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tv   U.S. Senate Barrett Supreme Court Justice Confirmation  CSPAN  October 25, 2020 2:34am-2:57am EDT

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set up their state review panels, but instead focus their time and resources on planning to distribute the vaccine and improving testing and contract tracing. using the resources that congress has given to states rather than second-guessing the efforts of scientists at the food and drug administration. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from >> mr. president. >> senator from alaska? >> i want to start with a thank you to you as the presiding officer for indulging me in the e nomination of judge amy coney barrett to be an associate justice of the u.s. supreme court. and while i intend to share with
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you my intentions on how i will vote, i'd like to start by just expressing my disappointment with where we are in the senate as a whole right now. there's been some good discussion hering this morning as we're considering -- discussion here this morning as we're considering the unanimous consent agreements, some statements made, but not action moving forward. i -- i had hoped that if we were going to be at this moment in time just over a week out from our national elections, that we would be here on the floor debating -- debating the merits of a receive relief bill. and in my home state of alaska, as in so many states around the country, we're seeing unprecedented numbers now. the news just yesterday, friday,
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that the united states reported the highest single day recorded of positive cases. 83,757, really staggering. in alaska we have seen this virus spread to some of our small outlying villages, villages that are not accessible by road, villages that have limited medical facilities. we're really quite concerned about what this means for many of the native people in these areas. we're not able to stay on top of the contact tracing because of the increasing numbers. the pressure on hospital capacity is also a growing concern. and economically, alaska has been hit extraordinarily hard.
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as most know, we've got a pretty substantial tourist season, but this year we had little to no season for us. many small businesses have closed permanently but many, many more are going into the winter wondering how they are going to make it through the winter, scrambling to find ways -- to piece it together. unemployment, loss of housing. in every conversation that i have with alaskans, they are asking if and when we're going to see another round of covid relief, and i regret that we have no deal to offer them today. instead we're here on a weekend, ten days before the elections, to advance a u.s. supreme court nominee. now, i was here on the floor yesterday. i had an opportunity to listen to the majority leader as he
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outlined the -- the escalation of confirmation battles over the past 30 years plus. and i think it was an important lesson in -- in our senate history. but i'm not confused about how we wound up here but i certainly am frustrated by it. and it's with a heavy heart, i just regret that we are in this place. i think there was a worthy attempt during the 109th congress by the gang of 14 to reduce the tensions. there was, i think, a very genuine good-faith effort there to try -- to try to dial things back. but, sadly, their bipartisan action was not rewarded by the voters and perhaps that served as a warning to other members of
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this body rather than as an aspiration. but we heard the history lesson and i'm one who has long recognized that pointing fingers doesn't ever actually solve a problem. i personally believe that every nominee for the supreme court should receive an up-or-down vote after they have passed out of committee. my record has been pretty clear, pretty consistent. some might even suggest boring in its consistency, but i made a -- a very strong commitment after i returned to the senate in -- at the end of 2010 and said i did not believe that filibustering our judges was -- was what we should be doing.
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and so i might not have liked the judges that were before us, but i did not participate in a filibuster of a judge. i had an opportunity to vote up or down and i thought that was the reasonable way to proceed. i believe that it is fair to the individual and it's fair to the institution, but i also recognize that the timing of this confirmation that we have before us will serve to reinforce the public perception about political influence on the court. and i would hope that we all recognize that public confidence in our courts must be an imperative. we have to believe that justice is going to be equal for all of us. now, i know that my colleagues are not surprised to hear me discuss my concern about the
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politicalization of the court. i made a similar point during the impeachment trial when some wanted to literally tear down chief justice roberts and the court because they needed a sound-bite for a political ad in the primary campaign. i made the same case when i voted against the nomination of now-justice kavanaugh. also during that impeachment trial, i implored the members of this chamber to look inward. to really evaluate -- are we really willing to tear down not only the other party but the other institutions of our government as well? so i have looked inward, considering in these difficult days what i believe is best for the institutions of our government, and i recognize that
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confirming this nominee is not going to heal, it's not going to salve the wounds that these institutions have endured, but neither will threats that should the balance of power in this chamber change that everything is on the table, including the end of the legislative filibuster and packing the court. to do that would only inflict even deeper, deeper wounds. fundamentally and dramatically altering how the levers of power operate in this country, compromising one -- the one branch -- the one branch of government that must remain a political. we're the legislative branch, the executive branch. both of these branches are inherently political.
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it is the third branch, our courts, that we count on to be a political. i think it would be a giant leap further down a path that we should not be following in the first place. so we've got to figure out how we de-escalate. so let me very simply explain this afternoon how i plan to vote over the next two days, starting with the procedural motions which i opposed yesterday. i will oppose again tomorrow. in 2016, after the unfortunate death of justice scalia, i said that the senate should not take up a nominee to fill that seat due to the impending presidential election. i reit lated that -- i reiterated that statement in august of this year and then coincidentally enough just hours before the news of justice
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ginsburg's passing that saddened the country. i didn't know that she had passed when i reaffirmed my comments from earlier but that knowledge would not have changed my mind. i remain in the same place today. i do not believe that moving forward on a nominee just over a week removed from a pitched presidential election when partisan tensions are running about as high as they could, i don't think that this will help our country become a better version of itself. but, frankly, i've lost that procedural fight. we saw that with a vote yesterday. so what i can do now is be consistent with the precedent that i have set for myself and oppose a process that i said should not move forward and i've done that.
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but at the end of the process is the substantive question of whether judge barrett should be categorically rejected as an associate justice in order to underscore my procedural objection. i believe that the only way to put us back on the path of appropriate consideration of judicial nominees is to evaluate judge barrett as we would want to be judged, on the merits of her qualifications. and we do that when that final question comes before us. and when it does, i will be a yes. i have no doubt about her intellect. i have no doubt about judge barrett's judicial temperament. i have no doubt about her capability to do the job and to
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do it well. by now most people are very familiar with her qualifications. they have seen her resume, the bio, she's been all over the news. it is significant, her background, graduating with honors from rhodes college and with honors from notre dame law school and clerked on the supreme court was professor at notre dame law school prior to being confirmed on the bench of the court of appeals. i helped confirm her to that seat on the seventh circuit. i have followed on from that time when i first came to know of judge amy coney barrett. i've done my due diligence in my role of advice and consent. i worked through the articles
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that she has written, the cases that she has written. i have engaged in a lengthy one-on-one with her. i watched both full days when she appeared before the judiciary committee. she presented herself admirably. she all know that confirmation processes are not pretty. i have expressed my concerns previously that good people will decide that the qimghts as we -- confirmation process as we have it now, sometimes an awful process, that i worry that they are going to think that it's not worth it, not worth what it puts them and their families through and they opt-out -- they opt to avoid government service. and on this note i will say that while some of the rhetoric from my colleagues have been
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overblown and unnecessary, this process with judge barrett is not nearly what it was in 2018 during the confirmation of justice kavanaugh. so ultimately i am glad. i am thankful that judge barrett did not opt-out. i have concluded that she is the sort of person that we want on the supreme court. her legal writing is excellent and will be an asset to her as well as future generations of lawyers as they read through her opinions. her intellectual curiosity, which is demonstrated by the depth and breadth of her academic work as a professor will also serve the country well. her temperament and her very patient nature were on full display over the course of the hearing. i had a -- a good, i think a very substantive discussion,
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with judge barrett about some alaska-related matters, focusing on alaska, specific statutes, i raised some of the public safety challenges that we face in my home state that -- that served to undermine the principle of equal justice under the law. i raised the issue of voting rights and inaccess to the ballot. it was important for me to hear and to better understand her views on precedence and her evaluation process specifically the weight that she affords reliance on decisions that have been in -- in place for decades, such as roe v. wade. we discussed the doctrine of severability in regards to the affordable care act. we spoke at length about my concern that the supreme court is increasingly viewed as political by the public and what
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that then does to erode the public confidence in the -- and the impartiality of our courts. we talked about the criteria and the evaluation that a justice would undergo for purposes of recusal from a matter. i do not believe judge barrett will take her seat on the bench with a predetermined agenda or with a goal of putting a torch to every volume of the united states reports. justices should come to the court with an open mind, willing to be convinced by the arguments presented in each case, to exchange thoughts with their colleagues, to learn new things and rule as the law requires. and i am convinced that judge barrett will do just that. so while i oppose the process that has led us to this point, i do not hold it against her as an
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individual who has navigated the gauntlet with grace, skill, and humility. i will vote no on the procedural votes ahead of us, but yes to confirm judge barrett when the question before us is her qualification to be an associate justice on the supreme court. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. cassidy: mr. president, i rise today to offer my support for confirming louisiana native amy coney barrett to the supreme court of the united states. deciding whether or not to confirm a justice to the highest court in the land is among the most important duties and
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privileges that a senator has. we must consider the qualifications of the nominee that the president puts forward and determine a nominee's fitness to serve. in this case, president donald trump made a terrific selection in amy coney barrett. the senate will vote on her confirmation in the coming days, and i will proudly cast my vote to confirm, and here is why. judge barrett is incredibly qualified to serve on the court. she graduated suma cum laude from notre dame law school, clerked for the late supreme court justice antonin scalia, and spent 15 years in academia shaping a new generation of legal minds. and according to her students, she was not an ideologue, but rather she would listen and take their thoughts and process them and bring them to a better knowledge of the law. with that, she has been universally praised by her former students and ultimately served on the u.s. court of appeals for the seventh circuit.
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her record and experience shows that she is ready for the supreme court. now, there is some home state pride. judge barrett was raised in louisiana and a graduate of st. mary's dominican high school. when i go back there, i will see folks with the pin that she would have received when she graduated and they are very proud to have attended the same school, perhaps to have been in the same class. as a fellow louisianian, i am proud of one of our own will become a supreme court justice. and she will be only the second person from louisiana to serve on the court, which for my state makes the confirmation historic. but it is more than louisiana rooting for amy coney barrett. she will serve our country well. i will also say that i think it fitting that a woman fills the seat that opened after justice ruth bader ginsburg's passing. although she and i had our differences in political and judicial philosophy, she should be recognized for her service and lifelong pursuit of ensuring that women have a seat at the table. we thank the legacy of justice
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ginsburg and her service to the united states. and one of the many things that is notable for justice ginsburg i will emphasize is that she broaden the -- broadened the perspective of scotus, the supreme court of the united states, as they treated the law. i think judge barrett does the same. she will be the first mother of school-aged children to serve on the court. she and her husband jesse are raising seven children, two of whom were adopted from haiti and the youngest who has down's syndrome. if there is a mom or a working mom or not who wonders if her perspective is ever spoken to when cases are considered before the supreme court, a justice barrett will bring that perspective to the court. finally, i want to thank judge barrett for her willingness to serve, to accept the nomination to the supreme court is sadly to accept ruthless attacks from partisans seeking to score political points.
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her nomination was no different. she had been repeatedly attacked for being a practicing catholic. she has every right to live her faith, and no one in public service should be expected to cast aside deeply held religious convictions to satisfy an angry mob fabricating reasons to say no. thank you, judge barrett, for defending her and by extension all of our religious liberty. and i think the balance and the grace that she exhibited during a very difficult two days of being before the committee, but in her life in general i think is testimony to the depth by which she considers the best of her faith. that said, her political enemies and some in the press intentionally mischaracterized many of her statements, twisting them into new ways to attack her, again fabricating reasons to say no. yet judge barrett handled each attack with grace and dignity. during our hearing, she displayed time and again that she had the skills, misdemeanor,
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and the experience to serve on the supreme court. on monday, i will proudly cast my vote to confirm amy coney barrett to the supreme court. she will serve our country well, and she will serve the future generations which will be influenced by her decisions on the supreme court well. i encourage my colleagues to put politics aside and to do the same. thank you, and i yield watch live senate coverage today on c-span 2. with 10 days to go before the election, we'll show you several campaign events from earlier today. first, president obama had a drive-in

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