tv U.S. Senate 11012017 CSPAN November 1, 2017 1:59pm-3:59pm EDT
to serve long and well and take their important philosophy to the court with them when they go. and with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mrs. capito: thank you, mr. president. as we heard my colleague from missouri saying, we've got a great opportunity this week to confirm four out standing individuals -- outstanding individuals to the federal circuit court. these nominees are well-qualified individuals who have demonstrated a strong understanding of the proper role that a judge plays in our constitutional system. i'm especially pleased that we
are conside tee exceptionally talented women for the federal bench. federal circuit court nominations are extremely important. circuit courts sit directly below the supreme court in our judicial system. and because the supreme court reviews relatively few or a smaller number of cases, many times the circuit courts have the last word in the majority of our -- of those cases. so it is essential that we have judges on the circuit court who will treat all litigants fairly. when i think about what do i want in a judge, i think fairness is the first thing that comes to mind. we want someone who treats litigants fairly, who show respect for our constitution, our statutes, and the controlling precedents. so we need somebody knowledgeable in the law. that sort of goes without saying, but certainly is a top
attribute of a judge. every party before our federal courts has the right to expect evenhanded and fair judges and fair justice from those judges that are handling their case. each of the four nominees will be confirmed this week. they each have a strong record and impeccable qualifications. they respect the rule of law, and all were given a high rating by the nonpartisan american bar association. yesterday, i was very pleased to support amy barrett's confirmation to the court of appeals for the seventh circuit. despite obstruction from my colleagues on the other side, i am pleased that yesterday we confirmed ms. barrett, but still i have deep concerns about some of the debate. some of the questions that were raised about her religious beliefs throughout the confirmation process. the constitution clearly states that there can be no religious test for any federal office.
the senate has a responsibility to consider qualifications and fitness for office of individuals nominated by the president, but that does not include an evaluation of a nominee's religious beliefs. our constitution fundamentally protects religious liberty for all americans. that principle is deeply rooted in our nation's history and allows individuals of all faiths the freedom to exercise their religious beliefs. ms. barrett's credentials clearly demonstrated that her ability to serve on the federal bench, which she will be doing, and i hope that future nominees are questioned by this body on their record, their qualifications, and their jurisprudence, not on their faith. today we confirmed the nomination of michigan supreme court justice joan larsen for the sixth circuit, a supremely
qualified individual. a former clerk for supreme court justice antonin scalia, she served as a deputy assistant attorney general and as a law professor at the university of michigan before joining her state's highest court, the supreme court. later in the week, we will consider colorado supreme court justice allison eid for the tenth circuit. justice eid served as colorado's solicitor general and is a law professor at the university of colorado. she clerked for supreme court justice clarence thomas and was appointed by chief justice john roberts to serve as a member of the advisory committee on the federal appellate rules. finally, we will consider the nomination of stephanos bibas to the third circuit. mr. bibas is a law professor at the university of pennsylvania and clerked for justice anthony
kennedy after earning degrees from columbi oxford, and yale. this is a supremely qualified slate of nominees, as their impressive credentials make clear and the -- the praise that my colleagues who are more familiar with these nominees have given to these nominees in earnest and honest discussion very much lends themselves for my support. without question, their fitness for the federal bench is very evident. the fact that democrats have been holding up these qualified individuals is totally misguided. we heard senator blunt talk about the numbers. there are currently 21 circuit court vacancies and 120 district court vacancies in the federal judiciary. while the senate has an important role in examining nominees to fill these vacations, democrats -- these
vacancies, democrats have required virtually every potential judge to go through a time-consuming floor process that is simply not sustainable, even when there is no objections raised against the individuals. in fact, democrats have used political tactics to delay virtually every one of president trump's judicial nominees, controversial or not. every senator has the right to vote against a judicial nominee if they believe that that person is unfit or unqualified. we all have that right. but engaging in a de facto filibuster against virtually every judicial nominee is an abusive of the rules, i believe, especially when the nominee has overwhelming bipartisan support. the american people expect the senate to confirm well-qualified nominees. they also expect us to advance a legislative agenda that will improve our economy and our security. by filibustering against
qualified nominees, democrats are keeping the senate from tackling our important legislative work. starting with justice neil gorsuch to the nominees being considered this week, president trump has nominated mainstream judges who will serve our country for years in the judiciary. i commend the president and the members of the judiciary committee -- and we just saw the chairman of the judiciary committee walk through the chamber. i commend him for his work, senator grassley, for their work indvancing these talented individuals. we should confirm these judges and act promptly to fill other judicial vacancies. thank you, and i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: thank you, mr. president. tomorrow morning the senate will vote on the nomination of colorado supreme court justice allison eid. she is going to be voted on it serve on the tenth circuit court of appeals. she's an eminently qualified and exceptional nominee who has received widespread, bipartisan praise and support. justice eid has spent over a decade on the colorado supreme court. before her appointment, she served as colorado state solicitor general.
in that role, she represented the state before both federal and state courts. she also served as a tenured faculty member at the university of colorado school of law, where she taught courses in constitutional law, legislation, and torts. justice eid also practiced commercial and appellate litigation at arnold & porter. at the beginning of her legal career, justice eid served as a clerk for judge jerry smith on the fifth circuit and as a law clerk for supreme court justice clarence thomas. justice eid was raised by a single mother who eid credits for her significant personal and professional achievements. she earned a scholarship to stanford and graduated with distinction and is a member of
phi beta kappa. justice eid received her law degree from the university of chicago, where she graduated with high honors in order of the coif. she has had an impressive legal career and an impressive life story. in her long and celebrated tenure on the colorado supreme court, justice eid has heard roughly 900 cases and written approximately 100 opinions. in 2008, 75% of colorado voters retained justice eid to the colorado supreme court. her nomination has also received wide bipartisan support as an example, justice eid's former clerks, who noted that they, quote, come from a diverse set
of geographic, economic, cultural and political backgrounds, end of quote, wrote a letter to the judiciary committee supporting her nomination. judges work closely with their law clerks every day. law clerks understand a judge's deliberative process and that judge's approach to the law better than anyone. and how did these clerks describe justice eid? so i have a quote here. they said, she never failed to provide her full attention and dedication to each individual case, mastering the relative facts and carefully analyzing the law, whether the text of the statute or the word of at contract, end of quote. her law clerks also wrote that
she goes, and i quote again, where the law takes her, end of quote, and in their decade of collective experience in the over 900 cases, justice eid, quote, treats each case individually without any preconceived notion of desired outcome, end of quote. the national native american bar association also endorsed justice eid. in their letter to the committee, they noted that she has, quote, demonstrated deep understanding of federal indian law and policy matters as well as significant respect for the tribes as governments. such qualities and experiences are rare among nominees to the federal bench, end of quote. they went on to note that,
quote, while we do not expect that justice eid will agree with tribal interests on every issue, we also believe that she is immensely well-equal fahd and we are confident that -- well-qualified and we are confident that justice eid is a mainstream, commonsense westerner who will rule fairly on indian country matters, end of quote from the national native american bar association. i think mainstream, commonsense westerner is the perfect way to drab justice eid -- to describe justice eid. despite this bipartisan support and her professional achievements, yet all the democratic members of the judiciary committee voted against her nomination in committee, and i expect most of the minority will vote against her confirmation when it comes
up. that surprised me. justice eid received a majority well-qualified rating from the american bar association, an outside group, which group evaluates judicial nominees. my colleagues on the other side claim that this group's rating weighed very heavily in their decision to support or oppose a judicial nominee. in fact, my democratic colleagues claim that these ratings should carry a great deal of weight with senators, and they argue the judiciary committee shouldn't hold hearings on nominees who have not yet received an a.b.a. rating. but this week we're voting on four circuit nominees, including three women who recved
well-qualified ratings from the a.b.a. the american bar association rated two of these individuals unanimously well-qualified. yet the vast majority of my democratic colleagues voted against the two nominees on whom we have already voted, and i'm willing to bet that the other two nominees will see similar opposition from my democratic colleagues. so then, why do my democratic friends profess such admiration for the american bar association's evaluation process and then vote against nominees who receive the american bar association's, quote-unquote, well-qualified rating? i'd like to see them put their money where their mouth is -- or maybe better yet, their vote
where their mouth is. if my colleagues believe so strongly in the a.b.a. evaluations, they should start voting for nominees who receive well-qualified ratings. but, again, i suspect they will not. when the judiciary committee voted on justice eid's nomination, my democratic colleagues really stretched to find reasons to oppose that nomination. one of the chief reasons given for opposition of her nomination centered on a quote in the denver post article that said justice eid had -- has, quote, earned a reputation of one of the colorado supreme court's most conservative members, end of quote. i find that statement to be misleading.
of the seven justices on the colorado supreme court, justice eid is one of only two justices appointed by a republican governor. to argue that she is somehow extreme just because she was appointed -- not appointed by a democratic governor is very unfair. furthermore, "the denver post" published a subsequent article that disagreed with this characterization. by contrast, the more recent article stated, quote, appointments by a republican or democrat does not always dictate the ideology of the justice, even categorizing justices as either conservative or liberal is generally an issue, end of quote. i would agree with "the denver post" on this point. justice eid should not be evaluated by her ideological
reputation but, rather, by how she approaches issues before her judiciary. this is how i have evaluated justice eid's and other judicial nominees and that is why i strongly support her confirmation today. i'm very proud to support the nomination of justice allison eid. she is the third of a series of distinguished female circuit court nominees that we've had the opportunity to vote on this week. her impressive experience and numerous accomplishments speak to her qualifications for this role. i commend the president for nominating these outstanding and accomplished women to our circuit courts. justice eid is an exceptional nominee, and her record over-wellcomeingly supports her
mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. cornyn: i'd ask unanimous consent that the qrk be dispensed with -- the work be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: this week we've been talking about some sterling nominees for our nation's circuit courts of appeals. these are our intermediate appellate courts in the country, one step above the trial courts where cases are tried and one step below the supreme court of
the united states. what most people don't realize is the supreme court only decides roughly 80 cases a year. in other words, there's no guarantee that if you -- your case is tried in the trial court, that it will go beyond the circuit court of appeals. so in many instances our supreme courts are the supreme court -- our circuit court, are the supreme court or the court of last resort. professor amy barrett yesterday was confirmed to the seventh cifer cut court of appeals by a bipartisan vote of 55-43. for some -- for some reason our friends across the aisle that it's -- to their advantage to run out the clock against a really accomplished scholar and mother of seven, of course to no avail. our colleagues across the aisle
have seem to have forgot then their oh, priority -- their own priorities when it comes to judges. a senior senator said that it's time to get a woman on the bench. they there should be an up-or-down vote. i would say that the president's nominees, whether they be women or men, deserve that, but unfortunately that has not always been the case. there is still time for our democratic colleagues to honor their previous statements and to put more women on the circuit courts without needlessly stringing them along with unnecessary delays. joan louise larsen was the first to be confirmed earlier today. she fulfill -- of the legal profession. that's certainly where joan larsen works. she's been a justice on the
michigan supreme court and nominated to the sixth circuit which handles federal appeals from michigan, kentucky, ohio, and tennessee. justice larsen graduated first in her class from northwestern university's law school and clerked for the prestigious d.c. circuit court of appeals in washington, d.c., and served as a law clerk to justice antonin scalia of the united states supreme court. since then, she's worked in public service at the office of legal counsel at the department of justice during the george w. bush administration and has taught at the university of michigan law school. both of our democratic colleagues from michigan have returned their blue slips, which is the piece of paper which says they are okay with the nomination going forward, signaling their approval. given given her credentials, my question would, how could they
not. judge larsen will make an excellent addition to the circuit court of appeals and i'm glad we now confirmed her. another nominee is on the way, justice allison eid of the colorado supreme court has been nominated to the tenth circuit post formally held by justice neil gorsuch who was qiched to the -- confirmed to the tenth circuit court. it ininclude colorado, kansas, oklahoma, wyoming, and utah. as in the case of barrett and larsen, allison eid is exceptional in every respect. she attended the university of chicago law school where she was elected to the order of the coif. she clerked for the fifth circuit court of appeals in new orleans and went on to clerk for justice clarence thomas on the united states supreme court. as with justice larsen, justice eid has received the blue slips
from both of her home state senators, which means they are willing to let this confirmation go forward. so i look forward to her quick confirmation. finally, the fourth judge who will be confirmed this week is now professor stephanos bibas who teaches at university of pennsylvania law school. he's been nominated for the third circuit court of appeals which covers, delaware, new jersey, and pennsylvania. professor bibas was educated at columbia, o'| ford, and -- oxford and yale. he clerked for justice anthony kennedy on the united states supreme court. he worked in both private practice and as a prosecutor and distinguished himself as an academic now teaching and publishing in the realm of criminal law and procedure. a diverse group of more than 100 law professors noted professor
bibas noted his personal integrity. those are the sort of quality we should all want in a circuit court judge. we're going to confirm professor bibas and the other nominees i mentioned no matter how long it takes this week. the majority leader has put our friends across the aisle on notice and there's nothing they can do to stop the confirmation votes before we call it a week. once again, the administration has demonstrated its skill at picking bright nominees for the right reasons. this -- this week's nominees will read the law faithfully, they will honestly interpret its text, and they will apply it to cases with a sense of humility no matter what their preferred outcome might be. i appreciate president trump, leader mcconnell, and chairman of the senate judiciary committee, senator chuck
grassley's hard work, in bringing these nominees to the floor and now let's get them on the federal bench. mr. president, the other thing i wanted to bring p up in my -- bring up in my remarks today is tax reform because we all know that the house of representatives will release the ways and means committee beginning bill for tax reform, something we promised for a long time in which the -- and which the country is anxiously awaiting. this will be the culmination of months, if not years, of hard work, of meetings, white papers, listening sessions, and the like, so we can deliver on our shared goal of a simpler, fairer tax system that boasts jobs and -- boasts jobs -- boasts jobs. those are our goals. we know that many hardworking americans have had a rough time in recent years, sending your kids to college, securing
retirement seems to be harder and increasingly out of reach for some of my constituents back in texas and people around the country. and i hear about their concerns and their anxieties, economic anxieties, every time i go home. it's not acceptable that 50% of americans find themselves living from paycheck to paycheck and that a third of voters are one trip away interest the mechanic shop from a household financial crisis. last week several of my colleagues and i sat down with the president. we were a bipartisan group of the senate finance committee and discussed our objectives in discussing meaningful and lasting changes to the tax code. the president agreed that we should cut tax ps for hard work -- taxes for hardworking americans, that we should nearly double the standard deduction which redices the number of people -- reduces the number of people who will have to itemize
which will make the tax code much simpler and cheaper. we agreed to significantly increase the child tax credit and reduce businesses on businesses and job creators. this last objective, reducing taxes on businesses and job creators deserves a little bit more discussion. ireland represents an interesting point of comparison for the united states. we have the highest tax rate in the world of 35% for businesses that do business all around the globe. ireland has a corporate rate of 12.5% -- 35% to 12.5%, and because of that it's become a haven for large american companies, especially in the high-tech sector. ireland has since ended its so-called double irish tax scheme which allowed it to benefit on taxes from income
that should have been taxed in the united states. there is some rivalry and competition when businesses do business worldwide as to where their profits will be taxed. and honestly, we want to make sure that those profits are taxed in the united states and not in countries abroad where we enjoy no benefit -- which we would enjoy no benefit from. this example illustrates what happens when we keep our tax rates so high. savvy companies leave. they go elsewhere because they know the difference between a 35% tax rate and a 12.5% tax rate in ireland may be the difference between doing -- making a profit for your shareholders, whether it's your teachers retirement system or firefighters pension fund or ending up in the red and not making a profit at all. so savvy companies will leave and they will go elsewhere and they know to create new entities
and search the globe for better rates. it's really a matter of competitiveness in a global economy. of course when they do this it's usually legal, it is legal, and it's rational, by the way, because they want the best deal they can get for their shareholders, and they also want to make sure they can achieve a profit for their shareholders and not a loss due to the tax rate. when companies dodge u.s. taxes, it means we here in the united states miss out on revenue that we would otherwise reap, and one thing for sure, with $20 trillion in debt, we want to make sure our tax code is fair, simple, and competitive and will grow the economy in a way that will help pay down those deficits and that debt. now our democratic friends have been known to demagogue this issue a little bit saying, who wants to cut these corporate tax rates overseas?
corporations shouldn't get a tax cut even though they know what the facts are. well, they should simply listen to people like barack obama when in 2011, speaking to a joint session of congress, called on republicans and democrats alike, to lower the u.s. corporate tax rate because he knew, and he was right, that this was hurting our competitiveness in a global economy, and companies, out of self-interest, were keeping the profits they made overseas rather than bringing them back and suffering from double taxation, meaning that the workers here in the united states didn't get the benefit of the extra cash in their paychecks, and the investment that should have occurred in the united states was occurring overseas strictly because of our tax code. the senior senator from oregon described a corporate in -- corporate inversionings, and that's what happens when -- inversions and that's what
happens when a company shifts its address to another country. he calls it a con tagion. he went on to call the tax code an anticompetitive mess. he's right. the senior senator from maryland and ohio have also made similar statements in past years. we all realize that simplifying our tax code will reduce tax compliance costs which currently run for small business owners around $19 billion a year. our tax code has simply gotten to be too complex and too convoluted for honest, law-eye abiding -- law-eye abiding -- law -- law awiding -- bied be small business owners. the more they giving their
workers a pay raise. so let's give them the relief that they need. let's reduce the corporate rate as president obama and our colleagues on the other side used to argue for, and with our proposals we can get moving on fixing the rest of the tax code too, to let hardworking people in texas keep more of what they earn, improve their standard of living in the process and to make our tax code more competitive in a global economy so that business that's operate internationally will be incentivized to bring that money back here to the united states to make and manufacture products that were stamped made in america and improve the wages and quality of life and income for american workers. it just strikes me as a no-brainer, and that's exactly what we're going to set out to accomplish to do. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
officer the democratic leader. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. now mr. president, i. labor unions, strong labor laws have helped build the middle class
in america. in the 1970's union participation was around 30% and was a golden era for the american middle class. wages went up, families had benefits and vacations, parents
could pay for college, they could put food on the table, and have money left over. the vast thriving middle class was built on the blood and sweat of labor unions and those who organized the labor unions often at physical peril back in the 1930's. unfortunately, over the last few decades union membership has declined and along with it middle-class wages and opportunities. since the 1970's when union membership was nearly 30%, it has fallen to just 11% of all workers in 2014. that decline is mostly because the union movement and, consummately -- concurrently, the middle class with which it is allied have been under attack from big corporate special interests and the conservative movement for the better part of the last three decades. it's a well-funded -- it's
well-funded by a small group of very rich and i might say greedy people. and it's patient. their goal is to, by any means necessary, congress, courts, whatever, break up existing unions and prevent new unions from forming. they'll pursue any avenue to disrupt the ability of workers to organize and collectively bargain for a fair share of the profits they create so they can make an extra buck. these forces will do whatever it takes to keep rigging the system in their favor, like asking the supreme court to rule on janus v. afsmy, a case brought by the koch brothers, $40 million more, maybe more,mannive money. they hate giving any money to workers. and there is no record evidence of a single lower court ruling in its favor.
if anyone doubts the politicization of the supreme court, just look at they would be willing to hear this case twice, with comes with a crazy legal basis that a first amendment basis should be used to destroy collectively bargaining. it is designed to eliminate the freedom of people to come together in unions. if the supreme court endorses the arguments of janus, it will be a dark day for the american worker. chief justice roberts, who said he would be fair and call balls and strikes, in my view he has lost all pretense of fairness. he wants to keep the courts nonpolitical and he keeps pushing cases like this. the court has methodically moved under chief justice roberts constantly and consistently siding with the big corporate interests over the interests of workers. already it is the most pro-corporate court since world
war ii. a decision in favor of janus will be a shameful capstone on that already disgraceful record. and i would say, to all those wealthy people who have plenty of money, to all those corporate executives who get paid in the tens of millions, who are desperate to take money away from middle-class people whose income is declining, you are creating an anger and sourness in america that is hurting our country in so many different ways. american workers deserve a better deal, and democrats are going to offer it. we're calling it freedom to negotiate. we're offering the middle class and those struggling to get there a better deal by taking on companies that undermine unions, underpay their workers, and beginning to unwind a rigged system that threatens every worker's freedom to negotiate with their employer. our plan would, among other things, strengthen penalties on predatory corporations that
violate workers' rights. ban state right-to-work laws that undermine worker freedoms to join together and negotiate. strengthen workers' rights to strike for essential workplace improvements. and provide millions of public employees, state, local, federal, with the freedom to join a union and collectively bargain with their employers. over the past century, labor unions have fought to stitch into the fabric of our economy a basic sense of fairness for workers. each worker, left on his or her own, has no power against big corporate interests who employ them. but together unions can, when workers unite in unions, they can have some say. now, no one taught me better about the lack of fairness than a 32-bj worker i met named sharika elliott. she was mother of two children struggling to make ends meet.
she was working the graveyard shift, cleaning terminals at j.f.k. and serving hamburgers at mcdonald's during the day. she was forced to rely on public assistance. she had gotten so little in wages from these jobs, lived in a house with six other family members to pay the rent. this is not a freeloader. she was working two jobs, but she got minimum wage and she could hardly support herself. she barely saw her children, spent most of her free time to get this job, this poorly paid minimum-wage job. she had to take a bus for hours from east new york to kennedy airport. but she wasn't angry, by the way. she was a church-going lady. she had faith in god to provide. but she suffered some of the and, by the way, 30 years ago cleaning bathrooms at an
airport, you would have been employed by the airlines or by the terminal. but because these companies have learned to farm out the labor to subsidiaries, to franchises, to other corporations who have no -- no accountability, now cleaning those toilet s is a minimum-wage job. over the last 40 years, though, i have seen sharika and her coworkers start to rebuild their dreams he said to me, no if i only could get minimum wage, i might be able to take economize out to a restaurant i never characters or buy them toys for christmas -- i never could do that. but now sharika joined the union and they fought for a $15 minimum wage. some parts of the country, that may seem like a lot of money. in new york city, i can tell you, it doesn't go that far. costs are higher. sharika was able to quit her
second job, spend time with her daughters, like all parents want to do. sharika and her coworkers won a union contract and now they're able to gain the tools they need to protect themselves and do their work in a safer environment. she is a metaphor for american workers, so many have lost good-paying jobs that haveone overseas, that have been closed due to automation. when they organize in these new types of jobs, they can get the kind of wages people used to get in the jobs that have gone away. it's pretty simple -- when workers have the freedom to negotiate with their employers, they have safer working conditions, better wages, and fairer overtime and leave policies. sharika's story is a testament to that fact. our better deal, the freedom to negotiate, will do for so many americans what sharika's union
did for her in new york. maybe middle-class wages will go up. maybe people will start having faith in the future again. and we democrats, hopefully maybe joined by
a few courageous republicans, we're going to fight to get it done. with that, i yield the floor, and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: