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tv   C-SPAN Looks Back at Supreme Court Justices Confirmation Hearings  CSPAN  March 16, 2017 8:00pm-10:10pm EDT

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>> >> [inaudible conversations]
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hearings are expected to last three days we will have live coverage beginning monday 11:00 eastern with opening statements. we will also replay each day's proceedings in prime-time. >> as supreme court nominee
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gorsuch prepares to testify before the senate judiciary committee, a c-span takes a look at the current justices. we begin with the longest sitting member of the court court, justice kennedy appointed by ronald reagan he was confirmed unanimously 1988 berger he replaced the nixon appointee powell and previously served in the ninth circuit court of appeals. here's a brief portion of his confirmation hearing beginning with the introduction by democratic congressman from california. >> it's too bad that to individuals proceeded judge kennedy for this nomination to. and notice the editorial this morning in "the new york times" made reference to judge ginsburg and judge
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bork we should not compare judge kennedy to his two previous nominees. is an end of himself is a superb candidate for the united states supreme court. comparisons to not do this gentleman just this. with a deep compassion for the law, highly intelligent from his academic record in his experience of 12 years on the appellate court to demonstrate a level that very few nominees demonstrate. obviously judge kennedy is a conservative we support him because of our personal knowledge of judge kennedy.
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i look back at sacramento county where we grew up and i can talk to those 1 million people and not one would have anything negative to say about this candidate. one individual when asked by reporters what they thought of him said they noticed a lack of the observable ego. he is a man of humility, and compassion and individual that has no ego and to understand is the of plight of the common man. are also have to say even though he is a conservative we have a great deal of confidence in terms of what
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he will do for the u.s. supreme court. if one looks at his opinions name will notice he has judicial restraint that might make sense because that means probably will not overturn many of the decisions of the '50s through the '80s that means you'll have stability and that will make kids one further observation from a gentleman i have a great deal of admiration for over the next few days. from sacramento a black lawyer former general counsel from the naacp.
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we will listen to his testimony because that lawyers and law studentshave foi endorse his nomination to the united states supreme court. you cannot make a better selection. >> by appreciate the gracious welcome this morning and from senator wilson and the congressmen all three of whom i have no number of years. appearing before you as nominee as associate justice
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of the united states. can to show this confidence in me also thanks to the members of your committee for the most interesting and impressive set of meetings i have had with you and members of the senate as all over the last four weeks. these are courtesy calls that this is somewhat of a casual turned -- term was the advice and consent process. in with these your colleagues have indicated
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you want to explain to me your own view and convictions and ideas and concerns of the constitution of the united states and you indicated no reply or response was indicated from me. in every case was impressed by the deep commitment to constitutional rule and the independence of each member of the united states senate has. i wish your workload was such you could give the experience that i have had to every nominee to the courts of the article three system. so i am understand it is appropriate with your interpretation ellen introduce my family to is here with me.
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my oldest son is the recent graduate of stanford and now assistant project manager for a corporate relocation company in sacramento. and his brother gregory is a senior at stanford and monterey's to to ensure he is taken yes ctc does on his way to law school. our youngest child is kristin a sophomore at stanford majoring in liberal arts with english and history and finally my wife mary who has the love and admiration of our family also for 30 students at the golden empire school and we appreciate the invitation to be here today.
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>> i do not envy your tuition bill. [laughter] >> that is part of the record it is a sacrificeyou are making in any net sincerely. >> that concludes my opening remarks and i am ready to receive the of questions from you and your committee members. >> the program and sitting supreme court justices continues with clarence thomas nominated 1991 by president george h. w. bush bush, he won confirmation by a narrow margin following hearings that included allegations of sexual harassment by a former colleague in need of hill. justice thomas replaced thurgood marshall of the court and previously served for less than two years on the d.c. court of appeals and before that as the
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opportunity employment commission for credits confirmation hearing he was introduced by representative republican senator from missouri. >> i have no doubt would never to give the committee this assurance that justice clarence thomas will resist any effort to have to impinge on his independence to seek commitments have to decide cases before the court, so he will never become a sure vote for any group of justices on the court. for two months have noted with wonder the certainty of interest groups as they have predicted how the nominee would vote on the array of issues. did not know clarence thomas i do. i cannot predict how he would vote on any issue.
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he is his own person and that is my first point. second, he laughs. to some, this may seem a trivial matter but to me it is important. because laughter is the antidote to that dreadful doozies of federal itis interest groups to defeat the supreme court nominee to suggest there is something weird from the individual there is something weird about him. his laugh. it is the loudest laugh i have ever heard and comes from deep inside and shakes his body in here is something at least as weird in this uptight cities the object of his laughter is most often himself.
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third he is serious. deeply serious in the commitment to make a contribution with his life life, i will never forget visiting with him after he was nominated for a second term at the eeoc and i pressed him as it is a thankless job when done well makes everyone mad. and says i have not yet finished the job. a ponder this statement many times over the past five years that he has not yet finished transforming the eeoc to the industry did casket case inherited to the first-rate agency is today.
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that the discrimination he has known in his life is still too much with us there is still so much more to do it is not anchored it is not eating away at him but it is profound. with the justice that he has become. although not about money enumerated rights of the establishment clause but about himself. what was it like to grow up under segregation? what was it like to be there when your grandfather was humiliated before your eyes? what was a light to be laugh
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that the tissue are black everyone in the senate knows something about legal issues before the supreme court not a single member of the senate knows what clarence thomas knows about the poor and black in america. >> members of the committee i am humbled and honored to have been nominated by president bush to be the social justice of the supreme court of the united states. i would like to thank the committee for your extraordinary fairness throughout this process and i would like to thank each of you in some many of your colleagues here in the senate for taking the time to visit with me. there are not enough words
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to express my deep gratitude in appreciation to senator danforth. who gave me my first job out of yale law school. i have never forgotten the terms more work for less pay than anyone in the country could offer. believe me he delivered on his promise especially the less pay. [laughter] i appreciate his wise counsel and his example and tireless efforts on my behalf during the confirmation process i'd like to think the senators for taking the time to introduce me today. much has been written about my family and me over the past 10 weeks. for all that has happened
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throughout our lives and threw for city we have grown closer and our love for each other has grown stronger and deeper. hopis hearings will help to show more clearly who this person is and what makes me tick. my earliest memories as alluded to earlier that is far removed from space and time catching minnows in the creeks and fiddler crabs and would skip shells across of water a world so vastly different and in 1955 my brother and i went to live
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with my mother in savannah we lived in one room in a tenement and shared a kitchen with other tenants it had a common bathroom in the backyard. which was unworkable and unusable. it was hard but it was all we had and all there was. our mother only earned $20 every two weeks as they made not enough to take care of us. sicyon range for us to live with grandparents imagine two little boys with all their belongings in to crush three bags per chromite grandparents were wonderful people who loved us dearly. sitting here so they conceal their efforts and hard work
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borne not to intervene is of that they could see that hard work and strong values can make for a better life. i am grateful my mother and sister could be here unfortunately my brother could not. i attended segregated parochial schools and later a seminary near savannah. the nuns gave us hope and belief innersoles when society did not. reinforcing the importance of religious beliefs might read teacher and the other nuns were unyielding in their expectations that we use all of our talents the matter what the rest of the world said or did. after high-school i left
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savannah and attended seminary and holy cross college. gail had opened the doors and is conscious to admit minority students and benefited from this effort. as the assistant attorney general as monsanto eyes joining the staff in the senate as the assistant secretary department of education does u.s. court of appeals with the district of columbia circuit. but for the efforts of so
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many gone before me and would not be here today. it would be unimaginable
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>> >> he fell to if others sacrificing created opportunities for us than we had an obligation to work hard, be decent citizens, and be fair and
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good people and he was right to. mr. chairman the grandparents corrupt to live their lives in the era of blatant segregation and overt discrimination their sense of fairness was molded in a crucible of unfairness. i watched as my grandfather was called a boy. eyewash just my grandmother suffered the indignity to be denied the use of the bathroom. but they remained fair and decent and good people. loss by of the terrible contradictions they were
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hard-working productive people who always gave back to others. fuel oil from the fuel oil truck they bought a grotius for those who were without. they never lost sight of a promise of of better tomorrow and i follow in their footsteps. and i have always tried to give back. over the years i have grown and matured and learned to listen carefully to other points of view to think through problems to recognize there are no easy answers to these difficult problems to think deeply about those who are affected by decisions i need -- i
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macon made by a others but i have always carried in my heart the life and the people in the values of my youth those who believe so very deeply in spite of all the contradictions. is this my hope that when these hearings are completed that the committee will conclude on this and decent and fair person. i believe the obligations and responsibilities of a judge involve basic values and a judge must we fair and impartial in this numbering to his job the baggage of preconceived notions of
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ideology is certainly not an agenda and the judge must get the decision right because when all is said and done the little guy, and the average person, the real people of america are affected then only by what we do by the way we do our jobs. if confirmed by the senate, i pledge that i will preserve and protect our constitution to carry with me the values of my heritage , fairness, integrity , open mindedness honesty d hard work. thinking mr. chairman. >> the next justice appointed was through spader
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ginsberg 1993. nominated to fill the seat of justice white and confirmed by a vote 86 / three she previously had served on u.s. court of appeals for the district of columbia in the second woman ever nominated. daniel patrick moynihan introduced her. >> judge ginsburg is perhaps known as the of lawyer and the litigator who raised the issue of equal rights for women pdf to the level of constitutional principle. has distinguished herself with the wide range of legal studies of with last 13 years one of our most respected court of appeals for the district of columbia.
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i will take special pride in her nomination board and raised in brooklyn in the day after her nomination the front page of the new york daily news exclaimed a judge gross. [laughter] and cornell elected to phi beta kappa and columbia law school applied a tougher tack -- class and attended to law schools finishing at columbia so she could be with her husband to return from cambridge to begin the practice of law in new york. never has she been the member of harvard and columbia law review. with such a record do with thinking is not surprising to be serving as a law clerk . . .
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argued six of the cases before the court and won five of them. >> thank you. mr. chairman. senator hatch. and other members of the committee. may i say first how much i appreciate the time that committee members took to greet me in the weeks immediately following the president's nomination.
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it was a particularly busy time for you, and i thank you all the more for your courtesy. to senator moynihan, who has been at my side every step of the way, a thousand thanks could not begin to convey my appreciation. despite the heavy demands 0s on his time during trying days of budget reconciliation, he accompanied me on visits to senate members. he gave over his own desk for my use. he buoyed up my spirits whenever a lift was needed. in all, he served as kindest, wisest counselor a nominee could have.
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senator dematto from my great home state of new york, volunteers to join senator moynihan in introducing and sponsoring me, and i am so grateful for him. i have had many enlightening conversations in senate chambers since june 14th. but my visit with senator de matto was sure fun. >> it always is. >> my children decided at an early age that mothers' sense of humyear needed improvement. they humor needed improvement. they tried to reply the improvement and kept a back to record their successes. the book was called "mommy
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laughed." my visit with senator dematto would have provided at least three entries for the money mommy laughs "book. representative norton has been my professional colleague and friend since days when we were still young. as an advocate of human rights and fair chances for all people, eleanor holmes norton has been as brave and at vigilant as she is brilliant. i am so pleased that she was among my introducers, and so proud to be one of eleanor's constituents. most of all, the president's confidence in my capacity to serve as a supreme court justice
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is responsible for the proceedings about to begin. there are no words to tell him what is in my heart. i can say simply this. if confirmed, i will try in every way to justify his faith in me. i am, as you know, from my responses to your questionnaire, a brooklynite, born and bred. a first-generation american on my father's side, barely second generation on my mother's. neither of my parents had the means to attend college, but both taught me to love learning
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to care about pple, and to work hard for whatever i wanted or believed in. their parents had the foresight to leave the old country when jewish ancestry and faith meant exposure to denigration of one's human worth. what has become of me could happen only in america. like so many others, i owe so much to the entries this nation afforded to people yearning to bring free -- to breathe free. i have had the great good
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fortune to share life with a partner truly extraordinary for his generation, man who believed in age 18 when we met, and who believes today, that a woman's work, whether at home or on the job, is as important as a man's. i became a lawyer in days when women were not wanted by most membs ofhe legal profession. i became a lawyer because marty and his parents supported that choice unreservedly. i have been deeply moved by the outpouring of good wishes
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received in recent weeks from family, neighbors, classmates, students at rutgers and columbia, teaching kole legs, lawyers with whom i have worked, judges across the country, and many women and men who do not know me. that huge spirit-lifting collection, shows that while many of our people an individual's sex is no longer remarkable or even unusual with regard to his or her qualifications to serve on the supreme court. indeed in my lifetime, expect to see three, four, perhaps even more women on the high court bench, women not shaped from the same mold but of different
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complexions. yes, there are miles in front but what a distance we have traveled from the day president thomas jefferson told his secretary of state, the appointment of women to public office is an innovation for which the public is not prepared nor, jefferson added, am i. the increasingly full use of the talent of all of this nation's people holds large promise for the future, but we could not have come to this point, and i surely would not be in this room today, whout the determined efforts of men and women who kept dreams alive, dreams of
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equal citizenship, in the days when few would listen. people like susan b. anthony, elizabeth stanton, and harriet tubman come to mind. i stand on the shouldered of this brave people. supreme court justices are guardians of the great charter that has served as our nation's fundamental instrument of government for over 200 years. it is the oldest written constitution still in force in the world. but the justices do not guard constitutional rights alone.
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courts share that profound responsibility with congress, the president, the states, and the people. constant realization of a more perfect union, the constitution's aspirations requires the widest, broadest, deepest participation on matters of government and government policies. one of the world's greatest yourists, judge hand, said that the spirit of liberty that imbues or constitution must lie firth and foremost in hearts of the men and women who come -- compose this great nation. judge hand defined the spirit in a way i fully embrace, as one
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which is not too sure it is right and so seeks to understand the mindses of other men and women and to weigh the interests of others alongside its own without bias. the spirit judge learned has described strives for a community where the least shall be heard and considered side-by-side with the greatest. i will keep that wisdom in the front of my mind as long as i am capable of judicial service. some of you asked me during recent visits, why i want to be on the supreme court. it is onopportunity beyond any
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other for one of my training to serve society. the controversies that come to the supreme court as the last judicial resort touch and concern the health and well-being of our nation and its people. they affect the preservation of liberty to our ourselves and our posterity. serving on this court is the highest honor, the most awesome trust, that can be placed in a judge. it means working at my craft, working with and for the law, as a way to keep our society both ordered and free. let me try to state in a nutshell how i view the work of
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judging me brooch, -- my approach, please, is neither liberal or conservative. rather, it is rooted in the place of the judiciary of judges in our democratic society. the constitution's preamble speaks first of "we, the people" and then, "and their elected representatives. "the judiciary is third in line and it is placed apart from the political fray so that its members can judge fairly, impartially, in accordance with the law and without fear about the animosity of any pressure group. in alexander hamilton's words, the mission of judges is to secure a steady, upright and
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impartialed a meteorologist -- impartial administration of the laws. would add that the judge should carry out that function without fanfare but with due care. she should decide the case before her without reaching out to cover cases not yet seen. she into bevermiful as judge d then justice benjamin nathan car cardozo said, justice is not to be taken by storm. she is to be wooed by slow advances. we, this committee and i, are about to embark on many hours of conversation. you have arranged this hearing to aid you in the performance of a vital task. to prepare your senate
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colleagues for consideration of my nomination. the record of the constitutional convention shows that the delegates had initially entrusted the power to appoint federal judges, most prominently supreme court justices, not to the president but to you and your colleagues, to the senate, acting alone, only in the waning days of the convention did the framers settle on a nomination role for the president and an advice and consent role for the senate. the text of the constitution, as finally formulated, makes no distinction between the appointment process for supreme court justices and the process
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for other offices of the united states, for example, cabinet officers, buas history bears out, you and senators past, have sensibly considered appointments in relation to the appointee's task. federal judges may long outlast the president who appoints them. they may serve as long as they can do the job, as the constitution says, they may remain in office during good behavior. supreme court jitters -- supreme court justices work on matters on which the framers left things
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unsaid, unsettled, or uncertain. for that reason, when the senate considers the supreme court nomination, the senators are properly concerned about the nominee's capacity to serve the nation, not just for the here and now but over the long term. you have been supplied in the five weeks since the president announced my nomination, with hundreds of pages about me and thousands of pages i have penned. my writings as a law teacher, mainly about procedure. ten years of briefs filed when i was a courtroom advocate of the equal stature of men and women before the law, numerous speeches and articles on that
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same theme, 13 years of opinions unpublished together with the published opinions, well over 700 of them, all decisions i made as a member of the u.s. court of appeal for the district of columbia circuit. several commen on the roles of judges and lawyers in our legal system. that body of material i know has been examined by the committee with care. it is the most tangible, reliable indicator of my attitude, outlook, approach, and style. i hope you will judge my qualifications principally on that written record. a record spanning 34 years and
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that you will find in that written record assurance that i am prepared to do the hard work and to exercise the informed independent judgment that supreme court decisions-making entails. i think of these proceedings much as i do of the division between the written record and briefs on the one hand and oral arguments on the other in appellate tribe biennale -- tribunals. the written record is important but the oral argument often elicits helpful clarifications and concentrates the judges' minds on the character of the
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decision they are caed upon to make. there is, of course, this critical difference. you are well aware that i come to this proceeding to be judged as a judge, not as an advocate, because i am and hope to continue to be a judge, it would be wrong for me to say or to previous -- preview in this legislative chamber on how i would cast my vote the supreme court may be called upon to decide. were i to rehearse here what i would say and how i would reason, on such questions, i would act injudiciously.
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judges in our system are bound to decide concrete cases, not abstract issues. each case comes to court based on particular facts and its decisions should turn on those facts facts facts facts and the governing law stated and explained in the light of the particular arguments the pear order -- the parties or their representatives present. a judge sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecasts, no hint, for that would show not only disregard for the specifics of the particular case, it would display disdain for the entire judicial process.
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similarly, because you are considering my capacity for independent judging, my personal views on how i would vote on a publicly debated issue, were i in your shoes, were i a legislator, are not what you will be closely examining. as justice oliver wendell holmes couped one of the most sacred duties of a judge is not to read her convictions into the constitution. i have tried and i will continue to try to follow the model justice holmes set in holding that duty sacred. i see this hearing as i know you
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do, as a grand opportunity once again to reaffirm that civility, courtesy, and mutual respect, properly keynote our exchanges. judges, i am mindful, owe the elected branches, the congress and the president, respectful consideration of how court opinions affect their responsibilities, and i am heartened by legislative branch reciprocal sensitivity as one of you said two months ago at a meeting of the federal judges association, we in congress must be more thoughtful, more deberate, in order to enable judges to do their job more
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effectively. as for my own deportment, or in the constitution's words, good behavior, i prize advice received on this nomination from a dear friend, frank griffin, a recently retired justice of the supreme court of ireland. justice griffin wrote: courtesy to and consideration for one's colleagues, the legal profession, and the public, are among the greatest attributes a judge can have. it is fitting as i conclude this opening statement, to express my deep respect, my deep respect for and abiding appreciation to
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justice white for fine service on the supreme court. in acknowledging his colleagues' good wishes on the occasion of his retirement, justice white wrote: he expects to sit on u.s. courts of appeals from time to time and so to be a consumer of instead of a participant in supreme court opinions. he expressed a hope shared by all lower court judges, he hoped the supreme court's mandate will be clear and crisp, leaving as little room as possible for disagreement about their meaning. if confirmed, i will take that counsel to heart and strive to write opinions that both get it
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right and keep it tight. thank you for your patience. >> thank you very much, judge ginsburg. now what we will do is i previously announced, we will recess and reconvene at 3:15. [inaudible conversations] >> you're watching a special program on signature supreme court justices. steven breyer was nominated to fill the seat of harry blackman. justice breyer came to the court
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at serving as chiefity on the court of be appeals and he was a special prosecutor during the watergate investigation. at his confirmation hearing he was introduced by massachusetts senator ted kennedy. >> in his decisions he has construed the constitution to defend the basic rights of all americans. he has protected the right of women seeking family planning advice to hear about their right to choose to terminate a pregnancy. he has protected the right of government employees to engage in political advocacy and the right of students belonging to a church group to be recognized by a state university. he has protected the right of every citizen to rent or by housing free from the threat of discrimination. his inions on environmental law us have been praises by environmentalists. his opinions in criminal law cases seek to assure public safety while protecting the constitutional rights of defend
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defendants. as one hoff first members of the sentencing commission, he is widely credited with developing the guidelines to reduce the disparities in sentences given to defendants i committing similar crimes. as a judge he has continued his dedication to teaching teachingl scholarship. he has continued to teach courses at harvard law school and also continued to write and publish articles and books analyzing important issues of laws and government of the judge breyer is one of the country's most thoughtle scholar office the regulatory process and his knowledge and experience in this complex area of the law will be a major asset to all the members of the supreme court from the day he takes his seat. his most recent book on regulation drew praise from leading experts and he has south
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to make sure the public safety is -- not everyone agrees will off of his views but i suspect everyone will agree this views have contributed immensely to our understanding of these complex issues in our modern society. in addition, perhaps because of his service to the senate, judge breyer has emerged as one of the leading ex-pennes of the view -- he can opponents of the view that laws should be construed in the manner congress intended. he will add a needed and wish informed perspective. >> the outset, mr. chairman, i'd like to thank the committee, really for the serious attention that you all have paid to my nomination. i appreciate the members taking the time out of enormously busy schedules to meet with me personally. and i recognize that you and your staff have really prepared
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thoroughly for these hearings and you have read the books and articles and opinions and these things i've written. seems to me that's some kind of new form of cruel and unusual punishment. quite a few. there are many other people i'd like to thank. i'm obviously and very much deeply great follow senator kennedy who has given me so much over the years. i'm learn and continue to learn lessons of great value from him. i really want to thank very much senator kerry and senator boxer for taking the time tom come here along with senator feinstein for supporting my nomination. i'm especially grateful to president clinton for nominating me to a position that i said, and i do find humbling to think about. if i am confirmed, i will try to become a justice whose work will justify the confidence that he
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and you have placed in me. now, i'd like to begin by telling you a little bit but myself but you've heard quite a lot. and mae a few the experience think have had an important effect ony life. i was born as you heard and i grew up in san francisco. i attended public schools-grant grammar score, my mother was from st. paul, minnesota, her parents were immigrants. for me it's -- part of poland. my mother was a very intelligent,er practice tall public spirited person and she like many mothers had an enormous innuns on influence on me. she made clear to me hat whatever intellectual ability i
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have won't mean anything unless i can work with other people and use whatever talented i have to help them. so, i joined the boy scouts, worked as a deliver where boy, dug ditches for the pacific gas and electric companies and mixed salads the city's summer camp. you had policemen and firemen and lawyers and doctors and business men and their families and they were all there together the city camp for two weeks in the summer. great. great. my mother didn't want me to spend to much time with my books and she was right. my idea o about people do not come from libraries mitchell father was born in san francisco. he work as a lawyer and an administrator in the san fransco public schoosystem for 40 years i have his watch. he was a very kind, very astute and considerate man.
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he and san francisco helped me develop something i would call a trust in, almost a love for, the possibilities of a democracy. my father always took me as a child, into the voting booth. i'd pull done to lever and re'd always say we're exercising our prerogative. he would take me to canada night. our school used to go to sacramento to see the legislate your in session. all this led to to believe that government can help people and that government is the people. it is created now their active participation. and that is really why, despite the increased cynicism about basic government -- we have seen vast improvement in the fairness of government. still believe that with trust and cooperation and
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participation, people can work through their government to improve their lives. in 1957, as you said issue served in the army for at while. i studied in england and returned to harvard law school and then clerked for justice arthur goldberg who became a wonderful life-long friend. after two years in the antitrust digs of justice department i went back to harvard to teach and to massachusetts for live and for the last 27 years i have been privileged to live in cambridge, work in boston. i love teaching. i love my students. but if i were to pick out one feature of the academics side of my life that really influenced me especially i think it would be this. the opportunity to study law as a whole helped me understand that everything in the law is related to every other thing, and always, as holme pointed out
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the whole law row flecks not so much logic as history and experience. academic lawyers, practicing lawyers, government lawyers, judges, in my opinion, have a special responsibility to try to understand how different parts of that seamless web of the law interacts with each other and how legal decisions will actually work in practice to affect people and to help them. working here on this committee in 1970s, i learned a great deal about congress. about government. and about political life. there were disagreements to resolve, but everyone shared the same basic brown ground rules. basic assumeses about democracy, freedom, fairness, and the need to help others. these vast areas of widely shared beliefs are what has shaped the law of america and the lives of all americans. since 1980 i've been a judge on
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the u.s. court of appeals for first circuit that's maine, massachusetts, new hampshire, puerto rico and rhode island. because of my colleagueded and e work itself this job is a great honor, great privilege, and it's been a great pleasure. i tried to minimize what i think of as some of the less desirable aspects of the job. the jims can become isolate from the people whose lives their decisions affect. i've continued to teach and to participate in the community, and in other activities. which are important in connecting me to the world outside the courtroom. i have been helped in this task by my wife and her work at dana farber and at cambridge hospital, which shows me and others the sadness in the world as well as its hopes and i joys i believe that law must work for
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people. that vast array of constitution, statutes, rules, regular layings, practices, procedures, that huge vast web has a single basic purpose. that purpose is to help the many different individuals who make up america, from so many different backgrounds and circumstances, wife many different needs and hopes, its purpose is to help them live together productively, harmoniously, and in freedom. keeping that ultimate purpose in mind, helps guide a judge through the labyrinth of rules and regular layings that the law too often becomes. to reach what is there at bottom
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the very human goals that underlie the constitutions and the statutes that congress writes. i believe, too, in the importance of listening to other points of view. as a teacher, i discovered i could learn as much from students as from books. on the staff of this committee, it was easy to see how much senators and staff alikeearn from each other, from constituents, from hearings; i think the system works that way. it works better than any other system. and our task is to keep trying to improve it. my law school diploma refers to law simply as those wise restraints that make men free. women, too. all of us. i believe that, too.
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i really felt the particular importance of all this when two years ago i had the good fortune to attend a meeting 5000 judges in the new russia. those judges wanted to know what words, what words might they write in a constitution, what word would guarantee democracy and freedom. that's what they asked over a two-day meeting. they asked me -- they're they were interesting discussions. my own reply is that words alone are not sufficient. that the words of our constitution work because of the traditions of our people, because the vast majority of americans believe in democracy. they try to be tolerant. and fair to others. and to respect the liberty of each other. even those who are unpopular because their protection is our protection, too.
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you are now considering my appointment to the supreme court of the united states. that court works within a grand tradition that has made meaningful in practice, the guarantees of fairness, and of freedom, that the constitution provides. justice blackman certainly served that tradition well. indeed so has those who -- all of those who served in the recent past. justice white, justice brennan and justice marshall. they leave an inspiring legacy th have correctly caed humbling to consider. i promise you, and i promise the american people, that if i am confirmed to be a member of the supreme court, i will try to be worthy of that great tradition.
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i will work hard, i will listen, i will try to interpret the law carefully. in accordance with the basic purposes. remember the digs make will have an effect upon the lives of many, many americans. and that fact means i must do my absolute utmost to see that those decisions reflect both the letter and the spirit of a law that is meant to help them. thank you, mr. chairman. i might add one thing on a slight live different subject. i want to add this, if i may. and that is recently i know that in -- this is important to me -- that in recent weeks there have been questions raised about the ethical standards that i applied in city sitting environmentat
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cases in the first second at a time when i had an insurance investment in lloyd. i recognize that this question has been raised by people of good faith and there is nothing more important to me than my integrity and my reputation for impartiality. it is obviously a most impornt thing to preserve total public confidence in the integrity of the judicial branch of government. if have reviewed the cases again and the judicial recusal statute and i personally am confident my citying in those cases did not present any conflict of interest. of course, my investment was disclosed to the public. there's been absolutely no suggestion that loyds was involved as named party in any of the cases on which i sat. know of no such involvement. the judicial recuse alstatute
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does require recusal as well if you have one case that has some kind of direct and predictable financial impairment on an investment, if it's not speculative. that issue has been carefully looked into by independent ethics experts 0 who share my view. but mr. chairman, recognize the importance of avoiding conflicts of interest or even the appearance of such conflicts and that standard is zika shall for all uns and especially for their nation's highest court so i will do all i took meet it, including what i shall immediately do is ask the people who handle my investments to divest any holdings in insurance companies, as soon as possible. and with respect to loyd's itself i resigned in 1988 so because of one syndicate that remained open i have been
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advised i can leave altogether by the end of 1995 but i subpoenaed ask the people involved to expedite my complete termination of loyd's. i'll be out of that as soon as possible i possibly can be and i certainly will keep in mind the discussion that has arisen over the last few days and take it into account in reviewing any possible conflict whatsoever. >> thank you very much, judge. >> as supreme court nominee neil gorsuch prepares to testify before the senate judiciary committee, c-span looks the court's eight current members. push push push -- president george w. bush nominated john roberts to take the position of sandra day o'connor. he was put forward as chief justice following the death of william rhenquist.
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at miss confirm nation hearing, john roberts was introduced by virginia senator john warner. >> i femur firmly believe that john lawyers shares in the believe the lawyers have the ethical duty to give back to community by providing free legal services particularly to those in need. the hundreds of hours he spent working on probone in the cases artestment to that. he didn't have to do any of it. bar opportunity require it but he did it out therefore great-ness of his heart and obligation. those who know him best can attest to kind of person he is. throughout his legal career, both in public and private practice, his pro-bono work he has worked with and against many lawyers
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lawyers and they typically speak with one vice happy the talk about the dignity, and fairness or the hallmarks of this nominee. in conclusion, mr. chairman, i take a moment to remind all present and those listening and following that this exact week, 218 years ago, our founding fathers finished the final draft of the u.s. constitution. after a long, hot summer of drafting and debating. and when ben franklin, ultimately emerged from independence hall been the conclusion of a convention a reported asked him. insure franklin, what have you wrought. and she said, a republic if you can keep it and that it ultimately what this advice and convent -- convent process is all about. while the prosecution sets the court of our nation, it is without question that chief justice of the supreme court,
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who must have his hand firmly on the tiller to keep our great ship of state on a course consistent with the constitution. let me e. >> let me begin by thanking senators luger and warner and bayh and my thanks to the president for nominating me. i'm humbled by his confidence and if confirm i will do everything i can to be worthy of the high trust he has placed in me. let me also thank you, mr. chairman and the members of the committee, for the many courtesies you extended to me and my family over the past eight weeks and i'm graftful members have been accommodating in immediating with me permanently and i find them very useful in better funding the concerns of the committee as committee untakes the constitutional responsibility of advice and consent. i would not be here today were
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it not for the sacrifices and help over the years of my family, who you met earlier today, friends, mentors, teachers and colleagues. many of whom are here today. last week, one of those mentors and friends, chief justice william rhenquist, was laid to rest. talked last week with the nurses who helped care for him over the past year. and i was glad to hear from them that he was not a particularly good patient. he chafe the limitations hitches dud indication to duty was an inspiration to me and many others. i will miss him. me personal appreciation that i owe a great debt to others reinforces my view that a certain humility should characterize the judicial role. judges and justices are servants
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of the law, not the other way around. judges are like umpires. umpires don't make the rules. they apply them. the role of an umpire and a judge is critical. they make sure everybody ms -- plays by the rules but it is a limited role. ever went to a ball game to see the umpire. judges have to have the humility to recognize they operate in a system of precedents shaped buy judges equally striving to live up to the judicial oath. and judges have to have the modesty to be open in the decisional process to the considered views of their colleagues on the bench. mr. chairman, when i worked in the department of justice, in the office of the solicitor general, it was my job to argue cases for the united states before the supreme court. i always found it very moving to stand before the justices and say, i speak for my country. but it was after i left the
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department and began arguing cases against the united states that i fully appreciated the importance of the supreme court and our constitutional system. here was the united states, the most powerful entity in the world, aligned against my client, and yet all i had to do was convince the court that i was right on the law and the government was wrong, and all that power and might would recede in deference to the rue -- rule of law. that's remarkable. it is what we mean when we say we're a government of laws and not of men. that rule of law protects though rights and lischs of all americans. it is the envy of the world because without the rule of law, any rights are meaningless. president ronald reagan used to speak of the soviet constitution and purported to grand wonderful right all sorts to people.
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but this rights were empty promises because that system did not have an independent judiciary to uphold the rule of law and enforce the rights. we do. because of the wisdom of our founders and the sacrifices of our heroes over the generations to make their vision a reality. mr. chairman, i come before the committee with no agenda. i have no platform. judges are not politicians who can promise to do certain things in exchange for votes. i have no agenda but die have a commitment -- but die have a commitment. if i am confirmed i will confront every indicate with an open mind. will fully and fairly analyze the legal arguments that are probed and be open to the considered views of my colleagues on the bench and i will decide every case based on the record according to the rule of law, without fear or favor,
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to the best of my ability. and i will remember that it's my job to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat. senators luger and bayh talked of my boyhood back home in indiana. all of us retain from the days of our youth certain enduring images. for me those images are of the endless fields of indiana, stretching to the horizon. punctuated only by an isolated silo or a barn. as i grew older those endless fields came to represent for me the limitless possibilities of our great land. growing up, i never imagined that i would be here in this historic room, nominated to be the chief justice. but now that i am here, i recall those endless fields with their promise of infinite possibilities, and that memory
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inspires in me a very profound commitment. if i am confirmed i will be vigilant to protect the independence and integrity of the supreme court. and i will work to ensure that it upholds the rule of law and safeguards those liberties that me a third land one of endless possibilities for all americans. thank you mr. chairman, thank you members of the committime. look forward to your questions. >> president george w. bush's second nominee to the supreme court was judge sal samuel alito to fill the site of retiring justice sandra day o'connor. four months after confirmation of chief justice roberts. he judge aleta was u.s. attorney in new jersey.
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a his conversation hearing just alito was intro introduced by christine todd whitman. >> i have read many articles judge alead to has -- alito has happening throughout his career, trying to decide how he would make decisions i have examined the record. the final analysis my doing to support judge alito is not based on whether i agree with him on a particular issue or set of issues or on his conformity with any political -- particular political ideology. in fact, while we may agree on some political issues i know there are others on which we disagree. nevertheless, one's agreement or disagreement on political questions is, after all, ultimately irrelevant to the issue of whether or not judge
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alito should serve as an associate justice for of the people support. court's role notice rule bit its on justices' personal persuasions. rather, on persuasivearguments grounded this facts, the facts esented in that case and on theiinterpretation of the constitution. those decisiare grounded good he hard reality of disputed fact and the messiness of the real world and guided by the prints of law and justice treasured by the people of this country. we should look for judges that understand that in the core of their being. i saw this trait on judge alito when he was on appeals court during my terms as governor and i have every reasons and confidence we will exhibit the same as a supreme court justice. policy in the united states is defined through the laws craft evidence by the legislative branches branches of government and
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carried out by the executive. our judges make decisions based on their interpretation of the intent of those laws. we don't want justices to con official their decisions to ideologies with want justices whose opinions are shaped by the affects before them and their understand of the constitution. we should also look for justices who possess the necessary qualities of intellect and humility, desirable in those with great responsibility and who can express their thinking clearly and in an understandable language. while we should expect that justices will hold philosophies that will guide theirs decision's she eeloffly expect they will not hold ideaogies that will predetermine their decisions. that is the genius or our system. mr. chairman, some have segued that judge alito has an
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ideological agenda. believe an honest review of his record will fine that his onlying -- only agenda is fidely to his contract. if judge alead too has a bias it's in favor of nave narrowly drawn opinions. >> i am honored to be nominatedded and humbled to have been nominatedded for the seat now held by justice o'connor. justice o'connor has been a pioneer and her dedicated service on the supreme court will never be forgotten and the people of the country certainly owe her a great debt for the service that she has provided. i'm very thankful to the president for nominating me, and i'm also thankful to the members of this committee and many other senators who took time from their busy schedules to meet
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with me. that was a great honor for me and i appreciate all of the courtesies that were extended tomer during the visits and i want to thank senator lottenberg and governor whitman for coming here. in the previous weeks an all story bat lawyer who allergid the case before a the supreme court came to my mind and i thought i would share that story. the story goes as follows. this was a lawyer who had never argued a case before the court before, and when the argument began, one of the justices said, how did you get here? meaning how had his case worked up through the court system. but the lawyer was rather nervous and he took the question literally and he said, and this is some years ago ex-i came here on the baltimore and ohio railroad. this story has come to my mind
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in recent weeks because i have often asked myself how in the world did i get here, and i want to try to answer that today and not by saying that i came here on i-95 or on amtrak. i am who i am in the first place because of my parents and because of the things they taught me, and i know from my own experience, as a parent, that parents probably teach most powerfully not through their words but through their deeds, and my parents taught me through the stories of their lives -- i don't think any credit for the things they did or the things they experienced but they made a great impression on me. ...
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. >> he was set to work in a factory but at the last minute a kind person arranged for him to see a $50 scholarship and that was enough in those days to pay the tuition at a local college to buy one use to suit. that made the difference between him working in a factory and going to college . after he graduated in 1935 in the midst of the depression he found the teaching jobs for a
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italian-americans easy to come by but eventually he became a teacher serving in the pacific during world war two in a non-partisan position for the new jersey legislature which was the institution that he revered. did is typical with the opportunities that the country offers my father is a first-generation american and her mother came from a culture where women generally did not even leave the household yet became the first person her family
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working for more than a deca before marrying. until she was forced to retire it was a pretentious down to earth i attended the public schools in my spare time and i have happy memories and strong memories of those days and of the good sense and decency of my friends and neighbors after we graduated from high school to get a full 12 miles down the road but
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by that time i graduated from high school this was a time of great intellectual excitement for me college and law school opened vat is back in the '60s and '70s and i saw some very smart and privileged people we heaving a responsible and i could not help to make a onntrast between what i saw pus and the good sense and decency in my own community.
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to epitomize the open mindedness to read the detail in every single case and insisted on scrupulously following a precedent he taught all law clerks and all has to be decided on an individual basis. after my clerkship finished i work for more than a decade as an attorney in the department of justice cycas still remember the day -- standing up and i probably said i and samuel b. though it was a great honor for me to have united states as my client during all of those years i have been shaped by
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the experiences of those who are closest to me by my hopes and concerns by the experiences of the members of my family there were getting older and my sister is experiences as a trial lawyer met traditionally was dominated by men. of course, i was shaped over the last 15 years by the judge of court of appeals and during that time i have sat for thousands of cases. it is in the thousands and i have written hundreds of opinions the members of this committee and staff have the job to review those opinions have my sympathy that may have constituted cruel and
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unusual punishment. i have learned a law particularly the way in the judge should go about the way of judging by sitting on all of these cases and learn from the examples and when i became a judge i stopped being a practicing attorney this to achieve a desirable result for the client in the particular case that he and but it judge cannot think that way for have any agenda or a pervert outcome of any particular case misjudge his obligation is to the rule of law and what that means in every single case the judge has to do with the law
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requires that is to delay to reach conclusions until everything has been considered they're always open to the of possibility of changing their minds based on the next refresh or argument or a comment made by a colleague during the conference on the case it has been a great honor to spend my career in public service and honor for me to serve from the court of appeals the past 15 years because it has given me the opportunity to serve my country at no person in this
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country no matter how high or powerful is above the law and no person in this country is been eiffel law. pa -- be need for the law. without respect to persons that i would do equal right to the port and to the rich to carry out my duties under the constitution and the allies the the united states. that is why have tried to do for the past 15 years of confirmed a pledge that is a level do on the supreme court. >> our program continues with president barack obama
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first appointee justice under my your -- previously on the second circuit cour of appeals the first spanic to serve on the supreme court we will sre your briefing portion of justice sotomayor opening statement. >> aca antibodies we strive for as american citizens rely think career is not about race or class or gender paul glass for all of this these are important parts of sushi is. first dory is about how race and class at the end of the day is not to predetermine in america about what matters is hard-working and education and they will pay
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off matter who you are exactly what each of us once for our children and for ourselves with this shared vision is why this is historic for all americans born to parents to move to new york during roll the war to with of factory worker with the third grade education for mother worked and raised the to know a doctor practicing in syracuse on her own congratulate interstice the of high-school class 1971 returning to speak there and encourage future alumni to get an education to pursue their dreams the same way she did when growing up nancy drew inspired her
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sense of a venture to develop percents of justice to show her that women could and should be outspoken and bold and in 2009 there are many more role models for spellman students to choose from. >> the foremost among them live on to employ her enormous talents at princeton where she has the highest honor this is the award to the smart student where she graduated as a law review editor and because we have such an extensive judicial record that day
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will for the several previous nominees are at the least to bear out what is obvious about her that she is modest and humble and her approach. >> thank you for your kind introduction to all the members of this committee each of you have been gracious and i have enjoyed meeting you. with the inviable insights to the american people. there are countless family members and friends i am
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deeply appreciative for their love and support. i am here as many you have noted that she made ifices for brother and me i ungrateful and humbled to be here today as of nominee the progression of my life is uniquely american as the factory worker on her oh my mother raised my brother and me. she taught us the key to
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success is a good education and set the example we worked hard. i poured myself into my studies and then read brother went on to medical school. they achievements are due to the values family continued to guide my life endeavor to serve as a mentor and friend to many god children and to use students of all backgrounds. i have seen the judicial systems as the big city prosecutor in corporate
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litigator and trial judge and appellate judge. right first job after school was assistant district attorney and there i saw children exploited and abused i felt the paid and suffering of the families torn apart by the needless death of loved ones in my next job by focused on commercial matters matters from contract to trademarks. my career as a judge began when i was appointed by
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george h. w. bush for the southern district of new york. and i did decide over 450 cases presiding over dozens of trials with the most famous case being the major league baseball strike in 1995 after six extraordinary years on the district court i was appointed by president clinton to deny this states court of appeals to the second circuit on that score i have enjoyed the benefit tohose pspectives th colleagues as we have worked together to resolve the issues before us another served as an appellate judge of the statutory and legal questions and to route to 17 years on the bench i have witnessed this human
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consequences of my decisions not made to serve the interests of anyone litigant parolees to serve the larger interest of impartial justice and in the past month many senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy is to apply the law. so according to its terms according to their terms in congress intent to faithfully precedents by the supreme court and my circuit court. in each case the have applied the law to the fact
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that he and the process of judging is enhanced with the arguments of the litigation are understood and knowledge that is why i generally structure to seout at the law requires to explain sympathetic or not is rejected that is how oic to strengthen both the rule of law of the judicial system. my personal and professional experience helped me to listen and understand with the law always commanding the results in every case. since president don't plug negative obama announcement nomination i have received letters from people all over this country that tel a unique story of hope in spite of struggle each
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letter has deeply touched me to reflect a dream and a belief in this unmakes that dream possible of upholding the constitution as a justice on the supreme court. i look forward in the next few days to answer your questions to have the american people learn more about me and to be a part of a process of the constitution and our nation. thank-you. >> are series n with justice kagan confirmed in 2010 by a
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vote of 63 / 37 and had never been a judge before but served as solicitor general in the obama administration and the navarre for lost school progress for confirmation hearing she was introduced by massachusetts senator kerrey as a reminder you can watch confirmation hearings for all current supreme court justices on the video library at c-span.org. >> her life has been characterized by her passion for public service and her awareness would and means to be a good public senator. those clerking for justice marshall meeting with the young partner with no family to support was pulling in close to $1 million per year so asking what do you do with all that many? he we apply i by art.
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per skills and intellect keen to the attention of the clinton white house when i first got to know her i was asked by the chairman of the congress committee to help break through a stalemate of bipartisan tobacco bill it was a difficult issue of both caucuses to camp out in the vice president's office to shuttle back and forth to the white house to work
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through every single approach and on the eve of the markup things appear to be falling apart and to get to get with the republican senators and staff to meet the last-minute objections it is not just classic when she saw a path when everybody saw nothing but a deadlock. the mark of bipartisanship that is what they will bring to the court to be tough and tenacious when necessary and
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to see the wisdom of an argument remember very quiet capital building into having a fresh approach and aged stereo of consensus building and for democrats alike and with the government process is then this day and age is an enormous asset and frankly it is a critical component of what makes her a terrific choice and someone who understands how laws are created and how they were not judges before they sat on the court.
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among those are names like frankfurter, brandeis and with the stewardship for harvard law school and there she found what was affectionately and knowledge as a dysfunctional campus in transformed it again into a constitution interchange rock and now all constitutional expert to said of her prospects to have issued be terrific been
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to have a freshness about her that promises some possibility to get away from those formulas that are almost sides. i have no reservations about her whatsoever. the first higher with uh contextualism and one of the things that you see is that she tried to hire folks with different approaches to law as she was for briar. as she considers an argument indicates.
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>> those are courtesy visits or reason. to be truly gracious then consider it. one with the passing of senator byrd i did not know him personally as all of you did but i certainly knew of his great love for this
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institution his faithful service to the people of his state and reverence for the constitution. a copy of which a moving reminder to each of us that serves then gornment of the ideals we seek to fulfill. they're all in my thoughts and prayers at this time. i would like to begin by thanking my family, friends family, friends, and students who are with me here today and i think that for all of the support they have given me during this process pdf it is wonderful the two people missing are
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my parents and i feel the deep again today and my mother set the standard for the determination and courage and commitment to learning. my parents lived another did not speak a word of english until she went to school but she became a legendary teacher and my father a value lawyer. they taught me and my two brothers, both high-school teachers that this is the greatest of all countries because of the freedoms and opportunities it offers its people. i know they would have a felt that today it would have been proud to raise me
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and my brothers. to be nominated to the supreme court is the owner of a lifetime. i am only sorry that if confirmed but i will have the privilege of serving their with justice john paul stevens. his integrity and humility and deep devotion to the court and profound commitment to the rule of law called these qualities are models for everyone who hopes to wear a judge's robe if given this honor i hope will approach each case with his trademark care and consideration. that means listening to each party with the mind is open as his to strive as conscientiously as he has to render impartial justice.
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by zero a debt of gratitude to sandra o'connor and ruth peter ginsberg to pave the way for me and so many other women in my generation. their pioneering lives have created boundless possibilities for women in the law. i think m for their inspiration and for the personal kindnesses they have shown me. and my heart goes out to justice ginsburg and her family today. anybody who met him was felt by his humor and his warmth and we all deeply saddened at his passing. the law school that has a modern.org -- broken each your graduation.
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manchu enter a profession that make us free. and is always capture the ruw of la been what the rule of law does it is to secure for each of us knows blessings of liberty is the right san freedoms the promise of equality that define and -- to find the nation since the founding the with the supreme court does through a commitment to the evenhandedness principal and restraint. my first real exposure to the accords came a quarter-century ago when i began my clerkship justice
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marshall reviewed the core. for the simple reason that in his life and in his great struggle for racial justice that is the most open and that most often fill the constitution's promised to treat all persons with equal respect in ecocare and equal attention. to be engraved on the very face of the supreme court building equal justice under law. regardless of wealth or power station that is the same process and projections. with this commands of judges
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is evenhandedness and impartiality in what their promises is nothing less than a fair shake for every american. to see the promise up close and as solicitor general in that job the chief lawyer before the supreme court to impose from campaign finance to criminal law to national security. and i do mean argued and and now whether place is the strength that represents position and the quality of persons analysis no matter who the lawyer or a the client to relentlessly moving in on the merits of law and precedent to always come away of reason and
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principal of what it means in a nation under a law. properly deferential to the american people and their elected representatives. with the democratic process is messy and frustrated but the people of this country have great wisdom and they work hard and the supreme
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court to overstep the proper bounds and to recognize the limits of itself with the american people i m grateful beyond measure but the joy of my life to teach thousands of students about the of law to have the sense to realize that they have much to teach me. to examine and discuss and debate every aspect of the legal system been my
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grandparents came to this country in search of a freer and better life. they wanted to escape the bigotry and oppression to worship as they pleased as hard as they were able. into pass on to their country back dino to summations highest court
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been to have to preserve it for future generation walk
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