr. royce, the chairman of our committee on foreign affairs appreciates the ranking member, eliot engel of new york's leadership in support of the people of ukraine. last week, march 18, mr. speaker, marked the one-year anniversary of russian president
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vladimir putin's invasion and occupation of crimea. during the past year, rush has strengthened its -- russia has strengthened its hold over the peninsula, and increased its oppression of the minority tatar population and others who refuse to bend to their ockpigs. putin's success in ukraine emboldened him to expand into eastern ukraine. last weekend chairman royce led a delegation to ukraine and traveled to russia. the many ukrainians that ranking member engel and mr. royce met with wanted to be ukraine's and not separatists yet moscow move to supporting militant separatists in eastern ukraine. today the conflict in the east has resulted in over 6,000 deaths, at least 15,000 wounded, and more than one million displaced persons.
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this carnage is the work of the separatist forces controlled by moscow. which has supplied them with massive amounts of weapons and has even sent in russian military forces in combat supporting roles. as assistant secretary victoria newland testified before the foreign affairs committee this month russia, quote, has thousands and thousands, end quote of soldiers orping in ukraine. as she summed up quote,s that manufactured conflict controlleded by the kremlin, fwiled russian tanks and heavy weapons, financed at russian taxpayers' expense, end quote. mr. speaker, the administration's response to this crisis has been tepid at best. six months ago, the president of the ukraine stood in this very chamber and while thanking the united states for our assistance so far asked for defensive
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weapons to enable ukraine to defend itself against superior forces. pointedly he told both houses of congress, quote, one cannot win a war with blankets, end quote. which is what we are providing. earlier this month, members met with first deputy speaker of the ukrainian parliament who said that his country urgently needs anti-take weapons such as the javelin radar to pinpoint enemy fire, and communications equipment to overcome russian jamming. ukrainian forces cannot match the advanced equipment that russia is pouring into eastern ukraine. there is no shortage of the will to fight, only a shortage of testifiesive weapons. legal -- of defensive weapons. legal authority of such assistance was made crystal clear by the congress in december by passing the ukraine
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freedom support act and top administration officials, including secretary of defense carter and chairman dempsey of the joint chiefs of staff have indicated support. indeed this weekend nato's top military commander asked, quote is inaction an appropriate action? end quote. we know his answer is no. unfortunately -- unfortunately for ukrainians and for international security, president obama has chosen inaction in the guise of endless deliberation. but there's far more at stake here than the state of ukraine mr. speaker. this unprovoked attack on a peaceful country. the forcible occupation of its territory. and an effort to unilaterally redraw its internationally recognized borders will undermine the foundation of the international order that was established and has been
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defended at great cost by the united states and our allies. the world is closely watching what we will do to help ukraine defend itself from outright assault. if it is too little too late, those with designs on a neighboring country will feel all that more emboldened. the people of ukraine are not asking for us to fight for them. they are only asking for the weapons they need to defend themselves. i ask our colleagues to vote for this bipartisan resolution, urging the administration to provide this critical assistance to ukraine before it is, indeed, too late. and with that, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. engel: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in strong support of this resolution and yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. engel: first of all i want
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to again thank our chairman emeritus of the foreign affairs committee, my dear friend from florida, ileana ros-lehtinen, who is very eloquent. i want to stand by every word she uttered. i agree with her 100%. i want to also thank our chairman ed royce who also has been steadfast in fighting for the freedom of the people of ukraine and it's been a pleasure to work with him on a bipartisan basis. this is a bipartisan issue. policy like this should not be partisan. and that's why we are rising today as democrats and republicans, really as americans, say enough is enough in ukraine. as i've been saying for month well, can't view the crisis in crew yain -- ukraine as some faraway crisis or somebody else's problem. this has left thousands o-- thousands dead, tens of thousands wounded and millions displace and has begun to threat
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then post cold war security of europe. mr. putin is knocking us back into the bad old days of the cold war. the battle is being rage -- waged in the haze of a campaign aimed at eroding confidence in the west and democratic institutions. the same propaganda permeating allied countries on the russian frontier that we are treaty-bound to defend. under the corrupt rule of vladimir putin, russia has become a clear threat to a half century of american commitment to and investment in a europe that's whole, free and at peace. a europe where boarders are not changed by force. what putin is doing is changing borders by force since on the continent of europe for the first time since world war ii. this cannot stand. the united states cannot turn a blind eye to it. the united states cannot put its head in the sand and act like any other country and pretend that maybe this will go away.
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in 1938, another dictator named day dolph hitler invaded -- adolph hitler invaded czech czech. -- invade czechoslovak yasm president putin said he was going to crimea for the same reason, to protect the people. hitler got away with it in 1938 and there were people who said you know if we give him this area, he'll be happy, he'll be content, he'll leave us alone, his aggression will stop. same people are saying -- some people today are saying the same thing. just give putin crimea. just give putin a little bit of the eastern part of ukraine. and he'll be happy, he'll go away he won't threaten anything else. you don't satiate a bully by giving him what he wants early on because it only whets his appetite for worse things to come and end at the point later on -- and at the point later on when you have to go at the bully, it will be much,
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mucharder -- harder to defeat him, to stop him, than it would be if you simply stood up to him and stopped him when he started his aggression. this is what is happening now in ukraine this war poses the greatest threat to european security since world war ii. we shouldn't take it lightly, we shouldn't be idle, and we shouldn't let other countries tell us what to do last year ukrainian president por sean coe stood in -- poroshenko stood in this chamber and related to the challenges of the people of ukraine who desired to retain their dignity and rebuild their future. we asked that we help the men and women fighting a neighbor they once looked to as a friend. he told us they needed weapon, defensive weapons. he said blankets that we're sending do not win a war. last month, i saw president poroshenko again in europe and he again pled for military assistance, not to attack moscow
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or defeat the russian army, or even to push the russians out of the ukrainian territory. but simply to hold the line and give his government breathing room to focus on other threats such as keeping the ukrainian economy afloat. we cannot allow europe's borderlands to once again become europe's bloodlands. fortunately there's still time for the united states to act in a moderate but decisive fashion to help ukraine defend itself. . and our friends in ukraine in particular, and to safeguard our interests and defend our values across this country region. across the country, some nato members, some of them not some of them part of the former souf yet union, some of them, some of them east block nations, some of them not all bordering on russia are worrying because they think that putin can get away with what he wants to get
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away with in ukraine will they be next. the united states is not being asked to send ground troops to ukraine. the united states is not being asked to get itself involved in another war. we are simply being asked to give the ukrainians the methods to defend themselves. the weapons to defend themselves. i can't think of anything more reasonable. we've held hearings on ukraine. we've passed resolutions of support. we sent legislation to the president's desk. it was the last thing we passed in the last congress. the president signed it into law, authorizing an array of assistance including the defense of arms ukraine so desperately needs. and here we are again to renew this call, to remind the people of ukraine that they're not alone and to send an unambiguous message to the administration to the president and to our allies in europe the time has come to do more. we must meet this threat together because we all have a stake in how this ends.
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thank you, mr. speaker. i thank ms. ros-lehtinen and chairman royce and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentlewoman from florida is recognized. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield the remainder of my time to chairman royce and ask unanimous consent that he be allowed to control that time. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you sir. mr. royce: i thank the gentlelady for yielding, mr. speaker, and as my good friend eliot engel from new york explained last april we took a delegation to ukraine, not just to the western part of the country but most importantly we went to the east. we went as far east as we could go up against the border there and we had an opportunity to have a dialogue with the ukrainian people. and we reached out to civil society. we set up meetings with women's
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groups and lawyers groups and across the spectrum in eastern ukraine speaking to russian-speaking ukrainians, we got, i believe, a good idea of what was on their mind. i think there were about eight members of our delegation. and they were sharing with us these words, what putin is doing, what the russians are doing right now is going out on the internet and recruiting every skinhead and malcontent in the russian-speaking region they can find and then they train these young men and then they send them over the border to create mayhem and what we're trying to do here -- this was the explanation from the ukrainians -- we are trying to catch them. they speak a different accent than we do, so we can catch them and we try to hold them until this -- until this war is over but increasingly we find
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that what is happening is the russians are sending their own troops over. they're sending their own armor. they're sending -- they're sending over military equipment that we cannot defend against and what they said to us is we're not asking you for your assistance in this fight, all we're asking is that we might have the defensive weapons to check this assault so we can defend ourselves in this city. we need anti-tank weapons. and you and i know by the way, mr. speaker, that when those tanks done they are not going to be -- those are not going to be ukrainian -- ukrainian separatists driving those tanks. those are going to be russian tankers in those tanks. so what -- this is what they're asking us form, and they've
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asked for month after month after month in order to set up a strategy that would cause the russians to believe there was some kind of credible deterrence but you know instead we now see that russia may try to secure a land bridge to crimea. in other words, this conflict might escalate because of additional russian aggression, or they might seize strategic ports along the black sea, additional ports. you have 6000 people so far that have lost their lives that i know of in the conflict from the reports i've read. you have a million ukrainians that have been made refugees, that have pulled west out of the area, and obviously to date the actions taken by the u.s. and our e.u. allies, including economic sanctions and aid and diplomatic isolation, all of the talk, none of that has checked russian aggression or i
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should say putin's aggression here. and over the past year he has clearly become bolder, even menacing nato countries as he seeks to divide the alliance. now, the obama administration and our european allies have put hope in diplomatic and cease-fire arrangements, but frankly that is not working. so we come back to the request and this month we met with the first deputy speaker of the ukrainian parliament, as eliot engel shared here today on the floor who said that his country urgently needs anti-tank weapons such as the javelin and radar to pinpoint enemy artillery fire that is coming into their towns and communications equipment to overcome russian jamming. that's the request. ukrainian forces cannot match advanced equipment that russia is pouring into eastern
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ukraine, and there is no shortage of the will here on the part of the ukrainians. we saw many volunteers in their local militia there taking up their position, but what they have is a shortage of defensive weapons. at this committee's hearing last month, secretary kerry said that the obama administration has still not made a decision on whether to send lethal military aid to ukraine. six months. this is six months after president poroshenko told us, as we sat here in this joint session of congress to hear his remarks that one cannot win the war with blankets. so we are at a turn point and one i agree with mr. engel on this. it's one of historic importance. if we allow aggression against ukraine to stand without us at least offering the ukrainians the ability to defend themselves, we will signal to the world that our willingness
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to defend the postworld war ii order is crumbling -- post-world war ii order is crumbling. it will be severely weakened. the result could usher in an era of instability and conflict in many regions with consequences no one could predict. or we can allow the ukrainians to defend themselves and that's what we do with this lgs legislation. the ukrainian people are asking for our help to stop russia's efforts to sever their country. they are not asking us to do any of the fighting for them. they are only asking us for the defensive weapons that they need to defend themselves and by passing this bipartisan resolution overwhelmingly the house will send a strong message to the administration that it must act quickly and decisively if the u.s. is to help the ukrainian people save
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their country. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. engel: thank you mr. speaker. it's now my pleasure to yield four minutes to my good friend from maryland democratic whip, steny hoyer. mr. hoyer: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. hoyer: mr. speaker, i rise in strong support of this resolution, supported strongly by the chairman of the committee and the former chair of the committee, ms. ros-lehtinen. this resolution is bipartisan and reflects the will of congress that the nation of ukraine deserves every opportunity to chart a future based on democracy territorial integrity and freedom from russian aggression. i'm the former chairman of the security of cooperation of europe signed in helsinki in
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august 1975. in that agreement the soviet union, the then-soviet union and 34 other nations signed a document which said that you could not change borders by other than peaceful means. vladimir putin has broken that agreement but he's also broken the agreement that in 1994 we entered into with ukraine in consideration of their giving up their nuclear weapons. vladimir putin has sent russian troops into another nation. he's tried to mask it. he's tried the pretense this is simply separatists who are active, but very frarningly those troops in ukraine have admitted to the press that
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they're from russia. vladimir putin's support for violent separatists has destabilized a large region in eastern ukraine and led to the illegal -- illegal russian occupation of crimea. and the world hasn't done much to discourage not only the actions of mr. putin but others who would learn the lessons of his actions. the sanctions that united states and allies have imposed against putin and his closest supporters as well as measures to isolate russian businesses that have been able -- are having serious effects but not the effect that we want. but i believe that our nation also has a responsibility to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of ukraine and their democratically elected
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government by sending them the tools they need to defend themselves. this is not a new position for me. when the seshes -- when the serbs affected a genocide in bosnia herzegovina we had an arms embargo on the people of bosnia. while arms were flowing in from other parts of the world to serbia. i thought that was wrong. i think today the unwillingness or inability to create a consensus for giving to the ability the ability -- to the people the ability to defend themselves is not good policy. if we continue to do so, there
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is no doubt in my mind that mr. putin will continue on his path of aggression and acquisition. mr. speaker we must continue to support ukraine on its march towards greater democracy, stronger human rights and a brighter future for its people. i urge my colleagues to join in supporting this resolution and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. royce: mr. speaker, i'd like to yield three minutes to the gentleman from new jersey mr. frelinghuysen. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. mr. frelinghuysen: mr. chairman i thank the chairman for yielding, for his sponsorship of this resolution with mr. engel and ms. ros-lehtinen. mr. speaker, isil is on the march civil war appears imminent in yemen, libya has
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become a full-fledged terrorist training center iran moves closer to nuclear capacity every day so it's understandable the attention of the media and the american people seem to be focused elsewhere other than on ukraine. but i just returned a week ago from leading a bipartisan delegation of the defense appropriations committee to ukraine, and i'm here to report that situation there is downright alarming. . vladimir pute season using ukraine as a test bed for a new type of warfare by using proxy insurgents and russia and special forces army troops to carry out his campaign to reclaim ukraine as part of the old russian empire. after annexing crimea a year ago, he's transforming that peninsula into a heavily armed russian camp. a platform indeed. mr. speaker, blankets, night
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vision goggles and meeting -- meals that are ready to eat are not enough. ukraine needs nonnate -- non-nato ally military support and it needs it now. ukraine's courageous president appealed to us again to provide lethal weaponry anti-tank weapons, small arms and anti-aircraft systems to help defense their territory -- defend their territory from the russian onslaught. it's all about preserving and protecting ukraine's independence. that is what this is all about. the largest country in europe. he knows he cannot win the war against russia but he believes the lethal support will at least raise the price of aggression for russia and i think our committee tends to agree. our delegation left kiev believing that the future of ukraine is a matter of significant importance to national security of these united states.
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my colleagues, western and eastern europeans are watching intensely, with apprehension, how our president responds. they are looking closely. as are our adversaries. and the russian leadership. what future steps will they take if we do not act now? i urge the house to show the leadership, our president, that -- and this administration that this resolution makes sense, they need to give ukraine this non-nato ally support and they need to do it now. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. it's now my pleasure to yield to mr. david scott. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. scott: thank you very much. ladies and gentlemen, on the
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bleached bones of many past great nations are written those pathetic words, too late too late. we moved too late to save them. history is cluttered with them. we are all -- almost at that point with ukraine. anyone who has followed the russian model under putin knows full well what his aim is, to reclaim that territory that empire of the old soviet union. now if ukraine goes, what happens to lithuania, estonia, latvia? and just today, in the news, we hear where russia has threatened a nuclear response
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i believe it's to denmark. now, now what is happening in the world? the world now is a very dark a very dangerous and a very evil place. and when those three things get together, there must be that shining light on the hill that shows the way out of the darkness. and throughout history that light has been the united states of america. we must act here. let us hope that president obama will hear our plea as democrats and as republicans. we've got to help save ukraine. from russia. i serve on the nato parliamentary assembly. for 12 years i've served on
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nato. i've served as a chairman of the science and technology committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. scott: i'm here to tell you, ladies and gentlemen -- mr. engel: i yield another minute. mr. scott: thank you. i'm here to tell you, ladies and gentlemen if we don't act here, there will be a devastation on the european continent the likes that we have not seen since world war ii. we don't need to repeat that. let us rise to this occasion. let us do the right thing. let us be that shining light on the hill that shows the way out of this darkness. there's sometimes in life you've just got to stand up to the bully. the united states must stand up to putin and let him know that there's a light in this world
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and the united states is going to show the way. and the best way to do that today is to pass this resolution and let's send ukraine the military help that they need to protect themselves and the legacy of this fine country. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. royce: i'll reserve the right to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. engel: thank you mr. speaker. i'll close now and let me say that by passing this resolution the house sends a clear message of support and solidarity to the people of ukraine. it's past time that our government does more to help these true friends of liberty defend their land and deter further aggression. and i know that if the united states shows leadership here, others will follow.
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i'm very pleased to be the primary sponsor of this important resolution. i thank chairman royce for working with me on this. the two of us have worked very, very closely together, particularly on ukraine, and we both feel very, very strong. i agree with every comment that was uttered today by all the people speaking on this resolution. we are the united states of america, we're a beacon of freedom to the world and if we don't act now who will? again, let me reiterate the people of ukraine are not looking for american troops. they're not looking for american boots on the ground. there is no slippery slope here. they are just looking for the weapons to defend themselves. they don't have those weapons. we do. if we care about freedom and we care about fighting aggression, we need to give people of ukraine the right and the means to defend themselves.
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i urge my colleagues to support this very important resolution, i again thank chairman royce and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. royce: yes mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. and i would just go to the words that mr. davis scott reminded us, that echo down through history too late, too late. we have given the authority to the administration many months ago to transfer defensive weapons to ukraine that can be used to check further aggression. that has not happened. this bipartisan resolution will direct the administration to take that step so that ukraine yan -- ukrainians can defend themselves. and i ask my colleagues to vote
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for this bipartisan resolution urging the administration to provide this crucial assistance to ukraine before it is in fact too late for the ukrainians to defend >> on our next washington journal, we will talk to michael burgess about a bill that tries to solve the annual medicare doc fix. then congresswoman gwen moore will talk about the democrats approach to the 2016 budget. later, jeff mauer will discuss world oil and gas prices. washington journal is live each morning at 7 a.m. eastern. we will take your phone calls, facebook comments and tweets. >> here are some of our featured programs for this weekend on the c-span networks. on c-span2, saturday at 10 p.m.
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eastern, peter wallison says government housing policies caused the 2008 financial price -- crisis. and sunday afternoon at 5 p.m., jeffrey sachs on a development plan to tackle global issues like poverty and environmental decay. saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. on c-span3 a discussion on the last major speeches of abraham lincoln and martin luther king jr.. then sunday at 4 p.m. the 1965 meet the press interview with martin luther king jr. find our complete schedule at www.c-span.org and let us know what you think about the programs you are watching. call us, e-mail us or send is a tweet -- us a tweet. join the c-span conversation. like us on facebook, follow us
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on twitter. the supreme court will have a new electronic filing system that will be able to track petitions for the court in 2016. up next, supreme court justices anthony kennedy and stephen breyer testify about the supreme court's 2016 budget request. the justices rossell asked about cameras in the supreme court which are currently prohibited. congress and crenshaw -- congressman crenshaw chairs of this appropriation committee.
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chairman crenshaw: this hearing will come to order. first of all, let me welcome justice breyer and justice kennedy. thank you for being here today. i know both of you have testified before our subcommittee and we appreciate you coming back and being with us again today. we all look forward to this time to have an exchange. not often does the legislative branch and the judicial branch get to talk to each other. so, we look forward to that. i think all of us know that a fair and impartial judiciary is very much a cornerstone to our democratic system of government. so the fact that you are here today, i think is important. i think the work you do is obviously very important. and, not only you resolve
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disputes between individuals but also between executive branch and the legislative branch. to do that, you need the respect of the citizens and i think you have that. i think you also give respect to the citizens in their view of what is right and what is fair. that is important as well. so, i think today's hearing is important because we do have a chance to talk to each other about issues that are important. is more effective than it has been before. money is limited. you are to be commended for the work that you have done to try to save taxpayers dollars. i noticed your request this year
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, 88.2 billion dollars, is also $1 million less than you requested last year. i can tell you my fellow members do not see that happen very often, when an agency asks for less money than they received the year before. we thank you for that. i know you have done some cost containment initiatives dealing with technology, personnel. it has paid off. i know there are some small increases a part of the overall reduction which are inflationary. justice kennedy, justice breyer, we look forward to hearing from you about the resources you need and any other comments you might have about the judiciary in general. we will pledge to you to work as best we can to make sure you have the resources necessary to carry out your constitutional responsibly. we thank you for the work you have done to try to save money and be efficient.
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in closing, levy say on a personal note, i am from jacksonville florida and we have something called the chester end of the court. it was one of the first established in florida. every year, they have a special occasion. i want to let you know that they will be requesting one of the members of the supreme court to come in 2016 to be there for that celebration in jacksonville. i hope you will be on the lookout for that invitation. i know they would love to have you. i would certainly welcome and be honored to introduce you to jacksonville. >> the chairman has no shame. chairman crenshaw: first, let me turn to the acting ranking member. mr. bishop. mr. bishop: thank you, mr. chairman. ranking member would have liked
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to been here today but he could not. he sends his sincere apologies. i'm here in his place. i would like to warmly welcome you both, justices kennedy and breyer to our subcommittee. as has been said, this is one of the rare opportunities for our two branches of government to interact. the questions range sometimes between district appropriations issue as our nation's highest court. many of us look to you for important insight into issues affecting the federal judiciary as aw w whole which could be difficult in challenging budget times. we have to be careful not to allow anything to affect the ability of our federal judiciary to hear cases and to dispense justice in a fair and timely manner.
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we have to be sure also to provide the supreme court -- the most visible symbol of our system of justice with sufficient resources to undertake not just your judicial function, but your public information functions as well. we look forward to your testimony. welcome and whatever we can do to make sure that we have a strong independent, well-funded judiciary, we want to do that. i yield back, mr. chairman. chairman crenshaw: levyt me recognize justice kennedy for any remarks you would like to take. if you can keep your remarks in the neighborhood of five minutes which would give us time to ask questions. the floor is yours. justice kennedy: thank you, mr. chairman, congressman womack and bishop. thank you for your welcome.
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we bring our messages of greeting from our colleagues. counselor to the president -- counselor to the chief justice. our budget and personnel director. pam, marshall of the court. scott harris, clerk of the court. and, is patricia here? we have kathy. patricia from our public information office. as you indicated, mr. chairman, we are always very careful cautious about budgetary expenditures. as you all know, the budget of the supreme court is a small part of the budget as a whole. the budget for the courts as a whole is a very small part of the united states budget. i think in atoday you will hear
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presentation from judge julia gibbons of the sixth circuit on the budget for the judiciary as a whole. she does a marvelous job for the judiciary. she spends many days on the subject. the budget for the federal judiciary as a whole is important, i think, for the congress to realize. it is not just judges. there are 7900 probation and sentencing officers. this is cost-effective because this keeps people on supervised release so they are not in custody. this is a huge cost saving. without reference to the human factor. over the years,i in federal system, we have a very low recidivism rate for those who are on release. it is high if you look at that it as one third. this is cost-effective.
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the federal courts as a whole mr. chairman, are tangible, palpable visible, clear manifestation of our commitment to the rule of law when people from foreign countries come. they see the federal judiciary system and they admire it. they are inspired by it and they go back to their countries and they say this is the nation committed to the rule of law. law is part of the capital infrastructure. you cannot have a function society without a legal system. we appreciate it. as to our own budget, overall we have a decrease in our own court operations and its managers -- expenditures. we have almost exactly 1% increase. and, that is for mandated --
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increases for inflation and salary increases that are mandated. over half of that, we have absorbed by cost-cutting in the court. we have absorbed over half of the mandated increases within the framework we have. the court is planning to have, in the year 2016, an electronic filing system so that all of the papers that are filed with the court will be on electronic filing. we waited until the district courts and the circuit courts could get on the system so we can then take it from them but it also includes filing from state courts and from prisoners. we think this may require an
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increase in personnel by one or two people. we are not sure. the petitions -- i don't know -- it is in the area of 6000 a year, a usually handwritten. when this is put on electronic retrieval commission, system you will have a database from which scholars and analysts can look at the whole criminal system, both state and federal, and make comparisons. how many -- what are the percentage of cases where there is a complaint on inadequate decisions of counsel or search and seizure. this will be a database that will give us considerable data for scholars so we can study our system. we are ready to answer questions about specifics.
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once again, let me thank you for the honor of being here. my colleague justice breyer inand i are happy to answer questions. justice breyer: i will reinforce what my colleague said and what you said. we are here because i think our biggest problem is not necessarily the budget. it is similar to yours which is how you get the american people to understand what the institution is about. in our case, we are not up in some heaven somewhere where we decree things, communicating with the source. we are part of the government of the united states. you're interested in the mechanics on how we bring this about. good. it means you are not off on your own. trying to explain people to what we do and you tried to explain to what you do and saying you are part of us . i'm glad to have even a little
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opportunity to talk about our institution and how it works and i am glad you are interested. >> i might mention the ends of court you alluded to. former chief justice weinberger won a to replicate -- wanted to replicate the structure in which judges and attorneys and law professors and students have dinner twice a month and talk about stuff. he did it with judge sherman christiansen of utah and cliff wallace. it has been a remarkable -- it cost the government no money. in jacksonville, florida and sacramento california and boston, they have ends of court. it has made a tremendous difference. a real palpable, tangible,
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visible difference in the stability that we -- civility we have. it has been a remarkable achievement. chairman crenshaw: that is great. it is there to boost professionalism and they are doing a great job. i cannot help but recall last time you were here, i asked you how the court decides who they are going to send over to testify before us. i think justice kennedy, you replied it is based on merit. [laughter] chairman crenshaw: so you are back again. good job. let me ask you one of the things -- i know there have been a lot of work being done. over the last 10 years, i think this committee has spent or appropriated $120 million. the first time since 1935, a lot of things were upgraded. i want to ask for an update on
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how that work is donem the facade is done. north and south -- is that all complete? there was a big hole in the ground next door. since i have been back, of late everything looks nice. can you give us an update on all the work that has been done and is that completed? justice kennedy: $120 million for refurbishing is completed. we came in under budget. the project has been closed. it has been very successful. incidentally, the original cost for that was -- the original estimate was $170 million. i talked with your predecessor when i got the message and he
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said i think we have a problem. we hired our own architect. and worked with them. in fact, my recollection is he did most of the work pro bono. the architect we hired, from the university of virginia, we got it down to $120 million. the billing came under that. one of the problems was the windows. if you look at a windows on the court, to replace the windows which we had to do, they measured them. they measured the bottom, the width and the height. they did not know it iss not a rectangle, it is a trapezoid. the window at the top is slightly smaller. brilliant architecture. that was about a $50 million mistake -- $15 million mistake which we were not going to pay for.
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that is what comes up. it is finished. we had to do all the wires and air-conditioning. the system from 1938. when it broke there was a fellow that retired in west virginia -- we said we better fix this. that has been done. the facade is a different project. that is the marble was actually falling out. the time has not been kind to the marble. we are still in progress. the entrance, the westside of the building is finished, but the north and south and east have yet to be done. chairman crenshaw: let me ask you -- we will have time for a round of questions or two -- the whole security issue. the world is getting more dangerous whether it is internationally or domestically.
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i know from time to time, the supreme court hears controversial cases. i know that you spend about $18 million a year on security. i guess primarily with the supreme court police. i just wanted you to tell us is that adequate? for instance, if you hear of a highly charged case that you have to increase security during the time those hearings take place. give us an overall view -- i was just in jacksonville with the folks in the federal courthouse and they had concerns in this difficult economic times to make sure we have adequate security for a lot of people that are in public service. give us a little update on how -- is that being funded, being taking care of? justice kennedy: a few years
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ago, we projected we needed more than we asked for the we are now satisfied we have the right number. yes, of course, in high profile cases or threat assessment going up, we have increased security. we can do it all within our existing staff. mr. bishop: thank you very much. when you were last year, we discussed -- last here, we talked about the very real impact of superstation. best sequestration. -- very real impact of sequestration. the courts have a constitutional responsibility and you cannot control the scope of your jurisdiction. you have taken strict cost-cutting measures prior to
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sequestration. i know you cannot answer for the entire judiciary but what you see is the continued effects of sequestration and what concerns you have if it continues? justice kennedy: i have not heard the testimony from those who came before you. i don't want to repeat the argument you hear on the time. we cannot control our workload. it is controlled by forces and factors that are beyond our direction. number two, we have a tradition as the chairman indicated, as being very prudent and cautious. with us, if there were cutbacks, it would mean delayed processing time of cases. it could mean compromises insecurity -- in security. with accords in general, it is
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more significant. we have 3900 officers. if they are laid off, that means more people are in prison at a greater cost. it works backwards. justice breyer: at some point you cut back enough, you will discover there are crimes. people are arrested and they are supposed to be tried appeared you need a judge and jury. the alternative is not to have a trial. of their wethere we are. there is a minimum and if you go towards the minimum you will deprive the country of the services that are needed. mr. bishop: thank you. i applaud you for your cost
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saving in the budget. does represent discretionary increase of 1.1% from 2015. that looks like this is a combination of the construction work being completed and savings from the nonrecurring cost associated with implementation of the new financial system. are there increases that are you are delaying that might still be beneficial at some point? with implementation of your new financial system which i understand you are leveraging in sources from the department of interior, specifically in the area of financial tracking, i understand this move has produced your allies with contract employees which seems to be a great step to efficiency. you find you are getting the same level or improved level of service and would you recommend this to other agencies that are
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looking to reduce their costs? justice kennedy: all not enough that an expert to recommend it to other agencies. our staff tell us they like it better than the outside contractors and it is much cheaper. we are in partnership with an agency in the department of interior which has some similarities to us. it has been the source -- it has generated most of the savings we have had. mr. bishop: thank you mr. mr. chairman. justice kennedy: we are not holding back on anything other than the electronic filing. mr. bishop: thank you, mr. chairman. the answers from the witnesses are so succinct and to the point
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and concise. not only do we not get people requesting less money, we don't get people that speak clearly and concisely. congratulations on both fronts. chairman crenshaw: of a like to recognize mr. womack. mr. womack: a great honor to have you before us. we always look forward to hearing your commentary. specifically interested in the i.t. piece of what is going on. these technology changes are happening so fast. so fast, we get further and further behind in trying to keep up with what technology ought to be able to do for us. i'm interested in knowing just how well the i.t. upgrades are going. listening to your testimony, justice kennedy i got to
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thinking about our friends over at the v.a. and dod. they are having such a difficult time coming up with a platform that could serve a very special group of people, our veterans. being able to get these assistant to talk to one another -- you encounter any event or conflict within the judicial realm in dealing with matters of information technology? justice kennedy: justice breyer is more well-versed in this than i am. my guess is, like many other agencies our problems are predictable. we know there will be a trial with the plaintiff and defendant. we know there will be an appeal. we know there might be a petition with the petitioner and respondent. so the universe problems is well known and producible.
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we don't have to project for uncertainties to the extent, nearly to the extent of other agencies. our system, the legal system, lends itself very well to the electronic technology. mr. womack: i classify three different things this technology to do. one is the budgeting for example and things that are technological. they have made advances in getting with other agencies. the second is the ability to file briefs and opinions and other things electronically which is helpful to lawyers and the public. justice breyer: that takes some time. i think it is going along satisfactorily. i think most of the other court systems, you have is already in many forms so we can plug it in to ours. the third which is a little more open-ended is can we use our
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technology to inform the public about what we are doing to take you into our website? that is not so easy to do. we put in a website but the question is will they use it? will people find out? will schoolchildren find out? what teachers say i want to know about this case, i know how to do it and i get on the web and i tell my class -- fabulous, if we can do that. it is hard to calculate what it is. we have, according to this, we have in a year, 271 million hits. i was not sure what that meant. is that a lot or a little? it sounds like a lot to me. 75 million a month. we try to get some comparative figures. the white house is way up there. maybe with 1000 whatever they are in the rank. you are about 8000 or 5000. we are about 10,000.
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the inspector general is like 2 million or so. it seems there is interest in getting this information. how to developed that in a way that is usable t overime an -- over time and encourages the average american to find out, i think that is a big project. i think it will require a lot of experiment back and forth. you are in it as much as we are. justice kennedy: no question. it is anecdotal. only a hypothesis. but, i think electronic information has reduced the number of appeals that we have because lawyers who are trying a case and just push in -- immediately comes up an answer. i think it is easier for lawyers and judges to find a law.
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mr. womack: at the risk of getting into a philosophical discussion, i have strong feelings about our capacity to deal with people with our current prison and local jail overcrowding. it goes all the way from our county levels to the federal system. and, it seems to me that our country is continuing to struggle with just what to do and how to manage -- you cannot build enough incarcerating facilities to deal with the population. it is such an extensive thing -- expensive thing. i was at an event in my own area on saturday and one of my county judges remarked there is a chance of that there jail will be shut down and what to do. the opportunities or the solutions to these problems seem to be fewer and fewer. i just kind of consider myself in the camp of we are going to
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have to start prioritizing how we deal with this. the supervised pc spoke of justice kennedy, about the probations and those kinds of programs are just a very invaluable tool to our country in helping manage just how many people we have behind bars in a given time. i will throw that on the table and yield back my time. justice kennedy: i think the corrections system is one of the most overlooked, misunderstood institutions functions that we have in our entire government. in law school, never heard about corrections. lawyers are fascinated with the guilt-innocent adjudication process. once the process is overcome we have no interest in corrections. doctors know more about correction systems than we do. nobody looks at it.
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california, my own state, had 137,000 people in jail. compared to the math given to schoolchildren -- $3500 a year. the difference between 24 hour care and -- apples and oranges. this idea of total incarceration just is not working. it is not humane. the federal government built super max prisons with isolation cells. prisoners, we had a case come up a few weeks ago -- the prisoner was in an isolation cell for 25 years. solitary confinement literally
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drives men mad. even dr. minette had his tools. even he lost his mind. we simply have to look at the system that we have. the europeans have systems for difficult prisoners in which may have them in a group of three or four and they can stay together and they have human contact. it seems to work much better. we have not given nearly as much study or thought or investigative resources to looking at our correction system. in many respects, think it is broken. justice breyer: want to focus on one word that i think you said which to my mind is the direction of an answer and that
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is the word prioritize. fine. whjoo is doing the prioritizing? do you think you can do it here? you perceive crime by crime. no matter what crime you chose you will find individuals who committed in a way that might deserve little or a lot. you cannot look at it individually. you want to have mandatory minimums? i have said publicly many times that i think that is a terrible idea. i have given reasons which i will spare you. if you want individual judges to do it always completely, you run the risk of nonuniformity and therefore we have set up rules and the sentencing commission and then mandatory minimums. it is a huge topic. is worth your time and effort or mine to try to work out ways of prioritizing? i think it is. i think it is a big problem for the country. so i cannot do anything more in
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the next 30 seconds or two seconds than to say i like the word prioritize. i hope you follow it up. i hope you do examine the variety of ways there are of trying to prioritize and then work out one that is pretty good. chairman crenshaw: mr. rigell. mr. rigell: i join all of my colleagues in expressing our appreciation for the work that you do, for serving on the court and for your being here today. this is my fifth year of serving in the house of representatives. is my first year on appropriations. really, to have seen this on my calendar and know this is coming up, i considered it just an honor to be here and have you here with us today. i would like to visit the topic of the electronic case filing system. i would suppose if we are going
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to electronic, that would mean the physical document is being received by the court. was any of this commercially available or was this written exclusively for the supreme court, the software that will we we will pivot to? justice kennedy. justice kennedy: i cannot answer that. the lawyers have available to them commercial systems for finding their briefs and so for. they are out there and there is some competition. as far as the courtside, i'm not sure there is outside contractors. i just learned we developed it in house. mr. rigell: i noted your
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comments, justice breyer, of your desire to get the work of the court out to the american people and to engage them in this. is there a designated effort, a continued effort to the extent you are familiar with -- i thought it would be your staff -- i see they are here with us, but to see you engaging the committee, i think, is laudable. i respect and appreciate that. you may not be dialed in on the nuances but the effort to revisit the website to keep it fresh and perhaps -- to use the term that is being used now that to develop an app for the supreme court. this idea of engaging the american public, i applaud you for this. it needs to be done because really have a healthy republic
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if our fellow citizens are engaged in eligible about what is take -- and knowledgeable about what is taking place. if you can run on that, either one of you. justice breyer: it is my favorite topic. you at least consent -- we disagree about al lot of stuff in congress. there are elections to solve it. why should not unelected people be making decisions that affect you in an important way? by the way, half the time we are divided in half we are unanimous but where we are divided somebody is wrong. the decisions might not be right and they affect the and they are important. why should you support an institution like that? we have answers and so did james madison, alexander hamilton, john marshall. there are answers. people are busy.
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will they take the time to listen? ok. a foundation has a whole series of films and teaching devices. justice kennedy gave a speech about this years ago which led to justice o'connor developing icivics. icivics has millions of hits and he is trying to do the same thing. they are trying to, in boston at this moment, they will open senator kennedy's institute. that is a marvel of the senate. they are little handheld computers that will make you the senator, and then give you problems and you will learn how the senate works and maybe that will go out over the internet to classrooms. and the need one for the house. gradually, i think it is possible to use the devices we have now to teach. as we have done, we go to texas
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and talk to a large number of schoolkids and they get interested. and they see we have differences of opinion that are not personal and they see agreement is more important than the differences -- fabulous. you see the enthusiasm in my voice. i love seeing -- i think it is great and necessary. justice kennedy: one of the things we found congressman the information revolution is put law professors back into the fold. used to be relied -- it used to be we relied on law reviews to comment about cases. now we have commentary within 24, 48 hours of the supreme court case by experts in cyber security, law, criminal law, constitutional law.
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these are available first of all to the legal profession of the academy. second, people that are generally interested. theyre are blogs on the supreme court. blogs on different subjects. there are quite detailed and interesting. my law clerks read them a lot. but the availability of information and as justice breyer indicated the interest of the citizen and the ability of the citizen to get it is remarkable because of the information. >> when you talk about indicating the public, the question always comes up that people suggest maybe the court should televise oral arguments. chairman crenshaw: people can see firsthand what goes on. i know that the court has
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historically rejected that. i think it was just a sotomayor -- justice sotomayor or. once she was on the bench, she changed her mind and thought it was not a good idea. i just wondered do you sense any change -- you think there will be a day when oral arguments will be on television? do you think that is good or that is not good, in the context of education of folks? can you comment? justice kennedy: it sounds like we are more or less behind the times. chairman crenshaw: it is a matter of history. justice kennedy: if you had english style debating and you had to do either pro or con
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you can pick a lot of good arguments. number one, it teaches. we teach what the constitution is. we teach. why don't we go on television? and it would be very good for lawyers in preparing. who want to see the dynamics of argument. it is open. the public could see we spent a lot of time on that in cases and railroad reorganization cases and so forth. we have a technical commitment. and, they could see we hope an argument that is rational and respectful. when we are in disagreement, our institutional tradition is not to make our colleagues look bad, it is to make the institution look good. part of that is the way we
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conduct oral arguments. we are concerned that the presence of a tv camera, the knowledge we will be on tv, would affect the way we behave. and, it is an insidious dynamic for me to think that one of my colleagues disaster question just so he or she can look good on tv. i don't want that dynamic. we prefer the dynamic where we have a discussion in which we are listening to each other in which we are listening to counsel and we think the television would detract from that. you can make good arguments either way. i think i can speak for most of my colleagues that we don't think television should be in the courtroom. the transcripts are available.
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the press does a good job of covering us. the press has the advantage -- they know three, four, six months in advance what the issues are. they can have pictures of the litigants and so forth. they are ready to write the story depending on what happens. we have good press coverage as well. but, i think cameras in the courtroom are not a good idea. justice breyer: he states the problem. by the way, the oral arguments is like 2%. most of the decision-making is on the written briefs. if the public saw that on television, they would think that is the whole story. it is not. the second thing they would think, and because it is true of human nature -- it is a good thing about human nature. we relate to people we see. we relate to them more than a word on paper or a statistic.
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that is nice. it is good. but, the two people that are having their case in the court we are not deciding really on the basis for them. we are deciding a rule of law that applies to 300 million people who are not in the courtroom. that is invisible on television. then, when you come down to it, i'm fairly, i guess, impervious to making myself look ridiculous, to get an answer to a question. that i can best focus by giving some ridiculous example. he knows i do. all right and then -- the reporters are used to it. nonetheless, i will do it. my friends in the press tell me you see if you do that the first and somebody takes that ridiculous thing out of context and puts it on the evening news. particularly, someone who was not one of our regulars and is
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not really were understand what is going on. all of that kind of thing is the kind of thing despite the good argument of the other way, that makes us cautious. it makes us co -- we are trustees for an institution. we have had a long existence before us that we sincerely hope has a long existence after. the worst thing that any of us feels he or she can do is to hurt that institution. that makes us awfully cautious. all of that is at play. you say it eventually happens, sure. because the generation will grow up that is unlike me or you. does not even know what it was like before things like that to place, but i think that is the best , in my mind. chairman crenshaw: thank you for that. i'm not one who is call for
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having tvs in the courtroom but i note somebody he wanted to ask that question so i thought i would ask. let me ask you about the website. you mentioned all those hits you are getting. i know when you had the health care arguments, i understand there was a whole lot of interest in that. the website held up well? it didn't crash like these other websites? justice breyer: we have occasional problems like anyone does but not up there. chairman crenshaw: mr. bishop. mr. bishop: thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman, for asking the question i wanted to ask about transparency in the court and televising the proceedings. i appreciate your answer very much. our ranking member and i
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continue to be interested in the increase in the number of minorities of the elective for the supreme court. those are surprised positions for youngsters coming out of law school. i know there has been an initiative in place of the federal judiciary to help minorities into positions. do you think those efforts are beginning to bear fruit? some of the efforts are underway in the supreme court. justice kennedy: at think they are beginning to bear fruit. we are conscious, we are conscious of it. the district courts and the courts of appeals are and little bit more open because they are around the country and they take from local schools. some of us tend to take from ivy league schools. and, not that they are without their pool of minority applicants but we are conscious
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of it and it is important and it is a valid question. justice breyer: when i started on the court, i don't know the figures lower court, in my own case it might have started out that i had to look especially hard. i don't know. it is not a problem. at least in my case, i don't -- maybe. it seems to me if it is at all typical, the problem has diminished significantly, really significantly. i can try to do some counting but i cannot. i think of the individual people. justice kennedy: 2014, we had 15 minority clerks on this record. mr. bishop: thank you. let me move to another subject. i know in previous hearings, we
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have discussed the possibility of applying the code of conduct to the supreme court justices. decisions will be more transparent for the public. currently, the code of judicial conduct comprises all the federal judges, but is all the advisory for the supreme court justices. do you have any thoughts on the proposals of the changes to that since we last discussed the issue last year? do you believe the code of judicial conduct should apply to supreme court justices and recusal should be more transparent? justice kennedy: you prompt me to go back to go do some research. but, my first response to your question is recusals are governed by statute and by
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principles that are not necessarily part of the code of conduct. now, there is an argument -- the reason for refusals should be more apparent. i'm not sure about that. in the rare cases when i recuse, i never tell my colleagues i am recusing because my son works for this company and it is a very important case for my son. why should i say that? that is almost like lobbying. in my view, the reason for refusal should never be discussed. it is obvious sometimes when company a is before the court and public disclosure payment indicates a judge owns a stocki in company a. that is fairly obvious. justice breyer: i have two things. with axis to the volumes of the
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judicial -- we all have access to the volumes of the code of judicial ethics. it has been there for some time now -- 20 years. i have not seen an instance of the problem is consistent. it is -- compulsory is words and doesn't make a difference in practice. why not? i am nervous about this. the supreme court is different from the court of appeals and the district court. that is true with television, too? why is it different here? if i recuse myself, they can get another judge. judges are fungible. they are not in the supreme court.
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you cannot get a substitute. a lawyer might sometime think of the idea of ringing up an issue to get a panel that is more favorable. it is conceivable. therefore i think we should be careful. unlike those in the lower courts, i cannot think, in case of doubt just recuse yourself. i have a duty to said and -- to sit and a duty not to sit. in trying to make this into a big issue, i would prefer not. i would think no is the answer. i have to make those decisions. i do not want to become an issue.
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i don't want to have to give my answers if i don't have to. i will follow the code. >> thank you. rep: womack: looking for insight to the credit of the justices they get out in our country and speak to different organizations. i know justice scalia has been in my district already and is coming back as a guest lecturer. in many cases you are talking to law students and people that aspire someday to sit where you sit. what trends are you seeing in the medical community? i understand we're having
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problems finding general practitioners. most of them now are specializing. what trends are you seeing in our law schools with regard to the new lawyer? is the legal community blessed with a 30 good crop of young talented minds? are there any trends you can share that would raise any concerns? >> i am not sure. justice breyer: my own background, private practice, which i found very rewarding. justice kennedy: they specialize in the idea of counseling and meeting with clients and taking
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individual cases one by one, no longer the paradigm and look forward to. i sends a change and law schools are concerned about cost. an argument of whether it should be three years of law school, cut it back to two years. there is a real cost factor. i tried to tell students that law can be rewarding as an ethical undertaking not just as a way to make a living. i think they are beginning to be conscious of that. justice breyer: you have to ask the dean of the law school. there is no deterioration of quality. they are great.
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i hear the same complaints from the deans that justice kennedy does. money. they price themselves out of the markets. you have fewer people that are applying. overall things like that i just overtime. specialization, major problem. my dad when to law school and studied contracts. now the have everything under the sun, and that's because there is a demand for everything under the sun. i don't have the difficult job of being the dean of a law school. >> law schools do have almost custom-made programs. rep. womack: you can take your
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degree in astronomy law and the press, law and the performing arts. this is good. this enables other disciplines to influence what is being taught in law schools. justice kennedy: it is a complicated world. justice breyer: grandchildren the cost of the stuff is amazing. what are we going to do about that? i do not know. it is a problem. rep. womack: these two gentlemen are before us. having a wife who has been a trial court assistant for 34, 35years, i have a great amount of respect for the enterprise that these gentlemen represent.
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it is a great honor and i yield back. >> thank you. rep. rigell: thank you. i take us back just a little bit. i was intrigued by your remarks and you referenced on not sure if it is an organization or process like a dinner that has been has had an impact on the staff of the court itself. i do not know anything about it. where we are as a nation, we are off the track. as much as caustic tone has overtaken the public square and makes it difficult to identify the facts. to come to some common solutions
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for these challenges, you seemed excited about it. i would like to hear more about it. you are bullish on it. justice kennedy: the -- these exist in most major cities and small towns around the country. they consist of a group of lawyers, judges, law students, law professors. they get together and put on programs. how to cross examine a medical expert. how to give a closing argument in a criminal case and so forth. and the judges and the attorneys
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and the students sit down and have dinner together. they say how they can do a better job. it has been a remarkable influence for more civility in our profession. rep. womack: is this a recent development? justice kennedy: i would say for 30 years. when chief justice burger mentioned it was a good idea, it took off like a rocket. the whole idea of civility. we are judged around the world as the guardians and trustees of freedom, and the verdict of freedom is still out. people are looking at our civic discourse, looking at our commitment to rationality and progress.
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i am not sure they only see the right thing. rep. womack: i am sure of that. ancient athens -- citizens took an oath. justice kennedy: they would participate in a rational way so that athens would be more beautiful and more free for our children that it is for us. athens failed. rep. womack: it is constructive. justice breyer: i've been there and attended conferences of the courts. i will say i have never once heard a voice raised in anger in that conference or heard any judge say something mean or denigrating of somebody else. it is highly professional.
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we get on well personally and disagree. you want to win your case, do not get emotional. people say how emotional you are. that is the law. it works better when you treat people as individuals. how do you get that across? if you are being practical we do that through stories. we have the carnegie institute for education, the kennedy institute and probably dozens of others. get ken burns. why don't we have a set of 10 films, the first is the cherokee indians. out of georgia into oklahoma.
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let's have general eisenhower taking those 1000 paratroopers and flying them into little rock so those black children who go into that white school. let's go through a few cases that illustrate what it needs to live in a society of 310 million different people who help stick together because they believe in a rule of law. a rule of law means the opposite of the arbitrary. you are as much a part of that as we are. there is a lot that can be said and done. i could not agree with you more on the importance of doing that. rep. womack: i thank you both. my time has expired.
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justice kennedy: the advancement of students. the competition does not belong to judges. it is yours. some of the great presidents were not lawyers. they were great guardians of the constitution. institutions have to remember this. they have their own duty to inspire others to believe in this system of democracy this three branches of government we have. we have disagreements and difficult cases. ou missionr is to make the court look good, not to make our colleagues look bad. rep. womack: thank you very much.
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i do appreciate the comments. i yield back. >> basement frankly supposed-- benjamin franklin supposedly said when our country was getting started. rep. crenshaw: "what have you given us?" i have given you a republic, if you can keep it. a quick question. i have read that you had expressed some concern about the politically charged issues that are being heard and decided by the supreme court. can you explain what that concern is and does justice breyer sure that concern? justice kennedy: it is not new
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or novel for justices to be concerned that they are making decisions that affect a democracy. we thinka a responsible responsive legislative and executive branch will alleviate some of that pressure. we routinely decide cases involving federal statutes. if this is wrong, congress will fix it. then we hear that congress cannot pass a bill one way or another, that there is gridlock. some say that should affect the way we interpret the statutes. we have to assume that we have three fully functioning branches
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of the government that are committed to proceed in good faith and with goodwill toward one another to resolve the problems. >> thank you very much. i notice the caseload of the court is much lower compared to previous years and the current range of cases is half of what it was 10 years ago. rep. bishop: does the court have a target each year? let me go back to another subject. you talk about the new crop of young lawyers coming out of law school. i went to law school because i
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saw the law as a effectiven way of promoting social change. i was part of the civil rights movement and interpreting the civil rights acts of 1964. i am sensitive to the way that the law candy used to effect -- can be used to effec certain changet. they are reports from judges that the recession has caused a spike in the number of litigants in civil cases but has negatively affected the parties themselves and the courts. do you believe the system loses its effectiveness one citizens cannot afford legal counsel in stakes involving livelihood? if so, can you give us some
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thoughts of how the problem can be remedied with more resources being allocated to pro bono or legal aid services? my major piece of litigation was on behalf of 6000 african-american inmates who were in a disaggregated system -- desegregated system. it was certified as a class action case. the southern district of georgia back in the 1970's which resulted in a change of the criminal justice housing system and the system as a whole to relieve overcrowding. i happen to be the cooperating
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attorney and i handled that case and they backed it up. there was no charge to the litigants. there are not that many of those kinds of opportunities and with the economic recession how do we deal with that in terms of making sure that our justice system really is not turning on the capacity and financial resources of the litigants? justice kennedy: as to the number of cases, is there an optimal amount we strive for? we wait for courts of appeals to be in conflict.
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optimally we probably should have about 100 cases a year. when it first came we had 160, 180, which was far too many. the cases we get now are somewhat more difficult. we had a case two terms ago about dna. i read all summer long. i think our cases are more technical. the 70 cases we had last year exhausted us. we could handle about 100. but we wait until our guidance is needed. on the broader question i saw numbers in which the number of
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unrepresented parties in civil litigation is increasing because of some of the factors you mentioned. the congress enacted bankruptcy laws which are well-suited to the modern society. i do not think there is any real problem in the bankruptcy area. our bankruptcy judges are very, very good. that system, i think, is working. there is a problem with unrepresented parties. law schools should focus on the small cases, not the big firm stuff. justice breyer: on the number of cases, there is a big decline in the late 1980's. the way we select cases almost entirely is you look to see if
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the lower courts have come to different conclusions on federal law. they do or they don't. if they do, we probably will hear it. they are other things, but that is the main thing. i have not noticed any tendency to try not to take cases. sandra o'connor is to say, we have to take cases. can't we take some more cases? the conflicts are less. why? my own explanation is you have seen in the 1970's and 1980's, what you saw from the 1960's on, tremendous civil rights laws, statutes of all kind, title seven, a revolution beyond that
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in a way the first 10 amendments apply to the states. every new major case is a subject of new argument. you will get 50,000 cases. there has been in congress a kind of increase legislation and major statutes, and those statutes are laws and they have many words. if i am right, there is a lag. five years, seven years, we will see the number of cases in the supreme court growing. judges will have reached different conclusions. on the representation, i did look at some numbers. we are way behind in compared to england or france. in england, there is an
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appropriation. i don't know where it is on your list. in england where they had a good system, they are running under budget pressure. the lawyers are worried there are cuts. in france, they have a different idea. the bar provides a lot more free representation, but there is a price to be paid. the individual lawyers and bar will be ruthless in segregating the sheep from the goats. you will get your free representation if you cannot afford it, at the cost of having them going through your case and making a ruthless decision about whether they think they can win it. the people they think have a good shot will get the free
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representation. >> thank you. rep. bishop: it is important to recognize the significance of the work you do. rep. crenshaw: we do thank you for the work you do to make sure you are spending the money wisely. thank you for being here. i think we all appreciate your wisdom and insight. i always learn something. i want to thank you publicly. we concluded most of the business a couple of years ago. i was troubled by a quote i read in law school. i didn't know the author of the statement.
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versatility of circumstance often mocks the national desire for competitiveness. i asked you if, who said that and where. i think justice breyer said, why don't you google it. i said, i already did. when you think about that statement, bob dylan might have said it different. i can understand that a little better. because of the cooperation of you, i know that felix frankfurter said that in a case called weiner versus u.s. i think president eisenhower was the president. he wasn't supposed to do something but he did it anyway. versatility of circumstance often mocks the natural desire.
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justice frankfurter said it very well. things have changed. we thank you so much. thank you for the work you do for this country, and this meeting is now adjourned. thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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>> the senate judiciary committee will pick up the nomination of sally yates to be the next attorney general. she was the u.s. attorney for the northern district of georgia. watch live coverage this morning at 10:00 on c-span3. privacy concerns of dron aircrafte. live coverage starts at 2:30 eastern on c-span3. next, tom cotton talks about national security issues.
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he wrote a letter to iran signed by 47 republican senators, suggesting any nuclear deal could be overturned by the next president. welcome, good morning. it is my privilege to welcome you today to this event jointly hosted by the foreign policy initiative and american action forum. titled will congress provide for the common defense. this is the second in a series of public briefings on how congress and the president can work together to provide our
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armed forces with the resources and authorities they require to keep our nation safe at a time of growing threats across the world. this morning, we'll hear from senator tom cotton and following his keynotes, i will hand off to rachel hoff, with the american action forum, who will introduce and moderate a discussion by a panel of experts -- and aaf president, douglas holts deegan. senator tom cotton was raised on his family's farm in yellow county, arkansas. he attended harvard and harvard law school and after a court ship, entered private practice. like all of us, his life was disrupted by the september 11th attacks.

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