tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN October 5, 2018 11:29am-1:30pm EDT
judge kavanaugh was asked about other personal matters that came up during the course of the background investigation. the ranking member didn't even attend that closed-door session. nor did anybody mention it to the judge when he went to talk to some 60-plus members of the senate one on one. the ranking member when she had that one-on-one meeting with judge kavanaugh, she said nothing to him about the allegations. she could have asked him about the allegation generally without revealing the identity of dr. ford. we know at that point she had already talked to dr. ford and recommended partisan lawyers. we know that those lawyers arranged for a polygraph examination to be administered. other preparations were being made, plans were being hatched.
and our colleague from california said nothing. i really think that dr. ford has been treated terribly by this ambush, by this hiding evidence and allegations that could have been investigated, should have been investigated in a more dignified and appropriate sort of way. once dr. ford was identified in consultation with colleagues, both republicans and democrats, we decided that dr. ford should be given an opportunity to tell her side of the story. unfortunately, we weren't able to mitigate or reverse a lot of awful circumstances under which she found herself because of what had already been unleashed, but we did our best. we tried to do whatever we could
to accommodate her. as i said, investigators offered to come to california. we brought in an experienced sexual crimes investigating attorney to ask questions in a respectful sort of way to elicit as much information as we possibly could get about her claim, even though it was 35 years old. throughout the hearing we listened to dr. ford, and we tried to understand what she was telling us. we took her allegations seriously and treated her the same way we would want our wives or our daughters treated. if they found themselves under similar circumstances. but we know that at the end of the day there was no other witness who could corroborate what she said, even the ones she identified as having been present. this is not about believing women or believing men. it's not a zero-sum game.
as the junior senator from nebraska said the other day, it's not about being for the me too movement or against it. but who could be against it? i hope there's some good that comes out of this disgraceful display. one of the things that might be good be that more women would feel confident to come forward and tell their story to the appropriate authorities and produce the sort of information that would be necessary to make a criminal case to investigate the case, to charge the case, to try the case, and to convict people who commit sexual offenses. i hope there's some good that comes out of this. there's also maybe some legislation that we could work together on to try to heal the wounds that have been caused by this abominable process.
i've worked a lot with colleagues here to pass antihuman trafficking legislation to end the rape kit backlog, and to do other things to try to help victims. and i think maybe, just maybe putting our heads together, talking with each other, working in good faith, we could come up with some legislative response that might find some good out of this terrible situation. the other thing about these allegations made against judge kavanaugh is they are completely out of character. we know he's been a circuit court judge for 12 years, authored more than 300 opinions, clerked for anthony
kennedy on the supreme court, worked at the white house as a lawyer and staff secretary for the president. he's taught at harvard. he was hired by now-justice elena kagan to teach at harvard as well as teaching at georgetown and yale. and by all accounts, every account of anyone with personal knowledge of judge kavanaugh's character and treatment of women, they all say he treated women with respect. it's not just conservatives that sing his praises. a liberal law school professor at yale called judge kavanaugh's selection the president's finest hour, his classiest move. the same professor complimented judge kavanaugh's studiousness and said he's already shown great flashes -- or already shown flashes the greatness. lisa blatt, a self described liberal feminist lawyer who has argued numerous cases before the supreme court, has said judge
kavanaugh is supremely qualified. that echoes what the american bar association, the gold standard for some of our colleagues when it comes to judicial nominees, the american bar association has said that judge kavanaugh is unanimously well qualified. and that goes for his temperament as well. so i believe this nominee is about as good as it gets. july 10, the day after judge kavanaugh was nominated, i said that my republican colleagues and i won't back down from this all-out assault on this nominee. but never in my wildest dreams could i have imagined that this fight would devolve into the mob rule that we've seen. senators and staffs taunted, threatened, millions of dollars spent in advertising, in paying protesters to show up on
senators' front lawns, harass them at restaurants, and attack them in the halls of the congress. i never imagined this would get this bad. or senators would say i'm breaking the rules and dare anybody to do anything about it. this has turned into the kind of nasty and venomous politics that i hoped never to experience. this also has demonstrated the dark underbelly of washington, d.c. where power is so important to some people, they will do anything to get it. they will destroy you. they will tarnish your good name. they will condone threats on family members, including children. they will harass you. this is, this has really been
disgusting. i'm an optimist, madam president, so i don't believe that this is our fate. i don't believe we're condemned to work in a senate and live in a country where this kind of activity is condoned or ignored. i actually think by defeating judge kavanaugh's nomination, we would be signaling that this is somehow the new normal. we would be setting a precedent that, yeah, that kind of stuff works, so let's try it again. and i'm not just saying one party or the other. the day after judge kavanaugh was nominated, i also said we will defend the record of judge kavanaugh, who is a thoughtful public servant, against deliberate attempts to denigrate him. i stand by that statement, and we have defended him.
but not just defended him, but defended the constitution, fundamental notions of fairness and fair play that are reflected in our commitment to due process of law and the rights of somebody accused of a crime, which judge kavanaugh has been accused of on multiple occasions. even as the mud has been slung on all of us, even as insults have been hurled against this nominee and his family has faced ridicule over atrocious exploits that never even happened, at least i think we can be proud of the fact we tried to defend the constitution, this institution of the senate, and pushed back with everything we have against
mob rule. unfortunately those who wanted to take down this nominee have viewed judge kavanaugh as a sacrificial lamb in some sort of vengeance campaign that thankfully they have not failed to stop his nomination from going forward -- they have now failed to stop his nomination from going forward. this nomination is no longer simply about judge kavanaugh and the vacancy on the supreme court. it is all about the principles we must stand up for and defend. it's about validating public service and decades of honorable conduct. it's not about forgetting all that a man has done, all that he is and all that he's worked for at the drop of a hat based on unsubstantiated, uncorroborated allegations. it is about standing firm in the turbulent political winds. and if i think about any
institution in this country, i think the senate ought to be the place where that standing firm against the turbulent political winds occurs. we all had a chance to read the f.b.i. report which failed to corroborate dr. ford's allegations, and then today we did exactly what we needed to do, which is to vote to stop the circus, stop the high jinx, stop the character assassination, and vote. so i'm glad our colleagues decided to close off debate now as this 30-hour postcloture period ensues. i look forward to concluding the confirmation process and confirming judge kavanaugh to be the next associate justice on the united states supreme court. mr. durbin: madam president.
the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: madam president, i'd like to respond to my colleague from texas, at least one or two aspects of what he said. he has characterized the opposition to judge kavanaugh as mob rule. i don't think that's a fair characterization. the opposition to judge kavanaugh comes on many different levels. my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have looked at this nomination seriously, and they've come to oppose positions. -- to opposite positions. i don't believe we're influenced, frightened or in any way moved by mob rule. i just don't get it. i've seen conduct by people who feel strongly about this issue that i think is untoward and should not be condoned? of course. do i think people should have their free speech limited or stifled? no, i don't. even if it's something i don't want to hear people have a right
to speak. of course i don't condone violence against anyone, including members of congress. and some people have either come close to that line or stepped over it. i don't defend that in any way, shape, or form. but if we are truly committed to the constitution we've sworn to uphold and defend, that first amendment creates opportunities for american citizens which others around the world long for and never see once in their lives. part of that is freedom of speech. part of that is the right to petition your government. if some have stepped over the line, i won't defend them when it comes to violent conduct. but expressing their poifer with a sign or -- point of view with a sign or march or even a chant, i have to say that is part of our constitutional birthright, thank goodness, in the united states of america. last week i saw dr. christine blasey ford for the first time. i heard her name for a week or more. i had seen one photo of her in sunglasses. i had never seen her or heard
her speak. she came forward at great risk to herself and to her family after having been dislocated from her two different homes with her kids. and she came here to face the senate judiciary committee and the nation and to speak under oath. she had absolutely nothing to gain by coming forward. she did it, as she said, out of a sense of civic duty. she wanted to, in her own words, be helpful so the senate and leaders of this nation would know what happened to her before any vote on the confirmation of brett kavanaugh to the supreme court. her testimony was credible and powerful. she answered every question, trying to be helpful whenever she could. i was struck by the statement from the senator from texas. he said some way we want to make sure that our wives and daughters are going to be treated fairly if they come forward with this kind of
information. i couldn't agree with him more. but we all know what happened after her testimony. even president trump, before a mississippi rally ridiculed and belittled dr. ford after having called her once a credible witness, she became the butt of his joke at a rally in mississippi. that's unfortunate. when dr. ford came before us, she had nothing to hide, and republicans on the committee were so concerned about her testimony and their relationship in questioning her, they were unwilling to risk direct questioning as she sat in front of them. they pointedly enlisted a woman prosecutor to do their job. the prosecutor's examination was meandering, without any clear focus other than an attempt to try to discredit dr. ford. that republican prosecutor
failed, as dr. ford calmly replied to all of her questions. it was clear, however, that despite this testimony, even despite this hearing, many republicans had made up their mind as the majority leader characterized it, to plow right through regardless of dr. ford's testimony. we hear so many tributes to dr. ford now from the republican side out of one side of their mouth and then they turn around and say, it's a smear. smear is a lie. i don't believe she is lying. they can't praise her on one hand and call her testimony on the other. they even went so far as to schedule a committee vote before that hearing with dr. ford and judge kavanaugh had started. then last friday, two of our colleagues -- republican senator
jeff flake, democratic senator chris coons -- came together and joined dr. ford's call for a nonpartisan, thorough f.b.i. investigation into the pending allegations against judge kavanaugh. that should have happened long before. but make no mistake, there would not have been a hearing with dr. ford were it not for senator flake demanding it -- republican senator -- demanding it. and there would not have been an f.b.i. investigation if he had not demanded it as well. i thank him for his leadership in doing that. those were two reasonable requests, and i'm glad that he was in a position to make it happen where democrats could not. it was the right request. of course it would have been helpful for senators exerciseing our advise and consent role if neutral investigators at the f.b.i. were allowed to question all the relevant witnesses, follow the facts wherever they may have led, and get to the bottom of the allegations brought by dr. ford, deborah ramirez, julie swetnick. unfortunately, the white house and senate republicans were
determined not to let such an f.b.i. investigation go forward. white house spokesman shah has now publicly acknowledged that senate republicans were allowed to severe constrain the scope of the investigation. he said it. he said it publicly. he said it before the cameras. senate republicans only allowed a handful of witnesses to be interviewed by the f.b.i. deputy press secretary raj shah said, and i quote, there was an initial list of four, four, provided to us by the senate. there are reportedly almost 40 corroborating or character witnesses who've been trying to share information with the f.b.i. the f.b.i. has refused to contact them. even though their names have been provided. dr. ford's and deborah ramirez's attorneys both sent letters yesterday with lists of corroborating witnesses who were not interviewed by the f.b.i. there were only ten witnesses
interviewed. there is no good explanation why these witnesses weren't interviewed by the f.b.i., nor can i explain why dr. ford and judge kavanaugh themselves weren't interviewed. those are basic to a legitimate, credible investigation. some of my republican colleagues have claimed that the f.b.i. supplemental investigation provides no corroboration of dr. ford's or ms. ramirez's complaints. but of course you won't find corroboration if it excludes corroborating witnesses. unfortunately, the effort by the white house and senate republicans to tie the f.b.i.'s hands in the kavanaugh investigation was part of a pattern of concealment. when it comes to the background of brett kavanaugh. the senator from texas says i hope this isn't a new standard for hearings on supreme court nominations. i hope it isn't either. there are some things which we've done in this particular
nomination hearing that were unheard of. millions of pages of judge kavanaugh's public service record have been blocked from release to the public and even to the senate. there was a time when senator jeff sessions, now attorney general, demanded documentation on democratic nominees, and at that time the democratic ranking member and chairman agreed with him. we provided all the information requested, as we should. in this case, with republican control of the committee, we were limited. we've been denied access to an entire 35-month period in judge kavanaugh's white house career when he worked as one of the president's closest advisors, the white house staff secretary. he worked during that time on controversial issues like same-sex marriage, abortion, torture, and executive power. it's unlikely that there are documents in kavanaugh's -- pardon me, it is likely there are documents in kavanaugh's staff secretary record that would impact how senators would vote on his nomination.
and that's why they were hid. there's also an unprecedented partisan effort to screen and limit the documents that the committee itself can see. i listened as the senator from texas said, well, dr. ford had a partisan lawyer. guess who screened the documents that were going to go from the official records to our judiciary committee to review for that nomination of brett kavanaugh? the man's name was bill burck. bill burck by every measure is a partisan lawyer. i guess it's no surprise. what i was surprised to find an individual lawyer would have such power over a constitutional provision of advice and consent. overall, when all was said sand done, after the denials from the white house of certain records, after the claims of executive privilege, after bill burck went through and screened what he considered to be appropriate and inappropriate documents for the american people to see, less
than 10% of judge kavanaugh's white house record has been disclosed. those documents are going to come out day, and those who are quickly voting for him now without reading them are making the mistake which they're going to have to explain at a later time. just yesterday we learned from a foia lawsuit that the national archives has hundreds of documents concerning brett kavanaugh's work in the white house on warrantless surveillance programs. we won't see those documents before tomorrow's vote. the white house apparently fears their contents and prefers to plow through. why is so much of judge kavanaugh's record been concealed? most likely because these documents contradict what he has said. we've seen a pattern with judge kavanaugh from his senate testimony. in 2004, 02006, and again last month. when he's asked about controversial issues, he's been -- that he's been involved in in
the past, he tries to deny or downplay them. he's done this repeatedly when testifying on matters he worked on at the white house including the rules governing detention of combatants, warrantless surveillance, controversial judicial nominations like pryor, pickering and hanes, communicating with the press during the starr investigation, and his work with manny miranda, a republican senate staffer who stole documents from democratic senators' computers, including my own, and shared them with brett kavanaugh when he was working in the white house. on each issue, we've seen documents and reports showing that judge kavanaugh had far more involvement than his testimony led on. on issue after issue, judge kavanaugh's sworn testimony was either misleading or false. this is a judge who claims that words matter. he says he's had a strict texturallist who holds other people accountable for their
words. when you it comes had his own words, he is happy to take liberties and refuse to take responsibility. we've been forewarned of what we can expect if he is given a lifetime appointment on the court. we saw this pattern again last week when he was asked questions about his high school yearbook and excessive drinking. they were legitimate questions. they were relevant to the sexual assault allegations at hand. many of kavanaugh's answers to these questions simply weren't credible. his explanations didn't pass the laugh test. and multiple people who knew him and socialized with him quickly, publicly rebutted his denial that he ever draining, why their words, quote, to the point that it would be impossible for him to state with any degree of certainty that he remembered everything that he did. i was particularly struck when senator amy klobuchar of minnesota explained that she understands alcohol abuse because her father was an alcoholic and then asked judge kavanaugh if he'd ever blacked out.
instead of responding, kavanaugh said, have you? conservative columnist jennifer rubin has written, it was aempt mo of singular cruelty and disrespect. it hasn't hard to take judge kavanaugh's testimony as word on matters both large and small. it matters a lot when we're talking about a nominee's judgment, temperament and integrity. judge kavanaugh's judicial record and academic writings raise even more concerns. not only did he check the box on president trump's litmus test of opposition to the affordable care act and roe v. wade, his judicial opinions consistently find ways to favor big business and undermine protection for workers, consumers, women, and the environment. he claims to be a texturalist, but he has a habit of creatively defining words. the agriprocessors education, which i asked him about directly at the hearing, his dissent abandoned the text of a
controlling statute. instead he borrowed a definition from another statute in order to argue against the right of slaughterhouse workers to vote to form a union. when i asked judge kavanaugh whether he ever worked in a job himself that was dirty and danger you as dangerous is as a slaughterhouse, he told me he used to cut grass and worked one summer? construction. -- worked one summer in construction. or look at his defense in the mango case where the judge gave his own definition to clean terms in the clean air and clean water act. so much for stare decisis. judge kavanaugh claims he follows precedent but we've seen in case after case, he goes his own way. look at his interpretation of the supreme court's 2008 heller decision. judge kavanaugh believes the supreme court created a history and tradition test for considering challenges to gun safety laws. this test would have courts ignore the public safety impact of gun laws.
judge kavanaugh admitted that he is, quote, a lonely voice in reading heller that way. his approach would put at risk many commonsense laws such as keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. judge kavanaugh is not a lonely voice on gun same he is an extreme and frightening voice on gun safety. after he wrote a dissent laying out his interpretation to the heller precedent, a majority panel of d.c. circuit judges, all of them republican appointees, said this of his interpretation: quote, unlike our dissenting colleagues, we read heller straightforwardly. judge kavanaugh's reading of heller may be music to the ears of the gun lobby, but it's manipulating precedent. nothing else. judge kavanaugh's claim that he follows precedent is also contradicted by his view of the supreme court decision morrison v. olson.
rather than admit the majority decision in the case still holds, judge kavanaugh clings to justice scalia's dissent which lays out the so-called unitary executive theory of presidential power. judge kavanaugh has been explicit. he would overturn morrison. so let's be clear. while judge kavanaugh may claim that he'll scrupulously follow precedent, he's shown he's willing to overturn it when it suits him. i've cited just a few examples, but one that's particularly trouble something is this judge's view of presidential power. he wrote a striking passage in the seven-sky decision regarding the affordable care act. he wrote, and i quote, under the constitution, the president may decline to enforce a statute that regulates private individuals when the president deems the statute unconstitutional, even if a court has held or would hold the statute constitutional. this is a truly breathtaking
claim of presidential power, a claim particularly problematic at this moment in history. and then there's judge kavanaugh's evolving view on investigations of sitting presidents. when he was working for ken starr and investigating president clinton, he was pretty ferocious. in 2008 he gave a speech and said that he argued now that sitting presidents should be immunized from criminal investigation. -- and civil suit. this was after judge kavanaugh spent a period of time working in the bush white house. he claims he has an open mind on the constitutionality of criminal investigations of sitting presidents, but consider what he wrote in a law review article in the minnesota law review. i quote, if the president does something dastardly, the impeachment process is available. no single prosecutor, judge, or jury should be able to accomplish what the constitution assigns to congress. these are not the words of a judge with an open mind. and it was a telling moment when
judge kavanaugh would not answer at his hearing whether he believed a president should comply with a grand jury subpoena. here's the reality. we have to consider why this president chose this supreme court nominee at this moment in history when the mueller investigation is closing in. judge kavanaugh himself said just a few weeks ago, and i quote, the supreme court must never be viewed as a partisan institution. but the testimony and demeanor of judge kavanaugh last thursday belies any claim he makes of nonpartisanship. i can understand emotion and indignation from judge kavanaugh. when one considers the gravity of the charges against him and the pain he and his family must feel. but there was fire in his eyes when he read the words he assured us he had personally written. benjamin witte has been a colleague of brett kavanaugh. he's published his writings and
he even lent his name as if a character reference for the judge. he called judge kavanaugh's performance before the senate judiciary committee, and i quote, a howl of rage. witte went on to explain his rage as raw, undisguised, naked and conspiratorial. charlie sykes said of kavanaugh's statement before the committee last thursday, quote, even if you support brett kavanaugh, that was a breathtaking as an abandonment of any pretense of viga judicial temperament. judge kavanaugh abandoned any air of neutrality last week before our committee. out of one side of his mouth, he claimed that he bore no ill will toward dr. ford. then he called her allegations, quote, a calculated, orchestrated political hit, citing apparent pentup anger about president trump in the
2016 election and revenge on behalf of the clintons. he even threatened the democrats, and i quote, when he said what goes around comes around. in my 20 years on the judiciary committee, i have never heard anything like that or even close to that from a judicial nominee. it's hard to imagine how a nominee who has displayed such raw partisanship could then claim to serve as a neutral umpire in the supreme court. judge kavanaugh through his testimony has called his own impartiality into serious doubt. retired supreme court justice john paul stevens, a man who is respected for his integrity and service to this nation, said this week that the performance by judge kavanaugh shows he should not serve on the supreme court. i agree. at a time when our president plumbs the depth of bad behavior on a daily basis, we should not allow the highest court in our land to now sink to that same
standard in their ranks. from a broader perspective, let's be clear what's at stake in this decision. we are at a moment in american history where our system of checks and balances is being profoundly tested. we have a president who has shown disrespect for the rule of law and the role of an independent judiciary. it's likely the supreme court will soon consider fundamental questions about presidential authority and accountability. with so much at stake, we should not confirm a nominee to the court unless we are sure of that nominee's credibility, integrity, independence, and judgment. serious questions have been raised about brett kavanaugh. dr. ford's testimony was serious and credible. when i asked her directly what degree of certainty do you have that brett kavanaugh was your attacker, dr. ford answered without hesitation -- 100%. i believe her.
judge kavanaugh's testimony was simply not credible. from his contrived explanations of her embarrassing yearbook entries to her i love beer declarations, she was a sharp contrast of dr. ford's accounting of a horrible day in her life she cannot forget. i would hope the f.b.i. would be able to provide us information to resolved unanswered questions, but they can't do their job when their hands are tied. when republicans in the committee and the white house decided to limit the number of witnesses, unfortunately the investigation could not be completed to meet professional standards. i will say this to my colleagues. we have to think about what it would mean if judge kavanaugh were to be confirmed to the supreme court with credible sexual assault allegations against him. specifically what it would mean to the millions of women across america who were survivors of sexual assault, women who have been scared to come forward with their stories for fear they would be mocked, ridiculed, and shunned.
what would it mean for them to see brett kavanaugh sitting on that bench in that court across the street day after day for decades casting what may be the deciding vote on cases that profoundly affect their rights? it would shake the confidence of millions of americans and the integrity of our supreme court. we should not take that risk. there are other qualified lawyers besides brett kavanaugh who could be nominated to fill this vacancy. nominees whose legal views i may not agree with but who do not have serious questions about their fitness for office. if there are serious questions about a nominee's pem tournament, credibility, or judgment, as there clearly are for judge brett kavanaugh, we owe a duty of caution. we should give the benefit of the doubt and protect the integrity of the supreme court. with so much at stake, we should not confirm a nominee to the court unless we are sure that the nominee's qualifications are beyond question.
i do not have that confidence in brett kavanaugh. i will vote no on his nomination. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. tillis: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i want to come in and kind of summarize. you and i both as a presiding officer have had a front row seat in this process. we both serve on the judiciary committee. i think that oftentimes people come to the floor and they want to just give the american public a little slice of what's gone on that benefits their narrative rather than stepping back and thinking about what's happened since early july when judge kavanaugh was nominated to be on the supreme court. that happened on july 9. before july 9, there were many people on the other side of the aisle that had already announced their opposition, not to judge kavanaugh but to anyone that president trump would nominate. we know who they are. they are very well publicized. i understand that as a member of the democratic conference. i would deny them their right to
do that. they oppose the president and anything that he stands for. but then on july 10, there was a press conference now that we knew who the nominee was that a majority of the members also said they opposed him. as a matter of fact, the minority leader said he would fight the nomination with everything he has, and he has, but there are some pieces to the mechanics that i think are important for people to understand. biodiesel after judge kavanaugh was nominated, the chair and the ranking member got together and they tried to come up with a framework for releasing as many documents as possible. in fact, that went on for two or three weeks. in fact, the documents that some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle said that the republicans refused to produce were going to be made available on a very focused basis but what they call search terms. the way to get into those
100,000 secret documents that they are talking about, we estimate that if our colleagues on the other side of the aisle would have done what they had traditionally done is come up with an agreement on document production, that they would have gained a lot of insights into the documents that we considered relevant but not necessarily the documents that they would like to use to create another political narrative. but they refused to cooperate. and we moved forward. as a matter of fact, we moved forward and provided more documents for this supreme court nominee than the total number of documents provided for all in total of the last three or four supreme court nominees. we also went on to question our -- i call it questions for the record. what that means is any member on the committee is entitled to compel the nominee to answer questions after the hearing. judge kavanaugh was subjected to over 1,200 questions for the record under oath that he had to
submit back to the committee members. those questions for the record are a multiple of any one nominee in the past. in fact, i understand it's probably the sum total questions for the record that all the nominees on the bench were subjected to. so the questions were asked, the documents were presented. all that document production was going on in the latter part of july and august. the first tranche of documents came in about the second week of august. but what else was going on in the latter part of july and august? a letter which was first submitted to a congresswoman from california, was then routed to the ranking member and the senior senator from california in the end of july. a document that was expected to be held in confidence, a document that we now know that was authored by dr. ford
provided to the judiciary committee with the understanding that her name would not become public. now, in the past, the chair and the ranking member have a great relationship. they have a trusting relationship. in the past, when you had something that you thought was material to the consideration of a nominee, a ranking member and a chair would try to figure out how to actually assess that information to treat the person in question. in this case, dr. ford fairly and to hold her information in confidence. that didn't happen here. actually, there was no communication with the chair by the ranking member. a few weeks into it, we do know that there was some consultation from what dr. ford says was a committee staffer to retain an attorney who has a very well-publicized reputation for being partisan. i don't have any problem with
that because we have partisan attorneys on both sides of the aisle. but at the recommendation of the committee staff, which is what dr. ford said under oath, they retained an attorney who is working pro bono. now, i'm really wondering whether or not some -- not all, but some of the people on the other side of the aisle genuinely cared about what i believe is a traumatic experience in dr. ford's life, genuinely care about trying to go through a process that would provide dr. ford with some closure, because if they had, maybe they would have gotten to someone who could interview her and the way that people with sex crimes interview persons who have experienced a traumatic event. these attorneys they retained didn't do that. maybe when the attorneys that she retained, who are pro bono attorneys -- that means they are not being paid. they are doing it at no cost, or at least no cost to dr. ford. maybe if the attorneys really
cared about dr. ford versus the outcome, maybe they should have recommended to dr. ford to have the hearing. but that didn't happen either. now we move further through, and after the hearing -- or at the hearing, we have 32 hours of hearings. the letter was known to the ranking member. i don't believe it was known to any other member on the committee. 32 hours of hearings. each one of us had two rounds, virtually an hour to ask questions of judge kavanaugh. not even an abstracted series of questions protecting the identity of dr. ford but questions that could have potentially raised the issues that we now saw after the hearing. 32 hours of hearings. nothing mentioned. an hour and a half private hearing that unfortunately senator feinstein, for whatever
reason, wasn't able to attend, never brought up. after the hearing, then we hear about these allegations. now, i have had some people on the other side of the aisle say that we rushed the committee process. the fact of the matter is it was delayed for two weeks after we found out about the allegation. one week was to get to a point to where we could accommodate dr. ford and have her come and testify before the committee. chair grassley was criticized by some of the folks on my side of the aisle because he said he shouldn't be accommodateing, delaying, set a senate deadline, move forward. he didn't. he spent a week trying to figure out, setting a method that dr. ford would be comfortable with. but let me back up a week earlier. a week earlier, the chairman and the committee offered to dr. ford to go to california to interview her outside of the light, outside of the circus
that sometimes occurs here, but to interview her and have the attorneys present during the interview. in the hearing that we had with dr. ford, the question was asked were you aware that the committee offered to come to california in a confidential setting, allow you to do your testimony? her response to that question was i did not understand that. so that really raises a lot of doubts in my mind about either the competence or the agenda of her counsel. so now at this point i believe that there are two sets of people who are opposing judge kavanaugh's nomination. there are some that just genuinely disagree with his judicial philosophy. i actually voted for some judges i disagreed with their judicial philosophy, there are some on the agenda that i will again, but i will vote for them and i'm
going to get criticized from people on the right side of the aisle because they are considered unanimously well qualified, and just because i don't like the way they may rule in certain cases, that's not enough for me to vote against them. but maybe for other people on the other side of the aisle there is. then there is another group of people over there who i genuinely believe have used witnesses, have used this process to just advance a political message and a political agenda. the last thing -- another reason why i believe that is how the narrative changes depending upon what sticks. now, we have received the additional background investigation. i should mention judge kavanaugh has had seven background investigations over the last 25 years. i saw a stack of documents in a secure facility that's about that thick. i would estimate 600 to a thousand pages of prior federal f.b.i. background investigations
to clear him for other roles that he has had and two in this case. over 25 years, talking to 150 people, some as recently as about ten years or less than ten years after he was in college. not a whiff of any of the allegations that we have seen put forward. not a single note. so as more information comes up, you see the narrative going from the weight of the allegations, because honestly, in every instance where an accuser has made an allegation and said these people were present, those people have been interviewed if they were willing to, none of them have corroborated the allegations that were made. none. and in the follow-up investigation, it even further undermined the sort of inference
you draw when somebody says, yeah, these people were here, check with them. we went back and checked with them and it further undermined the veracity of the allegations. so now it looks like the narrative on the allegations is beginning to wane, so now the new narrative -- and, mr. president, this is the last i'll be talking about -- the new narrative is that, well, even if the allegations are untrue, the way that judge kavanaugh based in the hearing that he came before, he was angry, raises a question about his judicial temperament. well, ladies and gentlemen, first, the american bar association has voted judge kavanaugh unanimously well qualified twice. and at least the most recent rating, they even spoke specifically to his temperament on the bench, and i saw his temperament during the hearing.
32 hours, he sat in that chair in some cases for two or three hours without getting up and was patient when some unfair questions were being asked. he was cut off repeatedly. he maintained his composure and he did well at about 31, 32 hours of testimony. last week i didn't see judge kavanaugh in the hearing. i saw brett kavanaugh. i saw a father, i saw a husband, i saw a son who was defending his honor. i saw somebody dragged through the mud without a single allegation, with any corroborating testimony defending himself as a human being. and he did well for about two hours. and on a final note, i firmly believe that judge kavanaugh is going to go to the bench, and i firmly believe because of his independence he's going to take some rulings that i'm not going to like, but he's going to do it for the right reasons. and what he's going to say is
instead of treating us like a nine-member legislature, go do your job, congress. change the law if you want me to have a different opinion when it comes to the court. we should be now in that light thinking about how we work together on a bipartisan basis to change things that we don't like. not expect a nine-member legislature to do our job. so, mr. president, this has been a very difficult process. i know it's been extraordinarily difficult for the kavanaugh family and for dr. ford. i pray for dr. ford's peace. i hope that she finds closure. i hope that there is some way that she will be able to reexamine the facts of that summer in 19282 or 1983 and identify precisely what happened, precisely who can corroborate it, and have someone held accountable for that act. but i don't believe by any
stretch of the imagination based on the information presented to us that that's judge brett kavanaugh. and for that reason, i'll be voting no tomorrow. i will not be voting no tomorrow. i'll be voting yes tomorrow. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, the deeply misguided vote to move forward on brett kavanaugh's nomination has taken this senate one step closer to a moment that will cause enormous pain for millions of americans, particularly women and survivors of assault. now some may say that the senate is rolling back the clock on women in america by confirming brett kavanaugh. after seeing what's happened to
the women who have spoken out and talking to women in oregon, i question how much the clock ever ticked forward. indeed this process has shone the spotlight on the double standard that women across this country face just so that they will be believed. on the other hand, dr. ford never wanted any of this. the way she has been treated by republicans in this senate and the president of the united states is inexcusable. in one of the most unpresidential speeches i've ever seen or heard, the
president belittled a survivor in front of a crowd of thousands mr. president, dr. ford came to us as a citizen who was doing her civic duty to provide the senate with crucial information about a nominee before us. she called the front desk of her congress person. she didn't run to the news media or the cable shows or try to sell a book. she volunteered to tell her story under oath. she recounted the details of her assault in 18 minutes of testimony that will not soon be forgotten. it was heartbreaking to watch.
at times it was just excruciating. what did dr. ford get for her courage? she was put on trial by the republicans on the judiciary committee who actually hired an experienced prosecutor to grill her. the questioning was clearly designed to tar dr. ford as a political pawn. it attempted to delegitimize the trauma caused by her assault. it attempted to paint her as a liar. it was stunning how little of the questioning republicans subjected her to was focused on what brett kavanaugh did on the night in question. it's clear now that the focus
was on undermining dr. ford's story and destroying her credibility. but dr. ford's credibility held up. i've said i can't imagine a more credible witness. nor can i imagine how difficult it must have been for her to relive that experience and maintain such extraordinary composure. what she took -- what she did took unknowable strength. her testimony delivered under what amounted to prosecution was unforgettable. she is trained in psychology. she was even forced to act as the expert witness in her own trial, diagnosing the lifelong effects of her own trauma.
she explained to the committee how memories of traumatic events implant themselves on the brain. at one point she described what she remembered most about the assault by mr. kavanaugh and mark judge. she answered, delivering on her training, that it was indelible in the hippo campus is the laughter. i believe dr. ford when she says she was assaulted in that room in 1982. i believe dr. ford when she says her attackers locked the door, a hand was pressed over her mouth, and she feared for her life. i believe her when she said she remembers them laughing. for all the grueling prosecution, the republicans put dr. ford through, it's
important to chair that to the treatment of -- to compare that to the treatment of brett kavanaugh. when it was kavanaugh's turn to deliver testimony, he was seething. he was raging in a manner completely unbecoming a federal judge. he based in a manner that directly contradicted what brett kavanaugh said in a widely publicly -- publicized speech a judge should be all about. in his own words, mr. kavanaugh said, judges need to keep their emotions in check. be calm amidst the storm. mr. kavanaugh failed his own test. his own test last week. he offered the most partisan testimony i can recall when he
talked about the clintons and said what goes around comes around. imagine if a female nominee had snapped at a male senator about his drinking habits, the president of the senate is an experienced judge, prosecutor. i'm telling you if a female nominee had done that, game over right there. right there. and there again you have double standard. when a few questions posed by the republican prosecutor actually got to relevant questions, the majority side of the committee told her to just take off. for that to be the only hearing on these allegations, i think is just plain disgraceful. the committee should not have moved on to the vote.
the allegations brought forward demanded a robust investigation. yet, the senate has ended up light-years away from that. what kind of investigation looks to settle matters and doesn't interview the accuser and the accused? that just doesn't pass the smell test. this is not about tarnishing brett kavanaugh's reputation or digging up salacious details of his high school days. the accusations against mr. mr. kavanaugh and the possibility of perjury relate directly to his drinking and sexual behavior. that's why the f.b.i. background check should have been a robust inquiry into those matters. it's clear now that didn't happen. you ask yourself why not, it's
hard to find an explanation other than the investigation was handcuffed to predetermine the outcome. dr. ford has said publicly the f.b.i. didn't talk to her. they didn't look tether xi notes she offered to turn over. they didn't talk to mr. kavanaugh. they didn't talk to the dozens of individuals deborah ramirez said could potentially corroborate her story. they closed the investigation a full day ahead of the arbitrary deadline, and it's not clear why. based on that, in my view, this investigation was a whitewash. it was not legitimate. it was a product of intense political meddling, in my view, by the trump administration. that means if brett kavanaugh's nomination is confirmed, there are going to be questions about his legitimacy looming large for
years to come. mr. president, i believe dr. ford. i heard you discussing this this morning on television. i respectfully would say, i know you don't share my view, but i felt that brett kavanaugh's behavior before the senate last week ought to be disqualifying on its own. and if you compare what he said last week to what he wrote ought to be the requirements for how a judge behaves. there is a very large gap between what brett kavanaugh said ought to be expected of a judge's behavior and what we saw last week when he testified. from the time his nomination was
announced, kavanaugh portrayed himself as a trustworthy individual who had the kind of levelheaded temperament americans expect and deserve from members of the judiciary. my view was, that appearance last week before the committee my colleague serves on was a textbook case of raw partisanship. in his afternoon testimony last week, brett kavanaugh was disdainful and sarcastic of the democratic senators who questioned him. brett kavanaugh responded to what he considered unsubstantiated allegations by making truly unsubstantiated allegations of his own. without any evidence, he declared the credible accusations that had been brought forward a calculated and
orchestrated political hit by the democrats. he pushed these baseless conspiratorial comments about how this was all just revenge for the clintons. and in a tone that just struck me as dripping with menace, he just said, what goes around comes around. and if you look last week at how he presented himself to the president of the senate's committee, i think you got to ask yourself, how can anybody expect that brett kavanaugh would offer a fair hearing in a politically charged case?
so my conclusion, based on what i've described, is pretty simple -- you just do not get to behave the way brett kavanaugh behaved last week and get to serve on the united states supreme court. finally, mr. president, my concerns go further than the temper tantrum we saw last week. there is hard evidence that shows that brett kavanaugh lied repeatedly and on a variety of subjects. for example, just yesterday there was new evidence in scores of e-mails that the nominee lied about his involvement in
government wiretapping programs. now, the president of the senate has been very gracious over the years in talking to me about these issues. he knows i care deeply as a member of the senate intelligence committee about government wiretapping programs. i'm here this afternoon to say, i'm not alone. millions of americans care about this issue. as i've said in my conversations to the president of the senate, security and liberty aren't mutually exclusive. you need them both. but what these e-mails, scores of them, yesterday prove is that there is new evidence that brett kavanaugh did not tell the truth about his involvement in government wiretapping. wiretapping programs. there's hard evidence that showed he lied about using stolen documents. hard evidence that showed he died about his involvement in the confirmation process of certain bush nominees. hard evidence about the
statements made by the other individuals who were present at the party where dr. ford was assaulted. hard evidence the nominee lied about when he learned of the second set of allegations made against him. the nominee even lied about small stuff. when you can't trust somebody to tell the truth, they don't belong on the supreme court. now, it's important, before i wrap this up, mr. president, to take a hard look at what's happened to the court over the last few years. in 2016, senate republicans blocked a mainstream nominee to the court, an individual who many -- many republicans had praised extensively, extensively in the past. they held a supreme court seat
open for nearly a year until a republican president picked someone to their liking. in 2018, the trump white house interfered with the vetting of the second nominee, hiding key information from the senate and the american people. the floor debate on this nomination is going to be cut off before all the questions about sexual misconduct be with answered and before the statements that i have outlined here today -- ones where there is hard evidence -- can be examined for perjury. these actions by the republicans and the trump white house, in my view, are taking a sledgehammer to the public's trust in the court as an institution. the court used to have a healthy separation from the partisan battles that take place here in the congress. i heard my colleague talking about that this morning on
television. that healthy separation doesn't exist today. i'd just say, we've got a lot of heavy lifting to do here in the united states senate to revive the vision of the supreme court held by the founding fathers after what has happened. i'm going to close by going back to the question of whether anything has changed since 1991 and the tragedy of professor hill. when professor hill testified in 1991, she was dragged through the mud. she was called a scorned woman. perhaps you could say that it represents some measure of progress that dr. ford wasn't slandered and insulted in quite the same way. but i don't know how much that matters if this nominee is confirmed. the language used during the debate might sound different, but the outcome is the same. the failure by my colleagues on the other side to step barks
suspend the partisan -- to step back, suspend the partisanship, and recognize the seriousness of this situation, in my view, will go down over time as an historic disappointment. this was never a smear campaign. it wasn't a political hit job. dr. ford came forward out of a sense of civic duty. she knew the sacrifice she faced, and she wondered to herself if it would really make a difference. why suffer through annihilation if it won't matter, she asked. over and over again, she told us she only wanted to be helpful. i'd never seen a witness like my colleague presiding today has seen a lot of witnesses. a textbook case of being courteous, always saying, what can i do to be helpful?
senators ought to consider the dangerous signal being sent to survivors of assault and to young people across the country from this debate. dr. ford wasn't on trial, but nonetheless she was prosecuted by the majority party. she got smeared as a political pawn, a liar, belittled, her accusations dismissed by many almost immediately. i made a notion of how a few days ago the president mocked dr. ford, mocked her in front of thousands. what a cruel and unprecedential moment. the mockery and dismissive aren't -- if they weren't bad enough, there is the reason of the sickening old notion that
boys will be boys, that what happened in the bedroom was roughhousing. and that what happened was just too long ago. today survivors from sea to shining sea are asking, how are we going to be heard? how will we find justice? i fear many survivors are going to conclude that coming forward with their story is going to be pointless, and there is very little likelihood of justice. very little likelihood of justice, even if you're strong, composed, and constantly courteous, it won't help. on the other hand, the signal to boys is this -- even if you engage in violence
against women and lie about your conduct, the power structure is going to step up and protect you. the senate has to be better than this. i hope senators are going to recognize that it is time to take these horribly outdated attitudes towards women and sweep them out like the cobwebs from an abandoned theater stage and start over. it can begin by rejecting this nomination today. i will be voting no, and i yield the floor.
constitutional duties. in fulfilling that duty, i have a pretty clear criteria on how i go about making these decisions. the first is whether the nominee has the character to serve on the supreme court. second is whether the nominee has the intellect and the experience and the academic credentials to serve on a court that hears complex and difficult questions of law. and the third is does the nominee believe in the proper role of the supreme court? which in my opinion is to interpret and to apply the constitution, not to change or manipulate it to reach a certain policy goal. there is broad bipartisan support for the first two parts of my criteria. we can all agree that people that serve on the court should have the character to do so. we can all agree that our nominees and those who serve on the court have to have the intellect and the experience and
the academic credentials to be on the court. much of our fights around here center around the third part of my criteria. in fact, it goes to the heart of most of the nomination fights that we have. there are some who would like the supreme court to become a policy-making branch, a place that makes policy and makes laws. but i believe the job of an appellate court is to decide whether or not a policy decision of the political branches is constitutional. appellate courts and trial courts are different. trial courts are triers of fact. appellate courts are retires of law. the debate about the proper role of the court plays out most vividly on some of the most divisive cultural issues. it always has. for example, on the difficult issue of abortion, the question before the court in roe v. wade was not whether it was good or bad for abortion to be
criminalized or constricted. the question was whether the constitution gave the state or federal government the authority to pass laws that banned or restricted abortions. the question before the court in hostage inches was not whether same-sex marriage was good or bad for america. the question was whether the constitution allowed states to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. in deciding these kinds of questions, i believe that justices both on the supreme court and at the appellate level judges, they should apply the strictest interpretation of the constitution. according to its original intent, irrespective of whether or not the policy result of their decision is something that they personally agree with. and the reap for that is because of the constitution can mean whatever people at a given moment want it to mean, then the
constitution doesn't really mean anything at all. we can change our laws. that's why congress has to respond to the electorate, it's why we debate laws and then are held accountable for it. the constitution has to be something that is constant, irrespective of the political ties of the moment. now, you can change the constitution. the founders gave us a process to do that, through article 5. the constitutional amendment process, and that has been used in this country. they would not have given us this process if it was their intent that the supreme court be the one that could change the constitution. and the reason why i outlined that criteria is because that is the criteria that i used to evaluate judge kavanaugh's nomination when it was first presented. i found myself with no doubts about his intellectual ability or his academic credentials, and i don't think anyone has raised
those. i have seen seven f.b.i. background checks that turned up no issues with his character, and i had 12 years of service as a federal asell at judge as proof that he shared my criteria as the proper role for a court and proper standard for constitutional review. so it was based on that and those facts that in august i announced that i supported judge kavanaugh's nomination. and then several weeks ago, the allegations first by dr. ford and then by others emerged. sexual harassment and assault is something i feel very strongly about. it's, for example, one of the reasons why i have been involved for a number of years now in a bipartisan effort to reform and improve how we handle claims of sexual assault on our college campuses. our nation is now facing a reckoning for decades for not addressing sexual violence
appropriately. well, i obviously will not betray anyone's confidence or privacy, i have personally seen how victims of sexual assault often find their claims dismissed and ignored. i have seen how sometimes they are told things like you are partially to blame for putting yourself in that position. i have seen how so many never came forward and don't want to come forward because they don't think anyone will believe them or they don't believe anything will ever happen. and that is why i believe that any time anyone comes forward with allegations of sexual assault or harassment and abuse, these allegations cannot be swept aside and they cannot be ignored. and when these allegations emerged in this case, my immediate reaction was to say that these claims should be taken seriously and that his
accusers be fully heard, and i said i would have no further comment on his nomination until we knew more about these allegations. what that meant was my support of judge kavanaugh is now contingent on the information that emerged from the hearings and the investigation and the work that needed to be done. i will say today what i said at this time last week. i believe that neither dr. ford nor judge kavanaugh have been treated fairly in many instances. some i saw you immediately dismiss these claims as a political ploy. and others went on television almost immediately and said that they believed judge kavanaugh was guilty without any information before them. despite the shameful behave of so many, a process did ensue,
and through all the noise, it did produce additional information. the senate judiciary committee and then the federal bureau of investigation gathered and made available to every single member of the senate additional relevant information. the committee took sworn testimony from several named witnesses. i know for a fact they chased down and investigated a seemingly endless stream of incoming information every single day. it provided both dr. ford and judge kavanaugh the opportunity to give written statements and then participate in hours of public testimony, not just before the committee but before the entire nation. when that hearing ended last thursday, the information before us was as follows -- in sworn and unequivocal allegations by dr. ford, the sworn and equally
unequivocal denial by judge kavanaugh, no witnesses with knowledge of these allegations, and no independent evidence to corroborate them. after the hearing a week ago today, some of the senators on the committee wanted a short delay. i watched that hearing. it was agreed by everyone there. a short delay, seven days, so that the federal bureau of investigation could gather even more information. and i had no objection to that. and over the last week, the f.b.i. interviewed ten additional witnesses and gathered additional relevant information for every single senator to review. first i was briefed on these interviews and information. then i had occasion to review them for myself. and here is what i know now about the allegations against judge kavanaugh. i have the sworn and unequivocal testimony of dr. ford and miss ramirez making these allegations against judge kavanaugh. i have the sworn and unequivocal denial of these allegations from
judge kavanaugh. we now have -- i now have before me the testimony of ten additional witnesses, including those identified by dr. ford and miss ramirez as having been present when judge kavanaugh allegedly assaulted them. and not a single one of them had recollection of the alleged gatherings much less knowledge of these allegations. and i still have no independent evidence which corroborates these allegations as well. that is the information before me as i stand here at 1:00 p.m. eastern time on the 5th of october with regard to the nomination of judge kavanaugh to the supreme court of the united states. that is the information before every other member of the senate who has access to the exact same information that i saw, that i read and that i was briefed on. i have listened to the arguments made by some of my colleagues
and others urging me to still vote against the nomination. the most direct argument made to vote no is that the f.b.i. did not interview enough people. first, my view is that the only people who could corroborate these claims are those who were there when it happened, because anything other than that is hearsay. if you didn't see it happen, all you could testify to is what someone else told you. the only people who could corroborate that something happened are either people who are in receipt of either physical evidence or people who witnessed it. and from what i read yesterday, every single person that the accusers say were present when it happened testified that they do not know anything about it. by the way, the other point i would make is that these interviews that we saw yesterday, the ten additional ones, it would be unfair to view them in a vacuum as if it's the only information we have to go off.
here's a fact: over nearly the last two decades the federal bureau of investigation has interviewed over 150 people asking questions about judge kavanaugh's background and past. over 150 people have been interviewed about judge kavanaugh over the last two decades and across seven background checks, and not a single one of them has ever testified as to any sexual assaults against anyone at any time. it struck me that there isn't a single member of the united states senate, i think -- maybe i'm wrong but i doubt very seriously whether there's any member of the united states senate that has had the f.b.i. question over 150 people about what you have done throughout your life. in fact, i would venture to guess that there are probably few, if any, americans who
have had the f.b.i. interview over 150 people about what you have done throughout the course of your life. and i believe it's reasonable to assume that if judge kavanaugh was someone who had engaged in a pattern of abusive behavior towards women -- that's on a pattern, at least one of these 150-some odd people would have noticed and would have said something about it. yet not a single one of them did. i would think -- i would be remiss if i didn't mention that there's clearly another factor that is driving much of the anger and passion around this nomination. and it has nothing to do with partisan politics or politics at all, for that matter. it is the fact, as i've mentioned already earlier, that sadly far too often, particularly women who come forward with allegations of harassment, abuse, or assault
are ignored, dismissed and even blamed. and the fact is that because of this, we have potentially millions of victims who have never come forward and who suffer in silence. and so i understand that for victims and for those who love them, for those who have survived this, to hear about these allegations brings back powerful and painful memories of what happened to them, of how they were ignored, of how they were not believed, of how they were blamed and how their abuser got away with it. what has happened to these survivors is an injustice. it's wrong. it's something that we as a nation must reckon with and we as a people must fix. but the solution to injustice is never injustice. and it would be unjust to turn this nomination into a proxy fight over the broader important
issue of how we have treated victims of sexual assault in america. as important as that topic is, this debate is about a specific case involving specific people and specific allegations and fairness -- fairness and justice requires us to make our decision on this matter based on the facts before us about this matter. it was wrong. it was wrong for some to immediately dismiss these allegations almost as a reflex, but it's also wrong to claim that a vote for judge kavanaugh's nomination means that you do not care about and do not as a matter of course believe victims of sexual violence. my colleagues and my fellow americans, this case is about this case.
and while how both the accusers and the accused have been treated has been shameful, we must still make our decision based on what we know. i want to make one thing abundantly clear. i do want people on the supreme court who believe that the proper role of that court is to interpret the constitution according to its original intent, but if i had any evidence or if any evidence emerges that corroborates these or any allegations of this kind, i would have voted against this nomination in a heartbeat because someone who has committed sexual assault shouldn't be on the bench. they should be in jail. and if you lied about it to the congress, you should also be charged with perjury. but after seven background checks with over 150 people
interviewed, we don't have any independent evidence to corroborate these allegations against him. none. so with regard to this specific case on the basis of the facts that i have before me -- that we have before us, on the basis of what facts am i supposed to not just vote down this nomination, but in the process of doing so render what will forever be perceived as a verdict of guilt? on the basis of what facts can anyone say or do that? it is legitimate to vote against him because you don't agree with his judicial philosophy. it isn't fair to say you're voting against him, as some imply, because we're on the verge of putting someone who is a confirmed and verified sexual abuser on the bench. that isn't justice. and no matter how just the cause
is, a just cause never, never justifies unjust means. and so based on the specific facts before us regarding this specific nomination and this specific case, i already voted to end debate on the nomination of judge kavanaugh. and tomorrow i will vote to confirm him as an associate justice to the supreme court of the united states. mr. president, i yield the floor.
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not, sir. mr. carper: mr. president, good afternoon. i rise today to address the nomination of judge brett kavanaugh to serve on the united states supreme court. as we all know, the stakes are always high. when this chamber vets and debates and votes to confirm any president's supreme court nominee, as it should be. this is, as we know, the highest court in our land. the job comes with a lifetime appointment. not two years like we have in the house of representatives, not four years like a president, not six years as we have. lifetime. a lifetime. and as we know, looking at one of our judges on the supreme court who is i think now 85 years old, that could be a long, long time.
and those who serve on the supreme court make decisions that will affect the lives of millions of americans almost every day. that's precisely why we expect presidents to look for the best and the brightest candidates possible. that's why the vetting process in the senate should be serious and thoughtful. and that's why nominees should strive to be above reproach. indeed, we all should strive to be above reproach. this should be one of the toughest job interviews around because the stakes surrounding any supreme court seat are just that high. the stakes surrounding the seat vacated by justice kennedy may be even higher. the next justice may shift the balance of our nation's highest court for a generation, maybe even longer. the next justice may very well be asked to rule on questions of
executive power to test our democracy. we're fooling ourselves if we refuse to acknowledge that the stakes are so high in large part because this chamber has yet to reckon with the grave injustice which was done to merrick garland and to our constitution in 2016. as many will recall, judge garland, who serves as the chief justice of the -- chief judge of the d.c. circuit court, the highest federal appeals court in our land, was nominated by president obama over two years ago to fill the seat held by the late justice scalia on the supreme court. shamefully he was denied any kind of consideration by this body. he waited 293 days for a hearing and a vote that never came. most republican senators refused to even meet with him. a good man who was treated
badly, and so was our constitution. the unprecedented obstruction our republican colleagues mounted dependents judge garland was -- mounted against judge garland was a shameful chapter to the united states senate. i'm still deeply troubled by those 293 days. i know some of our colleagues are as well. it's -- i mean it's likely we all continue to be troubled by them for the rest of my life. we may never agree or pull the pin out of the grenade but we must all recognize this institution will never be the same if stealing supreme court seats and creating one set of rules for democrat presidents and another set of rules for republican presidents is the new norm. so, mr. president, despite the injustice done to merrick garland, justice gorsuch was ultimately confirmed last year on a bipartisan basis, i might add. and when justice kennedy retired earlier this year, president
trump nominated, as we know, judge brett kavanaugh to fill that seat. more than 12 years ago i met with judge kavanaugh in my office here in the capitol when the senate considered his nomination to the d.c. circuit court of appeals back in 2006. i voted my hopes over my fears. unfortunately over the last decade many of my worst fears have come true. i believe that judge kavanaugh's extreme record on the bench that has unfolded over the past dozen years stands in stark contrast to the views of most americans on too many important issues. for example, americans overwhelmingly support protection for those living with preexisting conditions. brett kavanaugh ruled against upholding the affordable care act in 2011. it is widely expected he would side with conservative justices if and when cases like texas vs.
the u.s. come before the court. and if he does the a.c.a.'s protection for people with preexisting conditions would be invalidated for tens of millions of americans. speaking of health care, americans overwhelmingly support women having the freedom to make their own health care decisions. brett kavanaugh while working in the bush white house in 2003 wrote an internal memo stating that roe v. wade may not be considered, quote, settled law of the land because the supreme court can always overrule its precedent, close quote. americans also overwhelmingly support independent checks on executive power. we believe that no one in america is above the law yet brett kavanaugh in a july, 2009,
minnesota law review article wrote that congress should pass a law to exempt a sitting president from criminal prosecution or investigation. what i -- when i learned of this, mr. president, my reaction was you have got to be kidding, but apparently he was not kidding. ironically, that declaration came just 11 years after brett kavanaugh played a key role in drafting the starr report which laid out grounds for impeachment of then-president bill clinton. but the greatest threat that brett kavanaugh may pose to this country and its people is with respect to our environment. in all my years, i have yet to meet anyone who doesn't want to make sure we have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. a review of brett kavanaugh's nearly 300 opinions over the last 12 years, both concurrences
and dissents, shows judge kavanaugh has voted to weaken or block environmental protections a staggering 89% of the time. 89% of the time. in fact, judge kavanaugh has never dissented in a case that would weaken environmental protections and admitted as much in his responses to questions on the record from senators feinstein and harris. in other words, -- what do i say? in other words, almost nine out of ten times, he has sided with those who weaken environmental protections over those that would strengthen them. i fear that if confirmed, judge kavanaugh could turn out to be the next scott pruitt. we remember him. although like former e.p.a. administrator pruitt whose tenure finally ended after 18 torturous months, brett
kavanaugh could damage our environment for a quarter century or more if he serves on the supreme court. for example, just last year, scott pruitt attempted to delay limiting emissions from oil and gas drilling was challenged in the d.c. sixth court where judge kavanaugh now serves. in that case, judge kavanaugh sided with scott pruitt and the fossil fuel industry, voting against his colleagues who found pruitt's delay illegal. judge kavanaugh has also attempted to severely limit e.p.a.'s authority to regulate toxic emissions and greenhouse gases under the clean air act. in 2012, he blocked air pollution restrictions that covered nearly half of our country, endangering thousands of lives. this is especially concerning to those of us who live in states like delaware, mr. president, where over 90% of our air pollution comes from dirty
emissions in states to our west, that drift across our borders. when i was governor, mr. president, i could have shut down my state, every car, truck, van off the road, shut down every business. we would have still not been compliant for clean air requirements because of the upwind states putting their pollution up in the air and simply blowing through delaware or maryland or new jersey or any other state who happens to live along america's tailpipe on the east coast. strictly based on judge kavanaugh's environmental record over the past 12 years, i was prepared to vote no on his nomination many weeks ago. last week, the senate and much of our country was riveted by compelling and i believe powerful testimony from a private citizen and a victim, dr. christine ford who came
forward to share the most dramatic experience of her life. she stepped forward despite the serious risk that it posed for both her and her family. death threats, having to move out of her house. she testified despite being terrified, she did so despite being unsure that her story would make any difference at all. she did so because she said it was her civic duty to share the truth. she showed a lot of courage, a whole lot of courage. like many of my colleagues, i have been contacted by sexual assault survivors since dr. ford's testimony who have been inspired to come forward and share their stories. it serves as further proof that this problem is not only underreported but that men and women are victims of sexual assault can and they do bury this trauma, not for weeks, not
for months, not for years -- for decades. some of our republican colleagues have acknowledged that dr. ford's testimony was credible, but despite her credibility, they say they don't see her testimony as reason enough to deny judge kavanaugh a lifetime appointment to the supreme court. they say they don't have enough evidence to believe her. instead, they have painted this as something of a he said, she said situation involving young people. well, let's look at what he said then. last week, judge kavanaugh who currently sits on our nation's second highest court came before the united states senate and unleashed a trent of unbelievably partisan attacks. i have never seen anything like it. in testimony before any
committee i have served on or known of. he claimed that the allegations against him were fueled by pentup anger against trump and the 2006 election, close quote. he went so far as to say that the claims were merely, quote, revenge on behalf of the clintons, close quote. he threatened democratic members saying, quote, what goes around comes around, close quote. you know, there is an old saying that says adversity does not build character, it reveals it. well, that day judge kavanaugh revealed himself to be a partisan through that hearing. after witnessing the vitriol that judge kavanaugh spewed, how can any left-leaning cause think they would ever possibly get a fair shake from him should their case come before the supreme court? his temperament was clearly unbecoming of a judge let alone
a supreme court justice. what's perhaps even more disturbing is judge kavanaugh was willing to be so brazenly partisan in order to appeal to an audience of one watching the proceedings from 1600 pennsylvania avenue. judge kavanaugh's testimony last week also raised additional questions regarding his truthfulness. for weeks, my colleagues on the judiciary committee, including senators durbin and senator leahy, have raised serious concerns that judge kavanaugh may have misled the judiciary committee about the extent of his role in the bush administration helping several controversial judicial nominees navigate the senate confirmation process. judge kavanaugh may have also misled the judiciary committee about the extent of his role in the bush administration, helping shape several controversial decisions in the wake of the september 11 terrorist attacks,
including warrantless wiretapping and the right of enemy combatants. and during his most recent hearing about the allegations brought forward by dr. ford, judge kavanaugh answered several questions about his younger days in ways that were at best misleading and at worst lies under oath. judge kavanaugh's less than truthful answers on matters large and small point to a troubling pattern and raise serious questions about his credibility. and even if my republican colleagues don't want to believe dr. ford and even if they agree that judge -- with judge kavanaugh's judicial record, the fact that he came before this body and so brazenly misled our fellow senators should i believe by itself be disqualifying. mr. president, before come to the senate, i was privileged to serve, as you may recall, as governor of delaware for eight
years. in that role, i nominated dozens of men and women who serve as judges in several courts of national prominence -- the delaware supreme court, the delaware superior court, the delaware court of chancery, to name a few. while the roles of those courts differ, the qualities i look for in my judicial nominees were similar. i look for men and women who are bright. i look for men and women who knew the law. i look for men and women who have good judgment, who are able and willing to make a decision, including difficult issues. i look for men and women with the strong work ethic. if i want to nominate, it's like watching them retire on the job. i look for nominees who are collegial, able to build consensus, and had a larger panel. but there were three qualities that were most important to me, three qualities.
judicial temperament, impartiality, treating everyone before them fairly, not showing partiality. and finally, those three, judicial temperament, impartiality, and truthfulness. in fact, there was a time in my first term as governor, mr. president, i deny sitting justice of the escort the opportunity to serve an additional 12-year term because he lacked appropriate judicial temperament. i am told that was unprecedented. his judicial temperament, what i thought was appropriate, were not one and the same. mr. president, it gives me no joy to say what i am about to say but the temperament that
judge kavanaugh exhibited in the judiciary committee last week was not -- it wasn't just unacceptable for a supreme court justice. it would be unacceptable for a judge in delaware serving on the delaware court of common pleas. last week, in an effort to get to the truth to assure this body, to get to all the facts before taking such an important and consequential vote, my colleagues called for the f.b.i. to conduct a nonpartial investigation. unfortunately, what we ended up with falls far short from what the senate deserves and certainly what the american people deserve. what we got was a process certainly not designed to inform. this process was designed to inform the white house and republicans would have actually allowed the f.b.i. to speak to the more than 40 individuals whose names dr. ford and ms.
ms. ramirez submitted as people who could potentially corroborate their accounts. the f.b.i. never talked to any of those people. if this were a process designed to inform the dozens of individuals who contacted the f.b.i. to share potentially helpful accounts and information, we would have received calls in response to those concerns. they did not. if this process were designed to inform the white house and senate republicans would have allowed the f.b.i. to expand the scope of its investigation. they did not. if this process were designed to inform, the majority leader would have at least waited to schedule a vote on brett kavanaugh's nomination until after we received and read the f.b.i. report. he did not. sadly, mr. president, sadly, this process has been a sham. a sham from the start.
i know our president is proud to hail from the state of louisiana. i am equally proud to hail from the first state. as you may know, mr. president, we are called the first state because we were the first state to ratify the u.s. constitution. the longest living, most emulated constitution in the history of the world. one of the judgment -- fundamental reasons our constitution and our democracy has endured is because of the intricate system of checks and balances that our founding fathers crafted just up the road in philadelphia some 231 years ago. the process we have been through here in the last several weeks unfortunately makes a mockery of that system of checks and balances. i believe we all must recognize that to use the majority leader's words plowing through with judge kavanaugh's nomination will