U.S. Senate Sen. Schumer on Justice Kennedy Retirement Replacement CSPAN June 28, 2018 7:42pm-7:54pm EDT
over the country who have excelled in their professions. the idea that any of them, let alone all of them, would be automatically unacceptable is totally absurd. unfortunately, i'm afraid this may be a precursor of all the unfair attacks to come both from inside and outside the senate. fortunately, we have every reason to expect an outstanding selection. president trump's judicial nominations to date have reflected a keen understanding of the vital role that judges play in our constitutional order. interpreting the law fairly, applying it even-handedly, setting aside personal preferences and assessing what the law actually says. these traits have characterized the excellent nominees the president has sent to the senate. i look forward to another such nomination.
>> now mr. president, yesterday justice anthony kennedy announced his retirement creating a vacancy on the supreme court. after kennedy's departure, the supreme court will be evenly divided between justices appointed by republican presidents and justices appointed by democratic presidents. whoever fill justice kennedy's seat on the court will have the opportunity to impact the laws of the united states and the rights of its citizens for a generation. because justice kennedy was frequently independent minded and a deciding vote on important issues like marriage equality and a woman's right to choose, a more ideological successor could up end decades of precedent and drag america backwards to a time before americans with preexisting conditions could affordably access healthcare, to a time when women could not be prosecuted as criminals for
exercising their reproductive rights, to a time before gay and lesbian americans could marry whom they love. an ideological justice, more extreme in their views than kennedy, could take the rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively for a fair wage and stretch the bounds of executive power for a president who has demonstrated little respect for them. now, of course if republicans were consistent, they would wait to consider justice kennedy's successor until after the midterm elections. time and time again, leader mcconnell justified his unjustifiable blockade of merrick garland by claiming the american people should have a voice in deciding the next supreme court justice. that was in february of an election year. it's now almost july. if the senate's constitutional duty to advise and consent is just as important as the
president's right to nominate, which the constitution says it is, why should a midterm election be any less important than a presidential election? leader mcconnell is simply engaging in hypocrisy. whomever the president picks, it is all too likely they are going to overturn healthcare protections and roe v. wade. we don't need to guess. president trump has said time and time again he would appoint judges that would do those two things, overturn roe v. wade, overturn healthcare protections. on november 11th, 2016, then president elect trump said, quote, i am pro-life. the judges will be pro-life. in a debate against secretary clinton, then candidate trump said because i'm pro-life, and i will be appointing pro-life
judges, i think that we will go back to the individual states, unquote. it is impossible to conclude that president trump will appoint a justice who we can have faith will leave roe v. wade a settled law. he said in his own words, president trump said in his own words, that he wants to appoint a justice to give the court a majority who will overturn roe v. wade. so count on it. president trump will in all likelihood nominate a justice willing to send roe, quote, back to the states. again, those are president trump's own words, where several are preparing if not already prepared to roll back a woman's right to choose. in fact, according to the
institute, there are 18 states where abortion would be wholly or partially illegal almost immediately. that is against what america wants. it is because the president and his hard right ideological judici judici judicial -- are way far away from where the american people are and are trying to create a court that will turn the clock backward in so many ways. roe at the top of the list. we also know that president trump will likely nominate a justice willing to reinterpret the court's rulings that our current healthcare law is constitutional. again, listen to president trump's own words. on january 1st, 2016, candidate trump, quote, justice roberts turned out to be an absolute disaster because he gave us obama care, unquote. later he said, i don't think i
will have any catastrophic appointment like justice roberts, unquote. even justice roberts was too far to the middle for the president on healthcare. president trump made it crystal clear that he's going to nominate somebody hostile to the court's rulings on healthcare. there's no other way to interpret president trump's words. so count on it. he will appoint a nominee. he will roll back healthcare protections for tens of millions of americans. america doesn't want that. but again, the hard right who president trump listens to want to use the courts to roll back america's rights and privileges. we can be sure that the next nominee of course will deny and hide behind the judicial dodge, i will follow settled law, as we
saw this week in a decision, settled law is only settled until a majority of justices on the supreme court decide it isn't, and yesterday they reversed 40 years of precedent in a ruling that stretched the meaning of the 1st amendment to meet their ideological predispositions, their anti-union bias. already there's a case winding its way through the courts that questions the constitutionality of the healthcare law, by repealing the coverage requirement, republicans have removed the foundation upon which the chief justice faced his ruling to uphold the law -- based his ruling to uphold the law . if the change in the law changes justice roberts mind which is very likely and the new jurist is as biassed against our healthcare system as president trump said he or she will be, millions of americans could see
their preexisting condition protections wiped out. i say to america, 80, 90 percent of you believe we should have preexisting conditions. the nominee of the president is likely to undo them and leave tens of millions of american families helpless. stand up now, america. before this happens. the trump administration decided the federal government will not defend the law protecting preexisting conditions in the court. the next supreme court justice may indeed be faced with casting a deciding vote on the fate of our healthcare and we already know unfortunately the kind of vote that president trump wants. now, my friend leader mcconnell warned the senate not to get into personal attacks of the president's nominee. of course he doesn't seem to mind the president who makes personal attacks his daily m.o.
but be that as it may, i can assure my friend, the republican leader, that there is no desire and no need to get into personal attacks. there are so many weighty issues hanging over the vacant seat, a woman's right to choose, the fate of our healthcare law, the right of workers to organize, the pernicious influence of money in politics, the right of americans to marry whom they love, the right to vote. we will discuss these issues on the merits and consider a nominee in light of these issues. but discussing a preordained list of candidates who meet the hard right's ideological litmus tests? that is certainly legitimate and we're going to continue to bring that up. we will evaluate the president's nominees on the issues. but every american should have
his or her eyes wide open to the fact that president trump is not picking the best legal mind. he has sworn to nominate a justice called from a preordained list, vetted by the heritage foundation, and the federalist society, organizations whose mission has been to repeal roe v. wade and strike at the heart of our healthcare law. does anyone believe that a nominee on that prevetted list doesn't want to challenge roe? how do you think they got to be on that list? with the federalist society, led by leonard leo whose goal is to repeal roe v. wade, putting it together and trump rubber stamping it. given what the president has said, it is virtually certain that members of the list of 25 would vote to overturn roe.
so let this be a call to action, for americans from all corners of the country, to rise up and speak out. don't let this new court, this new nominee, whomever he or she may be turn back the clock on issue after issue or after issue because president trump has embraced a hard right group who has a veto power over nominees. don't let us turn back the clock, america. stand up. speak out. democrats, republicans, liberals, conservatives, all should want a much fairer process. america tell your senators that if you do not want a supreme court justice who will overturn roe v. wade, that those senators should not voteor