tv Senate Judiciary ATF Director Judicial Nominees Confirmation Hearing CSPAN August 12, 2019 11:48am-1:54pm EDT
>> host: that story appears this morning thehill.com, taking a look at those factors that determine the future of new gun legislation . scott long,thanks for your time this morning . >> thanks so much.>> the house will be in order. >> for 40 years, c-span has been providing america unfiltered congress coverage of congress, the white house and public policy events from washington and around the country so you can make up your own mind. created by people in 1979, c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of governments. >> the president's nominee to be the next director of the bureau of alcohol tobacco firearms and explosives testified before the senate judiciary committee. the answer questions from lawmakers, many of them concerning his opinion on the
1994 federal assault weapons ban. this is two hours. >>. >> all. i apologize for being late. i really don't have any opening remarks and i welcome all of our colleagues here to these introductions andi'll turn it over to senator feinstein . >> mister chairman. as you can see we have four nominees before the committee today. i'd like to welcome the majority leader, thank you for being here. we have not had a senate confirmed director of the atf since march 2015. and in fact, we've only had one confirmed head of the agency since the director position was subject to senate confirmation in 2006. so i'm really very pleased that members of this committee will have the
ability to question mister canterbury, not only on his record but also on his priorities for combating gun violence should he be confirmed to this position. i really have been at this for so long and i've seen us experience so many endless tragedies at the hands of firearms. from parkland to newtown, from san bernardino to sutherland springs, from las vegas to the streets of chicago and most recently at a food festival in gilroy. that's a very rural community. gun violence hastaught short too many lives in this country . i was so saddened the picture of a six-year-old boy and two others who were gunned down at the gilroy garlic festival on sunday. what is supposed to be a time of summer celebration in my
state has instead become another tragedy inflicted by guns. no american community today is safe from the harmful impact of firearms. students and teachers, concertgoers and police officers, we all suffer from this country failure to address the scourge of guns and i just want to point out the atf plays a vital role in enforcing the nation's existing gun laws. and so the position to which mister canterbury has been nominated is critically important to an effort that we should never abandon and that is the attempt to put an end to gun violence that has caused so many in this country. we also as you know mister chairman three judicial nominees and i won't go into that. we will have their hearing and i thank you for this opportunity.
>> we will now you're from mister mcconnell, introducing the district judge for western kentucky and senator paul cannot attend today's hearing but i will place it in the record. without objection, senator mcconnell, the floor is yours . >> thank you mister chairman, senator feinstein great pleasure to be here to be able to introduce a brilliant kentuckian. president trump made a wise choice in nominating him to be a district judge for kentucky . and i'd like to share with him his grandfather called me up and said grandson is in high school and he's doing a paper on the 1994 republican sweep of congress. would you be willing to let him interview you? i have sort of routinely done high school interviews when i said sure. he came in, asked a whole lot
of incredibly insightful questions . and when he finished i said how about sending me a copy of your paper to mark i'd like to read it. yay. an iv. it read like a phd dissertation. he graduated with distinction, went to harvard law school, graduatedwith distinction . clerk for judge cavanaugh, clerk for judge kennedy. and justice kennedy, and this is unquestionably the most outstanding nomination i've ever recommended in the course of my career in the senate president to serve on the bench in kentucky so with a particular pleasure to be here today on his behalf.
not to mention the clerkships that he had, the highestlevel of the judiciary , during his supreme court's internship, forbes magazine recognized justin as part of its 30 under 30 list for law and public policy. since the return on the kentucky and began teaching at the university of louisville brandeis law school, the justice worked hard to earn the trust of his colleagues and the respect of his students. this committee has received over a dozen letters signed by more than 200 kentuckians known justin as ateacher, a colleague and a friend . these letters share a common theme. justin has a thoroughly impressive nominee with all the necessary qualifications to succeed on the federal bench. his fellow professors including the dean of the law school that his collegiality, dedication to others and impressive intellect will be of great benefit to the federal bench . to his students he's ateacher , a mentor, career coach and
a constant source of encouragement. justin invites all of his students to the start of their first year of law school. he works individually with each of them to improve their skills and prepare them to join the profession. these are just examples of the dedication and focus he puts forward to helping his students reach their full potential. and in the courtroom, justin is known for immersive preparation, fervid advocacy and an all-around excellence in trial and appellate litigation. he made quite an impression on louisville's legal community. and his open-minded approach and thoughtful nature will benefit all of your before him. these extensive responsibilities like the enough to most people but not justin, he and his wife and also lead a nonprofit organization called global weight game changers with a focus on underserved children in louisville. this organization helps young people improve theirlives in a positive impact on their community .
so simply put, our commonwealth in the nation would be lucky to have a remarkable individual like justin walker on the federal bench. through the course of this confirmation process i expect you'll see what i have described. joining me to support justin's commitment to public service today are his mother debra, many modern members of his family, friends and colleagues and of course and and their daughter isabella. so mister chairman, thank you again for the opportunity to come by and put in a good word forthis impressive young man . >> thanks senator mcconnell, next we will have senator shelby and they will introduce mister robert a figure, nominee for the united states district judge in the middle district of alabama. >> thank you chairman graham, ranking member feinstein and distinguished colleagues. i'm here today to speak on behalf of huffaker, as you
said he's been nominated by the president to be the us district judge or the middle district of alabama. also joined here today by his wife suzanne, his children mary and virginia and i'm sure he'll introduce elena and robert and other family members who traveled to be here today. i know that his mother kitty is also probably watching this hearing. austin is an excellent choice for this role. he's well respected among his peers and widely recognized in the legal community . from a young age he demonstrated a termination to succeed injust about everything he was involved in . he was recruited to play ivy league football and still does that but he instead chose to focus on his studies and went to bender vanderbilt and majored in chemical engineering.
chemical engineering and the law, think about it. he graduated with honors receiving, some allowed the distinction. after graduating from vanderbilt to return home to alabama to pursue it his study of law with the university of alabama where he graduated magna come loudly. while in law school was a hugo black scholar and a member of the alabama law review. the indentured john campbell 14. following his law school he went to work with the distinguish firm in montgomery alabama where he made partner a few years after a hard work and dedication. he's been involved deeply in his community and the bar association and everything related to it. he was chosen by the federal judges of the middle district of alabama chair thecommittee to select a new federal magistrate . and just some of his stuff, his experience and proficiency in the courtroom show his suitability here. he comes from a long line of distinguished lawyers
including his late father and his brother, robert was recently inducted in alabama lawyers hall of fame. i have my utmost respect for him. i've been watching him move over the years and recently he was recommended by the american bar association for the highest recommendation they can make.i'm here today mister chairman to recommend him to this committee without any reservations andi thank you . >> senator jones senator feinstein, i'd first like to say what a pleasure it is to be in front of this committee. i started my career back on the wall backthere , working for senator hummel, i say on the wall, i was kind of the low person in the ranking, they kept me back in the anteroom so i am pleased to be here with senator shelby to recommend to the committee
for consideration of austin huffaker for a seat on the united states district court for the middle district of alabama in montgomery . and i appreciate and will not recount all that senator shelby said area you have heard austin's impressive career and his resume. i reviewed that record as well. i knew his father well and he comes from really wonderful legal stock. .. from judges, from colleagues come from former clients and
even from opposing counsel that support this nomination. late yesterday i received an additional letter which i would like to submit for the record. mr. chairman, this when one is particularly important. it comes from j.c. love, an attorney in montgomery who is a past president of the capital city bar association which is a bar association that sirs the city of montgomery minority attorney population. he is known for a number of years any rights, and like to read this, into the record picky says it is not just his legal experience. it's his personal qualities that gives me confidence you will be a great judge. it's his work ethic and family values. his passion for the profession and his compassion for all those involved in court cases. it sets austin apart from other trees. i've written this firsthand how tirelessly works, has compassion for others and influence lies
and how dedicated he is to his community. you will hear more from him himself. i'm confident of his abilities and the fact you make an outstanding judge and i highly recommend him to this committee. so thank you, mr. chairman for allowing me to be here. >> thank you both. only in america can you go from any room to the witness table. there you go. next up senator boozman and cottle introduced mr. lee rudofsky. i hope i got that right, united states district judge for the eastern district of arkansas. senator boozman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and ranking member feinstein, for allowing me to appear today to introduce lee rudofsky, the nominee to service just district judge for the eastern district of arkansas. we has a long history of public service turkey serve the great state of arkansas as its first solicitor general. the clerk of u.s. court of appeals for the ninth circuit. the supreme judicial court of
massachusetts, the office of counsel to the governor of massachusetts and the office of counsel to the president of the united states ring the george w. bush administration. in recent years he was an adjunct professor at george mason university school of law teaching budding lawyers about environmental and administrative law. a graduate of cornell and harvard, he spent years handling complex commercial and constitutional cases in private practice. in his current role he's a senior director for global anticorruption compliance at walmart. simply put, he has extensive experience in law firms, the courtroom and the judge's chambers. he served me very -- a certain very well-qualified. i very much support this nomination courage of this committee to do the same. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator cotton. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
i join senator boozman in introducing and expressing my support for lee rudofsky as the presidents nominate to the united states district court for the eastern district of arkansas. he is exactly the type of jurist we want in our arkansas. he is committed to the rule of law. that's why senator boozman and i recommended him and we suspect you will agree. lee wasn't born in arkansas but he got there as fast as he could. he and his wife are blessed to raise the three children as arkansans. his publications are impeccable picky graduate from cornell and harvard law school. he worked during school and white house counsel office and office of the council to the governor of massachusetts. he even volunteered with his committee during the confirmation of chief justice roberts. lee click for massachusetts and the court of appeals for the ninth circuit. he worked for the law firm kirkland and ellis. he has served as in-house counsel for organizations with just a couple dozen employees,
and another with millions. perhaps most important, lee as our states solicitor general. lee sacrificed a lot to serve our state picky left a great job at walmart. he moved throughout away from his family picky sometimes slept in his office because as you said that can of commitment are taxpayers deserve. the sacrifices made difference. as a bipartisan group of notable arkansas attorneys have written to you, by the end of his three-year tenure lee had established an arkansas solicitor general office is one of the finest legal practices in the state. lee has served as a member of the arkansas advisory committee to the united states commission on civil rights. and as an active member of the american institute court, a group dedicated to ethics and the legal profession. he teaches at university of arkansas school of law he helps recruit top-notch faculty. as his colleagues did we come to
rely on lee the same way we would rely on rti alumni. and lee is a leader in his local synagogue where he volunteers for holocaust education outreach. i know lee will draw on all his expenses and skills of the dick court judges judge to serve the of arkansas and, indeed, every american. because every american deserves fair, impartial and efficient justice. i commend the president for nominating lee and thank the committee members for their consideration. i'm proud to call lee rudofsky a friend. soon other export to to calling him judge. thank you. >> thank you both very much. now it's my pleasure to introduce mr. kenneth canterbury, atf director here mr. canterbury-ism south carolina, has more than four years of law enforcement service. in 1979 he began his law enforcement career as a patrol officer on myrtle beach police department turkey rose up the
ranks and in his nearly 20 years he was a major from 1997-2004. mr. canterbury has served as the president of the national fraternal order of police since 2003. he is been a member of the -- since 1984. the fob is an invaluable resource and i like to this committee and much of that has happened under his leadership. the fop a a supportive landmark legislation by criminal justice reform. he has testified before this committee in support of nominees like attorney general barr and other important issues. he's a fine man with a wealth of experience and i'm very pleased the president has nominated him for this important job. he's a member of the south carolina law enforcement hall of fame. so when the young man gets the panel ready, the names just about done, if you would all come forward i will swear you in and we will begin questioning of the panel.
could you raise your right hand, please ask. [witnesses were sworn in] congratulations to each of you for your nominations and welcome to your families, and would start with mr. canterbury. >> good morning, mr. chairman, ranking member feinstein, and the distinguished members of the committee of the judiciary. i'd like to thank you for holding the steering all my nomination to be the next director of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms and explosives. i am humbled and honored by the president the president trust and confidence in me as well as that of attorney general barr. i am thankful for the opportunity to testify today, and hope to earn your trust and confidence as well. i'm very grateful to be joined today by my wife alice and my
son who is a police officer. i have three other children and six grandchildren who could not be here today but i knew were supporting me from a distance. i'm also fortunately able to have two of my close friends, i pastor shawn beard and my vice president of the national fop with me. members of the committee, ipa before you today as as a 26 yer veteran of law enforcement. i have directed and practical experience required to effectively lead a law enforcement agency. i have served on the front lines. i have responded to emergency calls for service and i've been there to help a citizen in need. i've always tried to make it clear that law enforcement is in nonpartisan activity. there's no republican or democrat way to enforce the law. whether at the federal, state or local level, the building of a law enforcement agency to faithfully execute the laws as passed by congress is the paramount concern. to establish justice is listed
first in the preamble of our nation constitution. it's one of the highest principles of our nation and public safety is the foremost responsibility of government. i have dedicated my entire life to the surface of my nation and my community. i have sworn to uphold the law and you justly carry out the responsibilities of a police officer, and i'm proud of my service. during my 26 years as a law-enforcement officer i spent a a significant part of my career managing, command and leaving law enforcement offices and confident in my ability to do this again at atf. i should clarify when i retired from the police department i id not retire from the profession of law enforcement. i assume the office national president in 2003 after the untimely death of my predecessor, and i'm curtly serving in my eighth term, and i'm honored to have enjoyed the support of my members. i believe our greatest achievement during my time as the fop president are back on
its own neighborhoods, our schools and our communities. the concept of community policing which is at the very heart of our national policing strategy is not imposed by legislatures or government executives. it begins with the police officer in his or her community, and officers learn to do their work in this way by example. i believe working to better our profession, to improve our training come in to be a bridge between police departments, government and communities is our greatest success. i am confident i can leave the men and women of atf successfully as well. as national president and ceo of the fop i've negotiated, formulated and executed budget for the organization of over 348,000 members. i've overseeing the implementation of a new information technology system, personnel management system, and avoid benefit program. and i successfully shouldered all the other responsibilities a ceo has as head of a large organization to believe i can still have more to give to my
country which is why i accepted the nomination to be the next atf director. atf has a unique affinity to state and local law enforcement because their mandate is to support these agencies and efforts against violent crime. i have witnessed these efforts firsthand and i've heard from them, by members about the experience with working with the atf. more especially with a chip task forces. if i'm fortunate to be confirmed i look for to continue this tradition and i pledge today i will make improvements anyway i can to make sure we succeed in our mission to reduce violent crime. thank you, senator graham. [inaudible] >> i also wish to thank my hometown senators, senator shelby and senator jones for the very kind introductions. and especially to senator shelby and the staff regarding me
through this process. also want to thank the committee for taking the time to consider my nomination. finally i'd like to thank president trump for nominating me. recently i would like to introduce my family who accompanied me here today and those unable to do so and watching from home. behind is my wife suzy picked she is my biggest advocate and supporter. she is an attorney and is a shining star in our state bar and judiciary. my daughter is also your today. she's a rising junior in high school and came down on the train from new york city present in a summer program. my son robert is here with us. he's a rising sophomore. he's a little reluctant in being a because any trip to washington involves attending many of the museums are which the 15-year-old is not exactly, i would also like to thank my -- was her from oklahoma city and my in-laws who are here from decatur. finally it with me today is a sister-in-law and my niece and
carol albright. i would also like to recognize my mother who is watching from home. my mother strength and courage knows no bounds following the untimely deaths of my father and my brother several years ago. while a time of my life was punctuated with acute loss to the untimely deaths of several of my family members, , it is those who i lost i must thank today. this includes my late wife i met and law school and some other of my children. i think she would be extremely of the accomplishment of her family and our children are going up to be fine and wonderful people. this concludes my brotherly who passed away tragically at age 33 during the early days of his loss in legal career. the most especially my father robert a for just this past may senator shelby mentioned was inducted into the alabama lawyers hall of fame. during the course of my life my father was not only my father but a mentor to me in every way
from his devotion to the practice of law and our family. he read by example with his work ethic, his integrity and his devotion to the practice of law and his long-time service to the legal profession as a whole. my dad loved lawyers, his best friends were lawyers, and children were lawyers. i can only aspire to live up to the steam respect his peers at that for him and know we be so proud of this opportunity today. so thank you again for your consideration of my nomination and the time get taken considering it, and it had to answer any questions that you may have. >> mr. rudofsky. >> thank you, chairman graham and ranking member feinstein for scheduling this hearing, and thank you for presiding as well. i want to thank president trump for the high honor for this nomination. i'm also very grateful to senators bozeman and cotman, their staffs of the selection committee that assisted the senators. should i be so lucky to be confirmed i will work every day
to live up to the trust and confidence that they are placed in me. i do have a few people that i want to specifically introduced to the committee. i'm joined here today right behind me in blue by my brilliant and beautiful wife. she and i met and fell in love in law school. she is an accomplished attorney, highly touted for photographera loving wife and mother. i'm incredibly thankful for the joy she brings to our lives and our family. we have twin girls. i hope you think it is finally good judgment that there otherwise engaged this morning. vivian wants to be an astronaut, and she loves spanish in math. charlotte wants to be a doctor, and she very much enjoys indoor rock climbing, which was interesting to me as a three-year-old but she's very good at it. we also have a seven month old named kenny. he was very sick.
early in his life but thanks to the wonderful doctors and nurses at children's hospital in arkansas, he's doing much better. he's a strong, happy and healthy baby and we're were excited toh them grow up and experience all the wonders of life. also here today are my parents. my father is a superb lawyer in his own right. he runs a small general practice law firm in new york. my mother is the building administrator force law firm and probably the greatest most selfless, , most caring person i've ever known. i hope today's small vindication of all the personal and professional sacrifices they made along the way. the ones i know about and the ones i don't so that my sister and i can follow my dreams. our dreams. my sister is a a narrow radiologist at cornell medical center in new york. i'm very thankful that she and her husband could make it down today. it means a great deal to me.
my in-laws and my brother and sister-in-law could not be aired today. i note that one at you and i miss their presence very much. let me close by thanking the members of this committee and their staffs for the time and consideration of my nomination. i look forward to answering the committee's questions. >> professor wachter. >> get morning. i want to begin by thanking my home state senators majority leader mcconnell and senator paul for their support, and thank you to leader mcconnell for the very kind introduction. i also want to thank president trump for nominating me and chairman graham and ranking member feinstein for holding this hearing and for sharing it. i'm joined today by my wife and our five-year-old daughter isabella here i love them beyond words. my mother is also here. she's a single working mom who
overcame cancer surgery, neurosurgery and heart surgery, and who made indescribable sacrifices to provide me, the first met him to graduate from college with the opportunities she didn't have herself. i owe my mom everything. i'm also joined today by leslie, mary, dan, j, jan, tim, jackson, kelsey, luke and john, and leon speers. they include family, former students, and dear friends, and some of them count as all three. finally, i would like to thank the local lawyers, faculty calls, human delete, co-clerks s and former students have written to this committee in support of my nomination. i am humbled and overwhelmed and gratitude. thank you, chairman graham.
>> thank you all and congratulations to each of you and your families. this is a big thing in your life. life. glad to be here with you. mr. canterbury, fatf directory love a lot of responsibility when it comes to purchase of illegal firearms. we have background checks systems. unfortunately the people felt background check and wind up trying to get a getting away buying it illegally or failed the background check and nothing happens to them. what you intend to do about this? >> thank you for the question, senator. i was in the sporting will be information sharing state and local partners, working alongside with u.s. attorneys for the purpose of prosecuting -- will be very important. >> as understanding senator coons has a bill with senator toomey that will say that if, that if local law enforcement, local officials have notified of somebody else background check,
to support that? >> i believe anytime we can share information with our state and local partners we are ahead of the game. >> are usually with red flag clause? >> yes, sir i am. >> what your views of those? >> as the fop president i had a position as a gift director i would have to work with senior staff at the department of justice and the atf to make sure that the wording would be in line with the enforcement efforts that line agents would do and the inspectors would do. but generally i'd like to look at the legislation. >> as fop president did you think these laws had value? >> i believe anytime we can keep a firearm out of somebody's hands who should be prohibited, it's good for the country, as long as the adjudication is -- >> robust and due process, great. professor wachter, how old are
you? >> thirty-seven. >> so that a very impressive career thus far. you've been a clerk to judge kavanaugh and justice kennedy, is that right? >> yes, sir. >> and you are now a law professor? >> that's right. >> you've been a private practice? >> i am. >> so the aba i think rated you unqualified because your experience. and i respect aba a lot. i really do this and what fantasy, but to me it's a question that all of us will have to answer for ourselves what's enough experience. tell me why you have enough experience to be a district court judge. >> well, senator, i spent my career immersed in the law with a record that i think shows my qualifications in four ways. first, in in my primary role as law professor i teach students trial practice.
i teach students criminal procedure evidence and constitutional law, all with a focus on litigation and really a focus on judicial decision-making. and i feel fortunate that i been instrumental in helping prepare nearly 200 students to be ready to practice on day one, ready to hang out a shingle which many of our students to come and ready to represent clients in court. second liberal as an academic i've written hundreds of pages of law review articles about criminal procedure, about the judiciary, about constitutional law and i've been lucky they even published in some of the leading terms in the country. third, i've done something unusual for a full-time law professor. i maintain a private practice and i've litigated complex questions of criminal procedures, civil procedure, constitutional law, criminal law, administrative law, labor law. i've litigated at a large national law firm then as a solo practitioner and now as a partner at another large
national law firm as well as working for two supreme court justices. fourth and finally, i think there's a reason that hundreds of local attorneys from my legal community have written some 17 letters to this committee saying that i have the skills to analyze complex legal questions i think quickly on my feet and maybe most important to listen and learn with humility and an evenhanded temperament. >> thank you. mr. rudofsky, you're the solicitor general for for arkansas, correct? >> yes. >> and you file an amicus brief in same-sex marriage cases before the supreme court and i think you've had some writings as a student or could you tell us about the role as solicitor general, these briefs and mr. mr. rudofsky, what make sure to be a judge? >> chairman graham, my role as solicitor general and my role prior to that as a private
medicator in the law from kirkland and alice, i think it's given me the quite very litigation skills the litigation experience to do a very good job as a judge. obviously as a solicitor general i was working on behalf of the people of arkansas and i litigated cases that my boss the attorney general directed me to. i've litigated criminal matters. i've litigated civil matters. litigated at all levels of the arkansas state court system. litigated at all levels of the federal court system. in terms of the briefs you are talking about which it was your talk about the obergefell and the hollingsworth brief, those are not when i was solicitor general. i did not sign this as a lawyer those were signed in my personal capacity. when i signed those breeds, i say dash i should say when i joined, i was not an expert in 14th amendment jurisprudence.
since then as solicitor general i've become much more familiar with that area of law, and i have to say if i had to do it over again, as a legal matter i would not have signed those briefs. >> senator, september will be my 20th year practicing law. i've appeared in all of our federal courts, i've appeared in most of our state courts. i've tried cases in federal court to i've tried cases in state court. i've seen good characteristics in judges and it's not so great after a six speed is okay, that's good enough for me. [inaudible] >> thanks, mr. chairman. compared with a ten year period before that man was in place a number of gun massacres between 1994-2004 fell by 37%.
the number of people dying from massacres fell by 43%. after the ban lapsed in 2004, the numbers rose dramatically between 2004-14. 2004-14. there was a 183% increase in massacres, and a 239% increase in massacre deaths. i firmly believe that we must get weapons of war off of our streets and stop the plague of gun violence that continues to take allies across the country just this past weekend in my state. as atf director will you support enacting a federal assault weapons ban? if not, why not? >> senator, i believe as a law enforcement professional with a long career, the most important thing for an agency head is to make sure that the people that
work for you enforce the laws as an active i whatever legislative body. i believe as the atf director i would take my direction from congress when they pass legislation and make sure that the agents of atf would enforce the laws as imposed by this body. >> so the answer is no, intel, effectively. that's all right. i just want to know. since 1994, background checks have stopped more than 3.5 million felons, domestic abusers and other prohibited people from purchasing firearms. yet 22% of all gun sales are still being carried out without a background check. just last week the director of the fbi testified that he has already processed at least 100,000 background checks where
people try to buy firearms but were prohibited from doing so. universal background checks have strong public support. 90% of americans support them. as the atf director we agree to support universal background checks? if not, why not? >> again, senator, i believe as the head of an agency charged with enforcement and regulatory, you will enforce the laws as enacted by congress. and i believe one of the most important things is for us to keep our eye on the main mission of atf, which is to reduce violent crime by going after the people that are actually the trigger polars. it would be our responsibility to make sure that we maintain our enforcement level for our main mission which is reducing violent crime. the nic system is run by the federal period of investigation
and i believe they would be more appropriate to answer that question. >> following the murders of nine churchgoers at emmanuel amity church in south carolina in 2015, the federal bureau of investigation admitted it did not properly obtain information regarding the gun men's drug arrest record. which should a prohibited from buying a handgun. because the fbi had not completed its review within three days, the dealer was legally permitted to complete the sale to the gunmen. as a result nine people were killed. as atf director, will you support eliminating the three-day requirement that allows a gun dealer to transfer a gun without a completed background check or extend it beyond three days? >> senator, since i'm not currently at the alcohol,
tobacco, firearms, and explosives i don't have enough intimate knowledge about how the denials actually work, but i will commit that i will look at that and review the denial system and the guy to work with your staff and other staff to see what would be the best and appropriate course of action. >> thank you. mr. walker, according to the questionnaire you submitted to this committee, you've never served as the sole or even a lead counsel of any trial. you appear to have worked on only one criminal case, a recent pro bono drug matter -- steve biegun a recent pro bono matter during which assisted another attorney at your firm. apart from this pro bono matter, have you worked on any other criminal case? >> senator, i feel lucky that the focus of my career has been a combination of work in the classroom and as a practitioner.
i have -- >> have you worked any criminal case? >> senator, i have worked in addition to that case on some other criminal matters. however, i want to be transparent with you and the committee, that although i have taken the unusual step of being a law professor who has a private practice, the thrust of my career has been in the academy. >> have you ever presented an argument before federal jury? >> senator, i have not, although again, my career path has been a combination of writing about complex questions of criminal procedure, civil procedure -- >> i understand that i do think that's commendable. this is just different work. how many bench trials have you handled? >> again, senator, i want to be clear that -- >> okay. have you ever taken a deposition? >> i have, senator, but once again --
>> in what case? >> the deficit i took him if i can explain it, senator, was for expert deposition of a neurosurgeon in state case was three hours long. it turned the tide of that case. the plaintiff was alleging and pain and back pain, and after that expert witness conceded a way that most of that pain was not caused by our clients, that case i'll say without revealing any confidence proceeded a lot better for our plant that was before the deposition but i want to say again, senator, that the matters i typically mitigated have been criminal procedure. dave in constitutional law. they've been criminal law. they then a whole host administered law, labor law, and my role has been at times in a courtroom, more often than not it's been exploring the law, writing the law, strategizing -- >> one last question.
how many depositions have taken? >> senator, that was only deposition i figured but again i think it's unusual for a professor like judge route or justice kagan or justice breyer what academic careers before joining the bench to do a lot of deposition work. i think that might experience exploring criminal procedure,, evidence, civil procedure, constitutional law has prepared me to analyze the kinds of complex legal questions that judges deal with, especially in the most, the majority of what to do which is motion work. so i think if you don't, i would encourage you, senator, not to just take my word for it. take the word of the 200 200 litigated from my local community and my former students and faculty members who written some 17 letter saying that i have the temperament. i the background. experience to listen and learn with humility come to analyze the law and to be fair and evenhanded. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> senator lee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the opportunity to
be here and regret the fact that mr. opening statements. i had another committee with you is going on the same time. it's one of the cruel tricks the senate place on a person, multiple hearing obligations at the same time. there he clapped to be you here today. my staff all jokes within no is very serious idea favorites among committees and my favorite is judiciary. senator paul also has a competing hearing in the foreign relations committee. he wanted to be here to enter his justice walk from psalm state of kentucky. i agree to deliver that for him today. he says i i regret i'm not ablo introduce justin walker in person as a must be in another committee hearing. i am confident justin will be a terrorist event of the and impartial jurist who treats all who come before him with the respect they deserve. i fully support his confirmation. i want to echo the words of
senator paul and what i imagine to vent the words of senator mcconnell who was here earlier. i've known justin walker for four or five years. i found him to be an absolutely outstanding attorney, a true lawyers lawyer. lawyers like justin walker can't be found many places, and whenever one can fight a little like justin walker whose wages are on the federal judiciary i think we should all count ourselves lucky for that moment. i can tell you with a high degree of confidence oath as a member of the senate judiciary committee for the last eight and half years, and as a lawyer for the last two decades, that there are judges who come from different backgrounds. some people come to the federal district court as a judge with a lot of trial experience but with a lot of fact gathering experience, experience doing a lot of depositions or a lot of
witness cross examinations. others come with a lot of writing experience. while the former might see more obvious as a qualifier, the latter is every a bit as impord in many ways more rare. when we have someone like justin walker was a law professor with written countless articles, who's written motions to appellate briefs come with someone who will come to the federal district court well prepared to deal with what is in many ways the most difficult part of a job, which is addressing dispositive motions motions to dismiss, for example, under rule 12 b6. motions for summary judgment under rule 56 these are very difficult things to learn. they can't sum to be taught. they're very difficult to acquire while on the job. confident justin walker is more than up to the task in that regard. mr. canterbury, i like to talk to for a minute. in 2013 after the sandy hook shooting you wrote a piece
titled the responsibility of leadership in the fraternal order of police journal. in the piece you stated the fop has a standing resolution, one that was passed at the 1993 national conference to support the assault weapons ban that was passed by congressman 1994. are you now personally supported an assault weapons ban? >> at our last national conference the delegates overturned that standing rule and doesn't advocate for the fop it's been my position that i support what the members voted on by a motion. so -- >> as the atf director looking through a different set of lens i would much prefer to talk with the expert witnesses at atf and other professional staff before i would render an opinion on the van. as a law enforcement professional my job would be to enforce the laws. >> understood. if i understand correctly you
are saying your position is consistent with and materially indistinguishable from that of fop? >> it's my job to be the spokesperson for the resolutions and motions passed by my elected body. >> prior to the time the fop removed that you were supported? >> the fop was supportive, yes, sir. >> and you were personally being a member and president of fop prior to that position change? >> yes, sir. >> do you support limitations on magazine size? >> i can, senator, the fop his position is we don't support any legislation as far as restriction on firearms at this point. as atf nominee i believe it's my responsibility to enforce the laws that are passed by congress and i would make sure every
agent working for me would understand that. >> heitkamp universal background checks? >> the best information that we can have in the next system is a great, but as far as the legislation of universal background checks, i would have to look at the exact language to have a firm opinion on that. but i do believe state and locals, agencies, should be encouraged to get quick, concise and accurate information into the next system. >> decent still support waiting period for handcrank background checks including any cases where the purchaser already owns a farm? >> that was a national fop position back in the early '90s. we support the system that's in place with the instant check, with nic as an organization, and as senator feinstein's said there's been a number of people who attempted to purchase firearms that nic prevented.
>> can ask one more question? help me understand, are you telling me you have no positions independent of the fop relative to firearms? if so are we as a committee to evaluate where you stand on questions of policy? understand and appreciate the fact you respect the fact if you're confirmed to this position you will be expected to follow the law and you will do so. i assume you could understand why we would still be interested in knowing where you come from on questions of policy given the enormous discretion that someone in a position of atf director has. talked about promulgating regulations, making changes, regulations that have profound impacts that essentially change the law. are you telling yet no positions that are analytically distinct from those of the fop?
>> senator, i would have my own personal opinions based on my experience, but i also believe -- >> but speed is i believe that i would work with the staff at atf and the professionals at atf, and through the department of justice, policy decisions require a process within the department of justice and i would follow those rules for those policy decisions. and as the atf director my position that a held at fraternal order of police or the position of the fraternal order of police, that was my responsibility. but i'm a a strong supporter of the second amendment. i believe in the right to bear arms, and i would work with this committee on any proposed changes in litigation but i would want to see those changes and have the expertise of the career staff at atf to make those decisions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i got additional questions but i
will have to save those for a second round. >> senator hirono? >> thank you, mr. chairman. chief justice john roberts has recognized that the judicial branch is not immune from widespread problem of sexual harassment. he has taken steps to address this issue. so i ask every nominee on any of the committee that i sit on the following to my question for all just go down the line starting with mr. canterbury,, good handling fiction she became a legal adult have you ever made unwanted requests for sexual favors or committed any verbal or physical harassment or assault of a sexual nature? >> no ma'am. >> no, senator. >> no, senator hirono. >> no. >> have you ever faced discipline or entered into a settlement related to this kind of conduct? >> know i have not. >> no, senator. >> no. >> no. >> question for mr. canterbury. the minority of gun dealers apply the majority of guns used in crime and it is critical that
we enforce existing gun laws about the chance to buy firearm if we're to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. the brady center obtained reports of atf that shows recommendations from inspectors to revoke gun dealers licenses or issue some other serious administrative actions are routinely, routinely downgraded either supervisors. according to the "new york times" ended june 2018 article based article based on inspection report quote about 11,000 inspections of license firearm dealers in the years starting october 2016 more than half were cited for violations. less than 1% of all inspections resulted in a loss of license. when you commit to studying this troubling pattern of reversing inspectors recommendations to keep the most irresponsible industry actors in the business? >> senator, i will immediately
upon come if i'm fortunate enough to be confirmed, look at all the regulatory issues with the alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives and become familiar with the process, and i would believe that as former director brennan said, we will continue to do those inspections with fair and just speed is obviously if there is a pattern of reversing investigators recommendations, that is very troubling. so i'd like your commitment that you will ferret out within the department should you get disappointment, if there is such a pattern. when you provide the committee with information and related documents about how inspector recommendations are handled when reviewed by supervisor? >> i will plan to review all of that process and will make reports to all appropriate
agencies in the guidelines of the department of justice. >> thank you. mr. rudofsky, i just wanted to be sure i understood what you said it senator graham just now about the supreme court amicus briefs you sign on to in 2013 and 2015. the briefs argued for giving civil marriage rights to same-sex couples. did you just tell senator graham that you regret signing thin and that you would not do so today? >> senator, let me first say first obviously that if i'm so lucky to be confirmed as additional court nominee i will of course fully and faithfully followed speedy yes, but what i'm ascertaining is what he actually said this to senator graham right now that you regret signing onto these amicus briefs? >> obviously i will fully and faithfully follow a burqa felt the tissue court nominee but to answer your question, what i explained was when i joined these amicus briefs i was not an expert and 14th amendment jurisprudence. since that time i've become much more familiar with this area of law as solicitor general, and if
i had it to do over again as a legal matter i wouldn't join the argument in those briefs. >> there would be those who would disagree that the 14th amendment should be so narrowly construed. for you once again, in your -- he argued arkansas is 12 week abortion ban was constitutional. in part because arkansas had a safe haven law about a woman to give up an unwanted child within 30 days of birth. you argued that adequate a primary source of pregnant woman's protected right to abortion is that she may avoid unwanted parenthood. not so that she may avoid unwanted pregnancy. are you saying that the constitution permits 14th 14 te woman to carry a pregnancy to term? >> senator, with respect, the legislature passed a 12 week ban
on abortions. the governor signed it. this all happened by the way before i was solicitor general. the case was litigated for the most part before i was solicitor general. i became solicitor general and i was directed to my boss the attorney general to file the reply in the petition, and it did and i fell asleep advocated my client and a distal to the the best of my ability. those are my clients position and i represented them in court. >> well, i'm trying to ascertain if you don't mind, mr. chairman, whether or not there is a supreme court case that says a primary source of the pregnant woman's protected right is basically to be free from parenthood as opposed to avoiding an unwanted pregnancy. is there a supreme court decision that you can site? i realize roe v. wade made a passing reference but i would hardly say that was a primary source of their decision. >> senator, in terms of the president on the point,
obviously this was long time ago. i would have to refer you to whatever i wrote in the brief. having said that, as a district court judge, of course i would fully and faithfully follow roe at all this progeny, all of those cases. i would just add i think that is the most important thing a district court can do is the most important thing i district court judge can offer to litigates which is fairly and fully and faithfully following supreme court precedent. >> and i would say that argument you made does not appear any supreme court decisions. thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. canterbury, nice to see. i was a little confused about some of your answers to senator lisa let me see if i can achieve some clarity. the organization that cuban president of has been an advocate against constitutional character which is a right of people in my state voted for.
it's in our state constitution. a dozen other states enjoy that right now in their cost of tuition in order to defend themselves or would you tell me what your individual who is on constitutional care? >> thank you for the question. the national fraternal order of police has never opposed constitutional carry. what we said was that we would like some more to come of familiarization -- mata, or training. what we did support was the reciprocity bill, concealed carry because those all have some modicum of training. >> what about your individual view? >> my individual view? i believe in the right to bear arms in the second amendment of the constitution. >> what about constitutional carry interview? >> i believe it is a state-by-state issue and i know a number of states have constitutional carry, and i
believe that's the right to decide that. >> will you commit to me then you will not take steps is directed to limit missourians right to exercise the right to carry? >> i believe that is right discovered by missouri general senate and a don't think they would be be in enforcement rigs for atf on the. >> thank you. let me come back to this question about the federal ban on automatic rifles back in 1994. do you personally support that ban today? >> senator, i i didn't supporte bank in 1994, but the membership of the fraternal order of police voted that way and as there elected spokesman it was my responsibility to voice that opinion. >> would you commit to me today you will not attempt to inflict any restrictions on the sale, legal firearms, to atf regulation? you do as standardly pointed out if confirmed you would have an agent to significant rule-making authority. it's really a a policymaking agency many ways would you
commit to me you will not use that will make authority limit the sale of legal available firearms to those who are legally entitled to purchase and? >> senator, i'm not really familiar with the regulatory process but i promised to look at that immunity upon if i'm fortunate to be confirmed and working with the office of legal counsel, with the department of justice and with atf we would make sure all of the regulations that we pass would be just and fair and legal. >> are you saying, when you say you're not familiar with the regular process, you're not my with the ats remaking authorities. >> is i'm not familiar with the rulemaking process. i am familiar that they have the ability to formulate regulations, but i've never been involved in that aspect of their operation. >> in my view the most important work atf does as a law enforcement agencies kuykendall
illegal theft of guns in our community in conjunction with doj this conducted strikeforce in st. louis in my state to get illegal guns off the streets and to prosecute those criminals who use those guns. as director will you be double the ages effort to participate in the operations and focus on getting illegal firearms off of our streets and out of our communities? >> the primary mission of atf is to reduce violent crimes. one of the best way to dip his wick with the state and local partners. the strikeforce have been successful based on media reports and i will do everything in my power to continue that enforcement effort because as we know the enforcement street-level illegal weapons has a great effect on the reduction of crime especially in the inner-city. >> thanks for that. you referred several times to get your firm commitment to the second amendment i thought i might give you an opportunity to say in your view what you
believe the scope of the right is that is protected by the second amendment. this is been subject to some dispute. if there is a first a lot of disagreement on this committee. what is your view about the scope of the rights that are protected by the second amendment? >> senator, i believe that any lawful possession of a firearm provided, however, that all of the adjudicated issues are favorable, i believe every american has the right to own and possession of a firearm. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator whitehouse. >> thank you, chairman. let me first start by welcoming mr. canterbury. we have a common friend, the chief of police at the city of providence was on the fop board when mr. canterbury was head of it. he was one of the people i
admire the most in law enforcement. i spent a lot of time working with the providence police in various ways over the years and there was a time under one particular mayor what it was a dark place, and a lot of people had to make difficult decisions and the chief always make the right decisions never knowing that the days would brighten again. now he is risen to the chief of police and i think enjoys enormous support both in the department anthony kennedy and he thinks very highly of mr. canterbury, and i take that as a real, and significant recommendation. we talked, mr. canterbury, about the importance of making sure law enforcement has access quickly to the ballistics information they need from the projectile themselves, the ballistics related information from a cartridge, from its ejection and from the hammer and from potentially dna evidence on a weapon at a crime scene. can you assure me that you will
be doing everything in your power to make sure law enforcement has timely access to the evidence when it presents itself at a crime scene and that atf will support that? >> senator, the scientific improvements in ballistics as well as dna have been far-reaching in law enforcement. and the alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives will do everything under my leadership to continue that program and to try to expand as much as possible. within the resource capability. >> thank you very much. i hate to say this but i do believe with respect two judicial nominations and the conveyor belt that we are currently running through here, there is an effort to try to make sure that certain interest succeed more in federal court. i think the desire to protect the big republican donors like the gun industry, there's a
desire to have judges who will rule against labor unions. there's a distinct desire to protect dark money as as a toof special interest influence there's the desire to rule against women's reproductive rights, and there's a powerful desire to protect polluters who are extremely prominent republican donors, both publicly and through the dark money vector. i don't think that's very consistent with what i consider conservative judicial doctrine. and the supreme court cases i've chronicled that go down this path, frequently judicial doctrines of modesty and stare decisis gets her own right oversight if it interfere with producing the right result for the right group that comes before the court. i am really concerned about lawyers showing up in court representing environmental
groups, knowing that they are second-class citizens in the courtroom because of who they represent. i'm concerned about lawyers showing up representing labor unions in front of courts, and being second-class citizens in the court because of who they represent. ditto for groups that advocate for women's rights or groups that advocate for gun safety. i think that we need a lot more transparency into this whole mess. i don't think it's a good thing that a private organization has been in source in the white house to provide judicial selections have that process is funded by anonymous donors. i don't think it's a good thing that the most powerful and prominent group campaigning for confirmation of nominees is also funded by anonymous donors and i don't think it's a good thing that the supreme court takes
away cases have been brought not in the ordinary case of litigation by front group litigators who troll cases who bring specific case up for the court and the worst-case scenario, the invitation of the republican appointees on the court in order to drive the law and a particular direction for those particular interest. frank i think it's going to be a real problem for the court unless the cleanup the disclosure of who is behind the amicus cure i briefs who now proliferate around the court. often without adequate disclosure of who they really fronting for the lack of transparency across his entire spectrum and the role of dark money in it i think is really unfortunate, and i think it's particularly unfortunate when you have a candidate today describes the conservative revolution on the court by going straight to outcomes like
affirmative actions, school prayer, gun rights and abortions. i i think that is a pretty strog signal that this is really not about having conservative doctrine prevails in our court, but having big republican donors interests prevail in our courts and i think that is a very, very dangerous path to go down. it might taste good with the first couple of bites, but in the long run it will imperil third branch of our government. ..
friends and my republican friends who have feelings about the second amendment are entitled to know both morally and legally what you believe. you are not nominated for a judgeship. you are nominated as running an agency as part of the state. i want you to look me in the eye and tell me what restrictions do you support on my right under the second amendment to own a handgun. >> senator, i believe every every american has the right -- >> what restrictions do you support? >> i do not support any restrictions that are currently under law. >> you are telling me you will not support changing anything about current law as a head of atf.
>> the law administratively. >> are you telling me you will not change the law with respect to the second amendment in any form of fashion administratively. >> i am not familiar -- >> if you are not familiar with the process, the administrative. >> senator, i will have a full staff of experts. i am am familiar with administrative procedures. >> let me ask you time and then i will move on. if you don't answer my question, i won't won't vote for you.
>> i think that an approach to statutory text also considers structure, context, precedent and precedent and even analogist statutes. >> okay. >> the statute is clear to you. >> you begin with the text. i don't think that it is appropriate to just pick out a phrase from the statute. >> i am not asking you that. asking about the united states congress. you read it and its meaning is clear to you. your job is to say what it is, not what it ought to be. are you going to go any farther? >> there are times when you would go further. if there was a binding precedent
, then, as a district court judge, i would be would be bound by that precedent. >> how about if the statute was ambiguous. >> what once the text is ambiguous, i would use all information available, all the tools, precedents, structure structure and a whole host of tools i think a thoughtful judge brings to that. >> how ambiguous does the statute have to be. does it have to be 51%? or does it have to be 67% ambiguous. >> i love that question. the kind of question i asked my students. i am hesitant to put a specific number on it.
i will say on a spectrum from 60% to 90%, i am probably closer to the 60%. assuming there is no binding precedent. i am probably a little less quick to find ambiguity then may be the most extreme end of the spectrum in terms of judges being quick to find ambiguity. >> let me ask you one more quick question. private apartment building. privately owned. tenants, and association drafts a newsletter that is critical of the ownership, ownership says cannot distribute. the association says violates my first amendment right and wins under federal law. >> the first amendment as a general matter requires state
action before it's triggered. i would be hesitant here to shoot from the tip and say a lot more than that. >> i understand. i like straight answers. i want to be candid with you as a general rule. my instinct there would be that the first amendment restricts what the government can do. >> that's fair. >> i suppose a federal district judge says no. no state action. it is perfectly constitutional for the state, finding that it's unconstitutional. >> state constitutions can be interpreted they cannot take
court, which he was. that would result in an into bed semi automatic rifles. the framers built the constitution 230 years ago, they have a lot of the semi automatic weapons. >> senator, as a judicial judicial nominee. >> do they have the semi automatic weapons. >> a case that they were not ar 15's at the time of the founding >> you and i have known each other for a long time and i appreciate the time we've worked together on different things. naming the patrick leahy bill.
protecting communities by the illegal position use of firearms as well as firearms trafficking. that is in the mission. after the tragedy at sandy hook elementary school, as chairman, support bills to reduce gun violence. as well as universal background check legislation. you sent me a letter on gun safety issues. you wrote that if you expand background checks on firearm purchases, a critical element to address gun violence and loopholes in the system give unprecedented opportunities.
this problem must be remedied. six years later as we're still trying. let me ask you this. are you concerned of loopholes in our background? giving criminals unprecedented access to firearms? what would you do about these? >> i believe that there is a lot of reporting that is not mandated. assisting all law enforcement and making quality decisions. the proper denials. it is only as good as what is brought into the system.
>> you have to do a background check. i have no problem with that. for some of these gun shows, i can buy something without a background check. should there be background checks everywhere. >> individual sales of firearms are not required to do the background check. it is just not the law of the land at this time. >> acting director. current law is insufficient. you support efforts that criminalize and strengthen the laws.
atf and your leadership continue to support the efforts to strengthen the tools. effectively working against these purchasers. especially the weapons that end up in the hands of gangs. >> individual purposes, as you know, don't require the background checks. we will do everything in our power to enforce the law that people are not entitled to possess a firearm would be criminally charged. >> i can go to half a dozen gun shows. as john jones. buy a couple weapons each month. those are not mass purchases.
and then drive them off with a big city and say here. i paid $10,000 for dollars for these weapons. i will sell them to you for $35,000. no background check. should we close that loophole? >> i don't know that closing the loophole would stop that kind of transaction. it should be a priority for atf. >> legal firearms sales, but no no background check. >> individual sales are legal under the laws of the united states, senator. >> is that a loophole? >> i don't know, senator. i don't know if that would impede the right to possession of a firearm. i'd be glad to look at that
issue further with the staff at atf. >> if the sales have been recorded, entirely on paper. a law enforcement officer could go down to some of the big warehouses in west virginia. should those be digital? if we have your medical records digitized, shunted buying ar 15 or 15 or something, buy it legally. should it the record of that purpose the in a digital pile so law enforcement, if they find that weapon at a crime scene -- >> i believe they have extraordinary ability to trace firearms at this point. they've been very successful and will continue to do that under my leadership. other methods as well.
i enjoyed visiting with you yesterday in my office. thank you for coming by. thank you for your service as a police officer. thank you for your surface leading the fop. i take a backseat to no one for the second amendment. in your judgment, what does the second amendment protect? >> the right to bear and own a firearm, sir. >> to bear and own a firearm. your organization supported the so-called assault weapons ban. that was passed in 1994 and expired in 2004. if you were confirmed as director of the atf, would you support and other so-called assault weapons ban. >> no, sir. >> and why is that? >> my understanding, there were zero prosecutions under the assault weapon ban. the fop took a position in the
90s, in 2004 we supported president bush when he wanted to reauthorize in the exact language. that did not happen. the fop members change their opinion on that. my personal opinion was the law was not effective. >> fop has also supported so-called universal background checks. extending federal government oversight to private transactions between individual citizens who are not themselves gun dealers as director of atf, would you support extending mandatory federal background checks to private transactions between people that are not dealers. >> no, sir. >> why is that? >> i do believe in the second amendment and i believe those individual sales are guaranteed under current law. >> when you were at the fop, you
took a different position. how should we reconcile those conflicting positions. >> they were made by the board of directors as the official spokesman. it is my job to a stout the opinion of the membership. i did that. >> did you disagree with those decisions at the time? >> in the '90s i was not on the board, sir. the assault weapons ban was prior to me being on the elected board of directors. >> fop is also opposed constitutional carry legislation in a number of states. can you explain why that is. >> so, the national fop is a bottoms up organization rather than top-down. each individual state has the right to sis support legislation in their state and in most cases
the only objection is there is no training requirement. as police officers who train frequently with firearms, i think the bulk of the membership likes the idea of some minimal training. >> when you lead the organization, you also supported eric holder's nomination for for attorney general. i think eric holder, once confirmed proved to be one of the most anti-gun attorney general we have seen indeed going so far as to say, and i am paraphrasing the quote here, but something to the effect of it is our job to brainwash the american citizens not to like guns. do you regret supporting mr. holder's nomination? >> the. >> the decision was made after a
review of his experience as a prosecutor and we talked to the members of the fop that worked with former attorney general holder. they were very favorable to his trial skills. as a law enforcement officer, prosecutors that are good to work with and work towards prosecutions get high marks. at the time, senator cruise, i am not sure that other issues and his personal beliefs were known. we looked over a more holistic view point of his career as a federal prosecutor. >> final question. what i like most about your nomination's lifelong law law enforcement officer. you dedicated your life to keeping the men and women of south carolina and this country safe.
atf has a critically important mandate if you are confirmed as director, what would your principal agenda and priority be for the atf? senator cruise, the primary mission is to reduce violent crime. i will do everything to make sure that the street-level agent in the supervisory agents in the field know they have an atf director that will respect the work they do, respect their opinions, listen to their concerns and do everything in my power to make sure we meet the mission. i worked in a city, county and with the federal agencies. the most important thing for us is to fair and justly enforce the law. that is what we will do under my leadership at the atf, sir. >> thank you. >> senator blumenthal. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
i want to join in thanking you for your law enforcement as a law enforcer at various different levels, policing has been your mission. you have seen firsthand what guns can do if they are in the hands of people that are dangerous to themselves or others. correct. >> yes, sir. you've tried to take guns away from people who are about to do damage or have done damage to other people. correct? would you support a police officer who says there is a shooting about to happen and i need to take a gun away from that potential shooter before it happens.
>> and the scope of the way you've described it, yes. particularly if there is a judge that says yes, do it. save people's lives. >> the way i understood the original question, by my my own observation, i could see a criminal act was about to occur. obviously, any judicial process that would take somebody's right to bear arms, we would would absolutely enforce that. you would ask a judge to approve your decision to take that none away from people if he said to the fbi or the local police, i am about to shoot up people, students, or anyone,. >> senator, i believe the rule is due process. as long as it has been provided
and the decision of the judiciary is that person is not entitled to carry a firearm, yes, sir. >> thank you. let me ask you about one of the most important functions of atf, and i think the senator asked you about the federal firearms licensee enforcement, as you know, atf has an operational goal to inspect every one of those licensees on a three-five year basis. in 2013, a report indicated that atf was unable to reach its goals. current statistics show that is still the case. in 2018, atf inspected atf inspected 10,323 out of a total of 135,000.
of those inspected, 58%, 58% were found to be violating federal were found to be violating federal firearms laws. we have a number in connecticut violating firearm laws. they have not been inspected. if confirmed, will you commit that you will make a priority to do those kinds of inspections? >> sir, as i told told you yesterday. looking at the efficiency and seeing anything that we can do to make those operations more efficient and effect if. >> i am asking you that you will make it a priority to inspect all ff l on a 3-5 year basis as is the goal of your agency. >> i plan to do everything i can to meet the goal of the agency. >> so you will do those inspections on a three-five year
cycle. >> senator, i plan to review the inspection cycle. the inspection provisions and do everything in my power to make sure atf can meet their regulatory responsibilities as far as inspections. >> a 2016 society podcast you said, and i'm quoting, i think the framers of the 14th amendment would suggest that prohibiting abortions, regulating abortions, did not violate the 14th amendment. do you still adhere to that? >> senator, the whole women's health telecast, the podcast obviously was an hour-long podcast. going back and forth explaining both sides of the issue with somebody else who either had argued the case or had been am a
kiss in the case. >> this is a simple question. do you still adhere to that question. >> senator, i believe, obviously right now, right now, row, kc, they are the law of the land as the district court nominee, those are the precedents. >> you continue to adhere to that statement. >> that is not the president at this time. it is very, very clear and i will follow it. >> brown versus education was correctly decided. >> a general tradition of nominees not giving a thumbs-up or thumbs down to specific cases. i think brown is the most important case in american legal history and probably in the
social history of the country. for that reason it because i cannot think of any situation in which a litigant would come into court doing this, i have no problem saying yes. i think it was absolutely correct. >> do you agree, mr. walker. >> i do agree. i also agree the general matter is it appropriate for judicial nominee to grade previous positions at the supreme court. >> senator, do you agree? >> i agree, senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for appearing in front of this panel today. i like to visit with you a little bit. as president of the fraternal order of police, you have had to deal with increasingly political rhetoric and the media and movement to shift how police are viewed by our every day americans and for that, sir, i
do not envy your position. the mission statement states in part that the duty of law enforcement officers is to support and defend the constitution of the united states. promote and foster the enforcement of law and order. now you have been nominated to be the director of alcohol, tobacco and firearms. the atf does share a similar duty to that. of course, in the bureaucratic corner that congress is actually legislative ourselves into, the atf does have a lot of power than just mere enforcement of the acts of congress. you stated time and time again that you would uphold those laws enacted by congress. like all other federal agencies, they atf has the power to promulgate rules. our congressional action. if you are confirmed as the director, you will have a
massive, and i cannot understate this, massive role in the interpretation and implementation of laws that impact our fundamental right to keep and bear arms. i am going to ask as we have seen the theme here, some questions on my right to keep and bear arms. very simply, from where does the right to keep and bear arms is detailed in our second amendment originate? do you know where that originates from? >> no, ma'am. >> it is common law. pre-existing law that was in place prior to the codification of our constitution and our bill of rights. it is a right, a common law that existed for many, many, many
centuries, many centuries even to the birth of our nation as we know it today. that went back to the 1100s in england england. that is where it originates from it is long held that americans and other peoples have the right to keep and bear arms. do you believe that the second amendment is individual or collective right? >> i believe it's an individual right. >> i believe that as well. i believe it is also my individual right to keep and bear arms. some of the statements that you made as the fop president regarding the federal assault weapons ban of 1994, a lot of us keep going back to this. we just need to make sure we understand where you are there.
you had written in their journal that the fop had a standing resolution to support the 1994 assault weapons ban. it was your duty to uphold that resolution unless directed otherwise by the delegates to the national conference. in your position as president, did you try to shave or inform the support for an assault weapons ban in that position as president. >> i introduced the resolution to overturn the 94 resolution. >> you support the ability of those that can legally own a weapon. they can legally own a weapon. you did not support the assault weapons ban. >> in 1994, i was not on the board of directors. i was probably at the conference, but, frankly, i do not know what my position they would have taken. i was the author of the resolution to overturn that resolution and primarily because
we felt with the lack of prosecution and other issues that that assault weapons ban wasn't as effective as we originally thought that it would the. >> okay. we have spoken a little bit about attorney general holder. you also supported then judge so to meyer to the supreme court. in your written, you supported her testimony. you wrote if i thought for an instant that her presence on the court posed a threat to the second amendment, i would not be sitting here supporting her today. since then, a supreme court has
supported the case of highland park. by denying certain things in that case, they did fail to address an ordinance barring the possession of widely owned semi automatic rifles and magazines even if used in self-defense. nearly 10 years later, do you still believe that the justice is not a threat to to the second amendment? >> based on the information that you have provided, but understanding our original decision was based on, those decisions were made based on her stance for individual freedom. she rendered several opinions on first amendment cases. as far as her decision subsequently, i do not know that we could have predicted her response to that case. >> i know that hindsight is 2020. certainly as an organization
that is there to support and defend the constitution of the united states, i do believe that you should have been looking at all of the rights. specifically in regards to being the fraternal order of police. the second amendment would be extremely important and judging whether you thought a potential justice would be supportive of an individual's right to keep and bear arms. i do not believe with some of her judgments that she fully believes in supporting our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. i see that my time has expired. thank you very much, mr. chair. >> senator lee, you have some questions. >> yes, i do. >> before that, the fop, did you support? >> yes, we did. >> we did not take a position in that one. we did support the judge.
>> did you support roberts? >> yes, we did. >> i have some additional questions. in 2017, there was a message to fop members in which you urged them to speak out in support of jeff sessions announcement that the forfeiture program would be expanded. as i recall, while counting the virtues of the program, by the way, the program refers to something i have long opposed. equitable sharing refers to the mechanism in many cases otherwise hindered by more aggressive and restrictive laws governing forfeiture. we will turn to federal law
enforcement officials and ask for their help getting the federal law enforcement officers involved in seizing, civilly, assets and in return for the cooperation, they will get a share of the proceeds of this. four reasons that i think are apparent to anyone that examines it carefully, this is a problem that is ripe with opportunities for abuse. the presumptions that would ordinarily apply are flipped. someone's property gets seized. it has been up to them to prove that they did not do anything wrong. i have concerns with this. at the time, you touted the program, the federal government expanded use of it. this program has a long history and law enforcement of success. these elected chicken littles
need to hear from us that the sky is not falling. did you in fact say that? >> yes, yes, sir, i did. >> is it frivolous? >> no, sir. a number of advocacy groups that were accusing law enforcement of being the set that time. that is who we directed those comments towards. >> you are not in fact accusing this reference which paints with a pretty broad brush to chicken littles. etc. not only to those that use the word thief. >> the best of my recollection. that was the context at that time. i testified for this very committee and supported the forfeiture of laws that stand at her sessions had written. one of the most important parts of my testimony was we believe
that the adjudication process needed to be very swift and very quick. the citizens that had assets that were seized, that there was a change in the adjudication. >> do you agree that equitable sharing may create a perverse incentive for state and local law enforcement agencies to run over the citizens and this risk merits reevaluation of the program. >> i believe any ethical police officer would not do that. if anyone did do that, they would be in violation of the law. >> do you agree that the program itself -- >> i am a former federal prosecutor. human beings are flawed.
they sometimes make mistakes. with the best of intentions. >> legitimate concerns there. police are human beings and we have to be concerned. other types of personal property and then put the burden on them that they didn't do anything wrong for a president of getting back what was already theirs. >> they have been with a litany of other factors that would cause a police officer to seize those assets. they should not make any kind of final determination.
>> the nomination to the supreme court. the concerns about her views on the second amendment were "wild speculation." >> after she was appointed to the supreme court, the justice joined the dissent in a case called mcdonald versus city of chicago. the second amendment does not receive, does not restrict states and localities. that was the position taken. also questioning the reasoning of heller. a case in which they concluded the second amendment does provide a right to bear arms to the individual. >> yes, sir, i do. we reviewed her previous decisions in new york.
as i recall, very little or no actual second amendment cases in her portfolio at that time. obviously, as a senator senator says, hindsight may be 2020. at the time we took the available information from her record. >> do you still believe it was baseless speculation? >> at that time, i believe that. looking at her decisions, my opinion may be different. we saw nothing indicated that she was a judge that did not believe in the second amendment. >> here is the concern i have. time and time again, you have made statements about the second amendment. you turned out to be wrong. raking a number of policies. in favor of the authority of the
government. time and time again, when we see this kind of activity, it involves government activity that very often has a tendency, the potential and in many cases the practical effect of making life or difficult for law-abiding american citizens while doing little or nothing to restrict actual criminal behavior. that is of great concern to me. investing amends regulatory power in you. you referred to the fact that you would have access to experts on your staff. that is code for executive branch bureaucrats. if those are the people that will be making the decisions, that concerns concerns me as well. your answers today have unfortunately not alleviated the concerns which i'd hoped you would be able to alleviate today. thank you. >> senator. >> thank you.
>> you have argued that the fbi should not argue in this way. j hoover's actions in the ways he led the fbi in the allegations that caused. in the present moment, the bigger danger as a president that sees nothing wrong with demanding that the director hold off on investigating his political allies. do you see anything wrong with this? >> senator, i think, first of all, it is important to note that absolutely no one is above the law including and especially the president. >> good to know. >> the article that you were describing was a historical expiration of a very bad time in the fbi history where political minority and racial -- >> that does not mean we should go completely the other way. the president should, in fact, fact, the way you framed it, the
fbi should answer to the president who answers to the people. he must think of the fbi director to think of himself as an agent of the president and not as the protector, the nation's protector. you seem to be going the other way. is it okay for the president have to fbi director to go easy on friends or allies. >> senator, of course. again, no one is above the law. i am prohibited from wading into current controversies by judicial conduct. i do stand by the article that i wrote which was really an attempt to recognize the lack of supervision that attorneys, general and presidents of both parties had failed to supervise the director when he had a lot of power at the fbi. >> i think that we all acknowledge that hoover misused
his power. they are not running around doing that now. however, there are concerns about whether or not the fbi should independent. they have an independent role to play free from interference from the president or the executive. that is what i am trying to get at. you seem to indicate that the fbi should not be free. i am wondering whether you would think it is okay for the president to demand that the fbi either begin, alter or indian investigation. if i am incorrect in that, just say i am not correct in that. >> with respect, a current controversy and a political controversy and as much as i am willing and able to stand by what i wrote in my article about the history of the fbi and some
of the lessons that i think we can learn from that history, i am prohibited from wading into the political waters to go beyond what i said at the time. i certainly believe no one at the fbi should ever break the law. no one should follow in order to break the law. no one is above the law. >> if this is a current controversy, ending up in court. if you stand by what you wrote then, that says to me that stood such a case come before you, you would be quite, you would consider the president's ability to direct the fbi in a way that this president sought to do and be okay. let me get to mr. canterbury. one of the records that they obtained, and i did ask you some questions along those lines, this particular inspection resulted in a recommendation for gun dealer in hawaii.
multiple repeat violations. failed to report multiple sales. transferred a firearm to a self i identified assailant. the dealer's stated understanding and intent to avoid a repeat violation. already a repeat violator. how will you ensure that serious repeat violators are not given the benefit of the doubt that they will just voluntarily comply with the law. will it be enough to that they say i promise to never do it again? >> i will have to review the entire procedure. i am not familiar with each level. i do know there is an adjudication process within atf. we will look at that. >> let's assume that those are the facts. would it raise a concern for you that a repeat violator is not properly, some sort of a
response that is more than letting this person go because she promises to never do it again. take a look at that. every 16 hours, every 1616 hours, a woman is shot and killed current or former partner in the united states. nearly half are by dating partners. a legally purchase and possess guns. dating partners convicted of domestic violence from illegally accessing firearms. >> i was under the impression that somebody convicted of domestic violence was already prohibited. >> dating partners, probably. >> the individual state laws. under the current system, i do not know what the authority would be.
in certain states, i know dating partners are considered domestic spouses which would qualify under lautenberg. >> dating partners convicted of domestic violence should also be prevented. you do not know, whether that is the case, you do not support. >> i support keeping farms out of the hands of anyone that is lawfully been adjudicated. i do believe that domestic violence is a very serious issue in this country. i will do everything in my power to make sure that people that should not and legally cannot possess a firearm do not have one. >> every 16 hours a woman is killed in this country by someone who has a domestic partner. >> we will hold the record open.
appropriate time for written questions. thank you all. congratulations. >> tonight at eight pm on c-span, former cia director defense secretary robert gates. andrea mitchell. robin wright. talk about global challenges facing the united states. here is a preview. >> as much of a realist as anybody. the reality is, the united states has done business with some of history's greatest monsters.
franklin d roosevelt never pretended to be in love with joseph stalin. in the real world, we have to deal with these people. we don't have to embrace them. and we can treat the leaders of authoritarian states, we can do business with them, but we do not need to embrace them in the same way that we embrace the leaders of democratic reelected governments. >> you mention the city on the hill. traveling to moscow with ronald reagan. after the 1985 summit. he went and gave a speech to the russian people.
he did not, he did not mix his words. that did not prevent him from reaching nuclear reduction treaties. there is a balancing act. i think that has to, in some fundamental way be central to who we are as a country. >> you can watch the rest of this on global challenges facing the u.s. tonight at eight eastern on c-span. a discussion of combating radicalization and efforts. psychology and sociology professors and a white supremacist who acts as a consultant for preventing violent extremism.