tv Judicial System Diversity CSPAN August 1, 2016 9:21pm-10:45pm EDT
>> more now from netroots nation. coming up a panel on the future of the supreme court and diversity of the judicial system. we will hear from oregon senator jeff merkley in minnesota garnishment keith ellison. -- congressman keith ellison. >> i think we are ready. welcome, everyone. it is a pleasure to be here. i'm the president of the alliance for justice and i would say, to netroots is like coming home. it is great to be here every of. i see some old faces and a lot of new faces, which is wonderful. i would say after the events of
the past two weeks here in our france,and yesterday in it is really good to be among friends today. thank you all for being here. we have an amazing group of speakers so i will get right to it. thank adam.d to adam, where are you? netroots the board of and used to be the chair. he's a big booster of this panel so i am very grateful to you. bys panel is organized alliance for justice as well as the center for american progress. and again, we are just privileged to be here with such an amazing group of panelists. with a vacancy on the supreme court and we all know there is a
vacancy on the supreme court, we are really at a tipping point in our history and the coming years will swing the court dramatically in one direction or another. nextct, during the resident term, three justices will be in their 80's, ginsburg, breyer, kennedy. so that no matter who wins this bection, we will not only going to vote for a president, we will also be going to vote for a supreme court. given the number of vacancies that we expect to see. nixon's firstard term after the 1990 -- -- 1968 election has the president appointed for justices in a four-year term. that could very well be the next
president's charge. said after joe biden a vacancy appeared a con the court. that is that he says he picked up the phone and called president obama and he said, hey, if we really want to change the composition of the court let's nominate ted cruz. before you know it, we will not have one of vacancy, we will have a vacancies. eight vacancies. [laughter] we have merrick garland and the other thing we know is that no matter to his elected, this court will be hearing cases of critical importance to all of us for years to come whether it is environmental protection, unions,rights, choice, the court and what the court
does affects every aspect of our lives. in today's discussion, you will hear more about the fight over this current vacancy and the future of the court, how the next supreme court will set the nations court for the generation and how progressive activists can get involved and take action. i would also encourage you to 's new micro site on the future of the supreme court rg to is tippingpoint.o learn more. and to keep the conversation going, try posting on your app, tweeting and using other social media. now for the panelists. i am absolutely delighted to introduce congressman keith ellison who represents the fifth congressional district of
n the united states house of representatives. he has done since 2007. 's philosophyllison of generosity and inclusiveness is evident in his top congressional produce: promoting peace, prosperity for working families, environmental sustainability and civil and human rights. keith ellison is one of america's leading progressive voices. we will hear from him now. [applause] ots?ow are you doing netro [applause] i like it. this is a family conversation so let me be very candid with you. some of us who have been supporting bernie sanders, i'm supporting hillary clinton now. we spent a lot of time and energy working her for bernie
sanders. people might debate what that uses of integrity is. i will type in a word. the issues. if we can come together around the issues come to certain extent it doesn't matter who is carrying the standard. it is the issues. if we can come together on the issue. what issue is more important than the supreme court appointment? that is a top-flight thing. believeguys who really that people ought to be a real to america they want, that the supreme court ought to let the electorate decide who will be president and i will get into that a little bit more, all of you who believe those things, really need to put on your organizer and/or neck issues not because of his name again the ballot, but because of the supreme court appointment. it is a core organizing grassroots mobilization issue.
it is an issue that will make you get up in the morning until late at night. it will make you wear out your knuckles. an issue that ought to make you visit every hair shop and coffee shop and the district you live in. this is a very big deal and i'm so pleased we have jeff merkley it will be making the decision. he will be voting on this on whoever will be confirmed and i think it would be better to have him in the majority when the decision is made. what do you think? [applause] put jeff in the majority. point, from anis activist in point, the supreme court seems kind of lawyerly. i happen to live the life of a lawyer and activist so i can relate to both. i just want to say that it is important for us to understand buttery, bread and
quality-of-life issues the supreme court does weigh in on. just think about lily ledbetter. them,ng men, training coming in, coming out and some of them end up supervising her even though she got better worker bees that they got. at the end of 30 is, she applied for her pension and out of her pension was life and her male counterparts had been a shorter times that her were bigger. see soon -- she sued and won. theyther side appealed and appealed and said they do not discriminate. but she did not stoop after that. -- sue fast enough. they chopped her money. illegal miscarriage and a moral
failure. to get to the supreme court. they said the fact she had been discriminated against did not matter. now the union, or yeah, i don't want to be part of the union but when you negotiate an awesome contract i want to be part of the money. you want a free ride and not pay anything? scalia passed away that was under decision. i do not know too many unions that were not real worried about the outcome of that decision. and you know how it is, if someone tells you that some of
your money is optional, you you the supreme court. if that happens, you and i both know public employee unions will suffer. safety will suffer. people will suffer. suffer.s a people will what about michigan? -- roberts court said breaking the fourth amendment, knocking before entry. andection against search seizure. altone it in a time of sterling. we live in a time if you do not on policens practices, bad things will happen. so we will allow it to happen even more?
this is an invitation to lawlessness. having this today. i do believe that as activists who are online at and on the ground, we have got to be very plugged in to what happens on the supreme court and we have to absolutely demand right now that ,he republicans do their job they will either do their job or be exposed for failing to do their job. so, are you guys ready to go get after them a little bit? [was] all right. nan: thank you. what a great segue to our panel. thank you congressman ellison. you were great. let me introduce our panels and we're going to start with senator merkley and talk about this vacancy and senate structuralism. let me first introduce united
states senator jeff merkley. of oregon. the son of a millwright and the first in his family to attend college. born in the timber town in oregon, senator merkley has spent his career fighting to increase opportunities for working families and i should also add at a time when senate republicans were blocking nominees to some of our important circuit courts around the country. it was senator buckley who championed the rules reform andh broke the blockade allowed some really great judges to go on the circuit courts. so, what a great man we have got here today. amber pink to. pinkton. bolivia, moved
to the united states at the age of 12 and is a passionate advocate for undocumented youth. amber is a cofounder of dreamers in virginia, a former board member and a deportation leader. [applause] n: our next panelist is a reproduction activist committed to people who have had abortions, particularly people of color. renee's work on abortion storytelling has been featured on bbc, the guardian, washington post, and many other outlets. [applause] and last but not least, our next panelist has helped organize this panel. she is campaign manager for legal progress at the center for
american progress. she manages grassroots organization efforts to educate americans on the need to fill judicial vacancies. she carries more then nine years of experience in social justice working and a strong grassroots organizing background. [applause] : what a team we have got. i will start with senator merkley. senator, i would say that there is a difficult time in the senate these days. what impact has the senate unprecedented objection of them had on the senate, court, and democratic institutions? as you all know, even before the scalia family publicly released
the news of his death mitch mcconnell was on the floor saying he would get no hearing or no vote. and fortunately, we have senator merkley or to explain what is happening and what the implications are for the future. : the implication is profound. how are you all doing? [applause] sen. merkley: thank you for coming. this is such an important issue. it plays directly into the challenge we face in the presidential campaign but think about the situation. our founders wrote a constitution and they wanted three coequal branches. they said, had we put various checks and balances into place? your essay executive branch, they will have to be appointed. judicial branch, there will have to be appointments. where did the appointments come from? maybe they will come from the assembly they said. the house or
the senate. if that happens there will be a lot of horsetrading back and forth. my friend for your friend. no accountability to the public. it will not be transparent. so no, we want the best responsibility in a single person. that will be the president. and they said, what happens if you have a president who goes abstract. who appoints folks are unqualified either by experience or bike character? we have to have some way of making sure that does not happen. cyrus hamilton related, the conversation was about the on ae would be a check nominee of unfilled character. that was the term. unfit character. to do that, you have to have the senate that the record and vote. recordd vote -- vet the and vote.
that is what we do. for the first time ever, we have a senate leadership that says, now we are not going to do our job. there not going to vet candidate or vote on the candidate. we're going to sit on our hands. this is destructive, this abdication of responsibility. we have seen a lot of this at lower levels. failing to rapidly and responsibly that and vote -- vet and vote. but we have never seen it at the supreme court level so it is a phase.ew this most important court. why would not mitch mcconnell and france simply hold -- mitch mcconnell and his friends simply hold -- vet andt abn vote.
don't have heard say, why they nominate someone like merrick garland? so they do not have a reason to not vote. and they do not want to be accountable for basically voting to get somebody who is qualified. when you have to understand is this is the court acting. this is an effort to delay the nomination to a republican president who will nominate someone from the far right. i must say i do not think the media in america have done their jobs to portray how destruct of the sister the integrity of the court and how wanted is what mitch mcconnell and his folks , pledge signed up themselves to the constitution, to the responsibilities of being a u.s. senator, and are abdicating that responsibility. with de soto them, media has to say, grassroots has to say, do your job. let's tell them that.
let's force them to act. coreeanwhile, back to the question, it does a tremendous amount of damage to the senate because it is failing its responsibility. the senate is using its advice and consent power to not but ton three branches try to systematically undermine the executive branch and the president through the nominations and now to tax the courts. so they are doing damage all the way around. thank you. we will come back to a few minutes. well said. absolutely. so, i have a question for renee. renee, we actually had a successor with the texas abortion cases thanks to justice kennedy. surprising, but very
welcome news. so my question to you is in this case the supreme court basically found that these two texas laws that were enacted by the state inislature were not in a did order to protect women's health and safety but rather were accessin order to reduce to abortion services at hand to clinics. my question to you is what is the on the agenda for anti-choice groups? that must of been a huge to them -- a huge loss to them. : yes, it was a huge loss to them. but of anyone has met anyone that is an activist there, let's get back to tell everyone what the case was about. in 2013 the state of texas
-- hb2a law called hp to . regulation ofted an abortion provider. it imposes restrictions on abortion clinics and it is a number of things. so this law was a huge omnibus abortion it forced clinics to become ambulatory clinics which are like mini-hospitals. for anyone who has had an abortion, like me, it is like a maybe five-minute procedure. not an actual surgery so what they're saying is in fact for you to have this incredibly safe procedure you have to be in a surgical room that is like as if you're going to have open heart surgery will stop so it is ridiculous. they also require abortion clinics have admitting practice -- admitting iran said nearby
hospitals. but you don't actually have to admit people to the hospital, it is a complication of less than the present. so the hospital says, why would we give you admitting privileges if you don't bring us any this is? said they are not giving villages. also, many hospitals are religiously affiliated. this is something we need to be careful of because abortion privileges are not able to get admitting privileges and people are not able to get abortions that these hospitals because of the religious police of the hospital. again, more supreme court issues. it did a couple things will stop it can't abortion after 20 weeks and brought in a mandated it sog time and also made young people could not actually access abortions without their parents signing. it was problematic. you may have seen wendy davis who did they filibuster with 10,000 activists from all over
texas including -- i work at the national network of abortion fun ds --it galvanize people to really show the board down. but governor perry was very determined to passing so he went into a special session wasting taxpayer money and they passed the bill anyway. it went to the supreme court. independent abortion provider and hold women's health. they are trying to make sure their clinics would stay open. women's health. amicus were submitted that said, this has nothing to do with women's health. the supreme court said, yes you are right. you cannot even point to one case in which this law has actually helped. it has done nothing but harm. my organization submitted and
amicus brief which i rode and interviewed six women who are harmed by trying to get to an abortion clinic because clinics were shut down, they had to travel hundreds of miles to get an abortion. people do not realize the majority of people of abortions are people of color. people living on or below are just at the poverty line. they already have children. so, when i was talking to these women for the brief they illustrated how they had to skip meals in order to be able to afford their a potion. they had to stay overnight in their car just so they could .eal with the waiting period they had to find someone to watch their children. they had to skip work on paid because they do not have sick leave just so they could get an abortion several hours away. so this case is the biggest abortion case that has gone to the supreme court since planned parenthood. texas is not the only state that
has laws like this. the effect this was struck down is now setting a precedent across the nation. we have seen that mississippi and louisiana have already had some of their laws struck down. the center for reproductive rights suing the state of louisiana for all of they restrictions that have enacted in 2016 alone, like eight or 10. it is really ridiculous. so it is really huge and it is given as a framework to fight back and we still have a lot of work to do. medicalant to use a term, this is kind of like we stop the hemorrhaging, the bleeding, and maliki to go back and repair because we have a lot of policies on the books that keep people from accessing abortion. does anyone know how many abortion clinics are clinics in the state we're in right now? one. just one.
aree are some laws that trying to pass, they will be left like one. mississippi also just as one. in louisiana they are trying to shut them all down. in texas it went from over 42 if this law had passed it would have been nine. builde to make sure we back up. so this case has kind of given us the ammunition to move forward. theagain, what is next on docket for anti-choice folks, right? they are still going to try to pass these laws because they have hardheaded legislatures that really do not care what the supreme court says, they will still move forward. i hear there is a guy in indiana, a governor in the news in the last 24 hours, i am at ac-three so i won't talk about why he is in the news but i hear that his friend who he is in the news with has said that he believes there should be some people punishment for
who have abortions. well, here's the thing. e, hasw friend, mike penc made those forms of punishment legal in his states of the next thing they are doing as they are criminalizing pregnancy. they are criminalizing people who self-induce their own abortions because it is often happening because people cannot get to an abortion clinic. they are criminalizing miscarriage so a lot of people if they are suspected of trying to miscarry, like, i not know maybe she tried to self-induced the abortion, they are putting those folks in jail. we have right now someone sitting in jail because she actually was pregnant, she attempted suicide, and so they threw her in jail for inducing her abortion. so she has spent a lifetime in jail. we have someone with a 20 year sentence because she induced an
abortion. was supposedly, allegedly induced an abortion. same thing. medication abortion pills on the internet and so was arrested. arrested in the hospital. noteed to make sure this is the end because hypothetically if some people are allowed to choose the next supreme court justice i guarantee you that they will make sure that those laws in indiana and other states like tennessee are exported to the rest of the nation and they are passing criminalization of pregnancy laws. you will start to see more pitting of the personhood of the fetus up against people like me. people who had an abortion, who need an abortion. this is something that is going to continue and whoever appoints the next supreme court justices
gets to decide where that goes. right? so some unlike the governor of indiana, we know where he stands. ok? he has put this idea of people should be punished for having an abortion, and he basically turned to donald trump and said -- i got you. i did it. so we have a huge fight ahead of us. nan: ok. the fight is not over. [applause] nan: we got some good news on choice from the supreme court but not on immigration at all. as amber knows all too well. and, as many of you know, the supreme court and joined a court a cordpped -- enjoined and stopped the implementation of an executive order that
would've prevented 4 million of from seekingildren deportation relief. it was just a very disappointing deadlock on the court. amber, can you tell us what some of the actions are that are taking place at the local lot level to protect immigrant families? amber: yes. so, the supreme court in this failed us. right? the supreme court did not make a choice. did not make a decision. they just said, let's just give it time and they will figure it out. it is 4 million people. those 4 million people right now are in danger of deportation and
my parents would have qualified relief. i have a nine-year-old brother who is a citizen and i remember and i weremother cooking in the kitchen and my ifther comes and says, "hey we get someone elected as that myt i am scared classmates and mom and dad in june my brother will be deported . where would i go? what will happen with me?" a nine-year-old have this conversation and worry about these things, it is not ok. doing, -- what we're doing, is making sure people know their rights. we are doing massive know your rights sessions with trainees across the country where we keeping an eye for
patrol, immigration agents around our neighborhood because we know they are there. is, waitingcking for people at the school bus stop which they are not supposed to be doing. rating homes at 5:00 a.m., 6:00 a.m. in the morning. taking people away. and they are following folks to their work. stopping them. right before getting to work and detaining them. this puts a lot of stress on families. we have a hotline that has -- that is provided by volunteers and provides assistance to families and individuals who have been victims of a raid or have proceedings and if you want to take this number down in share it with your friends and family isyour network, the number
844-363-14 guest:3. we have help in spanish and english. for those who do not know what to 8017 is, it is a programmer police officers and immigration agents collaborate and police .e. agentsbecome i.c and are doing immigration work. they made it a political point in houston and harris county. in north carolina, we are driving. they have a government which does not recognize. we will make sure we have ids so people feel protected and safe. -- itu know, it is just is just sad to know that across the country people are in fear.
right? they are not protected. at any moment, you are vulnerable to someone come into your house, someone coming to a safe place for you and rating you. -- and raiding youl. we will not stop until we and all deportations. nan: ok. wow. so we are going to turn a little bit to what we can do and then we will go back to some substantive stuff. that brings us to our next analyst. with judgeships, we are just not concerned with supreme court justices but there are about 850 -- around 850 judges at the district court level, court of appeals level, and nine on the supreme court.
and by the way, i should just tell you, we do focus groups every two years where we meet with a group of about 30 or 40 democrats, republicans, moderates. i usually go to these focus groups every two years and the first question we always ask at a focus group is, how many justices are there on the supreme court? and i should tell you, i have never been to a focus group where anyone knew the answer to that question. our nextaks to panelist. we melanie right if you just hear a talk about -- from the republicans talk about judges and the courts and the supreme court all the time.
democrats, not so much. with the exception of senator merkley and a few others. republicans we know are very engaged in who becomes a judge. how can we motivate the base of the democratic party to care as much? >> that is very true. i am so excited to be on this panel with wonderful people and with everyone here. this is such an important issue. i do not rank our community has that has caused, cases are coming out of texas because we do not pay attention to the lower courts. so, how, abortion and all of these affirmative actions, issues we all care about are coming out of these cords and we are not paying attention until
they come into the supreme court and then we are saying how did this even come about? it came about because conservative justices and people -- in places like texas have been appointed by president that is very conservative and we and up with these situations. only 75-100 cases every year are heard by the supreme court but there are thousands of cases heard in the district and circuit courts no it is paying attention to except conservatives so we are playing the lottery with our rights and our issues and people we hear about when we are just letting court.en in the supreme so that is our job. i am the campaign manager at the center for american progress which is meant to really raise issues throughout the nation. why are our courts important. every issue we care about ends up in a court in some way, shape or form.
whether it is lower or supreme. it is our job to spread the word there are vacancies to be filled, not just filled with anyone but with diverse judges that understand everyday lived experiences and can give fair determination to our issues and cases and that are progressive and that are looking forward and making sure we have a system in place that is not taking us back in time. so we have 11 different states in our campaign right now that we work with to do everything from additions to rallies to media to twitter forums. name a type of action. anything to make some noise, that is what we're trying to do on this is what we have been trying to do for quite sometime time. today itself, we are marking 100 vacancies in lower courts today. another monumental moment in this abstraction fight. we have seen this before scalia.
before the merrick garland situation came into the news we have been seeing republican senators walking when there is so much backlog in cases and not enough judges that declared an emergency. we cut 30 of those throughout the country. i think we all had 12 when this congress came in. that is the situation we have come to with this current senate run by mitch mcconnell and senator grassley. our job is to create as much noise as we can to show that we are not going to stand for this. we are the constituents and we want them to do their job. sure some of you have seen our dear job campaign where we are pushing mostly for the supreme court vacancy but generally judges all around. believe of americans that we should be filling the
vacancy. that this is not a non-issue. it is a responsibility to do so. senators themselves, republicans and democrats alike have said that merrick garland is well-qualified and they said that about lower court nominees in the lower court fight, we've had senators recommend a judge and then block that judge itself. just because they tried to give it begging for the next president. they can for the next president. with a hundred voices -- joyce's vacancies, think about president trump. campaign in make noise. iowa, we had 36,000 copies of the constitution printed out and we delivered it to senator grassley's office just showing him article two, section two which says advise and consent and turn that into him. they had to deal with 36,000
copies of that hopefully they recycled. week, julyre, next 19 will mark about 100 day of obstruction. the long stood as ever taken for supreme court nominee to be confirmed has been 125 days if we are reaching that on tuesday in the senate is getting the upper recess until september so we're going to hit over 170 days and then not even held a hearing. we're not seen a confirmation. number an unprecedented being matched once again. on the 19th, we are having a lot of action in the states. are, a light brigade over the biggest bridge. huge job signg a to with that appeared in ohio they will take kayaks into the water and holding a rally.
kayaking is huge there. florida, we are holding a rally in iowa, they will have over 150 owansds pictured -- i holding pictures of doing your job signs. all along his office and long. when teachers that said i gave finally dollars in all i got was this stupid teacher. $5 million and all i got was this stupid t-shirt. and we did rallies and pennsylvania we did it in four different cities. the next day senator to meet said he would meet with garland. we have seen then some of our other states as well. the fact of the matter is that it is not until you pick up your phones and call your senators, eet atd at them, -- tw them and tell them that a medicine especially those at reelection.
tell them that this is their job and they will stand behind holding a hearing and vote or american -- merrick garland. >> [indiscernible] good ones.e of the [laughter] add, you guys are doing some amazing things. i have watched the senate judiciary committee for more than years than i care to admit but what always strikes me about the committee, there a senator, dianne feinstein from california and time after time on really difficult votes we were working hard to get her, what she says is absolutely right, you have got to send those letters and e-mails and i always think, how
hokey, senator feinstein on templates will always start remarks by saying i got 6000 letters, i got 12,000 e-mails, i got 10 visits, it does really make a difference to be in touch with our senators. merkley,ck to senator i would like to change topics a little to money and politics with a twist. i guess the question is, what should a president look for in a supreme court justice? how important is the diversity of professional background of an individual? some of you might remember that this term the court ruled in favor of former virginia governor mcdonald and his
corruption case. by narrowly defining what constitutes an official act by a public official. and of course we all know the of citizensision united where the court defined corruption in such a narrow way that really defies reality. might the court take a different view if its members included justices with previous experience as legislators who would understand from actual experience how corruption influence the democratic process? as you are asking the question i was thinking about william a douglas. justice brett a
vast amount of experience before he went to the court. some of that experience involved a connection to families who are really struggling, individuals struggling. he had the experience of writing the rods underneath railroad trains. the spirit of hanging out with hobos at camps. when he died, i decided to hitchhike from new york down to d.c. for his funeral. i was working in new york city and i thought that was the closest i could come to riding the rods to honor him. it was a rainstorm and i hiked about five miles into new jersey and i was picked up by core with andar with her hispanic men we had not got a couple miles until the police pulled us over and they gave the folks in the car a very hard time, took away
the drivers license of the driver and did not return it to the driver and the driver asked for it back. he was told you are to got it back. he did not get back. now this poor gentleman have to keep driving without a license. were illegallyou hitchhiking so it does me in the back of the car and takes me out to new jersey and in a rainstorm and eventually dumps me out on the highway in the middle of nowhere at about 1:00 a.m. in the morning. so atdeveloping the flu that point i was throwing up and never made it to d.c.. i think about how the expenses of lima douglas -- william douglas and his experience taking on corruption an predatory nation -- nature of the stock exchange. background matters. in this case, if you think about the supreme court, they had a
case and i'm not a lawyer, non-technical person, they had a case that said can states restrict judges from exit touching campaign cash? could they be restricted from asking for money? is that too corrupt? the supreme court said yes. acceptablebe totally to prevent judges from asking for donations to their campaigns because that would create an appearance of corruption and maybe the reality of corruption of the dealership system -- judicial system and independence is so important. had back as a judges and understood the issue in the context of serving as a judge but when it came to the question of what the corrupting to have
unlimited funds put into a legislative race even if it is done in the context of a third-party? so they said, you know, if the money goes directly to the candidate you can limit that, but if it goes indirectly, it is unlimited. in other words, $1 million to a shadow campaign is not corrupting whereas more than a couple thousands directly is corrupting. it makes no sense. the shadow campaign, you've absolutely know where the money is coming from and they said it is not corrupting even if it is undisclosed. they do not have a requirement that it be disclosure. if they had been legislators -- legislators they would have seen the enormous impact. last week we had a bill related
to gmo labeling on the floor of the senate and the definition of what constitutes genetic modification was written to exclude the major products that monsanto produces from the street against gmo crops. the label does not have to say gm or biotech on it or anything that indicates. the bill is a complete sham and takes away states rights. why did that happen? wielde monsanto can fabulous influence. why is it the fact that all of our environmental republicans have disappeared? the koch brothers invested in the last 2014 campaigns hundreds of months of dollars in louisiana and arkansas and north carolina and colorado and alaska itemregon and my race and please to say i decided to take
them on directly. i really campaign ad that said coal and oil billionaires have come to oregon, they want to elect my opponent because they share this agenda. great investment for koch brothers, terrible choice for organ. by calling him out directly they october in my opponent campaign collapsed because it was based on the koch brothers money. thank you oregonians for kicking the koch brothers at a my state it lets kick them out of all the other states in the country. [applause] that is where citizens united comes in. before that are left, they don't understand how corrupting this to the and how it goes heart of the constitution, we the people constitution. cashflow of campaign
proceeds to make it up by and for the most powerful. the senate is up for sale. house of representatives is up for sale. what could be more corrupting than turning our constitution on its head and changing it from we the people to we the powerful? the justices don't get it. we need to have justices who do get it. that is why this is so important that the next president nominate and next senate confirm a justice who truly understands this vision of we the people so that we can reclaim our republic. [applause] >> amen. ask three view -- three of you to enter a question briefly, i want to have some time left for some of you to ask some questions. i'm going to start with renee.
renee, you are a powerful .toryteller tell us a little bit about your work in storytelling and how that relates to your issue and why you think it is such an effective means to convince people? it is frustrating to me that the fact that when i say i had an abortion that it is still a radical act. an in three women will have abortion. every one of you love someone who's had an abortion. you may not know it yet, but you do. culture in which people can speak openly about their experiences and they are heard. part in the a huge
whole women personalized that decision. i submitted my abortion story third organization -- through an organization. i wanted to make sure that the justices knew that i am someone who had an abortion, i'm a biracial black woman who had an abortion and you will listen to me. you need to be held accountable to me. wroteed to make sure as i riefrganizations reach -- b that there were couple to the women who are having abortions in texas. they need to know that their decision is actually impacting those people. they are real lives. we often think about these important decisions as it is just out there and they decided the things, but it exit impacts real people. -- actually impacts real people. i think one of the next big fights for reproductive health
justice movement is to get rid of the hide and helms amendment. [applause] abortion stories will be critical to that. i would to say that these are my remarks as a board member. the democratic party for the ofst time has put a repeal the hyde amendment and helms amendment and their platform and that is ensuring that if we believe you are pro-choice that everybody has that choice. a right is not a right without aspect. we cannot say we are pro-choice and then advocate for a law that says people who are enrolled in medicaid, people who are incarcerated, people who are on the indian health services, people who are federal employees do not actually have access to that. how many of you or your family members have $500 just sitting
around? not a lot of people. imagine you find yourself pregnant and that is what you need.you need that $500 and what do you do? your health insurance denies you that and then you have to deal with immigration checkpoint on your way to an abortion clinic and you may get pulled over by the cops for driving while black and that is all before you even get to the antiabortion protesters who are calling you all sorts of names which the supreme court said they are allowed to do. that is not ok. we need people to be up to share their stories, to speak up, but , those need all of you of you who support people who have abortions, who love people who have abortions to stand up and remind us that we are loved and that we are in a space where
we can share our stories because you cannot expect us to stand up and speak out with the antiabortion rhetoric that permeates our country. one thing i will ask you to do today, talk about your values and your voice about how much you love people who have abortions. say the word abortion. talk about abortion. remind us that we are loved, we deserve health care and that we matter. [applause] >> amber, i don't think you are expecting this one, but now we have moved off the court a little, i note that you are the cofounder of dreamers of virginia. activist in this arena. it strikes me that activists who
have promoted reform of immigration laws, particularly young people have made such tremendous strides. through you you -- into this moment and why you think you been able to make the progress you have made and what keeps you going? it was cofounded in early 2012. , since the moment i crossed the border i knew i was undocumented. i was very mature for a 12-year-old. i knew things would be hard. i wasn't aware of how hard they were actually going to be. opportunity to intern with a law firm and
reading the predictions -- petitions to get a credible fear introduced -- interview for a silent and having to translate those from spanish to english emotionally draining. to see that the people work year because they fear to lose their lives back at home. assaulted, harassed by gang members and to see that this people would not get asylum in the thing, there's something wrong with the system. people i believe deserve to stay here because of they get deported the company will be murdered, they will die. made me want to be -- do more. that is when i joined other
youth who are undocumented and we found it dreamers of virginia. i'm -- involvement learned that besides the system this cause andng why people are migrating, the refugee crisis of central american children, yet we don't call them refugees. we call them the central american kids across the border. any to go back to their parents. we don't understand the issues of what people are migrating. on top of that, we don't understand that immigrants are double criminalized. if you are person that is a you a citizen -- u.s. citizen and have a conviction of some sort of type you get convicted, go to jail and eventually you get out. though the system is
broken, it also affects immigrants in a double way. after they get convicted and after they do their time and reform, they are now being prosecuted by the machine that goes and raids their homes come up them in a detention center again and the port them to places that they are not even familiar with. seeing the double criminalization and seeing how someone who has had a conviction of 20 years ago, a dui or just something that they plead guilty because they didn't know better, they do not have that betty money to pay a bond, are now nd nowrated -- raided ad been a detention, to the system and corporation correction for america, they are just one member. they don't matter.
politicians and elected officials say, let's deport , not families let's deport criminals. it is something that if you're into me because sometimes felons are families. and people who they call chemicals are also families. .- criminals are also families when we say let's keep families together, that means people who have also been convicted and victims of this criminal justice system that is broken and it is meant to affect people of color and affect poor people and immigrants are doubly criminalized and that's what gives me every morning and motivates me to continue working until everyone can live a life with respect like everybody off. -- else.
[applause] bring us back home again. you describe all the amazing doing illegalp is progress groups at the state level. but what will happen with merrick garland? >> i cannot answer that. do you have any other insights? [laughter] we are hearing that there just waiting for the next president to make a decision. the hope is that if we make lift upice -- noise and his personal stories and show why they are so important and the kind of people that are suffering because of the 4-4 split and the kind of impact their having in every can -- they american lives, it is not politics. this is affecting everyday people. if we look that up enough, i still have hope that we might
see some movement was there back. right now, they are on recess until labor day weekend, i think it is our time. in the homes they go back to make as much noise as they can turn a rally and write and call into everything. get in touch with me i will give you the contact information for the christian it on the ground. groups on the ground. we always need stories of people like that who are struggling everyday or even people who have been convicted. you brought that up, pleading guilty because they have to -- they would wait longer to wait for the trial because there are not enough to just that to just plead guilty or just be able to get out and get out sooner if they serve the time. that is crazy. there are plenty of people doing that in our system as well. lifting up his voices and
stories is one of the best ways to talk about this and hope for some sort of turnaround in the future. >> thank you. the last word be for sen. merkley: what do you think will happen with the senate and merrick garland? >> before the election in november, i would predict with great confidence there will be no sears conversation or confirmation debate on the floor . interesting question is what happens after the election during the lame-duck. the senators, the majority senators have taken the position that this should be decided by the next president. the next president should nominate because we are the last part of the present suit. -- presidency. no foundation for that the constitution. why do not want to address merrick garland? i mention some of the reasons but the heart of it is the koch
brothers for the koch brothers do not want the possibility of a 5-4 reversal of citizens united. that is where they are controlling the influence of the majority in the u.s. senate in a way that it is hard to envision any other special interest having such control of the institution. worried will be very that the next president, if the next president is fully clinton -- hillary clinton that she may won't besomebody who described -- someone who is more progressive on fighting for environment and social and human justice. so there is a real possibility that after the election they will advocate their argument and him easily move to try to confirm merrick garland. >> thank you.
we know what we need to do. we have a few minutes remaining and i'm wondering if any of you have some questions. yes. maybe say who you are and where you are from. that gentleman first and then you. take it away. games, i united with wanted to ask about judicial diversity. i was disappointed that the president did not nominate a percent color but i was disappointed and the legal background of the justices we have. all at the harvard or yale except for justice ginsburg and what the columbia. no one has any background in immigration law. as law school, is an elective.
they don't have background in criminal defense or legal issues that must be boldface in the country. i wanted to hear your perspective on why is that? during the oral argument, i was infuriated that some of the progress of justices has zero clue about immigration law and most people do not even use the right terminology. >> that is an excellent question. supremeshould the next court justices have in their legal expenses and had we get to experiences and how do we get to that? >> i hope they have a jb and intersection analogy. intersectionality. the bad news is you are right. our current judicial system is so white-mail corporate law. that is exactly what it is. in order to be a judge it seems like there is a secret tractor
parts you to have worked at law irms and that is the weight am as an attorney but i could never be a judge because i'm a woman, of color, i work in public interest. that is the fate. we need to change that and i would to think that i could change that. currently with the wait is, it is always corporate lawyers, very rarely public interest lawyers who can make it and i think the system starts again, going back to the district and circuit court would pick us up in court judges from. a -- to pay more attention to the lawyer towards and think of lawyers we know it puts to import to commission and the state. every state has their own commission system where they vet different lawyers to be judges and make sure we are being active in that conversation which is something as a society we always think, we leave that to the lawyers to figure out.
and it is not true. just like state courts have judicial elections, federal court system has a way of getting the vault and suggesting to our senators, what about this lawyer, what about this lawyer? this is a great divers layer that has a unique ground and really have in that conversation to make sure they are in the commission as well. comment? else want to that since the republicans took control of the u.s. senate, the majority, we months,ing about 19 they have confirmed only 17 judges. in the year before that they and so whilejudges i was taking a packing the court at the supreme court level, it is a strategy to completely minimize the number of judges confirmed under president obama and hope that there would be a
president within our -- with an r by the name to the courts with right-wing folks. progress in some that november, 2013, i and jennifer and interpretation in the road to put it that simple majority so that they could not be filibustered at the district level and circuit court level. that led to the 96 judges been confirmed the following year. now they being stopped at the committee level from ever getting to the floor. situation andle hopefully will soon have a senate and president will rectify that. >> i like him i do have something. support progressive organizations that actually did the advocacy to educate lawyers and training. there's an organization called how.e
it used to be called law student from reproductive justice. what they do is have chapters on law school campuses to ensure the law students understand fight for intersection analogy -- intersectionality and how the fight for reproductive rights intertwined with the fight for economic justice and immigration rights. it is all the fight for bodily autonomy and so even if those lawyers then don't go into public interest and going to corporate law, they still have an analysis to understand what their organization, the company might be doing, how come if they put a plate in an area, how that is actually environmental injustice and going to affect the reproductive right in a tommy of the people living in the community and really start to have that analysis.
if we support organizations like that because about the corporate right but they have a progressive and intersectional analysis and they get on the supreme court. >> the only thing i would add, this is an issue of great atcern to us and we looked june -- every judge appointed by president obama and found or revealed that overwhelmingly that judges were either corporate lawyers are prosecutors. almost no criminal defense lawyers, no public defenders, no legal services, no public interest lawyers. no environmental lawyers. since that study has been out, there have been some changes that have been made, but that is a huge priority for us and i'm
so happy that you raised it because it should be a priority for all of us. i might add that it is not that president obama was not open to appointing a wider diversity, but the challenge was the process of the judiciary committee in the senate, the senators some states can block the judges and up until we did november, two thousand 13, we had to get 60 votes to pass a judge so the only judges that were getting through were once that made the republican corporate world happy and that was a systematic, corruption of the balance of the court system so we have to rectify this. we have to have broad diversity on the courts to have anything close to a true justice system. >> we have time for one more question.
i think it is you. you have been here before. glad to see you again. >> i'm from above the law. i was good to ask about your study so i will quickly follow up, there's a whole issue about trying to get the white house to select judges who have these different backgrounds. you also find that it is hard to recruit people to want to go into that process with the background. rich corporate lawyers are fine financially and it is ok for them to go be a judge. you have trouble recruiting people were d got recruiting people to put the names in the hat to be a judge? >> i will be court and somebody else. i was talking to a woman who --te the book of the tories notorious rbg. the life and times of prebeta ginsburg. -- ruth bader ginsburg.
she was saying that there's a lot of systemic things in place that just like it is hard to get women and people of color to run for office, yet to ask them multiple times and the systems are not set up that way, it is the same thing. they have to be asked over and over again. that it was around the clerk system so if you look at the justices when they are deciding who they want to clerk, they are doing this, they're picking people who look just like them and so the justices are white men, they will say,, looks just like me. come on up and be my card. clerk. it is one of those think that we have to impacted both when they and we have tool check the systems of who can
even get into law school to even be there. it is so expensive and how is it that people who are in communities of color are even going to get their? quality public school life and things to a scholarship to a masters degree at cornell and it was a culture shock and an economic shock and a great middle class. it is a whole system that we actually need to abandon and foot over -- put over because it is designed to give people like me out. -- keep people like me out. [applause] >> that brings us to a close of this wonderful amazing panel. thank you all. what a treat to have you all. will end with this, thank you all for coming as well. poll and i know
that we talk about good news and bad news, but the good news is that compared to previous election years, or people are paying attention to the supreme 20 orhis year than in 30 years. that is great news. say, i'm just kind of building on what everyone else has said, the more we can reach out to our friends, our colleagues, activists, parents, grandparents and say this is the most important election of our life because we are not just voting for president, we are voting for the court. we have a lot of work to do. we will roll up our sleeves and do it. thank you all. i know this crowd will do it. you always come through for us. [applause]
>> singapore prime minister is in washington this week promoted the transpacific partnership agreement. tomorrow, he will join president obama for a news conference at the white house. we will have live coverage at 11:40 a.m. eastern on c-span. in the evening, the white house will host a state dinner for the prime minister and his wife.
you'll have live coverage at 6:55 p.m. eastern of the arrival at the white house also here on c-span. khan talks about his son, a muslim american who died in iraq. this was at the democratic national convention last week. he was critical of republican presidential candidate donald come. he was joined onstage by his wife. [applause] khanrase welcome from charlottesville, virginia. [applause]