tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 17, 2016 6:00am-7:01am EDT
gave you went up and not down. so i would ask you to just keep us informed. because i originally thought the original amount was a lot. but again, i i am interested in you keeping the cost as close as possible to the amount. >> yes, congressman. >> and again, the culture issues that were brought up last time you were here -- i know there are still some incidents but i do have to say you're doing a good job and i appreciate your service. >> thank you. the whiteickly, on house mockup. we gave you a million dollars. i know you are doing forward -- going forward and doing studies. limb ande us out on a
break off on us. >> chairman, that is why we went back and got another design. we want to be good citizens with the budget. it is a critical element. it will really help our training to move into the 21st century with allowing our people to train on real-life in areas -- scenarios. critical that we know we have to be very careful with the way we move forward. >> just echoing what cuellar said. what is the state of planning for securing this year's political conferences in cleveland, philadelphia, and back-to-back weeks in july? do you have any credible threat
information regarding the events ? to be held at these venues are you satisfied that your funding will be sufficient to cover all of the foreseeable security costs at the conventions? the committeehank for fully funding the campaign which includes these conventions. is aonventions -- there fixed cost of $19 million. another $20 million for associated costs with the conventions. as it is now, we have had individuals out there specifically assigned to the conventions in cleveland and philadelphia area they have been working with local law enforcement for several months to work on outer perimeter credentials and we are well on our way to providing a very good security plan for these events. as you stated, mr. chairman, earlier this year -- they are
earlier this year than in a typical campaign year which does cause for additional protection dollars coming out of the convention. past conventions have been in late august or early september. now, they are in july. we will have the president-elect -- i'm sorry, the candidate elect and the vice president elect for both parties and that will add some additional requests -- it is in the budget but the cost go up as we move forward. of theare in charge overall security for both conventions. the sanders campaign has brought a lot of new voters into the mix. hasdonald trump campaign brought millions of new voters into the mix. additionally, we of already experienced violent outbreaks with protesters coming in to disrupt things.
campiono disrupt the side of the things. those of us that can remember back to 1968 remember what happened in chicago and no one in either party wants to have a convention that ends up like chicago. in 1968 when teargas was , a lotweapons were fired of really bad things happened there. i think even the national guard was called out to that convention. whatever you see that -- where disruptors might come into campaigns, you have to wonder how big the project will be. i hope you're doing threat analysis and digging down to see if there are troubles with organizations that plan to disrupt either convention. we don't need that.
we have enough problems without that. a thatchairman, i was they are designated as national security events and we are in charge of the overall security plan. we have 24 subcommittees for each of these conventions. each of those committees has a unique responsibility whether it is intelligence as you rightly mentioned, where they work with all of the federal, state, and local to gather all of the intelligence. we of already started out. we have a committee on transportation. we of someone who works with the public affairs. there are 24 different subcommittees working on each individual component to make sure that these conventions are events for allve who want to eat tent. -- who all who want to attend. >> some of the conventions that i have been pleased with the overall local and secret service participation to keep people safe. when you are in big crowds in
ag areas in a strange city, lot of things can happen to you and your wife if you're not careful. so thank you for that. mr. clancy, the budget request includes 27 million dollars to upgrade the secret service national capital area radio system. this request follows $16.8 million provided for phase one of the upgrade in the fy 16 bill. can you elaborate on how the phase two funding will be used? what additional capabilities the new system would provide and how it would improve reliability as compared to the current system? >> thank you for this question. this comes out of the blue-ribbon panel as well as we spoke earlier. they noted that our communications needed to be replaced and
additionally come i have to credit the office of inspector general who did a ready as well. although they saw that 97% of our radios worked well around the white house complex, they rightly stated that we cannot have any failure at all. i have to credit mr. roth and his team for the review that they did. us, funding will allow first of all, our joint operations center. most of that equipment has not been replaced in seven years. it is getting old and breaking down but we are looking to come in this joint operations center, this is where our alarms and video feeds come in. we will be able to replace that and also to allow more interoperability with our local partners including metropolitan police and capitol police. joint operations center will be enhanced considerably. we will also continue what we already started in fiscal year radiosgetting handheld
out to our individual employees which will be state-of-the-art with a lot of new features. coverage will be better using these new radios. more importantly, we did a survey through the national capital region where typically the president has events or visits our motorcade routes. where are the dead spots? with the help of our washington field office we identified these locations and we are adding 56 repeaters and transmitters through the national capital region. that is impacting how the handheld radios work. that is a big plus up for us as well. >> can you talk about the status of radios and radio systems for the field offices? >> that is also included in this funding. i went to chicago, for example and spoke to the field office there. tothis effort to try communicate with our workforce, i cannot get out to everyone so i have gone to doing some videos and pushing out videos when we have new policies.
because of the bandwidth in some of these smaller offices, they have not been able to see some of these messages. this funding will help us with the bandwidth so we can get more -- do at a better job of communicating not only our messages but also with security. have a better infrastructure out there as we expand from our large field offices into the surrounding communities. >> i am going back to the white house since the improvements that were completed were interim -- were in intro solution. im solution. can you describe the improvements to the current fence and whether they are working more or less as expected and what are the plans and
schedule for completing a new and permanent fence? >> the in trim measure was -- placederim measure was july 2015. we knew that would not be the end all but it would buy as sometime if someone attempted to jump the fence. since we have put that up there, we have had one fence jumper over the north fence. we think it is a deterrent. i don't have metrics to show that as we don't know who has an intense to do that -- an intent to do that. forward, the permanent fence come it is very complex and a lengthy process. we know that whatever fence we put in there has to last 100 years. we will not get another opportunity to do this. we could go in and put up a higher fence, a 10 foot fence -- is that enough?
enough?et and off -- there are some other areas i can speak about in a classifieds setting that we want to do with the fence. the perimeter as you know every day -- just leslie, we have a buffer. -- asis a bike grab their you know, we have a buffer there. it gives us an early warning that someone has bad intentions. last week we had an individual who went over the bike rack and we immediately contained that individual right there before they could get to the fence. timeline, 2017 will still be used to design and do some more research on the type of fence that we need. 2018 is when we expect to put a
shovel into the ground and build a more permanent fence. i can tell you that even last week, we met with the national planning commission and the commission of fine arts. they feel the same urgency we do to get this project completed. we have to do it right. and that is where we are. 2018 coming getting it into the ground. >> thank you. >> mr. price. >> director, i would like to address your relationship with science and technology directorate. the secret service relies heavily on your colleagues in the directorate to develop and validate tools that you and your agents use in the field every day. i would like some of your other dhs counterparts, counterpart agencies that have their in-house research capabilities -- you are more dependent on the department's research and testing capability to ensure you have the tools and resources you
need to carry out your mission. can you speak to the way that you work with science and technology, the value added of that important relationship? and how is your ability to fulfill your science and technology per ability's -- priorities? >> we do have a strong relationship with the science and technology directorate. their director recently came down and we gave him a full tour of our facility and what we have in place. one of the bigger problems today is the drones that are out there. we have worked with them as well as other partners to try to come up with the best detection systems that are out there as well as mitigation. this is a critical issue. dhs,rone issue for both science and technology, as well as us. meetings numerous between s and t and our
technical department directorate. >> i would like to return to some of the other science and technology projects perhaps but on the drone issue coming you catch my attention here. serviceshe secret particular take on that issue? thedoes it relate to involvement of other agencies? how would you describe that? >> it is a problem for everyone. >> i realize that. that is why i asked. >> it is a challenge for all of us. role inaking a education. educating the public and ensuring that they know areas that they cannot fly these unmanned aerial devices. we have worked with the department of defense. they have a lot of experience out in the wartime zone. our challenges are unique
because we are in an urban environment. some of the think that they can do to mitigate and attacked drones in a military environment are different than what we have here in an urban environment when you do have to be concerned about the public and public buildings. is whereology though we are working very closely and sharing. that is the important thing here. or is a sharing of ideas. there is no holding back. just a few weeks ago, my assistant director of technology had informed me that they are working with the germans now also to see what they have out there and the sharing of ideas. i know the blue-ribbon panel spoke about how in sealer -- insular we are. we have made an effort to branch out and see the good work that is being done out there. science and technology and dhs are doing the same. a specificround, in
setting, or a permanent setting like the white house -- i am i am sure words -- those words like detection and mitigation include a range of activities. to what extent does the secret a proactive on responsibility for this? >> i don't want to get into specifics regarding measures we have in place but i will say that beyond science and technology, it also affects our staff, our uniformed officers on the ground. they are trained on what to look for. if they see a drone in the air, what do they look for and how do they respond to it. as well as our detective details. if they are on a trip in another city, throughout the country, they have specific protocols if one of these devices is in the air. >> i have another minute. could you return to science and technology.
record,do this for the are there other particular areas of collaboration where you are dependent on science and technology and therefore science and technology funding to support your own mission? >> in terms of science and technology funding, i will have to get back to you but i will say that everything from our enhancements with cbr detection at the white house to enhancements of our perimeter defense, we work with science and technology to see what are the best systems out there. >> thank you. >> mr. cuellar. border andn the represent a large chunk of the border so we understand what is happening across. 18 billionout dollars when you combine everything on border security, north-south. a lot of money. we play defense on the one yard
line, what i call the one-yard line. i would rather play defense on the 20 yard line -- there are 20 20 yard line.their the more we can work with the -- andc of mexico whatever we can do with our relationships with latin american countries would be good. can you tell us what your efforts are, particularly how you are moving the defense? what we are doing with the republic of mexico and central america to address some of the nan -- transnational problems? >> we have a terrific relationship with the government of mexico. we have an office in mexico city. >> i'm sorry, just one agent? >> i believe it is just one
agent. i'm sorry, i don't know the number offhand. recently, that just we had reason to work with the mexican government. they had the pope's visit in juarez. they did a tremendous job but knowing we had experienced the pope's visit and the fall, we offered any advice that they may want. we did talk and sent our agents down there to give them our experiences. i would have to say that the mexican government did a terrific job with the protection of the pope a few months ago. >> again, i would ask you to institutionalize the working relationship with the republic of mexico and central america. the more we can do outside the one-yard line defense, the better it is. i encourage you to do as much as you can under the tight budget
that we have. again, i know changing the culture has been hard. i know chairman carter and members of the committee, we have talked a lot about that. keep a dressing the culture within the secret service because you have a lot of good men and women working in our government so i appreciate that. point, because i know you have to go, the last point is the hiring process, and i know this has been an issue with homeland, it takes a long time. jobs.gov.out with and you go on to the process. i understand from your testimony coming you have been reducing there. i have had people saying that they will not wait a year or a year and a half. whatever you can do to shorten that time, i really would appreciate that. >> just a quick comment on that. we have instituted entry level
assessment centers where we will bring in these candidates and a test,m an interview, if they pass the test and then a super interview. .hen we schedule a polygraph we are condensing that. >> keep working with the institutions in the black universities as well and other places of course but there are many qualified individuals that you can move through the process. we want and i think this hearing here. you have done a gate -- a great job. we thank you for the great service you have done. we are really proud of you. keep up the good work. complement the service as well. and thank them for their good job as well. mr. chairman, thank you. i want to commend your staff as well. we want to be as transparent --
we will be discussing president obama's supreme court nominee, judge merrick garland. you can wait in with your thoughts on the phone worth your facebook or twitter. washington journal starts at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. book tv has 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors every weekend. here are some programs to watch for. saturday night, at 8:15 p.m. eastern, a book discussion with city university of new york "throwing author of rocks at the google bus. ." how they grow businesses to benefit employers and employees. at 10:00 p.m., afterwards with a law professor, co-editor of liberty nemesis which examines the growth of the federal
government and presidential power during the obama administration. he is interviewed by the former deputy assistant attorney general. >> it seems obvious that the government cannot regulate the money that you used to participate in a camp -- in a constitutional right. since you have a right to free speech, in politics and during campaigns is when the framers really wanted to protect the rights of speech, how can the government say you cannot spend money on using your constitutional rights. 8:00,sunday night at laura bush chronicles the lives of afghan women since the u.s. invasion in the book "we are afghan women." she were the introduction to the book which was put out by the george w. bush institute. go to book tv.org for the complete weekend schedule. yesterday, president obama appealsd d.c. court of
judge merrick garland. the president urged the senate to have confirmation hearings. we will also hear from judge garland at this half hour event. president obama: good morning. everybody please have a seat. of the many powers and responsibilities the constitution vests in the presidency, few are more consequential than appointing a supreme court justice. particularly one to succeed justice scalia, one of the most influential jurist of our time. the men and women who sit on the supreme court are the final arbiters of american law.
they safeguard our rights. they ensure that our system is one of laws and not men. they are charged with the essential task of applying principles put to paper more than two centuries ago to some of the most challenging questions of our time. so this is not a responsibility that i take lightly. it's a decision that requires me to set aside short-term expediency and narrow politics so as to maintain faith with our founders and perhaps more importantly with future generations. that's why over the past several weeks i have done my best to set up a rigorous and comprehensive process. i sought the advice of republican and democratic members of congress. we have reached out to every member of the senate judiciary committee, to constitutional scholars, to advocacy groups, bar associations representing an
array of interests and opinions from all across the spectrum. and today after completing this exhaustive process, i have made my decision. i have selected a nominee who is widely recognized not only as one of america's sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, evenhandedness, and excellence. these qualities and his long commitment to public service have earned him the respect and admiration of leaders from both sides of the aisle. he will ultimately bring that same character to bear on the supreme court. an institution in which he is uniquely prepared to serve immediately. today i am nominating chief judge merrick brian garland to join the supreme court.
[applause] president obama: now, in law enforcement circles and in the legal community at large, judge garland needs no introduction, but i'd like to take a minute to introduce merrick to the american people whom he already so ably serves. he was born and raised in the land of lincoln. in my hometown of chicago. in my home state of illinois. his mother volunteered in the community. his father ran a small business out of their home. inheriting that work ethic, merrick became valedictorian of his public high school. he earned a scholarship to harvard where he graduated. he put himself through harvard law school by working as a tutor, by stocking shoes in a shoe store, and in what is
always a painful moment for any young man, by selling his comic book collection. [laughter] been there. merrick graduated from harvard law and the early years of his legal career bear all the traditional marks of excellence. he clerked for two of president eisenhower's judicial appointees. first for a legendary judge on the second circuit, judge henry friendly, and for supreme court justice william brennan. following his clerkships, merrick joined a highly regarded law firm, one that practiced focus on litigation and pro bono representation of disadvantaged americans. within four years he earned a partnership. the dream of most lawyers. but in 1989, just months after that achievement, merrick made the highly unusual career decision. he walked away from a
comfortable and lucrative law practice to return to public service. merrick accepted a low-level job as a federal prosecutor in president george h.w. bush's administration, took a 50% pay cut. traded in his office for a windowless closet that smelled of stale cigarette smoke. this is a time when crime here in washington had reached epidemic proportions. he wanted to help. and he quickly made a name for himself going after corrupt politicians and violent criminals. his sterling record as a prosecutor led him to the justice department where he oversaw some of the most significant prosecutions in the 1990's. including overseeing every aspect of the federal response to the oklahoma city bombing. in the aftermath of that act of terror, when 168 people, many of
them small children, were murdered, merrick had one evening to say goodbye to his own young daughters before he boarded a plane to oklahoma city and he would remain there for weeks. he worked side by side with first responders, rescue workers, local and federal law enforcement. he led the investigation and supervised the prosecution that brought timothy mcveigh to justice. but perhaps most important is the way he did it. throughout the process, merrick took pains to do everything by the book. when people offered to turn over evidence voluntarily, he refused, taking the harder root of obtaining the proper subpoenas instead because merrick would take no chances that someone who murdered innocent americans might go free on a technicality. merrick also made a concerted effort to reach out to the victims and their families.
updating them frequently on the case's progress. everywhere he went he carried with him in his briefcase the program from the memorial service with each of the victims' names inside. a constant searing reminder of why he had to succeed. judge garland is often referred to his work on the oklahoma city case as, and i quote, the most important thing i have ever done in my life. and through it all he never lost touch with that community that he served. it's no surprise, then, that soon after his work in oklahoma city, merrick was nominated to what's often called, the second highest court in the land -- d.c. circuit court. during that process, during that confirmation process, he earned overwhelming bipartisan praise from senators and legal experts alike.
republican senator orrin hatch, who was then chairman of the senate judiciary committee, supported his nomination. back then he said, in all honesty, i would like to see one person come to this floor and say one reason why merrick garland does not deserve this position. he actually accused fellow senate republicans trying to obstruct merrick's confirmation of playing politics with judges. and he has since said that judge garland would be a consensus nominee for the supreme court who would be very well supported by all sides and there would be no question merrick would be confirmed with bipartisan support. ultimately merrick was confirmed to the d.c. circuit. the second highest court in the land. with votes from a majority of democrats and a majority of republicans. three years ago, he was elevated to chief judge.
and in his 19 years on the d.c. circuit, judge garland has brought his trademark diligence, compassion, and unwavering regard for the rule of law to his work. a circuit court known for strong-minded jurists on both ends of the spectrum, judge garland has earned a track record as a thoughtful, fair-minded judge who follows the law. he's shown a rare ability to bring together odd couples. assemble unlikely coalitions. persuade colleagues with wide ranging judicial philosophies to sign on to his opinions. and this record on the bench speaks, i believe, to judge garland's fundamental temperament. his insistence that all views deserve a respectful hearing. his habit to borrow a phrase from former justice john paul stevens, of understanding before disagreeing.
and then disagreeing without being disagreeable. it speaks to his ability to persuade. to respond to the concerns of others with sound arguments and airtight logic. as his former colleague on the d.c. circuit, and our current chief justice of the supreme court, john roberts, once said, any time judge garland disagrees, you know you're in a difficult area. at the same time, chief judge garland is more than just a brilliant legal mind. he's someone who has a keen understanding. justice is about more than abstract legal theories. more than some footnote in a dusty case book. his life experience, his experience in places like oklahoma city, informs his view that the law is more than an intellectual exercise. he understands the way law affects the daily reality of people's lives in a big, complicated democracy, and rapidly changing times.
and throughout his jurisprudence runs a common thread, a dedication to protecting the basic rights of every american. a conviction that in a democracy, powerful voices must not be allowed to drown out the voices of everyday americans. to find someone with such a long career of public service marked by complex and sensitive issues, to find someone who just about everyone not only respects but genuinely likes, that is rare. and it speaks to who merrick garland is not just as a lawyer but as a man. people respect the way he treats others. his genuine courtesy and respect for his colleagues and those who come before his court. they admire his civic mindedness, mentoring his clerks throughout their careers. urging them to use their legal
training to serve their communities. setting his own example by tutoring a young student at a northeast d.c. elementary school each year for the past 18 years. they are moved by his deep devotion to his family. lynn, his wife of nearly 30 years, and their two daughters, becky and jessie. as a family, they indulge their love of hiking and skiing and canoeing and love of america by visiting our national parks. people respect merrick's deep and abiding passion for protecting our most basic constitutional rights. it's a passion, i'm told, that manifested itself at an early age. one story is indicative of this, it's notable. as valedictorian of his high school class, had he to deliver a commencement address. the other student speaker that day spoke first and unleashed a fiery critique of the vietnam
war. fearing the controversy that might result, several parents decided to unplug the sound system and the rest of the student's speech was muffled. and merrick didn't necessarily agree with the tone of his classmate's remarks, nor his choice of topic for that day, but stirred by the sight of a fellow student's voice being silenced, he tossed aside his prepared remarks and delivered instead on the spot a passionate impromptu defense of our first amendment rights. it was the beginning of a lifelong career as a lawyer and a prosecutor and as a judge devoted to protecting the rights of others. and he has done that work with decency and humanity and common sense and common touch. and i'm proud that he'll continue that work on our nation's highest court.
i said i would take this process seriously, and i did. i chose a serious man and exemplary judge, merrick garland. over my seven years as president, in all my conversations with senators from both parties, in which i asked their views on qualified supreme court nominees, this includes the previous two seats that i had to fill, the one name that has come up repeatedly from republicans and democrats alike is merrick garland. now, i recognize that we have entered the political season, or perhaps these days it never ends. a political season that is even noisier and more volatile than usual. i know that republicans will point to democrats who made it
hard for presidents to get their nominees confirmed. they are not wrong about that. there's been politics involved in nominations in the past. although it should be pointed out that in each of those instances democrats ultimately confirmed a nominee, put forward by a republican president. i also know that because of justice scalia's outsized role on the court and in american law and the fact that americans are closely divided on a number of issues before the court, it is tempting to make this confirmation process simply an extension of our divided politics. the squabbling that's going on in the news every day. but to go down that path would be wrong. it would be a betrayal of our best traditions.
and a betrayal of the vision of our founding documents. at a time when our politics are so polarized, at a time when norms and customs of political rhetoric and courtesy and comity are so often treated like they are disposable, this is precisely the time when we should play it straight. and treat the process and appointing a supreme court justice with the seriousness and care it deserves. because our supreme court really is unique. it's supposed to be above politics. it has to be. and it should stay that way. to suggest that someone as qualified and respected as merrick garland doesn't even deserve a hearing let alone an up or down vote to join an institution as important as our supreme court, when 2/3 of
americans believe otherwise, that would be unprecedented. to suggest that someone who has served his country with honor and dignity, with a distinguished track record of delivering justice for the american people, might be treated as one republican leader stated, as a political pinata, that can't be right. tomorrow, judge garland will travel to the hill to begin meeting with senators one-on-one. i simply ask republicans in the senate to give him a fair hearing. and then an up or down vote. if you don't, then it will not only be an abdication of the senate's constitutional duty, it will indicate a process for nominating and confirming judges
that is beyond repair. it will mean everything is subject to the most partisan of politics, everything. it will provoke an endless cycle of more tit for tat and make it increasingly impossible for any president, democrat or republican, to carry out their constitutional function. the reputation of the supreme court will, inevitably, suffer. faith in our justice system will inevitably suffer. our democracy will ultimately suffer as well. i have fulfilled my constitutional duty. now it's time for the senate to do theirs. presidents do not stop working in the final year of their term. neither should a senator.
i know that tomorrow the senate will take a break and leave town on recess for two weeks. my earnest hope is that senators take that time to reflect on the importance of this process to our democracy. not what's expedient, not what's happening at the moment, what does this mean for our institutions? for our common life. the stakes, the consequences, the seriousness of the job we all swore an oath to do. and when they return, i hope that they'll act in a bipartisan fashion. i hope they are fair. that's all. i hope they are fair. as they did when they confirmed merrick garland to the d.c. circuit. i ask that they confirm merrick garland now to the supreme court. so that he can take his seat in time to fully participate in its
work for the american people this fall. he is the right man for the job. he deserves to be confirmed. i could not be prouder of the work that he has already done on behalf of the american people. he deserves our thanks, and he deserves a fair hearing. with that i'd like to invite judge garland to say a few words. [applause]
judge garland: thank you, mr. president. this is the greatest honor of my life. other than lynn marrying me 28 years ago. it's also the greatest gift i have ever received except, and another caveat, the birth of our daughters. as my parents taught me, by both words and deeds, a life of public service is as much a gift to the person who serves as it is to those he is serving. and for me there could be no higher public service than serving as a member of the united states supreme court. my family deserves much of the credit for the path that led me here. my grandparents left the pail of settlement at the border of western russia and eastern europe in the early 1900's, fleeing anti-semitism and hoping to make a better life for their children in america.
they settled in the midwest, eventually making their way to chicago. there, my father, who ran the smallest of small businesses, from a room in our basement, took me with him as he made the rounds to his customers always impressing upon me the importance of hard work and fair dealing. there my mother headed the local p.t.a. and school board and director of volunteer service agency, all the while instilling in my sisters and me the understanding that service to the community is a responsibility above all others. even now my sisters honor that example by serving the children of their communities. i know that my mother is watching this on television and crying her eyes out, so are my sisters who have supported me in every step i have ever taken, i only wish that my father were here to see this today. i also wish that we hadn't
taught my daughter to be so adventurous she would be hiking in the mountains out of cell service range when the president called. [laughter] it was a sense of responsibility to serve the community instilled by my parents that led me to leave my law firm to become a line prosecutor in 1989. there, one of my first assignments was to assist in the prosecution of a violent gang that had come down to the district from new york, took over a public housing project, and terrorized the residents. the hardest job we faced was persuading mothers and grandmothers that if they testify we would be able to keep them safe. and convict the gang members. we succeeded only by convincing witnesses and victims that they could trust that the rule of law would prevail. years later when i went to oklahoma city to investigate the
bombing of the federal building, i saw up close the devastation that can happen when someone abandons the justice system as a way of resolving grievances and instead takes matters into his own hands. once again i saw the importance of assuring victims and families that the justice system could work. we promised that we would find the perpetrators. that we would bring them to justice. and that we would do it in a way that honored the constitution. the people of oklahoma city gave us their trust and we did everything we could to live up to it. trust that justice will be done in our courts without prejudice or partisanship is what in a large part distinguishes this country from others. people must be confident that a judge's decisions are determined
by the law and only the law. for a judge to be worthy of such trust, he or she must be faithful to the constitution and to statutes passed by the congress, he or she must put aside his personal views or preferences and follow the law. not make it. fidelity to the constitution and the law has been the cornerstone of my professional life. and is the hallmark of the kind of judge i have tried to be for the past 18 years. if the senate sees fit to confirm me to the position for which i have been nominated today, i promise to continue on that course. mr. president, it's a great privilege to be nominated by a fellow chicagoan, i am grateful beyond words for the honor you have bestowed upon me.
>> later, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell commented on the president's supreme court nomination. senator mcconnell defended his stand that the supreme court see should remain vacant until a new president can choose a nominee next year. this is five minutes. leader mcconnell: the next justice could fundamentally alter the next direction of the supreme court and have a profound impact on our country. so of course, the american people should have a say in the court's direction. it is a president's constitutional right to nominate, and it is the senate's constitutional right to act as a check on a president and withhold its consent.
as chairman grassley and i declared weeks ago and reiterated personally to president obama, the senate will continue to observe the biden rule so that the american people have a voice in this momentous decision. the american people may well elect a person who decides to nominate judge garland for senate consideration. the next president may also nominate somebody very different. either way, our view is this: give the people a voice in filling this vacancy. let me remind colleagues of what vice president biden said when he was chairman of the judiciary committee here in the senate. here's what he said. "it would be our pragmatic conclusion that once the political season is under way, and it is, action on a supreme court nomination must be put off until after the election
campaign is over. that is what is fair to the nominee," he said, "and is central to the process. otherwise, it seems to me," chairman biden went on, "we will be in deep trouble as an institution. others may fret," he said, "that this approach would leave the court with only eight members for some time. "but as i see it," chairman biden said, "the cost of such a result, the need to reargue three or four cases that would divide the justices 4-4, are quite minor. compared to the cost that a nominee, the president, the senate, and the nation would have to pay for what would assuredly be a bitter fight no matter how good a person is nominated by the president."
chairman joe biden. consider that last part. senator biden said that the cost of the nation would be too great no matter who the president nominates. president obama and his allies may now try to pretend this disagreement is about a person. but as i just noted, his own vice president made it clear it's not. the biden rule reminds us that the decision the senate announced weeks ago remains about a principle and not a person. about a principle and not a person. it seems clear that president obama made this nomination not, not with the intent of seeing the nominee confirmed, but in order to politicize it for purposes of the election. which is the type of thing then senate judiciary committee chairman biden was concerned about.
the exact thing chairman biden was concerned about. the biden rule underlines what the president has done with this nomination would be unfair to any nominee and more importantly, the rule warns of the great cost the president's action could carry for our nation. americans are certain to hear a lot of rhetoric from the other side in the coming days. but here are the facts they should keep in mind. the current democratic leader said the senate is not a rubber stamp. and he noted that the constitution does not require the senate to give presidential nominees a vote. that's the current democratic leader. the incoming democratic leader did not even wait until the final year of george w. bush's term to essentially tell the senate not, he said, not to consider any supreme court
nominee the president sent. the biden rule supports what the senate is doing today. underlining that what we are talking about is a principle and not a person. so here's our view. instead of spending more time debating an issue where we can't agree, let's keep working to address the issues where we can. we just passed critical bipartisan legislation to help address the heroin and prescription opioid crisis in our country. let's build on that success. let's keep working together to get our economy moving again. and make our country safer. rather than endlessly debating an issue where we don't agree. as we continue working on issues like these, the american people are perfectly capable of having their say, their say on this issue.
so let's give them a voice. let's let the american people decide. the senate will appropriately revisit the matter what it considers the qualifications of the nominee the next president nominates. whoever that might be. >> today on c-span, washington journal is next live with your phone calls. then live coverage of the u.s. house. members will consider a resolution relating to president obama's executive actions on immigration. tonight, the house oversight committee hearing on the contaminated water in flint, michigan with testimony of the head of the epa and mission are -- michigan governor rick
snyder. we will be discussing judge merrick garland. we will talk to bloomberg news greg store. president obama: today i am nominating merrick brian garland to join the supreme court. ♪ >> president obama has made his pick for the vacancy on the supreme court to replace the late justice antonin scalia a. grad,garland is a college chief judge for the district of columbia, but republicans failed to budge saying he will not get a hearing and will not get a vote. we want to get your thoughts on merrick garland as the supreme cour