tv Senate Democrats on Supreme Court Nominee CSPAN March 20, 2016 10:58am-11:19am EDT
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. thank you. [applause] congratulations tores. obama you. good job. [applause]
on thursday, judge merrick garland met with some senate democrats on capitol hill including senator patrick leahy vermont. this photo of was taken before judge garland met with senator majority leader harry reid. also on thursday, senate democrats held a press conference on the steps of the supreme court denouncing republicans for fusing to hold a confirmation hearing for supreme court nominee judge merrick garland. this is 20 minutes. >> after speaking at the center for american progress, senator
reid returned to capitol hill where he and other democrats met with president obama's nominee to the supreme court. merrick garland. democrats denounced republicans for refusing to hold a hearing on the nominee. they spoke for about 20 minutes. senator reid: merrick garland is a fineman in every way. his character is impeccable. his record of public service is unsurpassed and his time on the bench has been really very, very exemplary. all we're asking is for the republicans to do their job. now, mitch mcconnell set out and did it publicly his number one goal is to make sure president obama was not reelected. he failed miserably. we are going to have a supreme court justice. and it's the right thing to do and mcconnell leading the troops over the cliff. senator stabenow: good afternoon. afternoon, we know one of the most important constitutional duties as a u.s. senator is to confirm justices of the united states supreme court, which is right behind us. yesterday president obama did fulfill his constitutional duty.
he did his job in nominating judge merrick to the supreme court. as senator reid has said, he is a highly qualified, distinguished individual who deserves an up or down vote to the highest court in the land. despite this nomination, our colleagues on the other side of the aisle refused to do their job, refusing to even move forward, refusing to even meet with him, refusing to hold hearings, or to have a vote. now i heard someone say, it's not about the person, it's about the principle. well first of all the american , people know that this president has announced an eminently qualified person to the united states supreme court. we believe in the principle of doing our job. that's why we are here. not only does judge garland have
stellar credentials and experience, he was confirmed as chief judge of the d.c. court of appeals 76-23. seven of those republican votes came from members currently serving. so, we stand with workingmen into women everywhere have to do , their job, who wouldn't be able to say, you know, there is a part of my job i don't like, i'm not going to do it for a year. [laughter] nobody else would be able to do that. but somehow, the folks across the street think it's ok for them to do that. so we are going to hear a , distinguished hard-working doctor in a moment talking about why it's important she do her job and we as united states , senators shouldn't be held to a different standard. republicans in the senate need to do their job.
>> thank you. article says the president shall two nominate and the senate shall appoint ambassadors, public ministers and ministers and judges of the united states. it's right there in the constitution with no exceptions for election years. this is our most basic responsibility. the president has done his job and sent us a qualified nominee. now it's time for the senate to , do its job. that means giving judge garland a fair hearing and a vote. we are ready to get to work, but the republicans have refused to do their job. what world are they living in? american workers wake up every day and go to work. they can't pick and choose which parts of their job they would like to do or when they would , like to get started. the american people deserve a
senate that does its job. it's time for senate republicans to end the republican gains and gamesend the political and fulfill their duty and join , us in restoring the supreme court to its full strength. senator king. senator king: we have the supreme court, but the number four and the word shall aren't among them. as in the term of the president is four years, not three years and one month. the word "shall," the president shall nominate with the advice and consent of the senate is a mandatory term, it's not permissive. this is an obligation on the president and i believe it's an obligation on the senate not to come from the nominee but to , hear the nominee, to discuss it, debate it, to let the
american people understand who the nominee is, and how they fit into the great tradition of justices of the united states supreme court. what's the practical effect of where we find ourselves today? basically, we are putting the supreme court without a justice for really two terms. we are in the middle of a term now that will end in june or july. there will be no ninth justice to contribute to the decision making of this term of the court over the next several months. if we wait until a new president is elected and that person dominates a new justice, let's say within 10 or 15 days of their inauguration, you are talking about february. the average time for confirmation is 70-90 days. february, march, april. you are into may before you have a new justice. that's the end of the next term. so what you have done is , compromise the integrity and the continuity of the supreme
court for two terms. there is one other term that i would like to address a bit that's been used rather loosely around here in the last several weeks. that term is "lame duck." the definition of a lame duck in political terms is between the election and inauguration of the new president. that's the lame duck period. to define lame duck as the fourth year of a presidency, by that definition, one-third of the senate and the entire house of representatives are lame ducks today. should they argue they can't take positions on controversial issues because it's a presidential election year. i think to even state that underlines how unsustainable that position is. so, nobody is standing here and saying dutch garland should be
confirmed. the simple message is judge garland should be considered. there should be hearings. and to hold to a position that i won't even meet with the nominee, to me just doesn't pass , the straight face test in terms of our obligations are around here not only as united states senators, but as people. that's just common courtesy in a situation such as this. so, i hope there will be, we have had comments in the last few days by several of my colleagues on the other side of who and i'm in a , peculiar position being independent, i'm not sure which side of the aisle, i'm in the middle, but there are comments there should be hearings, and should be meetings with the nominee who appears to be impeccably credentialed and i , don't know that yet because i haven't had a chance. but that's what i intend to do and that's the responsibility of
every member of the united states senate. so again nobody is saying there , is a yes or no vote that is required but what we are saying , is there is a constitutional obligation to meet, discuss, debate, here and understand this , nomination. the final point i would make is, i don't understand what people are worried about if they have hearings? are they afraid they'll like him? [laughter] i don't get that. or they will be hypnotized into voting in a way they don't want to vote. let's have hearings and vote on the process and let's get on this process so we can fulfill the obligations that the constitution and the people of the united states have entrusted us with. thank you. senator schumer: thank you. first let me thank my colleagues for their outstanding remarks and as they said so well, , president obama has done his job. he has nominated an outstanding
jurist in judge garland. now it is time for the senate republicans to do theirs. judge garland puts the law above ideology, exactly the type of nominee that republicans profess to love when it comes to the supreme court. you simply can't lay a glove on him. so, if republicans continue to stand in the way and refuse to do their job, it will only be because they want donald trump to pick the next nominee. [laughter] occasionally republicans may try , to distance themselves from him with their words, but their failure to do their job and give judge garland the consideration he deserves ties them to trump in a way they cannot untangle. if the republicans in the senate want to continue to tie themselves to donald trump, so be it. donald trump won't make america
great again, but he will make republicans the minority again. so the message from the american , people to senate republicans is simple -- do your job. the american people overwhelmingly believe republicans have the responsibility to do their job because people get up and go to work every day and do theirs. if people -- if the average person said i'm not going to do my job, they'd lose money, they'd get fired. why do the republican senators think there any different? and joining us today, we have someone who gets up and does her job every day, who will talk about what happened to her if she tried to do what republicans are doing now. so i would like to thank dr. , sharma for joining us today. >> thank you. good afternoon.
i'm an every day doctor for every day people. i take my job very seriously. my patients' lives depend on our health team to fulfill our duty. my patients' families depend on our team to take responsibility and to do our jobs every day. , in order for our patients and communities to achieve good health, everyone on our health team must work together. we have a duty to be held accountable for peoples' lives, to serve our patients and our community as a team. even in the most adverse i can't -- even the most adversarial situations, everyone does their job together and not divided, because that is what is best for our patients. if a doctor doesn't want to see a patient or a nurse chooses not , to do vital signs or a specialist doesn't want to give us advice, the whole system becomes dysfunctional.
then people suffer. it is our responsibility to work together despite disagreements. we, too, are public servants at the most public servants. aren't we the same where we must work together and produce the best outcomes for our country. millions of people are depending on the supreme court to make critical decisions that affect their lives. our president just fulfilled his constitutional duty to the american people by nominating a candidate for supreme court justice. now it is your turn. be a part of the team. the american people elected you into office to be a public servant and fulfill your , obligation to advise and consent, not divide and resent. so, as you depend on us in health care, we depend on you. so, please do your job. [applause] >> wonderful. senator schumer: another person who has to show up and do her job is lawyery, a nurse.
>> thank you. i'm a registered nurse at a small community hospital in michigan. and i work 12-hour night shifts and as you can imagine when morning rolls around i'm ready to go home. but if a patient roles in the door 15 minutes before it is time for me to punch out, i don't say gee, i don't feel like , giving you pain medicine because it's almost time for me to go. i'm calling on senate republicans to do their job just like the president intends to do his job until his final day in office. thank you. [applause] great, laurie. [laughter] >> always so eager. senator schumer: and next -- you are always so eager. next we have brent, who is a heavy equipment operator. >> all right. >> i'm a heavy equipment operator.
i have to plow the snow out of the streets and if i decided not to come to work i wouldn't have a job very long and i want the republicans to do their job and get their work done. thank you. [applause] >> now we would like harry reid to come forward with the same question. and do your job. [laughter] [indiscernible] no one can say better than what agnes king said it. we have jobs to do.
they should be doing it now. they should be doing hearings now, they should be studying this man's record and move it forward. since 1900, we have had six people who have served on the supreme court who were proving the lame duck session. i cannot imagine a formally supreme court justice could come up with this legal theory they have come up with. yes? is anyone saying judge garland should be confirmed? who think anyone today would be willing to come forward without reading his cases, without looking into his background. we heard a great speech by president obama. it was terrific. if i had been asked to vote right after that, i would have
charged forward. that is not my job. my job is to study the qualifications of these people. it is an awesome responsibility they have. i think all of us agree that we should take a look at the record. we simply are saying, do your job. take a look at this man. yes? [indiscernible] they are already feeling it. look at the numbers. as majority of american people, democrats, independents, even more than half of the republicans think we should move forward. this is elementary school stuff. i don't know how my counterpart, mitch mcconnell, could come up with that. if i asked my caucus to go to the edge of that clip and leap over, they would not do it. they would toss me over first. [laughter]