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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  October 26, 2020 3:59pm-8:00pm EDT

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the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. hawley: madam president, some months ago, in july of this year, i came to this floor shortly after the conclusion of the supreme court's most recent term to lament the ongoing judicial activism, the judicial imperialism that we have seen from this court over this past term and from the supreme court for years on end. i quoted the late justice scalia who said the imperial judiciary lives, and i said on the floor of this senate it was a shame to say but undeniable that the imperial judiciary continued to live in this country, a judiciary intent, a supreme court intent on legislating from
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the bench, on making up laws that went along with no regard for what the people actually wrote in their statutes or in their laws, and i particularly lamented the position of religious conservatives, people of faith who had seen in this past term for the united states supreme court decision after decision, tossing aside the concerns of religious conservatives and faithful americans, who had watched the supreme court legislate departing from the texas of written laws with barely any concerns about religious liberty. tossing aside concerns about religious liberty, the effect on religious institutions with one or two lines and opinions. this is what we have been seeing from the united states supreme court and religious conservatives had come to a place of asking what is it that we're fighting for? what is it that we have been working for and voting for all of these years?
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is anybody actually listening to us? do our votes really matter? those are the questions that religious conservatives were asking in july of this year, and that is why the nomination of amy coney barrett to the supreme court of the united states comes as such historic and welcome news to people of faith in this country, to religious conservatives, and to all who believe in the rule of law in america. the nomination of amy coney barrett is truly historic. this is the most openly pro-life judicial nominee to the supreme court in my lifetime. this is an individual who has been open in her criticism of that illegitimate decision roe v. wade. this is a nominee who has been open about her faith and her faith commitments and the way she and her husband lived their lives immersed in their catholic
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faith and raised their children in their catholic faith and want others to have the freedom to be able to do the same. and her nomination and i anticipate her confirmation tonight in just a few hours on this floor will show that there is nothing wrong with any of that. in fact, people of faith should be welcome on the supreme court of the united states, people of judge barrett's conviction should be welcome on the supreme court of the united states, and in just a few hours in the vote of this body, we will confirm that that is indeed the case. and i have to say judge barrett's own positions, her convictions give me great confidence that she understands the difference between judging and legislating, that she will not be a judicial imperialist, as i have talked about on this floor in months past. and i said earlier this year that i would not vote for a
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supreme court nominee who did not understand the difference between judging on the one hand and legislating on the other. i would not vote for a judicial imperialist. and i specifically singled out roe v. wade and said that i will not vote for a supreme court nominee who does not understand that roe was an act of judicial imperialism. and indeed i want to see record evidence that the nominee understands that roe was an act of judicial imperialism and understands this difference between legislating from the bench and actually adhering to the constitution and the laws. well, i'm proud to support the nomination and the confirmation of judge amy coney barrett because her record makes abundantly clear that she understands the role of a judge, that she understands the role that the constitution assigns to the judiciary. it is not the role of legislating. it is not the role of imposing policy preferences or personal
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views. it is the role of following the law. and her record indicates that she understands that, that she is committed to following that role, and committing to revive it. that approach, that constitutional approach to judging that she will fight for it and revive it on the supreme court of the united states. and so i am delighted to support her nomination. i am delighted to have someone of her convictions. i am delighted to have someone who has taken the stances that she has taken as a legal practitioner, as an academic, and as a judge. and, yes, that includes her position on life, and, yes, that includes her position on roe. and so, madam president, i would just say that tonight we will set a precedent, that people of faith, people of the convictions that judge barrett has and shares are welcome in this country in every office. they are welcome on the highest court in the land, and we need not ask people of convictions to
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give up those convictions in order to serve on the supreme court of the united states. we need not say oh, you have to scrub your personal views, oh, you have to pretend that you don't have religious faith or you have to pretend that it doesn't matter to you. you have to renounce your past record. we don't have to do any of that. what we've to ask them to do is to understand the difference between judging and lawmaking. we have to ask them to understand their role that the constitution assigns them. we have to ask them to be committed to following the law. and i am convinced, based on her record, that judge barrett will do exactly that. for those reasons, i am delighted to support her confirmation and i look forward to this historic vote in just a few hours' time. i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. hawley: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
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mr. booker: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. booker: are we in a quorum? the presiding officer: we are. mr. booker: in that case, i would like to vitiate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. booker: thank you, madam president. to my colleague from iowa, i'm grateful. madam president, i rise today to speak on the nomination of amy coney barrett. i rise in the midst of a pandemic, in the midst of an election process in which over 50 million americans have already voted, to speak with a simple call that we should wait, we should not be doing this as a
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body. now, that's not a radical statement. it's a statement that's been said by pretty much every member on the democratic side. but its also a as i said statement that's made by many people in the republican party before we got to this juncture. it was said around the time that merrick garland was up for nomination by president barack obama, 269 days before an election, and people said that we were in an election season, that we should wait. but this is not a typical election season. this is an election that is going on where the people are coming out to speak on an array of issues. there is a profound urgency in the air, not a partisan urgency. america has seen record turnout because they know what's at stake in this election.
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there are issues that are driving people to the polls, and in this context, our president is doing what has never been done before. the only time that this had a chance to be done before was when lincoln had ava can son on the supreme court in it the midst of an election, this close it an election, and abraham lincoln, one of our greatest presidents of all time, made a powerful choice. he had the power to move, he had the power to nominate, but he showed a restraint on power. he showed in a sense what we would call an act of grace. he knew in the midst of an election when people were coming out to speak it was better to waist. this grace is also what was called for by ruth bader ginsburg on her deathbed. she didn't know who would win this election, but she thought it was best to call to the
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better angels of our nature that sometimes the greatest demonstration of power is when we do not use it. that this precious democracy, this great experiment that has endured for this period of time has sustained itself on acts of decency and grace. and most importantly on trust, trusting people, trusting americans, trusting voters. now, we haven't always gotten it right, but this fundamental ideal that when people are exercising their voice, the people in this body should listen. over 50 million americans, we are days, in fact hours away from the actual election day, but the process has started already. people are speaking but we are refusing to listen.
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and i fear that what's driving many people to the polls are the very issues that this supreme court justice will be in a position to hear. we know that donald trump spent the last four years trying to overturn the affordable care act. he promised to appoint justices that would overturn it. he promised to do the right thing, unlike bush appointee john roberts, on obamacare. this is clear. we know that the majority leader, mitch mcconnell, controlling this floor has spent years trying to overturn the affordable care act. in fact, between the house and the senate, there have been over 70 votes to overturn the
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affordable care act. and we know that there is a case that will come before the supreme court on november 10 that could very well determine whether or not over 600,000 people in my state and 20 million people across the country can keep their health coverage. so this is not a secret. the american people know what's going on. they see what's happening here, and many of them, i believe, are going to the polls to speak about the issue of health care. and instead of waiting and trusting to hear and listen to the will of the people, we are here right now. people are scared. we are in a sense walking through the valley of the shadow of death. the fourth largest mass casualty
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event in the history of our country, and the death rate is rising every single day. that's why so many americans have been speaking out and calling out because they know what this nomination could very well mean for their lives, and for that of their family members. they know what a world without the a.c.a. would be like, and for a president to nominate someone, a president hostile to the a.c.a., a supreme court justice who has spoken to this, they know what this might mean. we know that there were 3.8 million new jerseyans and 130 million americans who have preexisting conditions. people with diabetes, cancer survivors, people with diseases like my dad had, parkinson's.
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it could mean being charged more or denied coverage completely. this is a terrifying reality. folklore going to the polls, waiting hours online, knowing it could mean that once again more people are being bankrupted by outrageous medical bills. they know what it can mean for lifetime caps on care for children with complex medical conditions. they know what it would mean for a family with a child who survived a medical procedure and another medical procedure and another medical procedure, surgery after surgery being told if you want your child to live, pay for it yourself. so many americans know what it would mean for seniors not being able to afford lifesaving prescriptions, making the dangerous decision to put bills in half or ration their insulin. so many americans know that
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losing the a.c.a. could mean real tragedy. new jersey, over 600,000 people losing their health care in the middle of a pandemic that in my state has already killed 16,000 of our first responders, of our neighbors, in many cases our friends and our family members. these are numbers, these are data, these are statistics, but each one is a human life, each one has dignity, each one has family. i know, for example, michelle luris from palisades park, new jersey. when michelle lost her husband, john, suddenly last year, she also lost the health coverage she had through his job, but she was able to get coverage through the affordable care act's marketplace and qualify for a subsidy that made it more affordable for her. today she is insured and she can manage her diabetes and her heart disease and her auto immune disease because of her
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coverage. she said that if she lost her affordable health care, she would have to sell her home and be in financial crisis. losing the a.c.a. for merit bowman who is a 49-year-old dad with twin boys and a football coach from new jersey, he said that before the a.c.a. was passed, he didn't even go to the doctor because he was afraid he couldn't afford it, putting his own health in danger. after the a.c.a., he was able to get affordable coverage. and when he felt sick a few years back, he made a doctor's appointment and was diagnosed with diabetes. today, thank god, his condition has improved, but he said, and i quote, now i have a preexisting condition. my insurance covers my medications, my equipment to monitor my diabetes. if that's taken away from me, what's going to happen? i can't afford those things on my own.
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i know this reality, we must know this reality, we must listen to americans right now who are saying openly i'm going to the polls because of my fears on health care. and yet, we are going through instead of waiting to listen to our fellow americans, showing that grace that they should decide, we are rushing forward. protections that are granted people, those on roe v. wade. think about that, decisions that we should let voters decide, we should listen to the american people. what about protections for workers? what about protections for organizers?
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what about voting rights? all of these issues in the midst of an election deserve to be decided by the people. the american people know what's at stake right now because we know that donald trump nominated judge barrett with a very specific agenda in mind. he told us very clearly. we know that donald trump wants the affordable care act to be overturned. and he would appoint judges that he believed would do that. we know donald trump wants roe v. wade overturned. he has explicitly told us that. we know that donald trump wants us to question the validity of an election because he has questioned the validity of an election that is ongoing right now. i never imagined i would have a day in my life as an american citizen -- i watch other countries, but i never thought in my own, we would have a leader that would question the
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validity of an election, going as far as to say that if i lose, this election was rigged, it was illegitimate. that does real damage to not just this moment in time, it does damage to our very institutions, our processes that are essential for this democracy. it is dangerous language. the behavior of this president is so dangerous that his own cabinet members, former cabinet members have called it out. i know the strength of our nation, but our institutions must be protected. they must be preserved. the processes that ensure this democracy continues to go on, that our truth goes marching on have to be protected, and when you have a president that calls into question our very election processes, and literally says that if i lose it's illegitimate and then says i won't even
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commit to a peaceful transfer of power. that should raise alarms. that's why people within his own party, people that served in his own cabinet, people respected in this entire body like general mattis, former secretary of defense, have said that donald trump is a threat to our democracy. and then in that context, in the middle of a national crisis that we're in the midst of an election, and we can't even get a supreme court nominee to commit themselves to the idea of the peaceful transfer of power, who the president himself has said he is rushing to the highest court in the land because he believes that this election may be decided by that judge. and that judge won't even commit to recusing themselves under these circumstances. is that strengthening our
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democracy? is that girding trust in our country's processes, or is it weakening them, because it clearly is doing damage to what is necessary for the endurance of our country and our ideals. these aren't just my words. these are the words of people on both sides of america's political divide. and yet, we are not showing restraint in this moment. we are not showing that grace. we are rushing for short-term gain for one political party, the long-term damage to our nation. i don't understand why this is not something that arises worry and concern. a president who so easily trashes some of the most valued
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and sacrosanct ideals. i remember the hurt i felt when peaceful protesters in lafayette park were turned upon. i remember a note i was forwarded from a college classmate if i have it correct about her son being hit with a rubber bullet. i remember journalists that i learned and got to know in these very hallways telling me about the horror of seeing the panic and the screams and the running as the gas and the rubber bullets hit. i saw how a president seemed to utilize the military themselves to menace what is one of our most important constitutional protections, the right to protest peacefully. i have seen four years now as too many people remain silent in the face of erosions to our constitutional norms. as a president has so willingly
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trashed that which people on both sides of our political divide have worked so hard to build up. i stood right there down near the president, raised my hand like so many of us have, like all of us have, to protect and defend the constitution of the united states. and to not see us right now in the midst of a potential constitutional convulsion, in the midst of a potential constitutional crisis, where our president himself is not committing to the peaceful transfer of power, where there are people organizing to do harm to elected leaders. kidnap them when you could go online right now and look at groups calling out to people with special forces training to go to polls and perhaps cause mayhem. i don't understand why we don't share a bipartisan deep concern
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for what is happening right now in our country. and how this moment in american history fits into the concern that moving forward right now causes danger, causes harm. and i would be remiss to not mention that amidst it all, we are in the midst also of a racial awakening in our country. we saw are perhaps the largest demonstrations in our nation around issues of racial justice, all 50 states, towns and communities from all backgrounds, people marching and protesting around race issues. it's led to millions of therns to learn more -- americans to learn more about their own history, like the coalfax
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massacre. amidst all of this, we know that issues of race and the law will continuously come up before the court until we have justice rolling down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream and in the midst of all of this, even my conversations with this nominee -- i was surprised that they could not speak to one law review article or one column or book they read about issues of race and the law. when we are still in a nation that has such bias in its outcome where just by the color of your skin is directly correlated with longer sentences, more likely to get to the mandatory minimum, more likely to get the death penalty where we no longer see blacks and whites in america for using or selling marijuana but blacks are four times more likely to be
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arrested for using medical marijuana. and in the midst of all of this that has activated so many americans and many of them tole polls today, i couldn't get even a dialogue going about issues of race. and when i specifically asked about a case, judge barrett's case in smith v. illinois department of transportation. this case involved a black traffic patrol drifer who -- driver who had been fired by the illinois transportation department. he claimed he had been part of a hostile work environment and had been called the n word by his supervisor, and they say he did not have a race discrimination
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case. when i asked judge barrett why a supervisor using a vial and derogatory term, one that carries with it racial sub indication and violence did not constitute a hostile work environment when judge kavanaugh ruled in a it did. i was surprised was to go back and read the case that she blatantly mischaracterized a key fact in the case. judge barrett said and i quote he didn't tie the use of the n word that he used in his hostile work environment claim. when the employee's state is appellate's position is that the n word and the acts identified immediately above did create a hostile work environment. she mischaracterized her own ruling claiming, and i quote, so the panel very carefully wrote
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the opinion to make clear that it was possible for one use of the n word to be enough to establish a hostile work environment claim if overplayed that way when in fact her opinion stated something different. quote, the n word is an egregious racial epithet. again, even justice kavanaugh stated that being called the n word by a supervisor suffices itself to establish a racially hostile work environment. again, in this context at a moment that our country is moving in numbers we have not seen before we have a justice that mischaracterizes a case, doesn't speak directly to the facts as plain as they were and
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can't engage in a substantive conversation about any scholarship whatsoever around race in america. i'd like to read an excerpt of the letter from derek johnson, president of the na a aacp. it is disturbing that use of this vial epithet constituted a hostile work environment, but the basis for his ruling races -- raises serious questions about her candor that extended beyond this case. i would like to enter for the record a letter from the black lives matter global network foundation signed by 18,000 americans in opposition to the nomination of amy coney barrett to serve as associate justice on supreme court of the united states. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. booker: thank you, mr. president. and so i appeal, again, one last
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time to the conscience of the senate. this is not that time to proceed. this is a time for grace. it's not a time to proceed. it's a time to firm up the found cautions of our republic. it's not a time to proceed, it's a time to listen to the american people. it's a time to listen to the voters lined up now. it is a time to listen and wait. i know there's a lot of americans who are concerned right now. not with the one nominee but with how this process has gone. it is a process that has -- is eroding people's trust and their faith in the institutions. they don't see fairness in this. they look at their own words of republican senators and don't understand like hypocrisy can
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stand. one standard for one president another standard for another. but i want to tell everyone who is hurting, everyone who is worried about our republic, everyone who is concerned in this moment about their health care and their voting rights and their nation that this is not a time to give up. in will be difficult days ahead but it's not a time to give up. we know that health care is at risk but it's not a time to give up. we know that women controlling their own bodies sacrosanct as that idea and as under threat as it now is it, it's not that time to give up. where lgbtq rights are under threat, but it's not a time to give up. we cannot give up in the cause of our country. and it's not a right cause or left cause, it's a right -- right or wrong cause that we can be a nation that builds for
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posterity a functioning republic that can elevate the best of human ideals like grace. we cannot give up in this moment, we cannot meet darkness with darkness, we cannot surrender to cynicism about our systems. we have to keep pressing forward. i still believe that our nation's history, as speckled as it is with retchedness and pain is a story to overcoming injustice and that we live in a nation that the truth does prevail in the end. i still believe that even when wrongs are done, they can be righted. i still believe that though this may become today a moment of shame that we can reclaim in this nation the ideals of our
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founders, those testimonies to grace, the commitment to each other of their sacred honor that we still can take a body politic wounded and injured and in our country find healing, find redemption, and find grace. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the minority leader's recognized. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. well, as we speak over 60 million americans have voted. the republican majority is ignoring, even laughing, at their wishes. despite what the american people want and who they will vote for, this republican majority is ramming this nomination through only because they can. might makes right in their view. that is so wrong. that is so against the american principle of democracy and rule of law. and so i will move to adjourn so
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that we consider this nomination after the election that is now ongoing, not before it. not eight days before it. so, therefore, i move to adjourn and to then convene for pro forma sessions only with no business being conducted at 12 noon on the following dates and that following each pro forma session the senate adjourn until the next pro forma session. tuesday, october 27, friday, october 30, tuesday november 3, friday, november 6. further in a if there is an agreement on legislation in relation to the covid pandemic, the senate may convene under the authority of s. resolution 296 of the 108th congress. finally, that when the senate adjourns on friday, november 6, it next convene at 4:30 monday,
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november 9, and that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, and morning business be closed. the presiding officer: that motion would require consent and is not in order. mr. schumer: i appeal the ruling of the chair and ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. the question is, shall the decision of the chair stand as the judgment of the senate? the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: has any senator not voted? does any senator wish to change their vote? on this vote, the yeas are 53, the nays are 46. the senate sustains the decision of the chair.
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the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: mr. president, i ask the question, as i have for several weeks now, why are we here? what i hear from my constituents in delaware, as i heard earlier today, an event at westside health, why is this senate in session now? in the midst of a nationwide pandemic. focusing on rushing through a nominee to the united states supreme court rather than doing everything we can to work across the aisle to craft a solution to the problems, the crises facing our nation. tens of millions of americans unemployed. hundreds of thousands of businesses permanently closed. schools all over the country either not yet open or just barely open, and thousands upon thousands of americans who died alone, in pain, uncomforted by
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family, uncertain of how they came to be in this place, uncared for by their country. 8.5 million infected. 220,000 or more dead. we are in the middle of a tragic pandemic and a recession made worse by our president's bungled mishandling of that pandemic, and instead of coming together and providing the relief that all of our states, all of our people are calling for, we are doing this, we are doing this. instead any republican colleagues are walking over a dangerous precipice. they are doing something that according to chairman graham of the senate judiciary committee was unthinkable just two years ago. in the last ten days before a presidential election, in the last month before a presidential
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election, they are ramming through for a lifetime appointment to the supreme court, president trump's nominee in a rushed and partisan process in the midst of an ongoing presidential election. why? why are we here and why are they doing this? i've heard a lot of talk from my colleagues on the judiciary committee and here on the floor about justices and how they are not policy may, that -- policymakers, about abstract terms and ideas like textualism and judges as neutral ar bitters. but you don't work this hard to confirm a supreme court justice in the middle of a pandemic while a majority of american states are voting and tens of millions have voted, while election day is just eight days
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away and a third of us are up for election because you care most about astract ideas or neutral prince. you don't go -- principles. you don't go against your own promise, that they should not confirm. and after you blocked a highly qualified nominee for exactly that reason because you care most about neutral ar arbiters. this is about power. it is about political power. it is about knowing the american people have turned against the president, especially because of his failed, flawed, ultimately disastrous response to this pandemic. we are not turning the corner as he declared just this week. we have a record-high number of cases in dozens of states, an
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outbreak under controlled, unmanaged and leadership uncaring. my colleagues know the election is upon us. many are up for reelection and so when justice ginsburg tragically passed away just a few weeks ago, president trump and my colleagues saw one last opportunity, one last chance to decide the balance of the supreme court, not just for a year or a term but for decades to come and to entrench a hard-right majority whose views are far outside the american mainstream. as my democratic colleagues and i have been laying out on the judiciary committee and in speeches here on this floor, that hard-right turn will have lasting, serious, significant, even devastating consequences to the american people. and after digging into and studying judge barrett's record as a law professor, as a judge,
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her writings, her speeches, her opinions, i am convinced that she will come to the supreme court with both a deeply conservative originalist philosophy in the style of justice scalia and a judicial activism even further to the right that will put at risk long-standing rights the american people hold dear in nearly every aspect of our modern lives. simply put judge barrett, justice barrett, as i'm convinced will open a new chapter of conservative activism unlike anything we have ever seen. why would i think this? first judge barrett was hand picked by president trump after he made clear he wants a new justice to overturn the affordable care act with potentially catastrophic consequences for a majority of americans protected by the a.c.a. everyone watching at home has
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heard my colleagues say for the last decade the top priorities is repealing the affordable care act. every republican senator on the committee talked publicly repeatedly about their desire to get rid of the law and they voted that way. so has our president. but despite their best efforts, he and my republican colleagues failed to get the votes here on the floor of the united united s senate so now they are taking their last best shot at overturning the a.c.a. and trying to do it through the supreme court. this is where judge barrett comes in. as she admitted during my questioning, judge barrett has written in no uncertain terms she thinks chief justice roberts got it wrong. in his ruling eight years ago upholding the a.c.a. against constitutional challenge. she wrote this article just three years ago in 2017 and soon therefore found herself on
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president trump's short list for the supreme court. meanwhile the justice department, under president trump's leadership, has joined the challenge to the a.c.a. now back in front of the supreme court. and that will be heard by the court just one week from the election, two weeks from today, tomorrow. president trump and his administration are arguing in no uncertain terms the court must get rid of the entire a.c.a. now my republican colleagues have said this is fearmongering. this is a different case and a different issue. but to anyone who thinks this characterization is far-fetched, read the brief. read the brief filed by the solicitor general of the united states or the brief signed and cosigned by 18 republican states attorneys general. president trump himself lashed out at chief justice roberts over and over again for
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upholding the affordable care act and its protection for millions of americans and pledged as candidate trump his nominees would do the right thing and overturn the law. and here, the last minute of the last act of the trump show he may at long last have his chance. but it isn't just the affordable care act that's on president trump's supreme court agenda. he made it clear he wants a nominee to do three things. overturn the a.c.a., overturn roe v. wade, and perhaps, most chillingly for the future of our democracy, hand him the election if there is a dispute in the courts that makes its way to the supreme court. on that second point, about overturning roe, judge barrett steadfastly refused to say whether roe was correctly decided because it is the subject of legislation and litigation currently tested. but she refused to say as well whether the foundational case
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griswold v. connecticut decided 55 years ago that protects right to privacy, the right to use contraceptives by a married family in the privacy of their own home, she refused to say if that was right. and indisputable nominees, nominees chosen by republican presidents such as chief justice roberts and justices alito and kavanaugh have said, of course, griswold was rightly decided, is settled precedent. so i found judge barrett's hesitation, even refusal to say so chilling. more broadly, and this is important, judge barrett's approach to precedent itself suggest she will lead the way in reversing long-standing cases upon which our rights rely. precedent's been called the foundation of law. the president protects the rights an freedoms that many
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americans rely on today, right to be safe in your home from government intrusion, the right to marry whomever you love, the right to control your own body. but i've come away convinced that judge barrett, if confirmed to the court, would be even more willing than justice scalia to overturn those precedents with which she disgreece, and this -- disagrees and this is rooted in things she has written and said as a law professor and a judge. she's made clear judges and justices should feel free to overturn cases they believe were wrongly decided regardless of how how many people have ordered their lives around those decisions and have come to rely on them. she even said that those with his conservative originalist philosophy have abandoned a commitment to judicial restraint. as i made clear in my
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questioning, the cases that could be in jeopardy with a judge barrett on the supreme court cover a vast range of issues. issues which, together, affect hundreds of millions of americans' lives from health care to education to consumer protection to marriage equality to criminal justice. in the past several decades the supreme court decided more than 120 cases by a 5-4 margin with justice ginsburg in the majority and justice scalia in the dissent. so just as a matter of analysis, just to help folks see the scope and reach of the consequences of the decision to be made here tonight, we looked at what would happen if justice ginsburg in the majority were replaced by somebody with justice scalia's philosophy or farther right. these cases include not only the key ruling on the affordable care act and nfib versus
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sebelius and hodges, which upheld the privacy jurisprudence that started in griswold, upheld the idea that marriage equality is the rule of the land. bollinger which had race admission policies at universities, tennessee v. lain, arizona state legislature versus arizona independent redistricting commission which upheld the constitutionality of nonparty redistricting, massachusetts versus e.p.a., which allows the e.p.a. to regulate greenhouse gases gases- gases and roper. think about the scope and reach of it. cases that touch labor rights to native american rights, consumer rights to environmental protection. yes, our comments on the floor
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and in the committee focused on the affordable care act. they focused on reproductive rights and privacy. but the scope and reach of the consequences are breathtaking. even to this day i fear that we as a nation have not fully reckoned with the impact a 6-3 conservative court will have on so many aspects of our lives. as to president trump's third demand that a justice chosen by him helped decide the election, i was deeply dismayed to hear judge barrett refuse to commit to recusing herself from any case involving an election dispute. president trump is the reason i asked that question. president trump himself is actively undermining the integrity of our election. he's spreading baseless rumors about voter fraud, encouraging voter suppression, engaging in a disinformation campaign so
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egregious it's hard to believe it could be coming from an american let alone an american president. the statements have been so indefensible when my colleagues asked judge barrett whether the president should commit to conducting a peaceful transition of power if he loses an election, a question an obvious no-brainer, a matter of basic civics, judge barrett said sheet couldn't respond because president trump's statements have turned this fundamental tenet of our democracy into a partisan, political question. before now, to my knowledge, no president has ever demanded that his nominee to a supreme court case, to a supreme court seat be rushed through so that that justice, that ninth justice could look at the ballots, as i has said, and hand him an election. and never in our history has the
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united states senate confirmed a supreme court justice in circumstances like these just eight days before a final election date in an ongoing presidential election. so at the very, very least, given president trump's unprecedented overreaching, inappropriate comments about the election and her nomination, i asked judge barrett that she would recuse herself in the event of an election dispute. to be clear, nothing is stopping her from making that commitment and she would not do so. recent events have made clear this issue is anything but hypothetical. just last week the u.s. supreme court divided 4-4 -- 4-4 on a question arise rg from pennsylvania -- arising from pennsylvania and came to the brink of adopting a novel, even radical theory advanced by republicans in pennsylvania that would empower the supreme court to override a state supreme
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court's interpretation of their own state laws and constitution in a way that would disenfranchise thousands of voters, a new judge barrett joining that court could well provide the fifth vote in support of this outrageous theory which her mentor justice scalia accepted in bush v. gore. nonno one's surprise, the pennsylvania republican party is again preparing to file in the supreme court a renewed claim. in light of this conflict of interest, in light of the appearance of bias, her involvement in this case could have lasting negative devastating consequences for the independence of a court and our democracy. so i urge my republican colleagues to consider before voting to confirm tonight the very real impacts their actions will have. not only on millions of our constituents but on our
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democracy and this institution itself. as for me, i will be voting no on the confirmation of judge barrett to the united states supreme court. thank you, mr. president, with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senior senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, that was quite a speech from our friend from delaware. i have to -- i had -- if i had to categorize it, i would say this is the chicken little argument, the sky is falling, amy coney barrett, this is the end of civilization. this is the end of the world as we know it. the irony to me and frankly the
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hypocrisy of the argument is that if the shoe were on the other foot, senator schumer, who has said everything is on the table if we win the majority -- court packing, making d.c., making puerto rico states -- that they would show somehow this superhuman self-restraint and not fill this seat. mr. president, this is entirely consistent with the practice given the fact that the president -- that president trump's at the pump, his first terming, doesn't run out until january 20 of next year. all the senators elected are serving through the end of this year at least. and so it is somewhat entertaining but beside the point to suggest that this good
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judge, this really extraordinarily decent human being is part of some vast conspiracy to subvert the constitution and overrule all these precedents that the senator from delaware considers sacrosanct well, i'm happy with the fact that tonight the senate is set to confirm an exceptionally well-qualified nominee to the supreme court. judge amy coney barrett is as impressive as they come. america saw it. initially, they didn't know her, but when they came to know her through her testimony on the judiciary committee, she became one of the -- she became very popular. in nigh state, 59 -- in my state, 59% of the people in a recent poll said they wanted us to cost judge barrett -- confirm judge barrett now before the election.
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59%. and it's no wonder why. she graduated first in her class from notre dame law school. she clerked for the district of columbia court of appeals and the supreme court, practiced law before transitioning to academia where she's written and the taught constitutional law, federal courts and statutory interpretation for nearly two decades. and of course for the last three years she's served with distinction on the seventh circuit court of appeals. her time in both the classroom and the courtroom have given her understanding of the law that few can rival. over her confirmation hearing, she skillfully answered questions about legal doctrine, constitutional issues and myriad precedents without so much as even having a page of notes in front of her. as impressive as judge barrett's deep knowledge of the law is, it's only part of what i believe
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makes her an ideal candidate for the supreme court. now more than ever, the judiciary along with the rest of our elected -- appeared our other elect -- and our other elected officials tend to function not by what the law says but through a lens of personal and political bias. it's polarizing. we know that people are highly agitate add, including my friend from delaware, and trying to stoke the turnout of their partisans in the run-up to the election. but it should go without saying, but i'll say it anyway, that judges don't do that. they can't do that. and still be judges. in order for the high court to serve the proper role, it has to be made up of men and women of
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great integrity, of restraint and self-discipline who will discharge their duties free of bias, which means you don't announce the decision in a case before you've even heard of, you don't offer predictions or promises of how you will decide these contentious matters, which i know frustrates our friend from delaware and others. but judge barrett is not only committed to doing this, not clouding her positions by political position or personal favor for any party, she has a record to back it up. during her time on the seventh circuit, she has joined with her colleagues in 95% of the 600 cases she's decided. 95% consensus on the three-judge panel. that's no record of an outlaw or
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a radical or somebody who's going to disregard their judicial oath. she has consistently shown in each of these decisions a fidelity to the law and an impartiality, which are essential qualities for a supreme court justice. but despite the judge's unassailable qualifications, our democratic colleagues have repeatedly tried and failed to make this nominee out to be a radical, suggesting that she would violate her oath, the same oath to uphold and defend the constitution that we take as senators. but there's nothing in her background or her character which would suggest she would do something so brazen and so wrong. some folks on the left have attacked her because of her
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catholic faith. they've also tried to convince the american people she's on some sort of crusade to take health care away from american families. how ridiculous that is? or that she would slowly chip away watt our freedoms and our liberties. the reason we've seen such hysterical attacks that are completely out of touch with reality is that this is all they have. they've got nothing else. there is no legitimate reason to oppose the nomination of judge barrett. her stellar credentials and deliberate body of work prove that she understands the role of a judge, as important as it is, but as limited as it is under our constitutional system. and i think that is part of what terrifies our colleagues on the other side of the aisle. you see, they've become
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accustomed to a supreme court that is more political than judicial, that feels freed make policy -- that feels free to make policy judgments that bail out the congress or those who have either lost the vote or lost an election. that's why our democratic colleagues have repeatedly pressed her to commit to an outcome in cases before the court. she won't do it and she shouldn't do it and she shouldn't do it. they asked her everything from health care to abortion to climate change. they want to know right now before she's even on the court, before she's even heard the case , how she would rule. well, judge barrett rightly declined. she invoked what's known as the ginsburg rule from the 1993
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confirmation hearing presided over by joe biden when he was chairman of the judiciary committee of ruth bader ginsburg. now, ruth bader ginsburg had been a lawyer are the american civil liberty union and had been known for her pioneering work on behalf of women's rights. but she held some personally pretty radical views, and so the senators, out of curiosity, if nothing else, wanted to ask her about those and she declined, as she should have, because she said it's inappropriate to make predictions or provide hints of how i might decide cases in the future. this is the most basic principle of our judicial system. judges are not legislators. they shouldn't advocate for policy outcomes or promote a specific agenda, and they
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certainly with shouldn't commit to an outcome on a hypothetical case during the confirmation process. how would you feel if a judge that you came before had previously said, well, if i hear a case like that i'm going to decide against this litigant, this party to the lawsuit? that would be outrageous. and she shouldn't and didn't do that. neither did justice ginsburg. chief justice roberts reminded us last year we don't have obama judges or bush judges or clinton judges. and i agree that is the ideal. men and women in black robes can't stick their thumb on the scales of justice and supply winds to any -- wins to any cause, any individual, or any party. it's antithetical to our
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constitutional system. so i hope this process will help begin a way to guide our courts back to their proper function in our constitution and to remind all of us of what has rightly been called the crown jewels of our constitution, and that is an independent judiciary, judges whose pay can't be cut during their tenure to office and they serve for life, if they want to. that's the ultimate in political independence. those are the crown jewels because judges apply the law the wrong writes, interpret the precedents of other courts and interpret the constitution. to give an unelected individual the power to make policy and to
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have an agenda to accomplish their personal or political goals would be the opposite of what our constitution portends. so there's no question that judge barrett has a brilliant legal mind, a deep respect for the constitution and an unwavering commitment to the rule of law. her record is spotless. how do i know that? well, if it wasn't, you would violence heard about it. it's spotless. her character is beyond reproach and virtually everyone who has worked with or learned from judge barrett as offered their full-throated endorsement of her nomination. all the evidence -- all the evidence points to one simple fact -- amy coney barrett is exceptionally well qualified to serve on the supreme court. i have faith in judge barrett's
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ability to fairly interpret the law and apply it to cases before her, nothing more and nothing less. mr. president, i believe amy coney barrett will be an outstanding supreme court justice, and i'm proud to support her nomination. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, we're faced with three basic questions. the first question couldn't be more basic -- why are we here? if you told the american people that the united states senate was in session five days in a row and meeting through the weekend and asked them what they think the order of business was before senate, they would say, sillily question. it's obvious. it has to be the pandemic facing america. it has to be the fact that 225,158 americans have died from
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the coronavirus, 8.7 million infected, and most certainly because the united states has recorded more than 85,000 covid-19 cases just this last friday, the highest number of cases recorded within a 24-hour period since the beginning of the pandemic. and saturday was the same. so they would guess the saints was in session to do something about this deadly epidemic that is affecting the united states of america more seriously than any other country in the world. they would wonder what we're doing to try to provide more testing, more protection for people. they would question the chief of staff of the president of the united states, mark meadows, who said yesterday the trump administration, quote, is not going to control the pandemic. end of quote. it would trouble them, i'm sure. they would expect this congress
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representing them and up for reelection, many of us, to be responsive to their needs to protect their families or they might ask us, are you doing anything to help the unemployed in america? certainly you must be working on that too because these families were cut off from their federal unemployment supplemental on july 31. so for the months of august and september and now into october, the amount of money coming into to keep their homes together, their families together has been dra -- dramatically diminished. if they assumed that, they are wrong. because we have not been concerned about the life and death issues of the pandemic at all. instead we are consumed with a political mission. how did we reach this point where we're taking up this
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supreme court nomination in the midst of an election for the first time in the history of the united states, in the midst of an election that we were taking this up? well, because of the determination of the republican leader of the senate. four years ago you will remember the scalia vacancy, president obama was still the president in the eighth year of his presidency, but senator mcconnell said, no you are not. you do not have the authority to fill a supreme court vacancy because it's the last year of your presidency. you're a lame duck. there's an election coming. let the american people decide who will fill this vacancy. that was the mcconnell rule four years ago and the republican senators marched in lockstep behind him with his logic. fast forward four years, the vacancy with the death of ruth bader ginsburg and senator mcconnell has changed his
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story completely and his troops are still marching ee bead enterally -- obediently behind him. now under president trump he can fill a vacancy in the midst of a presidential election. and that's why we're here today. this determination that this political errand that he's running for president trump is more important than the covid-19 pandemic, more important than the runaway infection rates in the 20 states across the united states, more important than trying to deal with the unemployment and dysfunctions of this economy under this president. yes, we were asked basic questions to be answered the judiciary committee, questions that were posed to amy coney barrett, once a law school professor at notre dame law school now on the seventh circuit court of appeals. people say, is she qualified?
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well, if you're asking whether she is studied in the law and has a head full of law, there is no question about it. it's been many years since i faced a law school professor, and i will it will you that she certainly knows a lot about the law. there is no doubt about it. but the questions that i asked of her really went beyond that basic question. i really wanted to know what was not just in her head when it came to the law, but i wanted to know what she has in her heart when it comes to the law. one of the senators who spoke a few minutes ago chided us because we kept bringing colored photographs to the floor and to the committee hearings of people whose lives depended on the affordable care act. he characterized it as theater and likened these images, these photographs to cutouts at sporting events. well, let me tell you the ones
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that i presented from illinois represent real-life stories of real-life families who depend on the affordable care act. why do we raise the affordable care act in the midst of this hearing for filling the supreme court vacancy? for one simple reason, that's what the president did. it was the president who told us far in advance, i'm going to fill supreme court vacancies to eliminate the affordable care act. so is this a leap of faith on our part to take the president at his word with the -- would the president even consider lying to the american people? if you take him at his word, then amy coney barrett is part of an agenda, a political agenda to eliminate the affordable care act and in the past the president said roe v. wade while you're at it and also to move forward when it comes to protecting him if there's an election contest after the november 3 election. he said as much. as i mentioned earlier, he doesn't have an unuttered
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thought. he tweets it 25 times whatever crosses his fertile mind and that is his agenda when it comes to filling the supreme court vacancy. when we asked judge barrett, she denies any promises have been made. but there's some evidence, obviously along the way, that convinced the president and the people in the white house that she would -- she would fulfill his mission if she came to the supreme court. and when you look at the issues involved, it's not just her compassion when it comes to the affordable care act and 23 million americans covered by insurance under that law, 600,000 of them in illinois. it's not just a question of her courage to stand up to this president if there's an election year contest that comes before the supreme court. it's really whether she's committed to the preserving the pillars of modern law, the rights of women. ruth bader ginsburg's death
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created this vacancy. there's hardly a person in our history, modern history, who spent more of her life dedicated to the rights of women. is amy coney barrett going to follow in that tradition? i think it's a legitimate question. when it came to racism, are we going to deal with racism in an honest way? and i'll get to that in a moment when i speak to her originalism motivation. marriage equality, privacy, voting, all these issues are on the table. and i do have to disagree with my colleague from texas who preceded me. i just don't believe the law is robotic nor do i believe that there is a simple formula to use that can guarantee an outcome in a case. as said to judge barrett in our private conversation before the hearing, there wouldn't be 5-4 cases if we could count on people to always look at the
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facts and the law and come to the same conclusion. people reach different conclusions. and that takes me to the third point here. we asked amy coney barrett during the course of this hearing so many questions about basic, basic law that want right to the heart of this constitution. these weren't trick questions. they weren't pending legislation. questions like distribution litigation. questions like can this president or any president unilaterally decide to change the date of the presidential election? that's pretty basic. i think it's covered by three different sections in the constitution. she refused to answer because of the possibility there would be litigation before the court on that subject. what about intimidation against voters trying to cast their vote in an election. couldn't answer that one either. same reason. what about, and this was asked by senator kennedy, a republican from louisiana. what about climate change? it turns out that judge barrett
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told us she hadn't developed any thoughts on climate change. really? 48 years old, lawyer, law school professor, mother of seven, no thoughts on climate change? it really -- when it was all over, you had to ask yourself, what was the purpose of that hearing if those were the kind of answers we faced? certainly we wouldn't ask her -- her about pending litigation. one thing she was proud of and stated over and over again is that she was an originalist when it came to her thinking on the law and the constitution. as i said originalism is not some foreign language that you pick up on babble. it's a mind-set. it's a mission statement, it's the belief that the original text in our constitution reveals all the answers. i doubt that very much. that's kind of magga jurisprudence. because, you see what really
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launched originalism occurred in the 1950's in a case called brown v. board of education. the southern states were not ready for integration and many of the northern states weren't either for that matter and the contradicts of that supreme court decision said it was judicial activism to integrate the public schools of america. they were critical of a court that went too far under earl warren, called for his impeachment and more and started saying you should have stuck with the original constitution. well, the original constitution didn't give african americans right to vote. in fact, considered them under the law to be three-fifths of an american citizen. so those so-called individualists criticized that activist court and it didn'tnd with brown -- didn't end with brown v. board of education. the same came with griswold, the
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argument that we have privacy in our married loves. loving v. virginia that interracial marriage was permissible and the case of roe v. wade, the ultimate case when it came to privacy and liberty. so those who come before us and tell us that what's really at stake here is restraint on the court, self-discipline on the court. we've heard all those words, and making sure that justices don't pursue policy, think about all of those things in terms of what happened in brown v. board of education when they overruled ferguson decades before and saiding moving forward we believe -- and said moving forward we believe this constitution guarantees every child the right to an education regardless of their race. dr. che mri niski is with the
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university school of law at cal berkeley and wrote thoughts on this originalism theory. he noted that it was justice scalia that gave it popularity. a lot of people followed scalia because he was fun to be with. spoke to a luncheon of democratic senators i was able to tend. when it came down to it, his views on the law were strict and rigid, under this view the first amendment meant the same thing it meant as it was adopted in this the beginning. it turns out the circumstances in all of those case have changed so dramatically in america. judge amy coney barrett argued she's an originalist. she would join the other originalist on the court, clarence thomas with her legal thinking, and that gives me
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pause and concern when it comes to what she's bringing to the court, a head full of law, for sure, but an approach to it that i think is opposed. it is a way to argue against change and evolution in america that is inevitable and, in fact, necessary. the professor says under the public meaning of the constitution, it would be unconstitution to elect a woman as president or vice president because article 2 refers to the pronoun he. when you get stuck with the language in the original constitution in the extreme, you find yourself reaching conclusions that are not in the best interest or consistent with american morals or values today. so, mr. president, this is more than just another nomination to fill a vacancy on the supreme court.
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it comes at a moment in time when we should being focusing on the deadly pandemic facing america. we should have spent five straight days coming up with a covid relief bill for the millions of americans desperate for help today and desperate for peace of mind when it comes to this public health tragedy which we're facing. it is a nomination which comes before us when the rules of the senate and the rules of the senate judiciary committee are being twisted and turned to create a political opportunity for senator mcconnell and his side of the aisle. and, sadly, it is a moment in time when a nominee for the supreme court wants to bring to us a political way of thinking, a legal way of thinking, i should say, a legal way of thinking which i believe is inconsistent with progress in this country when it comes to human rights and civil rights. under originalist theory, we may never have had brown v. board of education and the other cases i mentioned. what a loss for this great nation. that's not what we need on the court. we need people on the court who
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are realists, who will look at the law and constitution in real terms and not ideological terms. and the notion that this justice is being hurried before us in the hopes that she will eliminate the affordable care act in the midst of a pandemic certainly is worth noting. it's one of the reasons, one of the many reasons i will vote no on amy coney barrett with her nomination to the supreme court and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. graham: thank you. as chairman of the judiciary committee, it is my honor to speak on the floor about this nomination, which i think is historic in many fashions, all positive from my point of view. we have before the committee, the nomination of judge barrett who currently sits on the seventh judicial circuit. she is one of the most impressive people i have ever met. two days of hearings, answering
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every question posed to her with grace and judicial demeanor. i think she'd be the gold standard for every other nominee. but i want to thank my staff, lee holmes, the director. he is done such a great job of -- the judiciary committee has done a lot of things, some contentious, some lot. i with aens to thank lee for shepherding this nomination. mike fergosio, i got you personally, anyway. just outstanding. done a terrific job. the permanent nominations unit for the judiciary committee includes laura miller, tim rodriguez, watson corner, akhil ragsekr. all have worked hard for 135 article iii judges, not just this one. in addition, lucas crossler
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joined my team. sid dadhichig, abby holdstein. they went through the entire record presented by judge barrett to make sure we would be prepared for the confirmation process. law clerks emily haul, megan karen and peter singall. i would like to thank the press secretary, taylor reed, along with george heartsman, as well as barr secretary director keelie. you should be proud. you can tell your grandkids about all this. well-done. to my democratic colleagues, i know you didn't like what we did, but i did appreciate the way you conducted yourself in the hearing. i think you challenged the judge appropriate lit during her time. we had four days of hearings. we heard from a variety of
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people about judge barrett in terms of the process, it was well within what we've done in the past. every judiciary committee markup regarding a supreme court justice we've done the same thing. first fay is opening statements. two days of questions and the final day input from outside groups and that's what we were able to do here. so she went through the process like every other nominee since i've been here. but let me just say this to may democratic colleagues. this is not about the process. you find ways to make sure that most of you can't vote for anybody we nominate. that really does break my heart. roberts 78-22. that was sort of the norm. i think alito got 96 and ginsburg got 97. i can't remember what got what. used to not be this way.
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used to be different. we looked at at the qualifications, said, you're good go. you're well-rounded, nonable in the raw law. you might have a different philosophy but we understand elections matter. those days are over. absolutely completely over. destroyed. there's nobody any republican president can ever nominate i think that's not going to face a hard time. that's too bad. that's the way it is. alito, 58-42. judge alito, well-known on our side of the aisle, the kind of person you'd be looking toot promote to the supreme court. when president bush nominated him, well within the mainstream. roberts, alito, well known in the conservative world of being very bright court of appeals judges that any republican president would be looking at to put on the court if they ever had an opportunity. no difference between alito and
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roberts, but alito went through hell, but he made it and he got 58 votes. so then along comes president obama. he gets two picks, sotomayor, 68 votes to 31. i think she deserved more, but 68 is pretty darn good. i was glad to vote for her. i saw that she was qualified. then we had elena kagan, 63 votes -- you can see the trend here. both of barack obama nominees, 68-he 63. i thought elena kagan was highly qualified. dean of law school at harvard. but worked for the solicitor general's office. both of them have been with a liberal side of the court, most every case but not all. not surprised the way they decided cases. i think they're tremendously well-qualified women and should be sitting on the court. that's exactly who you would expect a democratic president to
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pick. sotomayor and kagan. so now we come back. trump wins -- nobody thought he would win, including me. i voted for somebody in 2016 i wouldn't know if he worked through the door, evan mcmullin. i think i met him once. i had my challenge with president trump during the primary. he beat me like a drum. i have been trying to help him ever since. i think he has done a really good job of sending to the court highly qualified judges. he's had a lot of input from a lot of different people. gorsuch and kavanaugh have one thing in common -- they were in my top three recommendations. any republican president looking to nominate somebody to the supreme court would be looking at gorsuch and kavanaugh. these are not exotic picks. they are in the mold of sotomayor and kagan in terms of qualifications. so what happened? gorsuch was the first attempt at a partisan filibuster.
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we had three votes to get 60 and we couldn't, so we changed the rules for the supreme court like they change add the rules in 2013 for the district court and court of appeals. if we had not, gorsuch wouldn't be on the court and to say he is not qualified is a joke, is an insult to him and says more about you than it does judge gorsuch. if you can't see he's qualified, you're blinded by your hatred of trump. hated to do it but had to do it because in any other time gorsuch would have gotten the same type votes as roberts. then comes along kavanaugh. nothing about process there. no process argument. right at the very end, the last day of the hearing when we thought it was all over, you give us a letter that you'd had for weeks, an allegation against the judge. it would have been nice to share it with him so he could tell his side of the story but you chose
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not to do that. you had it precooked with the press outlets and everything blew up. so all of us on the committee had to decide what to do. i sat down with senator flake and collins and we felt like the allegations had to be heard. they're made. and i know a lot of people on our side thought it was unfair, dirty pool, but we had the opportunity to have the hearing. and the rest is history. it was high drama. all i can say is that something happened to the person who accused judge kavanaugh, but i don't believe judge kavanaugh had anything to do with it. this was a party in high school. dr. ford couldn't remember where it was, who was there, the people that were said to be there said they don't remember anything like it happened. judge kavanaugh hasn't lived a life like being described.
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he was accused by four or five people, three of them actually made it up. i hope some of them go to jail for lying to the committee and the country. and they were trying to make him a rapist and a drug and women and high school. and what was his annual all about? it was the most sickening episode in my time in the senate. they were hellbent on destroying this guy's life based on a bunch of manufactured lies and evidence that wouldn't get you out of the batter's box in any court of law in the land. and here we are. 50-48. and what i saw there was a turning point for me. we cannot continue to do this. you're going to drive good people away. and i'm hoping that the barrett hearings, which were far more civil, far more traditional,
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will be a turning point, because i don't know who the next president will be, but there will be an opening, i'm sure, on the court. i'm hoping that the next hearing is more like barrett and less like kavanaugh, no matter who wins. now barrett -- i understand the concern about the process. this is the latest we've ever confirmed somebody. you've heard all the arguments about when the presidents of one president and the senate is of a different party, you've had one confirmation 100-some years that most of the time when the president is of the same party as the senate, they go through. i understand. the bottom line is, we gave her the same type hearing that alito, sotomayor, kagan, distinguished senator sunk and kavanaugh had. my democratic colleagues showed up at the hearing. they participated, they pushed her hard. but i don't think they went across the line. they decided not to show up to markup. i hate that, but that's the way it is. i would like to spend a few minutes talking about the person
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hogs a. going ton the court in about an hour. if you're looking for somebody that a republican would be picking regardless of the process, it would be judge barrett. she would be on anybody's list. and i listened to senator durbin, who is a good friend and we'll work on whatever comes our way after the election. i find that he's somebody that he can work on hard things like immigration with. but his description of judge barrett simply doesn't pass scrutiny. trying to make a character of this person that doesn't exist. there's nothing exotic about judge barrett. she is very mainstream in our world. all i can say is that after two days of hearings, the american people by 51%, which is pretty hard to figure in this country you get 51% agreement on anything, felt like she should be going on the court.
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so here's what dean of notre dame law school said, who hired her to be a professor at notre dame. i have only communicated with this august committee on two occasions. the first was ten years ago when i wrote a strong letter in support of now-justice elena kagan whose term as dean of harvard law school overlapped with my own. the second is today introducing an endorsing amy coney barrett in equally strong terms. some might find these recommendations to be injection at that position. but i find them entirely consent. to anybody wondering about judge barrett, i would highly recommend that you look at the a.b.a.'s recommendations and the process they used to find her well qualified. not one person uttered a negative word about her character, according to the
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a.b.a. someone said to the a.b.a., the myth is real. she is a staggering academic mind. she is incredibly honest and forthright. she is exactly who you think she is. nothing about her is fake. she is good, decent, selfless, sane sere. an exemplary of a living and integrated life. the standing committee would have been hard-pressed to come up with any conclusion other than that judge barrett has demonstrated professional competence that is exceptional. then they had a committee to look at her writings, all of her writings. they accepted input from 944 people that she's interacted in her professional life. not one negative comment. so forget about what politicians say about judge barrett. forget about what people who don't recognize president trump as being a legitimate president say about judge barrett. forget about what he say, if you want to. look at what people who worked
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with her said that in the law business that know her individually, have worked with her has a judge, as a professor, and they conclude without any doubt she is one of the most gifted people to ever be nominated to the supreme court. there's nothing exotic about judge barrett. she's going tonto the court -- she's going onto the court in about an hour. that's exactly where she needs to be. she is the type of person who has lived the type of life worthy of being nominated. she deserves a large vote in the senate but she won't get t she's not going to get one democratic vote. right off the process if you want to. that's fine. but what about the others? all i can say is that we're going to have an election here in about a week and whatever happens, i'm going to acknowledge the winner when it's all said and done. it may go to the supreme court, i don't no.
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but there will be a day that we know who won, and i'm going to accept those results and i'm going to do with the next president what i've tried to do with this one and every other one -- try to find a way forward on things that are hard, keep the country moving forward. so to the majority leader and the minority leader, a tough place around here now. this, too, shall pass. but this is about judge barrett. this is about her time, her moment. she has done everything you would expect of her. she has exceeded every challenge put in her way. she has impressed everybody she has worked with. she has impressed the country. she is going onto the court because that's where she deserves to be. as to us in the senate, maybe down the road we can get back to the way we used to be.
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i don't know, but i do know this. there's nothing exotic about judge barrett. she is as mainstream as it gets from our side of the aisle, and when it comes to people outside of politics looking at her, it was universal -- highly qualified, highly competent, ready to serve this country as an associate justice of the supreme court. and my last thought. it's hard to be a conservative person of color. that is a very difficult road to hoe in modern american politics. my good friend, tim scott, is a great voice for conservatism, and, tim -- a lot of things said about tim said by nobody else on our side of the aisle, and he's tough, he can handle it. the same for conservative women. judge barrett did not abandon her faith. she embraces it, but she said i
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embrace my fate but as a judge it will not be the rule of amy. it will be the rule of law. it will be the facts. it will be the law, an outcome dictated by the law, not by anything i personally believe. but i will say this. for the young, conservative women out there, who are pro-life and embrace your faith, there is a seat at the table for you. this is historic. this nomination is different. this is a breakthrough for conservative young women. i was honored to be the chairman of the committee that reported out judge barrett to the floor of the senate, and i'm going to be honored to cast my vote to put her on the supreme court exactly where she deserves to be. i yield the floor.
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mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the minority leader. mr. schumer: today, monday, october 26, 2020, will go down as one of the darkest days in the 231-year history of the united states senate. let the record show that tonight the republican senate majority decided to thwart the will of the people and confirm a lifetime appointment to the supreme court in the middle of a presidential election after more than 60 million americans have voted. let the record show that tonight the republican majority will break 231 years of precedent and become the first majority to confirm a supreme court justice this close to election day. and let the record show that tonight the republican majority
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will make a mockery of its own stated principle, that the american people deserve a voice in the selection of supreme court justices, completing the partisan left of two seats on the supreme court using completely contradictory rash analysis. and let the record show that the american people, their lives and rights and freedoms, will suffer the consequences of this nomination for a generation. this entire debate can be summed up in three lies propagated by the republican majority and one great terrible truth. the first lie is that the republican majority is being consistent in following its own standard. what rubbish. after refusing a democratic nominee to the supreme court because an election was eight months away, they will confirm a republican nominee before an
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election that is eight days away. what's leader mcconnell's excuse? he claims that the principle of not confirming justices in presidential years only applies when there is divided government, but this is what leader mcconnell said after justice scalia died. the american people should have a voice in the selection of their next supreme court justice. that's all he said. he didn't say that the american people should have a voice but only when there is divided government. nope, the last bit is ex post facto. if this were really about divided government all along, republican senators would not have promised on the record to follow their own standard if the situation was reversed. i want to use my -- i want you to use my words against me, said the chairman of the judiciary committee. if there is a republican president in 2016 and a vacancy
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occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say lindsey graham said let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination. so the claim by the leader that this is consistent with their own principle, please. rather than accept the consequences of its own words and deeds, the republican majority is lighting its credibility on fire. this hypocritical, 180-degree turn is spectacularly obvious to the american people. the second lie is that the republican majority is justified because of democratic actions on judicial nominations in the past. the republican leader claims that his majority actions are justified by all the bad things democrats did years ago. he claims that every escalation of significance in judicial debates was made by democrats. but in his tortured, convoluted
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history lesson, leader mcconnell left out a whole bunch of chapters. he omitted that republicans bottled up more than 60 judicial nominees by president clinton, refusing them even a hearing. he made no reference to the decision by republican senators to hold open 14 appellate court seats in the 1990's so that a republican president could fill them. instead, a tactic republicans would visit under president obama when republicans used still-partisan filibusters to block his nominees to the d.c. circuit. at the time, republican senators, including my colleague from kentucky, amazingly accused president obama of trying to pack the court by the mere act of dominating judges to vacancies of the second circuit. what a hypocritical second
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standard which appears to be endemic in leader mcconnell's recounting of history. and on top of it all, the leader has asked the senate to play a blame game that dates all the way back to 1987, pointing to a three-minute speech by senator kennedy about robert bork as the original sin in the judicial wars. seriously, that's what he said, because one democrat gave one three-minute speech that republicans didn't like, leader mcconnell can steamroll the minority to confirm a justice in the middle of an election. imagine trying to explain to someone sorry, i have to burn down your house because of something one of your friends said about one of my friends 33 years ago. that's how absurd and obnoxious this game has gotten. that's how unjustifiable the majority's actions are. how flimsy their executives have
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become. the leader's final argument boils down to but you started it, a declaration you would sooner hear in the school yard than on the floor of the united states senate. and the third and perhaps the greatest lie is that the republican majority is confirming judge barrett solely on the basis of her qualifications, not based on her views on the issues. my colleagues insist that judge barrett should be confirmed on her credentials alone. that's all they talk about. they don't talk about her views on the issues. only qualifications. well, this canard is about as apparent as a glass door. everyone can see right through it. what's the real reasons republicans are so desperate to rush judge barrett onto the supreme court? of course it's not because of her qualifications.
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if my republican friends truly believed that the only thing that mattered about a judicial candidate is their qualifications, then merrick garland would be sitting on the supreme court right now. if the republican leader truly believed that judicial appointments were about qualifications and qualifications alone, judge garland would be justice garland right now. judge garland was among the most qualified candidates ever, ever to be nominated to the supreme court. no republican senator has disputed that. but they didn't want judge garland on the bench. they do want judge barrett. they subjected judge garland to an unprecedented partisan blockade, but they are erecting a monument to hypocrisy to rush judge barrett onto the bench. why? it's not because she is more qualified than judge garland was. what's the difference between barrett and garland?
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the difference is not qualifications but views. we know that. we all know that. health care, a woman's rights -- a woman's right to choose, gun safety, you name it. it's not because the far right wants judge barrett's views on the court. it's because the far right wants judge barrett's views on the court but not judge garland's. the truth is this nomination is part of a decades-long effort to tilt the judiciary to the far right, to accomplish through the courts what the radical right and their allies, senate republicans, could never accomplish through congress. senate republicans failed to repeal the affordable care act so president trump and republican attorneys general are suing to eliminate the law in court. republicans would never dare to attempt to repeal roe v. wade in congress. so they pass onerous laws in
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state legislatures that they control to drive that right to the point of near extinction and then provoke the supreme court to review roe v. wade. the far right has never held the majority on the court to limit roe v. wade or griswold, but if judge barrett becomes justice barrett, it very well might. and if you're looking for some hard numbers to prove that the political right considers ideology and not just qualifications, consider this. under justice roberts, there have been 80 cases, 80 decided by a 5-4 majority in which the five justices nominated by republican presidents came down on one side, and the four justices nominated by democratic presidents came down on the other. 80 cases, exactly the same majority. calling balls and strike? and in an amazing coincidence,
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all the republican-nominated justices think it's a strike, and all the democratic ones think it's a ball. or vice versa. it would be the most remarkable coincidence in the history of mathematics if nine justices simply calling balls and strikes exhibited the same split in the exact same configuration 80 times. we all know what the game is here, so stop pretending. stop pretending there are entire organizations dedicated to advancing far-right judges. stop pretending that the political right doesn't spend millions of dollars to prop up the far-right federalist society and support certain judicial candidates because they only want qualified judges. no, they want to systematically and permanently tilt the courts to the far right. so does judge barrett have views
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on legal issues? you bet she does. and that brings me to the one great and terrible truth. -- truth about this nomination. the american people will suffer the consequences of judge barrett's far-right, out of the mainstream views for generations. judge barrett came before the judiciary committee and refused to answer nearly any question of substance. that's the new game at the hearings. she would not answer questions about health care. she would not say whether voter intimidation is illegal. she would not say if she thought medicare and social security were constitutional. she could not even offer platitudes in responses to questions about the peaceful transfer of power and refused to say if climbing was real. -- if climate change was real. it's not because judge barrett isn't allowed to answer these questions. it's because she knows how
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unfavorable her views on the issues might sound to the american people. but the thing is, we do know how judge barrett thinks. she views certain rights like the right to privacy through a pinhole. she was closely affiliated with organizations who advocated the outright repeal of roe v. wade. but she views other rights, like the right to keep and bear arms, as almost infinitely expansive. she once authored a dissent arguing the federal government does not have the authority to ban all felons, felons from owning guns. only a few hours ago the republican senator from missouri proudly declared from the senate floor that judge barrett is the most openly pro-life judicial nominee to the supreme court in his lifetime. quote, this is an individual, he said, of judge barrett, who has been open in her criticism of
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that illegitimate decision, roe v. wade. he was being more honest than most of the talk appeared here, which says it's only about qualifications. judge barrett has proudly fashioned herself in the mold of her mentor, justice scalia, who before his death appeared set to declare union fees to be unconstitutional, driving a stake into the heart of american -- the american labor movement. while american workers break their back to make ends meet and earn ever less of ever-growing corporate profits, what might justice scalia's former clerk portend for the future of labor rights? what about votings rights? judge barrett has suggested that certain rights are civic rights, including voting rights and can be restrained by the government. but other rights, like the right to keep and bear arms, are
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individual rights that cannot be subject to even the most commonsense restrictions. and, of course, what about health care? judge barrett has argued that justice roberts got it wrong when he upheld the affordable care act. she said that if justice roberts read the statute properly, the supreme court would have had to invalidate -- her words -- the law. that's the same thing, by the way, that donald trump said about justice roberts and the a.c.a. that's the great and terrible truth about this nomination. judge barrett holds far-right views well outside the american mainstream, and those views matter. to the vast majority of americans. they matter to women facing the hardest decision of her lives. they matter to lgbtq americans, like my daughter, who only five years ago won the legal right to
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marry who she loves and could lose it just as fast. they matter to little girls like 7-year-old penny fineman from west hemp stead, long island, born with a neurological disorder, bound to a wheel care, attached to a feeding tube, who is alive today -- alive today -- because of the affordable care act. we're talking about the rights and freedoms of the american people, the right to the affordable health care, to make private medical decisions with their doctors, to join a union, to vote without impediment, to marry who they love and not be fired because of who they are. judge amy coney barrett will decide whether all those rights will be sustained or be curtailed for generations. and based on her views on the issues -- not on her qualifications but her views on
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the issues -- judge barrett puts every single one of those fundamental rights, american rights, at risk. so i want to be clear with the american people. the senate majority is -- this republican senate majority is breaking faith with you, doing the exact opposite of what it promised four years ago, because they wish to cement a majority on the supreme court that threatens your fundamental rights. and i want to be very clear with my republican colleagues. you may win this vote and amy coney barrett may become the next associate justice of the supreme court, but you will never, never get your credibility back. and the next time the american people give democrats a majority in this chamber, you will have
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forfeited the right to tell us how to run that majority. you may win this vote, but in the process, you will speed the precipitous decline of faith in our institution, our politics, the senate, and the supreme court. you will give an already divided and angry nation a fresh outrage, an open wound in this chamber that will take a very long time to heal. you walk a perilous road. i know that you think this will eventually blow over. but you're wrong. the american people will never forget this blatant act of bad faith. they will never forget your complete disregard for their voices, for the people standing online right now and voting their choice, not your choice.
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they will never forget the lack of consist tency, honor, decency, papers, and principle. they will never forget the rights that are limited, constrained, or taken away by a far-right majority on the supreme court, and history will record that by brute political force, in contradiction to its stated principles, this republican majority confirmed a lifetime appointment on the eve of an election. a justice who will alter the lives and freedoms of the american people while they stood in line to vote. leader mcconnell has lectured the senate before on consequences of a majority's action. you'll regret this he told democrats once, and you may regret it a lot sooner than you
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think. listen to those words. you'll regret this, and you may regret it a lot sooner than you think. i would change just one word. my colleagues may regret this for a lot longer than they think. here at this late hour, at the end of this sordid chapter in the history of the senate, the history of the supreme court, my deepest and greatest sadness is for the american people. generations yet unborn will suffer the consequences of this nomination, as the globe gets warmer, as workers continue to fall behind, as unlimited dark money floods our politics, as reactionary state legislatures curtail a woman's right to choose, gerrymandered districts and limit the rights of minorities to vote, my deepest,
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greatest, and most abiding sadness tonight is for the american people and what this nomination will mean for their lives, their freedoms, their fundamental rights. monday, october 26, 2020 -- it will go down as one of the darkest days in the 231-year history of the united states senate. i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i think my remarks may encroach somewhat on the time previously set for beginning the vote. i ask consent that i be allowed to finish. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: well, this
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evening the senate will render one of the most consequential judgments it can ever deliver. we will approve a lifetime appointment to our nation's highest court. since the ink dried on the constitution, only 114 men and women have been entrusted to uphold the separation of powers, protect people's rights, and dispense impartial justice on the supreme court. in a few minutes, judge amy coney barrett of indiana will join their ranks. this body has spent weeks studying the nominee's record. we've examined 15 years of scholarly writings, about 100 opinions from the seventh
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circuit, and testimonials from legal experts running the gamut from close colleagues to total strangers. there have been one-on-one meetings for every senator who wanted one and a week of intensive hearings. all of it -- all of it -- has pointed to one conclusion. this is one of the most brilliant, admired, and well-qualified nominees in our lifetime. intellectually, judge barrett is an absolute all star. she graduated number one in her class at notre dame law school. she clerked on the second highest federal court and the supreme court. then she returned to her alma mater and become an award-winning academic.
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judge barrett's mastery of the constitution gives her a firm grasp on the judicial role. she's pledged to apply the law as written, not as she wishes it were. her testimony, her writings, and her reputation confirm a total and complete commitment to impartiality. and the nominee's personal integrity and strength of character are literally beyond reproach. she earned the highest rating from the left-leaning american bar association. they marvel at, quote, breadth, diversity, and strength of the positive feedback they received from judges and lawyers of all political persuasions.
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if confirmed, this daughter of louisiana and indiana will become the only current justice with a law degree from any school not named harvard or yale. any school not named harvard or yale. she'll be the first mother of school-aged children to ever sit on the court. by every account, the supreme court is getting not just a talented lawyer but a fantastic person. we've heard moving testimony from former students whom judge barrett went out of her way to help and to mentor. her past clerks describe an exemplary boss. her fellow scholars describe a winsome, respectful colleague who is tailor-made for the atmosphere of the court.
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by any objective standard, colleagues, judge barrett deserves to be confirmed to the supreme court. the american people agree. in just a few minutes, she'll be on the supreme court. two weeks ago a cnn journalist made this observation that i found particularly interesting. this is what he said. let's be honest. in another political age, judge amy coney barrett would be getting 70 votes or more in the u.s. senate because of her qualifications. in a different era. now, we know that's not going to happen. these are not the days when justice scalia was confirmed 98-0 and justice ginsburg was confirmed 96-3. and by the way, i voted for both
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ginsburg and breyer. seems like a long time ago now. we spent a lot of energy in recent weeks debating this matter. i think we can all acknowledge that both sides in the senate have sort of parallel oral histories about the last 30 or so years. each side feels the other side struck first and struck worse and has done more to electrify the atmosphere around here about confirmations. now, predictably enough, i think our account is based on what actually happened. what actually occurred, factually accurate. i was there.
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i know what happened. i've laid it out earlier, and i'll talk about some of it again so the american people may understand how we got to where we are. it was the senate democrats, our colleagues over here who amazingly enough don't seem to be on the floor at the moment, who spent the early 2000's boasting about their brand-new strategy of filibustering qualified nominees from a republican president. proud of it. found a new way to halt the process, stop those crazy right-wing judges that bush 43 was going to send up. they pioneered it. because they knew what the precedent was at that point. at that point, as we discussed before, it just wasn't done.
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oh, you could do it, you could, but you didn't, and the best evidence that you shouldn't do it was the clarence thomas nomination, confirmed 52-48, and all of us know that any unof us in this body has a lot of power to object. so in any one of the 100 senators at that time, including people who were opposed to justice thomas like joe biden or kennedy could have gotten 60 votes and he wouldn't be on the supreme court. that's how strong it was until the democratic leader led the effort in the early 2000's to establish the new standard. well, after establishing a new standard, they got kind of weary of it. in 2013, the called nuclear option was implemented because republicans were holding
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president obama's nominees to the same standard that they had themselves created. so when the shoe got on the other foot, they didn't like it too much. it was too tight. senate democrats both in 1992 and 2007 helpfully volunteered how they would have dealt with a nominee like we did in 2016. the then-chairman of the judiciary committee, joe biden, helpfully volunteered in 1992 when bush 41 was running for reelection that had a vacancy occurred, they wouldn't fill it. there was no vacancy, but he just helpfully volunteered how they would deal with it if they had one, because the vacancy won't fill it. well, to one-up him, leader harry reid and his friend now
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the democratic leader, chuck schumer, said 18 months, 18 months before the end of the bush 43 period if a vacancy on the supreme court occurred, they wouldn't fill it. that's fact. what we're talking about here are the facts. that's how we got to where we are. i understand my democratic friends seem to be terribly persuaded by their version of all of this. all i can tell you is i was there, i know what happened, and my version is totally accurate. the truth is on all of this, we owe the country a broader discussion. competing claims about senate customs cannot fully explain where we are. procedural finger pointing does not explain the torrent of
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outrage and threats which this nomination and many previous ones have evoked from the political left. there are deeper reasons why these loud voices insist it is a national crisis. you heard it. it's a national crisis when a republican president makes a nominee for the supreme court. catastrophe looms right around the corner. the country will be fundamentally changed forever. when a republican president makes a supreme court nominee. they have hauled out the very same tactics for 50 years, 50 years. some of the opposition's more intense, but the doomsday predictions about the outcome of
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nominating these extremist-like extremist-like -- extremists like john paul stevens, david souter. i mean, the country was hanging in the balance. really? well, somehow everyone knows in advance it's nominations like bork, thomas, alito, gorsuch, kavanaugh, and barrett are certain to whip up national friend sis -- frenzies. while nominations like ginsburg, sotomayor, and kagan are just calm events by comparison. this blaring asymmetry predates our recent disputes. and it comes, my colleagues, from a fundamental disagreement on the role of a judge in our republic. we just have a fundamental difference of opinion. we just heard the democratic leader name all these things that are threatened by this
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nominee. it sounds very similar to the tunes we've heard before. we like many americans want judges to fulfill a limited role the constitution assigns to them. sticks to text, resolve cases impartially, and leave policy making to the people and their representatives, which is what we do here. we just spent four years qirnlg brilliant, qualified constitutionalists to the supreme court and lower courts who understand their roles. 53 circuit judges, over 200 judges in total, and we're about to confirm the third supreme court justice. what they all have in common -- brilliant, smart, and know what a judge is supposed to be.
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the left thinks the framers of our country got this all wrong. they botched the job. the people who wrote the constitution didn't understand what a judge ought to be. several senate democrats have reaffirmed in recent days here in this discussion. they actually find it quaint or naive. to think the judge would simply follow the law? quaint or naive? scalia used to say if you want to make policy, why don't you run for office. that's not what we do here. gorsuch said we don't wear red robes or blue robes. we wear black robes. what they want is activist judges. they made it quite clear, the
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democratic leader just a few minutes ago made it quite clear. so what they are looking for is a small panel of lawyers with elite education to reason backwards from outcomes and enlighten all the rest of us, enlighten all the rest of us with their morals and political judgments. whether the constitution speaks to the issue or not. they know best for us. no matter what the constitution or the law may say. and, you know, for the last several decades, in many cases, that's what they have gotten. one activist decision after noarg, giving us subjective preferences of one side the course of law.
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across a variety of social, moral, and policy matters like a healthy society would leave to democratic debate the personal opinion of judges have superseded the will of the people. now, they call that a success, and they want more of it. president obama actually was refreshingly honest about this. he said he wanted to appoint judges who had empathy. think about that for a minute, colleagues. what if you are the litigant before the judge -- for whom the judge does not have empathy? you're in tough shape. you're in tough shape. so you give them credit for being pretty honest about this. that's what they're looking for. the smartest, leftist people they can put to make all the
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decisions for the rest of us, rather than leaving it to the messy democratic process to sort these things out the way the framers intended. and that is why, it's clearly why we have taken on such an outsized, combative atmosphere with regard to these confirmations. that's why they have become so contentious. because they want to control not only the legislative body but the judicial decisions as well. let me just say this -- there is noggin eight about legal training that equips people to be moral philosophers. there is just nothing inherent in legal training that equips people to be moral philosophers.
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and incidentally, as i just said, that's why these confirmations have taken on such an outsized, unhealthy significance. the remarks we just heard from across the aisle show exactly why the framers wanted to stop the courts from becoming clumsy, indirect battlefields for subjective debates that belong in this chamber and over in the house and in state legislatures around the country. the left does not rage and panic at every constitutional judge because they will simply enact our party's policy preferences. any number of recent rulings make that very clear. the problem that every judicial seat occupied by a constitutionalist is one fewer opportunity for the left to go on offense. for the left to go on offense. at the end of the day, this is a
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valid debate. the difference of opinion on the judicial role is something the senate and our system are built to handle, but there is something else, colleagues, our system cannot bear. as you have heard tonight, we now have one political faction essentially claiming they now see legitimate defeat as an oxymoron. they now see legitimate defeat as an oxymoron. our colleagues cannot point to a single senate rule that's been broken, not one. they have made one false claim about committee procedure which the parliamentarian dismissed. the process comports entirely with the constitution. we don't have any doubt, do we, that if the shoe was on the
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other foot, they would be confirming this nominee. and have no doubt if the shoe was on the other foot in 2016, they would have done the same thing. why? because they had the elections that made those decisions possible. the reason we were able to make the decision we did in 2016 is because we had become the majority in 2014. the reason we were able to do what we did in 2016, 2018, and 2020 is because we had the majority. no rules were broken whatsoever. so all of these outlandish claims are utterly absurd, and the louder they scream, the more inaccurate they are. you can always tell, just check the decibel level on the other side. the higher it goes up, the less
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accurate they are. our democratic colleagues keep repeating the word illegitimate as if repetition would make it through. you just say it often enough, does it make it true? i don't think so. we're a constitutional republic. legitimacy does not flow from their feelings. you know, legitimacy is not the result of how they feel about it you know, you can't win them all, and elections have consequences. and what this administration and this republican senate has done is exercise the power that was given to us by the american people in a manner that is entirely within the rules of the senate and the constitution of the united states.
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the irony indeed, think about how many times our democratic friends have said -- have been berating president trump for allegedly refusing to accept legitimate outcomes he does not like. how many times have we heard that? president trump won't accept outcomes he does not like. well, they're flunking that very test right before our eyes. that's their problem. they don't like the outcome. well, the reason this outcome came about is because we had a series of successful elections. one of our two major political parties increasingly claims that any -- any -- political system that deals them a setback is somehow illegitimate.
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and this started actually long before this vacancy. as we all know. one year ago senate democrats sent the court -- the court, directly -- an amicus brief that read like a note from a gangster film. they wrote, the supreme court is not well, in their amicus brief. the supreme court is not well. perhaps the court can heal itself, heal itself, before the public demands it be restructured, restructured. in march of this year, the democratic leader stood outside the court, went over in front of the court, and threatened multiple justices by name. here's what he said. you won't know what hit you if
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you go forward with these awful decisions. you will pay the price. that's the democratic leader of the senate in front of the supreme court mentioning justices by name and in effect saying, if you rule the wrong way, bad things are going to happen. for multiple years now, democrats in this body and on the presidential campaign stump have sought to revive the discredited concept of court packing. every high school student in america learns about franklin roosevelt's unprecedented assault on judicial independence. so now they're thinking about repeating it. former vice president biden has spent decades condemning the idea here in the senate immediately says he'll look into it. most importantly it the late ruth bader ginsburg said last
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year -- last year -- when asked about this, she said, nine is the right number. that's the vacancy we're filling right now. i don't think any of them have quoted heard on this issue, have you? ruth bader ginsburg said nine is the right number. these latest threats follow decades of subtler attempts to take independent judges and essentially is put them on political probation. you don't rule the way i want, something dire might happen. how many consecutive nominees have democrats and the media insisted would, quote, tip the balance of the court? how often the do we hear that? tip the balance of the court. has anyone tallied up how many hard right turns the courts have supposedly taken in our
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lifetimes? all this ominous talk is a transparent attempt to apply improper pressure to impartial judges. rule how we want, or we're coming after the court. rule how we want or we're coming after the court. vote how we want or we'll destroy the senate. by adding new states. these have been the democratic demands. this is not about separation of powers. it's a hostage situation, a hostages situation. elections come and go. political power is never permanent, but the consequences could be cataclysmic in our colleagues across the aisle let partisan passions boil over and scorch -- scorch -- the ground rules of our government.
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the framers built the senate to be the nation's firewall. over and over, this institution, our institution, has stood up to stop recklessness that could have damaged our country forever. so tonight, colleagues, we're called on to do that again. tonight we can place a woman of unparalleled ability and temperament on the supreme court. we can take another historic step toward a judiciary that fulfills its role with excellence but does not grasp after power that our constitutional system intentionally assigns somewhere else. and we can stand loud and clear that the united states senate does not bow to intemperate threats. voting to confirm this nominee should make every single senator
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proud. so i urge my colleagues to do just that. a senator: i observe the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: the president pro tempore: a quorum is present. all postcloture time has expired.
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the question occurs on the nomination of amy coney barrett of indiana to be associate justice of the supreme court of the united states. is there a sufficient second? there is a sufficient second. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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