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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  July 7, 2009 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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over the next several weeks we expect to have many of these bills debated and hopefully passed by the senate so that we can begin final conference on these critically important measures. the bill before the senate was prepared by our homeland security subcommittee chaired by senator robert byrd. senator reid and his ranking member, senator voinovich, and all of the subcommittee members, crafted this bill which provides $42.7 billion in discretionary spending for the critical programs to defend our nation, protect our borders and respond to natural disasters. the amount represents a 7% increase over the funding provided in fiscal year 2009 but is approximately $150 million less than that requested.
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an additional $241 million is also included in the bill for the ove overseas contingency ofe coasts guard. our colleagues should thank senator byrd and senator voinovich for completing the hard work on this bill. this bill was marked up by the committee three weeks ago and approved by a unanimous bipartisan vote. as the senate reviews this and other spending bills which will soon follow, i urge it to be mindful of the importance of this task. it is imperative to the efficient operation of our federal government that we move to pass this measure and complete a conference with the house. for too long we have relied on
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cumbersome omnibus spending measures to fund our federal agencies. in order to break this habit, the appropriations committee will continue to work noncontroversial bipartisan bills which will be within a congressionally approved budget levels and should be considered expeditiously by the senate. passage of this measure quickly will demonstrate the senate's ability to act responsibly in fulfilling the constitutional responsibilities. the bill before us deserves the support of every member of this body. it is a clean bill, free of unnecessary legislative riders. it is within the committee spending allocation. and $150 million below the amount requested. madam president, i strongly recommend its approval. i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: madam president, i have an amendment at the desk, number 1371 and would ask for its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from alabama, mr. sessions, proposes an amendment numbered 1371 to amendment 1373. mr. sessions: i ask unanimous consent further reading be dispensed. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. sessions: madam president, this is an amendment to make permanent the e-verify system that is supported by secretary of homeland security, secretary napolitano and would require that the governmental, all governmental contractors who do work for the federal government use it before they hire people to ensure that the individuals they hire are americans at a
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time when our unemployment is 9.5%, this is more important than ever. i thank the chair. i yield the floor. mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i have 12 unanimous consent requests for committees to meet with the approval the majority and minority minority leaders and i ask unanimous consent the requests be agreed to and printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. slab slaminnesota. ms. klobuchar: madam president, it is my honor today along with former vice president mondale to escortal al franken as the new senator from our state. al told me the third year of his campaign would be the best. and he was right. i did want to thank my staff, first of all, some of them and many of them are here, for the
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hard work they did in the past six months double double duty. they never complained and did it without extra resources and are as happy as can be this is revolved and something about norm coleman. last week he made a difficult decision. he had a right to pursue a legal challenge but he did what was right for minnesota. norm was my senate colleague for two years. we often worked together for should for minnesota and we wish him and his family the best. despite just a little delay, to be exact, 246 days since the election day and 183 days since the senate convened, why would i know that, al franken now joins me in representing the state of minnesota. i've gotten to know al very well the past few years and i know that he will be getting acquainted with his fellow senators in the coming weeks and the coming months. this is a special place with special people and i know al
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looks forward to working with every member of the united states senate. i also know that al arrives in washington ready to get to work and ready to serve the people of minnesota. he brings with him that same high energy and passion and idealism of our friend, paul wellstone. i was tellingal that when i first came -- telling al that when i came to the capitol i was stunned how many people came to me when they knew i was from minnesota, they said that's where paul wellstone was from, people on the tram elevators, the cops on the front line, they remember paul because of the dignity and how he treated people. al, i know, will do the same. before seeking elective office, al had a full career. among other things he was an emmy award winning producer, and best selling author with three books going to the top of the "new york times" best sell are
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list and the host of a national radio show and a grammy award-winning satarist and has gone four times to iraq to entertain our troops and to visit ourounded soldiers. we all know al spent some time in comedy but during this long campaign he has demonstrateddedo minute pin he takes his job seriously and i know he is taking his new job as senator incredibly seriously. his heart is with middle-class families who work hard, live responsibly and know the rules. he knows their hops and fears because he has lived it. when he was four his family moved to southern minnesota. he tells the story of that move. his dad never graduated from high school and never had a career. but his mom's father owned a quilting business out east and he gave al's dad a chance to start up a factory in this town.
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after about two years, the factory failed. and al moves family moved to the twin cities. years later, al asked, why that particular town? and his dad said well, your grandfather wanted to open a factory in the midwest and the railroad went right through that town so al asked, why did the factory fail and his father said "well, it went through the town but it didn't stop in the town." eventually the family, including al, and his older brother senatorred in a minneapolis suburb and his father became a printing salesman and his mom was a homemaker. because of the security and opportunity his family enjoyed living in america, he says he felt like the luckest kid in the world. al likes to tell jokes and he has some good ones, he's not one to make fun of family values because there is no husband or near who is more -- or father more devoted to his family.
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he met his wife-i see her now in the gallery -- during his first year at college. they have been married 33 years and together they have raised two children. al tells a story about her family: her dad, a decorated world war ii veteran, died in a car accident when she was 17 months old. the death left her mom suddenly widowed and alone with five children. it was a lesson for the family and an example of how one family pulled themselves up with help. he knows how difficult it is for so many families who are struggling to make it squeezed over tighter, over health care costs, college costs, housing costs. during the past two years, al has traveled to every corner of minnesota, from the iowa border to the canadian border. he has had coffee at the main street cafes and he has spoken at local bean feeds and toured homegrown businesses and stood with workers, been to veterans
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halls and he has again to college campuses. he has been there day in and day out, listening to the people of minnesota. now he has the honor and the responsibility to serve them in the united states capitol. the united states senate is an old and established institution. for any newcomer it takes some getting used to, to th to the ue customs. this is a big moment for frannie and their kids. al and his friends and relatives have been waiting for a while for this. the state has been waiting. the senate has been waiting. but most importantly to me, frannie has been waiting. my favorite image of the last few months was the idea she had actually packed a bag with her toothbrush in it that she had right next to her bedside in case at any moment the court would come with a decision and she and al would have to rush to washington so he could take a
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critical vote. well, today, the time has come and al will cast his first vote. if there is any silver lining to the past eight months, it is that al has had time to prepare for this moment. the times are tumultuous, the stakes are high and history will forever judge whether we fail or succeed, whether we are courageous or timid. al franken is ready nor this job. it's time to get to work. and al franken, there's a desk waiting for you in the united states senate. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. reid: mr. president? officer the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. the chair lays before the senate the certificate of election for a six-year term beginning january 3, 2009, for the representation of the state of minnesota. the vice president: the certificate, the chair is advised, is in the form suggested by the senate. if there is no objection, the reading of the certificate will be waived and it will be printed in full in the record. if the senator-elect will present himself at the desk, the chair will administer the oath of office, as required by the constitution and prescribed by law.
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the vice president: please raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear that you will support and defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that you will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that you take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that you will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which you are about to enter, so help you god? a senator: i do. the vice president: congratulations, senator.
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[cheers and applause] mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i have a resolution at the desk and i ask for its consideration. the presiding officer: without objection.
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the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 208, to constitution the majority party's membership on certain comeelts for the 111th congress or until their successors are chosen. the presiding officer: without objection, the resolution is considered and agreed to. a senator: move to reconsider. a senator: move to table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: madam president? under the previous order the authority pursuant to s. res. 18, i announce that senator franken is assigned to the committee on indian affairs, select committee on aging and the judiciary committee, and as soon as the mark upis completed on the "help" committee health care bill, he will go onto the "help" committee. i note the absence of a quorum. madam president, i any it is appropriate -- i ask that we recess 10 minutes early today. the presiding officer: without objection. the senate stands in recess.
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quality legal *" has been covering law in washington. i don't think there has been a moment when covering washington has been more critical. it's such an important aspect of all our lives, not only washington, but across the nation. it's one of the key reasons that in the last year we have m we merge legal times and the national law journal. we felt that providing washington coverage to the legal community across the country was important in everyone's daily lives so that is especially true of the supreme court which is at the center of our coverage. this year we have been writing about the court's subtle shifts on several issues that seem to reflect the priorities and personalities of the chief justice and his more conservative colleagues on the court and also been covering closely the nomination to the court and like you to follow our coverage or have a special session of the web site devoted
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to daily updates on the nomination as well as archived news that will be continuing through out the confirmation selection process and next week the senate willing will be giving you live updates from the hearings. our coverage of the court is led by one of the best and most distinguished supreme court correspondent in the country and that is tony mauro it is going to be leading our discussion today and with that i will turn over to tony and introduce our panel. >> thank you, david, and welcome to all of you for this our eighth annual supreme court review panel. thanks to our sponsors and also to steve lincoln, our publisher here from new york and also like to welcome a number of bristol feliz from thus was general office and in terms from that office and found the supreme court as well who are attending today. this has as david mentioned been a significant turn at the court
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with decisions on issues ranging from title seven to the seven aphorism is, from federal pre-emption to fleeting expletives and, of course, of the departure of justice souter from the course is a big deal. we today there will begin hearings on the nomination of judge sotomayor to replace them and ensure we have a great deal to talk about and have a terrific panel assembled to do just that. as david mentioned what makes this panel different from all the others around town and around the country at the end of a supreme court term is that you put each one of the palace has argued at least one case before the court to in the term we are discussing. nothing focuses the lawyer -- more than the prospect of standing before the nine most important judges in the nation so we are guaranteed that everyone in front of you has thought very deeply and at great
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length about the supreme court in the last year. we are especially lucky this year because the cases our panelists have argued are very important and interesting of the term including some of the blockbusters that came out in the final weeks of the term namely the voting rights act case and the new haven firefighters case in the case on a post conviction access to dna evidence or were they blockbusters? they have been analyzed in many different ways either as still light, narrow or kicking the can down the road or else how very important or all of the above. i hope our panelists can tell us what they think and what the decisions dallas about the courts, the roberts court. we have also had our lawyers who argued major cases decided earlier in the term, wyatt and purses levine, the major business case and on state versus regular -- regulatory drug labeling and then whether a city that allows the 10
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commandments monuments in a public park must also allow seven aphorism is monument in the park as well. it is a very varied diet so let's do again. the plan is each of the speakers will have some opening remarks and then follow up with some questions and will encourage panelist to engage each other with comments and questions and then will encourage questions from you in the audience. i'm going to briefly introduced the speakers with more information in your brochures. our first big europe will be pamela harris who is getting very familiar with these environments of the georgetown university law center. a few days ago she got a new job as executive director of the supreme court institute at georgetown law which has helped hundreds of attica's prepared before the supreme court including no doubt many if not all of the other panelists today. before this new job she was
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where she played an important role in assisting the criminal defense bar in his advocacy before the supreme court. she represented the very interesting religious group called the summum in a variation on the recent theme of cases involving 10 commandments is place in public places. then we will have a meal, the deputy solicitor general of the united states who was the first to plan the new administration fly and the solicitor general's office on january 21st. he was on this panel just three years ago having just argued against the government and very successfully in youth landmark case. i think he told us then he had done 15 move to force practice sessions for that case and i suspect in his new job he has been able to prepare quite that extensively. but he did hit the ground running and are due to major cases where the government on post conviction access to dna evidence in the landmark case on the constitutionality of section five of the voting rights act.
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next we will hear from gregory coleman, who was one of the rare lawyers who has been able to develop a significant and very successful supreme court practice from outside the beltway. austin, texas to be exact. he argued against neil and the voting rights case in winning for texas utility district that wanted to get out from under the pre clarence provisions of the act. he also argued in the new haven firefighters case challenging the city's refusal to certify the results of a promotion exam because no african-americans did well enough on the exam to qualify. his clients would have been promoted if they sam had not been tossed out. in finally last and not least we have in david frederick, and other member of the tax is contingent on our panel although he is based. washington. david was with us on this panel four years ago and has since or
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even then develops something of a niche practice representing consumers who challenged the concept of general preemption. the concept that federal regulation of a certain practice our industry preamps or prevents states from regulating in the same area and either through state statutes or lawsuits in state course. he won two major cases in this field for consumers this term and also advises the supreme court clinic of his, mostar, the university of texas law school. and it goes perhaps about saying that all four of our panelists have served as law clerks to justices of the supreme court in their past. i was hoping you could start to by talking about the summum case which certainly seemed like an establishment case but was a really handled that way and your thoughts about the turn over all. >> sure, i think it's an interesting question whether the summum case was handled as an
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establishment clause case or not. i will be backing up in a minute but there is no established and cause a plane in the case, nevertheless i think a lot of what was driving the justices and a lot of the strategy in the case was playing out against this kind of shadow establishment clause background and what helps to explain the result in the case. i thought my clients the summum had a very sympathetic free-speech claim. they were very sincere and at the end of the day they just wanted to express their own religious views in a public park that was already home to different religious views in a form of written commands monument and while the seven aphorism were certainly unfamiliar to most people instruct people legitimately as quite boren, there was nothing offensive about them on their face here and it is a bit of a contradiction in terms that they were very mainstream in new age religion -- religious hands. emerson and thoreau but just up
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in new age religion guard and so on their face there was nothing outrageous, nothing hateful and really nothing offensive about the speech that they wanted to engage in in a public park, except and this was really the crux of the case i thought that their proposed monument would have been placed very close to the 10 commandments monument and so it might have conveyed the idea that the 10 commandments or not a singular were the only religious truth and i think people who are very deeply and very genuinely offended by that implicit message and some people found it quite literally blasphemous to put a different religious monument so close to the 10 commandments. bob: , which raised what i thought was a fairly compelling center free-speech question of the last 25 years or so there has been a consistent move toward opening the public square to religious views and religious speech and i think that is all to the good, but it does raise
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difficult questions like whose religious speech exactly will be included in the like if you want to bring your religion out of your religious community and into the public square, the public marketplace of ideas, and you have to be prepared for the give-and-take of the public marketplace and ideas? do you have to be prepared for the idea there could be dissenting are differing viewpoints expressed as well? and i think anything about the case that way it does present this is fairly compelling free-speech claim and it is not without problems, no question about it. monuments are different from other forms of speech and of the government needs more latitude in regulating monuments but there was something sympathetic there i thought which then leads to the question of how did we manage to lose this case nine -- zero because this is a nine -- zero case and i think the problem for us was that the court didn't think about it as a free-speech case, they fought against the background of the establishment clause and that
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was what was planned as strategically in this case and made it very hard for us because of the more liberal justices who should have been sympathetic or actually very concerned about calling a monument in a public park even if pat had been privately written by the 10 commandments monument about calling that private speech which protected under the free-speech clause but makes it much harder to challenge it on this album cause. to show it is combining government of religious message and not just a private message and so the justices who should have been our allies gradually against us because they were very worried that our free speech position with end up insulating religious monuments and in the establishment clause and then in the conservative justices have this sort of mirror image problem. on the one hand, they surely did not like our free speech claim. this on as an enron against prior establishment clause cases that had approved the public display of 10 commandments
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monuments, they thought those cases have already approved a sort of a rite of singular or preferred access to the 10 commandments, not equal access everyone gets to put up a monument and i think they were worried as a practical matter if we won this case cities would take down the 10 commandments on as before there and open their cars to a bunch of other crazy religious monuments. on the other hand, is justices were very aware as with the liberal justices that once you paul and arguably religious monument government speech you may get much more amenable to the establishment clause challenge and i think what is most interesting about the opinion in this case is how justice alito was the author of the opinion try to thread that neil, to call the monument government speech which in -- immunized from our free-speech claim that at the same time try to minimize the establishment clause exposure, sort of that kind of monument. and again in this shadow establishment clause arena is for this case is being brought
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out and press as a strategic question we knew we were losing this case going in. we knew we were going to lose and a question for us was how did we want to lose the case, that was sort of what was driving navigation strategy, how did we want to lose and archives' first rise again was the love the idea of a let the flowers bloom and i will express my views on the part but if they could get that their second choice was losing in a way that would be helpful and the establishment clause and specifically in losing was the ruling we actually got that any monument in a public park is going to be reasonably seen as giving a governmental message. a kind of government speech here and so in that sense bringing the full closure this is a huge victory for us. we got just what we want, will get them next time on the establishment clause, and i really do think we're in a one off for a free speech purposes and wants to this again. under the free-speech clause.
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one answer different, that's the bottom line under the free-speech clause and where this case matters under the establishment clause quite possibly in the case next term, the salazar v. buono case which involves again a religious monument or a christian cross erected by a private party, veterans of foreign wars on never met leanne. and i think it would be very interesting in that case to see how summum plays out and how successful justice alito was planting the seeds of establishment clause defense in cases like that. >> okay, neal, i wanted to ask about your transition from private attorney to a government attorney and a different pressures and expectations that involves and also more specifically if you could talk about the voting rights case. certainly during oral argument that seemed to many people that the accord was ready to declare the law unconstitutional but it
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didn't quite turn out that way. what are your thoughts? >> let me start by thanking the legal times and you, tony, and georgetown for hosting this event. i think the big change and you asked about the transition, my transition was frankly pretty rough. it is an enormous privilege to represent the government of the united states, but with that privilege comes responsibilities. when responsibility is a responsibility not to ever make any news, sorry to disappoint but i will generally tried to avoid making news here today and anything i say is in my personal capacity. when i'm gone to the department on january 21st it was an enormous time of transition in the government in terms of the executive branch, but the solicitor general's office is actually a little different than other parts of the government. one thing that is different is just the structure of the office so i am one of the deputies, there are three other deputies
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who know a heck of a lot more about the supreme court and law than i do. then there is the solicitor general, that is a difference and then the legal counsel in which all of the japanese are the political that it is in the change from one to the next. there is a lot of continuity in our office and there is a great premium placed on stability and the positions that we take from one administration to the next. that creates no amount -- and untold amount of frustration on the part of activists and the party and otherwise, but i think it serves the government quite well because after all we are not simply the administration's lawyers, we are the government of the united states lawyers and that means for example, that we depend loss of congress that were passed enacted into law. that's not to say that we will never change our position on the bank about stuff in the new way, i think one example in interesting case high-profile this term is the fourth
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amendment case involving the strip search of a 13 year-old girl, savana redding, traditionally the justice department we have a strong -- take strong responsibility to prosecutors virtually anything else and we generally do not ever signed a saying there is a fourth man in violation, but in this case i know i think of one another example that in memory which the government has come in and said yes there was involvement violation in this case. what we are in that case was that her rights had been violated, for the moment rights, but that there was a qualified immunity defense available to those of officials and ultimately that is what the supreme court concluded 821. for me it has been an enormous personal change. when i did cases before coming into the government basically i did cases with students, one of my former students is spent four
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years to working for me, 50 students from all around the country. that were riding the traps of briefs and so on but it was a ragtag group of people here now is to the table of authorities and contents myself and things like that. and then come to our office which is amazing, there are 16 wine attorneys, four deputies with the solicitor general and a staff of 20 paralegals and assistance in a. shop and so on and the quality of the work product is literally breathtaking. i remember my first weekend there i got an appeal the simon, a very complicated, very high sensitivity. i said to one of the assistance can you look at this and on monday and get a 24 page sing beautiful memo that was far better than anything i could have written. that is an enormous shift and they do this in our office and with the budget at $10.4 million for the entire year.
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we participate appetit supreme court cases, we review every appeal decision made in the united states by the government. there is an enormous amount of work that is done all of for that amount of money and when i was doing cases last year privately i was involved in a case where one side spent $10 million on just one case and we do that in our office for the entire year. it is really something quite remarkable. tony, in you're opening remarks he talked about the timing and when i was teaching here i did have the ability to adjust and to think big thoughts or small pots and say maybe and have the time to practice my arguments. hamdan i practice 15 times. the inquest case which ended last year i think i did something like eight moots and when i got to the government by dna argument which was march 2nd i think i got really able to read the brief about a week before the arguments and
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have the customary to moots in the office right after i got two fortunately read the briefs but it is a very different pace in that office. it is remarkable how quickly brief scan written, you are up there and arguing. it is nothing like i ever thought before i got in. one other thing i will talk about and then maybe to the voting rights of the next segment but i do want talk a moment about the difference in the transitional seventh between being a private litigant particularly one kind of going up against the government and then being on the other side because i looked to the gentleman to my left only for geographic purposes here. [laughter] greg komen. i watch what you did and i have enormous respect for how you conduct yourself in the litigation throughout this. i know it is like to be up
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against the government and your clients sometimes and i'm sure this happen to your clients are upset you are taking these cases, your family may be upset you are devoting all this time to these cases where there is no money involved, and the media is upset and these are all things i dealt with and am sure you have some of these experiences. what to do is eerily perform a valuable service in making us all more honest as government officials. i think it is enormously powerful, this great thing about our country that we allow people to private litigants little utility districts, for the educated hamdan to come in and challenge the most powerful people in government. i remember when and then judge roberts was at his confirmation hearing to be the chief justice of the united states and he said, the great thing about the supreme court is that on the one side of the courtroom you have this little guy -- you have this
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big corporation with all the lawbooks and law firms, and on the other side you cannot of that, you just got the little guy with an argument. and if the little guy has a good argument and judge roberts said the supreme court he can win and that is what greg show this term. >> well, i almost need to say nothing more but he said to turn over to you and ask you to talk about i think the two cases to argue which were scheduled within one week of each other a belief. how did you prepare for those and what you think they stand for? >> thank you, tony, for having me. i appreciate the opportunity. i will see if i can hold back my welling up from kneels compliment. [laughter] neil speaks as one who knows. he has shown the utmost of graciousness and all that he has
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done in my interactions with him and his been a pleasure to get to know him better to these cases. tony asked about preparing for to arguments within a week of each other. it is not a pretty sight. i will tell you that. we have attempted to see if we could arrange to get them on the part, but that was agreed to happen. the clerk's office had other things that they had to do so w just decided to start early. when we began unloading process in march. i had moved those cases before the first of april. to university was extraordinarily gracious in having us down and allowing us to move to the cases before panels of professors. georgetown was extraordinarily gracious and allowing us to come here to move to both of the
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cases. i moved up into a sweet type of hotel here just after the tenth of april in a bid to farewell two my family, just hold up in a hotel. i sat in the hotel room and read and when we have moved to we got where half a day and come back and go back over our notes and just keep going. you try to keep, i was out here more than two and half weeks to is literally are leasing the light of day is set to come out and go do that and was a difficult process, not something that i encourage others to do with something we felt we had to do to get to the cases. >> which hotel? [laughter] >> i actually stayed in a place nobody is going to know of call the virginian suites, it is across the river near the iwojima memorial that happen to
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be pretty much the cheapest thing in town. [laughter] and did fine for us. we have a good time. neal said something that i thought was important. it wasn't by design that we had two cases, to gather in the same. certainly wasn't by design that we had two cases that involved raise issues which does create some emotional context to it here it is interesting to see people's reaction, some people have very strong reactions. we have tried to throw out the process to keep a dialogue going who about both of these cases. obviously i feel that the position we took is the right one. we are extremely happy that we have one. the section five thing is something that we have struggled with for quite some time and the remedy mccourt dave who was a
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ravening that we have been pushing for. a lot of commentators have asked, were you disappointed that you didn't get section five of the voting rights act struck down and the answer is clearly no. yes we ask for that. i do think the argument is right, but this is a first case of the supreme court has had in price sometime or any part of section five of the apparatus surrounding it has been challenged. three years ago nobody was talking about section five or whether its application to various parts of the country might be unfair and people are talking about that now. there are commentators on both sides of the list of local i'll suggesting that congress really ought to rethink some of what it did in 2006. maybe it should make some changes. the idea of opening up the session to allow bailout which frankly have not been permitted
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really since the '80s is i think the really good thing. it allows political subdivisions to go before the department of justice and ultimately the district court here and say we have been committed to living up to our obligations of the voting rights act for 10 years or more which is a statutory requirement. we don't have any violations. nobody has accused us of discrimination. nobody has objected to our pre clearance. we have downhaul ask for us so let us out. and the interpretation that had been given the act is for nearly all political subdivisions, you are just not eligible so go away. the court's opinion allows that process now to go forth and i think that's a really good thing because it encourages small political subdivisions like school boards and utility districts and small cities and others to say, you know, this is
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meaningful, we have something we can work toward. we can show that we have lived up to our obligations under the act and at the end of the day there are some rewards for us and the reward is the federal government will recognize that we have lived up to our obligations and can obtain a bailout to move on down the road. so i do this opinion s a really good the relevant and i also think all of a lake in this kind of a warning shot to congress and the department. if the system doesn't work and these entities can't bailout for five years down the road we might decide to take another look at the constitutional issues that have been raised but for the time being let's see how this works with a really fulsome and director bailout. i have gone over my five minutes, do you want me to talk about the fire fighters or come back to the? >> when we come back to that.
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neal, do you want to respond now or wait? >> add be happy to way. >> okay. david, your case, i know and i did you quite deeply and i want you to talk about that and i think that decision on federal pre-emption if it's and whether the trends of the court. is preemption dead? >> no. [laughter] next question first let me thank you tony and legal times for having me again. the last time i was here are represented a group of a texas peanut farmers whose crops had died in by pesticides that have been improperly tested in warned against. the pesticides brought the course -- the makers brought the case saying that farmers cannot bring claims for negligence in
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the warnings for their products and we prevailed in that case, a bates sources doubt aga science. that case really pressed me wittingly or not into this whole pre-emption war that was fought out this term in the supreme court and the three cases, all good wyeth v. levine which i argued for a, the persons arguing against pre-emption and then in commerce clearing house case which i represented and make his party arguing that the comptroller could not preempt state enforcement efforts of air into discriminatory lending laws. wyeth v. levine was a case, all of these cases i got into and it was one where i got called and asked whether ibm is in and helping out to diana levine and she came to my office and we met. it was really kind of an extraordinary meeting and i don't want to go on to it because of attorney-client
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privileges but one striking thing was a sense in which she still do the case as about her and i try and gently to suggest to her that now that the cases in the supreme court it was no longer just about her and that she needed to be a spokesperson where all persons who have been injured by drugs that have been negligent lee thornton and i as her advocate had the responsibility to represent all of those people that were similarly situated to her. back treated a very awkward moment in the first meeting between an attorney and client because up until then with the trial and the appeals and this of state supreme court she knew that it was about her claim and whether or not she was willing to be reckoned pence at a level that would enable her to get on with her life. this is a musician, a professional musician whose arm was an amputated just at the
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elbow .90 could no longer perform or record the music and she was a physician who delighted in and exchanges with students and young people to get them involved in music and so this was her life. the judgments she had what it would enable her to fix her house up in ways that would enable a one armed person to ever live, reeve at her car so that she could drive safely and to do things that would enable her to be above what in essence was a level where she had been consigned after losing her career as a musician. so i feel very deeply the responsibility to do the best i could for her. i think those who helped me with the case held that responsibility keenly as well. the court rejected the claim of pre-emption in the industry, a
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pharmaceutical industry argued for a very broad pre-emption principle that whenever the fda approves the drug label that would preempt a stave off a lawyer to warn claim. for that is the fda had essentially an tacitly taken the position that the state law claims provided information that facilitated the government's regulatory mission of ensuring safe use of drugs and that imposed on the manufacture the duty to ensure that their labels or up to date with the most recent information. the bush administration had changed that view and in a rather radical position in which i think the bush administration overreached, argued that the fda's approval of the drug label negated and pre-empted the rights of people to bring claims for negligence and the drug company's failure to warn. and so there was a special as
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all the folks appear can attest when you go up against the government with industry and change in positions there is a special dynamic at play. we were quite concerned because the government had never lost a case on implied pre-emption in which it asserted that there was pre-emption to a governmental action so looking forward when of the things i think will be very interesting is to see to what extent the obama administration carefully reassessing the pre-emption positions taken by the bush and administration will hew to the line that of the bush illustration took or to reassess and to evaluate in light of changed circumstances with the agency's change policies, how
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far pre-emption should properly go. there is no doubt that there is room for federal supremacy and when i was in the solicitor general's argument i argued one of the main cases where that a federal supremacy, but there also needs to be inappropriate balance in ensuring that there are mechanisms for redress and remedy for a purpose and whether is a proper balancing of the role that the federal government ought to take and displacing accorded state laws and principles. >> okay, we'll go back to kneel and greg, a general discussion about the voting rights case perhaps and then the fire fighters case if you like, but to grant was saying that this is his decision sort of a challenge to congress and the justice department and i just wonder when you take from the case here
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and also the point that both of you can just about the oral argument that did appear to many people that the accord wasn't going to deal with constitutionality issue from one of the oral arguments and yet they stepped back. eight justices joining in an opinion that was really quite critical for the voting rights act but didn't quite pull the trigger and i think that has a lot of people misaligned. what are your thoughts? >> one of the remarkable things about chief justice roberts voting rights decision is bad and allow a to declare victory, the attorney general right after the decision also praised the ruling. it was a remarkable act in which all sides are kind of an agreement that the decision was wise and wonderful. i think that the factors behind
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that decision are probably a couple of things going into the mix. one is as we looked at the case we were coming off of an extraordinarily powerful court of appeals opinion by judge tale and extensive record in congress, 21 during hearings over 10 months with something like 16,000 pages of evidence documenting the need for the voting rights act. i think that sure there are lots of tough questions and on iran rejected we both appreciated as advocates to hear what the court's concerns were that at the end of the day one thing that might have happened is simply that extensive record of one put in front of the court really put a kind of concern in their minds about judicial activism and amount should at the really rich that altman step. it would be really something extraordinary a thing to strike down the voting rights act which has been a kind of modern pillar
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of of the legal landscape for four years. that having been said of the many people were surprised that the statutory bailout decision was a the way in which the court dealt with this. i think that is a fairly tough argument to get to from the text of the statute and i think one of the interesting things that people will be debating and talking about in the years to come is really what is the appropriate model for judging and here you have chief justice roberts model which i think one could think of in terms of a chief justice marshall or you could think about it in terms of bill brennan cobbling together majorities of people for positions that aren't always intuitively obvious as a legal matter, but then some sense have this real underbelly of pragmatism and politics in the best sense in terms of making people of all sides and persuasions come together and
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celebrate the decision. there is some cost to that, of course, in terms of fidelity to the statutory text and precedent as well but particularly multi member court, may be real strong case to be made for it and then, on the other hand, you could say there is the view of the true intellectual, the frankfurter, or the then judge rehnquist writing these loan defense in the 1970's which ultimately it comes in many cases the law of the land. .. in the voting rights act case or in the trip search case. it's unclear to me which is the right way to be. but i do think that that is a really powerful question that is set up by the voting lineups and the opinions written in these case. but i think the very interesting thing about chief justice roberts' decision is
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that it does allow everyone to come away feeling very pleased. >> one thing i've never understood since the moment that the decision came out is some of the commentators have said, well, that statutory interpretation just doesn't make any sense. my friend and former former clerk heather durkan rutka blogs the nine must be a mad genius for getting them to go along with that. and neil is correct but there are a series of cases going back to the 70's where the court said that limitation on the definition of political subdivision doesn't apply because it would limit the act so in case after case, that definition was set aside in favor of a broader definitions of our argument was simply there is no reason here every other
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provision in the act except for one has used the broader definition and not the narrower definition. so you ought to do it. tony, you asked about whether the court really was stepping back. there's some other way of looking at that, and that is my experience is that most of the justices have already pretty much made up their mind before they get into oral argument. and there is some question in my mind whether the commentators are correct in suggesting they got scared off after oral argument or whether they had already pretty much decided the way they were going to go and simply felt free to use oral argument to plumb the depths of a variety of arguments including the constitutional argument even though -- excuse me -- they decide that's all the way they wanted to go. >> tony, can i just jump in because i wrote a brief on behalf of tests to the texas
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districts. we were on neil's slide rather than gregg. these two and the naacp did a terrific job at the argument. it was one of those cases, a landmark case where all the advocates did an outstanding job. but to me, the case came down to this kind of basic metal level common sense. you've got the utility district that had not any evidence history of doing anything wrong and they, you know, were simply trying to get out from the scriptures of preclearance, and there was a common sense to that, and maybe this was case selection. gregg had brilliantly, you know, been approached by the right climate at the right time. but it was at that level that i think the government saw our side had a hard time persuading. and it goes further to pam's
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point about supreme court advocacy that the advocacy proceeds at a number of different levels. there is a middle level in your case has to have a common sense and you have to find a way to communicate and transmit ideas at all levels of detail from the mid level pherae all the way down to the details a way to get her to five boats and in the cases we've been talking about here, i think a loss can be a treaty of some level to not having all those different pieces fit together in the proper way. because i was on the side that fought the statutory reading was a bit of a stretch. but at the level of common sense, there was obviously a view that these small districts ought to have an opportunity to be free of the voting rights act. >> just a word about the argument in that case, which i found really interesting. what i do see is something of a
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distinction between argument and then the final opinion in that case and i am very intrigued by craig's suggestion that maybe the justices really knew what was going on before they got to argument because otherwise i was actually a little bit puzzled by the tone of argument and the chief justice's tone in particular because if i thought he was trying to sue lawyers will justice kennedy and bring justice kennedy on board for invalidating the justice rights act, to do that i thought you would have to persuade justice kennedy that he could do it in a way that was actually respectful of the act, the respected but it had done, but it achieved, what it meant to this country. and that wasn't the chief justice's tone of argument at all. so i almost had thought his tone was somewhat counterproductive and might have cost him justice kennedy's vote. but another way of thinking about it is maybe he already knew how this was coming out and
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they didn't really matter and this was his chance a little catharsis if it were up to me to get rid of this thing and i'm just going to event at about that for a few minutes. because i was very surprised by his tone. i think he is a very, very gifted sort of -- as neil said politics on the side of it, very good tactician, brings people together when he has to and i think his talent and that argument was more divisive than political in the good sense and that it might have given people some cold feet about what this what look like if they now struck down the voting rights act, but it would make a lot more sense if it was a sort of done deal going into argument. >> if i could say a word about that because i have read things on telling and on the magazine the new yorker i think the chief's tone in the case, standing five or 6 feet from him i didn't perceive that at all. i didn't see a hostile tone.
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i found the typical chief get to the heart of the thing but i never felt hostility to the act and the questioning, but i do know that other folks have come and it's very interesting and i don't know if there's something about the dynamics of the court room that make it different, the kind close interaction between advocate and justice or not, but being so close i didn't feel it and trust me, i'm perfectly used to feeling it in other arguments. as to greg's point about the possibility of the justices knew ahead of time, i guess i think that's probably unlikely just on the notion it would be hard for them all to get information about everything pre-argument about the way the other justices were thinking. i'm not saying it's impossible but in general my guess is it would be hard to have that amount of information sharing particularly toward the end of the term when they've got so much other stuff packed up.
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and i guess i would have expected more than -- i've got no questions at all about a bailout in my part of the argument. the other gentleman on my side, the intervenor got i think to questions and i think maybe greg had a couple as well but it strikes me as fairly unusual circumstance if they really thought they were going in with the idea of going for the statutory bailout there would be such few questions directed as to that particular matter. >> well i think some people have said the crucial question i think it was justice souter who asked gregg would you be happy with just bailout, and he wouldn't have to go all the way to the constitutional issue. and when you said yes, you sort of gave them permission to have -- to rule more in a limited fashion. and my remembering that right? >> there was that question. i don't and there exactly who it was, it might have been the
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chief. if anybody remembers. but essentially, you know, i said if he went on bailout are your clients going to be satisfied and we told him yes, and so several commentators have suggested once we said that it was over. our brief signed by the way made that perfectly clear and so it wasn't anything from oral argument that wasn't or shouldn't have been clear from our briefs. >> i was going to use that as a segue and maybe it is a perfect one. a question i want to ask generally about justice souter departing the court, his question will you miss it or are you glad, and what role do you think he played on the court? it's open to anybody. >> well, all of my arguments before the court have been
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before justice souter, and i'm going to miss him greatly. he had a way at the argument of asking a question in a way that he really conveyed wanting to know the answer to the question in a very deep and sincere way and he asked questions in a balanced tone with a question of curiosity, but they were questions of great sophistication and depth. and you avoided answering them at your peril, because he was very quick to follow up if he thought he hadn't answered the question directly and the way that he thought an advocate should do. but i thought -- and i will always admired the civility and the tone and the decency that he brought to his role as the supreme court justice. i think that he has an
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understated manner about him and is not out there, and so probably people who don't follow the course of closely will maybe not appreciate his many incredibly intellectual and judicial capabilities. i think the supreme court is going to miss him a tremendous amount. i think it's exciting that judge so why -- sotomayor will bring new qualities to the branch, but it's a shame they couldn't have both served together because i think it would have been very interesting dynamic to watch the two of them at argument and to contend with issues. >> one of the kind of really interesting things about justice souter is how funny he is and it doesn't always come across on the bench but there's a great story about him. he goes to new hampshire every summer to spend three months in his cabin, and he stopped at a
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rest stop in massachusetts and a couple is following him and said, the man says hey, hey, you're on the supreme court, right? and justice souter nods his head and says yes i am come and they talk about what it's like to be on the supreme court and so on. and then the man says i know you, right, your justice breyer, right? and justice souter nods his head and doesn't want to embarrass this gentleman in front of his wife and so on and they talked more about the court and then the man says to the justice you know, justice, what is the best thing about being on the supreme court? and justice souter pauses for a second and says well, the probably the best thing about being on the supreme court is serving with justice david souter. [laughter] you know, from my experience there hasn't been a more incisive question in so many
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ways the and justice souter. i remember when i was prepping the hamdan argument one of the things we wanted to do was get the court to have a line of questioning about the habeas stripping and whether or not the sustention calls had been violated and we spent weeks trying to figure out -- we are thinking justice stevens to ask this line of questions and didn't really get justice stevens to do it at the argument but justice souter really at that argument and probably never had i seen him in such powerful terms attacking the government on this whole suspension line of questioning and three or four minute colloquy with paul clement. on the other side on the dna argument, which i did in march, there was a line of questioning of i was really worried about getting and sure enough, justice souter was the one to launch the questions. and his opinion in the dna case.
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ode to birdie and conservatism i think worth every once study because it's a really interesting way of thinking about substantive due process and the need to go slow. and that isn't something that we have traditionally seen a lot of and the supreme court from both suppose it right and left of the court, justice souter is really sticking that position out in that case. i think it will be one of his great legacy is for the court. >> i also -- i will miss justice souter so much watching the court and arguing in front of it now. i thought it was incredibly incisive that he grew else he stayed on the court more and more delicate and persistent in his questioning but always polite, always in a very decent way, actually always wanted an answer. it wasn't for show. he wanted to know what he would say. and i do think in my case, in
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the summum case he was the justice on top of the intersection between the free-speech clause and establishment clause. most up front about talking it and establishment clause terms and i felt -- i may little better because i felt where he was saying very nicely pam, we are not ruling for you on your crazy free speech claimed to come back here with the establishment clause i will be here for you and at the end of the term he disappears and i'm a little bit about by that because i really got it and we had an understanding. [laughter] >> it's a few days to late to get him back. >> one thing i would like to say that justice souter is when i was working since i wasn't going to be staying in washington, i tried to come downstairs for every oral argument souter and you've already heard this from the other panelists but his
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questions are very insightful, incisive. he does have a nice home about him. and one of the problems advocates had his the questions sound so nice that they wanted to agree. [laughter] you know, what wouldn't your argument be better and they would say yes and he would say and that would lead to this, and they would say yes, and he would say they're for don't you lose because of this? [laughter] and it's that old picture of somebody getting painted into a corner. and one of the things i went back to texas with was just a strong feeling that when you go in front of somebody like justice souter, you can't let yourself be brought over by, you know, a friendly smile and a nice tone. you need to be very clear what
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you agree with and what you disagree with. in fact, this term i think justice souter early in the firefighters' case asked me a couple questions and i said i disagree with that, justice souter because i have such respect for his mental power and where he goes with the questions that you just have to know where he's going, where you are willing to go and where you need to draw the stop. and in the firefighters' case, you know, he asked the one question that got reported in the media, which is the question what is the city supposed to do? you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't, which got to the heart of, you know, this intersection between disparate impact and disparate treatment in title set and how do you define a level that allows these employees to be fairly treated but doesn't of unfairly prejudice the employer,
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the city at the same time and he was looking for that, for that test, something that would allow him to do that. >> did the court, with the right answer in your view? >> yes they did. [laughter] >> was it furlough? >> in reaching this strong basis test that was the test we put forward in our brief and so in many ways we had told the clients, you know, expect to speak out on some test. we were not sure whether the test would say strict scrutiny applies on the plane and off you go on remand. that the court said the strong pieces and evidence test would be the test for title vii and
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then ruled as a matter of law that the city was liable under title vii. i think it was something that we haven't necessarily thought was a strong expectation on our part. and i am not sure why the court went that far, but i think it wanted to make a clear statement in terms of where the law was coming and it may be wanted to make a statement with respect to the individual petitioners who had been waiting for promotions for six years. >> well, before we go to the audience for some questions, to pick up on a few things neil was mentioning earlier. the idea that roberts was a sort of pragmatic leader in cobbling together coalitions, and a lot of the analysis after the term
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that the roberts corporation this year was more incremental and more interested in smaller steps and compromise perhaps. is that the theme all of you agree with or not? >> i will jump in. i think i am not fully on board with that account yet and part of it is we don't have enough information and a few more terms we will have a full picture when the papers come out we will obviously know more about what happened. but to my eye there's another equally plausible account for a lot of decisions which is that the chief justice is going just as far to the right and he's going there just as fast as justice kennedy is prepared to go along with him. and at least to my mind it seems at least fairly clear in some of the court's decisions like the herring case, the very early exclusionary rule decision from the beginning of this term,
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there were four votes including the chief justice for really getting rid of the exclusionary altogether and that is justice kennedy sort of holding them back. he's not quite there with them. and again, with the voting rights act it's very hard to tell what really happened, but my hunch at least based on prior opinions and argument and things is that it was probably justice kennedy who had the cold feet about in validating the voting rights act altogether which takes nothing away. i want to be clear about this from the chief justice's ability to sort of make the best of not quite having five votes exactly where he would like to go and never the less put together these opinions of strong conservative principles and that will sort of move the ball perhaps more slowly than he is prepared to. but i'm not quite ready yet to say that it's the chief justice's or a distance of institutional integrity of its stopping the court from going any further.
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my guess is that it's really for want of a vote and that its justice kennedy who's still to the extent this is an incremental this court because it is still kennedys, not quite the chief justice's yet. >> this certainly borne out by the statistics. if you look at the 235 for 4 votes justice kennedy was in and they were pretty clearly the largest number and the collections that formed around most of them were the predictable ones but there were some out liar cases, four or five where justice scalia might pilaf and form the fifth vote or justice thomas might pilaf and from the fifth vote. but you know, i think i agree with what pam says. i also think the are still feeling each other out and i think one of the things to me that's a very interesting thing to be watching is the extent to
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which an axis of forms with justice kennedy and justice alito because there were a number of separate opinions that one of the other wrote the each away and and i think there is a very interesting dynamic going on at the court. justice alito has a very quiet highly competent way about him. he writes extremely well and felt fully in his questions and arguments are superb and they're seems to me to be something going on that is an interesting thing to watch. >> and i totally agree. i think justice alito was very interesting to watch this term. both for the incipient alliance with justice kennedy, and because i saw him in a lot of criminal cases this term splitting off from the chief justice and moving a little bit right to the chief justice writing separately, actually voting differently in a few cases and i think he has in the
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criminal context where i spend a lot of my time he is probably of all of the justices she is the most interested in the criminal cases. he has the most backrub. he's interested in criminal procedures case is what most of them are not and it's giving him a lot of authority in that area and i agree with dave he has very good cogent careful doctrinal a solid opinions in that area and i think that he is really forced to be reckoned with and this term saw him sort of coming out a little bit in that area as well as some others. >> i think the point about the chief, you know, not necessarily controlling everything is a good one. two years ago it was a very divided court with a lot of flight-for decisions, last year also much and everybody was saying taha, the chief read everybody in and now he is driving the car. this year saw a sharp turn back as david said towards having
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more 5-4 decisions with kennedy. one little anecdote i will share is during the fire fighters argument, justice breyer started asking a series of hypothetical, and i do mean a serious, not one but multiple ones in the same question, and i said well, justice breyer, those are justice kennedy's hypothetical is from his concurrence and falls and he said well, precisely in which he obviously was aiming towards justice kennedy in terms of his questioning. when i attended the fifth circuit judicial conference a couple of weeks after that when justice scalia came down and a speech and during his presentation and the question answers section, somebody asked him about that and asked him about, you know, the number of 5-4 and, you know, was he struck
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obviously people are planning to justice kennedy's vote during oral argument, and he acknowledged that it was true and even had some discussion of this questioning from the ricci case and kind of tried to be humorous and say well, you know there are several others up there on the bench. it doesn't have to be all about justice kennedy. but i think that some people going in on these cases are counting up the votes and thinking that maybe it is. >> okay. i would like to open it up to questions. there are microphones on either side and some roaming microphones as well.
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>> hello? yeah, i would like to ask the panel about the gross case. it seems the court came down with the decision that wasn't briefed or argued and they had fairly far reaching consequences or at least potentially and changing how the age act is construed and litigated. just wondered what the panel thought. >> it is pretty astonishing -- >> summarize gross was age discrimination act and we see in a lot of title vii cases where
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you have mixed motives and the argument is, you know, you fired me because my race and the employer says no, i fired him because you are an embezzler and, you know, the case has to go to trial, and there's a series of questions put to the jury that emphasized of the juries that as long as they feel race was in fact in a substantial factor that they still have to find liability. even if maybe there is something to the inn puzzler point. and congress has amended title sefton to include or recognize, and that wasn't done with respect to other forms of, or other acts that all to all discrimination in quoting the age discrimination employment act. and the court in an opinion that surprised quite a few people actually said that because it is not in the adea and we have
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questions about whether we were right in the first place when we've read it into title vii in the act we are simply going to say we are not going to extend it to other acts unless there is clear indication that it was intended. obviously in the firefighters' case the suggested this mixed motives case and we held it off like the plague, but it was quite a shock and i think far reaching and i am not sure if people were really expecting it. oral argument was hostile towards mixed motives but before that i am not sure people were strongly thinking the court would go that way. ..
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post-9/11 decision making. and saying those suits could not be brought. the court applied a pleading standard, a rule of pleading what can be in a complaint, what needs to be in a complaint, to survive a motion to dismuss. they took it from the antitrust area and imported it from the and they imported into this area of its a. it will probably this is homicide case from the supreme court term except the wyeth vs. levine and i say that because there are thousands of drug cases out there and so the wyeth case will get cited a million times but this will be signed a lot in kind of determining whether not the most basic
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requisites of a complaint have changed in light of the standards of the court announced. that is my view of the sleeper. >> actually i agree with dave in terms of the practical imposd of the cases and another case if that didn't get enough attention is a the montejo case in which the court -- about the consequences of invoking sixth amendment rights to counsel and even though there had not asked for this use it as an occasion to reach out and overrule and a square overruled michigan vs. jackson, a case that construed implication of the sixth amendment right and a protector why and it is not the outcome that i think is so significant. is that the court on its own again without the state having asked for this decision decided let's carry and michigan vs. jackson, it's not that big a deal, and i think to me at least
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it indicates this is a court at least in some areas is going to move very aggressively. criminal procedure cases, criminal cases and will be prepared to overrule prior precedent to get where it wants to go. >> i have no idea montejo would come up during this discussion. one of my first cases i ever argued was a case called texas vs., and we had asked the court to overrule her michigan vs. jackson. we cannot that the solicitors general office to go along with it at that point but i'm told that have much smarter people there now. [laughter] >> we have so much to blame for, greg. >> but we did get a three judge concurrence from kennedy saying i don't know how michigan vs. jackson hasn't anything to the mix. adding to your,i] though, of course, is one of to me the most amazing developments of the term which is a this is a first term
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and i'm not sure how many where the court actually did not finish its work and set the hillary move the case for the argument next term not and, of course, consistent with montejo and your comments part of the reason for that appears to be there is at least some number of people on the court who are wondering if they should overrule the boston or parts of mcconnell and that itself is a pretty substantial move on the courts part. >> wait for the microphone. >> thank you, i am john. , chief counsel for the lawyers committee for civil rights law and we uprose -- opposed greg on the voting rights case and the ricci case and out like to a knowledge of their skillful advocacy and i results. one case that struck me the most
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is the case that overruled the prior precedent on a sister compartments and automobiles white justice scalia, the liberal side of the justice or civil libertarian side? is there any difference between those two concepts? >> i have fought for several years now we're seeing something sook interesting in the criminal procedure area, please forgive me because this is what i teach and i find it endlessly fascinating -- there are two ports in criminal procedure. the there is a the justice scalia court was a trader with an original argument to be made for perot defended ruling and you see in the sentencing cases in the confrontation causes like melendez-diaz and you saw its in the case overruling in the pelton case, the majority said it is not overrule an ion by reconfiguring in a way that changes in searching cars and in these cases justice scalia and
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justice thomas to their credit there is an original argument, is serious argument that takes them to a place that might not be there preferred political position but they follow at a long and you get this unusual voting lineup for you have this kind of a two very conservative justices on the pro defense side and you have a somewhat justices and people think as more liberal but concern about the pragmatic impact of these decisions in the sense and i think it falls in that category ofç cases. to the credit of these justices and they will follow this the original argument when appoints them in that direction and is one of the reasons why as accordance grow over the last 20 years more conservatives, the criminal defense bar have been real openings in front of this court and largely because of this category of cases. >> melendez-diaz could end up being a hugely important case for the practicalities of how
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criminal cases unfold. this is where they held 524 that when a lab examiner has done a scientific analysis in a case he produces a report that is used by the prosecution the defense has a confirmation clause right to cross-examine the lab examiner who did the lab work and historic claim wham work in this country has not always been done by the person who testifies in invent the fbiç for decades had a tradition of somebody who knew something about science to the work and then had a very handsome typically white male agent would go testify and a loç of people were convicted even though the agents didn't know anything about science and had no bachelors degree or anything so one of the interesting things about this melendez-diaz decision thankfully that practice hasç been changing in the fbi but some of the state and local labs have not yet
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caught up to these moreç modern practices. and melendez-diaz really throws dowfç the content -- gone lead o ensure that there is absolute fairness and providing a mechanism for defendants to do the actual work and the science lab. >> and that was justice scalia wrote the majority in that. >> any other questions? >> with the judge sotomayor possibly becoming just as this coming term to you anticipate that advocates are going to have to change their litigation or are given strategy is? and how? >> has anyone argued before her? >> i did some years ago when for five years ago my experience was the issue is a very well
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prepared. she was dead on insightful questions and did so pretty forcefully. she wasn't going to allow maher questions to be updated in any way. in that sense i dearly for see a big change here is some other panel members may know areas where her ideas may be different from those justice souter. i've had people tell me that they say judge sotomayor who will have some different views on punitive damages then it justice souter has been on not really aware from a lot of different areas there will be many differences. >> i would say that it would be unusual for a highly skilled advocate to try to change an argument just because of a new member of the court coming on -- is hard enough to come with a good argument that enables you
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to use of the hon questions that come from whatever the source. the one i think will be interesting to watch is in a sense to which the second circuit's docket which has a heavy business components and heavy finance component and will end up causing judge sotomayor to look at the law in the runways that may be different from justice souter because they have different backgrounds from their legal work that they bring to bear to the supreme court problems and so i would expect to see some key departures start to emerge within the first couple of years of her time on the court. that may well end up affecting how certain arguments get postured. i don't know that it would be a stylistics things so much as it would be restored to see where she fits within the various
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alignments on certain areas. >> one thing i think i will be watching for and goes about experience is unlike justice souter judge sotomayor has been a prosecutor for a number of years and will be interesting to see whether that will influence the direction the court takes and some of these criminal procedure and on matters. i don't anticipate my guess is different in terms of the tenure of arguments. there has been some stuff in the reporting her about being tough and arguments. i've had the privilege of sending clerks every year for several years. they uniformly rave about her skill and how hard she works to get right and i think she's not going to bring in a change to the typeko of argumentsç that e arec' accustomed to what in a w areas or criminal law is one we might seeç some changes.
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>> i will say also justice alito has spoken about howç hard it s to get a word in edgewise and i really have to tell been even if it is taking a tacked that is not on point with the last justice who has a question and chief justice roberts who talked about appearing this be one really needs to not. >> a little bit in terms of the intensity of questioning. unfortunately -- we will see how judge sotomayor handles that but my impression is that she won't have any trouble jumping in to the argument. she isn't going to decrease the intensity level. at least that is the impression people have of her. >> the topic was approached about changes when it judge
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sotomayor if she becomes justice there may need one topic that will be drastically different and that is there is a series of cases over the last century, the insular cases in which the supreme court held that basically particular puerto rico is not incorporated to the u.s. and there for people of porter rickenbacker on did not have certain rights that other people who are born on the mainland would have and because of thatça doctrine from now people born in puerto rico are statutorytm @&ca natural born citizens and of congress were to amendq a statue which grants citizenship and one born after that would no longer be a citizen of the u.s.. so it is a controversial doctrine and a appropriate now that the doctrine of the puerto rico course a person of puerto rico background would be on the supreme court and if that should arise would be affected by her
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decisions so if you talk about the insular cases and those issues? >> i have no particular believe that just because she is from puerto rico she wouldq approach are now not just about puerto rico but a whole big difficult legal question which is the applicability of the constitutional provisions of ashes were torelli and i imagine any would approach with that in mind more than the specific í%q wasn't just a puerto rico.3 there were other places as well so regardless ofçç the answeri would imagine it's not going to be determined by her background and interestç in puerto ricoçó. >> iç think we are about to cle and i would ask --
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>> inok this case the strip seah case the supreme court basically -- and everyone here me? naudible] saying is that it's more a fundamental right than the right of freedom of speech? >> i don't think it would come out that way. i don't think the decisions are contradictory, though. i thought this most recent
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decision -- it just had a lot to do with sort of setting -- you know, the court giving plenty of discretion to schools and school administrators, but setting some very outer bound riss beyond which a school really can't go. i thought the facts of this case were shocking eno i thought the facts of this case were shocking enough that it lent itself to that kind of decision. i would not have anticipated the 81a line up in this case of the underlying fourth amendment issue. i think it was made a little bit easier for the court by the fact they had a very strong, the governments said in violating the for the minute there's a strong case for qualified immunity in this case and i think that made the court probably a little more comfortable than might otherwise have been with finding the underlining for the moment and it was john their has little by the u.s. brief. i still wouldn't have seen in the h -- one coming and i have questions about whether our current in that case might have affected the outcome as well because i think the argument in
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that case was widely considered the of the time is really by the time justice ginsburg was finished talking, argument in that case was pretty widely considered a bit of a debacle for the courts. there was a real sense at least from where i was saying that some of the justices for not taking it home -- cleaning remotely seriously and that that put people off i think, is embarrassed the court and i think it may have ended up in a positive way helping to educate some of the justices, i think fees for the men of cases are hard. either explicitly or implicitly have to figure out something about social expectations of privacy, where is this country in terms of its expectations of privacy and i think that because the argument became so controversial in that case the justice probably heard more from the people in their circle than they otherwise might have about how people did feel about the privacy of this girl's body and
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that they may well have been educated by the whole process so the argument in this case was a bit of a wild card and help to explain the lopsided nature of the vote in that case but not sure the seat is inconsistent with other school cases. >> was extraordinary that as you're in leading to the justice -- justice ginsburg made public arguments while the case was still pending, she said her male colleagues did not get out embarrassing a strip search was for a teenage girl. we just have a minute or two and i thought we could go down the line and ask for your thoughts about next term either in terms of how judge sotomayor may change things or a case or to that you are watching. >> i am watching the salazar v. buono case to see how the case
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with summum plays out in that one and i am also very interested, there are two criminal cases on the docket right now. a case from maryland which raises questions about the fifth amendment miranda rule about indication of the fifth amendment right to counsel and how protected data will be. there is another miranda case about the powell case about how explicit to the warnings to get have to be in terms of explaining the right to have counsel present at questioning itself and my guess is that both will be decided on fairly narrow ground, but they also are the first opportunity for the chief justice end justice alito two really weigh in on how they feel about ran up and although i think the vetting is pretty solid and since the dickerson case of which reaffirmed miranda, it is pretty much on a strong footing.
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those justices weren't there when dickerson was decided and iran that was reaffirmed and people also thought the exclusionary rule was on strong foot fishing until they joined the court so i'm interested to see whether either of those cases will provoke any kind of separate riding by those justices that will give an earliest and read on where they are on miranda. >> the next term i think is shaping up to be enormously interesting with the hillary fec campaign finance cases september, sarbanes osset constitutionality of that coming up, the things i'm watching are u.s. forces stevens which is a case about a congressional statute that has been struck down that prohibits the commercial sale to of this is really her graphic videos about cruelty to animals and in the case that we have a petition up for now called and international humanitarian project reverses holders is about material
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support to statute which had been struck down by the ninth circuit and is unconstitutional violation of free speech, that purvis material supporting and it is enormous for the department that the court take this and get it, right. >> in addition to some of these i think neil mentioned one that i'm really interested in which is the constitutionality of the accounting oversight board. i think the court tends to say very interesting things whenever it gets into these questions that deal with the structure of government and i think this will be one of the more interesting ones for fibre six years. >> two cases i am involved in that obviously i will follow closely tracks some of this -- i think next term is going to be a very interesting term from the perspective of having the court look closely at the in the aftermath of the financial crisis, not only to have a the pcaob case you have the case:
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jones vs. harris associates which will have a very profound a case potentially on mutual-fund is that, investors invest in and the allegations and that investment advisers and have funds to reach their duties and charging twice as much to regular folks like us than institutional investors for virtually the same services and there is a case called our purses reynolds which will go into the inquiry notice test for bringing claims against companies for violation of securities laws. what is going to happen i think as these cases play out their obey focus on the aftermath of the financial crisis and the court looking dr. finally at a couple of these historic statutes. in the aftermath of this large financial meltdown that we have. institutionally if the court my
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observation is and that the justices will be taking quite some time to get a sense other member board chief justice roberts will be on the court for his fourth term, that will be a time and the combination and deily each other out who played itself out both in the arguments in the opinion writing. justice alito very first opinion, justice scalia slammed him for a light on legislative history, welcome to the supreme court and will be interesting to see what kind of well, judge sotomayor receives. >> thank you so much to the panel and to the audience. we will see you next year. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> today al franken took the oath of office becoming minnesota's new united states senator. the senate party bringdown 258 democrats, 40 republicans and two independents
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patrick leahy helmut a news conference in support of judge sotomayor joined by members of the law enforcement community, judge sotomayor confirmation hearing scheduled to begin on july 13th. this event with senator leahy is about 20 minutes. >> thank-you. good morning. today i am pleased to say i was with an impressive group of leaders and advocates are dissenting law enforcement agencies, organizations from across the country. there are here to support president obama's historic nomination of a judge sonia sotomayor to the supreme court. as many of the law enforcement leaders here can attest, judge sotomayor's criminal-justice record on and off the bench as exemplary. for years as a prosecutor in the
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new york city district attorney's office through her years as a trout judge on the federal bench and 10 years on the appellate courts, she has an external record a following and defending and pulling the rule of law and going to release the results of a comprehensive study conducted by the senate judiciary committee and speaks to her new record of being tough on crime. we review and more than 800 criminal cases and can be said with confidence in is a consensus judge to issue. in fact, an judge sotomayor's record proves she's a moderate judge, whose decisions in criminal cases differ from those her colleagues on the bench as i looked at the specifically and more than 400 criminal cases she decided republican appointed judges and those considered the
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same arguments in efforts the same as judge sotomayor, agreed with her more than any% of the time. i say this because she had to some as on a person who matter but as a non-partisan matter. as the majority committee study reveals on the appellate courts judge sotomayor affirmed criminal convictions 92% of the time, reverse convictions only 2 percent of the time she was particularly consistent enough polling convictions involving the most serious offenses and violent crimes of firm convictions 98% of the time including some of it in terrorism and organized crime cases. how i think a lot of this is reflected in her experience as a prosecutor or she gained practical experience about the real world challenges and the dangers of police officers facing every day. as a prosecutor she dealt with those police officers everyday.
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issue and about the pain and frustration and sense of violation that crime victims experience. she worked with police officers as a prosecutor and she worked side by side with crime victims and her quest for justice for the ordinary americans. is no surprise she has a strong record of being fair and criminal cases. when the country years from where next confirmation hearing i have no ground you agree with these groups the fraternal order of police, national association of police organizations, national sheriffs' association, national district attorneys association where i had the honor to serve the vice president, the national rescission of black law enforcement executives, the national latino peace officers
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association, major city chiefs association and the police executive research forum are represented here. and all studies she is a qualified nominee to who serve on the nation's highest court. and one last thing i should mention just this morning the american virus association announced that they gave her unanimous and well qualified rating of judge sotomayor. that is the highest rating that the american bar association can give any judge. they did it unanimously. it is a confidential. you evaluation of professional qualifications, her integrity and professional confidence and judicial temperament resulted in the highest rating possible. let's get the national law enforcement leaders an opportunity to say a few words and will be hearing from her david taylor, the national vice president of the fraternal order
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of please. at some point i will slip out because they go into session where they have asked all senators to be there swearing in a new senator, something that happens every so often. i think all senators and republicans and democrats will likely want to be there. >> senator sessions raise some concerns. >> they can raise of the concerns they want, this is a mainstream civil rights organization that just like mayor bloomberg and others i'm proud of what they have done and it seems to be some people seem to worry some date that represents people may be minorities somehow that is suspicious. i don't feel that way at all.
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>> my name is dave taylor, on the national vice president for the fraternal order of police and i'm here today at the request of our national president chun canterbury who do to illness cannot be here today. but i'm here today to pledge our continued support of the nation's largest law enforcement labor organization for the nomination of judge sonia sotomayor to the supreme court of the united states of america. speaking as a law-enforcement officer it says a lot about her character, the young french lawyer out of yale the size to begin her legal career as a prosecutor and the district of manhattan at a time when crime in our urban areas was running rampant. in the five years she was at that office she put a lot of bad guys in jail. and forge a genuine respect for the men and women working the be in manhattan. in 1992 she was nominated by
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president george h. w. bush to the u.s. district court for the southern district of new york. six years later she was named to the u.s. court of appeals for the second circuit by president bill clinton. over the course of her career the judge's demonstrated herself to be a sharper, faster interest analyzing each case on its merits in the way the facts before rendering its decision. in rulings i can say that this is a judge at any beat officer can and will support. it is for that reason that the executive board of police unanimously voted to endorse her where the u.s. supreme court. i am proud to be here this morning and we as an organizations and ready to assist in her confirmation. thank you. >> good morning, i am the
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executive director of the national association of police organizations to represent 241,000 sworn law in force when officers in the u.s.. thank you chairman leahy. on behalf of our association i could thank you for all you have done to support the law enforcement community. is a pleasure to be here and stand with you and represented the law offers an income of justice organizations in support of judge sotomayor's nomination to the u.s. supreme court. throughout her a distinguished career judge sotomayor has worked in every level of our judicial system, giving her the depth of experience and knowledge that will be a valuable on the nation's highest court. she was a prosecutor in a corporate litigator before her nomination to the u.s. district court by president bush in 1991. a year later president clinton promoted her to the u.s. supreme court of appeals or she has served the past 11 years. three years of trial experience as an assistant district attorney savana redding and understanding of law for some officers go through day in and
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day out on their jobs. her support of placing cases dealing with criminal procedure and qualified immunity is in the release of the financing issue. she has shown how she has a keen awareness of the real world applications of judicial rulings and a born aspect one comes to evaluating the actions of law enforcement officers and keeping them in the communities safe. we believe that judge sotomayor's is sense of his peers in the judicial system and an elegy gain as a judge will serve our nation well. therefore we join our colleagues of ours in the senate judiciary committee to approve the nomination of a judge sotomayor to the u.s. supreme court. gum >> good morning. my name is joseph macmillan, the national president of the national organization of black law enforcement executives. out like to begin by thanking chairman leahy and in allowing
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us to participate in this event. and express our support of a judge sotomayor as the 100 and 11 the supreme court justice. as i stand before you today to save the week john support president obama selection of judge sotomayor as his first nominee for the supreme court's. throughout her remarkable career judge sotomayor has shown she has the tenacity of the intelligence and legal prowess needed to serve as a supreme court justice pierre and her record reflects that change really prepares and this is all angles of a it revised metal opinions that are consistent with the loss. judge sotomayor's experience has a prosecutor, a litigator and professor and judge will be an asset to the supreme court. >> we prefer this recorded events and take you live to the capital of the senate floor where mitch mcconnell and other republicans are talking to reporters.
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>> [inaudible conversations] good afternoon everyone. welcome back to town. let me begin by talking about what is clearly the biggest domestic issue and that is health care. we have seen the themes of this administration, running banks, insurance companies, automobile companies, student loans and now if you look at what the administration would like to get on health care you're inevitably lead to the conclusion that they also want to be running the nation's health care. there is overwhelming opposition in the country to the government being in charge of our health care. everybody is concerned about
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cost, but republicans uniformly feel that the cost issue can be addressed without having the government take over health care. we already have two examples of government health care now -- medicare and medicaid. both of them know are on an unsustainable paths with enormous unfunded liabilities in the and the administration is trying to fun of these parts of their health care effort to buy additional medicare and medicaid cuts, not to sustain those programs which are already unsustainable but to try to pay for a program that expands government care even further. we think this is very wrongheaded. if you are looking for a patterned look at the stimulus package, the goal was a russian spend, russia and spend. don't read the fine. team, just get it done yesterday and we saw what happened with the stimulus package, the prediction was it would hold on a point to 8% and it is going to 10.
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clearly that has failed and now they are anxious to rush in to spend on health care when frankly nobody has had a chance to read the details yet. i think this is a significant move in the wrong direction. with that, let me call on senator,. >> thank you, leader, continuing on with this discussion of health care, all of us having gone home this last we can talk to our constituents and came with stories when our folks were sent to us, they are scared to death that what they have and remember that about 85 percent of the folks have insurance are scared to death that is going to be taken away from them. they are going to lose coverage, somebody is going to get in between them and their doctor. and using the medical analogy here, doctors, of course, our first and honest to do no harm in treating a patient. we think we should do the same thing with health care reform.
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let's take the time to do it right and especially for all americans for already covered by either a government program or private insurance it on to any harm to their coverage. if they like what they have let them keep but ended don't cut programs like medicare in order to fund this program. that is what seniors back in arizona are really afraid of. we just got the word that the health committee is a new version of its bill now. is actually gone and the score down two only six and a billion dollars a part of the reason is they took out a title that is fine to cause the same amount of money and that is to add to medicaid. in part of this is going to be a shell game to show that it doesn't cost as much as a really does buy simply deferring to later some of the additional spending that will have to occur. another reason why we want to take our time to do this right for the sake of the american people. >> republicans on health care
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reform this. we want to start, we want to begin with a 250 americans who already have health insurance and make sure those americans can afford their health care insurance. when we also want to look at the low income americans and make sure that we are fair to them and one of our greatest concerns is about the proposals to dump millions more americans in a failed health care program called medicaid. two problems with medicated -- the first is the massive new cost to state governments. i suggested to my senate colleagues that any to vote to increase medicaid coverage and the way recommended by the bills on to be sentenced to go home and serving as governor for eight years and try to manage the program and pay for it because the cost of literally bankrupt the states. in tennessee the preliminary estimates put at an amount of money than equal two any
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10 percent state income tax. the second problem is that the medicaid program doesn't serve the low income americans who deserve to be served. 40 percent of doctors won't serve medicaid patients and if we don't millions more into the government program it will only be worse. would be like giving someone a bus ticket to without any buses on which two ride so the medicaid proposals that are coming up in the democratic proposals are simply an attempt to shift costs from washington because we have our knees bent anyone can imagine happier back to the states and will put them in the same kind of shape we're finding ourselves in. >> i think one of the messages that came across loud and clear during my travels during last week's break was when i think our common sense argument the american people are picking up on. one is you can't spend money you don't have and secondly when debarment you have to pay back.
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there is a realization made across america right now that we are continuing to spend and borrow and washington d.c. and that appears on the debate we are now having about health care because health care is going to be a trillion dollars new entitlements. one of the things i heard repeatedly over the break and most of it unsolicited people came up and talked about the hundreds of billions of dollars of new energy tax is imposed on american people that the democrats have in the congress. i think the american people are realizing these have to be paid for, there are huge costs associated with that and going to have a borrowing from generations and that is a message to the will start delivering to politicians in washington d.c. and i hope that we can successfully defeated happen trade legislation that was passed in every way to the house last week and at least slow this health care debate down to where we can really get at the fundamental issue that most americans are struggling with and that is the cost issue into a in a way that doesn't add
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trillions of dollars of debt that we pass on to future generations or trellis of tax increases on the american economy at a time when we can afford its. >> the folks in texas to one another government run health care program because they have seen in the flaws of the ones we have already. one called medicare where we are a know that it is fiscally unsustainable contends of trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities and so to our democratic friends really propose to create and other fiscally unsustainable government run health care program? on top of the ones we have now? and another medicare also is riddled with fraud, some $60 billion a year lost not and providing care to seniors but rather to people cheating and stealing the american taxpayer. finally because we know medicare like medicaid pays below market rates to physicians in my state 42 percent of physicians will
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not see any medicare patients and in travis county, austin, texas only 17 percent of physicians will see a medicare patient some medicare is currently constituted as on a model for another broken government health care plan on top of two other layers of broken government run health care plans. we need real reform which is addressing cost and covering people who don't have insurance now. >> we will take a couple of questions. >> [inaudible] >> if you couldn't hear the question, the hearings for a judge -- judge sotomayor is lee take president, this is a lifetime appointment. i expect republican senators will be there for this hearing. as democratic senators will be regardless of what other assignments they must have and they may have. i think that clearly comes first
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for next week. this is that no small matter. at the hearings over a supreme court nominee to the most important court in the land for a lifetime tenure. >> [inaudible] >> did you hear the question? about a second stimulus. down-home is to say there is no education in the second kick -- >> we leave this now to take you to the senate floor. a senator: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. schumer: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be dispensed. .the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. schumer: mr. president, i rise today in opposition to senator session's am t amendment immediately mandating all federal contractors and subcontractors to use e-verify. first of all, obviously, legislating on and delaying a critical appropriations bill which is necessary for us to pass, which is necessary for us to pass quickly to secure our borders, ports and provide into our interior points of vulnerability is a delay that we don't need. but, secondly, and more importantly, despite claims this amendment only seeks to reauthorize e-verify for three years -- which i don't oppose -- the actual language of my distinguished colleague's amendment makes e-verify permanent and mandatory. there would be nothing wrong
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with that if the system actually worked. but, it doesn't. the distinguished senator from alabama and i agree upon one of the main seven principles for immigration reform which i issued two weeks ago: namely that an employer verification system with tough enforcement and auditing is necessary to significantly diminish the job magnet that attracts illegal aliens to the united states. the bottom line is illegal aliens mainly come for jobs and until we're tough on employers, wave after wave is not going to stop. but as we speak, even under the e-verify system, any individual who steals a social security number -- that's easy these days -- and has access to a credible fake i.d -- also easy -- can get a job in the united states. and nothing stops anyone from loaning a fake i.d. to their
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friends and family to get a job. in either of these cases, an illegal immigrant stealing a social security number and getting a fake i.d. easily done, or some citizen for whatever reason -- an employer, whatever, giving the social security to the card -- doesn't do the job. because that illegal immigrant can enter into the system. and once they are in the system, they stay in it, never to be removed. so e-verify, frankly -- i know many in the immigrant community object to it because it only affects immigrants. but there's also another objection, and that is it's just not tough enough. it's not strong enough. we need -- if we're going to make a system permanent, it ought to really work. the current e-verify system creates havoc for both employers and employees. no one has certainty. employers, who accept all credible documents in good faith, are not guaranteed
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they'll never be targeted by i.c.e. for turn ago blind eye towards illegal immigrants in their workplace. and employers who question suspicious documents face lawsuits claiming they were illegally profiled as illegal immigrants. there is a a only one way to get a system that will stop aisle legal immigration and stop employers from hiring, and that is by creating a biometric-based federal employment verification system, and that will -- and that will give both employers and employees the peace of mind that employment relationships are both lawful and proper. it will give the american people the same peace of mind. and this system will be our most important asset in dramatically reducing the number of illegal aisle yens that are able to live and work -- aliens that are able to live and work in the united states. there are many proposals for
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practical and effective biomatter trick-based verification system and the immigration subcommittee, which i chair, will be vetting each of these proposals during our upcoming hearing on july 22. the distinguished senator from alabama, my friend, is a member of the immigration subcommittee rs and i engage him to engage in this critical process four for our country during the hearing and ask all the questions he would like to the distinguished panel of expert witnesses who will be appearing. mr. president, we're not seeking to delay. i am eager to enact comprehensive reform with a really strong, tough employer verification system. but an amendment making the flawed e-verify system permanent and mandatory will only create more problems than it solves. once we go down the road of making this flawed system permanent and mandatory, without fixing what's wrong in the program, we'll waste substantial amounts of taxpayer money, we'll make life more difficult rather than simpler for employers who
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wish to do the right thing. the time is coming for comprehensive immigration reform. the legislation will create the best employment verification system possible, and it'll be a product of deliberation and consensus and will be informed by experts on the issue. it will be tougher, tighter, and more effective than e-verify, and i believe, we can get that done this year. let's not do something hasty and counterproductive just to say we're doing something. and, more importantly, let's not do it -- or, just as importantly, let's not do it as an amendment to an amendment ton appropriations bill. i urge my colleagues to vote against this amendment, and let's get to work on craflting an employment verification system that actually works and actually curtails the aisle legal immigration job magnet.
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i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. thune: i would ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. and that i be allowed to speak
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as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: so sorded. mr. thune: mr. president, like many of my colleagues, last week over the 4th of july break i spent much of the week traveling in ply home state of south dafnlgt i think many of my completion were in their individual states, and probably heard lots from their constituents about what they perceived to be the problems and challenges facing our economy right now. first and foremost is jobs. it's the economy. there's a real concern, i think, about -- across the country and rightly so about which direction the economy is headed and what are the things that congress ought to properly be focused on. and i think that discussion is always informed, at least with the american people, by a couple of sort of what i would call commonsense realizations. one being that you cannot spend money that you don't have. that is something that the american people get very clearly, largely because that's
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their reality. they can't spent money they don't have. they have to live within budget. the aim is true with many of the small businesses. the second thing is when you borrow money, someday you have to pay it back. you can't continue to borrow endlessly. am at some point there is an end to that. and that's certainly true for family budgets, sponsor small business bis budgets. the only place it is not evidently true is right here in washington, d.c., where we continue to borrow and spend and put massive amounts of borrowing and debt upon future generations. even most state governments -- many, mine included -- have balanced budget amendments that require them in any given year to make sure that the rave use in that they take in -- the revenues that they take in match up with their expenses. if they don't do that in my state, they can't go home. the legislature has to stay until the budget is balanced. so most americans as they observe what is happening in washington these days are
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increasingly concerned about the massive amount of spending, the massive amount of borrowing, and frankly the taxes which they perceived to be in their future as well. one of the things that were clear to me in doing parades and public events oarve the 4th of july break is how much people have picked up on the debate in washington over the so-called cap-and-trade bill which is a national energy tax on the american people. it passed in the house a little over a week ago before the break by i think a 7-vote margin. there was a big pressure to move it very quickly through the process to try to jam it through. there was oveit was over 1,200 . i dare say there weren't many members in the house of representatives before the bill passed that had an opportunity to examine it, it review is it and to study it closely to determine what the ramifications were going to be upon their constituents if the bill passed. and yet it d it was jammed through.
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it was a very close vote. at some point here it's going to be considered by the united states senate. but the one thing we know at a minimum, we can debate about how much, how big the cost of that bill is going to be, but we do know that it's going to impose significant increases in costs upon the american public for power, whether that's electricity, fuels, natural gas, home heating oil. the things that the american people depend upon every single day for their very existence, they're going to see the cost of those things go up, if this cap-and-trade bill passes. and we've said, you know, we've seen different estimates by different organizations, the most recent one done by the congressional budget office had a several hundred billion dollar impact, and i think if you reyou don't it down to a per-family cost it ends up being several hundred dollars a year in increased rates that they're going to pay. i would argue that it's going to be much higher for people in the midwest where i come from
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because of the way that we derive our power. most of our power comes from coal-fired power, and that's true not only -- we get a good amount in south dakota. there are other states around us that get significantly more from those sources of energy. there's going to be significant additional costs imposed upon people in the midwest whereas people on the east and west coast may see their power costs -- their energy costs go up but perhaps not as much. this is going to disproportionately impact people in the heartland, make no mistake about it. and make no mistake that everybody's electricity costs and fuel costs are going up if this passes. so the american people are asking the question, okay, if you're going to put a massive new tax on the american people, a new energy tax, what do we get out of it? what benefit do we derive? i think that there is an increasingly -- increasing concern, questions being raised about whether or not the environmental benefit that would be derived as a result of this massive new tax on energy in
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this country would be in any way close to the costs that would be associated with it. i think most americans have concluded it will not and i think most of the data bear that out. we knee for a fact that other countries in the world are not going to be participating in this system, and that america is going to be unilaterally essentially implementing this new regime, if it's passed, and that the american consumers are going to be the ones who pay the cost for what i argue would be very little benefit. there are many ways that you can get reductions in carbon emissions. we ought to be looking forge ways to reduce the pollutants in the atmosphere. you can drive intervestment in certain directions. we could make much more extensive use of energy power, which is clean and green energy. and something that we do very little of in this country relative to some of our counterparts in other parts of the world. france gets 80% of its power, derives 80% of its power from nuclear energy. there's no reason why the united states could not turn to that clean, green -- that clean,
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green energy source as well as renewable energy sources that we have an abun dons of in my part of the energy like wind energy. if you push -- if you put incentives out there and drive -- you can achieve the same end without putting this big cap-down mandate, government mandate on the american economy at an enormous cost to the american consumers. and that's the issue i would say probably as much as anything else that i've heard people talk about but not far behind it was this notion that the government is now going to take over one-sixth of our economy because of the -- the legislation that's moving through the congress right knew would -- quote -- "reform our health care system." and it's i guess no surprise to most americans that we spend a lot on health care. most of us would like to see us spend less on health care. many of us that i we can do that, this we can get costs under control, that we can do it through reforms that are -- -- that preserve what's good about the american health care system, that doesn't copy what's
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happened in other places around the world, europe being an example, where care is rationed, where people don't have access to the types of therapies and treatments and -- because the government decides what procedures are going to be covered, which procedures are cost-effective. those are decisions that are made by governments. in this country, those are decisions that are made by patients and by doctors, by physicians, by health care providers and those that they serve. we believe that's a basic relationship that we ought to preserve when we do -- when we talk about reforming our health care system. but most americans are very concerned that the government may take over one-sixth of the american economy and run it, imposing the government in the their -- in the place of the -- as i said before, what is tip -- has typically been a relationship between physicians and between patients. and so, mr. president, what i would argue is that whether it's the issue of energy -- new energy taxes on the american consumer, whether it's the issue of the government taking over the health care system in this country at a cost of -- a
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minimum cost of a trillion dollars -- now there's a c.b.o., congressional budget office, report that came out recently that says the new plan that the democrats are unveiling may only be $600 billion, but it also doesn't include many of the most costly parts of the plan that we expect the democrats to put on the floor of the senate at some point in the not-too-distant future. but i would simply say again that based upon the feedback that i got from people across this country and people across south dakota in particular over the break, that the government takeover of health care in this country is something that they are very uncomfortable with and they don't want to pay trillions of dollars in new taxes to make that possible. and so if you talk about the amount of spending that's going on here, the amount of borrowing that we're -- that we're doing from future generations, i think most americans come back to those two basic principles that i mentioned earlier, mr. president, what i call our sort of commonsense conclusions
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that the american people come to. one is that you cannot spend money that you don't have. and they see washington doing that every single day. that when you borrow money, you at some point have to pay it back, and there's borrowing going on here right now like there's no tomorrow. the health care entitlement program, if passed, would be minimum of a trillion dollars in new spend, either have to be financed by a tax increase, by revenue raisers that the economy is going to pay for at a time when we can least afford it, or by new borrowing at a time when we're already running over the next decade at least on average a trillion-dollar-a-year deficits. we cannot continue on this path. it is unsustainable. the american people i believe are coming to that realization. and, mr. president, i hope that the united states senate will put the brakes on this energy tax, will put the brakes on this massive rush to take over one-sixth of our economy by taking over the health care system in this country. and i -- i believe that as the american people start to weigh into this debate, that those of us near washington who are in
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positions to make some of these policies and shape some of these policies will be getting an earful and i hope so, because we need to put the brakes on this health care take it over, this massive takeover of the health care system in this country. we need to put the brakes on this cap-and-trade proposal, this new energy tax that will be imposed upon the american people, if that's passed in the senate, as it was a week ago in the house of representatives, i hope that we can stop those things. i hope at least we can bring some sense to this debate about health care that does reform our system, that does get costs under control but does it in a way that doesn't allow government to get in the way of making decisions that rightfully ought to be made by patients and by their doctors. and so, mr. president, with that, i yield the floor, and i yield back the balance of my time. i see my colleague from south carolina is here. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. demint: thank you, mr. president. i want to thank my colleague, senator thune, for pointing out again the disastrous course we're on as a nation with the level of spending and borrowing and debt we're creating and the atheamount of government intrusn
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into so many parts of our economy that alarm so many consumers. and i appreciate the senator bringing those up today. i rise today to express my grave conditioners about the administration's response -- concerns about the administration's response to the situation in honduras. there are a few absolutes in the arena of diplomacy and international affairs. as circumstances and regimes change, so do our interests and allegiances. one principle that should stand as a bedrock constant is this: a friend of freedom is a friend of america. our commitment to freedom is not confined to a culture or a continent. it is absolute and universal. it was this principle hard-wired into our d.n.a. that president obama appeared to violent during his eight days of silence while
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innocent democratic demonstrators were tortured and murdered in the streets of tehran by iran's tyrannical regime. thankfully the president eventually changed his rhetoric and offered at least some support to the people of iran risking their lives for their freedom. but he stopped short of any criticism or action that might be construed as meddling, in his words, in the test ache fares of a -- domestic affairs of a sovereign nation. but in the last week, the president has reversed course, meddling up to his ears in the domestic affairs of another sovereign nation, honduras. and depressingly, the president has once again sided with an ill legitimate and anti-american autocrat over democracy, the rule of law and an oppressed people who only want to be free. the facts on the ground in honduras are neither disputed or
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confuse, but they have been largely ignored by an international media distracted by the death of a celebrity. let me read these facts into the record. honduras is a constitutional republic and a longtime ally of the united states. it is one of the poorest nations in the western hemisphere, especially since it was ravaged by the direct hit of hurricane mitch in 1998. in 2005, hondurans elected as their president manuel zolai, a left of center but seemingly moderate candidate for the liberal party. given latin america's troubling history of military coups and self-appointed presidents for life, the honduran constitution strictly limits presidents to one term. so seriously do hondurans take their presidential term limits, that in latin america, the phrase -- and i'll butch they are spanish but i want to give it a try --
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[speaking in spanish] -- it means to continue in pow power. it carries a dark connotation to the region for everyone living there. for a president to overthrow the constitution and violate term limits is violating the constitutional form of government. so seriously that article 238 of the honduran constitution says that any president who even proposes an extension of his tenure of office -- and i quote -- "shall immediately cease performing the functions of his post." so it is a de facto resignation of office in honduras for a president to attempt to do what their president did. zolia's 2005 campaign was supported by hugo chavez, the marxist venezuelan dictator bent on amassing power in the western
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hemisphere at the expense of what he calls the north american empire. that is us. zolia quick willing aligned his government with chavez's and joined anti-american socialists, like the castro brothers in cuba and daniel ortego in nicaragua and chavez's economic cartel. when zolia's term -- zolia's term coming to an end next year, chavez convinced him to do as he himself had done in venezuela, to force a constitutional amendment extending his presidential term. this would be in direct violation of what their constitution says. earlier this year, zolia called for a referendum to initiate a constitutional convention. and in ensuing litigation, the honduran courts ruled the referendum was unconstitutional and illegal, as the honduran
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constitution explicitly gives only its congress the power to call such a vote. zolia forged ahead, calling his referendum a nonbinding survey. this, too, the supreme court found unconstitutional. zolia then ordered the head of the honduran military, general vasquez, to conduct the election anyway. vasquez expressed concerns about the vote's legality, so zolia fired him. the supreme court ordered zolia to reinstate vasquez and zolia refused. the supreme court ordered the military to seize the referendum ballots to prevent zolia from going ahead with the illegal vote. zolia then personally led an armed mob to steal back the ballots, which it should be noted were spirnsly printe suspd in venezuela.
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zolia allowed the government to set up 15,000 polling places to conduct the referendum for june the 28th. on friday, june the 26th, the attorney general of honduras, luis ruby,filed a complaint before the hondura honduran supe court petitioning for an arrest warrant for president zolia. the court issued the warrant unanimously, and according to the constitution, ordered the honduran military to execute it. early in the morning of sunday, june the 28th, the day of the vote, the military arrested president zolia at his home. they put him on a plane to costa rica as honduras has no prison capable of withstanding a mob riot of the sort they feared chavez and ortega might whip up. so they did it for his safety. the same day the honduran congress, controlled by zolia's liberal party -- his own party -- voted 125-3 to replace zolia with their speaker,
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roberto micciletti as a member of the liberal party. this transfer of power was strictly in keeping with honduras's constitutional line of succession, as the vice president had recently resigned. the regularly scheduled general elections remain set for this november and interim president miciletti is not a candidate. the previously nominated candidates from the two major parties remain on the campaign traidisprail both candidates and parties overwhelming -- campaign trail and both candidates and parties overwhelmingly approved the ouster of zolia. at every step in the process, the legitimate democratic government strictly adhered to the honduran constitution in civilian leadership of the military still remains intact. the military does not execute a coup. it thwarted the coup plotted by hugo chavez and implemented manuel zolia.
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honduras's democratic institutions are operating today and its government functions are secure. the only aggrieved party in this process was mr. chavez, whose brazen attempt to corrupt honduran democracy that wa was d by what has now been nicknamed the little country that could. the people of honduras stood up to hugo chavez, daniel ortego, the castro pressures, and they stood -- the castro brothers, and they stood up for freedom and the rule of law. for their courage, president obama has condemned them. he has called the constitutional ouster of president zolia not legal, claiming an expertise in honduran law over and above that of a unanimous honduran supreme court and a nearly unanimous honduran congress. stacte of state clinton lazily joined the international media
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in calling for the removal -- or calling the removal of president zolia a coup, a term fraught with dark memories of military juntas in a banana republic. of course, this is the same administration who insists on calling the recent fraud in iran an election. the obama administration joined in chavez' preposterous soviet-style propaganda resolution in the organization of american states condemning honduran democracy. hondurans i've spoken with -- i've spoken with a number of folks who have missionary groups there, medical groups there, i've talked to miguel estrada, who was born and raised in honduras and now a constitutional expert in this country, this morning i talked to former honduran president ricardo maduro, and they are all totally befuddled at the strange response they're getting from the supposedly free world,
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including our own administration. why we are siding with hugo chavez. this morning russia, president obama reiterated his support for zolia, the would-be dictator, as the rightful president of honduras. according to abc news, he said america supports now the restoration of the democratically-elected president of honduras, even though he has strongly opposed american policies. continuing with the quote from obama: "we do so not because we agree with him. we do so because we respect the universal principle that people should choose their own leaders, whether they are leaders we agree with or not." the president appears to think his support of zolia is based upon some principles of self-determination. he speaks as if opposition to
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zolia is based on partisan political differences. zolia was not ousted by political enemies. he was ousted by a government controlled by his own party. he was ousted by a unanimous supreme court operating in accordance to the honduran constitution and in conjunction with the nation's attorney general and supreme electoral tribunal. these folks followed the rule of law. the honorrian people -- ho hondn people have chosen their leader and removed manuel zolia from office. the honduran people upheld the presidents -- our president's so-called universal principle. the people seeking to undermine that principle are hugo chavez, the castro brothers, daniel
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ortega, mel zolia and, unbelievably, the obama administration. this is not about politics. this is about the rule of law, freedom and democracy, all of which are being defended by honduras -- the honduran's rights now against their enemies of which we appear to be one. why are we not standing with them? blood was shed in iran while we stood idly by. zolia's return to honduras on a venezuelan jet will most certainly lead to more bloodshed. what are we doing on the side of tyrants and sworn enemies of freedom? going so far on their behalf as to threaten economic sanctions against one of our poorest and bravest allies. secretary of state clinton has reportedly planning a meeting with mr. zolia in washington this week.
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i implore her to reconsider that meeting, elevating an impeached disgraced autocrat is more than an insult to honduran democracy. it is a green light to other would-be chavezs around latin america. it is a signal to the enemies of democracy and freedom that the united states no longer stands as a beacon of liberty. it is a symbol that the rule of law is pass sai. and that hugo has free rein to meddle wherever he pleases in the western hemisphere. mr. president, what do we stand for if not for freedom, democracy, and the rule of law? where is the spine of the administration to stand up to any american in any democratic -- and any democratic thugs in our own back yard? where is the intellectual clarity to see the facts on the ground as they really are?
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manuel zolia is criminal, constitutionally removed former president of a proud and noble country. to my knowledge no administration official has refuted or even grappled with the facts regarding zolia's attempted coup. given the undisputed and documented facts on what basis does the administration demand zolia's reinstatement? his removal from office was no more a coup than gerald ford's move to the office. it is bad enough that the president's ad hoc and highly personalized foreign policy seems to be less about supporting the rule of law than it is about supporting particular rulers. but the last four weeks suggest that the president cannot even be counted upon to support our legitimate allies. what happened in honduras last week was not a tragedy.
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it was a triumph of democratic courage and the unyielding determination of a free people to stand up to despotism. the tragedy, mr. president, has been the failure of the west and of our own government in washington to stand for justice an freedom in latin america. it is not too late. i have written to secretary clinton and there is a growing congressional support for the legitimate government in honduras. everywhere i go someone comes up to me and tells me to stand up for freedom in honduras. there is still time to look at the facts even to visit honduras itself. call down there, talk to the people. even americans in the peace corps are on missionary work, ask them if they're living under an oppressive military junta? they will laugh and tell you they're living under an independent, vibrant democracy with a representative government led by people they elected. they'll tell you about the free and open debate and the ongoing
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presidential campaign and who they're supporting in the november elections. there is still time to correct our position in -- and support our true allies and because we can, we should. we must. today, and i will try my spanish again [speaking spanish] a friend rf freedom is a -- of freedom is a friend of honduras. thank you, mr. speaker. and before i yield, i would like to set aside the pending amendment and call up the demint amendment. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from south carolina, mr. demint, proposes amendment 1399 to amendment 1372. mr. demint: i will speak on the amendment later. i see a colleague waiting to seek, so i'll yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the
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senator from arizona. mr. mccain: what is the pending business before the senate? the presiding officer: the demint amendment number 1399. mr. mccain: and the underlying legislation is the department of homeland security appropriations bill? the presiding officer: the senator's correct. mr. mccain: i thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment, call up amendment number 1400. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from arizona, mr. mccain, proposes amendment number 1 had 400 -- 1400 to amendment 1373. mr. mccain: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that further reading of the amendment be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: the appropriations bill spends $44.3 billion. it is 7% more than last year's appropriation and nearl
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nearly $97 million more than the budget request. increase this size -- the increase of this size is remarkable. i need to remind my colleagues that americans are hurting. they're losing their jobs and homes at record rates and here we are, business as usual. this was made very clear in the vote on the amendment that was defeated concerning a -- another appropriation for a museum in nebraska on a bill that was supposed to be for funding legislative business of the congress. but on this bill, again, it's -- it's business as usual. the level of spending is wrong. there are numerous unrequested, unauthorized earmarks which were added to the -- at the direction of members of the appropriations committee and the senate. and so maybe we ought to take a
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look at them. this is the department of homeland security appropriations bill i would remind my colleagues. so we threw in $4 million for the fort madison bridge in fort madison, wisconsin. as always, there are earmarks and -- in geographic locations delineated in the bill for these pork barrel projects. $39.7 million for the advanced training center in west virginia. $3.6 million for coast guard operation -- coast guard operation system center in west virginia. a good place for coast guard operations to say the least. and i want to point out none of these earmarks were authorized. none of them had a hearing. none of them were requested. in fact, three of them that i will read about were requested by the president -- this president in this administration under a report request from the
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office of management and budget entitled "terminations, reductions and savings, budget of the u.s. government fiscal year 2010," that was submitted by the office of management and budget. in other words, requests that these specific appropriations not be spent because of the fact that they either are not needed or are outright wasteful spending of the taxpayers' dollars. so we have another $16.8 million for the coast guard station in cleveland, harbor -- cleveland harbor, ohio, to construct a new multipurpose building. i want to emphasize to my colleagues that these may be worthy projects. they may be. generally they aren't, but they may be. but there's been no hearing, no request on the part of the administration. there's no request from anybody except for the representative of
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that state. $4 million for the national infrastructure simulation and analysis center. $102 million for the national domestic preparedness consortium. and that contains six earmarks. the national energetic materials research and testing center in new mexico. $23 million. the national center for biomedical research and training at louisiana state university university, $23 million. national emergency response and emergency training center at texas university, $23 million. national exercise and test training enter-- center in nevada, $23 million. transportation technology center in colorado, $5 million. and, of course, we never want to forget the natural center preparedness training center at the university of hawaii, $5 million. $3 million for the dbted environment for critical
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infrastructure decision making exercise. so we need money -- $3 million for the infrastructure decision-making exercises and money is set aside for the cybersecurity consortium, a group of schools, including, miami university of ohio, utah state university, university of nevada at reno, and potomac institute for policy studies. a certain thread may become apparent throughout this conversation here and that is the states which are generally getting most of this money happen to be the representatives in the united states senate on the appropriations committee. $2 million for the cincinnati urban area partnership. $20.8 million for the southeast region research initiative. $300,000 for the city of hackensack emergency operation
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center. emergency operation centers are very popular in this bill. now, there was no competition for these emergency operation centers. they may be worthwhile. they may not. we will never know because they're earmarked by the members. and they range from $1 million to $20 million to $247,000. we've got new jersey, new jersey, new jersey, washington state, providence, rhode island; north louisiana; little rock; vermont, columbus, ohio, city of ames, city of mount vernon. $900,000 for the city of white fish. and $1 million, of course we wouldn't want to leave out the city of chicago emergency operation center. none of these projects were requested by the administration or authorized or competitively bid in any way. no hearing was held to judge
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whether or not these were national priorities worth -- worthy of the scrace taxpayers' dollars. they're in this bill for one reason and one reason only, because of the selective prerogatives of few members of the senate. sadly these members choose to serve their own interests over those of the american taxpayers. i have filed and intend to offer amendments to strike each and every one of these amendments -- of these earmarks. enough is enough. the american people are tired of this process and they're tired of watching their hard-earned money go down the drain and i intend to fight every single, unnecessary, unrequested, unauthorized earmark in every appropriations bill. now, in addition to the earmarks i just covered, this bill includes millions of dollars for programs that the administration has sought to cut due to the program's ineffectiveness or
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lack of necessity. now, the amendment that i just proposed has as an example the over the road bus security program. the administration proposed in its 2010 budget to eliminate the over-the-road bus security program since the awards are not based on risk as represented by the 9/11 commission and has not been assessed as effective. specifically, the office of management and budget stated -- quote -- "recently the funding for this program has gone to private-sector entities for business investments and g.p.s.-type tracking systems that they could be making without federal funding. for now this program should be eliminated in favor of funding initiatives aimed at mitigating verified transit threats." mr. president, again, in the office of management and budget submission, the administration
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says "the government accountability office has recommended that t.s.a. conduct an in-tkefpgt risk analysis. for now this program should be eliminated in favor of funding initiatives aimed at mitigating verified transit threats. funding for the in city bus industry should be included in the larger public rail transit security grant program and prioritized against all transit-related security investments." but it's not. but it's not. now here we are on the one hand have the president announce with great fanfare a group of reductions and terminations and savings that the administration is going to make and is strongly urging be done, and here we have on the bill an earmark that indeed funds this very same programs that the administration wants eliminated. there's another one.
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and that is the u.s. coast guard war and sea. it sounds like a pretty good program. but the fact is that this $35 million, by the way, is a federally funded radio navigation system for civil marine use in coastal areas. and i quote from the office of management and budget. "the nation no longer needs this system because the federally supported civilian global positioning system, g.p.s., has replaced it with superior capabilities. as a result the program, including recent limited technological enhancements, serves only the remaining small group of longtime users. it no longer serves any governmental function and is not capable as a backdrop for
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g.p.s." so we're going to spend $35 million on g.p.s. that is useless. it's useless. why? why would we want to do that? why would we want to spend that kind of money? it's amazing. it's amazing. then there's the emergency operation centers, of course, some $20 million that, for the operation centers in ohio, illinois and new jersey, et cetera. and these, of course, are obviously the result of earmarks. now, again, the office of management and budget says the administration is proposing to eliminate the emergency operation center grant program in the 2010 budget because the program's award allocations are not based on risk assessment. oh, really? also other department of homeland security grant programs can.
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the presiding officer: funding for the same purpose more effectively. it goes on to talk about how the grant program was established by supporting flexible, sustainable secure and interoperable o.c.'s et cetera. the e.o.c. grant program uses award criteria that are not risk-based and the administration supports a risk-based approach to homeland security grant awards. i wonder how many of these would be awarded if they were risk-based and how many of them are awarded because of the influence of members of the appropriations committee. the -- in addition, in 2009, e.o.c. construction and renovation was approved as an allowable expense under the emergency management peformance grant program. thus, providing a more effective funding mechanism through which potential grantees prioritized expenditures on e.o.c.'s against
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other emergency management initiatives. in other words, we're spending these millions of dollars -- $20 million, i guess it is -- in an unnecessary fashion that has nothing to do with risk, but has everything to do with influence. so it's business as usual. it's business as usual here in our nation's capital. we just came off a recess, and a lot of us spent time, as i did, traveling around our states. people in my state are hurting. people in my state are wondering whether they're going to be able to keep their job or get a job, whether they're able to afford health care, whether they're able to educate their children. and they're having to tighten their belts in ways that perhaps certainly no one ever has had to do before in our lifetime. so what do we do?
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what do we do here? business as usual. millions of dollars unnecessary and unwanted pork. last year congress appropriated many millions of dollars. this one, again, is $97 million more than the budget request, and much of that is obviously unnecessary and unneeded. and in some cases even unwanted. so, on behalf of the citizens of my state who are having to tighten their belts, who are undergoing unprecedented difficulties and hard times, while we are on this spending spree and accumulating trillions of dollars of debt that we are committing generational theft and laying on our children and grandchildren, i intend to fight
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for their tax dollars. and i intend to fight until this egregious practice of pork-barrel earmark spending which has bred corruption is brought to a halt. mr. president, i ask for the yeas and nays on this amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? mr. mccain: mr. president, i yield the floor. before i yield, i would ask to be -- the presiding officer: there appears to be a sufficient second. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. mccain: mr. president, before i yield the floor, i would like to include in the record at this time a list of the various bus companies and the states in which they operate are included in the record at this time. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. mccain: mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. martinez: mr. president, i'd like to ask unanimous consent that i be permitted to
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speak as if in morning business for a period of about ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. martinez: thank you, mr. president. let me begin by thanking my dear friend from the state of arizona for pointing out to us once again and reminding us of this egregious practice of earmark spending that continues to not only grow, but who continues to be really, i think, a dark mark on our record here as members of the united states congress. and i think, as he rightly pointed out, at a time of serious economic distress in places like arizona and i certainly can say as in florida, that it is a bit out of sync for us to be continuing the spending as usual just by the mere fact that there is a member of the appropriations committee that can in fact command something to be done only because it will benefit a narrow interest within their state, within their
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district, which in tpafbgt may not -- in fact may not have been requested and may not be needed. mr. president, i rise to speak about the events in honduras. honduras are the -- the events that are taking place in honduras right now are the unfortunate result of a silence from both the united states and the inter america community for the assault of the honduras democratic institutions. it is difficult for hondurans and other democracies within the region to understand the full significance of president zolia -- zolia's expulsion from honduras. up until this point there has not been significant dismantling of free societies in venezuela, bolivia and as honduras was going down the path, you might add nicarauga to that. it is also hard to explain why there was silence in the face of
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president zolia's earlier actions, especially the events that have appeared to precipitated his ousting, the story of a military base to receive referendums previously declared unconstitutional by the honduras supreme court. a fundamental tenet of democracy. you've got a president in the executive branch and a judicial branch of government, and that anch of government told the president that the referendum he was seeking to have to extend his rule beyond the constitutional term was illegal, should not be done. he was undeterred and he was completely unrepentant as he sought to continue with his plan to have a referendum, even though the congress, even though the judiciary had already told him that that was in contravention of the constitution of their country. where was the region's outrage or hugo chavez's support for
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mr. zolia's unconstitutional actions in honduras? mr. chavez supported mr. zolia because they are kindred spirits because mr. chavez had been able to usurp every bit of democracy within venezuela and rules as an auto crat. he wanted that same play book to be applied in honduras as he coached in bolivia and to some degree in nicarauga as well. so the honduran people decided this was tphoft going to happen in their -- not going to happen in their country and the people of the honduran congress and the honduran supreme court decided it would not happen on their watch. but the silence followed a pattern of acquiescence of chavez's dismantling of democratic institutions in venezuela. for instance, the o.e.s. has said absolutely nothing about chavez's closing of independent
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media, his manipulation of elections, his erosion of independent branches of government and his usurping of the authority of local elected officials. leaders like chavez, ortega and zolia have cloaked themselves in the language of democracy when it's convenient for them. yet, their actions ignore it when it doesn't further their personal ambitions. this situation was compounded by the united states' actions, including work behind the scenes to keep the honduran congress and supreme court from using the clearly legal means of presidential impeachment. some of us have wondered why wasn't he impeached? why didn't the congress impeach president zolia? the fact of the matter is that our embassy in tegucigalpa counseled that we should not do that -- that they should not do that, that the hondurans should not use the tools of impeachment. having stood on the sidelines while mr. zolia overstepped the
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nation's constitution, the united states and the international community only speak now. protecting a sitting president regardless of their illegal act sets a dangerous precedent. instead u.s. policy should be focused on supporting efforts that uphold the integrity of constitutional order and democratic institutions. in fairness with the obama administration, this distorted policy is not new. they're advised from the state department, former president george w. bush was talked out of having the united states stand visibly in latin america. the advice was based on the belief by not making the united states an issue this would allow the united states to stand up for democratic activists. unfortunately, no country or leader did so. most importantly, the secretary general of the organization of american states passed that idly by year after year, democracy after democracy being dismantled one piece at a time, one institution at a time, saying
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absolutely nothing. the o.a.s. has a responsibility to condemn and sanction presidential abuses, not just abuses against presidents. because the o.a.s. failure to uphold the checks and balances within democracies, it has become an enableer of authoritarian leaders throughout the region. the result of this has been a signal of acceptance to antidemocratic actions and abandonment of those fighting for democracy in venezuela, bolivia, nicarauga, ecuador and elsewhere. this silence was compounded by recent repudiation of the application of the inter american charter, democratic charter to the cuban dictatorship. it was in honduras with mr. zolia taking the leading role where the o.a.s. general assembly decided against any clear democratic standards for cuba retaking his seat in that organization. so here's what occurred. the organization of american states filled with the desire to reincorporate cuba into the
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family of nations completely ignoring that for 50 years cuba has been a military dictatorship without even the vestiges of a free and fair election, and they invited cuba to be readmitted without setting up a standard by which they would have to live. president zelaya, with his partner, hugo chavez, was leading the charge saying cuba should be welcomed back and there should be no conditions. the conditions of democratic rule of the ones he is relying upon to try to get his presidency back. it was mr. zelaya seeking the protection of the democratic charter of the o.a.s. which he thinks important to apply to him but which he felt was unimportant to apply to the rights and opportunities of the cuban people to try to claim a democratic future for themselves. the crisis in honduras stems from the failure of its leaders to live within constitutional boundaries and the early silence of the united states and the international community regarding the abuse of power by
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the honduran executive. tragically, the united states and the o.a.s. have put honduras and the region in a position where democracy is the looser once again. the return of mr. zelaya signals the approval of the unconstitutional act. if he is not allowed to return the unacceptable bear of forcibly exiling a leader is given tass the approval. this is what happens when principles are sacrificed for a policy only described as appeasement of authoritarians. in the current crisis neither the united states nor other countries in the region or the international community should be taking sides in a constitutional dispute but rather encouraging a resolution through dialogue among hondurans. to this end, efforts should be focused on helping hondurans form a reconciliation government that includes representatives not associated with either government. the objective to keep honduras
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on track to hold currently scheduled presidential elections in november with the inauguration of a new president in january as mandated by the honduran constitution. the newly elected president with an electoral mandate then can decide how to deal with mr. zoo lay and those involved in -- zelaya and those involved in the out of ther. as president obama takes up key state department positions in the united states it is time to question the acceptance of the uniteunited states of the sustad dismantling of democratic parties by those seeking to consolidate personal power. this is the larger challenge in latin america and honduras is the latest symptom. the united states must no longer remain silent. any disruption of the constitutional order is unacceptable regardless of who commits it.
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it would be well for us to remember that as we look forward to what may come next, the presidential succession ought to be honored, institutions of democracy, also, ought to be equally honored. secretary of state clinton met today at 1:00 with deposed president zelaya and it appears that she is seeking the, to align the united states with the mediation that is about to be undertaken by a nobel prize winning well regarded man from costa rica and that president arias might take the opportunity to see how we can bring this process back together again. it seems to me the elections in honduras ought to take place as scheduled and a new democratically elected government ought to go forward. the real question is, will mr. zelaya be allowed to return
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to the office of president? it seems to be unanimous that all monday occurrence institutions oppose such an outcome. they do not want him back. they have seen the dark movie of what life can be like in a cuban-type situation. they have seen the erosion of democracy with the complete erosion of freedoms so much made part of what we believe in, in this country, that has taken place in venezuela and seen the erosion of democratic values in nicaragua and they don't want to see it happen in their country. and one can't blame them. it would only be fitting they should find comfort by those of us in this country who not only value democracy for us but believe it should be shared by others around the world no matter their circumstances. it isn't good enough to be elected democratically but then rule as a dictator and in the process of being an elected president, move to erode all the
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institutions of democracy -- the courts, the congresses, even the military as an institution; they ought to be respected. their independence ought to be valued. what the play book of mr. chavez, which is to dismantle the military leadership and bring in cronies of his like, the efforts to then discredit the courts and bring in judges that he would also approve of has been the play book by which chavez has operated and the one that mr. zelaya was attempting to put into play so let's hope that president arias of costa rica can bring together the groups and there can be a free and fair election with a resolution to this crisis of democracy but let it be a wake-up call tore the rest of us -- call to the rest of us who have sat silently by. we ought to say "enough is enough," let's stand for the rule of law and democracy not only on less day but each andive
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reday thereafter as we seek leaders that are elected democratically but govern democratically. mr. kyl: mr. president, i want to complement my colleague from florida for a very thorough explanation of what has been to many americans a very confusing situation. also, his support for the most recent call for a mediation and discussion among the various parties so that this whole matter can be brought to a successful conclusion without armed force or other inappropriate action. i, too, hope that can produce the right kind of result. but i think the point, and if i could just, while the senator is still here, make this point strongly as he did, you have to stand up for what's right and we all know that an election does not a democracy make. you can elect a government which
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then begins to govern undemocratically and, unfortunately, some of the governments in the southern part of our hemisphere have started out all right with elections and then ended up in a very, very bad way. we certainly didn't want that to happen to our friends in honduras and, in fact, the people of honduras didn't want that either. people stood by us when we were trying to support forces of freedom who were fighting in nicaragua. and there were sacrifice on the part of the monday durns to do that -- monday durns to d hondu. it is important for us to stand up for our friends. for that, i compliment my colleague from florida and, again, add my voice to his saying that we hope the discussions that the secretary of state has called for, can produce an appropriate resolution to this issue without any kind of bloodshed or
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violence. mr. martinez: there is no more important country in terms of military relations in central america than honduras where we have the presence of our military, where we work together in partnership to try to stem the flow of drugs and narcotics into our country. and where we conduct not only training missions but other important activities with the honduran military as a partner and where we are very involved in providing aid and assistance. it would be well for us to hold back any declaration that a coup has taken place that would trigger other events. this is not a traditional military coup where a military group decides to set up a junta. the military people, while they may be acted too strongly, did not seek power for themselves but establish a constitutional order of success. so anyway, an important idea. mr. kyl: that is precisely the
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way i see it, as well and i hope this clarifies for the american people what's really going on there and that we can support our friends in honduras and that relationship that has existed all these years can continue to be the productive one that it has been. thank you. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i ask unanimous consent that i be able to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. cardin: mr. presidents i take this time as the chairman of the u.s. helsinki commission where i had the opportunity to lead a delegation of 13 members representing the united states at the 18th annual parliamentary assembly of the organization for security and cooperation in europe. we attended meetings in europe along with representatives, parliamentarians from 56
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countries representing europe, central asia, canada, and the united states. we first decided to stop in bosnia. we did that because, i'm sure my colleagues recall, the bloody conflict that erupted in the former yugoslavia in bosnia where communities were dislocated and people were killed because of their ethnic background. we found in bosnia, because of outside interference, the three ethnic communities that had coexisted for many years were drawn into a conflict. the united states, in the dayton accords, took the leadership in trying to figure out a way in which we could get the ethnic communities to live together in peace. as a result of the dayton accords, there was this government established for bosnia which has been unusual
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with three presidents. the one representing the orthodox community; one representing the ethnic bosnians; one representing the ethnic croats. this government brought an end to the open violence. we knew in recent weeks and months there have been problems in bosnia so we traveled to sarajevo to talk to the ethnic community leaders to see what was happening. i must tell you there has been progress in that region particularly with the neighboring countries that are now progressing, some of which are strong allies of nato and we have seen progress and integration in europe. so we can take pride in what we've been able to achieve in that region of europe in the balkans. but bosnia needs our attention. i'm pleased that we were there. it is clear, i think, to each member of our delegation, that if bosnia is going to be able to
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continue its integration into europe, and we hope that will occur, if bosnia is going to be able to move in a path toward nato membership, it needs to is constitutional reform so it has a functioning federal government protecting the rights of the three entities. but it needs to have a government that can function. during our trip i think we delivered that message. we were there shortly after vice president biden was there. we then traveled to the annual meeting in vilinias and first we visited minsk in belarus which is a repressive state in which the president rules with an iron fist. the political opposition is denied the normal opportunities of a government. we went there because we wanted to have an opportunity to
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advance the o.s.e. principles. the helsinki commission, which is our arm in implementing the o.s.e. is known for advancing human rights and economic cooperations. it is known for advancing security issues. we went to belarus because we wanted that country, which is a member of osce, to live up to its commitments to allow its people basic human rights -- the right of a free press, the right to express their views, the right to challenge their government peacefully, the right to organize the religions of their choice, the rights for economic reform which is being denied to the people of belarus. we met with the president. we met with the leaders of the different factions, the activists. we also carried a humanitarian request. this was an american,
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mr. zeltzer imprisoned in belarus. now, we don't know why he was imprisoned. it was a secret indictment and a secret trial. the u.s. was not permitted to monitor the trial. he was sentenced to three years. he has a very serious medical condition. it is believed he could not survive if he remained in belarus in the prisons. so we carried a humanitarian request that he be released. the president had the power to do that. we were very pleased that our humanitarian request was guaranteed. during our meetings, the president told us that he would honor our request that the american be released immediately and he was released later that afternoon and he is now back in safe care. so we appreciate that effort. we hop that represents a change in the direction of belarus. we may it clear that if the
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belarus government made con concrete steps toward the osce-type reforms on human rights, on economics, and other issues, then it would be a signal to the international community that we would bring belarus more into the family of nations. as you know this congress has passed the democracy -- the belarus democracy act imposing sanctions against belarus because of the repressive regime. i hope our trip, the highest delegation to visit belarus in over a decade, will be the first steps toward seeing change in that country and a better relationship between belarus and the other countries in europe and the united states. the main reason for our visit was to go to lithuania to participate in the parliamentary assemblies. i might tell you that one member of our delegation also visited
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latvia. at the parliamentary asystemmably, i was pleased that our colleague, congressman robert aberholt, was elected vice-chairman of the third committee, which is human rights. there's only three committees in the osce. one for human rights, one for security and one for economics. i was reelected vice president of the parliamentary assembly. that follows in the footsteps of congressmannal see hastings who is the former president of the parmtory assembly. the united states proposed three resolutions in addition to the normal work. all three were adopted, one or maternal mortality, one on afghanistan encouraging the obama administration's policies in afghanistan, and one on internet freedom. all three of these resolutions were adopted by the parliamentary assembly. we also recommended 26 amendments to the core
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resolutions. all 26 amendments were adopted. i just want to cover some quickly because i think they're important to u.s. policy and we now have the support of the osce, of the european and central asian communities in advancing these goals. one was to seek pakistan's interest in becoming an osce partner. now, they're not eligible for membership in osce because it's central asia, europe, and north america; but we have partners in cooperation that work with us, that we have mediterranean partners, including israel and jordan and egypt, and we have asian partners that belong, including afghanistan. and we think it would be helpful if pakistan sought membership as a partner in cooperation within osce. by way of example, osce has a mission in afghanistan that deals with border security.
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they now how to do nation building. they know how to help countries. we think that would be helpful in dealing with the u.s. policies against the terrorists in afghanistan and pakistan, if both had an arrangement with the organization for security and cooperation in europe. that amendment was approved by the parliamentary assembly. we offered another amendment to deal with combating antiseem tism. the u.s. hft helsinki commission wab the leader in developing strategies in europe to deal with the rise of anti-semitism and we've made a lot of progress and we continue to make progress at this meeting in dealing with the rise of anti-semitism. there were amendments dealing with water issues, energy, climate change and preserving cultural heritage sites. so as you can see, we had a very active delegation and we advanced many causes that were important to the united states. i just want to also point out
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that we had bilateral meetings. we met with our counterparts from russia to try to improve the dialogue between russia and the united states. this was a day or two before the meeting of our presidents in moscow, and i think it's in keeping with the obama strategy of trying to have a more effective dialogue between the united states and russia. look, we have differences. but we need to understand each other's positions to try to bring about the type of change that i think could be in the interest of both of our countries. and we underscore those points during our bilateral meetings with our russian parliamentarians. we also meet with the parliamentarians from georgia. we were very disappointed that the osce mission in georgia was terminated as a result of russia's veto of the continuation of that mission. that mission deals with conflict prevention. it's there to keep peace in
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georgia, where we know that there's still the potential for conflict to erupt at any moment, and we had a chance to meet with the georgian parliamentarians to go over those issues. we met with the parliamentarians fromliths. we were in lithuania. i might point out, mr. president, the last time i was in lithuania was february 1991, when the soviet tanks were in lithuania, where they had taken over the tv towers and returned to the tv towers. we were there in 1991 and saw the tragedy that the soviets had committed in that country. we also went to the parliament building. the parliament building was barricaded in 1991 because of soviet taifntle now we wer tank. now we were able to enter the country, a member of nato. it was proud moment to trowrn that site and see what has happened. the united states has a proud record of always recognizing the independence of lithuania, never
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recognizing the soviet takeover of that independent country. we had a chance to meet with the president, had a chance to meet with the parliamentarians, met with the prime minister, and mentioned an issue that is still pending that needs to be resolved, and that is property restitution issues and community property issues dating back to the nazi occupations, and we urged the lithuanian parliament to prompterly pass an appropriate law so that the payments can be made to the appropriate victims as quickly as possible singers as you know, many of the families -- since, as you know, many of the families are dying out and it is important that it be dealt with as quickly as possible and i hope that lithuania will follow through on those recommendations. as you can see, mr. president, we had a very busy agenda. i'm very proud of the work of each member of our delegation. we advanced the interests of the united states, and we will be following through on the different discussions that we had to make sure that progress
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continues in each of these areas. it was an honor to represent the united states senate with the helsinki commission, and we will keep you informed of the progress that we are making. with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. cardin: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: i ask that a consultant on senator leahy's judiciary staff be given floor privileges for the remainder of this week and until august 8, 2009. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. cardin: mr. president, with that, i would yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the
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senator from new hampshire. mr. gregg: i'd ask further proceedings under the quorum call be set aside. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. gregg: mr. president, i want to rise to speak on apcouple of items. i understand the leader may be headed out to ask for unanimous consent. obviously i will yield the floor if he should arrive for that purpose. the two things i want to speak about were, first, this rumbling that we're starting to hear about having a third stimulus package. some people are saying it is the second stimulus package. but it is the third stimulus package. we did a tax stimulus package, about $140 billion. then we did the $700-plus billion stimulus package this year. it's inkpraoepbsible to me that -- incomprehensible to me that we would want to have another stimulus package unpaid for and add that to the debt. we are facing a massive explosion of debt in this country. the best thing we could do to get this economy going would be to show the world and the american people that we're
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serious about doing something about our debt. and so to roll out another stimulus package in the face of that type of a situation is -- that would be unpaid for is a huge mistake, whether it's a tax cut or whether it's spending. and i can't understand why we're even thinking about it. when you look at the stimulus package which was just passed a few months ago, that hasn't even spent out. only 15% of that is going to be spent this year and another 37% of it will be spent next year. that means you've still got 50% of the spending of that $700 $700-plus billion bill to occur in 2011 and beyond. so if the purpose of a new stimulus package is to try to bring up the slack in the economy as we move into 2010 and on to 2011, we don't need it because we've already got a stimulus package that's coming down the road if you accept that as being useful. i don't happen to.
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but it is clearly counterproductive, clearly counterproductive if it is just simply going to add to the debt and increase the debt of this nation and the debt that's passed on to our children. the debt of this country is increasing to astronomical proportions. we're looking at deficits of 4% to 5% of g.d.p. deficits for the next ten years. we're looking at a debt that goes 80% of g.d.p. the new stimulus package would aggravate both those numbers dramatically and unacceptably. i see the leader is here, and i would yield to the cleared, and then i'd like to reclaim the floor. the presiding officer: without objection. majority leader. mr. reid: i express my appreciate taoeugs my friend and ask -- appreciation to my friend and ask that the record appear not interrupted. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that at 4:45 p.m. today there be two minutes of debate prior to a vote in relation to the mccain amendment 1400 with the time equally divided and controlled between senator
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mccain and the majority leader. on wednesday, july 8, when the senate resume consideration of h.r. 2892, there be five minutes for debate prior to a vote in relation to the sessions amendment number 1371 with the time equally divided and controlled between senator schumer and sessions or their designees. that upon disposition of the sessions amendment 1371 the senate resume consideration of the demint amendment number 1399 with two amendments in debate prior to a vote in relation thereto. that the time equally divided between senators murray and demint, no amendment be in order to any amendment covered in this agreement -- amendments covered in this agreement prior tpo a vote in relation to the amendment. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. gregg: reserving the right to object. i'm not yielding the floor as a result of that unanimous consent over the next three or four minutes? mr. reid: i thought we made that clear. no. we made that clear. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: let me quickly say
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before i give it back to my friend from new hampshire, we've been in many quorum calls today, plenty of opportunity to offer amendments. we're going to have to move forward on this bill. we have, after we finish this, we have ten other appropriations bills to do. we've got to move forward on this. people can't complain they haven't had an opportunity to offer amendments when they don't offer them. the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mr. gregg: to continue this point and to quote my colleague from north dakota, the chairman of the budget committee, the debt is the threat. and if we continue to pass through this congress, spending, which is off -- not offset, which is not paid for in the name of stimulus or anything else, we're simply aggravating this extraordinarily difficult situation which is the massive explosion of federal debt. and it's not fair to our children. more importantly, it's not correct and it's not good policy. nothing would energize this
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economy more than to have the world look at america and recognize that we're going to do something substantive about reducing our debt and our deficits. people around the world and in our nation would have confidence in our government again. but if we continue to talk about rolling out another stimulus upon the stimulus that we've already had, the first stimulus and the second stimulus, rolling out a third stimulus which will be unpaid for and expensive, that's not sound fiscal policy. and since the debt is the issue, let me turn to the second point i want to make here. the tarp which has received a lot of negative press over the last few months, has accomplished its purpose in large degree. the reason the tarp was passed was to stabilize the financial industry during a period when it looked like we were going to have a cataclysmic implosion of the financial industry. we were on the verge of a catastrophic event where basically our whole financial
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industry would have melted down, bringing down with it main street, people's ability to get loans, people's ability to send kids to school, people's ability to pay or buy a house, meet a payroll, run a small business. all of that would have been at risk had the financial institutions of this country been allowed to implode, which is exactly where we were back in september and october when the tarp was passed. and with those tarp dollars, those financial institutions are stabilized, and they were stabilized by purchasing what is known as preferred stock. as part of the tarp, it was made very clear that $700 billion that was going to be spent to stabilize the financial institutions, or potentially spent -- not all of it was spent -- that those dollars when they came back -- and we expected them to come back because this was an investment. it wasn't spending like the stimulus package. we were buying assets, the preferred stock of these banks. that when those moneys came back to the treasury, it was
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understood that those moneys would be used to reduce the deficit and the debt. that was an understanding that was written in the bill. the moneys from tarp, as they came back in, would be used to reduce the debt. what we're now seeing is the first group come in. $70 billion has come back to the treasury as a result of four or five major banks paying off the tarp moneys through repurchasing their preferred stock. interestingly enough, the taxpayers have made some money here. we've made about $4.5 billion on that investment. a pretty good deal over four months to make $4.5 billion. that money is also coming to the treasury. that -- those dollars should be used to reduce the debt. that's what they were -- the whole idea was. buy assets, stabilize the financial industries as the assets come back, pay down the
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debt that was run up in order to purchase those assets. unfortunately, some of my colleagues in the other body have suggested that we now start spending this money as it comes in on what happened to be, i'm sure very worthwhile, initiatives which they want to pursue in the area of housing, in the case of one proposal. that would be the totally -- total wrong thing to do. these dollars have to be used to reduce the debt. and by using them to reduce the debt, once again you will make it clear to americans and to the international community that we're going to be acting in a fiscally prudent way and we'll have a very positive impact on how much it costs us as a nation to borrow on the value of our dollars and on the amount of outstanding debt which we face as a nation, which is extraordinary, as i mentioned earlier. so it's totally inappropriate to spend this money on something other than what the proposal
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originally was, which was to spend it to stabilize the financial institutions and then take the money that we received -- in this case, with interest -- and use it to pay down the debt. the administration understands this, and i respect the fact that they made it very clear in a letter to me from secretary geithner, made it very clear -- and i would like to submit the letter. unanimous consent to submit the letter for the record. has made it very clear that they understand that this money should go to reduce the debt. they would like to hold it at sort of the desk for a few, few months to make sure they are aren't going to need it for another event of maybe severe fiscal strain. it's pretty obvious that we're past that time and they probably aren't going to need it, and so this money is coming back to the treasury and will either be used to reduce the debt unless we as a congress change the law. and so i just wanted to come to
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the floor and say it would be a real failure of fiscal stewardship for us to use these dollars for anything other than what their purpose was, which is to reduce the debt. mr. president, i yield the floor and make a point of order that a quorum is not present. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mrs. boxer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered.
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mrs. boxer: and we yield back any time remaining. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. the question is on the mccain amendment number 1400. the yeas and nays were previously ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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