tv Sen. Lindsey Graham Speaks at the Federalist Society CSPAN February 7, 2019 1:58am-2:16am EST
andp's state of the union the promise to end the hiv epidemic. c-span'so watch washington journal live at 7:00 a.m. eastern thursday. join the discussion. >> next, south carolina senator lindsey graham talks about the rule of law and his priorities as chair of the judiciary committee. this was at an event hosted by the federalist society. it is about 20 minutes. >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. >> thank you. my name is dean roiter. a special welcome to all of you joining us on the live stream on c-span. welcome to the federal society's first annual conference.
a quick housekeeping note, recordings of the entire conference are on c-span on the federal society's website. if you like what you see here, please visit our website, learn more about the article one initiative and more about the conference. that said, it is my honor to introduce the speaker for today's afternoon address, senator lindsey graham. in the interest of time, i will be brief. senator graham has represented south carolina in the u.s. senate since 2002. prior to serving in the senate, he was elected to the u.s. house of representatives in 1994. the first republican from the third congressional district of south carolina in over 100 years. before his election to congress, he served as a judge advocate general in the u.s. air force and later in the south carolina air national guard and air force reserves. just weeks ago, senator graham was elected as chairman of the senate judiciary committee, a committee with broad legislative
jurisdiction and oversight of the departments of justice and homeland security. the judiciary committee is, of course, tasked with a consideration of all article three judicial nominations including nominees to the supreme court. the senate judiciary committee managed a historically blistering pace in confirmations over the past on it for months under senator grassley. senator graham inherits a fair amount of moment to him in that part of the committee's work. senator graham has pledged the confirmation of judges will be one of his first priorities as chairman of the committee. i am very excited to hear his thoughts today at our legislative branch review about whether the senate and congress are hitting the mark and what they can do differently or better and what the road forward looks like. join me in welcoming senator lindsey graham. [applause]
sen. graham: thank you all. i'm late. i was talking to the turkish president about syria. this is a coveted world we live -- complicated world we live in. thank you for the kind introduction. i will try to do the best i can. we had some bumps in the road. let's get right into it. what is happening on the committee? judges -- more judges, and hopefully some legislative breakthroughs on things we need to do as a country. about picking judges. i have been here since 2002. i have had six votes for supreme court nominees. i have voted for them all. i thought kagan and sotomayor were qualified. i wouldn't have chosen them, but it was pretty clear to me they were qualified. they represent people that the democratic president would pick from.
as to the four nominated on the republican side, i found them equally qualified, and exactly the type of person that a republican president would choose from. which takes us to the federalist society. you are organized around the idea of constitutional principles that i share, and it should not be news that when a republican president wins, that you would be the type of people they would talk to. -- talk to about who would be a good person from our philosophy point of view. where do you think the democrats go? who do you think they talk to? they just don't pick somebody out of the phone book. they have their constituencies that monitor judges, people that they feel are rising stars in terms of the more liberal judicial philosophy.
so that's the way it works. i keep trying to tell everybody elections matter. but i'm afraid we are in a dark period now. that elections, when it comes to judges, never end. the rules have changed against my will. i was in the gang of 14 that stopped the filibuster during the bush years. to say we should only filibuster judges in extraordinary circumstances. the politics of judges is ever-increasing, and eventually is going to hurt the judiciary. you asked me what i worry the most about. in the future, it's going to be very hard to find somebody to come forward if we keep doing what we're doing. brett kavanaugh, thank you for sticking with him. thank you for understanding he
was highly qualified from our point of view. what brett went through was unconscionable and i hope it never happens again. because at the end of the day, any republican president would put brett on the top of their list. hands down, without question, qualified. he was a bush guy, not a trump guide. he was president bush's private secretary. he handled every single piece of paper that came across president bush's desk. he had been in the trenches as judging and lawyering without any hesitation. just as qualified as sotomayor and kagan. without a doubt who you would expect any republican president to pick, and look what happened then. the goal was to hold open the seat for 2020. that didn't work. so, in 2013, harry reid decided to change the rules to require a majority vote for circuit court
judges. i remember senator schumer called me up and it before and said, we're going to change the rules, and i couldn't understand why, because there were very few judges waiting. well, it was a power grab. it is, over time, going to change the judiciary. i worry a lot about what is coming. if you don't have to reach across the aisle to get any votes, judges are going to be just more ideological than they would be otherwise. incumbent upon us to make sure when we put somebody forward, they really do represent the law from a constitutionally conservative point of view, not some ideologue with an agenda. that's what i like about you. you don't want that ideologue right or left. so it is going to put pressure
on all of us to make sure we do the vetting and we put somebody who represents our philosophy forward, but does understand the role of a judge and the rule of , so we are going to do 41 i think tomorrow that are holdovers, will have more hearings and more votes, and all we need is a majority. i'm hoping that one day somehow, one of these high-profile nominees will give some votes from the other side. if bill barr can't find a vote from the democratic side, i don't know who can. so we are where we are. there is no use blaming anybody. let's just press on and try to make the best of it. the rule of law means to me that you don't have to have a militia to get your way. most places in the mideast that have a hard time moving forward have a big problem.
cops, nobody the trusts the judges. they act in a very limited way, and most people feel the only way you can represent your interests is through armed groups. imagine what america would be like if we did not trust the courtroom. we may not like the outcome, but look at the bush v gore. decision in the supreme court, and power was transferred peacefully. that is worth protecting. so what am i going to do is judiciary chairman? i am going to make sure we can appoint as many well-qualified conservatives on trump's watch as possible. and the key is "well-qualified." i will not let the aba veto what happens, but i do care about what they think. when it comes to judges, younger is better than older. when it comes to judges,
well-qualified is better than not well-qualified. i have been a lawyer most of my adult life, and there are people -- and in every state, there are people we can find that are well-qualified and that can serve for a while. pay. if you're in your 40's or early 50's, doing well in the private sector, we ask you to leave the practice with a couple of kids going to college or about to go to college. we have to think about pay. used to be that two out of three judicial nominees came from the private sector, and one of three came from the public sector. the french model is pretty much, it is a career path to be a judge. very few people come from the private sector. there are great government lawyers out there, but the strength of our judiciary
over time, in my view, the best and brightest in the private sector, will lead the private -- leave the private sector to serve publicly. to be a judge. pay does matter. so i have been talking to justice roberts and we will talk to senator feinstein to make sure that we have a package of pay and benefits that will allow people to make the transition from the private sector to the public sector, expecting some sacrifice, but it's got to be financially doable. the rule of law is worth investing in. when you look at all the money we spent on judges, on prosecutors, public defenders, the entire ball of wax, it is probably less than 1% of the entire budget. we need to think about access to justice.
we need to make sure that there are prosecutors out of their in sufficient numbers, immigration judges to make sure the rule of law works. that public defenders are there in sufficient numbers and quality to make people believe they are going to get a fair shake regardless of their income. i like my job as a united states senator. i love the law. it is the one thing we have going for us that over time, takes is really different. -- makes us really different. buying into this idea is not where you come from, not how much you make, that the route -- not the group you belong to, but the quality of the evidence and all of the presumptions over the last 200 years that have served us well. so what do i want to do? i want to do is populate the judiciary with well-qualified conservative judges in a
reasonable manner. i want to make sure that those who go into this profession are compensated in a fashion they are enticed to do so in the future. legislatively, i want to deal with the social media behemoth on privacy, on content, on how you protect these platforms from being hijacked by foreign governments and terrorists. this is a completely new area of life. all these social media outlets have enriched our lives, but they have also created problems. i do want to take another shot at a broken immigration system. what i worry about the most, syria, yes, but a cyber attack more than anything else. we don't have the infrastructure we need in place to protect our critical infrastructure from what i think is an inevitable attack. you will never regulate this
problem, so working with senator whitehouse, i want to create incentives for people in the our -- the power business, the financial services business, other areas of critical infrastructure including elections to harden the infrastructure to the best business practices available. audit them to make sure they achieve those best business practices, they actually invest money and if they meet the standards, give them liability protection. that's the only way this is going to work. dhs cannot regulate these industries, because the threats change so quickly. to the federalist society, thank you for your input. you have my phone number. i've got yours, but we need to be thinking about protecting and preserving the rule of law, not
just our people versus theirs. what i have seen in the last couple years really bothers me. we have to find some way to have a truce here, to reset. because if we don't, i really do worry about the quality of an independent judiciary. in my business, it's all about loud. 50 plus one. no matter how you get there, as long as you get there. in your business, the rule of law business, it is about a quiet place where people can evaluate without the pressure of the next election to get the right outcome for their fellow citizens. what will i do as judiciary chairman? i will do everything i can to
solve the problems that face our country in new and novel ways. i will dedicate my time to preserving the rule of law. protecting those who come forward to serve, paying them adequately, and ensuring that we get the best and the brightest. the thing about our profession is people take it for granted until they need it. every lawyer in here has been joke, until you need one. god bless you. [applause] >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. we continue to bring you unfiltered congress coverage, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events washington, dc and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your >>le or satellite provider.
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