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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 25, 2009 7:30am-8:00am EDT

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a real legal analysis, why the nominee was either incorrect or correct. she will have supporters i'm sure that would defend rulings and some critics on certain rulings. i think that will take some time and should. it's an important matter. >> a week or how much time on the floor? >> i won't estimate that. >> in the past, it took whatever time it took. the fact of the matter is, this period has been pushed together in a way that it really was unjustified without any consultation with the minority at all. which was highly unusual in my 33 years here, i've never seen whichever side was sharing the committee just arbitrarily set a time limit like that. and by the way, we're not getting all of the documentation that we have asked for. hopefully, we will. but is it going to be just a day or two before the hearings?
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some of it is voluminous. you know, these are the type of things that i think have caused a lot of angst among the committee, at least among the republicans and again, i share the opinion of senator cornyn and the distinguished ranking member of the committee, senator sessions. that i expect judge sotomayor to be treated with much greater respect and care by our side than a number of our nominees to the supreme court and major circuits courts of appeal than the way they were treated and nobody here has a desire to misuse the process in an offensive way. but these are very important questions. and at least the four of us here today, and i have to say i think a vast majority of the senate are really concerned about --
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well, impromptu discussions about the second amendment in cases of law that weren't necessary in deciding the case. and especially when they fly in the face of what we believe the law really is. so these are matters of great concern. and i suspect by raising this in advance, it will help judge sotomayor during the hearings which is a lot more than they did for our nominees. >> thank you. >> thanks. if [inaudible conversations >> last week, the house voted to impeach texas federal judge samuel kent. yesterday, the house impeachment managers brought the articles of impeachment to the senate chamber. here's the opening portion of the senate impeachment trial of judge kent which is expected to last several weeks. this is 10 minutes. >> the sergeant of arms will make the proclamation.
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>> here ye, all persons are commanded to keep silent on pain ofó-ñ imprisonment while the ho of representatives is exhibiting to the senate of the united states articles of impeachment against samuel b. kent, judge of the united states district court for the southern district of texas. >> the managers will proceed. >> mr. president, the managers on the part of the house of representatives are present and ready to present the articles of impeachment which have been preferred by the house of representatives against samuel b. kent, judge of the united states district court for the southern district of texas. the house adopted the following resolution which with the permission of the president of the senate i will read. v
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u.s. june 19, 2009 that mrs. schiff, mr. johnson of georgia mr. goodlatte and mr. sensenbrenner are appointed managers on the point of the house to conduct the impeachment of samuel b. kent, a judge of the united states district court for the southern district of texas that a message be sent to the senate to inform theñw sena of these appointments and that the managers on the x!p of the house may exhibit the articles of impeachment to the senate and take all other actions necessary in connection to preparation 4 and conduct of the trial, which may include the following. one, employing legal, clerical and other necessary assistance and encouraging such other expenses as may be necessary to be paid from amounts available to the committee on the judiciary under house resolution 279, 111 congress agreed to march 31, 2009, or any other applicable expense resolution on vouchers approved bit chairman of the committee on the judiciary.
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number two, sending for persons and papers and filing with the secretary of the senate, on the part of the house of representatives any subsequent pleadings which they may consider necessary. with the permission of the president of the senate, i will now read the articles of impeachment. house resolution in the house of representatives u.s. impeaching judge kent for the southern district of texas for high crimes and misdemeanors. resolved. that samuel b. kent a judge of the united states district court for the southern district of texas is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors and that the following articles be exhibited to the senate. articles of impeachment exhibited by the house of representatives of the united states of america in the same of itself and all of the people of the united states of america against samuel b. kent, a judge of the united states district court for the southern district of texas in maintenance and support of its impeachment against him for high crimes and
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misdemeanors. article 1, incident to his position as united states district court judge, samuel b. kent has engaged in conduct with respect to employees associated with the court that is incompatible with the trust and confidence placed in him as a judge as follows: number one, judge kent is the u.s. district court judge in the southern district of texas from 1990 to 2008, he was assigned to the galveston division of the southern court and his quarters was in the united states post office and courthouse in galveston, texas. number two, cathy mcbroom was an employee in the office of the clerk of the court for the southern district of texas and served as a deputy clerk in the galveston division assigned to judge kent's courtroom. number three, on one or more occasions with -- 2003 and 2007
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judge kent assaulted miss mcbroom and caused her to engage in a sexual act with him. whereby samuel b. kent is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors and should be removed from office. article 2, incident to his position as the united states district court judge, samuel b. kent has engaged in conduct with respect to employees associated with the court that is incompatible with the trust and confidence placed in him as a judge as follows: number one, judge kent as united states district court judge in the southern district of texas from 1990 to 2008 he was assigned to the galveston division of the southern district and his chambers and courtroom were located in the united states post office and courthouse in galveston, texas. number 2, donna wilkerson was an employee of the united states district court for the southern district of texas. number 3, on one or more occasion between 2001 and 2007, judge kent sexually assaulted donna wilkerson by touching her
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in her private areas against her will and caused her to engage in a sexual act with him. where for judge samuel b. kent is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors and should be removed from office. article 3, samuel b. kent obstructed, influenced or impeded an official proceeding as follows, number one, on or about may 21st, 2007, cathy mcbroom filed a judicial misconduct complaint with the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit. in response to the fifth circuit appointed a special investigative committee here in after in this article referred to as the committee to investigate cathy mcbroom's complaint. number two, on or about june 8th, 2007, at judge kent's request, judge kent appeared before the committee. number 3, as part of its investigation, the committee sought to learn from judge kent and others whether he had engaged in unwanted sexual contact with cathy mcbroom and individuals other than cathy
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mcbromc bro broom. on or about june 8th, 2007, the judge made false statements regarding his contact with donna wilkerson. he stated to the committee that the extent of his unwanted sexual contact with donna wilkerson was one kiss when, in fact, he had engaged in repeated sexual contact with donna wilkerson without her permission. b, judge kent falsely stated to the committee when told by donna wilkerson his advances were unwelcomed no further contact occurred when, in fact, and as he knew judge kent continued such advances evenkk after she d asked him to stop. number 5, judge kent was indicted and pled guilty and was sentenced to imprisonment for the felony obstruction of justice in violation of section 1512c2 of title 18 united states code on the basis of false statements made to the committee. the sentencing judge described his conduct as a stain on the
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justice system itself. where he is guilty of high crimes of misdemeanors and should be removed from office. article 4, judge samuel b. kent made material false and misleading statements about the nature and extent of his n nonconsensual contact on or about november 30, 2007, and to agents of the federal bureau of investigation and representatives of the department of justice on or about august 11th, 2008, where for judge samuel kent is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors and should be removed from office. mr. president, the house of representativeses saving to themselves the liberty of exhibiting at any time here after any further articles of accusation of impeachment against the said samuel b. kent, judge of the united states district court for the southern district of texas and also for reapplying to his answers which
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he shall make unto the articles preferred against him and of offering proof to the same and part thereof and to all and every other article of accusation or impeachment which shall be exhibited by them as the case shall require do demand that said samuel b. kent may be put to answer the misdemeanors in office which have been charged against him in the articles which have been exhibited to the senate. and that such proceedings, examinations, trials and judgments maybe thereupon had and given upon agreeable to law and justice. mr. president, the managers on the part of the house of representatives by the articles of impeachment which have been read to the senate do now demand that the senate take order for the appearance of the said samuel b. kent to answer said impeachment and do now demand his conviction and appropriate judgment thereof. >> the senate will continue the impeachment trial of federal judge samuel kent. this weekend, c-span radio will air newly released recordings
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from richard nixon's presidential library from 1973. president nixon discusses the death of his predecessor president lyndon johnson and talks about the vietnam war and the presidential inauguration with his advisors. that's saturday afternoon at 3:50 eastern time on c-span radio. >> how is c-span funded? >> through donations? >> i think you get a little bit from the federal government. >> you know, grants and stuff like that. >> maybe from sponsors? >> it might get some government funding. >> viewers? >> how is c-span funded? 30 years ago, america's cable companies created c-span as a public service, a private business initiative, no government mandate, no government money. >> now a senate hearing on high speed rail. the heads of the federal railroad administration and amtrak are among the witnesses
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plus federal regulators and high speed real advocates. held by a senate transportation subcommittee, this is an hour and 45 minutes. approximate they just invite members of the audience to come up and make it will like there's a big crowd up here. [laughter] >> so you got senator lautenberg on the way but and that's all you really need but i don't want your egos to be upset. there's a lot going on today. and part of it, obviously, is what happened with the metro rail system. it's actually depressing, senator warner, sad that there
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is no current way for the ntsb or the department of transportation or anybody else that can make recommendations but they have no enforcement authority. i did not know that until this happened. and people can have a variety of philosophies about the federal government. but it seems to me where you have a heavy train being hit by a vice versa being hit by a light train, and something went wrong, and yes, we'll speculate and it will all come out in the end, and in the meantime all that counts is the families of the dead and sometimes the families of the injured suffer longer, but there's no authority to tell them they got to run a safe train.
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there are recommendations but no authority. the chairman has arrived. >> the train was a little slow. >> thank you, mr. chairman, among the chairmen here, he's the chairman. thank you all for being here. and my apologies for a couple minutes off-target. what we'll try to do in order to if expedite things is to -- we'll limit opening statements to the three of us and we'll ask the other members who may come to include their opening statement in the record or in their question period. we'll work in 5-minute cycles here.
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so i will start by once again thanking you for all being here. the roles you play are very important. and we're pleased to have a chance to talk to you. this hearing comes to order. and we gather here at a rather sad moment. many lives were lost at the -- with the crash of the metro. there are numbers still to be computed of those who were not only perished but those who were wounded. and what it -- it tell us as we see the confusion that's followed and the effort that's followed is how important the use of the metro, a transit system is.
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and for the last few years, what can we see, amtrak, we're talking about inner city but we can't ignore the contribution that transit rail makes. the last few years we've seen amtrak break ridership records year after year. in 2008, amtrak's ridership hit more than 28 million riders marking the sixth straight year of gains. these gains proved two important points. it establishes the fact that the people are sick and tired of waiting in traffic, standing in line at the airport inhaling dangerous emissions and just waiting indefinitely for their travel mechanism to be there. if we provide convenient and reliable rail service, americans
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will choose it. secondly, these gains prove that time cries out for major investment in high speed hallelujah we need to fill a rising demand for faster and more efficient rail service. for years, we've had flight -- flights -- i'm sorry, fight beg and claw for fighting for passenger rail for those who wanted to bankrupt amtrak even as more americans were demanding increased amtrak service. and this chart that we have here in quick fashion describes some of the hurdles we face. for you -- for you who have a problem with the discerning colors, the blue is investment.
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you can see the bottom is that green band. and when we look at how much we've invested in our highways and our aviation system, it's obvious that we invested too little in the -- in rail. now we're not suggesting that those other modes aren't important. but we need to invest more in rail. last year we took a major step forward with my landmark law to prepare for the next generation ahead of the traveling demand that's obviously building. the law -- that law provides $13 billion over five years to repair and update amtrak's infrastructure and grow his service in towns and cities that are ready for passenger rail. we also created new grant programs for high speed rail investment. it has been a long road. but this new law finally paves
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the way for a solid and oncoming commitment for passenger rail. fortunately, we have strong partners in the white house and president obama, vice president biden and with the help of secretary lahood, they know that to keep our commuters mobile to keep our nation competitive and to get our economy back on track we cannot simply rely on cars and trains to get people from place to place. we need a balanced transportation system and high speed rail is part of that balanced equation and that's why the recovery law we passed in february contains more than $8 billion for high speed and inner city passenger rail. this money will not only improve rail service it will create jobs. in this tough economy, these transportation investments are smart investments. they put people to work, reduce delays and congestion and cut carbon emission and our dependence on foreign oil.
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president obama and his administration have presented a great vision for a high speed rail network here in america and i'm committed to working with the president to turn that vision into reality and i look forward to hearing from our witnesses on how we can make that happen. and i turn first to the ranking member on the subcommittee, senator thune, and then we'll hear from chairman rockefeller and ranking member hutchison. >> thank you, mr. chairman. for calling this very timely hearing and we got a very disti>ñtp'el today that i want to welcome as well. we look forward from hearing from all of you. my state is one of the few in the country that doesn't have passenger rail and you have to harken back a long ways in the annuals of history to a time when we did. i recall my father who's now almost 90 talking about taking the -- back in the '30s taking
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the railroad from my hometown to mitchell which is 140 miles and that was a fairly frequent thing and people at that time traveled by rail a lot, passenger rail, but it's been some time since we've had that in south dakota. we're very independent on freight railroading so i can probably approach this issue maybe more dispassionately than most since it's not something we have in our state, although maybe with all the stimulus money we could get some. that would be nice. but i do want to -- i want to say that it is an opportunity, obviously, the funding that's been made available for high speed rail and the president's budget not only the stimulus money but also the other 5 billion that's in the next five annual appropriation cycles and -- but i also would argue that it poses some risk. it's a great opportunity for advancing high speed corridor development to address our congested corridors between major urban areas but it's a great financial risk to the taxpayers if the selection and
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management of these projects is not wisely carried out and this is the key area that i'm most interested in hearing about from today's witnesses. in my view, the federal government generally does a poor job of deciding on how to spend its money and this is especially true when it comes to discretionary programs where the government has to choose between competing projects. now, one common result is that money gets spread thinly over a wide range of projects and as a result none of them actually gets done correctly or quickly. or the government uses soft criteria that results in choosing unviable or unsustainable projects. we often find costs spiral out of control and the original cost elements were unrealistically low from the beginning. how does the department of transportation and the federal railroad administration intend to decide between competing projects and how will the construction of these products are overseen specifically what i'd like to hear our panelists discuss is how will these projects be chosen, what criteria will be used, how you will the department validate the data such as ridership and
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project costs submitted by applicants. and what oversight will occur and how it will be carried out to ensure the products will come in on budget and on time. i hope congress will very closely monitor how this program is implemented. i also hope that this program succeeds. and when we look back five years from now and after spending as much as $13 billion as is envisioned by the administration, that we'll see great progress in advancing high speed rail in our country. to me, success means rail passenger trains that serve real public transportation needs that have been constructed on budget and on schedule that are filled with passengers making the routes economically viable. i want to thank our panelists for appearing today and for sharing their testimony. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. the chairman of the committee, senator rockefeller. i want to make him a general. [laughter] >> thank you, chairman lautenberg.
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first of all, i want to apologize. i'm not on the judiciary committee. the white house is very anxious to have all senators meet with judge sotomayor. i've been timed for 3:15. that's kind of for life, if she should win, which i think she will. i do that without any misgivenings because this is frank lautenberg's passion and has been for years than really than anybody. so i also welcome all of you including governor rendell. i just told him, i never see him in person. it's always on television. [laughter] >> and it's kind of exciting, you know, to meet somebody like that. [laughter]
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>> mr. chairman, you don't know how exciting it is. i've worked with him. [laughter] >> now, i agree totally with senator lautenberg that the -- on the excitement of high speed passenger rail. i've spent 10, 12 years either chairing or been ranking on the aviation subcommittee of this body, and it just occurs to me that we're down now to relatively few airlines with lots of problems. and if you just look at the pattern of people's behavior, they want to use -- they want to use fast rail. they want to use rail. and they want to use fast rail. so that's what this is about. you know, i look at west virginia, people not necessarily
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assume that there's a lot of passenger rail through west virginia. it's actually a huge fact as it is, obviously, in southwestern virginia also. in fact, our amtrak service, which senator lautenberg helped so much has increased -- has doubled in one of its lines in the last year, doubled, and the other has risen by 19%. now, west virginians don't travel endlessly so this is a very important statement. earlier this year senator lautenberg and i joined as he indicated with the vice president, the $1.3 billion allocation to the stimulus package. it w as i recall the speeches were not very interesting but the
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money was real and that's what counts and i have to say in a nonpartisan fashion that it is really thrilling to have as senator lautenberg pointed out as somebody in the white house who really wants that. who doesn't like that level of green up there and wants to increase the green and, in fact, has already done that. i want to make a special point today to say that i believe the passenger rail can do so much for us as a country. that's not just just a cliche. we need to increase the use of passenger rails enormously. not just for passengers but for freight and we need to do it as fast as we possibly can. it affects our climate change. it affects one-third of our greenhouse emissions in this country. the department of energy's
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oakridge national laboratories says the inner city passenger rail is 17% more efficient than air travel. than it is 20% more efficient than auto travel. it says something. so encouraging greater use of it is terribly important. i'll do everything i can, senator lautenberg to work with you to make sure that we can do this. and we will. it's inevitable. it's part of america's destiny. i thank the chair. and i apologize to the audience and to the witnesses. much, senator rockefeller. your position ss chairman of the -- as chairman of this committee is one that gives us encouragement that we can achieve the goal of ours of having a more important rail leg tour transportation system. we thank you for your encouragement. senator hutchison. >> thank you, mr. chairman.


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