tv U.S. Senate Senate Leadership Debate on Amy Coney Barrett CSPAN October 26, 2020 10:14pm-12:07am EDT
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? here? >> mr. president i asked the question as i have for several weeks now, why are we here? what if my constituents in delaware, as i heard earlier today, why is the 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 permanentlylo closed. schools all over the country either not yet open or just barely opened, and thousands upon thousands of americans died alone in pain, and comforted by family, uncertain of how they came to be in this place and cared for by their country. eight.5million infected 220,000 or more dead. we are in the middle of a tragic pandemic and a recession made worse by our presence bungled mishandling of the pandemic, and instead of coming together to provide the reliefteng that all states d
all people are calling for, we are doing this. we are doing this. instead, my republican colleagues are walking over dangerous precipice doing something according to graham was unthinkable just two years ago , in the last ten days before of presidential election, in the last month before a presidential election, they are ramming through, for a lifetime appointment to the supreme courtur court, president trumps nominee. in a rushed partisan process in the midst of an ongoing presidential election. why? why are we here and why are we doing this? i've been a lot of talk from my colleagues on the judiciary committee and here on the floor about justices and how they are not policymakers but
distinct from politics, abstract methodological terms and ideas like original is on and judges and justices as neutral arbiter's whose decisions couldn't possibly be predicted. but you work this hard to confirm a supreme court justice in the middle of the pandemic while the majority are voting intentions - - and tens of millions have voted. election day is just eighties away. and one third of us are up for election. you don't go against your own promise after you claimed as a matter of high principle justices should not be concerned during presidential elections. and after you bought one - - blocked a highly qualified nominee for exactly that reason because you care most about neutral arbiter's and neutral methodology.
no. this race to fill the seat is about political power. it's about knowing the middle on - - the american people turned against the president especially because of his failed flaws, a disastrous response to this pandemic. we are not turning the corner as he declare just this week. we have a record high number of cases and dozens of states, and outbreak uncontrolled, unmanaged and leadership in caring. the election is upon us many are up for reelection, 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 one 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 in the judiciary committee, the hard right turn will have lasting serious and significant and devastating consequences to the american people. after digging into and studying judge barrett's record, her writings and speeches and 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 further to the right to put at risk long-standing rates the american people hold dear and nearly every aspect of modern life. simply put, and judge barrett
i am convinced open a new chapter of conservative judicial activism among anything we have seen. 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 with the majority of americans protected by the aca. le hasne watching at home had my colleagues a for the last decade, the top priorities for repealing the affordable care act. every republican senator on the committee talks publicly repeatedly, and so has are president. despite their best efforts, me dnd my republican colleagues fail to get the vote here on the floor of the united states senate so now they are going to overturn the aca and try to do it for the supreme court.
this is where judge barrett comes in. as she admitted during my questioning, judge barrett has written in no uncertain term terms, she thinks chief justice roberts got it wrong in his ruling eight years ago upholding the aca against constitutional challenge. she wrote this article just three years ago and 2017 and ndorsoon after was on the short list for the supreme court. meanwhile the justice department under president trumps leadership, has joined the challenge of the aca, now back in front of the supreme tiurt. that will be heard from the court two weeks from tomorrow. president trump and his administration are arguing in no uncertainou terms the court must get rid of the entire aca. my republican colleagues have c said this is fear mongering and it is a different case and a differentue issue.
anyone who thinks this characterization, read the brief filed by the solicitor general of the united states to be signed and cosigned by 18 attorneys general. president trump himself lashed out a chief justice roberts over and over again for upholding the affordable care act and protections for a majority of americans and pledged as candidate trump to 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 of his. chance. but it's not just the affordable care act that is on the supreme court agenda, he made it clear he wants the nominee to do three things.
overturn the aca, overturn roe vs wade, and most chillingly for the future of our democracy, hand him the election if there is a dispute and the court said it makes ons way to the supreme court. on my second point about overturning roe vs wade is that is think if it is correctly decided because it is the subject of litigation currently contested. but she refused to say as well whether the foundational case decided 55 years ago that protects the right to privacy and use contraceptive and she refuses to say if that was righ right. in the recent past even indisputably conservative nominees, nominees chosen by republican presidents such as chief justice robert and alito and kavanaugh said griswold was rightly decided and set a
precedent. i see judge barrett's hesitation and refusal to say so. and more broadly, judge barrett's approach to precedent suggest she will lead the way to reverse long-standing cases upon whichs our rights rely. precedent that protects the rights and freedoms that many americans rely on today. the right to be safe in your homes from government intrusio intrusion, the right to marry whomever you love, the right to control your own body. but i have come away convinced that judge barrett, if confirmed to the court will overturn that president from which she disagrees and this is rooted in the things she gshas said as a law professor and the judge.
judges and justices should be will to overturn regardless of how many people have ordered their lives around those decisions and have come to rely on them. she even said those with her conservative originalist philosophy have abandoned a commitment to judicial restraint. as i made clear in my questioning, the cases that could be in jeopardy with justice barrett on the supreme court covers a vast range of. issues. issues, which together affects hundreds of millions of americans lives to consumer protection, marriage equality, criminal justice, in the past several decades, the supreme court decided more than 120 cases with a five / four margin with scalia in a
dissent. so just to see the scope and reach of the consequences of the decisions made hereade tonight. we looked at what would happen if justice ginsburg and the majority words one - - was replaced by justice scalia philosophy are for the right. these cases include not only the key ruling of the affordable care act and sibelius but also those upheld on the private jurisprudence starting back in griswold , pill the idea that marriage equality was the law of the land. bullinger that held up race conscious admissions policy tennessee versus lane to help state governments to comply with the ada. arizona state legislature versus the redistricting
commission to hold the constitutionality of nonpartisan redistricting. massachusetts versus epa to allow to regulate greenhouse gases which prohibits executing people for crimes committed while they were children. think of the scope and reach to native american rights and consumer rights and environmental protection. comments on the floor and in the committee focused on the affordable care act. focusing on reproductive rights and privacy. but the scope and reach of the g.consequences that even to this day i fear as a nation we haven't fully reckoned with the impact six / three conservative court will have on so many aspects of our lives.ru as for the third demand that a justice help decide the
electio election, deeply dismayed to hear judge barrett refused to commit to recusing herself manyn case involving and election dispute. president trump is the reason i asked that question. president trump himself is actively undermining the integrity of our election with voter fraud encouraging voter suppression engaging ingi a disinformation campaign so egregious it's hard to believe it to be coming from an american let alone an american president. the statements have been so indefensible that when my colleagues ask judge barrett if the president should commit to conducting a peaceful transition of power if he loses and election an obvious no-brainer basic civics judge barrett said she couldn't respond because president trump statement into a partisan political question
before now, to my knowledge no president has ever demanded that his nominee to the supreme court case to seat and handyman election. check and to confirm the supreme court justice for circumstances liket these just a days before a final election day in a presidential election at the very least given the unprecedented overreaching inappropriate comments about the election and her nomination last judge barrett if she would we can recuse herself in the event of am dispute n asked her to make that
commitment and she wouldn't do so. it is anything but hypothetical. just last week they decided four / four on a question arising from pennsylvania and came to the brink of adopting a radical theory of republicans in pennsylvania to empower the supreme court to override a state supreme court interpretation of their own state laws and constitutionsdi and to disenfranchise thousands of voters. a new justice barrett, joining the i court could provide the fifth vote in support of this outrageous theory which her mentor, justice scalia accepted with bush versus gore. and now they are again preparing to file in the supreme court a renewed claim.
in light of this conflict of interest and the appearance of bias, her involvement in this case cap lasting negative to get it on - - negative consequences in the core and in the democracy urge my republican colleagues to consider it with the democracy and democracy 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 senior senator from texas. >> mr. president, that was quite a speech from our friend delaware. if i had to categorize it this is the chicken little argument the sky is falling with amy coney barrett and this is the end of civilization in the world as we know it.t. the hypocrisy and the irony of the art on - - argument that if the shoe was on the other foot, senator schumer that said everything is on the table if we win the majority making dc and puerto rico states that to somehow show the superhuman self-restraint this is entirely consistent
given the fact that presidents first term doesn't run out until january 20th of next year all senatorsat elected serving to the end of this year at least it is somewhat entertaining but beside the point that this good judge that this is part of a vast conspiracy to subvert the constitution and overrule all of these precedents that the senator f from delaware considers single sink. i'm happy the senate will nominee a qualified candidate to the supreme court judge amy
coney barrett is as impressive as they come. america saw it. initially they did not know her but when they came to know her through her testimony on the judiciary committee, she became very popular. in my state, 59 percent of the people in a recent poll said they wanted us to confirm judge barrett now before the election. 59 percent. and it's no wonder why graduating first in her class from notre dame law, clerked for the district of columbia court of appeals and the supreme cour court, practice law before transitioning to academia where she has written and taught constitutional law and federal courts and statutory interpretation for two decades. in the last three years serving with distinction on the seventh circuit court of appeals. her time in the classroom and the courtroom have given her
an understanding of law that if you can rival. with her confirmation hearing she skillfully answer questions of legal doctrine and constitutional issues and president without having a page of notes in front ofev her. and as impressive as judge barrett deep knowledge of the law is, it's only part of what makes them an ideal candidate for the supreme court. now more than ever the judiciary along with other elected officials with political bias and it is polarizing people are highly agitated including my friend delaware to stoke the turnout
but i will say this anyway the judges they can't do that and still be judges. in order for the high court to serve the proper role under the constitution, and has to be made up of men and women of great integrity, restraint and self-discipline. and who will discharge their duties to announce the decision in the case before you heardre it or promises of how you have these contentious matters which i know frustrates offense from delaware and others. judge barrett is not onlyco committed to doing this not
plotting decisions by political motivation or favor but has the record to back it up she is joined with her colleagues in 95 percent of the 600 cases n-95 percent consensus with the three-judgeut panel. somebody who will disregard the judicial oath. and has consistently shown the fidelity to the law and the impartiality for the supreme court justice. and with these qualifications the democratic colleagues have repeatedly tried to make this nominee out to be a radical
suggesting she would violate her both the same oath to uphold and defend the constitution that we take a senators. there's nothing in her background or her character that would suggest she would do something so brazen are so wrong. some on the left of attacked her because of her catholic faith and also tried to convince the american people she is on some sort of crusade. to take healthcare away from american families. how ridiculous is that? or she would slowly chip away at our freedoms and our liberties. the reason we have seen hysterical attacks 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. but those deliberative body of work through she understands the role of a judge but is limited as it is under the constitutional system that is part of what terrifies our colleagues on the other side of the aisle. and is more political than judicial and with those policy judgments to be allow the congress or to lose the election. and an outcome of cases before the court. she won't do and shouldn't do
it. asking everything from healthcare to abortion to climate change, they want to know right now before she is even on the court before she's even on the case and then rightly declined to invoke to the ginsburg rule from the 1993 confirmation hearing presided over by joe biden when he was head of the judiciary committee of with baderit ginsburg. a lawyer with the civil liberties union has been known for her pioneering work on behalf of women's rights but held some pretty radical views. so the senators out of curiosity, if nothing else, wanted to ask her about those and she declined. as she should have.
because it is an appropriate to make predictions or provide hints 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. they certainly shouldn't commit to an outcome on a hypotheticalit case. and during the confirmation process. how would you feel the judgeth to you were before had previously said if i hear a case like that i will decide against this party for 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 trump judges or bush judges or clinton judges. i agree that is the ideal. men and women in black robes cannot stick their thumb on the scales of justice to give a win to any cause or any individual or any party. it is antithetical to our constitutional system. i hope this process will help begin a way to guide our courts back to our proper function in thend constitution. and to remind all of us what has rightly been called the crown jewels of our constitution that is the independent judiciary. judges whose pay cannot be cut during tenure in office and
can serve for life if they want to. that is the ultimate of political independence. those of the crown jewels. because judges apply the law that congress rights, it interprets the president of other court and interpret thet constitution. to give unelected individuals the power to make policy and have the agenda to accomplish their personal or political goals, would be the opposite of what our constitution comprehends. there is no question judge barrett has a brilliant legal mind and a deep respect and an unwavering commitment to the rule of off the record is spotless. how do i know that? it wasn't you would've heard about it. it is spotless.
her characters beyond reproach. and virtually everyone who has worked with her learned from judge barrettro has offered the full throated endorsement of her nomination. all of the evidence points to one simple fact. amy coney barrett is exceptionally qualified to serve on the supreme court. i have faithi in judge barrett's ability to fairly interpret the law and apply to cases beforehe her. nothing more and nothing less. mr. president i believe amy coney barrett will be an outstanding supreme court justice and proud to support her nomination. >> mr. president. >> the senator from illinois. >> mr. president, we are faced with the basic questions.
the first question couldn't be more basic. why are we here? if you told the american people the united states senate was in session five days ahr row leading to the weekend and asked them what the order of business was before the senate they would say silly question. it is obvious.de it has to be the pandemic facing america. has to be the fact 225,150 americans have died from coronavirus. eight.7million infected, and most certainly, because the united states has recorded more than 85000 cases just this last friday, the highest number of cases recorded within a 24 hour period since the beginning of the pandemic. saturday was the same. they would guess the united states senate was in session to do something about this deadly epidemic affecting the united states of america in a more serious way than any
country in the world. they would wonder what we are doing to provide more testing and protection for people. certainly theyth would question the statement by the chief of staff mark meadows who said just yesterday that the trump administration "will not and then it for reelection to be responsive to protect their families and we might ask us are you doing anything to help the 23 million unemployed? certainly must be working on that m to because these families were cut off from the federal unemployment supplemental on july 31st so for the month of august and september and now into october, the amount of money comingey in to keep their homes and families
together has been dramatically diminished if they assume that they're wrong we have not been consumed with those d fe-and-death issues of this pandemic at all. instead we are consumed with a political mission how do we reach this point taking up the supreme court nomination? in the midst of a presidential election for the first time in the history of the united eio state states? because of the determination of the republican majeed one - - majority leader in the senate of kentucky, four years ago you will remember the antonin scalia vacancy, president obama decided he was still president of the united states in the eighth year of his presidency but senator mcconnell said no you're not you do not have the presidential authority to
serve on - - to fill us up inf court vacancy because it's a last year presidency. you are a lame-duck there is an election coming what the american people decide. that was the mcconnell rule four years ago. and they marched in lockstep behind him the vacancy was the death of the ruth bader ginsburg and now he's changed his story completely. and they are marching obediently behind him. and now he can fill a vacancy evene in the midst of a presidential election and that's why we are here today. that this political errand is more important than the covid-19 pandemic. more important than the runaway infection rates in 20 states and more important to deal with unemployment and the
dysfunctions of this economy under this president. psp were asked basic questions of the judiciary committee and those that were posed to amy coney barrett a law school professor at notre dame now on the seventh circuit court of appeals. if you're asking if she is studied in the law with a head full of odd no question as a law school professor and she knows about the law no doubt about it. and then to go beyond that debt on - - the basic question. really wanted to know not just in her head what she has in
heart when it comes to the law. one of the senators who spoke chided us because we keptol bringing photographs to the committee hearings those on the affordable care act. to characterize as theater in lake into these images to cut out at sporting events. let me tell you, the ones that i presented from illinois represent real life stories and families who depend on the affordable care act for billing the supreme court vacancy? that's a the president did and said in advance i will fill these vacancies to eliminate the verbal cares act. is this a leap of faith on our part to take the president and his word? word he consider lying to the
american people? that amy coney barrett is part of a political agenda to say that roe vs wade while you're at it and also to move forward er there is an election contest. and doesn't have an end .-middle-dot tweets 25 times a day whatever crosses his mind and that is his agenda when it comes to filling the supreme court vacancy. when we askwh and she denies any promises have been made but for those that convince the president and the people in the white house and people would build the mission if she came to the supremean court. if you look at the issues involved, it's not just her compassion with the affordable
care act and 23 million americans covered by insurance, 600,000 in illinoi illinois, is not just the courage to stand up to this president if there is an election year contest coming before the supreme court. it is really a she is committed to preserving the pillars of modern law, the rights of wome women, ruth bader ginsburg created a vacancy there's hardly a person in modern history who spent more of her life dedicated to the rights of women. is amy coney barrett going to follow in that tradition? it's a legitimate question. racism. will we deal with racism in an honest way? i will get to that in a moment when i speak to her original is on motivation. marriage equality, privacy
, all of these issues are on the table. i do have to disagree with my colleagues from texas that preceded me. i just don't believe the law is robotic. nor do i believe there is a simple formula to be used to guarantee an outcome in a case that i said with judge barrett in our private conversation before the hearing. there would it be five / four cases if they all come to the same conclusion. we asked amy coney barrett so many questions about basic law right at the heart of the constitution not pending litigation like can this president or any president unilaterally decide to change the date of the presidential
election? that is pretty basic. i think is covered by three different sections in this constitution. she refused to answer because of the possibility that there would be litigation before the court on that subject. what about the intimidation against voters trying to cast their votes? she can answer that one either for the same reason. so what about climate change judge barrett told us she had developed any thoughts on climate change. really cracks 48 yearshe old, lawyer, loss one - - law school professor mother seven but no thoughts on climate change? you have to ask yourself what is the purpose of that hearing if those are the kinds of answers we faced? certainly we were not asked about pending wou litigation. but she will stay she was and
originalist when it came to thinking with the law and thew constitution. ritualism isn't a foreign nlanguage you pick up as a battle but a mindset and a mission statement and the belief the original text reveals all the answers. i doubt that very much. that is may get the jurisprudence to take us back to the good old days because were really launched a ritualis ritualism, occurred in the 19 fifties brown the board of education. the southern states were not ready. the northern states were not either. and the critics of the supreme court decision said it was judicial activism to denigrate the public schools of america. they were critical of the court that went too far calling for warns impeachment and more and said you should've stuck with the original constitution.
that and give african-americans the right to vote then considered to be three for some american citizen. so those so-called originalist of that day it didn't and with brown versus board of education the case that argued to have privacy in american lives that can be overcome by the state with the interracial marriage was permissible and then the case of roe vs wade. the ultimate case when it came to privacy and liberty. those who come before us and tell us what is really at stake is restraint on the court, the self-discipline. you heard all those words to make sure that justices don't pursue policy.
think of all of those things in terms of brown versus board of education when they overrule plessy versus ferguson decades before and said moving forward forward, we believe this constitution guarantees to every child the right to an education. regardless of race. from university of california on this a ritualism theory. it was antonin scalia who gave great popularity and a lot of people followed scalia because he was cerebral and fun to be with and spoke to a luncheon of democratic senators that i was able to attend but his views were pretty strict and rigid to pursue the idea that this would be the first amendment to be the same thing
adopted in 1791. and it turns out the circumstances and all those cases change so dramatically in america. judge amy coney barrett argued she was originalist in arguing with clarence thomas legal thinking. and that gives me pause and comes to a head full of offer sure the approach is opposed in a way to argue against change and evolution in america and is necessary. so it would be unconstitutional to elect a woman as president or vice
president and with the pronoun he and when you are stuck with the language you find yourself reaching conclusions and that's consistent with american lawyers or values today. this is more than just another nomination it comes at a moment in time where she'd be focusing on the deadly pandemic facing america we show spent five straight days coming up with the covid relief both of those desperate for help today and peace of mind and the strategy which we are facing. the nomination which comes before us with the rules of the senate to be twisted and turned to create a political opportunity for senator mcconnell call and sadly a
moment in time when a nominee for the supreme court wants to bring to us a political way of thinking, legal way of thinking that is inconsistent when it comes to human rights and civil rights. we may never have had brown versus board of education and the others that i mentioned. . . . as the chairman of the
judiciary committee it is my honor to speak on the floor about this nomination which i think is historic from my point of view. before the committee we have a nomination of judge barrett that sits on the seventh judicial circuit currently. she is one of the most impressive people i've ever met. two days of hearings answering every question thrown to her with grace and judicial demeanor should be the gold standard for every other nominee but i want to thank my staff. he's done a great job. the committee has done a lot of things, some contentious, some not but i want to thank lee for the fine work he's done. the nomination unit includes
laura miller, roger churchill, tim rodriguez, watson -- all have worked hard for the article three judges, not just this one. in addition, lucas crawls low to join in assistin assisting in tn that included [inaudible]th robert smith. they went through the entire record presented to make sure prepared for the confirmation process the law clerks megan, peter. i'd like to thank the t press secretary along with george hartson and the deputy staff
director joe keeley. you made history and should be proud. well done. to my democratic colleagues, i know you didn't like what we did, but i do appreciate the way you conducted yourself. i think you challenged the judge appropriately during her time. we had four days of hearings and heard from a variety of 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. the first dayte is opening statements, two days of questions anday the final day, input from outside groups and ceat's what we are able to do here. so, she went through the process like every other nominee since i've been here. buthi let me just say this to my democratic colleagues. it's not about the process. you find ways to make sure most
of them you can't vote for anybody we nominate. it really does break my heart. roberts, 78-22. that was sort of the norm. i think alito got 96 and ginsburg 97. maybe i got the numbers right but i can't remember who got what. edone was 96 and 197. it used to be different. we looked at the qualifications, said okay you are first to go. integrity, knowledgeable in the law, a different philosophy but we understand elections matter and everybody accepted the outcome. those days are over. absolutely, completely over, destroyed. there is no republican president that can nominate 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 would be looking at to promote to the supreme court. when president bush nominated him well within the mainstream, roberts alito well-know well kne conservative world of being very bright court of appeals judges any president would be looking at to put on the court if they ever had anet opportunity. no difference between alito and roberts, but alito went through hell but he made it into got 58 votes. so then along comes president obama. he gets to pics, sotomayor. i think she deserved more votes but 68 is pretty good. i thought she was qualified. then we had elena kagan, 63 votes. both obama nominees, 68 and 63. i thought elena kagan was highly qualified. the different judicial
philosophy. the dean of law school at harvard about worked for the solicitor general's office. both of them had been with a liberal side of the court. most every case, but not all. i'm not surprised the way they decidednk cases. i think they were tremendously well-qualified women and should be sitting on the court. that's exactly who you would expect a democratic president to pick, sotomayor and elena kagan. now we come back, nobody thought trump would win, including me. evan mcmullen, i never met him. i had my challenge with trump during the 2016 primary. i accepted my defeat and have been trying to help him every sense. i think he has done a good job in sending highly qualified judges. he's got input from different people, the federalist society, you name it.
gorsuch and kavanaugh were my top recommendations. any republican president looking to nominate somebody to the supreme court would be looking at gorsuch and kavanaugh. these are not exotic pics. during sotomayor and elena kagan in terms of qualifications. so what happened? gorsuch was the first attempt at a partisan filibuster. we had three votes to get to 60 and we couldn't, so we changed the rules for the supreme court like they changed the rules in 2013 for the district court and court of appeals. if we had not, gorsuch would be on the a court and to say that he's not qualified as a joke. it's an insult to him and it says more about you than it does about judge gorsuch. if you can see he's qualified, you are blinded by your hatred bof trump. so he d had to do it because by any other time, gorsuch would have gottend the same type of votes is roberts because he is
highly qualified. then comes along kavanaugh. nothing about the t process the. there's no process argument. right at the very end, the last day of the hearing when we thought it was all over, a letter that you had for weeks. in allegation against the judge. it would have been nice to share it with him to tell his side of the story, but you chose not to do that. you had it out to the press outlets and everything boiled out. so all of us on the committee had to decide what to do. sat down with senator flake and senator collins and we felt the allegations had to be heard. i know a lot of people on our side thought it was unfair, but we had the opportunity to have the hearing. and the rest is history. it was high drama. all i can say something happened
to the person who accused judge kavanaugh and i don't think that he had a anything to do with it. this is aig party in high schoo. doctor ford couldn't remember where it was, whoas was there, e 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. 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. they were trying to make him a rapist a and drugging women in high school. and it was the most sickening episode in my time in the senate. they were hell-bent 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 and traditional -- will be a turning point, because i don't know who the next president will be, but, there will be an opening in the court i'm sure and i hope the next hearing is more like barrett and less like kavanaugh, no matter who wins. now barrett, i understand the concern w about the process. this is the latest we've ever confirmed somebody. you've heard the arguments about the president's on one party and the senate of the same with a different party you had one confirmation 100 some years that most of the time when the president of the same party of the senate, they go through. i understand. the bottom line is we gave her
the same type of hearing that alito, sotomayor, elena kagan, kavanaugh had. showed up to the hearing, participated, pushed hard, but i don't think they went across the line. they decided not to show up to the market but that'sld the wayt is. i would like to spend a few minutes talking about the first person going on the court in about an hour. if you are looking for somebody that a republican would be taking, regardless of the process, it would be judge barrett. she would be on anybody's list. i listen to senator durbin, who is a good friend and we will work on whatever comes our way after the election. i find that he's somebody that 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 t say is after two das of hearings, the american people are 51%, which is pretty hard to figure in this country you get 51% agreement on anything, it felt like she should be going on to court. so, here is what dean o'hara said. of notre dame law school, who hired barrett to be a professor. i've only communicated with of this 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 is dean of harvard law school and overlappedth with my own. the second is today, introducing and endorsing amy coney barrett, and in equally strong terms. some might find these recommendations to be i in
juxtaposition, but i find them entirely consistent. and to anybody wondering about judge h barrett, i would highly recommend that you look at the aba's recommendations in the process they used to find her well-qualified. not one person uttered a negative word about her character, according to the aba. someone said to the aba the myth is real, she is a staggering academic mind. she's incredibly honest and forthright. she's exactly who you think she is. nothing about her f is fake. she's good, decent, simple, sincere, exemplary of a living 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 e is exceptiona. then the committee to look at her writings, all of her
writings. they accepted input from 944 people that she's interacted with in her professional life. not one made a comment. so forget about what politicians say about judge barrett. forget about people who don't recognize what i said if you want to. look atay what people who work with her said. that in the wall business, that know herer individually, have worked with her as a judge, as a professor, and they conclude without any doubt she's one of the mostmi gifted people to ever be nominated to the supreme court. there's nothing exotic about judge barrett. she's going on to the court in about an hour. that is exactly where she needs to be. she's the type of person that has w lived a life worthy of beg nominated. she is the type of person worthy of receiving a large vote in the senate, but she won't get it.
she's not going to get one democratic vote. and o right right off the proces if you want to, but what about the others? allha i can say is we will haven election in about a week and whatever happens, i'm going ton acknowledge the letter when it's all said and done. it might go to the supreme court, i don't know. but there will be a day that we know who won, and i'm going to and do with of the next president what i've tried to do with this and everyg other one, try to find a way forward on things, keep them country moving forward. so, to the majority leader and minority leader, it is a tough place around here now. this too shall pass. but this is about judge barrett. this is about her time, her
moment. she's done everything you would expect of her. she's exceeded every challenge put in her way. she's been pressed everybody she's worked with. she has impressed the country. she's going on to the court because that is 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. 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, aady to serve this country, the socialist a justice of the supreme court. and my last thought it's hard to be a conservative person of color. that is a very difficult group
to hold in the american modern politics. my good friend, tim scott, a great voice of conservatism and i think it was about nobody on our side of the aisle and he's tough and can handle it. the same with conservative women. judge barrett did not abandon eher face. she embraces it but she said i and brace my faith but as a judge, it will not be the rule of amy. it will bel the rule of law. it will be the facts, the outcome dictated by the law and not by anything i personally believe. but i will say this. for the young conservative women out there that are pro-life and and brace your face, there's a seat at the table for you. this is i historic. this nomination is different. this is a breakthrough for conservative young women. and ive was honored to be the chairman of the committee that
reported out judge barrett to the floor of the senate, and i will be honored to cast my vote to put her on the supreme court exactly where she deserves to be. i yield the floor. >> mr. president. >> minority leader. a. >> 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 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 theft of two seats on the supreme court using completely contradictory rationale. and let the record t show that e 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 majority and one great terrible truth. first is m that it's being consistent in following its own standard.em what rubbish. after refusing a democratic nominee to the supreme court because of an election eight months away, they would confirm a nominee before an election that is eight days away. what is leader mcconnell's excuse? he claimed the principle of not confirming justices inng presidential years only applies when there's divided government. this is what he said after justice scalia died. the american people should have a voice in the selection of the next supreme court justice. that's all he s said. he didn't say that the american people should have a voice. but only when there is divided
government. no. theex last bit is ex post facto. if this were really about the divided government all along, republican senators wouldn't have promised on the record to follow their own standard of the situation was reversed. i want you to use my words against me, the chairman of the judiciary committee. if there's a republican senate in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year you can say lindsay 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 principles, please rather than accept the consequences of itsd own words, the republican majority is lighting its credibility on fire. this hypocritical 180-degree term is spectacularly obvious to the american people.
the second lie is the republican majority is justified because of democratic actions on judicial nominations in the past. he claims every escalation of significance in judicial debates was made by democrats but in the tortured convoluted history lesson, he left out a whole bunchho of chapters. they are refusing even the hearing. he made no reference to the decision by the republican senators to hold open 14 appellate court seats in the 1990s so that the republican president could fill them. instead, republicans would visit president obama when republicans used the partisan
filibusters to block the nominees to the dc circuit at the time, republican senators amazingly accused president obama of trying to pack the court by the act of nominating the circuit. what a hypocritical double standard which appears tohi be endemic in the recounting of history. and on top of it all the leader has asked to play a blame game pointing to a three minute speech and the original sin and the judicial war. sthat is what he said. because oneec democrat gave a three minute speech that republicans didn't like leader mcconnell can steamroll the minority to confirm the 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 my friends 33 years ago. that is how absurd and obnoxious this game has gotten. that is how unjustifiable the majority actions are. how flimsy the excuses have become. the final argument boils down to but you started it. a declaration you would hear in the school yard and on the floor of the united states senate. and third and perhaps the greatest why is the republican majority is confirming judge barrett solely on the basis of her qualifications not based on her views, but onss the issues. my colleagues insist she should be confirmed on her credentials
alone. that's all they talk about. they don't talk about her views on q the issues, only qualifications. this is about as apparent as a glass door. everyone can see right through it. what is the real reason republicanse are desperate to rush b judge barrett on to the supreme court? of course it isn't because of her qualifications. if my republican friends truly believed that the only thing that mattered about a judicial candidate is the qualifications, then garland would be sitting on the supreme court right now. the appointments were about qualifications and qualifications alone, judge garland would be justice right now.
they subjected the judge to a blockade but erecting a monument to hypocrisy to rush judge barrett onto the bench. why? it's not because she's less qualified. what is the difference between barrett and garland, it isn't qualifications, but views. we all know that. a woman's right to choose, gun safety, you name it. it's not because the far right, but because the far right wants her views on the court but not tjudge garland. the truth is this nomination is part of a decade-long effort to accomplish through the courts radical right and their
allies, senate republicans, could never accomplish through congress. senate republicans failed to repeal the affordable care act, also president trump in attornes 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 the onerous laws and state legislatures that they control to drive that right to the point of extinction and then provoke the supreme court to review roe v wade. the far right is never held at the limit but if the judge becomes justice it very well might. and if you are looking for some hard numbers to prove the political right considers ideology and not just qualifications, consider this.
under justice roberts, thereee been 80 cases decided by the majority in which they came down on one side and the four justices nominated by democratic presidents came down on the other. eighty cases exactly the same majority, calling balls and strikes and an amazing coincidence or vice versa. it would be the most remarkable coincidence in the history of mathematics of nine justices simply calling balls and strikes exhibited the same split. we know what the game is, so stop pretending. stop pretending there are not
entire organizations dedicating far right judges and stop pretending the political right doesn't spend millions of dollars to prop up theta federalist society and support the judicial candidates because they only want qualified judges. no, they want to systematically and permanently tilt the court to the far right. so does judge barrett have views on legal issues, you bet she does. and that brings me to the one great and terrible 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 andr refused to answer nearly any question of substance. that is the new game at the hearings. she wouldn't answer questions about healthcare.
she wouldn't say whether voter intimidation is illegal. she wouldn't say if she thought medicare and social security were constitutional. she couldn't even offer platitudes and responses to questions about the peaceful transfer of power and reviews to say of climate change was real. it wasn't because she wasn't allowed to answer these questions. it's because she knows how unfavorable her views on the issues might sound to the american people. but the thing is we do know how she 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 viewed other rights like the right to keep and bear arms is almost infinitely expensive. she once offered a dissent ordering the federal government doesn't have the authority to
ban all felons from owning guns. only a few hours ago the republican senator from missouri badly declared from the senate floor judge barrett is the most pro-life in the lifetime. quote, this is an individual he said, who's been open and her ir criticism of that illegitimate decision, roe v r wade. he was being more honest than most of the talk around here that a says it is only about qualifications. judge barrett has fashioned herself in the mold of the mentor, justice scalia before his deathet appeared set drivina stake into the heart of the american labor movement while they break their back and make
ends meet and earn less, what might the former clerk portend for the future of labor rights. what about voting rights. suggesting certain rights or civic rights including voting rights and can be restrained by the government. but other rights like the right to keep and bear arms are individual rights that cannot be subject to even the most common sense restrictions. and of course what about healthcare. judge barrett has argued that justice roberts got it wrong when he upheld the affordable care act and said if justice roberts read the statute properly, the supreme court would have had to- invalidate e law. that's the same thing by the way that donald trump said about justice roberts and the aca. that is the great and terrible truth about this nomination.
she holdsca views outside of the american mainstream and those views matter to the vast majority of americans. theyt matter to women facing te hardest decision of their lives. they mattered to americans like my daughter who only five years ago one of the legal right to marry she loves and could lose it just as fast. they matter to little girls like 7-year-old penny from long island born with a neurological disorder, bound to a wheelchair and attached to a feeding tube who's alive today because of the affordable care act. we are talking about the rights and freedoms of the american people, the right to affordable healthcare, to make private medical decisions with their doctors, to join a union and
vote without impediment to marry who they love and not be fired because of who they are. judge barrett will decide whether all those rights will be sustained or curtailed for generations. based on her views on the issues, not on her qualifications, but her views on 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, this republican majority is breaking faith with you doing the exact opposite of what it promised four years ago because they wish to cement the majority on the supreme court that threatens
their b fundamental rights, andi want to be clear with my republican colleagues you may win this vote and amy coney barrett may become the next justice of the supreme court, but you will never get your credibility back. the next time the american peopley get the democrats and majority in the chamber you will have forfeited the right to tell us how to run that majority. you may win this vote. but in the process you will speed up the precipitous decline of faith in our institution and our politics to the senate and the supreme court. you will give an already divided and angry nation a fresh outrage and open a wound in this chamber that will take a very long time to heal. you will walk a perilous road.
i know you think this will eventually blow over, but you are wrong. the american people will never forget this blatant act of bad faith. they will never forget the complete disregard foric their voices, for the people standing on line righonline right now ang their choice, not your choice. they will never forget the lack of consistency, honor, decency, fairness and principles. 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 by brute political force in contradiction to its stated principles, this republican majority confirmed a
lifetime appointment on the eve of an election. the justice will alter the lives and freedoms of the american people while they stood in line to vote. leader mcconnell lectured the senate before on consequences of theor majority action. you will regret this, he told democrats, and you may regret it a lot sooner than you think. listen to those words, you will regret this. you may regret it a lot sooner than you think. i would change 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 and of the supreme court, my deepest and greatest sadness is for the
american people. generations unborn will suffer the consequences of this nomination as the globe gets warmer and workers continue to fall behind and unlimited money floods the politics and reactionary state legislatures curtail a woman's right to choose and limit the rights of minorities to vote, my deepest sadness tonight is for the american people and what this nomination will mean for their lives, their freedoms, their fundamental rights. monday october 206th, 2020 it will go down as one of the darkest dayshe in the 231 year history of the united states senate. i yield the floor.
>> majority leader. >> i think my remarks may in cromade incrow john the time pry set for beginning the vote and i ask consenasked consent i be alo finish. >> without objection. >> this evening the senate will render one of the most consequential judgments it can ever deliver. we will approve a lifetime appointment to the nation'sgh 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 to dispense impartia in partial jun the supreme court. in a few minutes, judge amy
our lifetimes read intellectually, judge barrett is an absolute all-star. she was on the circuit court and supreme court and returned and became an award-winning academ academic. it gives her a firm grasp of the judicial role. she's pledged to apply as written, not as she wishes it were. her testimony, her writings and her reputation confirmed a total and a complete commitment to impartiality. and the nominees personal
integrity and strength of character are literally beyond reproach. the highest rating from the left-leaning bar association they marveled at birth, diversityve and strength of the positive feedback they received erom the judges and lawyers of all political persuasions. if confirmed, they will become the only current justice with a law degree from any school named. mother ofbe the first school-aged children to ever sit on the court. by every account of the supreme court is getting not just a talented lawyer but a fantastic
person. we have heard moving testimony from thoseay whom she went out f her way to help and to mentor. past clerks described an exemplaryr boss and colleagues described someone tailor-made for the atmosphere of the court. 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 will be on the supreme court. two weeks ago a journalist made this observation that i found particularly interesting. here's what he said. let's b be honest and another
political age, judge amy coney barrett would be getting 70 votes or more in the senate because of the qualifications. i voted for both ginsburg and breyer. seems like a long time ago now. we spent a lot of time, energy and recent weeks debating this matter. i think we can all acknowledge both sides in the senate have sort of paralleled oral histories.
gotten 60 votes and wouldn't have been on the supreme court. that's how strong the tradition was until the democratic leader led the effort in the early 2,000's to establish the new standard. they got kind of weary of it and in 2013 the t so-called nuclear option implemented because republicans were holding president obama's nominees to the same standard they themselves had created. when the shoe was on the other foot, they didn't like it much. both in 1992 and in 2007 they volunteered how they would have dealt with the nominee. the chairman of thef judiciary committee hopefully volunteered
in 1992 and had a vacancy occurred, they wouldn't fill it. there wasn't a vacancy that he'd volunteered how they would deal with it if they did have one. to one up him, leader harry reid and chuck schumeroc said 18 mons fbefore the end of the bush 43 period if a vacancy occurred they wouldn't fill it. we are talking about how we got to where we are. i understand my democratic friends are terribly persuaded by this 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 broad discussion. competing claims cannot fully explain where we are. procedural finger-pointing, the outrage and threats versus the nomination and many previously ones from the left and there are deeper reasons why they insist that it's a national crisis.
they held out for 50 years. some of the opposition is more intense the doomsday predictions about the outcome of o nominatig these extremists like bo stevens, david souter they were hanging in the balance. somehow everyone knows in advance thate nominations like thomas, alito, kavanaugh and barrett are in while nominations like ginsburg, or just call him
even by comparison. this asymmetry predates the recent disputes and it comes from a fundamental disagreement on the role of the judge in the republic. we just have a fundamental difference of opinion. we heard the democratic leader name all of these things that were threatened by this nominee. its sounds very similar to the tunes we heard before. stick to the text, resolve the cases in partially and leave policymaking to the people and ththeir representatives which is what we do here. we spent four years confirming
to the courts who understand their role. fifty-three circuit judges over 200 in total and we are about to confirm the third supreme court justice. the left thinks the framers got this all wrong. they botched the job. they didn't understand what the job ought to be. iseveral reaffirmed in recent days during this discussion they actually find it claimed were naïve. to think the judge would simply
no matter what the constitution or the law may say. for the last several decades in many cases, that is what they've gotten. the society would leave to the democratic debate the personal opinion of the judges that have superseded the will of the people. they call that a success, and they want more of it. president obama said he wanted to appoint people that had empathy. think about that for a minute, colleagues. what if you are the litigant before the judge who does not
have empathy. you are in tough shape. so you give them credit for being honest about this. that's what they are looking for. the smartest leftist people they can put to make the decisions for the rest of us rather than leaving it to the democratic process tdemocraticprocess to st the way the framers intended. that's why we've taken on such an outside combat if atmosphere. that's why they've become so
contentious. because they want to control nol only the legislative body, but the judicial decisions as well. let me just say this. there's nothing about legal training that equips people to be moral philosophers. there's nothing inherent in the legal training that equips people to be moral philosophers. and incidentally as i just said, that's why these confirmations haveen taken on such an outside unhealthy significance. the remarks we just heard from across the aisle show why the framers wanted to stop the court from becoming clumsy battlefields for subjective debates that belong in this chamber and over in the house and state legislatures around the country. the left doesn't panic at every constitutional judge because they will simply an act the
parties policy preferences. any number oful recent rulings makes that very clear.l the problem that every judicial seat occupies by the constitutionalists is one fewer opportunity for the left to go on offense. at the end of the day, the difference of opinion on the role is something the system is built to handle. but there's something else, colleagues, our system cannot bear. as you heard tonight, we have one political faction essentially claiming they now see legitimate defeat as an oxymoron. legitimate defeat is an
oxymoron. our colleagues cannot point to a single rule that's been broken. they made one false claim about the procedure which the parliamentarians dismissed. we don't have any doubt if the shoe was on the other foot they would be confirming this nominee. and they would have done the same thing. they had the elections that made those decisions possible. the reason we were able to make the decision we did is because they had become the majority in 2014. the reason we were able to do what wee did in 2016 and 2018 ad 2020 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. the higher it goes up, the less accurate they are. >> our democratic colleagues keep repeating the word ill legitimate as if repetition would make it true. we are a constitutional republic and legitimacy doesn't flow from their feelings. it isn't the result of how they
one of our two major political parties in any political system is somehow illegitimate. this started long before this vacancy, as we all know. democrats sent the court directly l, it read like a note from the film, they wrote the supreme court is not well. the supreme court is not well. perhaps the court can heal itself. heal itself before the public demands be restructured.
in march of this year, the democratic leader stood outside the court, in front of the court and threatened multiple justices by name. here's what he said. you won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions, he will pay the pri price. thus the democrat leader of the senate in front of the supreme court, mentioning justices by name and in fact saying rule along the way, that things are going to happen. multiple years now, democrats in this body and the campaign have sought to revive the concept of the court.
every once about was about on judicial independence so now they are thinking about repeating it. former vice president biden has spent decades condemning the idea here in the senate saying you look into it. most important, the late ruth bader ginsburg said last year, last year when asked about this, she said none is the right number. that's the vacancy we are filling right now. i don't think anyone has quoted her on this issue ruth bader ginsburg said nine is the right number. these latest threats follow the attempt to take independent judges and essentially put them on political probation, rule the way i want, something might
happen. how many consecutive nominees have democrats insisting would tip the balance of the court, how often do wep hear that? tip the balance of the court. has anyone tallied up how many hard right turns the courts have supposedly taken in our lifetime? all is atr transparent attempt r improper pressure and impartial judges. rule how we want, are we coming after the court? rule how we want or we are coming after the court. vote how we want or we will destroy the senate. these have been the democratic
demands, it is not about separation of powers, it is a hot dish -- hostage situation. power is never permanent the consequences could be cataclysmic if our colleagues across the aisle boil over and scorch the ground rules of our government. the primaries 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. tonight, we are doing that aga again. we can place a woman of unparalleled ability on the supreme court, we can take another historic step toward a judiciary that fulfills its role with excellence but does not
grasp the power our constitutional system potentially assigns somewhere else. we can stand loud and clear the u.s. senate does not vow to and tempered rest. voting could to confirm this nominee should make every single senator proud so i urge my colleagues to do just about. >> mr. president, i rise to express my support for the confirmation of judge amy coney barrett as an associate justice of the supreme court. she's exceptionally intelligent, academically astute and impeccably credential. a record of sound opinion and