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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  April 29, 2013 8:30pm-11:01pm EDT

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first woman to serve. she looks back at the history of
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the high court and her experience speaking last month in washington. this is 35 # minutes. >> now, i'm sitting down so you can sit down. come on. i'm hobbling around a bit, so can you hear? is that all right? [inaudible] no? no? does this have to be turned on? what's the matter? right into it? oh, dear. [laughter] now can you hear better? i actually didn't get an offer for my first job, so let's just get the introduction changed a little bit. [laughter] i happily attended stanford law
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school, and in the process, i met my husband, john, and he was a year behind me in law school. we decided to get married, graduated from law school, and we both liked to eat meaning one of us was going to have to work enand because i was out of law school, that was me, and i thought, oh, no problem, getting a job. there were at least 40 notices on stanford's ulletin board at the law school from law firms in california saying stanford law imraj -- graduates, we'd be happy to talk to you about job opportunities, give us a call, and there were 40 messages from different law firms in california on the bulletin board so i called every month of those notices, and not a single one would even give me an interview. i said, why? they said we don't hire women.
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that was the way it was. now, i got out of law school, i guess, about 1952, but suspect that amazing? they wouldn't even talk, and i really did need to get a job, so i -- [laughter] i heard the county attorney, the county seed in redwood city, had a woman lawyer on the staff, so i thought, well, that's encouraging, i'll see him. i made an appointment to see him, and in california, they elect the county attorney. they are always glad handers, gave me an appointment to see him, went to meet him, verynice, indeed, had a woman on his staff at one time, and she did well, and he'd be happy to have another, and i had a good resumé, and i'd be fine, but the problem he had was that he got
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his money from a county board of supervisors, and only got so much money a year, and he had spent his money, and he had no more income for the year so he was not able to hire anybody else, but he felt so sorry because he felt i could be hired, but not without any money, but then he said, also, i'll show you around the office, and he did, and he said, if you see, i don't have another office for another deputy, and so i had to figure something out, and so i said, well, i understand. i said i know you don't have any money right now to hire anybody, but i'll work for you for nothing until such time as the supervisors give you more money. i said, i'll do that. well, that took his breath away, and then i said, and i met your secretary. she's very nice. there's room in her office to put a second desk if she wouldn't object.
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that was my first job as a lawyer. no pay. i put my desk in with the secretary, but i loved my job. it was so interesting. i just liked everything i got to do, was very exciting for me, and so that's what i did. it worked out fine, and i don't remember now how long i was there, before he managed to find a limit money in thing the with- in the account with the county until, i think, somebody -- somebody -- one of the deputies must have left for another job, and it opened an office so everything turned out all right, but it was pretty tough sledding getting the first job, and i felt sorry for the other woman who were in law school and getting out and looking for work because there was no real
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opportunities for women layers at that time. i'm waiting, the new book out by, what's her name? sharon who? [laughter] >> yeah -- >> yeah, i've been reading that. [laughter] it's ad good story. you better read it too, but it's amazing how things have changed, and i'm very glad that i was able to be a little bit of that change for women, and i was working happily along in my job in arizona when i was sitting at -- i had become a judge on the court of appeals, and i was in the office one afternoon, and the tfn rang, and i answered, and the operator said, this is the white house calling, is
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justice o'connor there. that was the justice on the arizona court saying, well, it's the president calling, would you heron. i said, well, this is she. [laughter] hello. it was ronald reagan on the phone, and he said, sandra? i mean, how about that, first name basis. [laughter] i said, yes, mr. president. he said, i'd like to announce your nomination tomorrow for the supreme court, is that okay with you? [laughter] now, that's quote-unquote what happened. [laughter] i gulped, and i said, well, yes, mr. president, i think it is. [laughter] that's what happened. [laughter] he had sent some three people from this attorney general's office out to arizona to check
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on my record. i had served in some capacity in the proceeding years, and i left a track record behind, and i think the president sent people out to cover a press coverage of anything i i had been involved with and look at papers in connection with me. i was at home when they wanted to take to me, and my husband and i had built an adobe house in the phoenix area when we moved there in 1967, but that was a real challenge because you can buy burnt adobesthere so
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commonly, but in this country today it's very hard to go buy sun dried adobes. those are the bricks somebody made and dried them in a frame in the sun until they are dry and barely firm, and that's what we wanted to use, and i met a man living on cattle track road, and he built the houses, and he could tell us how to get them, followed his advice and got tome finding a starving young architect willing to design a house even with sun dried adobes, and we got the house build. i just loved it until you have seen and touched it, you probably can't appreciate why i liked it so much, but it looks good. it feels good. it's wonderful in arizona sunshine. it really is. that's what we used to build our
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house, and i loved it very much. when the president made his call, and i agreed to come back to washington, d.c., we learned that housing prices in dc are very high. [laughter] so we had to sell our little sun dried adobe house and raise money to get something to live in in dc, and we did, and that was painful to have that happen, and an interesting thing has happened since, and i'll wonder from the topic, but it's interesting bit here. we have formed now in arizona, a nonprofit organization that bought the house support the
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o'connor house, and it's used as a place where civil talk leads to civic action. i liked that because in the year -- [applause] it's what we need a lot more of, congress needs that, state legislators need it. when i have that house, when we were living in it and i was a legislative leader, i would cook some mexicanood of some kind, something that stays hot on the low burner of the stove, and i'd buy cold beer, and then i'd invite the key people on both sides of the aisle in the legislature, and just have them come over to have a bite to eat and a beer. when you sit around like that and speak casually in a friendly manner, as you would with your own friends or acquaintances at your own house, you just feel
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better about knowing people and relating to them, and we were able to make friends enough to solve the state's problem. it worked. that's what i'd like to see more of, and at present, we're using o'connor house to get legislators together over beers and food and -- [laughter] sigh if they can't get acquainted with each other and solve some of arizona's problems, and i think it's working so that's the effort now. what i felt when i was in the years in the court before i retired was that we were failing to teach young people this this country anything about how our government operates and runs. two-thirds of high school grads
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today score below proefficiency on any kind of civics testament only one-third of americans can name the three branches of government, let alone say what they do. i mean, imagine that. only 27% can identify the purpose of the u.s. constitution, and it's right there in the title. [laughter] less than one-fifth of high school seniors can say why citizen participation helps democracy. only 22% of 8th graders can name any purpose met by the u.s. supreme court. now, that's painful for me. [laughter] among 14,000 seniors in college which participated in a survey, the average score on the civics
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exam was barely over 50%. that's an "f," and this lack of knowledge does lead to disengagement. about half of the 14-year-olds in the united states say their political attitude, and we have to reverse that, care about that in this country, and when our constitution was adopted, we didn't have public schools in america. that came later, and, in fact, it was 30 years after the constitution was adopted that people began to say we need schools in the country to teach the young people how this new government of ours work, how it's supposed to work and how they are a part of it. well, they were right. we did neat to educate the young people, and that's what started
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public schools. today, we are having public schools that no longer teach civics. they don't require them for high school graduation, classes and civics, d ty are barly fought. i don't know about now, but when i went to school, i went to grade school and high school in el paso, texas, grew up on a ranch, too far from town to go to school, and my parents sent me off to el paso where i had maternal grandparents living, and so i took my schooling there, and we had civics all the time. i got sick and tired of it to tell you the truth, but i think that that's a lot better than having none. already so i was very concern at the time when i announced my retirement about the lack of any nationwide knowledge of civics
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so i decided in retirement i had time for volunteer work, and maybe i could get started, a plan to teach civics, and so i started something that we call icivics. now, we have ipads and ipods and "i" everything so i thought icivics would be good. [laughter] it is. we got it going, and what i did was assemble the most wonderful group of teachers who really know the subject and what the young people particularly in middlechool up to first year high school should know about civics. so with their help and with the help of some experts in writing to exams and we put together the icivics website, and what we do is create games on the
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website. it's look at it. i'll remind you what it is so you can write it down. [laughter] we have games on it the young people play, and they are fun to play. we have now, i think, about 19 up, and it's great fun. the young people who get on it, stay on it all night until their parents say, now, go to bed, turn that off, go to bed, and it's terrific. teachers use it at school find it's very satisfactory. the main problem today is that most was schools don't list sighings anymore as a subject to be taught, and so it makes it harder for teachers to find time to teach civics, and that's been my major effort since stepping down from the court is to start
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and continue and expand the teaching of icivics, and we now have a minimum of 30 thousands people a day plubbed into icivics. i want a lot more than that. that's just a start, but it's extremely effective. baylor university in texas did a study of it, and took it in three or four schools in the area near baylor and left it in place for awhile and then tested the students, and baylor came back with not a good review, you a raging review saying it's incredible, that is really is effective, and so that's my major effort now. that's how i'm spending my time as retired justice except that i also sit with the federal courts of appeals. now, you know the federal court system consistenting of district
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courts where trials in federal cases are tried, and then if the loser appeals, the appeal goest, and we have a number of federal circuit courts of appeal scattered around the country, and the only release is with the u.s. supreme court, and their grant of jurisdiction is discretionary with the court and not too many cases are granted, sco that's how the system works today, and i volunteer periodically to sit on one of the federal courts of appeal an hear a number of cases for two or three days, and today, and i heard a case argued, and it just
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happened to ai had heardas a volunteer judge when i sat on the 9th circuit some months back and heard that case, and we rendered a decision, and the losers didn't like the results, and they filed a petition with the u.s. supreme court which took it, and it was argued today. i had the pleasure of sitting in the courtroom listening to the lawyers argue about the case that i had participated in deciding some months before at the court of appeals level, and that was kind of fun to do. i have to say, and i think what we've done tonight is to see if you didn't have various questions that you thought you might like me to talk about, and though try some of them. if they don't go so well, i'll go back and abandon those and just talk. [laughter]
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[applause] >> all right, justices, i have some questions here. >> i don't like this in my neck. let's go here where we can talk. [laughter] >> as you say, your honor. [laughter] i've asked her not to interrupt me while i ask questions. [laughter] could you describe what you were thinking or feeling the first and/or last time you walked through the curtain to take your place on the court bench? >> well, the first time scary. [laughter] the last time, used to it, but the first time was really amazing, and i couldn't believe that i was, in fact, now sitting
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as a member of the u.s. supreme court. ofa court that had never before had a come on its panel of judges, and that was a very special event for the court, and i think it's made a difference. when i visit the court today, as i do today, and look up at that bench, i see three women sitting there. [applause] >> there are also six men, but the overall assessment is a lot better. [laughter] >> okay. >> they gave me my on mic here. any traditions or rituals that go on behind the seans at the court, and that you are fond of? >> oh, yes! well, i'll start with the first. [laughter] it is the practice of the court
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when you meet each day to go on the bench or to sit and discuss cases. for each justice to shake hands with every other justice. now, that is really special. i don't know how you feel about it, imu to shake hands with someone. now, come on over here. [laughter] to shake hands with someone is meaningful. it is. you touch their hand, shake it, and it's much more effective then to work together as a court and decide the cases, and that was just marvelous, but on that first day, come back -- [laughter]
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the justice, a former major athlete, and he took my hand, and i thought i was going to die. [laughter] i mean, honestly, here. [laughter] sprang, out of my eyes. there was nothing i could do. he killed me. [laughter] it was byron white. now, do you remember who he was? my god, he was a professional football player, and i don't know what all. he was amazing. he about killed me. see what i'm doing? i grabbed his thumb, and i did that for the remaining years that he and i were tboat on that court. [laughter] >> i think i'll stand back here. [laughter] you think female judges have a unique perspective? if so, in what way, and how does
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it influence? >> no, i don't think they do, really, i mean, overall male or female, as a justice, you've gone to law school, you studied law, and you've had some experience, maybe as a trail judge or a state judge or in your law practice,ing? practice, something, and so you come there with some experience that is shared with the man who's done the same thing, so i don't think you come in with some preset at -- attitude or experience something vastly different from that or the other stuff. i really don't. now, it could be at some stage of the proceeding that as a former wife and mother, i might look at some domestic relations case with somewhat different views than maybe a justice who
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was never been married or had children. that's possible, but i don't think by and large that you'd find many with totally different approaches. >> do you think cameras should be allowed in the court while cases are being argued? >> that question is posed about once a year to members of the supreme court, i guess largely by media people who accustomed to events, and so far, the supreme court has not permitted cameras to come into the supreme court chamber. it probably doesn't matter much as a practical matter because by nighttime, every day that cases are heard of the court, you can get a full transscript of everything that was said that day in the courtroom.
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by the lawyers and the judges, the justices. it's all transcribed, available, and in writing. it is completely available almost immediately, and i don't think that the absence of seeing that on a television screen opposed to reading it in whatever form it comes out is that significant people are accustomed in this country to seeing everything on the television so it's a little frustrating, i guess, for some to think it's not fair, but i don't think that it's a cause for major concern because of the fact that, in fact, it is there in writing. you can see what was said. >> advice do you give a young female tarn interested in becoming a judge? >> well, if you want to be a judge, first of all, you have to be a good law student. you really need to prove that in
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law school and elsewhere, you established a record as someone who does understand and know legal principles and who can write well. that's very important because as a judge, you're probably going to have to write your opinions and express yourself well, so that's important, and you want to be able to demonstrate based on articles that you've written and published and books you wrote and published, that you have some compart -- capacity to understand legal issues and to write about them. i think that's very helpful in the selection of an appellate court judge. >> the court had moments of part sapp ship dating back to the beginning. do you feel dating back to recent history in world war ii that partisanship is causing uncivilty today?
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>> it's not as bad as it was than earlier times in the nation's history. i don't. when you look back in the early days of the country, at thomas jefferson, things going on in the court, when he was there, when jour marshall was our chief justice, they were second cousins, approximately, maybe second once removed. i'm not sure. they were cousins, but they were not the kissing kind. they did not like each other. it was really unpleasant, and, yet, they had many issues to resolve that affected our nation, and it's amazing that we got through all those days and did well. we don't have anything like that today. we have many cases where the justices may end up disagreeing on the bottom line. you're not going to find it 9-zip every time, once in a
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while, but usually there's division on the court, and that's very normal, but in the early days of the country, there was real hostility among the justices, i'm sorry to say. >> what's the number one question the other female justices asked you about being on the supreme court? >> well, they've not asked me anything. [laughter] they yows go to work and do it. >> what should they can me? >> i don't think there is anything they should ask me. maybe how the lunchroom works and how to get better lunches or something. that would be the only kind of thing i can help with probably. >> was there any decision made based op how it was interpreted or otherwise followed up that you now wish you had voted differently on? >> i don't look back, and now that's one thing i have learned
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in life, and that is to do the very best you can every day with whatever proble you have and required to decide, make a decision, and then don't look back. i don't look back. i'm sure i've made plenty of mistakes, but i don't need to look back at them. [laughter] i've been there, done that. [laughter] >> here's another advice question. based op the state of the current job market, what advice would you give someone considering law school? >> well, i'm going to tell them that they won't, perhaps, immediately have the kind of job they'd like because it seems to me there are more lawyers available for hire than there are jobs available for lawyers. it is tougher to get a job now as a lawyer, right now, than it used to be, so it may be a more
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challenging choice of a place to work. i'm sure it will even out over time, but if i were being asked that by someone in law school today, i would tell them not to rush to get out because they might have a hard time getting a job. [laughter] >> in cases that depend on science and technology expertise, how do you identify and then find such expertise? >> well, i don't have to do that as the judge. i only have to decide each case based on the evidence presented to the court, and in the case of an appellate court, which the supreme court is, the evidence has been introduced and presented at the trial court level. in the first court to hear the case, that's where the evidence comes in, and it's a matter of
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record. it's a matter -- it's in the record on that case, and so if you want to look back, as the appellate court judge at what was in the record at the time the case was resolved, it's all there in writing, all there in the record, and you don't have to fish around, and you're limited to deciding it based on what is in the record. >> will any of the stories in this book book make it into your icivics curriculum? >> oh, in the new book? >> yes. >> oh, i doubt it, or i might have put it in already. i don't think so, no, no, i don't think so. [laughter] >> why do all the controversial cases come out at the end of the year? >> well, they don't all, but i would say maybe a majority tend to come out at the end of the year because the cases that end up producing several opinions,
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both for and against the decision, both opinions supporting it and those dissenting machines that do not support it, and they require writing, and sometimes considerable writings to produce a dissent or an opinion agreeing with the that -- majority, but for different reasons. it takes a long time, sometimes, to write all of those up meaning often the last cases to be handed down for a term tend to be the cases that have produced the most amount of writing because it just took more time to put all that together. >> justice, one more question here. what do you do to unwind after a particularly stressful day? >> well, i -- that's not my practice to worry about how to unwind at the end of the day.
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i just -- [laughter] i like to start my day with some kind of exercise. that's how i like to start it, and the first thing i did, the very first day that i got the supreme court of the united states, i got on the telephone, and i called the ywca here in washington, d.c. and talked to somebody there on the the staff, and i asked if they could find someone who could come to the court and teach an exercise class early in the morning, and they said they thought they could find someone, and they did, and they sent a young woman down, and she stayed with us for a number of years giving an exercise class early in the morning on at least three days a week, and that's what i want because i don't know about you, but i like starting by day with an exercise class, just giving me more energy for the rest of the day. i thought it was a great way to
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start the day, and i think the court still end joys the privilege of having an exercise class early in the morning. >> will you stay and sign books for anyone? >> not for everyone. there's too many people here. [laughter] i'll sign until i give out, okay? all right. anyway, it's been nice to talk to you. [applause]
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the imlengs r intelligence is -- the intelligence is driven but uncertainty that religion and certainty are in different boxes, that science and religion are in different boxes, and the two, actually, are at war with each other, someone who is rational is not religious, someone who is religious is not rational. science is an antidepressant dote to religion. this, itself, is the ultimate irrational idea because the belief that religion is inniche call to science in the west is
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untrue. religion underpinned science and reason. >> author, columnist, and winner of the orwell prize for journalism takes your calls, e-mails, facebook comments, and tweets noon eastern on c-span2. >> a discussion on the supreme court with authors and academics who followed the court from georgetown law center in washington, this is an hour and 10 minutes. >> i want to welcome you to today's program with an all-star of authors discussing their recent books on the supreme court. i'm a professor here at georgetown, and executive director of the supreme court institute. it's a real privilege for the supreme court institute to host
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this event, and i'd like to thank our deputy director for putting it all together. before i turn the program over to our moderator, i'd like to remind everyone that after the program, we have a reception following in which you'll get a chance to have all your newly purchased books signedded by the authors, have a word or two with the authors, hopefully, and as you can see, we have food and beverage so please stick around after the program. with that, i would like to introduce our moderator today for today's program, tony, he really needs to introduction at all, so i will keep it short, and i'll tell you just that tony has long been one of the nation's most influential journalists covering the supreme court. he is currently the supreme court correspondence for the national law journal, and in his work on the supreme court
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insider is must reading for anyone who wants to figure out what's going on in the court today, so with that, tony, the floor is yours. >> thank you very much. a kind introduction, and thank you for the work on the pam. it's a great treat to be here as moderator of this event. i've written enthusiastically about every author here. i'm a big fan of anybody who sheds more light on the supreme court, and they've all done a great job of that. thank you, at #* -- audience for attending, and c-span, and booktv for being here as well. in should be a fun hour. we're here to celebrate and explore a category of books that seems to be growing, books both nonfiction and fiction about the supreme cowfort of --
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court of the united states. i supreme court doesn't come up in presidential debates, but it does generate a lot of books. i can tell that from the pile of books on my desk that come in, and i never quite get to all, unfortunately. the authors show the range of works about the supreme court. we have claire cushman who wrote a mystery of the personalities on the court. we have jeffrey tubin, latest book is as fresh as today's headlines or breaking news alerts. there's fiction, too. anthony francis book is a fast taste thriller in which six justices are shot by the second page. [laughter] along the way, though, it touches a lot -- it teaches a lot about how the supreme court works. there'sed to peppers and art ward who wrote several books about the justices and their law
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courts, and there's a fascinating relationship. what do the books have in common other than the supreme court? the answer is, i believe, that all these books are built on the founding assumption that the spreerm court is about more than just its opinions. to understand it fully, you need to know about the justices' backgrounds, their personalities, their foils, perm dynamics, and with each other, and with their clerks. this is a perspective not always popular with the supreme court, which is an intensity private institution. i remember vividly when i was writing about the court's pension for privacy in 1993, and that the court's spokeswoman, then tony house, told me very firmly that the court, and this is a quote, the court is perfectly comfortable being in the public eye as an institution, but not as individual justices. they don't think that whether they play tennis or play
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championships, that they are championship fox trotters has anyt wingo th whether or not they are good justices, but things are changing, contrast that with what chief justice roberts wrote in a forward to claire's book last year. the book, he said, sets aside the black robes and goes into the private side of life on the court, capturing vignettes of relations among friends, family, and one another. her book will delight all those who want to look beyond the portraits and gain an intimate view of the individuals who have quietly contributed so much to the work of the court and the advancement of justice. we're in a new era, really, of the supreme court historically, and i think we have to embrace it. in my own career, certainly, i've emphasized these aspects of the court as much as the. s of the court, and certainly makes for interesting reading as all of the authors illustrate, so to start it off, i think i'll ask a question about this point,
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whether why personality and background are important, and i hope the panelists use this as an poupt to talk about their books and tell stories with further discussion, and eventually, i'll open it to the audience, and there's a microphone that i'll ask you to use in the center aisle here. first, i'll ask claire to speak about the court, "book watchers," director of the historical society, so maybe you can tell us about the book and some examples through history about how personalities played ang important role and how the supreme court does its work. >> thanks, tony. well, i wrote a one volume narrative history of the supreme court that has absolutely no case law in it, which is a little bit shocking to some people, but my intent was really to show a history of the institution and its practices
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and traditions, and how they've evolved over time, and what i really want the to show was what it's like to be a supreme court justice or what it has been like so fill that role, and how the justices go about doing their jobs something that really is very relatable to a more general audience than a sophisticated legal audience, the themes that interest me in supreme court history are things like how a newly appointed justice learns the ropes and gets broke p in, how the justices collaborate and work together, how they manage the work, how they get it done, how they deploy clerks to get it done, and then also interested in showing how the justices know when it's time to go, time to retire, so i looked at themes
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and lookedded at oral arguments, which probably has a tradition of the court that changed the most in the 2 # -- 200 years. under the court, the oral advocates had up limited time to get the views across, and, n., they liked to lace speeches with illusions to shakespeare, the bible, and roman law, and they equally address the ladies in the courtroom audience and who were all dressed up to come here the speeches as they were the justices, but in those days, the justices had not been given written briefs before the cases, and they often had not thought about the case much before the oral argument started so they salt in wrappedded silence listening.
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obviously, oral argument changed enormously over time, and the introduction of written briefs in the 1840s changed things as did the widdling down of time, and as you all know, we now see these poor advocates who only have 30 minutes to get the points across, and the justices who are fully briefed on the case, know it inside and out, jump in quickly and ask them questions, so the -- that's one example of looking at a supreme court practice that changed enormously, but i wanted to show what have not changed. traditions, as you know, the court is tradition bound. that's stayed the same. for example, how the justices feel about their salaries. [laughter] as you know, the chief justice roberts was active to get congress to raise the salaries
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of all including supreme court justices who make, you know, significantly less than they would in the private sector, but even compared to say, a law school dean or senior law professor, there's a great gab, but i went back and looked at the same issue in the 1810s and looked at how they had a story and talked about the salary, complained to congress, and asked for a raise complaining that, ewe know, daniel webster, one of the great oral advocates was making 30 times as much. i went and looked at the same issue in the 1860s and chief justice chase said the same thing, you know, the retired generals who fought in the civil war make more than we are, so we both traced the evolution of a lot of the customs and practices, but the way i went about sharing history was using eyewitness antedotes to give color and life to what could be
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a dry book, if you just write about institutional practices, most fall asleep, so i used letters, memoirs, diaries, old interviews, current interviews of justices to try to bring it to life. do you want me to talk about favorite sources or did >> yes. >> okay. so a lot of the -- excuse me -- a lot of the sources i drew on are well-known to scholars, but some of them have been neglected or have not seen the light of day in the last 50 years, so i dredge up a lot of old things, but one of the sources i drew on a lot is the diary of elizabeth black who was hugo black's second wife, his secretary, and they were marrieded in 1956, and she kept a diary until his death in 71. she was a great woman with a
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great sense of humor who jotted down what was going on every day at home, and i love this source because it shows what happens in the day of the justice after he leaves the court and goes home, takes work home with him, and is struggling with cases and using his wife as a sounding board. do you think i would just read a tiny bit from the diary? >> absolutely. >> okay, because i -- sorry. one of the things about eyewitness accounts is that you really can't describe them. you can't paraphrase them. you have to go right to the source. honest and variably on an upon he thinks to be very important, hugo awakens in the middle of
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the night thinking about it. soon, he pulls the chain to turn on the light. darling, he says to me, are you awake? by that time, i am, of course, fully awake. i am bothered about a case. tell me about it, i say. well, this is what it's all about. then he recounts in detail and passion the horrible injustice perpetrated on a person because of his failure to see it his way. i'll have to ride it an nor row grounds to get a court, he says, meaning those he has with him and those againstment sometimes this unwinds him. sometimes not. if he doesn't feel he can sleep, he says, now, it's three o'clock in the morning, i just got to be fresh for the conference tomorrow. i need sleep. what do you think i ought to do? then i suggest, why don't you take a little bourbon to make you sleepy. hugo is terribly inhibitive about taking liquor and wants me to suggest it, rein so he pours
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a splash of bourbon on ice, fills the glass with water, and soon is sound asleep. [laughter] the next morning awake pes as bright and clear minded as can be, and approaches the day with his usual zest for life and vast good humor. just one of many thousands of antedotes in the book that i hope give the court more of a human face to help people really understand what it's like to be the supreme court justice, and how they go about doing their work. >> okay, thank you. next, a partner at the dc firm of arnold and porter, p spending many days writing not about the supreme court, but to the supreme court in the form of briefs. he's here to talk about the book, not briefs. it's the legal thriller called "the last justice," and now you researched the court for this book. tell us how -- about your take
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on the importance of personalities in understanding the court and the solicitor general as well. >> well, with regard to the justices, as tony mentioned, first couple pages of the book, nearly the entire supreme court is, there's not many surviving justices left in the book to go too much into their character, but i, you know, personalities mean a lot, you know, from a fiction writer's perspective it's about the characters. you request -- you can have the best plot around, but if the reader doesn't care for the characters, it's not going to matter, so i, you know, i research. i read everything i would about these path justices and really the judicial community, and tried to, you know, bring some of that to life. now, you know, this is a legal thriller, so you got to take liberties. i've never met anybody who engaged in all of this horrible
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things that the people do in my books, but, you know, disruptive try and make it, the characters believable, at least in the context in which their daily lives and the roles they playeded, so i did get a reality check about the realism of my characters. goit -- i got an e-mail from a federal court of appeals judge who had comments about my characterization of judges, and i really enjoyed the e mile -- e e-mail, so i asked the judge if he mind if i shared it, and he said, essentially, you know, i got life tenure, why not. go for it. [laughter] here it is. dr. mr. frans, i read your novel, read it cover to cover in a few days, and i really enjoyed. it so far i like the judge. i do have one gripe, however.
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the justices and judges in the novel seem, to me, to be highly sexualized than in real life. [laughter] at least in my experience. [laughter] i suppose, however, your characters give juris everywhere something to aspire to. [laughter] so maybe i didn't get everything quite perfect about the characters, but to bring it back to the personalities and dynamics, you know, for me, it's not about the big decisions, what i'm trying to come up with, these people who are not real, you know, it's fiction, but, you know, i hone in on some of the personal things you read about the justices. you know, for me, you know, the fact that one of the justices was in charge of putting a yo gunshot machine in the courtroom's calf fear ya. the fact last week reports asked what's one of the things you don't care for about your role, and, you know, he, like many of
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us, said i hate all the administrative work that doesn't deal with the decisions, and it's those things i grasp on to that make justices human and relate to them more and readers relate to them more, and so that was the thing i trieded to capture in, you know, the characters in the novel. >> i think your book is maybe one of the few books that gives a central role to the solicitor general not normally viewed as a highly dramatic position, but it works very well. next i want to talk -- ask jeffrey to speak. a legal analyst for cnn, and staff write r for with the the new yorker," a wonderful writer, and his new book "the oath," his second on the supreme court. i just finished reading it, and he does a great job of shifting back and forth between the court's people and its doctrines. you'll notice the "new york
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times" review of the book, which appears tomorrow, talk about that emphasis on personalities as well as opinions so -- >> well, let me talk about the supreme court by the numbers for starters. there are six men and three women. first time in history there's three women on the court. there are six catholics and three jews. first time in history there's no protestants on the supreme court. there's representatives of four new york city burroughs on the supreme court. the bronx, queens, brooklyn, and manhattan. tragically, stan ten island is unrepresented on the supreme court. anyway, so those are some facts about the supreme court which i hope are interesting. here's a fact about the supreme court that is important. there are five republicans and four democrats. the supreme court, to me, anyway, is most important as a
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political institution that renders largely political judgments about the issues that come before it. i don't say that as criticism. i often, in forums like this, hear, well, like, why do they have to do so much politics? can't they just decide the law? when they decide questions, like, does the constitution protect the woman's right to an abortion, do you consider race in admissions? those are political issues as well as legal issues, and i'm most concerned about the court as an ideological and political institution, and that is reflected through the personalities of the justices, but mostly, it's reflected through their ideologies, and i am, obviously, very interested in the justices as people, but, to me, what's most interesting about them is their political views, for example, the last
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three justices to leave the court, three more different human beings you will never end consistenter. sandra day o'connor, this tall, out going, charismatic former politician from arizona. david suiter, the shy reclusive bachelor from numplegz. john paul stevens, a wily antitrust lawyer from chicago, totally different personalities, but what do they have in common? all moderate republicans who left the supreme court completely alienated from the modern republican party, and that is what important about them to me. just as moderate republicans disappeared from the united states senate age -- and certainly the united states house of representatives, they disappeared from the supreme court, and that, to me, is the most significant thing about the supreme court which is the decisions they reach, why they reach them, and why the decisions matter to people in
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the real world. .. >> and mr. coleman who is now 93 and works 12 hours a day is nbc was of interest
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to me as the subject because he was the first black law clerk on the supreme court. i got a good rate to stay at the mayflower hotel in washington d.c. and went over the next morning to interview him. and bill asked me where i stayed the night before and i told him the mayflower and in his matter-of-fact voice said in 1948 when i clerked they would not serve me at the mayflower. he started to tell me a story about lunchtime when he and his:clerk who would go on to hold more cabinet positions were planning a lunch outing at the mayflower and a couple of minutes before they would leave, at the eliot came back in chambers there was a hushed conversation and they
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came out and was educated in close to tears then he said we have to get back some marks the let's go to union station which happened to be one of the only three places in town that would serve people of color in 1948. that crystallizes why i enjoyed studying law clerks because of his personality to the justices and clerks who have gone on to fame and fortune of their own warren christopher secretary of state working for bill douglas who had five law clerks to return to the supreme court and i enjoy the stories with the relationships because they shed light on the relationship between judicial attitudes and personalities and behavior and also because the supreme court clerkship is number one with internships in the
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country and in 1998 when i was in graduate school thinking about doing my dissertation on the clerk's with a series of articles in "usa today" written by tony moral about the law clerks the supreme court justices hiring practices and the justices were not hiring very many women or people of color and those issues are also important because they raise questions about social justice in terms of if the supreme court follows its own dictates with the level playing field for all people in the workplace. i have been studying law clerks maybe since 1998 or 2000 and what captivates me are the stories. of the dining at john marshall wrote back to hear the local hospital dying of cancer and the fact that
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franurter died penniless but for the next 15 years his clerks collectively took care of his wife and the stories of the holmes law clerks you can never wrong talking about holmes and at the same thing with the law clerks. for holmes he was a surrogate children the individuals which had to listen to his stories about the civil war whether they wanted to or not an holmes and his law clerks with lot from the district of columbia to talk about petitions and holmes one of his law clerks from the new deal and when corcoran could not keep of his end of the argument about god and the universe he was assigned the task of reading the old testament to the comeback to continue the argument. those types of stories captivate me.
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and i think show one aspect of the supreme court clerk ships which has vanished or is vanishing. says you have one or maybe two law clerks. but the pressures were not there like they are today. to david justice's have four or five clerks they are consumed with questions about secrecy and confidentiality and now nine little law firms i don't think they have time to walk around the district of columbia like holmes like to do overstep the midnight with hugo black arguing about jefferson and his views of the role of church a lot of those stories are lost in what we enjoy is to find the story to preserve them. >> really decided 64 cases
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last year they should have time to walk around to looking at every flower in washington. [laughter] with you only have four law clerks and all of the beautiful briefs you thank you would have time to pick to lips but they are working >> and briefly the other thing which is fascinating is the justices attitude toward the law clerks. scalia gave a talk and at 1. told the american university of law students he could not afford to hire them not with a salary but could not take a chance on them because the work of the court was so important that god forbid he get a law clerk that might not be up to snuff but then they want to maintain that they do all their own work you cannot have it both ways but the same time that the system is so important we cannot look beyond harvard or yale or
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stanford. >> that is a very good point* but one thing to say is 100 years ago they did to their own work and there were no clerks how did they possibly get anything done? i want to agree with what jeff had to say about the politics and expand what he had to say not only those other crucial but among the clerks from those of different chambers and the justices that is what interests me with a small working groups of individuals better dealing with the biggest political issues of the day so when i do research on clerks what i find is the clerks are influenza role in the process and i notice controversial to say so but if you look at the process
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is you find they are required to give opinions on the matters that are decided by the court potentially. they lobby the justices and they must to say we should take this case are we should not. not just in terms of the law but whether it is a good time to take the case politically because there is a presidential election going on these political issues are what fascinate me. and also the idea of the clerk network that they eat lunch together and play basketball together and commute to work together and endlessly talking about the cases and with the justices stand the you think you're just as could move then this direction if i got mine to say that? so they are the go-between's or their intermediaries of
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the coalition formation but the justices don't talk to each other that much anymore they don't call each other on the phone hardly it is the clerks that have those conversations that is one of the things i am interested in. senate before we move to the next question tuesday on the subject of clerks in the context of what happened we saw this summer the leaks that occurred after the court term and it with the back and forth concerning the affordable care act decisions with the landmark cases of obamacare. there has been a lot of talk if the clerks were the source because they swear to
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confidentiality. what is your thought about the leaks and how they came about? >> can we at least say how great day are the pretentiousness of the self importance that comes as the supreme court clerkship not all of them to be sure but certainly in my experience is part of it. the ones to talk to me as explicit judgment. [laughter] and their very fine people but it is mostly the ones that hang up on me that i speak about. [laughter] i was very surprised by what went on this summer and i reconstructed it for my chapter on the deliberations in the affordable care act case it was indicative of the high stakes in the case
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and the peculiar and unexpected roll that john roberts played just to fill people in, chief justice roberts was the vote in motion during the deliberation and he moved to a more pro affordable care act position over the course of the deliberations it was argued in march and decided june 2018 and in may, a conservative columnist and editorial page started writing pieces that said we hear that chief justice roberts is getting wobbly on the affordable care act and we want him to show how tough he will be and then "national review" writer and editor gave a speech at princeton saying my sources
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at the supreme court say robert's is moving to a pro affordable care act position which is extraordinary and he was quite right i believe they did come from the clerks perhaps to the judge's to those a clerk for in the circuit court but then into the bloodstream but my position is generally pro league and disclosure. so what? i don't see what harm was done and understand why this process has to be so mystified, a secret and obviously within some reason but it is illustrative of how passionately conservatives felt about the case but i don't think there is any particular harm to it >> a small working group of
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sandra day o'connor and byron white and brendon had day klerk code of conduct that may have been slightly tweet then adopted by the court 1989. you and i cannot write the court and ask for a copy because the supreme court has refused to release it to the public which i think is problematic but i found a copy in the personal papers of thoroughbred marshall but it says -- thurgood marshall but they have a confidentiality to the court and justices because there was some suggestion that maybe water to of the justices had authorized the clerks to talk and regardless of that is good or bad to live in a democratic society clearly violates the, at the code of conduct of confidentiality
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even you talky still violate your duties to the supreme court as an institution and over the last 20 years 30 year 40 years we have seen repeated instances of selective violations all the way through the book closed chambers and this spring and i was not a supreme court law clerk by a clerk at the federal district law clerk i know that it is important and it bothers me because i do think they are violating the on going to be of confidentiality but as a researcher it delights me if nobody talks to me i have nothing to write about but there is a duty out there and i think it violates that. >> fate god. >> the justices are violating it themselves because it shows the five
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justices spoke for that book anonymous at the time but now we know who they are. if the justices are talking to the press and they may well have been how seriously can the courts take this agreement? >> i want to get a view from all of the panelists on another area then we will bring in the audience. added is how you go about researching the court when you get the information when it is such a secretive organization. i never forget when chief justice rehnquist was talking to a group of reporters at a social event many years ago and there was sold in the conversation and
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rehnquist said the difference between us in the of their branches of government is we don't need you people. that is quite an icebreaker. [laughter] but by implication the supreme court does not need to book authors either. so some of the justices are not interested to talk to reporters so how you go about your work in this regard piercing the privacy? >> what i want for christmas is mr. toobin and resources because you have done a wonderful job peeling back back curtain. >> let me just say about my sources i obviously called the clerks but some of them and the best thing that i
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did the single most useful trip i took was to west lafayette indiana. what was there? the c-span archives. brian lamb went to purdue and sent all his archives there. the justices are on c-span a lot. you'd be surprised how much is out there in plain sight. they tell a lot of the justices they like to talk. they like to talk about themselves witches a common phenomenon with human interaction. and i went through a lot of the panel discussions and speeches and there was gold in their. unfortunately in between then they put the archives on the web so i was denied the pleasure to return but the same idea there were, my
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editor likes to say reporting in general you be amazed how much is in plain sight and i thought c-span was an example of how much was in plain sight. >> to flip the question around, one source is drying up and in most research i have gone to the library of congress were justices have the personal papers and when harry blackmun's papers opened there was a push back by the court because the justice did not throw away anything. every sane goal christmas card a law clerk cent and it is there. now flash forward to byron's white papers and there is nothing there. there is not even a correspondence file and my concern is because some of
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us use these sources or the corps is more sensitive for political that the supreme court justices papers which historically were a wonderful source of information will go away. some are sealed for decades ann warren burger's papers cannot be open for another 10 years. and o'connor or suter i may be dead will there be anything in them? i am worried about history. there is the famous story of bess truman birding truman's love letters and he said were you doing? think of history and she said i am thinking of history. i am rory the justices are thinking of history and it will be to our detriment. >> i want to speak about asking justices for interviews. i do think if you ask them
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for an interview on a particular topic that they feel comfortable about i interview justice beyer who is fairly easy to get an interview with about what it is like to be the junior justice because he was there for 11 years he was bested by story by a couple of weeks but he was happy to talk to me about that particular aspect and house seniority plays into things. it is easier to approach them on certain topics than others and for my book i was planning to interview them all they don't know that but i was. c-span does a wonderful series of interviews with brian mann and susan swain to ask about the court building and they just are did to throw out other questions and got some fruitful response ising
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tiptoeing so when i was halfway to the book the transcripts came out and i realized all the questions i would have passed them were being cast by c-span and i just needed to extract the golden nugget's to put them in a narrative format to make them come alive. but the justices often when they give interviews they answer questions in sort of the same way so i didn't feel that i needed to go back to reinvent the wheel except my own personal glory but it was out there. >> there is a lot of information out there already. and clare cushman mentioned already i am sure some of you notice when justice scalia was on his recent book to work he was asked about retirement and he did
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not give this dan did -- standard answer the first time in history with the justice said in multiple interviews i will retire under a like-minded president why would i establish an entire judicial record for decades then leave under president with the president to undo it? he admitted it spent years trying to prove it huskily it comes out. [laughter] but i think when they are in public they might be willing to say more than we give them credit for sometimes. we can mine the information for clues as to what goes on. >> but try calling it justice to say i will write a legal thriller how someone assassinates all the justices. [laughter] of course, i did not do that
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but i realized on the great work that is out there which is a total coincidence i did try to get the supreme court history and procedure right and i read hundreds of articles and books and in my note section i point* out the articles or the books that were the most helpful in that regard and dicing gold out the reporting in every panelist that i relied on as the complete coincidence but i do a great service to educating the public and everybody else about the court. >> i share todds concern about the future of the records that will be available from the justices and their papers.
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i ask once what the justices are doing about their e-mail's is there any regime for saving e-mail's? i was told no. there isn't much of a rule most of the communications on paper but there is no rule about the males and of course, those papers are not viewed as public documents in the same way the presidential papers are. i once asked the archivist why the justices papers and not treated the same way? he said i have too many friends on the supreme court i don't think i'll answer that question which does not seem like that is very public doesn't seem like the public minded approach but anyway why don't we have questions from the audience?
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if you could go to the microphone there please. >> their reaction not that the justice leaked information that incredibly upset to put it mildly but have they been desensitized overtime with these leaks? >> published in 1979, there was not a behind-the-scenes book of the supreme court court, putting aside the lazarists book with the journalistic book about the supreme court between 1979 and 2007 when i wrote the nine. i think there is some generational change and the
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justices who were on the court were of a very different generation where the press was not a major factor in their thinking. you now have several justices in their 50s to grew up in a different environment and i am not saying they're more welcoming to media attention, but they came evade in a world where they and justice scalia has written the book and justice beyer events so my your is writing a memoir. this is personal publicity seeking on their part is different than historic klay and i think it is great when they write a book to talk about it and become more
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accessible. >> it is funny about the brethren because the law clerks that law clerk before felt that by iran's white changed afterwards in because he was a former naval intelligence officer in mysterious cliff the leaks and could not figure out and the clerks think something changed with the rules of the chamber involving discussions i dunno if the other justices attitudes have changed but if you look at newspaper articles i think there was a lot that were just livid to talk about this young man should be tarred and feathered and scalia said if any of his law clerks did that he would hunt them down but some would be just as curious if that happened
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today. >> i would like to ask each of you if you would tell us your favorite humorous story of a justice that the supreme court. >> i would love to tell you my favorite story of thurgood marshall when he had pneumonia and was taken in to bethesda and a long dash geneva naval hospital and k said was hoping to get a vacancy on the court to fill. one day when of marshall's doctors came to him and said the president has requested we send over your medical records and he was nowhere
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near death's door and marshall said of course, you can send them over but just give me of black sharpie so i can ride on the records and he said not yet exclamation point. [laughter] >> . .
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>> anything hasty exit. >> david souter and stephen breyer are frequently mistaken for each other. it is true. justice souter was driving from here tonight hampshire and he stopped to get something to eat. and a couple came up to them and a guy came up to them and said you are on the supreme court coming your stephen breyer. he didn't want to embarrass us, so he said yes, i am stephen breyer. they chatted for a little while. then the guy asked a question that justice souter wasn't ready for he said, and justice breyer, what is the best thing about being on the supreme court he thought and said it is the privilege of serving with david souter. how can you not love that guy?
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[laughter] >> i will cheat a little bit. the backup of my story of what would happen, my favorite is a nominee named harold carswell. he was considered not the highest nominee of the supreme court -- well, he said there a lot of mediocre lawyers and judges and don't they deserve representation as well. well, so that was the end of his chances to become a justice of the supreme court. >> that was in my home state of
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nebraska. >> that is one of the things at todd and i were hoping to do with the book. not just to talk about some of the politics and the behind-the-scenes procedural stuff, but some of the things that happened during the funny moments. one of the things that i enjoyed was the humor at stanford university. very much interested in making the court a fun place to work. he is volunteering in saying that he wanted to be in charge of the christmas party and here are my ideas and i have a point plan about what we should do and we should get liquor and we should have it, what it should be, at the same time he is organizing betting pools and competitions between any manner
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and the cover of our book. it is not just high-powered political people that fun people that want to have fun. >> and make money off of that. >> yes. i'm televising in the courtroom. >> i think tony has risen considerably on the topic. >> i have only been in court for about 30 years. with absolutely zero success and i keep thinking you justices will come on and have less fear
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of comments in the older justices. and it keeps happening. justice kagan, she seemed like the best champion in a long time and she said that she was going to carry this into the court. just a few months ago, she gave a speech where she was asked about it and she said i have been thinking about a. maybe it won't be the right thing to do. it's almost like the order of the court in new justices and they decide that families are not a good idea. >> justice souter said there would be cameras in the courtroom over his dead body. i agree with tony and i know tony has been the most eloquent
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supporter and the chances of this happening are slim. but i do think that they will be more receptive to increased audio availability. and they will release the audio at the end of the week and the arguments take place. i would bet in 10 years they will stream it live on the web in terms of audio. but i think that video is a very different story. i was shocked and disappointed to see elena kagan with the stockholm syndrome that goes on there apparently. [laughter] >> the first question i have is there is a lot of talk in the most conservative of histories.
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is this the first time that people have accepted that and that it is political in history will it stay that way? >> well, i don't think that i have said come and i don't believe that this is the most local court in history, i think the court is always political. i think it is a political institution, presidents appoint justices to reflect their political ideology these are
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really horrible decisions that the supreme court could come up with. so i don't think that this is a more political or more right-wing thing than it's ever been. but i do think that it's political and considerate. >> i also think at the same time it is the most active court in history. my colleague has a book on this and he has shown that the modern court is the most active in terms of striking down popular enacted laws in any court ever before. in that sense, the court is getting involved in issues that the american people have focused on. the court has said no and this may very well account as to why the public approval ratings have declined. the willingness to get involved
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and overturn decisions. maybe activist is a better term than politicize. >> putting on my practicing lawyer had, i think that what does get lost sometimes is that not all the decisions are political issues that you read about in the paper. i think much of the court's work, probably most of it involves issues that people would not consider political bankruptcy issues and the efforts to resolve conflicts in the circuit. we do have to step back and there is so much that goes on and you can put a liberal conservative with this. >> about a third of the cases are unanimous. that is a fair judgment of what is controversial.
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half are pretty controversial. >> other manifestations of the public realizing the court is part of the institution and maybe the court realizing it as well. i spent time with judicial attendance at the time of woodrow wilson as president. citizens united case, it amounts to president obama making a statement about the scope of the law. you see over time the court struggling with the public role in the last 10 or 15 years it has increased with justices saying that i don't want to be a potted plant at a political pep rally and etc.
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the court is very aware of what it does and doesn't want to do. >> are there any thoughts on this? how conservative this court is? >> no, i'm not going to go there, but i would say that it is not as politicized, but whether it reflects the american people. and i know the answer to that. but i think that is a very interesting question. >> one of the venture could be the activities that the supreme court espouses. kenny thomas and her political activism, or is it just sort of an outlier case, or some of the spouses of justices were stepping out of the shadows and asserting their own views and
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what is the impact in terms of the justices? >> yes, jenny comes to mind. >> can i just say, i do think that was a bunch of nonsense for staying in the case. there was an effort who knew how he was going to vote and thomas has been a political activist before she met clarence thomas. this is her job. she has every right to have that job. they are a two career family with a lot of people. something that she had every right to do what she did. clarence thomas had every right and thomas was fortunate that the leader of the effort would
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take place. >> lately we have had the blockbuster terms that we have been having, and do you think there has been an increase in the public awareness and attention to the cases and these controversial cases and white to . >> i think that i'm very sensitive to this because i'm trying to sell books and i was very origin at. the term before was the loser term of all time. it was the big case of the
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violent videogame labeling constitutional. the only appropriate question their is who cares. i mean, some terms are big and sometimes are not. >> [inaudible question] too common, it is true what's fascinating to me at the moment is just a sotomayor. clearly what is your view of
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where we will come out en masse? it's such a mystery. >> i just think this idea that justices turn out differently is a myth. that was the eisenhower presidency, which was a long time ago. you're absolutely right. since then the number of surprises is very small. look at all nine justices on the supreme court. >> she's going to be a solid liberal like the other democratic courts and i think she has taken a particular interest in the criminal docket. i think that the fact that she was a federal district judge in
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actually dealt with cases in a nonacademic way, it adds a tremendous amount to the court. >> she seems to me to be more of a -- kind of trying to come out with a correct decency, whereas many of these cases -- it's like what is my position and how i get there and. >> one last question. >> all of you justices,. >> anything close to the microphone. >> okay. >> many of you have had and the political dealings.
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talking directly. i'm wondering if there was one justice that you'd like to sit down and have a cup of coffee with, whether it is due to intrigue or you enjoy their company. >> alive or dead? >> the conversation might not be very good. [laughter] >> for me it would be homes or franker. >> i will go dd, john >> were you intrigued with this as well? >> it is so hard to choose. i'm going to face similar
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circumstances >> the answer is anyone but james reynolds. [laughter] okay come on that note, i thank you very much. we have what wanted the appetite of the audience about these books and thank you very much. [applause] >> tomorrow on booktv, we will look at the effect technology has had on society. in her book, naomi baron writes online and mobile technologies are influencing how we read and write and speak. and then douglas rushkoff on his book, when everything happens now. after that, the book which
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examines how digital information is changing privacy and business. that starts at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span2. >> there are two infamous prisons in the western u.s. one is a territorial prison. the other. there is something in our culture and our consciousness of what it would have been like to be in a prison like that. and it was considered to be a model institution in its day. this was a solitary confinement cell in a major infraction, talking back to a guard not giving respect to know the authorities on the treatment,
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you got bread and water once a day occasionally there would be more than one person in here. and one great big printing breakout, there were 12 people in here. the folklore said that in the pitch black you would feel something come down the air shaft. it could've been a snake. now, that is just something that is not documented. >> from 1876 in 1909, this was a home to many prisoners including women. discover the history of yuma, arizona on booktv on c-span2 and sunday at 5:00 p.m. on american history tv on
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c-span3. >> next on "after words", martin clancy and tim o'brien of the national advocacy counsel are interviewed. >> yes, i would love to talk to you both about what is incredibly important in my first question i really wanted to ask you is what compelled you to write this book. >> everyone focuses on the legal issues, as they say the stories are fascinating. that is particularly true with what happened during that time,
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before the court's decision and after the court's decision had happened. this is fascinating. >> absolutely. you have stories to tell. the supreme court decision has been five to for and it surrounds a decision that reads like a novel. >> and i completely agree. i think that one of the code that i found that i especially really like was from a former congressman. it's like a nonfiction book that you can take down.
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this book, it is different from a lot of nonfiction works i have read. and that it really does read like a thriller,. >> in addition to the stories come i think is an important book there are so few good books out there that explain the process. how do we go about this, how do we decide these cases. see these cases and personal feelings getting into it, not just about capital punishment. >> the memorandum in court between the justices that are available i'm not a lawyer.
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but i was just fascinated by the human side of everything. in many cases they have reservations about capital punishment they displayed the electric chair and they invited classes to come look at the electric chair from the local school. they then would, in this
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particular case, the 17-year-old, he was put in the chair, strap in, and the executioners said goodbye and really didn't go anywhere with it. enact what happened? >> we are putting this man in the electric chair at him. they say it was an accident. so they did. he went behind his fellow justices backs quite literally. he urged a friend of louisiana state bar to stop what he
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thought would be a catastrophe. the attorney did manage to drive, but he could not stop the execution. not about the law, but history in the united states supreme court. the state legislatures must make these decisions, it's not for us to decide. >> you know, we actually went to
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this -- you know, went to the chamber to see these chairs there are so many questions about capital punishment who should be executed, what are the rules, those questions are what we can answer.
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it is perfectly proper. now, if we shake and he that cometh we cause people to think, i will consider this a success. >> i think that is an excellent point. i think this has been a huge and wonderful contribution to that discussion. i wanted to touch base. do you believe this will be related to the amodei and gun violence that we? >> that is a tough question. i sometimes think -- and i don't know the answer to that
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question. guns are talked about in countries like the united kingdom, so we do? we have capital punishment and we find that in those states that have the death penalty, they have the highest crime rate because opponents of capital punishment look at it one way. and others look at it another way. what we did find though is in
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this debate, when you look at the crime and criminals that commit these crimes, you find a great deal of sympathy for the death penalty. and look at the system, you have to have some pots. >> can you talk about the
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supreme court? >> you cannot execute someone who by state law is mentally impaired, whatever that level is. it is a very tough case most are not the brightest lights in the house who should make that call, should the unitedunited states supreme court to he made him drive to a bank from an atm machine, took out a couple hundred dollars and then shot him dead. he just left him there.
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so he qualifies for capital punishment under virginia law. the judge threw out his hands and says he gets life without parole. so the inmate who brought this case and it is an amazing story and the twists and turns in that case. by the way, it was to help people understand and he is the
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driving force behind this. >> the technology will be deployed in the book. >> one of the cases is whether you can have the death penalty for juveniles it was described in the book that it would be a
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solution. >> i thought that this was very unique and very uniquely giving this is the direction in this and we really need to grab the resources. >> i didn't understand what i was. >> i cannot predict the way that this will go. but to me, not only do you pull up the video before he confessed, you see not just the confession, but he can show the
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police where he threw this. that brings you the scene of the crime and has an emotional impact in the way that we can give you that kind of statement. >> i do think that we all have a statement. fathi might've had the answer is perfectly understandable. if you look at these crimes, i think that you have to understand what it's all about. we talked to judges and lawyers, philosophers about capital punishment. they see firsthand what
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happened. >> there was a lot of redemption. people are angry. i can understand the feeling. >> one of the things we have also talked about is the debate over the death penalty. it does deter what the supreme court. they sort of thought that. i spoke with loved ones it is
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painful to them for the rest of their lives. they will never forget. some of the relatives had crusaded against capital punishment and what about the person who killed your father? >> it is understandable to me. >> i was reading that you actually were saying you had thought have thought about writing a book like this 20 years ago. it's just a matter of time is what was going on that started up this conversation.
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>> the more we talked the more we thought about it, somewhere in between delaware and here, we decided we had to write a book. i insist that we are not quitters. although sometimes the distinction is hard to make. but we did put it off for a long time bareboat semiretired we should have done it.
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>> way back when, legal analysis for 20 plus years, it was a marriage that worked out very well. >> how did this book go, due to dna,. >> what we are finding is that it's much more real, much more large than they actually thought it was.
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>> we are often challenged this is probably a case of eyewitness testimony we have questions about how the system works. that we are not here to tell you about capital punishment being right or wrong. >> there some strange reactions
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from some people. it would be good and looking at all as statistics, no one ever said the system is perfect. and we don't have a remedy in the person is gone. so death is different. it doesn't affect the outcome as to whether or not you two habits are not. >> okay, i think i'm going to take a step back.
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>> i wanted to hear about how this orks for 90% of the time, the most widely used things from both of us. the most equal value of occurrences and you can't say that. i think having a friendship.
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she was making recommendations to me. i felt all of the changes that we made were very beneficial. >> the disagreements that we have had, they are much more important. >> i thought it was interesting because of this. >> we were looking at this. just doing this about capital punishment.
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>> we have to do this at the supreme court. but these are the crimes of the supreme court has used to make the law, to shape the law, to define the law of capital punishment. and then that is it. there is a crime in a landmark case. we have agreed on this and it is an improvement. >> well, i don't know. [laughter]
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>> i said we were going to let this get in our way. the supreme court views murder is capital punishment in a certain way. but i think it is a good poi these are all lethal crimes. what the court said about it -- >> i think what is neat is that the way the stories are told. i think it opens it up to nonfiction readers and i was curious to know if that would be e outcome.
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>> they never said no and it was an amazing liberty for me. the supreme court that you want, we have this fabulous human interest story behind it. and they said let me give you another five and. we will do a book about capital punishment and we can say little bit more that was such a case.
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i didn't have it, it was a certain case. >> it will take another five minutes. >> escamilla have no idea. >> i think we will go to a break now. but thank you so much. >> tomorrow on "washington journal", ron paul talks about tax credits in the health care law. then a discussion of the future of the republican agenda in the house and senate. and then elizabeth weeks of usa today looks at the impact of budget cuts on food safety within the food and drug administration. plus, your e-mails and phone calls and tweets. "washington journal" is live on tuesday, 7:00 a.m. eastern on
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c-span. >> okay, i wanted to take moment to get to the red meat and talk about the cases that really stuck out. >> it was implemented in an arbitrary manner. we have an opportunity to reinstate capital punishment. opponents of capital punishment thought that this was just the first two. and we could rid the country of capital punishment once and for
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all. they supported the death penalty in some ways. >> he had to go to the restroom, and he shot them both at point blank range. and the question was, could he get a death sentence. the supreme court looked at how georgia had rewritten the law. we had one part of the ind the second trial which is much more open ended. what had done to duplicated a bit.
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the night before his scheduled execion, the escape from prison with four other inmates, said to be the worst killers in georgia history. escape to north carolina. there was an unfortunate mistake. he picked him up, threw him to the ground, an tomped him to death. his body was found floating in a nearby lake. the escape is so daring. >> these stories, after the
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supreme court's decision, if you're a journalist or writer, you want to have good stories. >> another topic was forcibly mediti a schizophrenic make them well and i was to be instituted. >> if someone becomes insane, after conviction, here we have a case if someone was diagnosed as schizophrenic after being condemned.
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>> it did not settle down to the lower courts examination. i was scratching my head and i said i have no idea what these guys want. but the supreme court couldn't make decisions. >> one of the things we uncovered was unfortunately come in those things do happen.
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he spends the wee hours of the morning shouting of the only people they can see and hear. >> if you can show it is medically necessary, what doctor is going to say yes if medically necessary.
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i cared about which was the right way to go. in this case especially with loved ones left behind. there are horrible cases in the book. in most cases, if you do. when we have someone who doesn't have relatives left behind, should be based solely on the crime and the criminal. i would lie awake at night trying to figure out what is the right answer.
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we have flipped a decision in a heartbeat in the washington dc supreme court. the consequences are fascinating >> it's a tough call. >> we are presenting the question properly. we don't have to have the answers. when you look at these cases coming to understand the really
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big difference of having an opinion. and john roberts was nominated to be the chief justice and you have to make a decision that lives on the lines. >> it's an interesting point there is large focus of this. but i sense that you have an opinion. do you think that had any impact? >> we tried very hard. >> that troubled us. we originally did not present any conclusions. we wanted it to be hands-on here
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it is a domestic crime that w committed by people who are very violent. e had to conclude this for the sake of our readers and to be honest. we had to for more than 200 years come the brightest most caring and dedicated minds were on the bench in the supreme
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court and in the legal community. despite all of the things that the court have done and it has to do with the victim. we find that everything happened abject poverty, victims of child abuse committees are very common things. none of those are excused. to some extent, they might be executed because of the sins of their parents. and they don't have good words
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it sometimes celebrate cases and the quality of legal representation is superb. but to many it is superb. people are sentenced to die not just because they committed the crimes, and we see that over and over again. >> [inaudible] >> there are definitely some killers out there. but it really does, better than anything else serve for
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retribution. it's not brain surgery. i think that everyone should make their own decision. but only as a calprti matter. it doesn't seem to work the way anyone would hope. >> i was curious if there was anything that might have gone a little differently? ..
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>> there are a number of reasons but when you have capital punishment the public doesn't want it


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