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tv   Americas Newsroom  FOXNEWS  July 13, 2009 9:00am-11:00am EDT

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steve: we are starting the after the show show 15 seconds from now. gretchen: randy, from the u.s. soccer team, she will join us tomorrow. have a fabulous day. thanks for being here. [captioning made possible by fox news channel] captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- megyn: good morning, everyone. judge sonia sotomayor in the spotlight as we get ready for day one of senate confirmation hearings on her nomination to the south u.s. supreme court. judge sotomayor, lying to become the third woman to serve on the nation's highest court. bret: room 216, you are taking a live look. she is looking to make her case for the supreme court we expect
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her to arrive in just a few moments. megyn: why should you care about this nominee? the u.s. supreme court shapes the laws that you live by. gun rights, abortion, they get the final say. with a court that regularly splits 5-4, a single justice can make a difference. there is no dew over. it can define a president's legacy. long after the presidency is over. she will make history as the first latina justice, only the third female. you will hear a lot about judge sotomayor in the coming hours,
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controversial statements she has made, her beliefs about judges making policy from the bench, and cases she has already ruled on, giving you a peek into her judicial philosophy. bret: bret: judge sotomayor will be introduced by her home state senators, charles schumer and kingston gillibrand. she will be sworn in by chairman leahy. in the highlight of the day, she will give her opening statement.
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things could get interesting. her past statements could be called into question. her past rulings will be put under the microscope. megyn: before we get to that, a quick update with other headlines this morning. congress left in the dark, democrats wondering if the george bush administration broke the law by concealing a cia counter-terrorism program from congress. "the wall street journal" reports that the program was a plan to kill or capture al qaeda operatives. there are reports that kim jong il has pancreatic cancer. he may have been de not -- diagnosed at about the same time he suffered a stroke last summer. his third and youngest son has widely been reported as the successor. trouble getting off of the ground, nasa might have to scrub the endeavor mission once again. scheduled for tonight at 6:51,
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this is their fifth attempt for the launch. there is a 60% chance that the launch will not happen. bret: judge sotomayor is clearly the star of the proceedings today. but pat leahy will play an important role. his take on key issues, like affirmative action, abortion, gun rights, are going to shave off what we see at the hearings today. we have team fox coverage for you. shannon is looking at the cases you are going to hear more about soon. we begin with carl cameron, a preview of what we can expect. >> hello. you have laid out the chronology of the day. it is an advanced master's degree lecture series. we will have an opportunity to hear more about the u.s. judicial system, the constitution, a spectacular display as all 19 of the
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senators on the judiciary panel would get their chance. they will outline their own philosophy, posting some of the things that they are going to grilled the nominee on tomorrow. democrats are going to be largely supportive, generally, focusing on a positive light. look for republicans to dive into the principal concerns, where judge sotomayor and the president's references to empathy and subjective experience fit into a more traditional view of judging, which has been based on the notion of a dispassionate and objective view of the facts. the word empathy will come up a lot, as well as references to herself as a wise latina and the assertion that her richness of experience could better serve in the judgment of someone who does not have her background. all these things raising
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questions about the future of american jurisprudence, whether or not judges can use their own subjectivity to shape an outcome. the very idea that outcomes can be sought in these cases is an anathema to many services -- many conservatives. sonia sotomayor is, in many views, the epitome of a judicial activist. bret: we will be following every word. thank you. megyn: one of the subjects coming up this year that will be scrutinized is a decision made in 2001, speaking at an event in berkeley she said "i would hope that a wise latina woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion than a white male who has not live that life." joining us, jon kyle from arizona. republican.
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good morning. to start off, that was not the only time that she made that comment. she has made it repeatedly, as many as seven times. the white house is going to have a tough time seeing her live up to that and comments -- live up to that statement. how much heat can you make out of that? >> it is not a matter of making hay out of it, it is what she believes. this was not just a slip of the tongue. it was reprinted in a law journal, which she edited. she was very careful about what she said. if she really means by that that members of the court who are persons of color, as she puts it, will make better decisions based upon a particular agenda that they hold, she encourages
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that there be more of those judges on the court, and that is a bad thing. as we know, judges are supposed to be like umpires in a ball game, not changing the rules. megyn: how do you get to that? she is not going to go for congress and say yes, i believe that people of certain color, of minority dissent, are going to make better judges. that would be a potential deal breaker, this woman is smart enough to know that. how will you satisfy yourself that that is not what she secretly believes? that is the question that all of america will have to decide. she has said it over and over again, and in her hearings if she says she did not mean it, the question for the american people is which judge sotomayor is going to be deciding cases?
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that is why this is so important. there is no one to provide a balance once they are on the supreme court. megyn: there has been a lot of talk about whether senators from europe -- senators like yourself, from high hispanic population states, will go easy on the nominee. what is your response? >> i will not go easy or hard, i will simply ask questions as diplomatically as i can. i do not think that in this day and age anyone in washington boats yes or no based on the agenda or ethnicity. it should not be done and frankly is not. megyn: is there any chance that the republican attempts to vote this nominee down, but to somehow filibuster this nomination -- you have got the chairman of your committee,
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patrick leahy, trying to filibuster samuel alito. is there any chance the republicans, despite the numbers against them, could attempt that with respect to this judge? >> i do not think so. we have not so far. everyone is free to make their own judgment, as you said. just as patrick leahy did on the samuel alito nomination. we do not operate that way. everyone is free to make their own decisions. i have not decided yet. i am anxious to see what she says. according to a recent survey by the rest missing group, -- restless in group -- rasmussen group, independent voters and a large number of voters oppose
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her confirmation. the american people are looking at her skeptically because of all of the controversy pointed out by you just now. she has a job to do here. it is not of bridge -- not up to us to tripper up or go easy on her -- trip her up or go easy on her. megyn: 39% of americans do not favor her confirmation, 37% do. thank you for being here, senator. we will be watching. >> thank you. bret: we are waiting for the start of judge sonia sotomayor's confirmation hearing. coming up, we are taking a look at some of her cases, including her most controversial ruling, i reverse discrimination case
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involving connecticut firefighters. for the latest on the confirmation hearings, go to foxnews.com. are you receiving a payout from a legal settlement or annuity over 10 or even 20 years? call imperial structured settlements. the experts at imperial can convert your long-term payout into a lump sum of cash today. right now, 1.5 million people
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megyn: taking a live look inside of the hearing. in less than one hour, judge sonia sotomayor will be sitting front and center. what a big day for her. the judge's nomination surrounded by controversy from the start. you will hear a lot about the cases that she ruled on during her time as an appellate court judge. in particular you will hear about a case in which white firefighters' challenge in new haven connecticut's the decision to throw out promotion test results after minorities scored lower than whites. she was one of three judges who
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ruled against the white firefighters. in the last couple of weeks the case went to the supreme court and sonia sotomayor and the other judges on her panel were reversed by a vote of 5-4. shannon is live in the control room with more on this case. >> that is certainly one of the cases that will take spotlight in this hearing. in the lower court, what has happened in the second circuit, there was an elaborate case. a lot of facts and a big long record. there were extended oral arguments, like the briefings, thousands of pages, and they dismissed the case with a paragraph. other judges had a big problem with that. including one of her mentors, a liberal leaning clinton appointee. he called her on this and voted descent, calling her out for not
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thoroughly considering the issues involved. it went to the supreme court by 5-4. two of the firefighters are on the witness list. that is going to get a lot of attention. another case at issue, maloney, dealing with gun rights. a big issue in this. megyn: shannon, i am jumping in as you deliver your report. we are watching judge some -- judge sotomayor are arriving on capitol hill. we are told that she is there with her mother, an incredible influence in her life, as well as her brother, a doctor from syracuse. we are told that the executive director of this for rican defense and education fund, a controversial -- executive director of this puerto rican
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defense education fund, a controversial hispanic version of the naacp, we are told that she was on the board for 12 years. the executive director will be supporting her, interesting because it was a controversial piece of her story. shannon, i apologize for the interruption. we wanted to test that arrival. shannon will be an important legal group for us throughout the day. -- legal guru for us throughout the day. bret: as judge sotomayor -- judge sonia sotomayor enters the building, confirmation hearings are set to start in about 40 minutes. first, what exactly was this so- called secret cia program designed to do? we have the facts in three minutes. stay with us.
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bret: judge sonia sotomayor are arriving just moments ago, her confirmation hearing is set to begin at the top of the hour. the confirmation hearing is going to take place in room 216. having seen a few of these in the past, as she walks through you can see that she is still hobbling from her broken ankle. we are told that she will have that crops onto a pillow underneath the table. it will be covered by a black curtain so that the senators do not see that it is propped up. we are told that she is allowed to take breaks if it hurts
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throughout the hearing. joining us now, our all-star panel. steve haynes, news analyst from national public radio juan williams, and chris wallace, host of "fox news sunday." first, she has a big smile as we look at her. this is obviously a nervous scenario for anyone stepping to the stage. your overall perception? >> people are anticipating that they will hear from her today, but they will not. bret: we will hear her speech later on? >> right. the senators will be the stars. they each get 10 minutes. they are going to take that time to find sotomayor before we hear from her. the difficulty is, even republicans feel this, that they
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have a sense of what this is about. democrats have the votes, but republicans are going to try to push issues like her position on guns, the connecticut case, and her position that she thinks there is an advantage to being a hispanic woman. this is president obama's first nomination. she will be the only -- she will only be the third woman if she is elected -- nominated -- approved. >> i think we are likely to see republicans opening up two offerings, racial preferences and her general judicial philosophy. her approach to being a judge. she has said some things in the past about her indefinite ness
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of the law, her willingness to insert herself, and not only to impose her personal bias, but to do it on them that -- unapologetically. she has basically embraced the philosophy saying that she has taken her experiences and is going to impose them on a lot, sometimes substituting. megyn: what can the republicans gain today, everyone assuming that she met through -- how many report -- how many points can republicans make? >> it is very delicate. they can count votes. take a car race analogy, if she crashes into the wall on turn 3 with an outrageous comment, it could be a problem, otherwise the chances are good that she will be a supreme court justice. what do they want? they want to advance their judicial philosophy, that judges
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should be restrained and modest, words that john roberts used. applying the law. not making a lot. part of that is to set a maker -- marker for the next supreme court justice. there is the anticipation with john stevens or ruth beiler ginsberg, two other moderate liberals, they might retire during the president's first term. judge sotomayor, as far as she is concerned, she has been briefed fairly well. she has sat for hours in the old executive office building across the street from the white house, with administration lawyers throwing questions at her. what ever they ask her, she has gone over her answers. she has been fully batted. she is on autopilot.
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megyn: sounds like she does not need to go through it. [laughter] >> it is exciting. no matter the votes, democracy in action. you never know what will happen. we are just a couple of minutes away, the battle for the seat on the nation's highest court. full coverage today of judge sonia sotomayor's senate confirmation hearing -- judicial confirmation hearing. many people have focused on this 2005 decision, what did she say about making policy from the bench? you have questions. who can give you the financial advice you need? where will you find the stability and resources to keep you ahead of this rapidly evolving world? these are tough questions. that's why we brought together two of the most powerful names in the industry. introducing morgan stanley smith barney. here to rethink wealth management.
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one hundred these, or one hundred pringles. same cost, but a lot more fun. everything pops with the new pringles super stack can. megyn: we are waiting for the beginning of sonia sotomayor 's confirmation hearing. after weeks of meetings with virtually all of the senators, only a few that she missed, preparing for tough questions, she begins formal hearings today on her nomination to become the nation's third woman on the high court, the first hispanic supreme court justice. bret: white house released a photograph of the president calling her on sunday morning, grinning from ear to ear, wishing her luck.
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major garrett is live from the white house, as he always is. take us behind the scenes a bit. >> judge sotomayor is the central figure in this drama, but she has had two very strong and experienced women preparing her for today's confirmation hearing. one, stephanie cotter, a longtime aide and adviser to senator kennedy. a senior adviser to the obama campaign of 2008. she has been in charge of the choreography, simplifying the message down to this -- she is qualified, great story, woman hispanic, touching those stories. the other is cynthia hogan. she was on from 1991 until this term, when she became a senior adviser. she had supervised, along with
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joe biden, confirmations at the judiciary committee. clarence thomas, stephen brier, justice ginsberg, extremely experienced on how to prepare nominees. she is the one working principally with the judge, working her on the questions and answers, preparations ongoing in today and what happens after that. bret: everyone can do the math, it is a likely that she will not get the boat. is there any worry at the white house on how this will unfold? >> not at all. that is very clear. the committee is not a problem, there is no evidence of a republican filibuster. what they are trying to accomplish is get her over the roberts threshold. if they can get to 78, it will
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be a smashing victory. it is below that, they will take the victory anyways, but they would like to get over that roberts threshold. bret: what is the white house spin on the politics? >> this -- if they get a solid majority, pick up half of the republicans, they think that they will have accomplished a great political credibility for the next appointment to the supreme court. there is no guarantee that there will be one in the remaining term, but john paul stevens could retire, as well as justice ginsberg, if there are any more vacancies. proving that they can do it with a relative calm and bipartisan majority. bret: major garrett, live on the north lawn. we should point out that on the right side of the screen we had a live look at judge sonia
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sotomayor's mother, her stepfather, i believe, sitting next to her. we will obviously see more pictures of her family. she has a big contingent with heard there. megyn: what a big deal for her family. judge sonia sotomayor, making policy from the bench. critics call her a political activist. here she is speaking in 2005 at duke university. >> all of the legal defense funds out there are looking for people with court of appeals experience. court of appeals is where policy is made. i know that this is on tape and i should never say that, but what do i know. [laughter] i am not promoting it, not advocating it. you know. [laughter] megyn: you are not supposed to say that judges are supposed to
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make law. karl rove is my guest now. good morning. how badly does that hurt her? >> she will be given a chance to explain it, and they have given her weeks to prepare an artful dancer. something about deferring to the law. but it is out there. an insight into her mind set. this is what is driving the skeptical conservatives. this in her statement at berkeley are indicative of how she would come to rule on the supreme court, with an activist bias, guided by a belief that her experiences allow her to arrive at better decisions than a white man. megyn: in law school, she spoke of the right result as opposed to the law. there are justices on the
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supreme court to have that same philosophy, stevens and ginsburg, the liberal justices. is this about the electoral consequences beyond taxes and health care, what ever other day to day kitchen issues you are thinking about? >> absolutely. senator sessions talk about this as being an educational moment. it will be. she will be the next member of the united states supreme court, no question about it. this has been carefully scripted so that even if there are some minor bumps in the road, she will get in. but the american people will come to understand the attitude of the administration and counterparts in congress. interestingly, president obama voted against president roberts and justice toledo. he said that you do not need to be bound by a respect for a
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presidential nomination, you could vote against extremely qualified justices. this gives a wide atmosphere to if people wanted to take advantage of that. it will be a moment where americans can understand what it means to elect a president and the power they have. megyn: if you were advising republicans, would you tell them to do what senator obama did? he voted against two men whose qualifications were not in dispute. his turnabout fair play? or will that cost too many hispanic votes? >> it will have a big impact on latinos simply by the fact that if she is confirmed -- get any republicans vote against her, this administration will pointed out. -- klang it out. the best thing -- point it out.
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the best thing for republicans to do is to make their points respectfully and in a dignified way. supreme court opinion -- appointments are around long after the president's depart the scene. president obama supported a filibuster against the justice alito, so he understands the consequences. i hope the the republican senators take this in a dignified and respectable way. megyn: thank you, karl rove. bret: charles schumer has been an usher to read this process, saying that judge sonia sotomayor wowed people on both sides of the aisle. along with your stan gillibrand -- along with senator
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gillibrand -- senator cheers and gillibrand, he will assure her in. -- usher her in. thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. bret: [captioning made possible by fox news channel] -- bret: your response to the accusation that she is far from the mainstream? >> one wonders who is out of the mainstream in that statement. judge sonia sotomayor, according to all commentators, while clearly within the law she has voted 95% of the time in accordance with republicans on the panel at the court of appeals. 80% of all discrimination cases she rejected. 80% of all asylum cases. she clearly has a powerful and moving story. obviously everyone is guided by their story. but she puts the room of labelle
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wall. i have never seen a nominee who has done a better job at that. asked conservatives, if you want a judge that puts will lovelock first, you cannot be outcome determinant and say they should only put rule of law first when i agree with will of law. bret: should her ideology factor in? >> when you look at somebody's judicial philosophy, and each one has a different one -- bret: what about her ideology? >> the first thing that you have to look at is what they do with their ideological feelings. do they let them govern the case is that they decide? or do they follow the law? judge sonia sotomayor has the most extensive judicial background of any judge nominated in 100 years. they cannot point to a single case where she did not follow
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the rule of law. bret: there will be a lot of focus on the speeches and writings. specifically the " about a wise latina having better judgment than a white male. do you think that she will apologize for that comment? >> absolutely not. the justice alito offer an apology when he said he was guided by his italian-american immigrant experiences? of course not. again, the best way to judge how well a judge will do in a court is if they pass decision making on the bench. better than statements made 15 years ago, better than hints or inclinations, better than what they say of the hearings. judge sonia sotomayor has followed the law -- the head?
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bret: there is a little delay here. sorry. chief justice john roberts, he obviously talked about a judge should look at balls and strikes, be a fair umpire. we have prepared remarks that you are going to get in support of judge sotomayor, where you reference the balls and strikes comments. do you think that he has called balls and strikes as chief justice? >> there is some dispute about that. as justice stevens said, in node two years had won judge change things more than justice roberts. certainly, if you compare the record of judge sotomayor on the second circuit and it just as roberts on the supreme court, which admittedly has more flexibility, she was a balls and strikes caller more than any
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other justice i've seen. bret: senator, thank you so much. >> thank you. megyn: we are waiting for the entrance of judge sotomayor into the senate building. what a day for judge sonia sotomayor. whether you support her or not, you cannot escape the historical impact of today's hearing. a girl from the housing projects whose parents emigrated years ago, facing potential confirmation as the nation's 111th supreme court justice. will she be able to handle the pressure? will her famous temper flare up? could her affiliation with a left-wing puerto rican civil- rights group pose a roadblock to be assured confirmation? our panel weighs in. living with copd... but i try not to let it slow me down.
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bret: you are looking live at room 216 of the senate office confirmation hearing room. moments from now we are expecting the arrival of judge sonia sotomayor, the first day of hearings in the senate confirmation process for the supreme court. as soon as she arrives, we will have it for you live. her family guests, including the former fbi director, a supporter and mentor when she got to the district court of new york, we will be pointing out people as we noticed them. megyn: bill salmon it is our guest now, good morning to you. one of the issues sure to come up, as we have heard jeff sessions say, the puerto reicain
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group known as latino justice, basically the hispanic naacp. it is a left-wing group that fights for civil rights types issues. down the board they have pursued left-wing causes, anti-death penalty, pro-abortion rights, pro-affirmative action quotas. all this happened while she was on the board. how much of an impact will that have? >> less of an impact than the other big issues, like her wise latina comment and the fact that judges can make laws from the bench. i think that those will be much more important. certainly something that will get some questioning, but as it has been stated many times, it is a foregone conclusion that she will be approved.
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will republicans use this as an opportunity to get their issues out there and rally the base? you can roll over when you realize that there is enough votes to get approved, or you can put up the good fight to make your point. will the republicans show backbone in questioning her? megyn: how do you get to that? we have been talking about this wise latina comment, judges not making policy from the bench, which she said sarcastically, i am sure that she has got these answers ready. if you are a republican senators sitting there, how do you get anything worth while on her at this point? that is why -- >> that is why so many of these things are going to be the senators using this opportunity to speechify rather than striking testimony from the
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judge. they are going to make their basic philosophical argument -- we do not agree with judges that make law from the bench, we do not agree with the end of the argument, that a race could make a better legal decision based on the color of their skin. the onus is going to be on the senators to articulate this argument rather than relying on the judge to hang herself with self incriminating statements, which i do not think she will do anything of the sort. she will be safe to the point of land. megyn: talk to us about the theater. the entire thing will not be bland. what is al franken going to ask? he has been in the senate for less than two weeks. almost the entire committee is made up of lawyers. what kinds of theatrics should we look for from the democrats?
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>> conservatives are looking at the prospect of al franken freshening a supreme court nominee as a very unfortunate spectacle -- questioning a supreme court nominee as a very unfortunate spectacle. but i bet that he plays it straight. he will come off as a statesman, not a comedian. you are right, it will be how these guys cream in front of the cameras. we will not be able to rely on her to say anything controversial. charles schumer will do his routine, like the other folks, and it will be a contest to see who is going to get the end of the day sound bite. megyn: this is chairman lehay's first time chairing the committee. this is time no. 1 for the vermont democrat.
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we will be watching. bret: senator specter will be at the end of the dias. megyn: he was almost last in power, then enter al franken. bret: amazing. with us now, our panel. i want to go back to what charles schumer said on our air, about ideology. he held hearings in 2001 about why ideology should factor into these hearings. this was before the judge roberts and judge alito started. here is the oath. "by solemnly swear that i will do equal right to the fore and the rich, faithfully discharging the duties -- poor and the rich
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, faithfully discharge the duties upon me." critics? >> if you would like to make that the case, what republicans would like to do is say that this is about her position that she said a wise latina is going to make a better decision, making the case that president obama selected her because she is a latina. there has been some criticism as a result. they are saying that there are better candidates. bret: senator orrin hatch, chuck grassley, arriving, as we look live. >> i think that the come back to that by judge sonia sotomayor is the record. maybe she said some things at speeches that she should not
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have said, many of them are not happy with the president setting empathy as the standard, but the fact is that 92% of the time she voted with the majority in her decisions. 82% of the time she voted against immigrants seeking asylum. this is the word that you are going to hear to your teeth hurts, mainstream. that she is in the judicial mainstream. one other thing, if i may, quickly, they are going to talk about this and lot and we have not, biography. the fact is that this is a woman that came from -- bret: sorry to interrupt. this is the walk-in. here you see judge sonia sotomayor and patrick leahy, as well as senator sessions. well as senator sessions.
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we were hoping to catch some conversation, you can hear the cameras clicking in the confirmation room as the ranking republican, jeff sessions and patrick leahy, walking in. you can see the smile as she is seated. obviously, her supporters are right behind her. orrin hatch, utah, coming right over.
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she has had a lot of interaction with most of these folks. >> some of the members were skeptical, saying that they did not want to meet with her, not wanting to waste her time. i was again going to say, one of the keys is going to be biography, the american dream. a girl born in the public housing projects of the bronx, who did great in high school, went to princeton, graduated summa cum laude from yale law school, a great story that you will hear over again. megyn: there has been so much criticism of that story. we only hear that when there is a liberal nominee, as opposed to a conservative candidate. >> that is right. the president said it again and again, he wants someone who has lived a real life, who can
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identify with people coming before them. we have got that in sonia sotomayor. coming back to something that chris said, i was struck by charles schumer saying that the supreme court has more flexibility. in comparing the records of judge sonia sotomayor to justice roberts or samuel alito, conservatives will argue that her off the bench comments matter so much is because she was free to say what she wanted to say. megyn: but like chairman leahy is about to get us going -- looks like chairman leahy is about to get us going. >> what we are going to do, we will have opening statements from members. as we all know, the confirmation
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hearing of judge sonia sotomayor, for justice of supreme court, welcome to the senate judiciary committee, you have been before us before when you were nominated by george h. w. bush for district judge, and when president clinton nominated u.s. court of appeals judge. before we begin the opening statements of the senators i do none know if there are microphones on are not, will you introduce the members of your family? >> everyone who is family? we would be here all morning. >> sunday this will be in the archives as transcript, introduced whomever you would like, then we will hold the
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transcript open for you to add all the names you would want. [laughter] >> thank you, mr. chairman. i will limit myself to my immediate family. sitting behind me is my brother myjuan sotomayor -- my brother, juan sotomayor. next to him, my mother, selina sotomayor. my niece, her mother and my sister-in law, and then there is corey and conner. the remainder of that rowe is filled with our children and dear friends. this is my immediate family. [captioning made possible by fox news channel] captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> thank you very much. i remember reading about the marshals been surprised had your
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district court judge swearing in, they had never seen such a large crowd of friends and supporters. what we are going to do, each will give a 10 minute opening statement, and i would hope that all senators would be able to be here today. if not, we will have a opening statement that will come out of question * tomorrow. senator schumer would get a shorter statement, as he is serving his time with later introductions. i would note that for the record, we are considering the nomination of judge sotomayor, the constitution being interesting in this regard, only 101 people get a chance to say who is going to be on the
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supreme court. first and foremost, president obama, who made the nomination. 100 senators must stand in the place of freedom and 20 million americans. the president has done his part. now, the senate has to do its part. how to pay off the american people. president obama often quotes the ark of the moral universe being long, but bending towards justice. we have improved upon the foundation of the bill of rights, civil war amendments, 19th amendment expansion of the right to vote to women, the civil rights act of 1964, the voting rights act, and the 26
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amendments of the right to vote to young people. these actions drive us towards a more perfect union, another step along the path. the judge's path is an extraordinary story. she was raised by her mother, selena, in the south bronx. like her mother, she worked hard. she graduated the valedictorian of her grass -- class in new york. she was a member of the third class at princeton where women were included. she continued to read the material that was unavailable when she was younger, ranging tutoring to improve for writing. she graduated summa cum laude,
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awarded the prize for excellence in service at the university. an honor given for outstanding merit. after of standing -- after excelling at princeton, she was an outstanding member of the yale law school community. she had many options, but she chose to serve her community in the new york district attorney's office. i might say, everyone of us who has had the privilege of being a prosecutor knows how hard that job is. there she prosecuted murders, robberies, assaults, child pornography. first president bush named her to the bench in 1992, she served as a trial judge for six years. president clinton named her to the second circuit, where she served for 10 years. she was confirmed each time
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bipartisan majority in the senate. her qualifications are outstanding. she has had more federal court judicial experience than any nominee in the supreme court in 100 years. she is the first nominee in well over one century to be nominated to three different federal judgeships by three different presidents. she is the first nominee in 50 years to be nominated to the supreme court after serving as a federal trial judge. she will be the only current supreme court justice to have served as a trial judge. she is a prosecutor and a lawyer in private practice. she brings a wealth and diversity of experience to the court. i hope that all americans are encouraged by her achievements, and by her nomination to the nation's highest court. hers is a success story in
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which all americans can take pride. those who break barriers often face the added burden of overcoming prejudice. thurgood marshall graduated first in his law school class, lead counsel for the naacp, sitting on the united states court of appeals for the second circuit, serving as the solicitor general for the united states, winning a remarkable 29 out of 32 cases. despite all of these qualifications and achievements, when before the senate confirmation, they asked questions designed to embarrass him, such as if he is prejudiced of the white people of the south. -i hope that that is a time of the past, and that those questions are behind us. there were questions in the past, including questions of the
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jewish mind and how its operation is complicated. likewise, the first catholic nominee had to overcome the argument that as a catholic he would be dominated by the pope. we are in a different era. i would trust that all members of this committee would reject the efforts of partisans and outside pressure to seek to create caricatures of the judge, limiting her record of achievement or intelligence, in no way demeaning this extraordinary woman, her success, or the constitutional duties she has faithfully performed. i would hope that the wit -- we would all join together as we did when we nominated sandra day o'connor. this hearing is an opportunity
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for america to succeed in hearing the judge for herself, considering her qualifications, the most transparent confirmation hearing ever held. her decisions in confirmation materials will be posted online, made publicly available. the record is significantly more complete considering previous nominations of john roberts just a few years ago. the testimony will be carried live on several television stations, as well as webcast, something that i have set up for the judiciary committee website. my review of her records show that she is a judge with a deep respect for judicial precedent, including the lawmaking will of the congress. that conclusion is supported by
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a number of independent studies, shining through and making comprehensive review of her record. she has a deep understanding of the real lives of americans and the duty of law enforcement to keep americans say, as well as the responsibility of all of us to respect the freedoms that define america. unfortunately, some have tried to twist her record into political attacks. ideological groups began attacking her even before the president made his selection. they then stepped up the attack by threatening senators that do not oppose her. that is not the american way, it should not be the way of the senate. in truth, we do not have to speculate on the type of justice that she will be, because we have seen the kind of judge she has been. a judge in which all americans
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can be confident. a judge for all americans, a justice for all americans. ranking republican senators on this committee reflect on this process recently as saying that what they found were the charges compliance from the right and left are unsupported and false. it can be very difficult for a nominee to push back. we have a responsibility to face criticisms with a fair and honest statement of the facts, the nomination should not be distorted. i agree with senator sessions. as we proceed, let no one distort her record. it would be unfair to the american people. we are a country bound together by our magnificent constitution. the guarantees and promises that our country can be a country
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based along rule of law. judge sonia sotomayor understands this. it is not want law for one color or another, one race or another, rich or poor, there is only one law. i remember so well, you said that ultimately and completely the judge must follow the law no matter the upbringing. that is the fair and impartial judgment of the american people expect. that is the kind of judge that judge sotomayor has been. judge sotomayor has been nominated to replace justice souter. he served the nation with distinction for nearly two decades on the supreme court,
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with a commitment to justice and admiration of a lotth4ee law. in the weeks passed, we have heard senators from both sides of the aisle make reference to the raving over the entrance of the supreme court. i look at that every time i go up there. carved in vermont marble, it says equal justice under the law. her nomination gives faith to those words. mr. sessions? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i believe that you have set up rules conducting this hearing that allow us to do our work together. i have enjoyed working together on this process.
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i hope that this will be viewed as the best hearing the this committee has ever had. why not? i join the chairman in welcoming you here today. this marks an important milestone in your life. i know that your family is proud, and rightly so. i expect that this hearing and resulting debate will be characterized by a respectful totane, serious issues, and possibly some disagreements. but we have worked hard to set the positive tone from the beginning. i have worked hard as a federal prosecutor i care deeply about our great heritage of law. they are the foundation of our liberty and prosperity. this nomination is critical. first, justices on the supreme court have a great
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responsibility, enormous power, and a lifetime appointment. only five members can declare the meaning, bending and changing it. our legal system is set a dangerous crossroads. down one path is a traditional american system, so admired around the world, where judges impartially apply the law without regards to personal views. this is the compassionate system, because it is the fare system. courts do not make law or set policy in the american legal system. allowing and elected officials -- unelected officials to set law goes against policy.
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sully swearing to faithfully impart and discharge the duties incumbent under the constitution and laws of the united states. we have a moral authority under the system, which is why americans accept the ruling of the court even when they disagree. our legal system is based on the firm belief of an ordered universe. the trial is the process by which the impartial and wise judge guides us the truth. down the other path, a brave new world where words have no true meaning in judges are allowed to decide the facts the juice to see. in this world a judge pushes their own political or social agenda. america rejects that view. we have seen federal judges force their political and social
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agenda on the nation, dictating words like underdog being removed from the pledge of allegiance, barring students from even silent prayer in schools. the judges have dismissed the people's right to property, saying that the government can take a person's home for the purpose of developing private shopping centers. judges have, currengiven foreigs a sighting, world opinion, and united nations resolutions to determine the state death penalty laws are unconstitutional i am afraid that our system will only be further corrupted as a result of the views that in tough cases, the critical ingredient for a judge is the depth and breadth of one's empathy.
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as well as his words, the broader vision of what america should be. i have watched this process for a number of years, and i fear that this empathy standard is another step down the were road to a liberal, activist, relativistic world where laws lose a fixed meaning. american scene as members of separate groups, rather than simply americans, where the constitutional limits of government power are ignored. we have reached a fork in the road, i think. there are stark differences. i want to be clear. i will not vote for, no senator should vote for, and individual nominated by any president who is not fully committed to fairness and impartiality for every person that appears before
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them. i will not vote for and no senator should vote for an individual nominated by president who believes it is acceptable for a judge to allow personal background, gender, prejudice, or sympathies to swear that the gene sway their decision in favor of parties for or against the court. such an approach to judging means that the umpire is not neutral, favoring one team over another. collet empathy, prejudiced, sympathy, what ever it is, it is not a lot. it is more akin to politics, which have no place in the courtroom. some will respond that it is never acceptable to display prejudiced in a case. i regret to say, some of your
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statements seem to outline that clearly. let's look at a few examples. we have seen the video of the duke university panel where judge sotomayor says that if the court of appeals makes policy, "i know that this is on tape and i should never say or think that." during a speech 15 years ago, judge sotomayor said "i willingly accept but do not deny the difference resulting in the experience, attempting to continue as the judge when this and at the end prejudices' are appropriate." "my experiences with the fact the fax i choose to see -- my experiences will of fact of the facts i choose to see."
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when asked about judge sotomayor's now famous statement, that a wise latina would come to a better conclusion and others, president obama and the white house press secretary, as well as justice ginsburg, declined to defend the substance, each saying that the nominee missed both. i do not think that she did. she is on record as making this statement at least five times in the course of the decade. i am providing a copy of the full text of those speeches for the record. others will say that despite these statements, we should look to a nominee's record. people said the same of justice ginsburg, who is now considered to be one of the most activist members of the supreme court in history. some seveners ignore her philosophy and focus on the
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nominee's judicial opinion. that is not a good test, because those net -- cases were necessarily restrained by president, and the threat of reversal for higher courts. on the supreme court, checks on judicial power will be removed. the judge's philosophy will be allowed to reach full bloom. as a lower court judge, our nominee has made troubled rulings that i am concerned about. i am concerned about the new haven firefighters case, where she agreed with the decision of the city to change the rules of promotion in the middle of the game. her decision consisted of just one substantive paragraph. she has now said that she except that her opinions, sympathies, and prejudices' willett said her rulings, could it be that her time as a leader in the puerto rican legal defense fund has
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provided a clue in her decision against the firefighters, while the nominee in the chair of that committee, aggressively pursuing racial quotas in city hiring, numerous the fighting to overturn the results of promotion exams. it seems to me that the judge and her empathy for one group of firefighters turned out to be prejudiced against another. that is, of course, the logical flaw in the empathy standard. empathy for one party is always prejudiced against another. judge sotomayor, we will inquire into how your philosophy, which allows of to activity in the courtroom, affect your decision making -- which allows objectivity in the courtroom, affect your decision making. you argue that the constitution requires taxpayer money to fund abortion. in gun-control, you argued that
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the second amendment does not prevent a city or state from barring gun ownership. private property, you recently ruled that a government can take property from one developer and give it to another. capital punishment, where you oppose the reinstatement of the death penalty in new york because of the human psychological burden that places on the offender. i hope that the american people will follow these hearings closely, that they should learn about the issues and listen to both sides of the argument. at the end of the hearing, if i must one day go to court, what kind of judges do i wish to hear? do i want a judge that allows his or her social and political religious views to change the outcome? or do i want a judge that harsel applies the law to the facts ruled on merits without prejudice? it is our job to determine which
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side of that divide the nominee's stance on. thank you. >> thank you. another housekeeping things, we will try to keep these opening statements to 10 minutes -- and other housekeeping thing, we will try to keep these opening statements to 10 minutes. senators will speak based on seniority. they will be recognized i on each side as we go. >> thank you, mr. chairman. judge sotomayor, let me extend my welcome to you and your family. you are to be congratulated for your nomination. it is a reflection of who we are as a country, representing the american success story that we can be proud of. your academic and professional accomplishments as a prosecutor, a private practitioner, trial judge an
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appellate judge, are exemplary. as a judge to have brought a richness of experience to a branch of the judiciary that has been an inspiration for so many. today we begin a process in which the senate engages in its constitutional role to advise and consent your nomination. this week's hearing is the only opportunity that we and the american people will have to learn about your judicial philosophy, temperament, and motivations. the president has asked us to and trust you with an immense amount of power. by design, free from political constraints, and checked by the people, and accountable to congress except -- un-checked by the people, on aunaccountable
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to congress except in extreme circumstances. in so determining the meaning of the constitution, the court has determined are most meaningful rights. the right to an attorney and a fair trial for the attorney -- for the accused. the right to personal privacy. the right to speak and worship without interference from the government. should you be confirmed your decisions will shape the fabric of american society years to come. over the next few days, it is important that we gain an understanding of what is in your heart and your mind. we do not have a right to know how you will rule on cases that come before you, but we need and deserve to know if you think about fundamental issues like civil rights, privacy, property rights, just to name a few.
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some believe that the confirmation process has become thoroughly scripted and that nominees are far too careful in cloaking their answers with generalities and caveats about future cases. i recognize this concern. i hope that you recognize our need to have a frank discussion about these important issues. these are not just concept in law books. these are issues that americans care about. we navigate the balance between individual rights and the duty of law enforcement to protect and maintain order. families struggling to make ends meet in these difficult times, questioning permissible rules for government, getting the economy back on track. as we continue to strive for equal rights in schools and workplaces, we debate the tension between hiring practices that acknowledges diversity in
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the attempt to be color blind. in these issues and by the americans to struggle within the limits of democracy and the great questions of our constitution. discussed with candor, i believe that we will have a conversation that the american people will profit from. when considering supreme court nominees over the years, i have judged each with a test of judicial excellence. competence, character, and temperament expected from a supreme court justice. he or she must have a supreme understanding of the lot and an ability to explain it in ways that the american people and litigants will understand and expect, even if they disagree with the outcome. second, i look for a nominee to have a sense of values that form the core of our political and economic system. no one, including the president, has the right to require ideological purity. we have a right to require that
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the basic principles of the constitution are accepted and implanted in society. we want a nominee with a sense of compassion. a quality i have considered in the last six justices. men to remind us that the law is more than an intellectual game and mental exercise. as justice black said, courts stand against any winds that blow as a haven of refuge against those who are helpless, week, outnumbered, or nonconforming victims of prejudice and public excitement. a supreme court justice must be able to recognize the real people with real problems are affected by the decisions rendered by the court. they must have a connection with an understanding of the problems that people struggle with on a daily basis.
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justice may be blind, but it should not be death. as justice thomas told us at his confirmation hearing, it is important that a justice is able to walk in the shoes of the people affected by what the court does. i believe that this embodies what the president intended when he said he wanted a nominee with an understanding of how the world works and how ordinary people lived. critics are concerned that your background will inappropriately impact your decision making. it is impossible for any of us to remove ourselves from our life story, with all the twists and turns that make us who we are. as you have knowledge, your experience influences your answers. i hope that we can appreciate what he said next, "i am cognizant enough that-not the only experience." you have an opportunity before this committee to ensure us that
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your life experiences will impact but not overwhelm your duty to follow the law and constitution. after your confirmation in 1998, you said that so long as people of goodwill are participating in the process, attempting to be balanced in the approach, the system will remain healthy. i hope that our process will remain healthy and balanced, and i look forward to the opportunity to learn more about you and the kind of justice that you aspired to be. thank you. >> thank you, senator kohl. senator hatch, former chairman of this committee. >> thank you. judge, welcome to you and your family. good to have you all here. this is the 12th hearing i ever participated in. i am as struck today as i was the first time on the seriousness of our
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responsibility. i am confident that under the leadership from you, mr. chairman, and the the -- ranking member, that this hearing will be substantive. judge sotomayor comes to us for the third time, having served for the first two levels of the judiciary, coming to us for the third. she has a compelling life story, her nomination speech to the opportunities that america provides for men and women of different backgrounds and heritage. the liberty that we enjoy in america makes these opportunities possible, requiring our best efforts to protect that liberty. it rests on the foundation of a written constitution that separates and limit government power, a government governed by the people and the rule of law. the kind of judge that our liberty requires, defining the role that a judge might play in our system of government.
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i described the judicial process elsewhere, asking unanimous consent for my own published works be placed in the record, if i can. >> without objection. >> my approach includes three elements. first, qualifications including not only legal experience, as well as judicial philosophy. second, an understanding of the proper role of justice in the system of government. third, a standard that must be applied throughout the entire record. i have found guidance from an unusual source. barack obama explains his opposition to the appeals court nomination of janice rogers
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brown, an african-american woman with a clearly compelling life story that then served as a justice on the california supreme court. he made three arguments that i find relevant today. first, he argued that the test of a qualified judicial nominee is whether she can set aside her personal views and, as he put it, decide each case on the facts and merits alone. that is what founders intended. judicial decisions need to be based on evidence, fax, president, and law. second, president obama, clues on the overreaching judicial philosophy, and even more reason to do so today. judge sotomayor, if confirmed, will help to change the
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precedents that binds her as a circuit court of appeals judge. in other words, the judicial opinion to which she has been nominated is different from that that she occupies. this makes evidence outside of the opinion, regarding it as more, not less important. we show respect to her by taking her entire record seriously. third, senator obama said that while the nomination of gender is -- that while the nomination is important, gender and race cannot distract from the kind of judge that they should be. opportunity affords liberty to americans of different backgrounds. we should applaud the judge's different services, and the
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senator called it offensive and cynical to suggest that the nominee's race or gender could give her a pass for substantive views. twice filibustering and nomination, going against the nomination, i share the hope that we have arrived at a point in history of the country where individuals can be examined and criticized for their views, no matter race or gender. if those standards were appropriate when senator obama oppose republican nominees, they should be appropriate now. today president obama says that personal empathy is essential ingredient. today we are urged to ignore judge sotomayor's speeches altogether and focus on her judicial decisions, which are extensive. i do not believe that we should do just that. an undercurrent of standards has
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been applied to past nominees. democratic senators offer proof of the nomination, being a great second circuit colleagues 95% of the time. joined by then senator obama, many of those same democratic senators voted against judge samuel alito, even though he had voted with his democratically appointed senate colleagues 99% of the time during a much longer appeals court career. although the judge received the highest rating, senator obama and joined 24 other democrats in voting to filibuster the nomination. many democrats voted against the nomination of justice alito. senator obama never voted to confirm a supreme court justice. even voted against john roberts,
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a highly distinguished and well qualified nominees. compelling life story, a professional and academic excellence, and a top rating makes a convincing case, miguel estrada would be a supreme court judge today. he was fiercely opposed by democratic senators, ones that say that these factors should count in judge sotomayor's favor. whether i vote for or against her, it will be by applying the principles i have laid out, not by using tactics and standards used by these nominees in the past. judicial appointments have become increasingly contentious. some of the things that have been said about judge sotomayor had been intemperance and unfair.
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there are newspaper reports that left-wing groups supporting her, specifically the extreme left-wing way, is in gauged in a smear campaign against the plaintiff -- engaged in a smear campaign against the plaintiff in one of her past cases. if that is true, it is beneath the contempt and dignity that this process demands. there must be a vigorous debate about the kind of judge that america needs. nothing less than our liberty is at stake. judges setting aside or considering personal feelings in deciding cases, impartiality of duty, the fact that judicial decisions affect so many people's lives require judges to be objective and impartial, does this allow them to be subjective and sympathetic? the judges nomination races these and other important issues. i look forward to a respectful and energetic debate.
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the confirmation process in general, this hearing in particular, must be dignified and thorough. there are very different and strongly held views that we will explore, particularly the role the judges should play in our system of government. the test before us is to determine whether judge sonia sotomayor is qualified by the experienced and especially by judicial philosophy to sit on the supreme court of the united states of america. doing so requires examining her entire record, speeches and articles, as well as her judicial decisions. at the same time we must be thankful for the opportunity represented by her nomination fo. we must focus squarely whether she will be the kind of judge that will make opportunity possible. judge, i am proud of you and i wish you well. this will be an interesting experience.
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i expect you to be treated with dignity and respect. thank you. >> senator feinstein. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. good morning, judge sotomayor. i want to congratulate you on your nomination. i want to start out with a couple personal words. your nomination, i view it with a great sense of personal pride. you are indeed a very special woman. you have overcome adversity and disadvantage, grow in strength and determination, and you have achieved respect and admiration for what has been a brilliant legal and judicial career. if confirmed, and you will join the supreme court with more federal judicial experience than any justice in the past 100 years. you bring with you 29 and a half years of very legal experience
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to a court. by this standard, you are well qualified. in your 11 years as a federal appellate court judge, you have participated in 3000 appeals, offering roughly 400 published opinions. in your six years on the district court, you were the trial judge in approximately 450 cases. for 4.5 years to prosecute crimes as an assistant district attorney in new york city, spending eight years litigating business cases at a new york law firm. what is unique about this experience is that you have seen a lot from all sides. on the district court you have seen the actual impact of the law as people entered into a criminal and civil cases. you considered, wrote, and joined thousands of opinions clarifying the law in your time
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on the appellate court. your 11 years there were a rigorous training ground for the supreme court. it is a very unique position for a judge to have both levels of federal court experience. you will be only one on the current supreme court with this background. a prosecutor that has tried a murder, robbery, and child pornography cases, you know first hand the impact of crime on a major metropolis. you have administered justice in a close and personal forum. you present a wealth of knowledge in the complicated arena of business law, with contract disputes, patent and copyright issues, anti-trust, and as an associate and partner at a private law firm, you have
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tried complex civil cases in the areas of banking, contract, and intellectual property laws. you bring a deep and broad experience of a lot to the supreme court. in my nearly 17 years on this committee, i have held fewer qualities -- i have become aware of a few were qualities -- fewer qualities that you do not possess. a commitment to follow the law, you have that. next, a judicial temperament and integrity. you have both of those. finally, mainstream legal reasoning. there is everything in your record to indicate -- >> shoutin[unintelligible shout]
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>> please remove that man! let me make this clear, there will be no outbursts either for or against the nominee. either for or against any position that senator sessions, or i, or any other senator will have. this is a hearing of the united states senate. we will have order. we will have a quorum. in fairness to judge sotomayor, this hearing will be conducted quarterin an orderly manner. i will direct the police to detain anyone who is conducting an outburst for or against the committee. >> thank you for your firm words. i support you 100%.
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>> thank you. on the record, we will show my comments outside of senator feinstein's comment. >> thank you, mr. chairman. bottom line, i believe that your record indicates that you possess all of these qualities. i have found it increasingly difficult to know, from answers to questions that we asked, how a nominee will actually act as a supreme court justice. answers here are often indirect, increasingly couched in euphemisms. for example, nominees have often responded to specific questions with phrases like "i have an open mind." or "that is president." or "i have no quarrel with that." of course, these phrases of the state and prevent a clear understanding of where and how
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many actually stands. for example, several past nominees have been asked about the casey decision, will the government cannot restrict access to abortions that are medically -- where the government cannot restrict access to abortions that are medically necessary for the health of a woman. precedents of the court, entitled to great respect, some hearings through questioning by senator specter, this line of cases was a knowledge to have created a super-precedent. once on the court, the same nominees voted to overturn the key holding in casey, that laws restricting women's medical care must contain a protection for her health. it did not report with the answers given here, disregarding the precedents established in rowe, ashcroft, casey,
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thornburgh, car heart. super president went out the window. women lost -- super precedent went out the window. women lost it right they had enjoyed for years. supreme court justices are much more than umpires calling balls and strikes. activist is often used only to describe the opinion of one side. as a matter of fact, in just two years, these same nominees have disregarded and overturned presidents in eight other cases -- precidents i and eight other cases, based on second amendment gun-control laws, as well as a case that increase the burden of proof on older workers to prove age discrimination.
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there was a case overturning a 1911 decision to allow manufacturers to set minimum prices for their products. overruling two cases from the 1960's on time limits for filing criminal appeals. a case for reversing precedent on the right to counsel. a case overturning prior ruling on regulation issue backed relating to political campaigns. a case regarding prior lot in creating a new standard that limits when -- prior law creating a new standard that limits cases in discrimination against workers. i do not believe that supreme court justices armare merely umpires, i believe that they make the decisions for individuals, bringing to the
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court their own experiences and philosophies. judge sotomayor, i believe that you are a warm and intelligent woman. you are well studied and experienced in the law, with 17 years of federal court experience involving 3000 appeals, 450 trial cases. i believe that you will also bring your experience and philosophy to this highest court. i believe that that will only do one thing, strengthen this high institution of our great country. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. senator grassley? bret: the lines are being g drawn. we have 14 more senators to go through. you can see where they are being drawn. senator sessions called it at
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the beach, but not the law. we will have more of the confirmation hearings on judge sonia sotomayor right after the break. . limb: dude that was sick! . i've been ha here i am smacking the pretty off that windshield of yours. oh, what you're looking for an apology? well, toss another coin in the wishing well, pal. it's not happenin'. limb: hey, what's up, donnie? how you been?
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a megyn: we are back with our special coverage of judge sonia sotomayor hearings.
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we had a bit of drama shortly before the break is a protester made himself clear during the hearings. according to our producers inside the room, it was, "what about abortion, senator?" we were told that he was wearing a suit and tie. senator patrick leahy said that anyone calling out for or against sonia sotomayor would not be tolerated. while we have a minute, we're going to check in with our panel on what if anything and we have seen emerging so far. chris wallace? >> jeff sessions, the ranking republican gave a very tough speech. i think he made the strongest argument yet against sonia sotomayor. collet empathy, prejudice,
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sympathy, whenever it is, it is not law, it is closer to politics. i'm wondering if president obama in setting the standard of empathy in the beginning before yet even appointed sonia sotomayor, saying that is the kind of person -- in the campaign, he said that he wanted someone who is sensitive to the real-world impact and had empathy. it may have created a bit of a problem for him. it does raise the question about it, do you let feelings role when you make a decision on the court or do you apply the law? megyn: your dianne feinstein talking about how she does not believe a justice should be an umpire calling balls and strikes. she sided with president obama, saying empathy is the way to go. >> saying it is important that she is not just hispanic, but a woman. she felt it was appropriate to exercise a different standard.
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i think what jeff sessions said its plan to be remembered here because he said very clearly that if i come before the accord as a white male, he expects that judge to treat him with any american citizen, and it introduced what he was talking about in terms of racial and group politics. if you go to a standard, that standard becomes relativistic. that is what liberals want in the country. it introduces different standards for different groups of people. that is the conservative argument. bret: one of the cases was miguel estrada nominated by george w. bush in 2001. senate democrats blocked that nomination with a filibuster. it was not a supreme court nominee. it was u.s. court of appeals. he is bringing up the case that this is a little hypocritical for some democrats to be talking like this >>.
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>> he also brought of janice rogers brown. it should elisse be put to the same standards that president obama applied to people like that. he was trying to lay out a framework for the coming discussion and the coming questioning. this is what the president himself told us was important. bret: also struck by the face of sonia sotomayor. he wondered if she had to practice not having any reaction for hours on end. we are going to dip into senator chuck grassley. he is in the middle of his opening statement, the senator from >> judges and justices must wear blindfolds when the interpreter when they interpret the constitution can't administer justice. i will be asking you about your ability to wear that judicial blindfold. i will be asking you about your
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ability to decide cases in an impartial manner and in accordance with law and the constitution. i will be asking you about your judicial philosophy, whether you allow personal biases to allow you -- to dictate your decisions. finally, the supreme court should not be made up of men and women who are on the side of one special group or issue. rather, the supreme court should be made up of men and women who are on the side of the law and the constitution. i am looking to support a restrained jurists committed to the rule of law and the constitution. i'm not looking to support a creative jurist who will allow his or her background and personal preferences to decide cases. the senate needs to do its job and conduct a comprehensive and careful review of your record in qualifications. you are nominated to a lifetime position on the highest court.
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the senate has a tremendous responsibility to confirm an individual who has superior intellectual abilities, solid legal expertise, and an even judicial demeanor and temperament. we have a tremendous responsibility to confirm an individual who truly understands the proper role of a justice. i will be asking questions about your judicial qualifications. however, like all of my colleagues, i am committed to giving you a fair and respectful hearing, as is appropriate for supreme court nominees. i congratulate you once again. >> thank you, senator grassley. centre fine goldeingold. i greatly admire your accomplishments and long record of public service. let me also think you in advance for the long week you were about to spend in this room. the supreme court plays a unique in central role in the lif

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