tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 1, 2016 2:00am-4:01am EDT
three weeks ago, i watch this debate transform into the worst pressure politics i have ever seen. i spoke out then and hoped that unprincipled attacks on judge bork would end when he finally had an opportunity to speak. i underestimated the power of mob justice in america circa 1987. three weeks ago, i set out what i believed was to be a nonpolitical and principled standard for the confirmation of nominees to the supreme court. first and foremost, i have respect for the constitution as a precious inheritance for all americans. full appreciation of the separate functions between the unelected judiciary and the political branches of government.
lastly, self-restraint, which checks the well-intentioned urge to short-circuit government by the people, the kind of restraint that jefferson spoke of when he warned of the unbridled third branch. i want to quote jefferson, our peculiar security is in the possession of a written constitution. let us not make it a blank paper by construction. or the kind of restraint hamilton spoke of when he said in 1978 that the judiciary was beyond comparison, the weakest of three departments, having neither force nor will, but merely judgment. because he meets this principled standard for confirmation, robert bork has earned my vote.
he is a person of unquestioned integrity. his credentials are, as one of our witnesses per day, solid gold. his legal scholarship, together with his record on the bench, make him, in the chief justice's view, not mine, as qualified as any candidate who has served the supreme court in the last 50 years. in short, he is precisely the kind of person we need on the supreme court. perhaps that is why some sitting justices have taken the unprecedented step of recommending him. these qualifications should end the debate given the senate's historical deference to advise and consent.
since 1894, this body has only rejected for nominees to the supreme court by all the previous presidents. but that was before a new standard was minted just in time for this proceeding. now the senate's last word is it's only word. this rank politicizing of the supreme court nomination process can only bring this body into further disrepute and will harm the supreme court as well. what kind of evil picture has been painted of this man after nearly three months? well, some americans believe he is for poll taxes and literacy tests as a way to keep minorities from voting. some believe he would sterilize his fellow man if it suited the balance sheet of a big business firm.
others believe he would single-handedly roll back the clock so that blacks in america would be banished to the back of the bus and women to the kitchen forever. he is even said to wink at the states installing cameras in the bedroom. after all, how else would we know if people are using contraceptives illegally? these charges are unsurpassed in their ugliness. they are designed not to inform, but to inflame. but what is so surprising to me about this litany of lies is that the people who help spread the hysteria actually know that they are lies. this ought to scare the daylights out of every american, because as any wrongly accused person will tell you, it's a
very tiresome and tedious process to disprove reckless allegations. i ask my fellow americans to consider how much tougher days when every special interest group with a photocopying machine repeats these lies week after week. some believe this nomination process has been useful. i disagree. judge bork has spent almost 30 hours before this committee. during that time, he was called on to answer questions that no judge should ever have to answer and no judge before him has ever answered. i believe it sets a dangerous standard and president to make nominees commit themselves to specific legal issues, whether it happens to be clear and present danger tests, a general right to privacy, or on and on.
why? just to satisfy some senators politics. judges are not politicians. nor should they be transformed into politicians. the framers of our constitution gave judges life tenure in part so they would be insulated from having to give campaign promises. it is inconceivable that the framers could have intended the ideological interrogation that we have seen over the past three weeks. but there i go again, giving weight to what the framers intended. i should know by now that the senate of 1987 deserves the right to amend the constitution on the fly. the fact is that the real furor over this confirmation is judge bork's long-held view that
legislators and those accountable to the people must make laws. as he put it three weeks ago -- and i want to quote judge bork, "the judge must be every bit as governed by law as is the congress, the president, the state governors and legislatures, and the american people. no one, including a judge, can be above the law. to say -- above the law." to say that judges must follow the log rather than their personal bias is not to say that a crap diversion of liberty is the result. quite the contrary. judge bork declared the judges responsibility to discover the
framer's values, defined by the world they lived in an new, and apply them to the world we know. i don't suggest this formula always yields an easy result or even a result that i will always agree with, but it is perfectly -- it is a perfectly respectable way to grapple with tough issues that come before the court. the result is not a constitution that is worthless or somehow happens to be a worthless, dry parchment, but it is, in fact, a charter filled with vitality. consider the expansion of the first amendment protection covering electronic media or the fourth amendment covering electronic surveillance. when social changes mandated by
a principle within the constitution or a statute, then the court has a legitimate war and to bring about an expand liberty -- warrant to bring about and expand liberty, as judge bork said happened with brown versus board of education, and properly so. when he states that when the constitution is absolutely silent, the democratically elected representatives of the people have a right to be heard. fundamentally, in america, the people are in charge. i am confident that we the people will secure our liberties well. as is often said, democracy may be the worst system of government, but it is better than any others devised by the minds of man.
i have undying faith in democracy. that is why i am honored to serve the people of the great state of iowa, and that is why, as well, i am proud to support robert bork for his seat on the supreme court of the united states. senator mcconnell: i had originally planned to speak at some length on this subject, as others have. i have been listening with interest to the comments from my colleagues, and it has been a great history lesson to those of us charged with the responsibility of advising and consenting the supreme court nominations. as we all know, it's the 200th anniversary of the constitution. in looking at the particular
portion of the constitution that applies to this exercise, i might say that we have been centered around this issue for quite some time. i have only been in the senate for two and a half years. but i have been dealing with supreme court nominees for 18 years, going back to 1969. during that period, i was a legislative assistant to a senator who was on the judiciary committee. and we struggled than with what advice and consent meant as an -- meant. as an idealistic young lawyer, i wrote an article that attempted to codify what seemed to be an appropriate role for the senate,
bearing in mind that advice and consent on the one hand -- and as the constitution puts it in describing the president's responsibility -- said the president shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the senate shall appoint judges to the supreme court. clearly, advise and consent on one hand and nominate or a point on the other are not the same thing. so, the senate, obviously one of the most political bodies imaginable, has wrestled with that concept for 200 years, and on some occasions, we have engaged in raw political exercises after which we have either approved or rejected nominees, and various senators on both sides of this issue have spoken and described those
occasions at great length. in the 20th century, however, we have been a little more responsible, it could be argued, a little more inclined to differentiate between advise and consent on one hand and nominate or appoint on the other. we have made an effort to restrain ourselves, limit our inquiry. what i said in 1970 in a law journal article is that it was pretty clear that the majority of the senate had settled on the following kinds of criteria as relevant to our inquiry to advising and consenting nominees to the supreme court. i listed at that time five criteria that are obviously appropriate, that no one could argue with. first, you want to make sure the nominee is competent. this is the supreme court we are talking about here, not the police court in hoboken, new jersey.
clearly, we would want somebody who had great, distinguished achievement in his or her life. judicial temperament, clearly an important part of weighing the credentials of any nominee to the supreme court, obviously something the supreme court should look at. conduct on the bench. finally, personal integrity. that's obviously something we should be looking for. in applying the standards to the haynesworth-carswell period, i concluded that judge haynesworth had erroneously been denied confirmation, but that judge carswell deserved to be seated, applying both standards -- the same standards to both nominees.
in those days, it was thought of that if you were against haynesworth, you are obviously against carswell. but applying the relatively objective standard to both nominees, it was clear that haynesworth should be confirmed and carswell should be defeated. unfortunately, both were defeated. that was not this particular senator's last experience with the supreme court. i came back to kentucky as a volunteer and helped with the nomination of william rehnquist by president nixon to the supreme court. as a member of the judiciary committee last year, i participated in the nomination of justice rehnquist and justice scalia. i say all this to make the point
that this senator has grappled with this issue for 18 years and given it a good deal of thought. to what the words mean, to how they ought to be applied, and to what the role of the senate should be -- advising and consenting. but until this bork episode, a majority of these senators, at least in this century, have felt that advice and consent did imply some restraint, some modification of the inquiry. most senators have felt in this century that meant looking at the kinds of criteria i outlined earlier in looking at the competence of the nominee. one of the reasons we were reluctant to throw all that to
the wind is outlined in an article from the law the review in 1983. the title of the article was "the transformation and senate response to supreme court nominations from reconstruction to the taft administration and beyond." pointing out the relative -- relevant points, he says when, as during reconstruction, senators treat the supreme court as a political institution, that they expect to queue a particular ideological line, the public is likely to see the court in the same light, and so is the court itself. he says perhaps more importantly, if unpopular supreme court decisions tend to
lead to nasty confirmation controversies that put the court in an unfavorable light, then it is natural to expect that the court will render fewer such decisions. he goes on, the court is not primarily a policymaking institution, even to the extent it may be considered one. we do not allow it to make policy because it is politically accountable. on the contrary, it is the court's independence and at least the appearance of a impartiality that we prize. the court is useful in our system of government, able to play a role distinct from those of the political branches because it isn't is perceived to be different from the other branches. if the distinctions blur, so will the role of the court. further in the article, friedman
says, the senate is a political body. a large part of the senators job is or should be transformation of his beliefs or those of his constituents into public policy. it is not easy for a senator to accept willingly the nomination of a justice who likely will act contrary to those beliefs in decisions deeply affecting the life of the nation, but for several reasons, a thoughtful senator should realize that any benefit from barring an ideological opponent from the court are not likely to outweigh the damage done to the courts institutional standard. he goes on, ideological opposition to a nominee from one end of the political spectrum is likely to help generate similar opposition in later generations
from the opposite end. in the long run, the result will probably be to politicize the election process to shift the court either from the left to the right. a second reason why opposing a supreme court nominee on ideological grounds is less beneficial than it might appear at the time is the difficulty in predicting the nominees judicial ideology in the senators own future assessment of that ideology. and this is quite interesting. one survey estimates that one justice in four turned out to be quite different from what his appoint or wanted. the difficulty of prediction. he goes on, it is not surprising then that the senators have sometimes expressed regret that
they opposed the nomination of a justice whose record on the bench they later approved. this being so, a senator should have some humility in opposing x supreme court nomination on ideological grounds, -- a supreme court nomination on ideological grounds. there is a strong possibility that he will later rue his actions. he goes on. there's a third reason a senator should resist the attempt nation to oppose the nomination on ideological grounds. the damage the justice can do is limited. is limited. we have heard a lot of dire predictions about how judge bork will remake america. i tend to agree with mr. freeman who says the damage the damage that justice can do is limited. often, of course, he may provide a crucial fifth vote that the reviewing senator might find
harmful, but his vote counts no more than what his colleagues or the second choice appointee of the same president, something we will soon receive. the senate is not likely to achieve much good by opposing a single nominee on the grounds that his votes and opinions would affect the nation adversely. he goes on. if senators were to regularly vote against nominees with moderate but opposing views, the selection process would become almost unimaginably politicized and the appointment power which shift from the president to the senate. madam president, i ask that that article appear in the record at this point. >> without objection. senator mcconnell: so, where are we? having thought about this issue, as i indicated, quite often for
almost 20 years, it seems to me, where we are, is that it's not likely that a body as political as this one is going to be able to render the kind of impartial judgments based upon the standards that the senator from kentucky laid out, standards like competence, achievement, temperament, judicial conduct, and personal integrity, and limit our inquiry to those items. frankly, if the senator from kentucky thinks that's the way it ought to be -- but if i am nothing else, i am practical.
having studied this issue, watched it, and looked at these nominations for 18 years, i reluctantly concluded that those standards uttered by a rather idealistic 28-year-old lawyer are not likely to be honored in this body. it seems to me the only time we are inclined to restrain ourselves and to limit the inquiry to those kind of standards and when we get a noncontroversial nominee. the president, whoever he is, sends up a nomination that is not very controversial, and we can stand up and preach to each other about how the advice and consent role means those five
standards. but if the president sends up a controversial nomination, and that is what this one has certainly turned out to be, it seems to me that it is not likely that we are going to restrain ourselves. the opportunity to go for the political raw meat is just too great. so, i wish it were the way i set it ought to be in 1970. it isn't. it seems to me we might as well except and adopt what the new standard really is. i do this with no particular bitterness, i might add, even though it makes the article i was proud of 18 years ago dated, and some would argue it irrelevant.
i am nevertheless prepared to say that i accept the new standard. it's just asking too much of us to ignore the political implications of a nominee to the supreme court. we are going to do it. we are going to do it when we want to and it's going to be whenever the president sends a someone we don't like. there are very few people who can limit their inquiry on that occasion to things like competence, achievement, judicial temperament, and integrity. in fact, what we are going to be doing is finding a reason to oppose a nominee we object to on philosophical grounds. so, it seems that where we are
is that advice and consent in 1987 with the defeat of judge robert bork means that for the majority of the united states senate, we are going to make this decision based on anything we please. if we make this based on political persuasion, that the president is trying to move the court to the right or the left, we will just stand up and say that, and vote accordingly. and i must say i reach this conclusion, in some respects, with a sense of relief. if my party were not to win the presidency next year, i would expect that a nominated supreme court -- nominee to the supreme court might be of a persuasion that i would not prefer.
and were i to continue to apply the standards that i penned in the kentucky law journal in 1970, i would make a limited inquiry into that nominee based on his competence, conduct, and integrity. but it seems to this senator that if nobody else was going to apply that kind of standard, then he shouldn't either. so, with no particular bitterness, i think we should apply the new rule. in the new rule is that we will, in this body, consider all aspects of every nominee henceforth. and as far as my one vote is
concerned, i shall henceforth consider the judicial philosophy of the nominee as relevant to my inquiry in determining how i cast my vote, and from robert bork forward, this senator from kentucky will consider the new standard established by the united states senate in this confirmation proceeding and apply it with some relief, as i indicated earlier, because after all, it is not easy for us to restrain ourselves, hold back, if you will. confine the inquiry to something as standardized and simple as
trying to ensure that we have truly outstanding members of the legal profession on the united states supreme court. in conclusion, the words nominate and appoint give to the president the power of selection, but we interpret now advice and consent in this body broadly. and if we don't like the philosophical leaning of the nominee, i think henceforth, the majority of the senate will simply reject nominees on the philosophical basis. the danger of that approach, of course, is that it is a formula for gridlock, potentially. we could have it here.
that's my prediction, madam president. the president is going to send us another nominee, someone not so well published, maybe 10 or 15 years younger, and we may waltz around this maple one more time, and it will be interesting to see what happens to the next conservative nominee in the united states senate. is the standard going to be applied in the same way? it is a formula for gridlock, but it is a bit of freedom for you to bus to do our own thing. we may not be able to pick the nominee -- freedom for each of us to do our own thing.
we may not be able to pick the nominee, but we can shoot him down. we can sure shoot him down. i say with regret that we have reached this point, that judge bork is so controversial, though in my judgment one of the outstanding nominations of this century. he would have ranked with brandeis, frankfurter and others. i suspect the president would have been disappointed in him on occasion. i doubt if he would've turned out exactly the way the president predicted. had he served, i expect we might have heard from a number of senators who opposed him saying yes, he really surprised me. he ended up being better than i thought he was going to be. i made a mistake. much like we heard from numerous
people about judge haynesworth. and speaking of judge haynesworth, if there is a parallel and thus, it is the haynesworth affect. -- effect. what did he do after he was defeated? did he go home and sulk? no, he spent the rest of his professional career on the fourth circuit proving that his detractors had made a mistake. so i say to judge bork, you are an outstanding public servant. you have distinguished yourself on the court of appeals. i hope you will stay there. it is the second most important court in the land.
the best way to deal with this crisis is to prove for the rest of your professional life how wrong the decision of the united states senate was. so, to robert bork, who fought the good fight. you did your best. it was a tough contest. you happened to be the one who set the new standard that will be applied, in my judgment, by the majority of the senate. unfortunately, it got set over your dead body, so to speak, politically. stay on the court, bob bork, prove your detractors wrong. continue your outstanding career of public service.
madam president, i yield. >> we are back with david hawking's talking about the nominations of supreme court justices. republicans repeatedly cite the 1992 speech by joe biden in which he urged president george h w bush from making any nominees to the supreme court that summer should a vacancy occur. david hawking's, explain the context for that speech, and why the future vice president chose to speak at such length on that topic. >> in june of 1992, it was clear that bill clinton would be the nominee for president. george h.w. bush was running for reelection. ross perot was in the race and it was a highly unpredictable three-way race at that time.
at that time also, there were two justices on the court, byron white in his 70's and harry blackburn in his 80's, and there were rumors that either one or both of them are going to retire the day after biden gave his speech. the supreme court goes home the last week in june. this was the last week in june. and biden, who was on the chairman of the committee -- again, divided government, george h.w. bush was the president and democrats are in charge of the senate, the inverse of what we have today, joe biden goes to the judiciary floor and speaks for more than an hour, saying the words that the republicans are now trying to hang around the obama administration's neck, which is that it's too late in the political season to be fair to the president or the nominee to
give the nominee a fair hearing, and besides, it would be wrong for george h.w. bush to continue in the trend of the reagan-bush years of nominating what biden describes as polarizing judges. so, when you watch this, you have to remember the context, and remember the role that people play and who is in control where at the time. >> this is a speech from joe biden in 1992. we are also going to show you his most recent comments on the supreme court nomination process. joe biden: mr. president, good morning.
i apologize for trespassing on the president's time in the senate. i have never sought to speak before the senate for as long as i seek to speak today. but the subject to which i speak is something i have given a great deal of thought and asked the senate to spend some considerable time thinking about, and it is controversial, and in light of the fact that we are within a day of the time that supreme court justices historically make decisions about whether they will stay on for another year, it seems somewhat propitious, although i
know not of a justice who seeks to resign. my speeches about reforming the confirmation process and the need for a new dawn with regard to how we conduct ourselves relative to the confirmation process involving supreme court nominees. seven years ago, harvard law professor lawrence tribe reflected on what was then the second oldest supreme court in history. he wrote -- and i quote -- a great supreme court is sort of a haley's comet in our constitutional universe, a rare and operation arriving only once in a lifetime. burning in the firmament for a brief time before returning to the deep space of constitutional history. he added, the quiet time, in
which there were just too supreme court nominations in 15 years were the calm before the constitutional storm that surely lies ahead, predicting that sometime in this decade we would be tossed into the turbulent process that has gripped this nation in the past and today, after naming seven men to fill five vacancies on the supreme court in just five years, we find ourselves in the midst of the storm the professor forecast. in these past five years, the united states senate has endured three of the most contentious fights in the history of the united states. the nomination of william rehnquist, who was confirmed by the most votes cast against him
of any judge to the supreme court to that point. the 1987 rejection of robert bork at the end of an epic conflict between competing constitutional visions, and the subsequent withdrawal of douglas ginsburg days after president reagan selected him to succeed bork as his nominee. this fierce fight, which none of us, i suspect, will ever forget in 1991 over clarence thomas's nomination to the court, which broke chief justice rehnquist's record for receiving the most negative votes in senate history. this change to the court over the last few years has already been dramatic. but as a duke professor pointed out, there is every reason to
see that we may see as many as five more justices retired within the next four years. in all likelihood then, we stand at the halfway point of the remaking of the supreme court. with as many coming controversies as we saw over the past two terms combined. by the time we arrive at the next election year, 1996, there is a substantial chance that no member of the court serving on the court in june of 1986 will remain on the bench. such a complete replacement of the court in just 10 years has only one precedent since the court was permanently expanded to nine members over 100 years ago. today, as we stand at the midpoint of this dramatic
change, i would like to discuss what has happened with respect to the supreme court nomination process. i also want to discuss what should be done if a vacancy occurs this summer. finally, i want to offer for general proposals for how i believe the nomination and confirmation process should be changed for future nominations. but let me start with the confirmation process of the past decade. as i mentioned earlier, presidents reagan and bush have named eight nominees for six positions on the court during their presidential terms. this is not the first time in our history that a strong, ideological president and his loyal successor have combined to shape the court. washington and adams made 18 nominations, of which 14 were confirmed and served among the
courts six justices. presidents lincoln and grant nominated 13 candidates, of whom nine were confirmed and served. and presidents roosevelt and truman named 13 justices, all confirmed in the combined terms in the white house. what distinguishes the reagan-bush justices from these historical parallels, however, is that half of them have been nominated in a time of a divided government. in each of these times, each of these previous times, a sweeping, nationwide consensus existed, as reflected by political branches of like-minded individuals, which
justified the sweeping changes that took place at the supreme court, but over the past two decades, no such consensus has existed, unlike the areas -- eras to which i just pointed. republicans have controlled the white house for 20 of 24 years. democrats have controlled the senate for 18 of those years. the public has not given either party and mandate to remake the court into a body reflective of a strong vision of our reflective philosophies, and parties can honestly admit to that fact. both parties it honestly have conceded this fact. but neither have thus far. of course, this is not the first period where there is a
requirement to fill the third branch of government. about 1/5 of all supreme court justices have been confirmed by senators of a party different from the present. 1/3 of all justices confirmed since 1930 have been approved under these circumstances. it was a senate controlled by progressive republicans and democrats that confirmed three of president hoover's four nominees for the court. in these areas of divided government, mr. president, indeed, some periods where a president in the senate shared the same party, presidents commonly -- presidents commonly have taken the constitution at its word and asked for the senate advice, advice as well as its consent.
these presidents have consulted with the senate about their choices for the court and or chose nominees with ballots or diverse ideologies. thus the conservative republican hoover named conservative chief justice carles evan hughes but also names the moderate owen roberts and the liberal benjamin cardozo. the latter, benjamin cardozo, after a heated senate consultation. similarly, president eisenhower's choices for the court, including john harlan and charles winnick. moderates earl warren and william brennan. even president nixon, who showed no reluctance to take full
advantage of presidential prerogative, balanced his choices of conservatives, warren burger and william rehnquist with harry blackmun and lewis powell. this is not been the model the president reagan and bush have followed. indeed, even lacking the broad support for the vision which presidents washington and adams, lincoln and grant, and roosevelt and truman had, president reagan and bush have tried to recast the court in their ideological image. as these presidents did. put it another way, is it not the first time that a tandem of presidents have sought to remake the supreme court, or the first time a government has had to feel a number of seats in that the divided body?
it is the first time both have been attempted simultaneously. and that more than anything else has been at the root of the current controversy, surrounding the selection of supreme court justices. it was to cope with this stress, created by the decisions of presidents reagan and bush to move the court ideologically into a radical new direction, which this country does not support. it was to cope with this stress that the modern confirmation process was created. and on this point, there should be no doubt and no uncertainty. presidents reagan and bush use the supreme court nominating process in a period of government divided is without parallel in our history.
it is this power grab that has unleashed a powerful diverse force ravishing the confirmation process. the american people are dissatisfied with where they find the process today. they must understand where the discord that has come to characterize it began. but presidents reagan and bush in their decision to seek power and the nominating process of the radical right within their administrations. it was in the face of this unprecedented challenge of the supreme court nomination process that we in the senate developed an unprecedented confirmation process. the centerpiece of this new process was a frank recognition of the legitimacy of senate consideration of the nominee's judicial philosophy as part of the confirmation review, and unanimously, previous speeches i made to look at and the
obligation to look at the ideological -- the ideology of the person being inserted in the record. when i set forth in this motion during a board confirmation debate, it was a widely controversial motion. we as well as the president had a right to look at ideology. yet scholarly works reaffirmed by recent articles of professor david strauss and cast hosting -- kass hosteen, have always found a solid basis for this view as the framers and the history of the nation. the review of the ideology has been truthful. we have quashed the myth the senate must defer to a presidents choice of a supreme court justice. the men and women at the apex of independent third branch of
government. the role of the senate as the vital partner in reviewing supreme court nominations has been enhanced. the debate over this role cause even those who were initially skeptical like professor henry morgan who outlined the rules for conversion to join in the broad consensus over propriety over more active senate participation in the process. more fundamentally, mr. president, a series of profound debates that the board nomination sparked were among discussions of the institution, its meaning, and the supreme court in this century. before the board confirmation fight, the legacy of the warren court was seen as tenuous by scholars and ill supported by the public. the legal right thought that the
judicial activism was a rallying cry that would move americans. against the protection of freedoms, it is one person, one person vote doctrine, and of the progressive decisions, the legal right thought it had no popular support and less legal foundation. in the legal left, prior to the board fight, standing at the right might be correct in this assessment. a popular opinion. that is if the warren court makes a decision to renounce popular supported. but the public reaction to judge earn's views, its rejection of the legal philosophy and tradition, notions, proved just the opposite.
while some aspect of the warren court's decisions remained under assault, particularly in the area of criminal law, others have been revocably secured in the heart and minds of americans, such as the remission for the right to privacy. a right that if you recall, mr. president, prior to the board fight, right, and ideological right that was not supported by americans. this could not have been said before the board confirmation fight, and yet it can be safely proclaimed today that americans, americans strongly support the right to privacy. and find that there is such a right protected in the constitution.
nor do i limit the success of this process of the boards rejection only. i uniquely satisfied that for different reasons as to how the process functioned in approving justices kennedy and souter. neither man is one whom i would have chosen had i been president. but each reflects a balanced selection, a non-ideological conservative that stands between the white house philosophy in the senate's. i might go back to the decision yesterday on school prayer. it is prayer before complications at public schools. justices souter and kennedy took a position, diametrically opposed to that that has been proffered by this administration and the previous one for the past 11 years. while i have disagreed with some of the decisions by these two jurists, i know that president bush must say the same thing. that he disagrees with some of
the decisions of the two men, kennedy and souter. i offer them as examples, mr. president, both men vicious of opinions that are sharply reject, but during a period of divided government, both of the sort of compromise candidates who are appropriate for the court and whose confirmations i supported. in my view, the contemporary confirmation process functioned well in rejecting judge bork and approve his justices kennedy and souter. even in so succeeding, one can see within the process and explosion that was to calm with the promise nominations -- was to calm with the promised nominations. as i said earlier, the root of the collapse of the confirmation process is the administration's campaign to make a supreme court an agent of an ultra-right
conservative socialist agenda which lacks support in congress and the country. i will just point out again, mr. president, the entire socialist agenda of the reagan administration has yet to gain a majority support in the united states senate or the united states house of representatives, or among the people over the past 11 years. the ability to do that, but presidents have concluded and did conclude that the avenue to that change was to remake the court. in describing as i am to how the results and reactions are by different forces and factions have brought about the difficulty we now face, i don't want anyone to lose sight of the fact that it is the administration's nomination
agenda that is the root cause of this dilemma. that is, if you will, the original sin, which has created all the problems which plagued the process today. the administration's desire to placate the right wing of its party, which is driven by a single issue, overturning roe v. wade. to the members of the republican faction, no mere conservatives such as justices o'connor or powell is safe to use the word they often use. the of ministration is urged to reach for scalia, thomas. if this is the original sin behind today's woes, it is not the only cause of the confirmation deadlock. and here, there are three consequences of the reagan-bush nomination strategy which have been treated to the problem. first, democrats and moderate republicans have played into the
hands of the republican right by accepting roe as the divining rod in reverse. making a nominee's views or refusal to state views on this question, the overriding concern in the confirmation process. permitting a single issue to dominate the debate, they have lost sight of the fact that nominees are chosen by republicans, over conservatives. they can have other jurisdictional views other than abortion, but at the far end of the spectrum. to put it another way, the center and the left, which had broad public support or the public decision against judge bork, have allow them to feel defined as a single issue participants. this has given rise to even more frustration about the process
from both participants and observers. with one cause for the schism that emerged in the thomas confirmation debate. moreover, the focus on roe prevents the committee from exploring legitimate issues because questions about the nominees of use on many matters from the cutting is issue of the right to privacy to the age-old legal doctrine are immediately assumed by all of those observed the process to be covert questions about abortion when they have nothing to do with abortion. among the most frustrating aspects of the souter and thomas hearings was when i try to question the nominees on whether they thought individuals had a right to privacy. everyone, the press, the public, the nominees, my colleagues, thought that i was trying to ask about abortion in disguise.
no matter how many things i said, truthfully and frankly, and i quote, no, forget about abortion. you will face many unknown questions that will confront the court in the 21st century, i must know whether or not you think individuals have a right to privacy. end of quote. no matter how many times i insisted, everyone believed i \was talking about abortion. that is how powerfully the issue permeates our process. and during the bork and thomas nominations, there developed what could be called an unintended conspiracy of extremism between the right and the left to undermine the confirmation process and question the legitimacy of its outcome. simply put, the right to could not accept that any process
which resulted in the rejection of judge bork was fair and legitimate. notwithstanding, the contemporaries declaration of many republican senators at the hearing and the process for handling the bork nomination were fair, a subsequent mythology is developed that claims other ways. we are told the hearings were tilted against the bork. but there were more witnesses that testified for him then the opposition. i have heard to be blamed on scheduling the witnesses. recently alternated pro-con, pro-con. power after panel. the list of excuses goes on and on. with the camera angle, they said. the beard, the light, the timing. all unfair. all engaged in by those who oppose bork to bring him down.
and some, the conservative ring in the republican party is never accepted the cold, hard fact that the senate rejected joint bork because his views came to be well understood and considered unacceptable. and because this rejection, because of -- excuse me, because of this rejection of their core philosophy is inconceivable to the legal right, they have been on a hunt for vilains ever since. they have attacked the press as in a recent tempered speech by conservative federal judge, new york times reporters, among the finest supreme court covered hearings. but most of all, these movement conservatives have attacked the
confirmation practice it self and the senate for exercising its constitutional duties to conduct it. -- its constitutional duties to conduct it. at the same time, the left has frustration with the inability to persuade the american people of the intelligence of the agenda in the confirmation process as well. they refuse to accept the fact that when one political branch is controlled by conservative republicans and the other has its philosophical fulcrum resting on key seven democrats -- southern democrats, in those circumstances, it is inevitable the court is going to grow more conservative. accepting candidates -- acceptable candidates must be founded on those who'd straddle the ideological goal, like justices kennedy and souter, who were approved by combined total
of 188-nine in the senate. the last, mr. president, is frustrated, because a conservative president and the senate where the fulcrum is held by southern democrats is not going to nominate justice brennan. he was a great justice and should find people to replace him and ideology. they refuse to accept reality, mr. president. chances are right. they refuse to accept the reality of a bork defeat. he was defeated because of his views. what he thought america should become. what the vast majority of americans, a majority of senators. it had not a wit to do with whether or not he had a beard, a camera angle, and added by an outside group, or the order of witnesses.
so mr. president, the confirmation has become a convenient scapegoat for ideological advocates of competing social ventures. advocates who have not been able to persuade the generally moderate american public of the wisdom of either of their views when framed in the extreme. in effect then, mr. president, the design advocates have joined in an ad hoc alliance, extreme right, extreme left, to undermine public confidence in the process, in a process, which is aimed at moderation. hoping perhaps to ferment a great social war in which one or the other will prevail. the third problem, mr. president, the confirmation process has been affected by the general meanness and nastiness
that pervades our political process today. what i believe, they played little or no role in the outcome. in the television ads that were run against judge bork's confirmation only target increasingly cutting responses from the right. the thomas nominations included a level of senators that maybe typical of modern local campaigns but is destructive to any campaign on the consensus as is the confirmation process. after the nomination was announced, one opponent of judge thomas outside the senate threatened to bork him, a menacing play that serves no purpose. as the hearings were about to begin, the same conservative groups produce the willie horton ads, ran commercials, attacked
members of the judiciary committee including myself. with the intent to intimidate as they so stated, intimidate review of the nomination. i find ironic, mr. president, that we can recognize the cause if not find the answers for this nastiness in the context of presidential elections, but lack the same insight to respect the confirmation process. many the same voices have criticized the committee for not going hard enough every allegations that judge thomas had improper travel expenses spitefully transferred a whistleblower at eeoc, or was friends with a fellow part lobbyist. many critics of a committee are among the first to say that presidential campaigns in 1992 been dominated by questions of personal wrongdoing instead of quote, the real issues. i too believe the nation would
be better off if the current campaign was centered on disputes over public policy rather than gossip about marital fidelity or marijuana use. but i must say that the same is true about the review of the supreme court nominee. the nation is enriched them explore their jurisprudential views. it is base in my view when we plow through their private lives for dirt. it is too often focused on coverage of supreme court nominees, focused on supreme court nominees on such gossip and personal matters rather than on the substantial a difficult task of trying to discern their
philosophy and ideology, because it is their philosophy and ideology that will affect how i am able to live my life. how my children will be able to live their lives. not, whether or not when they are 17 years old, they smoked marijuana, or anything else. but me make it clear, mr. president, i am not speaking on professor hill's allegation on judge thomas, which we are certainly serious is significant enough to merit the full investigation the committee conducted both before and after the public enclosure. rather, i'm speaking of numerous lesser allegation against nominees, bork, kennedy, souter, thomas with the committee critics saying we have done too little to pursue. each time the airing of these charges, enraged republican nominees allies, they consider
it unfair to the right of privacy, each time with committee at my direction refuses the rumors, the more extreme critics grew more and more frustrated with the results. this was another tension which came to be heard during the thomas nomination and exploded when professor hill's charges were made public. to sum it up then, the confirmation process launched in 1987, which was an attempt to provide a means for dealing with the supreme court ideological at the time, when their use lacked public support. this process began in 1987 to dualize this has been torn asunder. its credibility has been slowly eroded by the criticism it has received from both liberal and
conservative ideologies. a legitimate process that was built in good faith to identifying and confirming consensus nominees has been destroyed by many of the same corrosive influences that has so demonstrated presidential policies and national dialogue and public affairs. consequently, it is my view that particularly, if the reality of a divided government during a time of great change of the court continues in the next administration, future confirmation must be conducted differently than the preceding one. mr. president, the pressures and tensions on the existing process which exploded during the thomas
nomination fight make a restoration of what came before judge thomas' nomination, even if it was desirable, a practical impossibility. having said that, mr. president, we face one immediate question: can the senate, so wracked by discord and bitterness, the repaired in a presidential election year? mr. president, history teaches us that this is extremely unlikely. some of our nation's most bitter and heated confirmation fights have come in presidential election years. bruising confirmation fight over roger tawney's nomination, the senate failed to confirm for nominations by president tyler in 1844.
badger and black by lame-duck president fillmore and buchanan in the mid-19th century. and the narrow approval of justices lamarr and fuller in 1888. these are just some examples of these fights in the 19th century. overall, only one in four supreme court nominations have been the subject of significant opposition. the figure raises to one out of two when such nominations are acted on in presidential election years. in our century, there are two particularly poignant cases. the 1916 confirmation fight over louis d brandeis, one of
america's greatest jurists, a fight filled with mean-spirited, anti-semetic attacks on the nominee shows this. an assault launched by 19 republican senators before president johnson had even named fortis as his selection is similarly well-known by all who follow this. indeed, many pundits on both the left and the right question our committee's ability to fairly process the bork nomination a year before the 1988 campaign without becoming entangled in presidential politics. i believe there is concern with misplaced and ultimately disproven.
it shows how fears of such polarization undermines this. and acting in a presidential year is particularly strong when the vacancy occurs in the summer or the fall of the election season. thus, while a few justices have been confirmed in the summer or the fall, such confirmations are rare. only five times in our history, mr. president, have summer or fall confirmations been granted, with the latest of august 1846. a confirmation of justice robert greer. in fact, no justice have been confirmed in september or october of an election year, the sort of timing which has become standard in modern confirmation
process. indeed, in american history, only one attempt to push through september or october confirmation was the failed campaign to approve fortis's nomination in 1968. mr. president, i cannot believe anyone would want to repeat that experience in today's climate. moreover, of the five justices confirmed in the summer of an election year, all five were nominated for vacancies that had a reason before the summer had began. indeed, justice grier's august confirmation was for a vacancy in the court that was more than two years old. as was the july confirmation of samuel miller in 1862. tus mr. president, more relatives with the situation we
could be facing in 1992 is this statistic. six supreme court vacancies have appeared in the summer or a fall of a presidential election year. and never, not once has the senate confirmed the nominee for these vacancies before the november election. in four of these six cases, 1800, 1828, 1864, and 1956, the president himself was held making a nomination until after the election was over. if both of the two instances where the president did in just under naming a nominee under these circumstances, edward bradford in 1952 and fortis in 1968, the senate refused to confirm these selections.
thus as we enter the summer of the presidential year, it is time to consider whether this unbroken string of tradition should be broken. in my view, what history supports, common sense dictates in the case of 1992. given the unusual rancor that prevails with the thomas nomination, the need for some serious reevaluation of the nomination and confirmation process, and the overall of all of bitterness that sadly infects our political system and this president of campaign already, it is my view the prospects for anything but confirmation with respect to the supreme court nomination this year are remote at best. of president reagan and bush's
last nominations, two were confirmed, and two more with the history against united states of america. we have seen how politics has played a far too large a role in the reagan-bush nominations to date. one can only imagine that role becoming overarching if a choice were made this year assuming a justice announced tomorrow that he or she was stepping down. should a justice resign this summer and the president moved to name a successor, actions that will occur just days before the democratic presidential convention and weeks before the republican convention meets, a process that is already in doubt
in the minds of many will become distrusted by all. senate consideration of the nominee under these circumstances is not fair to the president, to the nominee, or to the senate itself. mr. president, where the nation should be treated to a consideration of constitutional philosophy, all he will get in such circumstances is partisan bickering and posturing from both parties and from both ends of pennsylvania avenue. as a result, it is my view that if a supreme court justice resigned it tomorrow or the next several weeks, or resigns at the end of the summer, president bush should consider following the practice of the majority of his predecessors and not, and not name a nominee until after
the november election is completed. the senate too mr. president must figure out how it would respond to a supreme court vacancy that would occur in the full throes of an election year. it is my view that if the president goes the way of president fillmore and johnson, and presses during an election year, the senate judiciary committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over. i sadly predict, mr. president, that this is going to be one of the bitter, dirtiest presidential campaigns we will see in modern times. i am sure, mr. president, having other words, some, some will
criticize and such a decision and say there was nothing more than to save a seat on the court in hopes that a democrat will be permitted to fill it. but that would not be our intention, mr. president, if that were the course we were to choose as the senate to not consider holding hearings until after the election. instead, it would be our pragmatic conclusion that once the political season is underway as it is, action on the supreme court nomination must be put off until the election campaign is over. that is what is fair to the nominee and essential to the process. otherwise, it seems to me, mr. president, we will be in deep trouble as an institution. others may fret that this approach would leave the court
with only eight members for some time. but as i see it, mr. president, the cost of such a result, the need to reargue three or four cases that will vide the justices for-four are quite minor -- 4-4 are quite minor compared to the costs that the president, the senate, the nominee, 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 if that nomination were to take place in the next several weeks. in the end, this may be the only course of action that historical practice and practical realism can sustain. similarly, if governor clinton should win this fall, then my views and the need for
philosophical compromise between the branches would not be soft and -- softened, but rather the practice of compromise would be enhanced. let me start with the nomination process and how that process might be changed in the next administration, whether it is democratic or republican. it seems clear to me that with the bush administration, the process of supreme court nominees has become dominated by the right. intent on using the court to implement the conservative social agenda the congress and the public have reject it, all the disciplines in the process can be cleared well in advance of how i intend for any future nominations. with this in mind, let me start with the nomination process and how that process might be changed in the next administration and how i would
urge the chairman of the judiciary committee. it seems clear to me that within the bush administration, as i said, the process has become dominated by the right. instead of using the court and seeking compromise, as i detailed during the hearings with subsequent information hearings over justice thomas' nomination, this involves changing all three pillars of the law. and the president has the right to do this, to try to make his views prevail, legislatively and otherwise. at least from my perspective, let us know what fundamental changes are being sought.
there are three pillars of modern constitutional law. sought to be changed. first, it proposes to reduce the high degree of protection that the supreme court is given individual rights when those rights are threatened by governmental intrusion. imperiling the freedom of religion, speech, and personal liberties. and i am not just talking about abortions. second, it proposes those who share the president's view for the radical change. the interest of property when society seeks to regulate the use of such property. imperiling laws, consumer safety, and economy. and the third, a third pillar of
modern constitutional law. it proposes to radically alter the separation of powers, to move more power in our three branches of government, divided government, separate government, to move more power to the executive branch, imperiling the bipartisan regulatory agencies and the regulatory states. as i noted before, efforts to change the confirmation process from a good-faith debate into philosophical matters has been thwarted by both parties. these are legitimate issues to the debate. those who hold the view that we should change these three modern pillars of constitutional law have a right to hold these
views, to articulate them and have been debated before the american people. but this debate has been thwarted by extremists and both parties, cynics who have urged nominees to attempt to conceal their views to the greatest extent possible. and the president, unwilling to concede his agenda in these three areas is at odds with the world of the senate and the american people, seems determined to continue to try to remake the court and thereby remake our laws in this direction. in light of this, i can have only one response, mr. president. either we must have a compromise in the selection of future justices, or i must oppose those were a product of this ideologically -- ideological nominating process. as is the right of others to
support nominees. to put it another way, if the president does not restore the historical tradition of genuine consultation before the senate and the house before these nominations and instead restore the common practice of presidents who chose nominees who strove the middle ground between divided political branches, that i propose future nominee immediately upon their nomination. this is not a request the president relinquish any power to the senate or that he rein in or refrain from exercising any prerogative he has as president. however, it is my statement that unless the president chooses to do so, i will not lend the power
that i have in this process to support the confirmation of his selection. as i noted before, the practice of any presidents throughout our history support my call for more executive senate consultation. , advice andntally consent to describe the senate role in appointment. the demands greater inclusion in this process. while this position may seem contentious, i believe it is nothing more than a justified it response to the politicizing of the nomination process. to take a common example, the president is free to submit to congress any budget that he so chooses. he can submit one that reflects his conservative philosophy, or one that straddles the differences between his views and hours. -- and ours. that is his choice. but when he has taken the former course, no one has been surprised or outraged when
democrats like myself have responded by rejecting the president's budget outright. there is a word for that philosophically different the senate or the moderate choices that deflect that nominees deserve consideration and support by the senate. but when the president continues to ignore this divide and to pick nominees and views that come from the constituents that elected me, even larger than when they elected him, then his nominees are not entitled to my support in any shape or form. i might note parenthetically, mr. president and to be very specific, if in this next election, the american people conclude the majority of desks should be moved on that side of the aisle, that there should be 56 republicans instead of democratic, 44 of the other.
and at the same time, if they choose to pick bill clinton over george bush, we will have a divided government, and i will say the same thing to bill clinton in a divided government. he must seek the advice of the republican senate and compromise. otherwise, his republican senate will be entitled to say, i reject the nominees of a democratic president attempting to remake the court in a way with which i disagree. as i said, some view this position as content. -- as contentious. others, i suspect, and in fact i know, and the presiding officer knows as well as i do, others will say i am not being contentious enough.
they suggest that since the court has moved so far to the right already it is too late for progressive senate to accept compromise candidates from the conservative administration. they would argue that the only people we should accept are liberal candidates, which are not going to come, nor would be expected to come from a conservative republican president. so long as the public continues to split its confidence between the branches, compromise and the responsible course both for the white house and the senate. -- compromise is a responsible both the white house and the senate. therefore, i stand by my position, mr. president. if the president consult and cooperate with the senate or
moderates his selection's absence consultation, then the nominee may enjoy my support as did justices kennedy and souter. but if he does not, as is the president's right, then i will oppose his future nominee as is my right. once a nomination is made, the evaluation process begins, mr. president. here there is a dramatic change from the bork nomination in 1987 to the thomas nomination in 1991. let me state -- let me start with this observation. in retrospect, the events surrounding the nomination of judge bork have been so misremembered that observers have completely overlooked one great feature of these events. that is, in most respects, this was an excellent model for how the contemporary nomination and confirmation process is debated -- process in debate should be
concluded and conducted. shortly after he was debated, after observing his records, writings, and speeches, i announced my decision and several other members of the committee did the same. what ensued was an educational and enlightening -- i laid out the bases for my position in two major national speeches, and other senators did likewise. the white house issued, as they should have, a very detailed paper proposing to outline judge bork's philosophy. a group of respective -- respected consultants to the committee issued a response to this white house paper. the administration put out a response to that response. while there were exceptions in -- while there were excesses in this debate, as i mentioned earlier, by and large, it was an exchange of views and ideas between two major constitutional
players in this controversy, the president and the senate. which the nation could observe and then evaluate. the fall hearing, then, was significant, not as a dramatic spectacle to see how senators would jockey the position on the nomination, but to see the final act of the debate. unfortunately, those who announced early opposition were roundly criticized by the media. major newspapers accused me of rendering the verdict first and trial later for the nominee. i say that this was unfortunate because this criticism over our early position on the work nomination has resulted in, as i see it, for negative consequences for the information process. first, it gave rise to a
powerful mythology that equates confirmation hearings to something closer to trials than legitimate legislative proceedings. in the end, even more criticism for the process when the hearings do not meet is artificial standard of a trial. confirmation hearings are not trials. we are not a court. we are a legislave body. there are congressional hearings. senators are not judges. we are senators. our decision on a nominee is not a neutral ruling as a judge would render. it is as the constitution designed it, a political choice about values and philosophy. we should junk, mr. president,
this trial mythology. in the intended matters that go with it. arcane debates over which way the presumption goes, the confirmation process, over the standard of review, over which side has the burden of proof. all of these ideas are inept for the decision taking on confirmation. as they are for decision-making on passing bills were voting on constitutional amendments. we don't apply trial mythology in those circumstances, mr. president. second, a second unintended an unfortunate consequence of the criticism of thoroughly opposition based on specifically stated reasons. the criticism of taking early
stance on a nominee has pushed senators out of the summer debate for confirmation and left that to others, especially interest groups on the left and right. instead of respected senators on the left and the right arguing prior to the hearings about the philosophy of the nominee, when we stood back, that vacuum was filled, mr. president, by the left and the right. as is their right, i might add, but they were the only voices that we heard in the debate. they shaped the debate, mr. president. instead of an exchange of ideas, the summer becomes washington at its worst. the nominee hunkers down with briefers at the justice department did preparing for the hearing as a football team prepares for a game, watching
films of previous hearings, studying the mannerisms of the senator, memorizing questions that have been asked, practicing and rehearsing nonanswers. outside the two branches, busy efforts are underway to form coalitions, launch tv attack campaigns, issue press releases, and shout loudly past one another. this transformation gets its apex during the thomas nomination. by my count, there are twice as many summer new stories about how interest groups were lining up on the nomination than there were about the nominee's views. as with the presidential campaign, public attention in the prehearing period was turned away from debate by principal about real issues into a superficial scrutiny of the
horse race. is the nominee up? is the nominee down today? discussion among doctors, -- among spin doctors, insiders, and pundits about what the chances are. the only way to move the focus from the tactics of the confirmation debate to the substance of it is for senators to stake our position on a nomination if possible, assuming we know the facts of the philosophy or believe we know the facts related to the philosophy of the nominee and debate them freely and openly, before the hearing process begins. or senators remain undecided about the nomination. i hope that more will do what i and thomase souter nomination's and try to publicly
address the issues before the hearings get underway. to stand on the floor and say, i do not know where this nominee stands on such and such. what i want to know as a senator is, what is his or her philosophy on, whatever is the concern to the individual member. begin the debate on the issues. because when we don't, mr. president, we have learned this town and the press and interest groups and political parties fill the vacuum. the notion of three months of silence in washington is something that is not able to be tolerated by most to live in -- by most who live in washington, who work in washington. so what happens? the vacuum is filled, mr. president, by pundits, lobbying groups, interest groups,
ideological fringes. defining the debate. and dictating the tactics. , the taboopresident against early opposition of a nominee has created in balance over the confirmation process. it is no similar taboo exists against prehearing support for a nominee. i have not read a single article, heard a single comment where senator so-and-so shows up and says i support the nominee the president named 27 seconds ago. no one says, that is outrageous. how can that woman or man make that decision before the hearings? they say, that is ok. that is ok before a nominee, before the hearing begins, but not to be against the nominee.
in the case of judge thomas, while no senator announced his position, while no senator announced his opposition before the hearing started, at least 30 senators are now in support for the nominee before the committee first met. no senator said i'm opposed. 30 said they were for. as is their right by the way, i am not criticizing them. doug, my friend senator rosslyn, -- senator rudman, for judge souter, and judge thomas, many other senators, came out as is their right, and as they firmly believed became outspoken advocates for the confirmation
since day one. not a single senator spoke in opposition. in my view, such an imbalance is unhealthy, and again, puts too much responsibility for and control over the confirmation debate in the hands of interest groups and officials. in --n 1992, a bruising involving clarence thomas clinton nominated by president bush after no consultation just four days after the great thurgood marshall retired. i took to the senate floor to speak about the process. senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell and other republicans today have been quoted selectively from remarks that i made in an attempt to justify
refusing chief judge garland a fair hearing and a vote on the floor of the senate. they ignore the fact that at the time i was speaking of the dangers of nominating an extreme candidate without proper senate consultation. neglected toly quote my bottom line. let me set the record straight. i said and i quote "if the president consults and cooperates with the senate, or moderates his selections, then his nominees may enjoy my support as did justice kennedy and justice souter. ". i made it clear that i would go forward with the confirmation process. even a few months before the
presidential election. if the nominee were chosen with the advice is not merely the consent of the senate, just as the constitution requires. advice toent presidents of both parties, including this president, has been that we should engage fully in the constitutional process of advice and consent. my consistent understanding of the constitution has been the senate must do so as well. they have an obligation to do so. vacancythere is no after the thomas confirmation, we cannot know what the president or senate might've done. know, every we do time a ranking member of the judiciary committee, i was
responsible for eight justices and nine total nominees to the supreme court. more than anyone alive. [laughter] old.not be that some i supported. if you a voted against. -- a few i voted against. greeted byee was comedic -- by committee members. every nominee got a committee hearing. every nominee got out of the committee, even if they did not have sufficient votes to pass within the committee, because i said thehe senate senate must advise and consent. including justice
kennedy during an election year. an up-and-down vote. -- election-year got an up-and-down vote. every single time. so now i hear this talk about the biden rules. frankly ridiculous. there is no biden rule. it doesn't exist. there is only one rule i ever followed. that was the constitution. the clear rule of advice and consent. article two of the constitution clearly states whenever there is a vacancy in one of the courts created by the constitution itself, the supreme court of the united states, the president shall not may, the president
shall appoint someone to fill the vacancy with the advice and consent of the united states senate. advice and consent includes consulting and voting. nobody is suggesting individual senators have to vote yes on any particular presidential nominee. voting no is always an option and it is their option. but saying nothing, saying nothing, reading nothing, hearing nothing, and deciding in advance simply to turn your back before the president any names desperate for the president even names any nominees -- before the president even names in nominee is not an option. it is a plane abdication of the senate's solemn constitutional
duty. it is an abdication that has never occurred before in our history. >> you are watching our issue spotlight program on supreme court nominees. will continue our program shortly. -- we will continue our program shortly. store justan city cities tour takes just -- texas locatedbeach california south of los angeles. on book tv, learn about women's conservations to the world war ii effort, author of rosie the riveter. >> when the u.s. army was looking for a place to build a plant to reduce aircraft which we thought we would need in world war ii, they picked long beach because we have a wonderful airport which was founded in 1923. it was one of the first airports that had a takeoff and landing
in different directions which the army loved, because they could use military planes and away -- in a way. douglas went into full production mode. they were churning out planes 20 47. it needed a lot of people to work here. the women for the first time were brought out of the house and brought into the workforce. at its peak, douglas was employing 45,000 people a day in the long beach area. at about 40% of those people were women. -- and about 48% of those women were -- of those people were women. >> the port of long beach was established as a department in 1911. we are 104 years old. during that time, this port started on a wooden wharf and a lumbar terminal that used to
come up from the northwest. in 1940, we had the u.s. navy, the naval station and the long beach naval shipyard. they were here until the early 90's. unfortunately, the base closure process, the naval context shut down. what we were able to do is take an old federal facility and turn modern one of our container terminals. where we are today, 104 years later, sitting on the most modern sustainable marine container terminal in the world. tourtch the c-span cities saturday on c-span twos book tv. the c-span cities tour working with our cable affiliate and visiting cities across the
country. >> we returned to our issue spotlight program. what today's leaders have said in the past about nominating justices to the supreme court. this portion is one hour and a half. >> you're watching a special presentation on how western handles the confirmation process. the author of the blog. we are going to talk about the george w. bush administration, where you had both parties in control of the senate at one time or the other. the filibuster rules. how did the process play out? >> president bush went his first term without having an opportunity to fill a seat on the supreme court. in 19 95 he had two seats to fill in a short period of time.
of 2005, justice sandra day o'connor announces her retirement. announces to be in associate justice. william rehnquist dies and george w. bush decides he likes john roberts well enough to renominate him as the chief justice. and then he has an associate justice job to fill, he who ises harriet miers viewed with suspicion as insufficiently conservative by republicans. just be withdrawn because she has insufficient republican support. george was comes back and nominates samuel alito would the reason the desk alito. the reason -- the reason these
were so controversial because it all depends on the important aspect of the dynamic of these -- who the nominee would replace. john roberts was replacing rehnquist so it was down the line, strict constructionist, conservative replacing another. justice roberts was perceived as going the same way. where is in the end, alito was a true conservative, a favorite of the movement to replace sandra day o'connor who was a swing cote -- a swing vote. justice alito was a favorite of social conservatives indeed regulatory-- and the . his views and -- down the line thatvor of things
conservatives like. >> wherever to show you one with patrick leahy in 2003. he was ranking member of the judiciary committee. we'll hear from orrin hatch of utah who was a member of the judiciary committee. this speech from 2005. >> let's talk about some of the things we know. we know theted, boston red sox are poised to break our hearts for the 85th straight year. we know this is something you can speculate on that the bush administration will capture the eight of clubs or six of diamonds or something like that in the next few days.
democrat.e other it is open to everybody. we know it is going to rain three out of the next four weekends because that is what it does. here's what we do not know, will there be a supreme court they can see later this week or next. if anyone knows the answer, raise your hand. i would much rather hear from you. regardless of whether we have a supreme court vacancy this week, this month or later this year. regardless of whether everyone stays on the court until after the next election, whether there is a republican, democrat in the white house when the vacancy occurs, i have a few thoughts i would like to share your i think these thoughts would cover no matter who was in the white house. court'se supreme
intervention in 2000 presidential election contest of the bush versus gore case, there has been a lot of speculation about resignations of the court. those speculations have increased this year. over the last several weeks, hasy article and decisions the tea leaves -- you have excellent reporters here. the tea leaves are not just with the decision men but who may lead. -- from theen president's disparging some potential candidates as being too moderate or tooen certain or perhaps too independent to be trusted. often, these critiques