tv Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearing - Day 1 CSPAN September 5, 2018 8:22am-8:48am EDT
unfortunately, we have all these interest groups screaming from the sidelines and puttingng pressure on my democratic colleagues to make this hearing about politics, make it about pretty much anything except judge kavanaugh and his qualifications. we are folks who want to run for president, what the mom in the spotlight, what that constant tv clip. frankly i wish we could drop all the nonsense. judge kavanaugh is unquestionably qualified. he's one of the most widely respected judges in the country. he is well within the judicial mainstream. anyone who wants to argue otherwise once did and half the country from the mainstream. so judge, i'man glad you are hee today. i'm sorry you're going to have to -- nonsense that is not to your way but but i hope you do it well. you are smart -- [shouting] -- smart and you are a
fundamentally decent person. [shouting] anyone who knows you knows that to be true. [shouting] >> mr. chairman, i don't know that the committee should have to put up with this type of insulins that's going on in this room today. [shouting] >> and, frankly, these people are so out off line t they shouldn't even be allowed in the ring. judge kavanaugh, i'm proud of you. i know how good you are. i know you deserve this position. i'm proud of the president for nominating you and, frankly, i wish you the best because we're going to confirmsi you. >> out of courtesy to ranking member feinstein, she wants to introduce people were in the audience, and so she can take what time t she wants right now. >> thank you. i will be very fast. i'd like to recognize marc morial, the president of the national urban league. melanie campbell, the president and ceo of the national coalition on black civic
participation. reverend al t sharpton, the president of national action network. vanita gupta,, leadership conference of civil and human rights. derek johnson, president and ceo naacp here sherilyn eiffel, president naacp legal defense fund. kristen clark, president and executive director lawyers' committee for civil rights. and picking the growth greats, president and ceo national women'ss law center. i would also like to recognize fred gutenberg, the father of jeannie, one of 17 killed in the park when shooting. kelly gregory, former chairman first-class, single mothers, business owner living with stae four metastatic breast cancer. sarah mcbride, and advocate for lgbt rights and protections for patients.ri tf who works a map of people with disabilities.
angel young, an enrolled member of the standing rock lakota, and a veteran. kim jorgensen gain who advocates for a woman's right to choose. bobby jenkins, a longtime resident of randolph county, georgia and a voting rights advocate. kerry chen who's been fighting for marriage benefits for same-sex couples. car loaded, a member of little rock nine. thank you for this courtesy. >> mr. chairman, i will ask you, the last few bits a lot of rhetoric. i think. it might serve the committee well to have some reality. i i served in the senate for 44 years. during that span, able to vote on 19 nominations to the supreme court. i mentioned this because i have a sense of history. i've never seen in the 44 years
so much at stake for singleseat. but it also never seen such a dangerous rush to fill it. president n trump promised he would only nominate judges to the supreme court who would overturn roe v. wade. judges who would dismantle the affordable care act. judges who would reshape our judiciary. now, if that's not judicial activism, i don't know what is. and judge kavanaugh, which are nomination, the president has made it very clear he's following through on his promises, and many of us feel he is. it seems that you may have intrigued him for another reason. your expansive view of executive power an executive immunity. you have taken the unorthodox
position that president should not be burdened with a criminal or civil investigation while in office. now we have a president who is declared in the last 24 hours that the department of justice shouldn't prosecute republicans. it's house in wonderland, and i find it -- alice -- that your use in the subject escaped the attention of president trump who seems increasingly fixated on his own ballooninge legal jeopardy. when questioning about these concerns we won't certainly look to your record on the bench, all of us, republicans and democrats agree that we should. indeed, , your 12 years on the d.c. circuit court of appeals will loom large during these
hearings. the unknown looms even larger. before sitting on the bench you way political operative involved in thehe most political and partisan controversies of our time. during this time you shared your personal view on contentious issues without regard to restrictions imposed by precedent or stare decisis. it is precisely thosees views tt are being hidden from us today. the judiciary committees supreme court hearings are meant to be an unsparing examination of a nominee to lifetime appointment to our highest court. you intend to keep the american people, all, all, all the american people a genuine opportunity to scrutinize a nominees judicial philosophy, beliefs and character.
because when constrained by a stroke of a pen and nominee may impact a generation or more. and how far have we fallen? judge kavanaugh, there are some things wrong with this committees vetting of your record. it is hard toe know where to begin. i've been on this committee under both republican and democratic leadership. i never thought the committee would sink to this. in fact, you shouldn't be sitting in front of us today. you should be t sitting in front of us only after we have completed a review of your record. your vetting is less thanit 10% complete. in critical is our committee is abandoning this tradition of exhaustively vetting supreme court nominees. first, inexplicably, my republican friends refused requested records from your three years as white as staff secretary.
even though you described those as the most formative for you as a judge. when you provide advice on any issue that may cost the the presidents -- crossed the president's desk. now, we know those issues include abortion, same-sexen marriage, and torture, and torture. but six weeks ago senate republicans held a private meeting with the white house counselors here today. i was lazy americanan a people d those records would be off-limits. second, the committee president, i committee present i've seen for 44 years chairman grassley requested national archives. not only did it admit all 1 billion records from your three years as staff secretary,
it did not even request a privilege log. that means this committee is in the dark toward specific documents are being withheld and why we don't even know why it is being hidden. such a move is simply incompatible with transparency. and thirdrd the archives told us they could not even produce this partial records request until the end of october. that's nonpartisan archives. truly i would -- [shouting] [shouting] mr. chairman, i do not continue -- i do not intend at any point to continue what i have to say with such interruptions i don't
care whose side they are on. now, the archives have said they would not produce his partial records requested at the end of october. surely i would think the t unitd states senate could wait until then even if it means a supreme court with eight justices for a short time. after all, senate republicans established the tradition of having just eight judges, eight justices. they did that with their treatment of chief judge merrick garland, show they were willing to have patience telling supreme court vacancies when the firstt time ever they refused to have a vote on aca supreme court nomin, either up or down, during a presidential election year. and i've been here when they have had in the past such votes.
but republicans cast aside the archives. they swapped the nonpartisan review process used for every nominee since watergate for a partisan one. i think you have to look at watergate to see why we have that nonpartisan process. it's followed by every nomination since watergate until the day. and my question still recurs, what is being hidden and why? every white house record we received is hand-picked by your deputy in the bush white house. a hyper conflicted lawyer who also represents a half-dozen trump administration officials who are under investigation by prosecutors in the rush investigation a.
these partisan lawyers decide which of your records the senate but more importantly the american people, the american people get to see. countless documents that have been provided to the committee contain apparent alterations and omissions with zero explanation. no court in this country, certainly no court i ever argued cases before would accept this as illegitimate document production. and the united states senate shouldn't either. more than 40% of those documents we received, almost 190,000 pages, are considered to be confidential by chairman grassley. for the vast majority of them, does not even conceivable argument to restrict them. compare this to the near 860 documents that were designated committee confidential or justice kagan, and that request
is made by the nonpartisan archives, not by this committee. on friday we learn president trump is claiming executive privilege over an additional 102,000 pages of your records. such a blanket assertion of executive privilege is certainly unheard of in the history of this country. the reason it is unheard-of is because it is so outrageous. the last time a president attempted to write a supreme court nominees records by invoking executive privilege was when president reagan did this for justice what you rehnquist. but then republicans and democrats came together. we demanded the documents be released, and president reagan okay, and they were released.
boy, how times have changed. to date we receive less than half of chairman grassley is partial records request, meaning removing -- even republicans claim they need vet the nomination just a few weeks ago. then we received additional 42,000 pages a few hours ago. the notion anyone here is properly reviewed review them n seen them at all is laughable. it's laughable. it doesn't pass the test. that alone would be reason to postpone during normal times. but nothing about this is normal. all told, only 4%, 4% of your white house staff has been shared with the public. only 7% has been made available to this committee. the rest remains hidden from
scrutiny. compare this to the 19 -- 99% of justice kagan's white house records that was available to all americans as a result of the bipartisan process i ran with ranking memberme jeff sessions when senator sessions and i requested them. we got 99%. what is beingon hidden and why? and if i have not been clear i will be so now. today, the senate is not simply phone in ourll vetting obligati, we're discarding it. it's not only shameful. it is a sham. i felt on the day i took the oath of office the first time, 44 years ago, i was told by both the republican and democratic leadership of the senate, people
i highly respected, the senate should be and can be the conscience of the nation. i represented vermont for 44 years. i serve as pride here believing in the senate can be and should be the conscience of the nation. today with his hearing it is not being the conscience of the nation. and for the bits and pieces of your record we received, it appears you provided misleading testimony about your involvement and controversial issues of the yourwhite house during previous confirmation hearing, misleading testimony. i asked you about is concerned last month, and i want to alert you that i will return to those concerns when you are under oath and him asking questions.
what i fearr is the mercantile not know the full truth until your full record is public and, unfortunately, the public is a done their best to ensure that won't happen. so we begin the syrians with gaping holes spend multiple years of your career, deeply influenced by your own words, your thinking as a judge. and any claim that this is been a thorough, transparent process is downright orwellian. this is the most incomplete, most partisan, least transparent vetting for any supreme court nominee i've ever seen. and i've seen more of those then any person serving in the senate today. so judge kavanaugh, this hearing is premature. i hope you'll use it there to answer our questions directly, clearly and honestly. because the american people havh real concerns about how your confirmation was affected their lives.
i'll conclude with this. supreme court is a guarantor of our liberties and our republic. view i would argue are we taking the sea. . unimpeachable integrity. only those who believe that truth is more important than party. only those whoit are committed o upholding the rights of all americans, not just those in power. as a you know, as transcribed ad vermont marble above the courts interest are the words equal, equal justice under law. for the millions of americans fearful that they are on the of losing their rights, that aspiration has never been more important than it is today. frankly, as amended at the supreme court bar andnd as a united states senator, i feel it's never been more at risk.
thank you. >> before i call on senator cornyn, how ridiculous it is to say that we don't have the records that it takes to determine this person qualified to be on the supreme court with all the documents we have at up to more than we've had in the five supreme court nominees. how do we make those decisions for the other five? mr. chairman? if you're not giving the whole picture, 90% of the document we have not seen. it's not the number speech i would be glad respond to that but spears when you hire an intern with 19% of the resume -- >> senator cornyn. senator cornyn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. judge kavanaugh, welcome to you and your family and friends i'm amazed at theva poker face i've seen on the front row during all of this pandemonium.
unlike anything i've seen before in a confirmation hearing. in my view it's not because your opponents don't know enough about you. it's because they do know all they need to know, , apparently, to oppose your nomination. and even for you had a chance to answer our questions, including their questions, many of them have made up their minds but the american people have not been introduced to you before. this is anp opportunity for all of us to gauge you a question and answer format that will hopefully illuminate why it is so important to judges who actually are tethered to the text of the laws passed by congress, signed by the president as well as the constitution of the united states. the senate judiciary committee undertakes few more important tasks than the one before us today. last year the committee
considered and advanced the nomination of justice neil gorsuch who is just one of many outstanding judicial nominees by president trump. this congress is proud to confirm not just judge gorsuch i-26 judges to the appellate courts across the nation. this includes three outstanding texans to the fifthge circuit court of appeals. historically the confirmation of judges to our highest court was somewhat routine, routine. justice gorsuch's was unanimously confirmed by simple voice vote to the court of appeals. not one senator voted against justice kennedy for both you and justice gorsuch clerked for and how you will succeed on the court. not one senator voted against justice scalia's confirmation for you have called a role model and a hero. but that was before judges were viewed as policymakers, rather than fair. and neutral interpreters of the constitution
drafted bys congress. today as i suggested it's a wonderful opportunity to re-examine the proper role for judges under our constitution and the difference between legislators and judges. as justice gorsuch wrote before joining the supreme court, a poll than forcing between legislators and judges was the great project of the late justice scalia's career. justice scalia would always remind us that legislators may appeal to their own moral convictions and to claims abouta social utility. but judges instead can strive to apply the law as it is looking to the text, structure and history. not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences. [shouting] >> soid this hearing is an outstanding way to remind theli american people the proper role of judges under our constitution. our constitution provides for
federal government of limited and delegated powers with the bill of rights to further protect our individual liberties. to that end the framers created three coequal branches as you know, the legislatures to enact laws, the executive to enforce them, and judicial branch to settle disputes about the meaning of those laws and the constitution. [shouting] >> of course the legislature could change the laws that only an amendment and change the constitution. for this reason alexander hamilton road in the federalist papers -- [shouting] t >> mr. chairman, could i pause until the room is cleared? and you. for this reason hamilton wrote in the federalist papers that the judiciary will always be the least dangerous branch. because as he comes heer wrote, judges would have neither forced will than merely judgment. today the committee is scheduled to consider whether judge kavanaugh honor that limited
role for judges under our constitution and whether he will properly exercisedg the modest d humble power of judgment entrusted to them under our constitution. i'm confident the civil fine judge kavanaugh will faithfully and fairly interpret the constitution and the laws of this great nation and i look for to him succeeding justice kennedy. when reason for that is because i've been acquaintedat with jude kavanaugh for about 18 years and i can't personally attest to his skills as a lawyer. [shouting] >> when i was attorney general of texas as the judge will recall, he help me get ready for supreme court argument. [shouting] [shouting]
[shouting] may i proceed, mr. chairman? >> just. >> as i was saying -- [shouting] >> when i was attorney general of texas i had a chance to argue a couple of cases in front of the united states supreme court. one case judge kavanaugh help me prepare for this one involving the question of school prayer at high school football game at the santa fe independent school district high school. after that i was pleased to introduce judge kavanaugh to the judiciary committee went president bush first nominated him to be judged on the d.c. circuit. what i said back then still stands the test of time today. judge kavanaugh has an unparalleled academic and professional record of service to many with site his education from his clerkships, his times argument cases beforehe
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