tv Washington This Week CSPAN May 14, 2016 7:00pm-9:01pm EDT
investigate the intelligence committee -- activities of the cia, fbi, irs, and nsa. tonight at 10:00 p.m. the questions detailing fbi abuses, including attempted intimidation of martin luther king jr. >> there is only one thing left to do for you. you know what it is. you have 34 days in which to do it. this number has been selected for a specific reason. it has practical significance. it was 34 days before the award. you are done. ask associate director james adams admits to some of the excesses while defending a number of other fbi practices. then at 8:00, on lectures in history, >> the rest of us may see a death or two. they see hundreds. they are the first to sort of see patterns, or shifts, in how people are going out of the world.
so they are the ones who sound the alarm. >> university of georgia professor steven barry about the role of a corner and how they shed light on the emerging patterns of death within society and spot potential threats to public health. sunday evening at 6:30, john kerry, who served in vietnam and later became a vocal opponent of the war, shares his views on vietnam at the lyndon b. johnson presidential library in austin, texas. >> our veterans did not receive either the welcome home, nor the benefits, nor the treatment, that they not only deserve, but needed. and the fundamental contract to between soldier and government sibley was not honored. >> at 8:00, on the presidency. sitting ater person home watching tv watched ronald reagan deliver the speech? it was dwight eisenhower. he immediately called his former attorney general, and said, what a fine speech ronald reagan just
delivered. he then called a former special assistant, and said, "what an excellent speech ronald reagan delivered." dwight eisenhower wrote back a multistep political plan for ronald reagan to follow. reagan would end up following eisenhower's advice to the letter. eisenhower'sdwight mentoring of ronald reagan and the pivotal role the pivotal role of former president played in reagan's political evolution in the 1960's. for the complete american history tv we can schedule, go to www.c-span.org. >> treasury secretary jack lew discusses domestic and global economic policy during a breakfast posted on friday. he previewed his upcoming trip to the g-7 economic summit in japan. this is just under one hour.
monitor." thanks for coming. our guest today is treasury secretary jacob lew. his last visit here was in july 2015, and we appreciate his coming back before his trip next week to anchorage and then to the g-7 foreign ministers' meeting in japan. our guest flirted with a journalism career while he was the editor of the forest hills high school "beacon." he evidently thought better of it and while in college caught the washington bug working for representatives bella abzug and joe moakley, earned a bachelor's degree at harvard and a law degree at georgetown. between 1979 and 1987, he learned politics from a master in his role as principal policy advisor for the house speaker tip o'neill. as a special assistant to president clinton in 1993 and 1994, our guest played a key role in helping design americorps. he was later deputy director and then director of omb. between 1998 and 2001, when he led the clinton budget team, the united states government posted a surplus for three consecutive years. he was chief operating officer of new york university and then chief operating officer for two different citigroup business units before joining the obama
administration in 2009 as deputy secretary of state for management and resources. he became omb director in november 2010, white house chief of staff in january 2012, and treasury secretary in february of 2013. thus endeth the biographical portion of the program. now on to the riveting mechanical details. as always, we are on the record here. please, no live blogging or tweeting. in short, no filing of any kind while the breakfast is under way , to give us time to actually listen to what our guest says. the embargo ends when our guest stops speaking. to allow you to file before the market opening, we will stop at 9:20. to help you curb that relentless selfie urge, we will e-mail several pictures at the end of the session to all the reporters here as the breakfast ends, and, as regular attendees know, if you would like to ask a question, please do the traditional thing and send me a subtle, nonthreatening signal, and i will happily call on as many reporters as we can get to
in the time we have this morning with secretary lew. we are going to start by offering our guest the opportunity to make some opening comments, and then we will move to questions around the table. thanks again for doing this, sir. appreciate it. mr. lew: thanks so much. thanks for having me this morning. i feel like i'm 90 years old after hearing that biography. i wanted to touch on two things just at the top, and then go to questions. i will start with domestic, then talk about the g-7 a bit. domestically, what i want to talk about is puerto rico. we have been working very hard to try and address the growing crisis in puerto rico. it is not a crisis of the future. it is a crisis of the present. i was there on monday, and i saw firsthand with some of you what is going on right now for about 3.5 million americans who live in puerto rico. i mean, there are children's units where 2-week-old babies are waiting for dialysis because dialysis has to be ordered cash
on delivery with wire transfers on a daily basis to keep supplies in the hospital. it is not a future crisis. it is a current crisis. we saw schools that start out in terrible conditions where deferred maintenance is raising questions about basic safety. there is a solution. a solution is that puerto rico needs to restructure its debt. puerto rico does not have the ability to do that without legislative action, and we have been working on a bipartisan basis, trying to reach agreement so that puerto rico can get the tools it needs to get its fiscal house in order, to have an oversight authority that makes sure that puerto rico stays on a fiscally sustainable path. time is very short. the conversations have been making very good progress, but they need to go from making progress to crossing the finish line, and that means that there needs to be a restructuring and it has to be a restructuring that works. it cannot be something that is just called a restructuring.
let me shift, if i can, to the international, and talk a bit about the meetings we are going to be having next week in sendai, japan. you know, it seems like every time we approach these meetings it's the right time for finance ministers around the world to be getting together. i think right now it is particularly so given the tremendous need to make sure that we all stay focused on growing global demand, using all the policy tools that we have to accomplish that and, equally, to refrain from the kinds of things that could be harmful to the global economy, things like exchange rate policies that are getting the world into a place where you go from market-determined exchange rates to competitive devaluation. we have strong agreement in shanghai where the g-20 countries agreed to refrain from competitive devaluation. it is very important that that
be reiterated at the meeting we have with g-7 finance ministers. a number of important and timely issues, ranging from the vote in the united kingdom on brexit to resolution of the greek debt problems, terrorist financing, cyber security, and financial regulation. i look forward to another productive set of meetings, but, as i say, i think it is an important moment for finance ministers to check in with each other personally. why don't i stop there, and happy to go to questions. mr. cook: let me do two quick ones and then we will go around the table. i've got a list of folks i'll read as soon as i do mine. you made your trip to puerto rico, the second of this year, and obviously, you have spoken about it very strongly this morning. do you have any news to share with us this morning about progress in terms of getting something through congress before the july 1 deadline for their $2 billion payment? mr. lew: look, i think there is
progress being made. i think that the discussions continue to go forward. you have democrats and republicans in congress trying to reach agreement, but you have a lot forces on the process that make it challenging. there are a lot of individual interests that are making their views very clearly known, and i keep stressing to all the decision-makers that this is only going to work as a solution if it is a solution that is in the public interest, if it is in the interest of 3 1/2 million americans who live in puerto rico, if it is in the interest of having a stable financial outcome. i believe that as possible. -- that is possible. i do not want to say that we are 100% there because obviously the talks are still underway. our team has provided an enormous amount of technical input, and the leaders, particularly in the house on both sides, are engaged. i believe it is a good-faith conversation. i do believe that there is an understanding that there is a
crisis in puerto rico, and i hope that this is successful. what i know is the only way to solve the problem is for congress to act. so the time is now, and the stakes are quite high. mr. cook: let me ask you one other -- it won't surprise you -- it will veer into trump land . you asked, you said the finance ministers should refrain from the kind of things that could be harmful. how much have you heard from your fellow ministers and or how much do you expect to hear about comments regarding renegotiating the u.s. debt and economic downturn, holding down the value of the dollar, or printing dollars to avoid defaulting on the debt? mr. lew: so i'm not going to comment on the political debate. one of the attributes of being treasury secretary is you do not engage in politics. one of the things you do as treasury secretary is spend a lot of time making sure that we have the deepest, most liquid markets in the world, that our treasuries are the definition of safety.
and that is something i have devoted the last three-plus years of my time to doing. it is what i will continue to do. i think the rush to safety when you see it in markets goes to dollars. dollars are the definition of safety. we have spent hundreds of years building that reputation, and is an important element of our economic and national security. mr. cook: we are going to go now to a reporter from bloomberg, sam fleming of the "financial times," kevin hall of "mcclatchy," heather scott of market news, jackie needham of "the hill," zack warmbrodt of politico, jon sopel of bbc, john gizzi from newsmax, and don lee from the "l.a. times," and laura barron-lopez of huff post, to start. >> hi. you are heading to china next month for the strategic dialogue for the economic relationship, and i would like to ask, against the backdrop of slowing global growth, china's increasing clout, and the u.s.' slight pivot toward a harder line toward china, what are the challenges you
think the u.s. faces in regards to this relationship over the course of the next year? mr. lew: i think that the u.s.-china relationship -- i will limit myself to discussing the economic relationship -- but the u.s.-china economic relationship is one of the most important economic relationships in the world. we are the two largest economies in the world. the global economy will do well if we do well. it will suffer if we suffer. we have made clear in our dealings with china that they have to take steps that are good for china, but also good for the global economy, that there is a responsibility that comes with being one of the two largest economies in the world. i think we have made progress in the economic discussions, but we have a lot more progress to make. i believe that the chinese economic policymakers understand quite clearly what they need to do to have a strong economic path for the future.
i think their challenges, not surprisingly, are political, not analytic. they know that having excess capacity that is distorting both chinese and global markets is not a sustainable economic path. on the other hand, they also have the challenge of how do you reduce that capacity and manage the human consequence of millions of jobs being lost? i am encouraged by the fact that the economic policy experts there are not doing it because they think we want them to do it, they are pushing it because they believe it is in china's economic interest. i do not take enough comfort to stop pressing because i think these are hard -- china is in the middle of one of the most difficult economic transitions that any country has ever gone through. to stay on the course of reform, to stay on the course of opening to market pressures, both in
terms of exchange rates and goods and services, is going to be very hard. i think that we have to continue to press as we meet at the strategic and economic dialogue and in other settings, and, you know, we have made progress, we will continue to make more, but it's going to require ongoing engagement. mr. cook: we are going to go to sam fleming from the "financial times." >> good morning. a couple of questions, if i may. one interpretation -- mr. cook: let's start with one just until we get around, and then have a followup, maybe. ok. >> one interpretation being put on donald trump's comments about the dollar is that he no longer believes in a strong dollar policy and would move to a more competitive approach on currency. would that be the wrong path, and does that make it harder for you in your dialogue with other ministers when you have a presidential candidate making these kinds of comments? mr. lew: i speak for the administration based on the policy of this administration, echoing policies that have been consistent u.s. policies for quite a long time.
you know, i think we have watched over the last couple years where the u.s. economy's relative strength compared to other economies has led to a stronger dollar. the answer is for other economies to strengthen. it's for regions like europe, countries like china and japan to take the steps that they need to take to have their economies producing enough demand and enough economic activity so that the exchange rates naturally equilibrate through market mechanisms. we have urged -- and "urged" is a soft word -- we have exhorted countries to adhere to the commitments that we have made in the g-7 and the g-20, because if other countries start moving towards competitive devaluation, it will start a chain reaction, and if country a does it, country b will do it, country c will do it, and pretty soon you
are in a battle over shares of a shrinking global pie. that will not help the global economy. it will not help the u.s. economy. i believe that message has been very much embraced at the g-7 and the g-20. really, since 2013, we have had strong agreements, and we have seen countries keep their agreements. we have also been very clear that if we see countries deviate from the agreements, it would be a very damaging thing and it is something that would do real harm to the global economy and to relations. so that's the position we have taken. it's the position we are taking. and as i said earlier, i'm not going to comment on any political things. >> do you want to do a followup before we go ahead, go to the next -- >> if i would, that would be great. it was actually more specifically on japan, if that is possible, and currency policies. clearly, you gave a very strong
signal to the japanese at the imf spring meetings that markets were orderly and that it was not an appropriate time for them to be intervening. do you think that message has been heard, and what will your message be at the g-7 meetings on the same topic of the yen-dollar situation? mr. lew: you know, i addressed the issue just a few weeks ago. my view has not changed. i think that the challenge in japan is a deeper economic challenge. japan needs to bring all of its policy tools to bear. they have had a long period of economic challenge, either negative growth or flat growth. and part of the problem is they have not brought to bear all the tools, fiscal policy, monetary policy, and structural reform. they have used the tools, but have not done them in a coordinated way. you know, we have urged japan over the years to try to bring those efforts together.
i think it is reflected in the policies that prime minister abe has announced in the three arrows. we have seen, alternately, more emphasis on one arrow than another, but an awful lot of emphasis has been on the monetary arrow. fiscal policy, you know, they have real challenges. they have a deficit -- a debt of roughly 200% of gdp. on the other hand, if they put the brakes on fiscal policy too soon, it will have a very negative impact, and they need to have a medium- and long-term approach to bringing their debt under control, but not to bring on short-term economic decline. structural reform is an area that has been very slow to make progress. one of the major elements of structural reform is really contained in the tpp, the pacific partnership, where they would undertake reform of their agricultural sector as part of their tpp commitments. i think it is one of the reasons why it is so important to
maintain our unity in pressing forward on having the implementation of the agreement, but japan needs to do it for its own sake. they cannot just rely on one of the levers. they need to use all of them. so my view on japan has remained the same. >> kevin hall from mcclatchy. >> i was prepared to ask several questions -- [indiscernible] the two-pronged question about the panama papers and what keeps you up at night, separate from that. on the panama papers, why did you choose -- or, more broadly, beneficial ownership -- why did you choose not to support the existing legislation on the hill that is there, that goes -- most people think goes deeper than what yours does, and who is going to carry it, your water, on the hill, who is going to push this new obama proposal on the hill? and then on the what keeps you up at night, the front page of "the new york times" today talks about swift, the second breach of the swift code, the swift system, rather. were you aware of this?
how concerning is it? and hedge funds losses are also piling up. how much does that trouble you -- mr. cook: that's three. >> three related questions. mr. lew: so let me start with the question about beneficial ownership. we have, i believe, been one of the leaders in the world in making strides towards transparency in tax and beneficial ownership issues. we passed faca with congress and created a standard globally for the sharing of tax information so we could get at the question of tax evasion that is associated with the concern over beneficial ownership. countries around the world are adopting that standard. we actually need more legislation in the united states in order for us to be able to exchange information fully, so we have gone from being the leader to now needing to take steps to make sure we can take the meaningful next step to make
that regime most effective. on beneficial ownership, we issued rules last week which, using authorities that we have under existing law, do a great deal to give us the ability to get more information on who the ultimate owners of various things are. on the legislative front, it is not a new proposal. we have been proposing legislation for some time. we very much want to work with congress to come up with an approach that will have bipartisan support, and enact it, because there's limits to what we can do using administrative authority. and i hope that the focus on this issue, which is not new for treasury and it's not new for the administration, but is somewhat expanded in terms of global discussion, creates an opportunity for us to make progress on that issue, even this year. you know, i am asked what keeps me up at night, and i have to say, given the days i lead, i
sleep at night. so i never can answer that question in its literal form. i think we live in a world with considerable tail risks, and that is why you see, i think, volatility in so many moments in the markets. i think it is a mistake to focus exclusively on risks, because i think that if you look at the base case, the base case is pretty strong. it's the u.s. economy is doing well. the global economy is continuing to grow. and we cannot define the risks as the base case. on the question of cyber security, we have focused on cyber security very closely. treasury is the lead agency in the financial sector. we work closely with industry in coordinating with the department of homeland security and other federal agencies as issues arise. we share information and get our
hands around it. i am not going to not comment on -- not going to comment on any specific matter under investigation. except to say, when i meet with ceos, you know, it is telling that for myself and for them, this is one of the issues that we are on a daily basis aware of what is going on in the areas of our responsibility. that was probably not the case 10 years ago. i think this has reached a level where it is an issue that leaders of organizations have to focus on, and that is a message that gets down deep into the organizations, that when you have an issue, you have to resolve it. you can build your defenses up to a point, but you also have to have an ability to manage, because financial institutions , like so many others, are faced with thousands and thousands of challenges every day. when one gets through, you need to fix it and make it harder the next time. but we have to keep up with it.
we do need to make sure that information sharing is in a place where when a problem occurs, it is surfaced and shared so that others do not have the same exposure and so that you get to the root cause as quickly as possible. mr. cook: heather scott of market news. >> thank you. you mentioned that you want to see the g-20 -- or g-7 reaffirm its commitment to avoid competitive devaluations. this is something you said before, including -- mr. lew: we have achieved it, actually, at the last two meetings. >> correct. you said it before, because you mentioned it here in washington after the imf meetings. but you said it needs to be reaffirmed, which indicates you're concerned about possible slippage or -- in that commitment. what is the level of concern that the economic problems might lead to? mr. lew: look, i think that meetings are not just about communiques. meetings are about having frank conversations by the people who make these decisions.
and in shanghai, there were two elements to the agreement. one was strong language agreeing to refrain from competitive devaluation. the second was an agreement to communicate so that there would be no surprises amongst the g-20 countries. it is very important, because there can be no miscues and missed signals, and there are legitimate concerns that many g-7 and g-20 countries have about their own domestic economies. and we have been clear since the agreement was reached in 2013 that domestic tools that are used for domestic purposes, like our quantitative easing, are different than exchange rate targeting to gain competitive advantage. and that is just a very important conversation to keep fresh, because economic conditions do not remain static, the pressures are not the same from month to month and year to year. but the concern to have a stable global economy in a system where
we are working together to try and increase growth and grow demand and not taking actions that will have a contrary effect is very important, because when we have around the table the key finance ministers and central bankers of the largest economies of the world, the decisions we make actually have an impact. >> thank you. >> [indiscernble] drawing in the markets, that that might be a real risk -- mr. lew: you know, i have been focused on this for the last 3 1/2 years. you can fill in the blank as to where the concern is based on what current events are. but it is a deep conviction. you know, one of the things that was part of passing the trade promotion authority in the house was giving us new authority to expand our foreign exchange report to look at the kind of leading indicators of what might be concerns in terms of currency practices.
we put out our first report. it did not find that any country had crossed all of the lines. but it put some kind of yellow lights up there which have caused a lot of, i think, constructive international discussion. i suspect i will have conversations about that. mr. cook: vicky needham from "the hill." >> just a quick followup on what dave asked you earlier. are you optimistic about this puerto rico bill going through the house since it kind of keeps getting delayed? and, two, how are things going with the financial services industry on the tpp provision that they have trouble with? are you optimistic that tpp will still get through this year in congress despite all the political rhetoric? mr. lew: so i think the substance is more important than the schedule as long as it gets done in time on puerto rico. i think rather than have a bill that there's not agreement on a day earlier, it is better to wait a day and try to reach agreement. so i would not confuse delaying a day with lack of progress. sometimes a delay can be a sign
of progress if you're getting close to something. what the jury is still out on is whether we will get to that point where we can all agree that there is a restructuring package that will work. our standard has been quite clear and quite simple. there has to be enough of the credit in the restructuring for the restructuring to work, and and the mechanism has to be clear and certain enough that it will work. and there's a lot of technical detail behind it. but that is what we are struggling to achieve. there are a lot of stakeholders out there who do not want to have their debt part of the conversation. if they succeed in pulling their credit out, it might be called restructuring, but there's not enough on the table to effect a restructuring that works. so that is what this is really about, and it is not nothing unusual. i am not shocked that there are individual stakeholders who want to have a provision that protects their interests. but if those interests get
protected, 3 1/2 million american citizens in puerto rico will not have an economic future. and that is what this is about. we have to make sure this is in the public interest, not just in some private interest. that restructuring is not a radical idea. restructuring used to be considered a conservative idea. it is a way to avoid bailouts. it is a way for the people who have taken risks to bear the burden of their own risks. puerto rico is an unusual spot because as a territory it does not have access to any orderly restructuring process. the alternative to an orderly restructuring is a chaotic unwinding. that will hurt puerto rico, but it will also create risks. we have not had a chaotic unwinding of a municipality or a sovereign entity in the united states in a very long time. that is more of a risk to the kind of confidence markets than a restructuring is, because a restructuring will create confidence if there is a clear and sustainable path forward. so that is what we are trying to achieve.
i do believe we're making progress. i do believe that there's a shared understanding that it is urgent. we're not yet at the point where everybody is together. hopefully, we will continue to make progress even over the next days. time is of the essence because july 1, there is $2 billion of debt that comes due. and between now and then, the pain will increase in terms of day-to-day life in puerto rico, but come july 1, that will be a default of tremendous size. getting at credit with a character that is constitutionally protected, which will force the commonwealth to make very dire cuts. if this gets to the point where they cannot pay their police and fire, you will ratchet it to a whole new level of crisis. i did not get your second question -- mr. cook: sure, and especially where you have both hillary
clinton and trump saying negative things about it. mr. lew: on the data localization provision, which is what you are really asking about, let me start by kind of just defining why it is challenging, but i believe there is a pathway forward. there are two competing positive objectives that i believe we share with, certainly, the regulators and most of the financial industry. one is data localization as a general principle is something we oppose because it is a nontariff barrier to try to create local jobs by having server farms in your country. in the financial services sector, there is a real need for domestic regulators to have access to information in real-time. and that is something that the industry recognizes and regulators feel very strongly about. there has been a history of where it has been a problem for regulators to get at data when they need it, even during our financial crisis. the challenge here is how to
find a balance where regulators have the information they need when they need it, and you cannot have frivolous claims of the need for data localization just in order to create a nontariff barrier. i believe there is a path forward. i have been working closely with the regulators. i have been working closely with the industry. you know, this is not a case of a radical difference of objective. it is just hard because it is technically a complicated area. and regulators i think appropriately are concerned that we not open up a space where in the next financial crisis they do not have access to the data that they need when they need it. we are working toward a solution and making real progress, and, you know, i do not believe it will ultimately be an issue that is an obstacle to making progress on tpp, which i believe we will get done this year. mr. cook: zack warmbrodt from politico. >> thank you. could you talk about how the united states is going to allow more investment in iran without allowing dollar clearing?
and do you want to respond to the hsbc legal officers' op-ed in "the journal" yesterday saying they plan to do no new business in iran? mr. lew: i think the policy of the u.s. government has been very clear. we have worked across the u.s. government to put the maximum pressure on iran for a long time to come to the table, to negotiate a resolution of the nuclear issues, and to get iran to step away from developing a nuclear weapon and to close all the pathways. we achieved that in the negotiations, and the purpose of sanctions is you put sanctions in place to get an outcome -- in this case, the nuclear agreement -- and then you have to remove the sanctions, or else there is no incentive for sanctions to produce the policy outcome that you are looking for. we have been very clear.
i have been very clear. the nuclear sanctions were lifted on implementation day because iran complied and we complied. we make an agreement, we keep an agreement. that is critically important. we have gone around the world to make clear what that means, what sanctions have been lifted, and what that permits. it is not our job to tell businesses what business decision to make. but it is our job to make sure they understand what the risks of sanctions are and what they are not. now, iran obviously continues to be subject to sanctions for other reasons. they are subject to sanctions for their support of terrorism, for their regional destabilization, for the human rights practices, and those are very important issues. we have continued to designate entities under that even in the last several weeks. that doesn't mean there is not a space where the lifting of the nuclear sanctions opens the possibility for firms to do business. that is the message we are conveying. there are different rules for u.s. firms than there are for international firms because we have an embargo and other
countries do not have an embargo. and it is understandably a complicated terrain. i believe that, you know, we have to keep our part of the bargain in the iran deal as long as iran keeps its part of the bargain, and i think we have to be clear in communicating that, but firms have to make their own decisions as to what level of risk they are willing to take and who they are prepared to do business with. mr. cook: we're going to go next to jon sopel from the bbc. >> can i ask you, your assessment of brexit and whether you think it could tip the u.k. economy into recession, and what headwinds it might produce for the global economy and the u.s. economy. mr. lew: you know, i have been clear in my comments over the last few months. the president was very clear in his comments recently when he was in the united kingdom. it is a decision for the people of the united kingdom to make,
but our evaluation is that it is both economically and in terms of geopolitical stability in the best interests of europe and the united states and the kind of global stability for the u.k. to stay in. we are talking a few minutes ago about the tail risks that are in the world. many of those tail risks are not economic. many of them are geopolitical. europe being stable and strong is a source of strength. europe being more challenged and threatened is a source of anxiety. one can get specific about what the economic consequences are. i know that her majesty's treasury has put out some analysis that i have looked at that suggests on a household basis there is substantial risk, that there will be shrinkage in u.k. economy. whether that drives you from growth to recession, i do not
know. but we all in roles like mine look to try to grow economies and grow household income and to avoid policies that shrink economies and shrink household income. so it seems to me to have a powerful message there. the future of a negotiation like ttip offers a lot of benefit to europe and the u.k. i think there is a host of reasons why, from economic to geopolitical considerations, it is better for the outcome to be the u.k. staying in. but again, it is a decision the people of the u.k. have to make. mr. cook: john gizzi from newsmax for our next -- >> thank you, dave. mr. secretary, i know you said the secretary does not get involved in politics, he stays away. so would it probably be a waste of a question to ask how the credit markets and central banks internationally would react to a donald trump election? mr. lew: well, now you are in
two areas i do not comment on. [laughter] >> that is what i thought. but give it a try. mr. cook: a sneaky way to get a third question. go ahead. >> third, ok. the other question i did want to ask was, you talked about the u.s. economy, the global economy growing, and yet the simple way of asking questions, why aren't americans shopping more? macy's has had a 60% drop in retail, as you probably have read, and americans are simply not shopping and purchasing right now. why, and will this change? mr. lew: well, first of all, i do not think that is an accurate description of u.s. consumer. we have seen from the beginning of this year a strong u.s. consumer. we have seen very strong automobile sales.
we have seen strong retail sales. i am not going to comment on firm-by-firm earnings, but while we have been sitting here, the retail sales numbers come out, we will see what the latest numbers are. but the trend in retail sales has generally been quite positive. the u.s. economy is 85% consumer driven. the consumer is driving the growth against pretty substantial international headwinds in terms of demand that is weak. so i actually think that both in the united states and globally the description of u.s. consumer as weak is not correct. you know, there are different experiences in different sectors and firm-by-firm experiences based on their businesses. i am not going to comment on that. but i do not think that that is an accurate portrayal of where the u.s. consumer is. >> don lee from the "l.a. times." >> the administration and your department in particular have issued a number of administrative actions, regulations -- [indiscernible] including protection -- mr. lew: i can't quite hear you.
>> i wonder if there are more, especially consumer protection regulations, that you would be rolling out and what kind of legacy the administration would have on terms of defending consumer protection? and then, and if i may, mr. secretary, on puerto rico, i wonder if you have concerns about the rescue package, what implications or what precedent that it may have for a state like illinois, which is in dire financial straits? mr. lew: in terms of consumer protections, there are many parts of the government that address that, but we are particularly focused on at treasury is the consumer financial protection bureau how important the work that it does is. there was not an agency before the creation of cfpb that watched out for consumer
interests the way cfpb does. if you get a mortgage today and you see the documents that go along with that mortgage, people can read them and understand them. they could not before. there are practices that contributed to the financial crisis that may not have happened if people understood what they were buying and what they were committing to. i think the cfpb in so many areas has done important work, and not just that it has done important work, it has done work that has been widely seen as constructive by both consumer and even business groups, that i find somewhat perplexing and confusing the attacks on the cfpb that continue. we will continue to defend the work that is done there and the agency and resist attempts to roll back something that we think has just been incredibly important, and i think director cordray has done an extraordinary job establishing the cfpb with a high standard of quality of work and outcomes that make a difference in a way that actually, when you talk to people in business privately, they are pretty impressed by. in terms of puerto rico and the precedents, i do not believe that there is a risk of this
being something that triggers the kind of reaction that some of the very deceptive advertising has created fears of. first of all, the markets understand that puerto rico is different than other municipal credits. the spreads for puerto rico credit have not been spilling over into other issues. in the municipal market, credits are looked at really within the four corners of the risk that investors are considering. as far as whether this is a precedent for states, the legislation is territorial legislation. it does not apply to states. the territories are exempt from our current restructuring laws
because of a provision that frankly has no legislative history, that it is hard to get an explanation of why. and i think that the lack of a restructuring authority in puerto rico is something that has to be fixed. if you are a governor, you have quite a lot of tools at your disposal to solve a debt problem and an economic problem. a territory by virtue of its size and the scope of options available is fundamentally different. it has a status that is unique, a and at the moment it is neither fish nor fowl. it does not have the tools that a state has. it does not have the tools that his city has. if congress does not respond and give puerto rico the ability to restructure its debt, the only alternative it has is a chaotic unwinding, and then question of a bailout will be presented, and i do not see any support for a bailout, which means the only solution in puerto rico is orderly restructuring. i do not believe there is a governor in this country who would voluntary step in to the kind of oversight and challenges that is involved in what puerto
rico will go through if this legislation, when this legislation is passed, you know, because they have a different kind of tax base, they have a kind of spending base. mr. cook: we've got about eight minutes left -- mr. lew: and excuse me, puerto rico is unique in terms of the amount of debt it has and the extent of the insolvency. mr. cook: got about eight minutes left. we're going to go to laura barron-lopez of huffington post. >> hi, thank you. going back to iran for a second, they suggested that u.s. primary sanctions have prevented them from accessing frozen assets, and i am just wondering is there any consideration of granting them access to u-turn transactions to address that? mr. lew: yeah, we have not given any daylight on this question of u-turns. i think you have to distinguish u-turns from foreign banks doing business in dollars. the dollar is the world's reserve currency. financial transactions in financial institutions around the world take place in dollars.
that is very different than a u-turn where our financial system is part of the transaction. him and i think some of the opponents of the iran deal have tried to conflate the two. you know, as long as the dollar is the reserve currency of the world, it will be used in financial systems other than the united states. that is very different than opening the u.s. financial system. mr. cook: david lawder from reuters. >> thanks, dave. i just want to come back to the swift network. is the swift network safe? has the treasury tested it and did you find that it is secure? also, on the g-7, a lot of these countries are having very much difficulty with china's imports from china right now. a lot of their overcapacity is coming to their shores, including ours. what sort of message will the g-7 have for china, given that china really will not be at the table. mr. lew: i am not comment on any of the specific investigations
that are going on now regarding the cyber issues other than to say that every time there is an incident, it is taken very seriously by all of the relevant authorities, and there's no exception here. in terms of china and its impact on markets, we obviously have conversations in different groups at different times. we are going to be meeting at the g-7 next week. just a couple of weeks later, we will be in china for our strategic and economic dialogue, and later in the summer in july, will be back in china for another g-20 meeting. we will have many occasions over the next several months to continue this conversation in appropriate settings. you know, i think that the impact of china on the global economy has different ramifications depending on what your economy is doing. if you are an emerging market, the impact is largely the
slowing of demand for commodities. if you are a manufacturing economy, it is a question of whether chinese economic conditions are distorting global markets like steel. i think there's a pretty broad concern that china's overcapacity in things like steel and aluminum is distorting global markets. that's why there has been so much focus in bilateral conversations with china on the need to continue the reform program and to put in place policies that will start to shrink the excess capacity. and in the week after that g-20 meeting in shanghai, china had a
meeting of its national people's congress where they unveiled policies that would shrink their excess capacity. the challenge now is to implement those policies and to do it in a way that is effective. they will have to worry about the human impact, you know, just as when we talk about trade policies, we talk about things like trade adjustment assistance. they will have to take some measures to cushion the blow for workers, but it cannot be by propping up industries that are producing excess capacity or it will backfire. now, they have to take the steps in their system, which is complicated, because the state- owned enterprises and the local governments and the social structure are all closely connected. but it is not all that complicated. if they do not reduce excess capacity, they won't stop distorting global markets. mr. cook: we're going to go next to ian talley of "the wall street journal." >> thank you. there has been some disagreement, it seems, between tokyo and washington over the yen's movement. you have said it is orderly. tokyo has said it is disorderly. "disorderly" is the appropriate term for intervention under the g-7 agreement. do you think if tokyo were to
intervene now, would it be an inappropriate intervention? would it be competitive devaluation? and, secondly, on greece and its debt, the imf has been pushing for a credible program that adds up. is there risk that a compromise between germany and athens could breach this credibility exercise, not getting enough debt relief, not having credible exercises on a fiscal policy? is the u.s. going to support only a credible exercise? the only a credible exercise? mr. lew: i think on the question of exchange rate policy, we have been crystal clear about our views, and, more importantly, we have strong agreements in the g-7 and the g-20. japan is a signatory to those understandings. they have kept their commitments. it is important for all countries who make commitments in the g-7 and g-20 to keep them, and we will continue to have discussions.
it is important, as i said earlier, that one of the things we agreed to was to consult with each other so there would be no surprises. on the question of greece, i believe that debt relief is a critically important part of the conversation. the time for that is now. it should not be put off. greece is enacting legislation to implement very difficult provisions of the program that they agreed to. they have more steps to take. i have made it clear to greece that they need to continue to take the steps that they have committed to. but i have very much indicated to all of the parties that we believe that debt relief is necessary. i think the imf has been advocating a number of things, both in terms of the need for debt relief, but also they have argued that the targets for savings are too high, that you have a tension here where some
of the europeans are looking for very high savings, resisting debt relief, and in that world it is a hard problem to solve. there will have to be some give in these conversations. i think that there is a space where the parties could agree. there is some optimistic news coming out of conversations that happened at the finance ministers' meetings this week, but, frankly, one of the topics that i will be talking to people about on the sidelines of the g-7 meeting next week is exactly where they are, because one of the things we have made clear is that it is just not going to be a good thing for the global economy or for geopolitical stability for there to be a repeat of the kind of dramatic crisis that we have seen in greece in the past. you know, particularly at a time
when you are approaching a vote in the u.k. on brexit, it would be a very unfortunate moment to have another round of high-wire negotiations on greece. all the parties have said that they believe this can be resolved in may. i have yet to see where that point of agreement is, but, obviously, i hope next week to -- that we see the signs of progress there. mr. cook: we are at the time we agreed to stop. i want to apologize to colleagues who did not get a question, and i want to thank you, mr. secretary, for taking the time to do this. we really appreciate it. mr. lew: thank you. good to be with you. mr. cook: hope you come back. thank you, sir. [indiscernible]
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> on newsmakers, rob bishop discusses how to address puerto rico's debt. >> is there a date at which action becomes too late? >> in my mind, that happened three weeks ago. i think they have had three defaults on their pavement.
i would like to have this process going through. the answer is no. the problem does not go away. it only exaggerates so whenever you do it, it is good. when he say the taxpayers? >> there is no reason why anyone should say that. this is not a bailout. this is a structural the organization. rights can be respected. if this thing fails and we don't i can't even support
that. this is the appropriate approach. this is the best approach. you may end up with a bailout and that is the worst scenario. that would not be one of the criteria. there are ads out there saying this is a bailout. ads thatink that those ran every few minutes on news channels here in washington and other places around the country, do you think they have labeled it a bailout? the ads were so over the top and unbelievable that once people were told, they said that they got that.
they put it telephone number on where to call. saystaff was able to simply this is what it does. people were saying that make sense. no one would have taken the time to look it up. with utah congressman rob bishop on a newsmakers on sunday here on c-span. >> today is your day of celebration. the voices crying for peace and light. because your choices will make all the difference to you. casesbe afraid to take on for a new issue.
>> next, supreme court justice sonia sotomayor talks about her life on the court to an audience at rutgers university and then a discussion on how the media is covering the presidential campaign. allegationsn the affecting hillary clinton. supreme court justice sonia themayor recently addressed university class. court needs diversity.
an hour.ust over that is a long way in from that far side. you should be running in it. i do want to welcome you all here. wasline coming in here remarkable. it was orderly. i am glad you were all able to get in. i've never seen those seats in the back filled either. good on you guys. i can see the tunnel effect. i do want to welcome you here. 250ths rutgers anniversary. we are delighted to be able to
celebrate that. [applause] it is also the 60th anniversary of the eagles institute for policy. [applause] have a 60th ended to 50th on the same year. discussion ona civic engagement that is part of a series that is done in honor lous gamicinia. andas a senior fellow responsible for setting up the new jersey transit system. he sets an example for this. continue civic engagement. we also have several governors with us.
chief justice of the supreme this year and a number of our senators. thank you all for joining us today. i hope you guys have a good time. [applause] today is to introduce our guest here to rutgers. she is the supreme court justice sonia sotomayor. it's a good venue like this still cold the crowd. it was scheduled for and others race that held 750 people. i'm a little embarrassed that we do not have columns and white marble here. she is the ideal speaker for a
discussion like this for civic engagement. that is what she has done for her entire life. she is also the perfect speaker for our students here at rutgers. she was born in the bronx to parents who came from puerto rico. [applause] dad as a grad student. her mother worked six days a week to provide for her and her mother. she was the first in her family to attend college. of the 8000 new students who joined us last year, a full quarter of them were the first in their family to attend college. [applause] as near as i can tell, that was the only questionable decision
in her career. she did make the choice to go south for her college experience to princeton. we will not hold that against her. laudeaduated summa cum from down there. she went to law school at yale where she was the editor of the journal at yale. an associatea -- where she litigated international commercial matters. her judicial experience began with her nomination by president george h w bush to the court in new york in 1990 me -- 1992. president bill clinton promote her to the u.s. court of appeals for the second circuit. when barackou know, , his firstlected
nomination to the supreme court was our speaker today. the seat in 2009. justid, her career has not given her a sweeping overview but a practical understanding of how the law works in the everyday lives of the american people. i think that says it all. she took her seat as associate justice in august of 2009, the first hispanic and the third woman on the supreme court. [applause] that does not do justice to her biography but she has a book world. "my beloved "
they told me it would be on. [applause] sotomayor: experience makes perfect. host: can you hear me now? [laughter] >> let's switch that out. how about this? thank you. i just want to say a warm welcome. we are filled with joy and appreciation that you had said yes to come to rutgers university to help us celebrate some important anniversaries. the 60th of the eagle institute of politics. what a pleasure. [applause]
he had mentioned the background of this event. this is what you dream about when you write a fan letter. that fan letter from me was on behalf of our remarkable student body that we are privileged to teach educating students about the engagement and taking responsibility for our representative democracy which is that the heart of the eagle institute of politics. the response to this event has been tremendous to say the least and therefore our move to this that normallyenue
invites guests to visit with us. casual question and answer session. instead, students from all of our campuses have submitted questions in advance. hear from the students, i have the privilege of asking several questions. a fanoing to begin with letter that was written about the book i read a couple of such ago which had tremendous impact on me. it was so inspiring. i would like you to talk about ,"mytitle for that book beloved world." will you tell us what was behind the title? comes from a
puerto rican author who has been displaced for a. of time. he was talking a bout the memories in puerto rico. my editor called me up because we have been going back and forth for about three years. sonja, have you ever read this russian mark --? he said go back to it. longer: but i finished it. it, i thought about found people who do not
like the title. i realized that when i wrote the book, i had in me the objectivity and impartiality that is a part of my profession. you are taught to look at things as objectively as humanly can. myself, iote about was painfully objective is talking about the challenges of my life is a good times of my life. don't those go hand-in-hand? what i wanted to do was let that positiveand
and negative experiences of my life have crafted me. they made me. they made all of the good that is in me. as my father would say, all of the bad too. [laughter] who i am is the bulk of those experiences. for me, each one was necessary to create who i am. when i finished the book, i realized that i love my life. people always ask you what you would redo? i tell people not a thing. how many people get to the supreme court? [laughter] even though i wouldn't want to change that, there are parts
that i could have done without and wouldppreciate say they made a better person. hence the title, my beloved world. you came from humble beginnings to one of the nations most procedures and visible positions. what a view held on to from your earliest days? sotomayor: just about everything. i tell people that i am the proudest american you can ever imagine. telli'm asked to a.m. i people i am an american from new york city. i tell them i have a puerto rican heart. it is deeply ingrained in me.
a.m. is all of the experiences i have had but also the values. it is not just because i am puerto rican, a lot of cultures have those common values. love of family, love of community, love country. musics something in the of the poetry that i read and the food i ate and the dances that my family had that stays at the very core of view. and that core is so vibrant and that it will extinguish the day i do. i bring it with me to just about everything i do. [applause] --sotomayor: when i tell a
story, the day the president say he had elected me to be his pick for the court, he made me two promises. one was to stay tied to my community. my response was that i don't know how to do anything else. was genuineponse and who i am. understoodw that he that my commuter was not just my family. it is much wider than that. it is what i care very deeply about. it's issues that are critically
important to me. [applause] all of that is my sense of community. going back to the family, how that relationship has evolved from the book. it is such a key theme and priority. being a supreme court justice is so high profile, being in the presence of justice can be intimidating. you make it easy and i say. being on the court really affected you? has the same affected your family and the relationship with your family? sotomayor: the day i got the call from my rather that he was and hem in california
went up to the secret service that he wasld him my brother. he got them to shake the president's hand. [applause] the person who bears my last who told the police she was my cousin. i had no idea this person was. it does affect family and friends. i told stories of moments with friends where we really had to through the relationship
and the situation. people will torture my family and friends to get to me. i would say yes to doing something. at the beginning it was very hard because they felt some loyalty. at the same time, they understood my life had gotten very complicated. really talking it out makes a huge difference. they have found a protocol for dealing with it that takes the pressure away from them and me. yes that does affect you. earlier i told students at lunch that the first christmas that i , my own is with my brother in syracuse. outing at my cousin's
there are events i miss because i cannot leave the court. including my 90-year-old aunt's birthdays. they decided to have it on a day that i was away. we work hard on keeping it the same. it is them working with me. they have even accommodated funerals i can come in from washington and put it off the day so that i could travel. it is a give-and-take that we are doing here to maintain the relationship as close the same as possible. in the memoir, you touched
on the role of politics and the did -- judicial appointment process. what was the experience of making your skills known and particularly for some of our students here, what would -- advice would you give to young people for went to be your own --?erleader # sotomayor: i believe in letting your actions speak for you. -- myry stage of right try to do the best job i humanly could. in highd and studied school and at princeton and it yelled.
-- at yale. i never cut corners of my education. i read learned how to write in college because i thought that my writing was inadequate. hello? and rereadack grammar books. -- to reteach myself and learn english grammar. i've done that in my professional pursuits. my first year at every job i have not been distracted by anything else. i studied as hard as i could.
control of i was in the process i was in. then i would go out and do other things. one of the hardest things to do today is i look at the resume of students and you are often involved in so many different things that you are missing the point. involved in a couple of things that are really important to you and excel at them. become a leader. noteworthy, that people will talk about in their letters of recommendation about you. it can't just be, she's a member of xyz and abc. she does this and that. it is really important for a letter to talk about what your passions are and to show how
good you've been. that is how i dealt with my professional career. andas putting my head down being the best i could. getting a reputation for being tough but fair. that was important for me. it was about being passionate about the work i've done. don't do any work that you're not passionate about. first of all, you won't be good at it. youhe work doesn't interest , then you're not going to be the best at it. if you going to any work situation recognizing that you can learn things from any situation that you're in and work to milk that learning experience, you will grow passionate about your work.
except for illegal activity, all other work has value. are soaw students that passionate about public interest. it's not a thing to make money. [applause] it's not a sin to work for a corporation or to work for a big law firm or to make money. if you do those things without giving back to your community. if you do those things without volunteering. [applause] without using some of those resources. in helping public interest activity. then there's something wrong.
but all of it has inherent value. in all work you do, you can help people. 15, all of you are very happy with your tax account. do, don't they get bored with those numbers? this is fascinating to them. really good accountants that are working closely with you are really trying to help you, not but to be honest and upstanding of how you report your income, you know that you value them. value the taxicab driver that -- needu where you to to go. you can value the person who brought you food in a hotel.
you can value anybody that provides a service for you. afraid of thinking of public interest more broadly. think of it as an opportunity to what job satisfies and intellectual interests makes use of your natural talent and where you can use those sometimesbenefit yourself and others. you end up with a passionate life. that is an important thing you should be thinking about. don't eliminate choices simply because others think it is horrible. there is nothing horrible about
it. be putare honest, it can to good use. >> we're having trouble. >> hello? i got it now. i will give it back. host: now that you are on the supreme court, do you view your role as a judge differently from one -- when you served on a lower court? in what ways? how did that very? -- vary? you see a lotyor: of men and women in suits. marshalshem are u.s. and campus police, and some of the local police. their job is to protect me, not from you, but from me.
i like doing something they do not like. they think it with me and danger, i don't. i do it. i do it because you will make me a promise. which is, you will not get up when i walk around. i don't like sitting still. [applause] if you read my book you will a hothat i was called pepper when i was a child by my mother because i never set still. i was always up and down. i have not stopped that sent. since. i also think if i move closer you will feel like we're having a real conversation. do not get up. if you do, they jump into action. [laughter] a gets a little messy. -- it gets a little messy. i will try to make it up there. [applause]
but i am not that young anymore. we will try. all right. is there a difference? it is harder. much harder to be a supreme court justice. when i was on the lower courts, the district in trial courts, i when ithought to myself got to the supreme court, how much different could it be? a lot. it starts with, that i had not realized or appreciated, when i was on the district and circuit courts, how much comfort i took in making decisions from the fact that there was a record above me -- a court above me that could fix my mistakes. that really gives you an out. you struggle with a question, you do the best you can, it is
much easier to let go when you know you're not a final word. i am part of the final word. although congress can fix some of the things that the supreme court does wrong, cannot fix others. questionstional question -- on statutory questions it is not easy for congress to act and change laws or things that many of them -- many congress people may think is wrong. making a decision is much harder. ways i feel it more a burden. in everyr one thing single case that comes before the supreme court. we are announcing the winner. we are telling one side they
were right. the nuances,past sometimes it is wrong and one thing and right on another. generally one side is going to come away feeling vindicated by the decision. the flip is someone lost. feels like something important has been taken away from them. either a right they thought they lossor a recognition of a that was deeply felt by them. and that makes this job that much harder. so that part of the judging is very difficult -- different. howeverical difference
is, so the layperson can understand it, we are the court of last resort. when do we take cases? we take cases when the lower courts have disagreed about the answer to a legal question. it is what we typically call a circuit split. there are 13 circuits in the u.s. that cover the 50 states plus territories. the circuits are not of equal size. some of them are bigger. , but bigger inr the terms of the people. if you start from the proposition that we have to have either a circuit split or a split among the circuits in a state court, the highest state court, or a split among courts generally, before we take a case, what does that tell you?
we take only the hard cases. we take the cases where reasonable people have disagreed. because you have to start from the assumption that if courts made ofhat are always judges trying their hardest. they cannot find the answer. the answer for us is not easy. complaint att of times, i hear because we do not agree more. i look at people and say, why do a unanimity of opinion when the reason the case came to us is because other people could not agree? is on a fundamental difference from the other job,
the other courts. the other courts get a certain number of cases that are right on the margin, but the numbers much smaller than the everyday work. as one of my colleagues once said about a case, the minute it comes to the supreme court, it is a supreme court case. as soon as we say, yes, we will hear a case, everyone revs up to tell us every side of the case. it is harder. every case is on the market -- margin. ruth? hi, is this working? great. i'm going to ask one last question. new jersey is a very, do not let her go to high up. [laughter] not to nosebleed territory.
raciallyy is a very and ethnically -- justice sotomayor: go ahead. start again. roof: as i was saying -- uth: new jersey is one of the most diverse states. we know that that makes a difference here in new jersey. it certainly defines that shapes the culture. does diversity on the court makes it is -- court make a difference? how and why? this is my last question. justice sotomayor: that is your last question. then i get students. we represent the country. we make decisions that affect every single person in the country. sometimes, and some of our
decisions, the world. we also supervise, generally, the practice of law in the country. we are influencing the work of lawyers in every single profession there is. in the country. so to be able to represent all of those people, it is helpful when the justices have presence among themselves, as much and as varied and experience base as the country has. it is not because the sitting justices cannot learn about how other people are feeling or what they are experiencing. because we do. ability topersonal
explain an argument that you know if your colleagues have not had it, that your view -- voice and let them see it in a different way. i give a very simple, simple example. --ber of years ago the case in a case, there was a 13-year-old girl who is at a no drug school. three reported through layers of hearsay to her principal that she had taken an aspirin. she was called into the principal or vice principal's strip-searched to see she had aspirin. she then came to the court and sued because it was a state school for an unreasonable search and seizure. -- the court was hearing the argument and i was not there when it happened.
i'm talking about something i read about. some of my colleagues, now colleagues, where than asking the lawyers, her lawyers, questions. wastenor of which basically what is the difference between this and strip searching to go to the gym and workout? justice ginsburg was reported to have said, after the argument, that she feared that some of her company colleagues -- her male colleagues did not understand how it felt to be a 13-year-old important the sense of body privacy and sensitive that is at that time. [applause] now -- did it make a difference in the decision-making?
i am probably going to say no. not any. my colleagues are lawyers and judges, and they based it on what their view of the constitution required and not. -- and did not. i know one thing, there was not a majority dissenting or concurring opinion that insulted a little girl by telling her that this was no different than changing in a locker room. that itself is worthwhile. that you have people on the court who can tell each other what you are seeing, how you are seeing it, is going to be hurtful. how or what you believe about others may not have a foundation. those conversations exist. will they influence the outcome? not likely. they do influence the manner in which we approach the issue. that has, to me, important. -- importance.
that is why i think diversify -- of all kinds, professional backgrounds and how people grow up, what they have done with their lives is critically important, and valuable to the experience of the judge. [applause] host: it was nice to see you. justice sotomayor: you still can. hello. some of our students are now more than ready for their turn to ask some questions. we are going to begin with angelo. angelo is a sophomore in the school of arts and sciences, majoring in math. if my noseomayor:
starts to bleed i will tell you you are right. [applause] you plan. here.angelo is down justice sotomayor: go ahead. we have heard the phrase that words cannot describe certain feelings, but i hope you do not mind me asking, in what words can you describe your feelings during the moments of being sworn in as a supreme court justice, and how do you feel -- did you feel when you became one of the most powerful and influential latinos here in the country? [applause] it remainsomayor: for me an absolutely surreal
expense -- experience. what does itask feel like to be a part of history? i look at them quizzically. it is not just that words cannot explain it. it is that it does not feel real . if i thought and lived that way every day, i would stop doing the things that i thought were right to do. there is a piece of me that sort ,f pushes it out of my mind because it is not important to my everyday living. other than i do not walk around in shorts anymore. because i am afraid of the pictures people will take. [laughter] when i am in a restaurant and i see people with their phones coming up from under the table to take a picture as i have to going in my mouth i stop. that sort of thing does affect
you. lived large you cannot thinking about that. you have to live doing what you think is the right thing to do at the time. so i don't think about it too often. what was it like when i first went to be sworn in. first of all, you have to understand that i was sitting in john marshall's chair. glassbehind a protective enclosure at the supreme court. they only bring it out for swearing-in. signeddays before, i had the john marshall -- john harlan, first john harlan bible. every justice since has signed. when they gave me the book and i was reading the names, it really
was like an outer body experience. how do you describe feeling that? me, inam, across from what would be either the guest, in a for regular courtroom might be the jury box. -- was box were sitting sitting the president of the united states. , all i couldn in think about was my god, thank you for this gift. that is all -- [applause] when i turned around to look at my family and friends and there were tears in everyone's eyes, i knew that a moment had passed.
i never imagined. i never dreamed of. because from a kid from the south bronx, who had no lawyers and her family, i did not know a in her court existed -- family, i did not know a supreme court existed. you cannot dream about what you do not know about. [applause] lived and reached something far, far beyond any dreams i ever had. last --se of being blessed with very real to me that day. angelo: thank you. [applause] host: thank you, our next question comes from -- justice sotomayor:wow, you guys are dedicated. thank you. [applause] thank you.
i'm sorry.omayor: host: are you ready? our next questions come from to students who have complementary questions. i ask them to come forward. one is a sophomore in the school of arts and sciences, majoring in political science. major -- aa junior junior majoring in psychology at the canton college. -- camden college. it -- asstion is, as the first latina on the supreme court, do you feel pressured to set a standard? -- ice sotomayor: >> what advice can you give to young latinas interested in pursuing leadership? thinke sotomayor: i don't
that i have ever lived my life feeling pressure from others. pressure is always inside of me. way, anything that i have ever wanted to achieve or do i have done because it was a sight i set for myself. [applause] you cannot live your life for your parents. my mother wanted me to be a journalist. because she always wanted to write and travel the world. so if i had lived her all oftions, i can tell the journalists down there, i would have disappointed her. no, what i do is i set a standard for myself. i do what i think is important to do.
that, which i think makes a contribution. i said something earlier today that ruth told me she liked, so i will repeat it. every night before i go to sleep questions, the first one is, what did i learn new today? help ornd is, how did i extend an act of kindness to someone? if i cannot answer each question, i do not follow slate. i go on the internet -- if i cannot answer each question, i do not fall asleep, i go on the internet. i read an article, or a think about a friend i have been out of touch with or a friend in need. i get into context with them by e-mail -- contact them by e-mail so they know am thinking about them.
with respect to the second part of that question, it is in keeping with the first, which is, to be a leader, you have to lead a life by example. wayhave to show people the to be better people. kindmeans, not just being to the people in your life, even when they are not kind to you. it means by doing things that help others. you define the agenda. you look at what needs to be done in the world and what you think your talents can help you bring to the world. that will create a leader. i have found that if you do good things, people will come and help you do them. good luck to you.
>> thank you. [applause] justice sotomayor: it is hot at here. -- up here. i see all of the fans and i understand why. it is really hot. sorry. i am going to go that way. [applause] to drive mying security really crazy. go ahead, sarah, take the lead. this is much easier. host: this is my first experience with the goddess. i hear you, but i do not see you. justice sotomayor: thank you. who is next?
host: our next para students with koppelman three questions -- care of students with -- wouldtary questions you come to the microphone? politicalsophomore science major in the school of arts and sciences and connie is a junior in a school of arts and sciences. her major is political science and journalism and media studies. she is minoring in french. would you begin? >> good afternoon. my question is, how does one balance their own personal opinions on a case, but at the same time try to remain object of -- objective with the law? is there a balance? or are they different? justice sotomayor: let me start with the realization that you have to have as a judge, what
our laws? -- are laws? laws are society's definition of how it will balance the competing interests of people. the first example that i give everyone is a law that affects every signal person in this room -- single person in this room, when they go outside. you go to the corner, you stop at the red light, why? there is a law that tells you if you do not, you will get a ticket. have that law? what is it doing? it is taking a bit of every person's time, putting it into a pool and saying, you cannot get to where you want to go as fast
as you would like. you cannot push people out of the way. you cannot danger them to reach your goal. everybody stops at the red light, gives us time so society, and most of its people can reach their goal safely. , that think of most laws is what laws are doing. they are trying to balance the competing needs of people in society. choice,e a different -- as ase it is a judge judge, i am rebalancing something that is much, much more complicated than my individual understanding. i am doing a greater injustice
to the society that depends on the rule of law to help us believe, rightly, that it is a fair society. it is a society not governed by the whim of one individual judge , but by a system of justice respects its judges to that their view of what might be fair could be very unfair. belief in a process of law, the way i do, and that i believe that over time if laws are not good laws, you will change them. -- people will change them. i know laws have changed in response to court opinions. look at what happened to desegregation.
a court segregated society, and a court and segregated society. took too long. took way too long. but we can, and bad laws can be changed. they can be changed by you. not thethe tension is one that you sent forward. i don't feel that the same way. >> thank you. [applause] host: connie. connie: good afternoon, my question is, how does your decision-making process work? do you rely on your own ethics? do you consider the views of the american public? is it something in between? justice sotomayor: you will be disappointed, i don't do any of that. [laughter] i read the briefs the parties give me. i read the prior supreme court cases that informed the issue.
i read the decisions that the lower court have issued, addressing the question. as i already told you, they are generally split. i'm getting two sides of the story there. we have friends of the court, i read those. , ier i've read all of that look at the issue and they deconstruct it. try to to break down -- break down its elements as a legal question. i put it together in the framework that i see the law as having created. , in some ways academic process. , am not relying on my ethics or my own personal views. i am trying to decipher from the body of law that informs the question i am addressing, what
are the fundamental principles that that body of law is dictating? what are the values it is setting forth? what are the approaches to the rights and remedies people are seeking that the law has created? that is how i arrived at my arrive-- that is how i at my answer. connie: thank you. host: the next question, and i'm afraid it will be the last one, i apologize to the students that we could not get to. michael guggenheim is a senior in the school of arts and sciences. undergraduateton minoring in modern hebrew. michael: hello. that was not my question. justice sotomayor: i doubt that. i don't think she would let you