tv C-SPAN Looks Back at Supreme Court Justices Confirmation Hearings CSPAN March 17, 2017 12:06am-2:18am EDT
the. >> and in this too bad that the two individuals preceded jed to kennedy for this nomination far cry notice the editorial in "the new york times" made reference to judge bork can judge a ginsberg per this shame because we should not be comparing judge kennedy to his two previous nominees. judge kennedy in and of himself is a superb candidate to deny the state supreme court and comparisons to not do this gentleman justice. as a deep compassion for the law by intelligent and is experienced will years on the appellate court and to
demonstrate say level that very few nominees to the supreme court demonstrate. obviously judge kennedy was a conservative and we support them with a personal knowledge of judge kennedy looking back at sacramento county rye crop not one of the of would have anything negative to say about the candidate. one individual to ask what they thought of him said they noticed the lack of the observable eagle. he is a man of humility and compassion and individual
that has no ego to understand the plight of the common man. i would also have to say that if even though he is a conservative and we are moderates we have a great deal of confidence in judge kennedy what he will do with the u.s. supreme court. one will notice he does demonstrate judicial restraint that means probably not overturning any of the decisions of the '50s through eighties and as a result we will have stability on the court. and let me make one further observation of a gentleman
that i have a great dealof admiration for in the next few days the gentleman is from sacramento. he is a black lawyer former general counsel of the naacp and born in alabama and one of the prominent lawyers of the united states one of the great trial lawyers in the state of california. of like you to listen to his testimony because that will demonstrate the regard that lawyers are law students are ordinary individuals have for judge kennedy landor's his nomination to the united states supreme court. you cannot make a better selection. >> i appreciate the gracious will come from the members of the committee this
morning. from my district in sacramento and three of those i have known for a number of years. this is an appropriate time to think the president for entrusting me with the honor to appear before you thank you for showing his confidence in me also the members of your committee for the most interesting set of meetings that i have had with you and members of the senate as a whole over the last four weeks. denominated courtesy calls.
is seems to me that is a casual term for what is a very important and significant part of the fis and consent process. and these discussions and add your colleagues indicated you want to explain and you have indicated no response is expected from me that each member of the united states senate has i wish your workload was such to every
nominee now negative did it is appropriate for your interpretation to introduce my family was here with me as a recent graduate of stanford that no a manager with corporate relocation and we're delighted to have a hero sacramento and his brother gregory a senior at stanford and he is on his way to law school. he is taken his test. the youngest child is now a sophomore at stanford
majoring in the of liberal arts and finally my wife has a love and admiration of our family and the 30 students of the golden empire school is in sacramento we appreciate your invitation to be here today. >> i do not envy your attrition bill laugh. >> that is a part of the record mr. chairman. that this us sacrifice you're making. i mean that sincerely. please move forward to me that concludes my opening remarks and i am ready to receive the questions from you and your members.
sure vote for any group of justices of the court. the certainty predicting how the nominee would vote on the issues. did not know clarence thomas. i do berger i cannot predict how she would vote on any issue. he is his own person. that is my first point. second. he laughs. tucson, this may seem a trivial matter that is the antidote to the disease of the federal disease. said that there is something to do with the individual
and i can see there is something weird about clarence thomas. is his laugh. allowed this laugh i have never heard. it comes from deep inside and it shakes his body and here is something it least as weird in this most of titus cities. the object of his laughter is most often himself. third. he is serious. deeply serious and his commitment to make a contribution with his life i will never forget visiting with clarence after he was nominated and why it to accept a second term when done well makes everyone mad
and ponder that over the past five years and undoubtedly not finish the job to transform the eeoc from the administrative back in case he n heritage -- inherited but he meant the discrimination he has known in his life is still too much with us. this is the seriousness of clarence thomas not anchor but it was profound and informs the person she is in the justice he will become.
someone will ask kim not about unenumerated rights of the establishment clause but about himself. what was it like to grow under when your grandfather was humiliated before rise if i was a laugh that because you are blacks to know about the legal issues cnidus single member of the senate knows what clarence thomas knows to be pouring blacken america. >> members of the committee to be a social justice of the supreme court of the
united states and would like to thank the committee and especially you chairman biden. with the extraordinary fairness that so many colleagues thinking for visiting with me not enough words to express my deep gratitude senator danforth healthcare.gov refers job of yale law school i have never forgotten the terms of his offer to be. 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 the tireless
efforts so i would like to think the senators to introduce me today much as then written over the past 10 weeks through diversity we have grown closer and our love for each other has grown stronger and deeper. i hope these hearings will show more clearly who this person clarence thomas's. meyer this memories far removed space and time this
room and this day and this moment. catching monessen the creeks , fiddler crabs -- in the marshes and to skip the shells across the water, and a world so vast the different and in 1955 my brother and i went to live with my mother in savannah living in one room in a tenement. we shared kitchen another's which was unworkable and unusable. and it was hard to dissolve the had the dollar was. our mother only earned $20 every two weeks as they made. not enough to take care of us. social arrange for us to
live with our grandparents in 1955. imagine two little boys of all of their belongings in june gosh pretax. our grandparents were great and wonderful people who loved us dearly and i wish the receiving here today. so they could see the hard work was not in vain. so they could see that hard work and strong values can make for a better life. i am grateful that my mother and sister could be here unfortunately my brother could not be. attended parochial schools and a seminary near savannah but now to give hope and believe when society didn't
to reinforce the religious beliefs and my 83 teacher and the other nuns were unyielding in their expectations to use all the talents matter what the rest of the world said or did. after high-school i attended immaculate conception seminary then holy cross college i attended yale law school that had opened its doors and conscience to recruit and admit minority students and i benefited from this effort michael leary is as delineated today as an assistant attorney general and to be the part
of education with the district of columbia circuit i would not be here today without those who went before me it would be unimaginable. only by standing on their shoulders can i be here. that each turn in my life each obstacle confronted each fork in the road after i completed louisiana school 1974 no money or no place to live.
mrs. wilson who would later be the chairperson of the naacp allowed me to live that her house berger she provided not only room and board but if vice and counsel and guidance. as i left her house the summer i asked how much you i owe you? help someone who was interposition and a promise to do just that to others others gave their blood and lives and talents justice marshall of whose c. i have been nominated to fill is one of those who had the courage one of the great
architects of the legal battles that seem so hopelessly or permanently and to knock down barriers the civil-rights movement and with the naacp and the urban league rosa parks parks, they changed society to affirmatively help and benefited greatly from their efforts but there would be no road to travel. and my grandparents always said there be more
opportunities for us. i can still hear him. you will all have more of a chance more than be. he was right. so we have an obligation to work hard to be decent citizens to be fair and good people and he was right. and sense of fairness is molded in a crucible of unfairness. i watched as my grandfather but was called for a then
watched as my grandmother worked to suffer the indignity to be denied the use of a bathroom. but through all to be fair and decent and good people in spite of the contradictions and always get back to others then fuel oil and bought a brush trees for those in they never lost sight of a better tomorrow. i follow in their footsteps and i have always tried to give back. over the years i have grown
and matured. to listen carefully to other points of views to think through problems and recognizing there are no easy answers to think about those that are affected by the decisions that make and the decisions of others. the life and of the people and the values of my youth. the values of my grandparents and neighbors and those who believe so very deeply in this country despite the contradictions. it is my hope these hearings are completed that this committee will conclude i am
honest and decent and fair person. the believe the obligations to have a basic value to be fair and impartial. the judge must not bring to his job to the court the baggage of preconceived notions of ideology than certainly not the agenda. and the judge must get the decision right to. because when all is said and done the average person the real people of america will be affected not by what these judges to go what -- by the way we do our jobs if confirmed by the senate to
preserve the constitution with the values of my heritage fairness and integrity and honesty and hard work. thank-you. nominated to fill the seat of justice white confirmed with the vote the of 86 / three previously served as u.s. court of appeals and was the second woman ever nominated senator moynihan introduced her at her confirmation hearing. >> best known as the of lawyer and litigator who raised the issue of equal
rights for women to the level of constitutional principle that has distinguished yourself and know why range of legal studies into must tell you that i will take special pride in denomination born and raised in brooklyn to explain she attended cornell graduating phi beta negative kappa and indeed she attended to new law schools beginning at harvard finishing at columbia associates me with her husband but never before had
anyone bed and a member of both harvard and columbia law review. so with such a record it is not surprising she should be recommended as a law clerk neither is it surprising that at the time she has changed fatah would be appropriate to have a woman clerk she clerked then enter the of la school clinic and taught at rutgers then columbia to become one of the first woman professors in the country with 10 year and then became a moving force behind the women
rights project of the american civil liberties union. the prime architect with those discriminatory laws on the basis of gender and those of reach the supreme court in the '70s and arguing six cases before the court and she won five of them. >> they give mr. chairman, as senators and other members of the committee. and how much i appreciate the time that the committee members took jimmie lee in the weeks following the
nomination. that was a project really busy time for you and i think you all the more. and for your courtesy. senator moynihan who has been that my side every step of the away 1,000 thanks could not begin to convey my appreciation. despite the heavy demands on his time during budget reconciliation he accompanied me on visits and to go over my own desk them brought up my spirits when the lift was needed. to survive as the kindest
and wisest counsellors and omni could have. but from my great hall state volunteered to join senator moynihan to introduce and sponsor me and i am so grateful to him. i have had many a landing conversations and senate chambers since june 14 that my visit was sheer fun. >> italy's is. [laughter] my children decided at an early age that mother's sense of humor needed improvement they tried to supply that improvement and they kept a book to record
their successes berger the book was called mommy laughed. might visit with the senator would have supplied at least three entries. representative martin has been my professional colleague and friend since the days when we were still young. as an advocate of human rights for all people and what has been as brave and vigilant. i am so pleased she was among mine in one to be a constituent and the confidence and is
responsible for the proceedings about to begin. there were no words to tell him but i can say simply this. if confirmed i will try in every way to justify his faith as responses to the of questionnaire board and bred in brooklyn a first-generation american on my father's side second generation of mothers.
teaching me to love learning to care about people and their parents have the foresight and that meant exposure to the denigration of the human worth. so what has become of me to only happen in america. like so many heather's. ito so much to the entry this nation afforded to people yearning to breathe free.
i have had the great good fortune to share life with a partner that is extraordinary for his generation a man who believed that age 18 when we met and who believes today that a woman's work at home or on the job is as important as a man's. i became a lawyer in the days when women were not wanted of most members of the legal profession. i became a lawyer because he and his parents supported that choice. i have been deeply moved by
the outpouring of good wishes from family numbers and classmates and students at rutgers and columbia federal lawyers with whom i have worked across the country many women and men he did not know me behalf that spirit lifting collection shows for many of the people it is no longer remarkable or unusual with his serve her qualifications to serve on the supreme court. indeed in my lifetime i expect to see those not shaped from the same old of
different complexions. they are miles in front with a distance we've had traveled from the dade jefferson told his secretary of state for the appointment of women to public office is the innovation of which the public is not prepared. nor am i. the increasingly full use of the talent of all of the nation's people holds promise for the future surely of would not be in this room today without the determined efforts of men
and women who kept to dreams alive in the days when they would listen. and then to stand eye of the shoulders of those people supreme court justices are guardians of the great charter of the fundamental instrument of government for over 200 years. the oldest written constitution still in force in the world.
and the courts share that profound responsibility with congress, the president, of the states and the people. constantia realization of a more perfect union that the constitution's aspiration requires the deepest participation on matters of government and government policy. one of the world's greatest terrorist -- a jurist said the spirit of liberty and those that composed the great nation.
and then it was not too sure it was right to understand the minds of other men and women and then to strive for the community and to be considered a 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. during those recent visits what i want to be on the supreme court.
it is for one of my trading as of society. those controversies coming to the supreme court down to the health and well-being of our nation to affect the preservation of liberty. serving of this court is the highest honor, the most of some trust that can be placed in a judge. that means working on by kraft has a way to keep our society ordered and free. but they stayed in a nutshell halle do the work
of judging. to be liberal or conservative but rooted in the place of the judiciary of judges in our democratic society. the constitution's preamble speaks first of we the people with the elected representatives. the judiciary is third in line place apart from the political fray so the members can judge fairly and impartially in accordance with the of lot and without fear of animosity of any pressure group. in alexander hamilton's words the emission of judges
prepare your senate colleagues before consideration of my nomination. the record of the constitutional convention shows the delegates initially entrusted the power to appoint federal judges but you and your colleagues to the senate acting alone only then did the framers settle on the nomination from the vice and consentual of the senate. the text of the constitution makes notice tension between the appointment process for supreme court justices and
the process for other offices of the united states by cabinet offices but as history bears out to sensibly considered appointments in relation to the appointees and the task. they may long outlast the president who appoints them they may serve as long as they can do the job and remain in office during good behavior. the supreme court justices notably participate with the lasting body of constitutional decisions continuously confront matters on which the framers
left things unsaid and unsettled and uncertain. for that reason when the senate considers the supreme court nomination they are properly concerned about the 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 they supplied my nomination with hundreds of pages about me and thousands of pages i have spent my writings as of lot teacher 10 years of briefs filed an equal stature of men and women before the of law. numerous speeches and
articles on the same theme, 13 years of opinions unpublished with those with over 700 of them. all decisions i made as a member u.s. court of appeals circuit several comments of the rules of judges and lawyers in the legal system. that body of material has been examined by the committee with care. the most tangible and reliable indicator of my approach and style. i hope you will judge i qualifications principally
on vat written record spanning 34 years and you will find in the written record insurance then i am prepared to do the hard work and to exercise the informant, independent judgment that a supreme court decision making in tales. of these proceedings much i do of the division between the braves on the of one hand and the oral argument on the other of the tribunal's that written record is by far the most important component in the appellate court decision making but the oral argument you listened helpful clarification and concentrates the judge's
mind on the character of the decision they are called upon to make. and there is of course, a critical difference and you are well aware to come to the proceeding to be judged as a judge as side it would be wrong fore to sa preview and legislative chamber plywood cast my vote on questions the supreme court may be called upon to decide. and how i would reason on such questions i would act
that the judges in our system are bound to decide concrete cases not abstract issues. each case comes to court based on particular facts and the decisions to turn on those fax in what is stated and explained in light of the particular arguments that the parties or their representatives present. as judges want to decide impartially can offer no forecast, no hits for that would show not only disregard for the specifics of the particular case but it displayed disdain for the
entire judicial process. similarly because you are considering my capacity for independent judging, my personal views on how i would vote on the publicly debated issue if i were a legislator are not where you will be closely examining as justice oliver wendell holmes counseled 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 duties sacred.
i see this hearing as i know you do as a grand opportunity once again to reaffirm that civility civility, courtesy, and mutual respect property keynote our exchanges. judges come i am mindful over the elected branches the congress and the of president with respectful consideration how court to open in effect their responsibilities. and i am heartened by the legislative branch reciprocal sensitivity as one of you said two months ago at a meeting of the federal judges association, of vienna congress must be more thoughtful, more deliberate in order to enable judges to
in his decisions he has construed the constitution to defend the basic rights of all americans. he's protected the rights of women seeking family planning advice to hear their right to choose to terminate a pregnancy. he's protected the right of government employees to engage in political activity and advocacy.
he's protected the rights of students belonging to a church group to be recognized by a state university in the right of every citizen to buy housing free from the threat of discrimination. his opinions on environmental law has been praised by environmentalists in his opinions seek to assure public safety while protecting the constitutional rights. as one of the members of the sentencing commission, he is widely credited with developing the guidelines to reduce the disparities in sentences given to defendants committing similar crimes. as a judge's continued his dedication to teaching and legal scholarship in addition to his administrative and judicial duties he's continued to teach courses at harvard law school and to write and publish articles and books analyzing important issues of law and government. judge breyer ranks among the
fossils callers of the regulatory process and his knowledge and experience in this complex area ofhe law will be a major asset to all of the members of the supreme court from the day he takes his seat. his most recent book group ranges from leading experts on all sides of the debate. he sought to assure the public health and safety are protected while avoiding needless inefficiency and waste in government. not everyone agrees with all of his views but i suspect everyone will agree that the 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 exponents of the view that wall should be construed in the manner congress intended. if confirmed, he will add a needed and well-informed perspective to the project questions have a statutory
interpretatiostatutoryinterprete the supreme court. >> at the outset i would like to thank the committee for the attention that you have given to my nomination. i appreciate the members taking time out of their enormously busy schedules to meet with me personally and i recognize that you and your staff prepared for these hearings and you've read the book's an and articles and e opinions and these things i've written. it seems to me that is some form of cruel and unusual punishment. there are many other people i would like to thank today. i'm obviously very much deeply grateful to senator kennedy who's given me so much over the years. i've learned and continue to learn lessons of great value from him and i want to thank very much senator kerry and
senator boxer for having taken the time to come here along with senator find time for supporting my nomination. i am especially grateful to president clinton for nominating me to a position that i find humbling to think about. if i am confirmed, i will try to become a justice whose work will justify the confidence that he and hugh have placed in me. now i would like to begin by telling you a little about myself though you've heard quite a lot. maybe a few of the experiences i think that adding an important effect on my life, how i think and what i am. i grew up in the san francisco and attended public school. my mother was from st. paul minnesota. her parents were immigrants in
what is now a part of poland. my mother was a very intelligent and practical public spirited kind of person, and she like many had an enormous influence on me. she was the one that made absolutely clear to me in no uncertain terms that whatever ability i might have, it means nothing and it won't mean anything on my site can work with other people and use whatever talents i have to help them. so i joined boy scouts and did work as a delivery boy and a salads in the summer camp. at that time you have the policemen and firemen and lawyers, doctors, businessmen and they were all there together at the city camp for two weeks in the summer. my mother didn't want me to spend too much time with my
books and she was right. my ideas of people do not come from libraries. my father was born in san francisco. he worked as a lawyer and an administrator in the public school system for 40 years as you said, senator. he was a very kind, very astute and considerate man. he and san francisco helped me develop something i would call a trust in and almost love for the possibility of a democracy. my father always struck me as a child with him into the voting booth. he would say we are exercising our prerogative. he would take me to the candidates night. our schools would go to sacramento to see the legislature in session. all of this led me to believe
not just that the government could help people but that the government is the people. it is created through their active participation and that's why despite the crease about the basic government, and we have seen vast improvements in the fairness of the government i still believe with trust and cooperation and participation people can work through their governments to improve their lives. in 1957 as you said i served in the army for a little while and i returned to harvard law school and then i clerked for justice arthur goldberg who became a wonderful lifelong friend. after two years in the antitrust division i went back to teach in massachusetts who live in for the last 27 years i've been privileged to live in cambridge, to work in boston.
if i were to pick one feature of the academic side of my life that influenced me especially i think it would be this, the opportunity to study as a whole to help me understand that everything in the law is related to every other thing and always that reflects not so much logic as history and experience. academic lawyers, practicing lawyers, government lawyers, judges in my opinion have a special responsibility to understand how different parts interact with each other and how the legal decisions will work in practice to affect people. working on the committee in the 1970s i learned a great deal about congress, government and political life.
everyone shared the same basic ground rules about democracy, freedom, fairness and the need to help others. of these areathese areas of widd beliefs are what shaped the law of america and of the lives of all americans. i've been a charge on the court of appeals in name and rhode island and because of my colleagues this job is it great honor and privilege and it's been a pleasure. i've tried to minimize what i think of as the last desirable aspects of the job one justice goldberg felt strongly about that judges can't become isolated from the judges whose lives they affect. i continue to teach and participate in the community and other activities that are important in connecting the to
the world outside of the courtroom. i've been helped in this task by my wife which shows me and others as well as the hopes and joys. i believe the law must work for people. that constitution statute, rule, regulation, practice, procedure, that web as a single basic purpose, the purpose is to help the different individuals that make up america from so many different backgrounds and circumstances with so many different needs and hopes the purpose is to help them live
together productively, harmoniously and in freedom. keeping the ultimate purpose in mind helps guide a judge through the labyrinth of rules and regulations that the law too often becomes. to reach what is at the bottom the very human goals that underline the constitutions and statutes that congress writes. i believe in the importance of listening to other points of view. as a teacher, i discovered i could learn as much from students as books. on the staff of this committee it was easy to see how much senators and staff alike learn from each other. constituents from hearing.
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 the law simply as those restraints that make them pretty, women, too. i believe that. i felt a particular importance of all of this when two years ago i had the good fortune to attend a meeting of 500 judges. they wanted to know what words might be right in a constituti constitution, what would guarantee democracy and freedom. that's what they were asking over a two day meeting. it was an interesting discussion. my own reply is words alone are not sufficient. the words of the constitution
works because of the traditions of our people, because the vast majority of americans believe in democracy. they try to be tough and fair to others and respect the liberty of each other,ven those that are unpopular because their protection is our protection, too. you are now considering my appointment to the supreme court of the united states. that of course work court worksd tradition that has made meaningful in practice the guarantees of freedom and fairness of the constitution provides. justice blackmujustice blackmuny served that tradition while. and indeed so have all of those that served in the recent past, justice brennan, justice
marshall. they lead and inspiring legacy that i correctly called 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. i will work hard, i will listen, i will try to interpret the law carefully in accordance with its basic purpose and above all i will remember the decisions i helped to make will have an affect upon the lives of 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 the law but is meant to help
them. thank you mr. chairman. >> i might add one thing on a slightly different subject. i want to add this if i may and guided is recently i note in recent there've been questions raised about the ethical standard that i applied and sitting on this earth and environmental cases and the first circuit at a time when i have an investment. 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 reputation for impartiality. it is obviously a most important thing to preserve total public confidence in the integrity of the judicial branch of government.
i've reviewed those cases again in the statute and i personally am confident that my sitting in the cases didn't present any conflict of interest. of course my investment was disclosed to the public. there's been no suggestion that it was involved as a party in the cases which i sat. i know of no such involvement. the recusal statute does require that every q. so if you have one case but has a direct predictable financial impact on some investments that is to say if it's not a speculative, remote or contingent impact cases which i sat i didn't viole the standard and that issue has been carefully looked into by independent experts to share my view. but as i said i recognize the importance of the conflict of interest or even the appearance of such conflicts and that standard is essential for all charges and especially for judges of the nation's highest
court. so i certainly promise i will do all i can to meet it including what i immediately should do is ask the people that handle my investments to divest any holdings and insurance companies as soon as possible and with respect to th the law itself bya resigned in 1988 because of what remains open i've been advised that i can leave altogether by the end of 1995 1995, but i into ask the people involved to expedite mike and late termination and i will be out of that as soon as i possibly can. finally, as i go forward i will keep in mind discussion that has arisen over the last few days and i will take into account in reviewing any possible conflict whatsoever. >> thank you very much, judge. >> work nominee prepares to testify before the senate judiciary committee c-span takes a look at the eight current
members. president george w. bush initially nominated john roberts to take the seat of retiring justice and was put forward as a nominee for the chief justice following the death of william rehnquist and was confirmed by a vote of 78-22. judge roberts was unanimously confirmed the previous post a seat on the dc circuit court of appeals. he also served as principal thel deputy solicitor general during the george h. w. bush administration. at the confirmation hearing john roberts was introduced by a virginia senator john warner. >> i believe john roberts shares in the belief that lawyers have an ethical duty to give back to the community by providing free legal services particularly to those in need. the hundreds of hours spent working on cases are a testament to that. he didn't have to do any of it.
the bar doesn't require it, but he did it out of the graciousness of his heart. those who know him best can also attest to the kind of person he is. throughout his legal career both in public and private practice, his pro bono work he's worked with and against hundreds of lawyers and those that know him while typically speak with one voice when they tell you dignity, humility and a sense of fairness are the hallmark of this nominee. in conclusion mr. chairman, i take a moment to remind all present and those listening and following that this exact week to under 18 years ago our founding fathers finished a final draft of the u.s. constitution. after a long hot summer of drafting and debating when they ultimately emerged from independence hall upon the conclusion of the convention a
reporter asked him what have you brought and he said a republic if you can keep it and that is ultimately what this advice and consent process is all about. while the constitution sets the course of the nation, it is without question the chief justice of the supreme court who must have his hand firmly on the pillar to keep our great ship of state on a course consistent with the constitution let me begin by thanking the senators for their warm and generous introduction and reiterate my thing i to the president for nominating me. i am humbled by his confidence in this confirmed i will do everything i can to be worthy of the high trust that he has placed in. let me also thank you mr. chairman and members of the committee for the courtesies you
have extend it to me and my family over the past eight e.'s. i am particularly grateful members have been so accommodating meeting with me personally. i found the meetings very useful and better understanding the concerns of the committee asked the committee undertakes its constitutional responsibility of advice and consent. i know that i wouldn't be here today were it not for the sacrifices and help over the years of my family who you met earlier today. friend, mentors, teachers and colleagues many of whom are here today. last week one of those mentors and friends as chief justice william rehnquist was laid to rest. i talked last week with the nurses that helped care for him over the past and i was glad to hear from them that he was not a particularly good patient. he changed the limitations they tried to impose.
his dedication to duty over the past year was an inspiration to me and any others. i will miss him. my personal appreciation that i owe a great debt to others reinforces my view that a certain humility should characterize the judicial role. the judges and justices are servants of the law, not the other way around. the judges are like i'm tires. they don't make the rules, they apply them. the role of an umpir umpire anda judge is critical. they make sure everybody plays by the rules but it is a limited role. nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the empire. judges have to have the humility to recognize that they operate within a system of precedent shaped by other judges equally striving to live up to the judicial oath and judges have to have the modesty to be open in the decision process to the
considered views of their colleagues on the bench. mr. chairman and when i worked in the department of justice and the office of the solicitor general it was my job to argue cases 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 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 have 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 rule of law. that is a remarkable thing and it's what we mean when we say that we are a government of the
law and not of men. it is the rule of law that protects the rights and liberties of all americans. it's the envy of the world because without the rule rules w and the rights are meaningless. president ronald reagan used to speak at the soviet constitution and he noted the wonderful rights of all sports to people. but those were empty promises because the system didn't have an independent judiciary to uphold the rule of law and enforce those 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. i have no platform. judges are not politicians who can promise to do certain things in exchange for votes.
i have no agenda but i do have a commitment if i am confirmed, i will confront every case with an open mind. i will fully and fairly analyze the legal arguments that are presented and i will be open to the considered views of my colleagues on the then and i will decide every case based on the record according to the rule of law without fear or favor to the best of my ability and i will remember that it is my job to call for strikes and got to pitch or that. senators lugar and by talked to my boyhood back home in indiana. i think all of us retained from the days of our youth searching images. for me those are the endless fields of indiana stretching to the horizon punctuated only by the isolated silo and as i grew
older they came to represent for me the limitless possibilities of the graceland. growing up i never imagined i would be here in this historical room nominated to be the chief justice but now that i'm here, i recall those endless fields with their promise of infinite possibilities and that memory inspires 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 the liberties that make the land one of endless possibilities. thank you mr. chairman and members of the committee i look forward to your questions. >> the second nominee was judge
samuel alito confirmed 58-42 to fill the seat of sandra day o'connor for months after the confirmation of judge roberts. judge alito has been confirmed to the third circuit court of appeals and also served as u.s. attorney in new jersey. at the confirmation hearing justice alito was introduced by the former new jersey republican governor christine todd whitman. >> like other americans, i've read many articles taken throughout the career chinese and to discern how he might decide on issues likely to appear before the supreme court that he would confront as a justice. i have examined the record. in the final analysis, my decision to support the charge for this positiojudgefor this pd on whether i agree with him on a
particular issue or set of issues or on his conformity with any particular ideology. in fact while we may agree on some political issues i know there are others we disagree. nevertheless, one's agreement or disagreement on the political question is after all irrelevant to the issue of whether or not the judge should serve as an associate justice in the court. the role isn't to rule based on the justices personal persuasions but rather persuasive arguments grounded on the fact presented in that particular case and their interpretation of the constitution. those decisions are grounded in the hard reality of the disputed facts and messiness of the real world but also guided by principles of law and justice which have long been treasured by the people of this country.
we should look for justices to understandnstitively i and the very core of their being. i saw this trade on the judge when he served on the appeals court during my term as governor and i have every reason and confidence that we will exhibit the same as a supreme court justice. policy in the united states is defined through the law crafted by the legislative branches of government and carried out by the executive. our judges make decisions based on their interpretation of the intent of the law. they don't want the justices to conform their positions to ideologies. we do want to justices whose opinions are shaped by the facts before them and their understanding of the constitution. we should also look for justices to possess the necessary qualities of intellect and humility desirable to express
their thinking clearly and in understandable language. while we should expect the justices will hold philosophies that will guide their decisions, we should equally expect a they will not hold to ideologie the s that will predetermine their position. that is the genius of our system. some suggeste suggested judge as an ideological agenda but i believbelieve an honest and come review of the record as a whole would find that his only agenda is fidelity to his judicial craft. if judge alito has a bias is in favor of narrowly drawn opinions that respect precedent and reflect the facts before him. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. i am deeply honored to appear before you and honored to have been nominated for the position on the supreme court and i am humbled to have been nominated for the seats bu seat is now hey justice o'connor who has been a
pioneer and her dedicated service on the supreme court will never be forgotten and the people of the country owe a great debt to the surface but she has provided. i'm thankful to the president for nominating me and also thankful to them in those of the committee and other senators who took time from their busy schedules to meet with me. that was a great honor for me and i appreciate all of the courtesies that were extant it to me during those visits and i want to thank senator lautenberg and governor whitman for coming here today and for their kind introductions. during the previous week's, an old story about a lawyer that argued a case has come to my mind and i thought i might begin this afternoon by sharing that story that goes as follows. this was a lawyer but never
argued a case before the court before and when the argument began one of the justices said a how did you get here, meaning how has the case worked its way up through the court system. but the lawyer was nervous and took the question literally and said some years ago i came here on the baltimore and ohio railroad. this story has come to my mind because i have often asked myself how in the world did i get here. and i want to try to answer that today off by saying i came here on the i-95 or amtrak. i am who i am in the first place because my parent and the things they taught me and i know from my own experience as a parent that parents probably teach most powerful enough through their words but through their d. to my parents taught me to talk me through the stories of their
lives into the things they experienced but they made a great impression on me. my father was brought to this country as an infant and lost his mother as a teenager he grew up in poverty although he graduated at the top of his high school class and he had no money for college and was sent to work in a factory but at the last minute, a kind perso person in e trenton area arranged for him to receive a $50 scholarship and that was enough in those days for him to pay the tuition at a local college and buy a used suit and that made the difference between his working in a factory and going to college. after he graduated from college in 1935 in the midst of the depression coming he found teaching jobs for a italian americans were not easy to come by and he had to find other work for a while but eventually he became a teacher and served during world war ii when he worked for many years in a
nonpartisan position for the new jersey legislature which was an institution that he'd read here. his story is one that is typical of a lot of americans both back in his day and here and today it is a story as far as i can see about the opportunities that our country offers and also the need for fairness and perseverance into the power of a small good deed. my mother is a first generation american. her father worked in the steel mill in trenton new jersey and her mother came from a culture in which women generally didn't even leave the house alone with my mother became the first person in her family to get a college degree. she worked for more than a decade before marrying and when to new york city to get a masters degree and continue to work as a teacher and a principal and she was forced to retire. she and my father instilled in
my sister and me a deep love of learning. i got here because the community i grew up. it was warm and unpretentious down-to-earth community. most of the adults in the neighborhood were not college graduates. i attended the public schools in my spare time and i played baseball and other sports with my hands and i have happy memories into strong memories in those days and good memories of the good sense and decency of my friends and my neighbors. after i graduated from high school, i went a full 12 miles down the road to a different world when i entered princeton university. a generation earlier i think somebody from my background probably wouldn't have felt fully comfortable at a college like princeton but by the time i graduate from high school, things have changed and this was a time of great intellectual excitement for me.
college and law school opened up new worlds of ideas but this was back in the late 1960s and 70s and it was a time of turmoil at colleges and universities and i saw some very smart people and privileged people behaving irresponsibly and i couldn't help making a contrast between some of the worst i saw on the camp was us and the good sense and decency of the people in my own community. i am here in part because of my experiences as a lawyer. i had the good fortune to begin my legal career as a law clerk for a judge who really epitomized the open-minded to send fairness and brad the record in detail on every single case that came before me and him just on scrupulously following precedents both of the supreme court and the decisions of his
on court on the third circuit. he talked all of the law clerks to cases have to be decided on an individual basis and he didn't have use for the grand theories. after my clerking shift finished they worked for the decade as an attorney an in the department of justice and i can still remember the day as an attorney when i stood up in court for the first time and said my name is samuel alito and i do need to represent the united states. i had been shaped by the experiences of the people closest to me and the things i learned by my hos and concerns
by my family and my sister's experiences as a trial lawyer in an expression. the profession dominated mostly by men and i've been shaped by my experiences as a judge and the court of appeals and during that time i have sat on thousands of cases. somebody mentioned the exact figure this morning but it was in the hundreds of thousands and the members of the committee and the staff that had the job of reviewing all those opinions have mice in the feed. [laughter] i learned a lot during my years on the circuit particularly i think about the way of judging.
the role of a practicing attorney is to achieve a desirable result for the client in the particular case at hand but a judge can't think that way or have any agenda or preferred outcome in any particular case and certainly doesn't have a client. the only obligation is the rule of law to do what the law requires. good judges develop certain habits of mind. one is reaching conclusions until everything has been considered.
good judges are always open to the possibility of changing their minds based on the next briefing they read where the next argument made by an attorney appearing before them or a comment made by a colleague during the conference on the case for where the judges privately discussed the case. it's been an honor for me to spend my career in public service and particular honor for me to serve on the court of appeals for the past 15 years because it has given me the opportunity to use whatever talent i have too served my country by upholding the rule of law and there is nothing that is more important for the republic than the rule of law. no person in this country no matter how high or powerful is above the law and no person in this country is beneath the law.
15 years ago when i was sworn in as the judge of the court of appeals, i too took a note and t my hand on the bible and icewater that i would administer justice without respect to persons and i would do need to invite to the poor and the rich and carry out my duties under the constitution and the law of the united states and that is what i have tried to do to the best of my ability for the past 15 years and if i am confirmed by pledge that is what i will do on the supreme court. thank you. the program on justices of the supreme court continues with president barack obama's first appointee. she was confirmed 6 sixty-day-31 and 2009 replacing david souter appointed by george h. w. bush.
she previously served on the second court of appeals and is the first hispanic to serve on the supreme court. we will show a brief portion of the confirmation hearing including an introduction
by the new york senator charles schumer and her opening statement. >> embodies what we strive for as american citizens, her life and career are not above race or gender although as for all of us, these are important parts of she is. her story is about how race and class at the end of today are not supposed to predetermine anything in america. what matters is hard work and education and those will pay off no matter who you are or where you come from. it is what each of us want for ourselves and our children and this shared vision is why this moment is historic for all
americans. she was born to parent parents t moved from new york to puerto rico during world war ii. her father was a factory worker with a third-grade education denied when she was nine. her mother worked and raised she and her brother, now a doctor practicing in syracuse on her own. she graduated first in her high school class from cardinal spellman high school in 1971. she has returned to cardinal spellman to speak and encourage future alumni to work hard, get an education and pursue their dreams in the same way she did. when she was growing up, the nancy drew stories inspired her sense of adventure, developed her sense of justice and showed her women could and should be outspoken and bold. now in 2009, there are many more
role models for the young cardinal spellman student to choose from. she went on to employee her an enormous talents where she graduated and received the highest honor on a princeton student. this is one that is given not just the smartest student in the class but the most exceptionally smart student who i who's also n the most to her community. she graduated from yale law school where she was an editor and because we have such an extensive judicial record before us, i believe that these hearings will matter less than the several previous nominees or at the least, that these hearings will bear out what is obvious about her that she is
modest and humble in her
approach to judging. >> thank you mr. chairman. i also want to thank senator schumer and gillibrand for their kind introductions. increase and the, i have had the privilege and pleasure of meeting 89 senators including all of the members of this committee. each of you has been gracious to me and i have so much enjoyed meeting you. they've given me a tour of the states and invaluable insights into the american people. there are countless family members and friends who've done so much over the years to make this day possible. i am deeply appreciative for their love and support. i want to make one special note of thanks to my mother. i am here as many of you have no ticket because of her aspirations and sacrifices for
both my brother and. i am very grateful to the president and humbled to be here today. as a nominee to the united states supreme court. the progression of my life has been uniquely american. my parents left puerto rico during world war ii. i grew up in modest circumstances in the housing projects and my father a factory worker with a third-grade education passed away when i was 9-years-old. my mother raised my brother and me on her own. she taught us the key to success in america is a good education. she sets the example, sitting alongside my brother and me at our kitchen table so she could become a registered nurse.
we worked hard. i poured myself into my studies earning scholarships to princeton university and then yale law school while my brother went on to medical school. our achievements are due to the values that we learn as children, and they've continued to guide. i try to pass this o one by serving as a mentor and friend to my many gods children and students of all backgrounds. over the past three decades, i have seen our judicial system on a number of perspectives as a big city prosecutor and as a corporate litigator and a trial judge and as an appellate judge. my first job after law school was an assistant attorney in new york an and dare i there i saw n exploited interviews.
i felt the pain and suffering of families torn apart by the needless deaths of loved ones. i saw and learned what law enforcement has in protecting the public. in my next legal job i focus on commercial instant of criminal matters. i litigated issues on behalf of national and international businesses and advised them on matters ranging from contracts to trademarks. my career as an advocate ended and as a judge began when i was appointed by president george h. w. bush by the district court for new york. as a trial judge, i did decide over 450 cases and presided over dozens of trials with perhaps my most famous case being the major
league baseball strike in 1995. after six years on the district court, i was appointed by president clinton to the unitedd states court of appeals for the second circuit. on that court, i've enjoyed the benefit of sharing ideas and perspectives with wonderful colleagues. as we have worked together to resolve the issues before us, i have now served as an appellate judge for over a decade deciding a wide range of constitutional statutory and other legal questions. throughout my 17 years on the bench, i have witnessed the consequences of my decisions. those have not been made to serve the rest of any one litigant but always to serve the larger interest of impartial
justice. in the past month many senators have asked me about my philosophy. simple. the task of a judge isn't to make the law, it is to apply the law and it is clear i believe that my record in the courts reflects my rigorous commitment to interpret the constitution according to its terms interpreting the statute according to their terms and the congress intend and the precedents established by the supreme court and by my circuit court in each case i have heard, i have applied the law to the facts at hand. the process of judging is enhanced when the arguments and concerns of the parties to the litigation are understood and acknowledged.
that is why i structure my opinions by setting up what the law requires and then explaining why a contrary position sympathetic or not is accepted or rejected. that is how i see to strengthen both the rule of law and faith in the impartiality of the judicial system. my personal and professional experiences helped me to listen and understand what the law always commanding the result in every case. since president obama announce my nomination in may i have received letters from people all over the country. many tell a unique story of hope in spite of struggles and each letter has deeply touched me and each reflects a dream and believe in the dream that led my parents to come to new york all those years ago.
it is our constitution that makes it possible, and i now seek the honor of upholding the constitution as a justice on the supreme court. i look forward in the next few days to answering your questio d ving the amecan people learn more aut me and to be a part of a process that reflects the greatness of our constitution and of our nation. thank you all. >> nominated by president obama to fill the seat vacated by john paul stevens. confirmed in 2010 by a vote of 63 to 37. she has never been a judge before but served as solicitor general in the obama administration and as the dean of harvard law school.
at the confirmation hearing she was introduced by the massachusetts senator john kerry. a reminder you can watch the confirmation hearings for all of the supreme court justices on the video library at c-span.org. >> her life has been characterized by her passion for public service and awareness is what it means to be a good public citizen. a close friend for working for justice marshall interviewing at a big law firm in new york meeting with the young partner with no family to support was pulling him close to a million dollars a year. what do you do with all that money and he replied. she shook her head in the conviction that there were better ways to extend her life's work and she continued to pursue efforts to impact the lives of those around her.
her skills and intellect very quickly came to the attention of the clinton white house which is when i first got to know her. i've been asked by our friend to break through a stalemate of the tobacco bill. it was difficult for both caucuses. she became the administration's point person and when we start out, no one gave us any hope of getting close to passage. but she camped out in the vice presidents office shuttling back and forth to the white house and worked day and night he called me with both sides of the aisle working every angle and thinking through every single approach. on the eve of the markup, things appear to be falling apart, something we are all too familiar with, but she simply
wasn't going to let that happen. that was an unacceptable outcome. she got together with republican senators and staff and listened carefully to help all of us need the last minute of objectives. it was classic she saw a path forward when most saw nothing but deadlock and it led to a 19-1 votes to pass out of the committee a bipartisanship consensus building few believed was possible. that's what i believe she will bring to the court. she was tough and tenacious in argument when necessary, but also knew when it was necessary to strike a compromise. she had a knack for knowing how to win people over and the ability to see the wisdom in the argument. i remember lots of late nights and a quiet capital building walking off to meet with my staff and invariably, she would be the one to have a new idea, a
fresh approach. it was a consensus building from someone that was pure instinct and had won the respect of republicans and democrats alike. no doubt that her hands-on experience working in the government's process is in this day and age and in thimont of the court probably an enormous asset. i think it is a critical component of what makes her a terrific choice. someone that understands how the walls are predicted and the effect of the implementation. it's a reminder of why some of the greatest justices in history or not judges before they sat on the court and among those are the names like brandeis. i might add she brought the same knack for the consensus building to her stewardship at harvard
law school and there she found what was affectionately acknowledged and i emphasized the affectionately acknowledged as a dysfunctional and divided campus and she transformed again into a cohesive institution winning praise from students and faculty across the ideological spectrum. elizabeth warren, the colleague at harvard and chair of the panel currently overseeing our economic relief efforts is simply she changed the morale. the former solicitor general now expert says in her prospects as a justice on the supreme court, quote, i think that she would be terrific because frankly the court is stuck. the great thing is there's a freshnesthere is afreshness abot promises some possibility of getting away from the formulas that are wheeled out today on both sides.
i have no reservations about her whatsoever. john manning the first hired under the beams is a conservative and expert on the separation of powers. so i think one of the things you see is that she tried to hire folks with different approaches to the law and different ideological perspectives. she was equally as strong in praise as she was for breyer. she celebrated both. it is a good predictor of how she will be as a judge, fair and impartial.