tv Senate Democrats Demand Transparency from Gorsuch Backers CSPAN March 29, 2017 6:39pm-7:05pm EDT
senator grassley: i guess that's the end of it then. thank you all very much. senator cruz: thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> and senate minority leader chuck shumer and other senate democrats held a news conference calling for the disclosure of donors contributing money to support supreme court nominee neil gorsuch. minority leader shumer was joined by senators sheldon whitehouse and richard blumenthal. in addition, they urged senate republicans to avoid changing the rules for confirming supreme court nominees. at the end of the briefing, minority leader schumer revealed that senate democrats sent a letter to president trump about their willingness to work with republicans and the white house on improving health care.
senator schumer: thank you, everyone, for being here as we arm up the crowd for the spectacular. senator whitehouse: i am here with i our minority leader, chuck schumer, and my friend and former attorney general colleague, dick blumenthal, to call for a little bit of daylight into the dark money that is presently shadowing the nomination of judge gorsuch. during the course of the aring, we exemployed the supreme court's role to
arbitrate fairly between parties when litigation comes to the highest court in the land. as we saw over and over again, there are 5-4 partisan decisions from the past supreme court that have a very distinct trend. if it is a republican interest versus democratic interests in election cases, they came down in those 5-4 decisions. 6-0 for the republican interests against the democratic interests. when cases came before the court that put a corporation up against a regular person, in the 5-4 partisan decisions they me down 16-0 in favor of the corporation against the person. the court has another role than to arbitrate fairly and that is
that it has a place in our constitutional system of democracy, our balanced constitutional democracy, to help safeguard and protect the popular democracy that our founders tried to create for us . is a t role, dark money very significant threat. and justice gorsuch's blindness to that -- judge gorsuch's blindness to that as a legitimate concern for the hearing and his lack of curiosity as to who is actually spending millions and millions of dollars in a political campaign to secure his confirmation was very
disappointing. this is a vital issue for american democracy to face up to, the difference between popular democracy and olgarky can be between the public knowing whose hands are pulling what strings and dark money hides those hands. so let me play the video clip or ask to have the video played and then senator blumenthal will speak followed by leader schumer. [inaudible] >> a huge difference between you that i don't understand. the dark money that is spending money on your elections spent at least $7 million against him getting a hearing on a confirmation here. senator whitehouse: him being garland. >> and then now we have $10 million going the other way.
and for the life of me i am trying to figure out what they see in you that makes that $17 million dealt worth their spending. do you have any answer to that? judge gorsuch: you have to ask them. senator whitehouse: we are. [inaudible] senator schumer: we are. senator whitehouse: that's what we're here to do is to ask that question. senator schumer: didn't mean to nterrupt your video. senator blumenthal: my colleague took the words right out of my mouth. we are. we are asking the judicial crisis network and we are king, again, judge gorsuch who is paying for these ads. it is that simple. the appalling unacceptable fact that american justice is being bought. we want to know who's paying.
and they bought the ads against marek garland. now they are -- merrick garland. now they are buying the ads to judge gorsuch targeted to have maximum political impact. now, this fact would be appalling enough but the other facts here are that judge gorsuch evaded many of the most pertinent and important questions during this hearing. he did so after the president who nominated him established a litmus test saying that he -- is nominee would automatically reverse roe v. wade, he, the president, outsourced his selection process to the heritage foundation and to
other similar hard right conservative groups that prepared lifts for him, screened them and advised him. so the question is -- who is behind these ads? because it is not only the judicial crisis network and those groups. conservative k of donors who are operating to buy american justice. let's be clear. president trump wasn't just consulting these outside groups. he was outsourcing this election process and -- this selection process and we want to know who is providing the funds that in effect are the critical resources to try to shape the outcome here.
and if the american people and our colleagues have the sunlight shown on this money network, they will be better informed about whether judge gorsuch should be the next member of the united states supreme court. we are, i think, united in this effort toward disclosure. and i think there will be others who will join us in it because it is the right thing to do. i'm hoping maybe our republican colleagues will show some curiosity in who is spending $17 million on a justice, unprecedented, historic, appalling, and i'm proud to introduce our leader. senator schumer: well, thank you. and i want
to thank sheldon and richard. both have been such leaders on the general issue of sunlight, in terms of where all these -- where these millions of dollars and very wealthy special
interest people are placing their money and right here is a case in point. now, let's look at how judge gorsuch got to this point. he was recommended for the federal bench by a hard right special interest billionaire. then he was hand picked for the supreme court by the right-wing special interest-laden heritage foundation and federalist society. now, millions of dollars in undisclosed special interest donations are being used to prop up his nomination. americans deserve to know who is funding this effort to get judge gorsuch on the highest bench in the land, especially ive funders are pushing it because they believe he will vote their way. he chose to distance himself
from these groups when he was asked question after question by my colleagues on the judiciary committee, and he refused to answer them, raising the suspicion further that he is not a balls and strikes guy but rather represents the hard right special interest wing of american politics. that's why he's having trouble earning 60 votes. there was a seismic change after his hearing. there was suspicions about judge gorsuch when you look at his early writings and who he hung out with and particularly that he was on a list that the heritage foundation, who most republicans think is too far to chosen from that list. he was chosen from that list. but then when he wouldn't answer questions, you say, what is he hiding?
these are not difficult questions to answer. he wouldn't even answer, for god's sake, do you agree with brown v. board of education. he was told by his handlers, don't answer anything, and did he a good job at that. so let me be clear. he was hand picked by special interests, is supported by special interests and has a record of siding with special interests. this is no neutral, downthe middle judge. even though he comes off as very erudite and very careful. and if judge gorsuch fails to get 60 votes and fails to demonstrate he is mainstream enough to be on the supreme court, we should change the nominee, not the rules. the republicans are the ones to go nuclear. this idea, oh, we have no choice, they're free actors. they could easily come to another nominee who might be a . ttle more mainstream
president clinton, president obama consulted republicans before they nominated someone. president trump went to the hardest right sector of american politics and said, you give me your wish list and i promise you i'll pick one of those. not e republicans should make it their choice to go nuclear. they're acting as if a rules change is inevitable, like it's the only choice that 60 senators shouldn't agree that judge gorsuch should be confirmed. they're wrong. it's not to change the rule, it's to change the nominee. and if the nuclear option is invoked, it's because our republicans in the senate chose to do so. i know my friend, the majority leader,'s fond of saying that judge gorsuch failing to get 60 votes would be the first partisan filibuster in history. give me a break. it was mitch mcconnell and the
republicans who didn't even get to the filibuster point with merrick garland. he broke 230 years of precedent by instituting a new policy of refusing a president's supreme court nominee last year, and that was worse than a filibuster. they wouldn't even get to the filibuster with justice garland. and just as the republicans were free actors when they didn't give garland a hearing, no one forced them to do that, they're free actors now if they decide to change the rules it will be on their back. reporter: why -- senator schumer: we are going to stay on this subject. reporter: i understand the precedent, 60 votes here. you talk about merrick garland. why, if the republicans were to go to the nuclear option, would that not be interpreted as what happened in 2013 and you said this is them doing it, extracting revenge, they're saying they're extracting
revenge? senator schumer: because we deliberately -- we were free actors in 2013. like it or not, we changed the rules for lower court judges. there were scores and scores of them held up for months and months and years and years. we made a deliberate decision based on the merits that the preme court is too important to go to a 51-vote situation. we made a decision that you should get 60 votes on such an important -- on such an important position. so there would be some bipartisanship and some mainstream. and president trump didn't go to the mainstream. he didn't consult democrats. he didn't consult anyone but the heritage foundation. he didn't even consult mainstream or moderate republicans. reporter: you rue the day here that you hoist yourself with your own guitar? senator schumer: no. we left the supreme court out of it.
lower court judges are not the same. it's the supreme court that makes the law of the land. so i think on this issue we showed where we were at, plain and simple. reporter: two questions slightly off topic. senator schumer: we want to stay on topic. reporter: on your topic, what is the strategy here when stakes are going to be higher with the next nominee? why not let judge gorsuch -- senator schumer: well, judge gorsuch, we believe, does not belong on the bench. and we also believe that there are -- we believe there are republicans who are reluctant to change the rules and we hope they won't do it. they're free actors and so to assume they're going to change the rules is not actually correct. and if they were going to change the rules on this one, why wouldn't they just change them on the next one afterwards anyway. reporter: and if i may very
right out there for republicans at the polls and for corporations even at the expense of our democracy. this is, to me, the critical moment. we'll face later choices and we'll face them with whatever tools we have at our disposal but the idea we will walk away from this moment and let them rebuild that 5-4 court when it has proven itself to be so partisan, so predictably partisan, not a fight we can walk away from, not with this judge being so evasive about where he'll fall. senator blumenthal: and let me add one more point. there's this myth now is somehow the next one is the important seat on the court. every seat on the court is equally important, and judge gorsuch's record shows how deeply conservative he is. i've been a law clerk on the supreme court. i've argued cases there. there's no such thing as a less important supreme court
justice. not only is each of them potentially a swing vote but each of them can sway others and judge gorsuch has shown himself to be skillful, artful, articulate and a deeply conservative judge with that bent who can sway his colleagues is as important certainly as the next potential appointee, if there is one. we're all saying -- or the premise of your question is will there be another? senator schumer: if they're so quick to change the rules this time, they will be just as quick to change it next time. we're fighting this judge because of the reasons that sheldon and dick outlined. but let me tell you something. if right now already with this kind of nominee chosen by this kind of group saying, we are going to change the rules, they'll change it again. reporter: senator schumer, mcconnell hasn't simply said he will trigger the nuclear option. senator schumer: let's hope he
doesn't. reporter: has he told you he will? senator schumer: nor. there are republicans grambling grumbling at this. they are free actors, the republicans are. there's nothing that says they have to change the rules if gorsuch doesn't get 60 and the logic, the irresistible logic is if the nominee doesn't get 60 you change the nominee, not the rules. reporter: whause your republican to -- senator schumer: the argument is the same argument we used on ourselves. this is too important of a position. it should get bipartisan buy-in. senator blumen that will: it shouldn't be approved by a razor thin majority. this is the highest court in the land. a lifetime appointment. the supreme court is different. and it should require a consensus of more than 60 votes, a bipartisan consensus before someone is put on the court. senator schumer: every judge of the last four met a 60-vote bar. three of them got more than 60
votes and alito got more than 60 when there was attempted filibuster. gorsuch should have to meet the same bar, not change the rules to change it. reporter: that's just a precedent. senator schumer: well, of course. there's no rule now that says they're changing the rules. they could change them any way they want. reporter: if somebody has to file a cloture motion, it's not -- they don't have to. senator schumer: we believe in a 60-vote threshold. that's why we're filing a cloture motion. that's allowed in the rules right now. reporter: right. >> last question. senator blumenthal: i interrupted the second question. reporter: another subject. blumeblume well, you don't get -- senator blumenthal: well, you don't get to ask. reporter: they said, hello, chuck. are you going to work with him on health care? senator schumer: we sent a letter saying we want to work with you on health care. make sure you don't undermine the a.c.a. because you're angry
or out of vengeance because if you undermine our health care system you're hurting americans. that's not being a president. that's not leading. and second we said, this idea of repeal has proven not to work. trumpcare got about 17% popularity in the poll done right before it passed. so once they get off this kick of repeal and stop undermining the health care system, we have suggestions we want to make to make the system better. they'll have suggestions. we should get in a we should get in a room and try to make it better. i'm happy to do that. >> just by way of example, to prove that this can wok, -- work, if there's an issue nearly as divisive as health care, it's education. the health committee recently rewrote the entire secondary education law. whithewhithe the every student succeeds act. it wasn't a little change in law. it was a big change in law.
white white -- mr. whitehouse: it came out of the committee unanimously. unanimously. if the president wants to get something done, he ought to charge the senate committees to use the regular process of governance to have hearings, to hear witnesses, to consider amendments, and to work together in bipartisan fashion to get something done. it has been done very recently. it can be done again. but it doesn't work when you go to the far right special interest groups, grab crazy things off the shelves and try to jam those crazy things through the congress. which by the way looks a lot like what they've done with judge gorsuch. grab somebody off the shelf and try to jab them through without proper consultation or awareness of what the concerns are. mr. schumer: to reiterate. you can't govern from the hard right. president trump campaigned against both the democratic and republican establishments.
but when he came into office, he chose his appointments, including supreme court, and governed from the hard right. even without democrats he's having trouble doing that. as trumpcare shows. he'll have trouble constantly unless he moves to the middle. we're waiting for him to do it. thank you all. [captioning performed by the national
captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national able satellite corp. 2017] >> and "politico" reports that senior democratic sources are now increasingly confident that judge gorsuch cannot clear a filibuster. saying the ceiling for the number of senators to vote in favor of moving the nomination forward in a key procedural vote is likely in the mid up toer 50's. not enough to reach the needed 60 votes. "politico" writes that if that happens it would be the first successful filibuster of a supreme court nominee since
chief justice in the 1960's. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell plans to debate the gorsuch nomination next week. and a vote is planned for friday, april 7. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite rovider. >> sunday night on q&a -- >> britain was the dominant power in the middle east and it was everywhere in decline. nationalists were rising up. so the big strategic question that the u.s. faced was, should it support britain against the rising nationalists, or should it try to create a new order by mediating between the nationalists and the british? >> hudson institute senior fellow on his book "ike's
gamble: america's rise to dominance in the middle east." about the 1956 suez crisis and its aftermath. >> what he's trying to prevent is the soviet union coming in, aligning with the nationalists, undermining the british and taking control of the oil of the middle east. we cared about the oil because it was 100% of european oil came from the middle east. so, we wanted to make sure that e had friendly arab regimes -- that would, if not align with the united states, at least keep the soviet union out. that's the goal. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. >> the chair and ranking member of the senate intelligence committee held their first news conference since opening an investigation into russia and the 2016 elections. chair richard burr and ranking member mark warner both said the scope of the investigation will go wherever the intelligence leads them.