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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 14, 2009 2:00am-2:30am EDT

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air, by mentioning some judiciary milestones. as i call your name please rise. but i'd like you to hold applause to the end. on the court of appeals, judge kenneth rip el took senior status after 23 years. he continues to carry a heavy caseload while also volunteering his services to other circuits. david hamilton has been nominated as his successor and we look forward to his confirmation. he's on the judiciary committee's agenda this week. and he should be reported to the floor then. in the northern district of illinois, judge robert get willman took senior status this month. judge david core will do so in august. -- david ashman will take senior status in june and all will continue to serve. in the southern district of illinois, bankruptcy judge kenneth myers took senior stat news february but continues to serve as -- continues to serve
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as a recall judge. i already mentioned the senior status of judge mckinney in the southern district of indiana, and the senior status actual or pending of both chief judge crab and shabaz in the western district of wisconsin. . judge crab and shabaz in the western district of wisconsin. one other change in western wisconsin, peter op is the new clerk and david blackwelder is the new clerk in the -- please join me in a round of appreciation. [applause] >>ly turn the program over now to the chief justice and i'll to the chief justice and i'll see you all chicago. [applause] >> you're watching c-span's america and the courts. next u.s. district judge royce lambert on salaries of federal judges and the confirm, process. he spoke at the u.s. district
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courthouse in washington, d.c. last march. this is a portion of the discussion. >> i really do want to talk about -- what i really want to talk about today is how we get more judges like tom flannery. and i don't mean just judge flannery. i mean judges like judge william bryant for whom our annex is named and joyce green and colleen fatelli. appointed by district judges as -- foreign intelligence veins court by chief justice rehnquist. judge flannery and the other judges i have named all share the view that federal judges should be neutral and should strive to apply neutral principles in their decision making. their personal views had to be and were set aside. they applied the constitution and followed the law. chief justice roberts has spoken eloquently about the need for adequate pay for judges if we
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are to attract and retain more tom flannerys. i don't need to rye to supplement what the chief judge has stated on that point, and i hope to not undercut it by anything i say today either, frankly but last week at the university of idaho, chief justice roberts spoke about the judiciary nomination and confirm, process. the chief justice talked about how the process of appointing new justices to the supreme court has become polarized and politicized as senators try to pin down how a nominee might vote on particular issues. the chief justice expressed the view that judiciary nominees should not be expected to provide detailed i'd logical information during the -- i'd logical information during the confirm, process -- since judges are expected to be impartial in hearing the case that is come before them. i agree with the chief justice. but i want to say more. the process for picking federal judges is totally broken, and it
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badly needs to be fixed. i think there's a great deal of merit to the editor in the los angeles times on february 8th calling for an end to the judge wars, and to move beyond parties in battle over nominations to the federal courts. the los angeles times observed that if president obama wants to deliver on the bipartisanship he promised he should focus on the process for selecting federal judges. i was nominated in march 1987 in the partisan fight in the senate over my nomination lasted six months and ended in a political compromise that allowed my nomination to be brought to a floor vote just before the senate recessed in november 1987. but that six-month fight over me pails in comparison to what occurs now. two years or even four years and other lengthy political battles over judges are no longer unusual. it hasn't mattered which party
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controls the white house or the senate. the paybacks and the bickering have been thoroughly bipartisan. republicans are still seething about the way judge bork and justice thomas were treated. democrats are still seething about the way the republican-controlled senate blocked or delayed some of president clinton's judiciary nominees. republicans complain that the democrats seeking revenge oppose mainstream and well-qualified judiciary nominees of president bush. i will tell you as an independent observer that both parties are right. i think president obama and the democrats who now control the senate should recognize that excessive partisanship can fuel fire. it certainly has in the past. and republicans also need to recognize that fact. i think it's time for democrats and republicans alike to join with administration and try to stop this war. an impartial federal judiciary should be the goal of both
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political parties. the appointment of the most qualified nominees available should be the goal of all americans. the long delays and partisan bickerings that have dissuaded some very capable lawyers from pursuing federal judgeships are a crime. we should be striving for the best and the brightest, outstanding lawyers who can be fair and impartial judges. i have to say that i think senator obama's opposition to the confirm, of chief justice roberts and justice alito was most unfortunate. i have to say that i disagree with candidate obama's comments about what he would look for when appointing judges. that highly difficult legal cases can only be determined on the bases of one's deepest values, one's core concerns, one's broader perspective on how the world works, and the depth and health of one's sympathy. all of those are good qualities
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for elected officials and appointed executive officials but not the qualities needed for judges. we need judges who will set aside their personal political views and who will apply the constitution and the law fairly and impartially with the cases pending before them. the christian science monitor had an editorial on february 18th agrees. the newspaper noted that candidate obama said judges should use the constitution for social policy. judges, candidate obama said, must have the heart, the empathy to understand what it's like to be poor or african-american or gay or disabled or old. the newspaper noted that while such empathy is necessary for presidents or legislators, it runs counter to the judicial oath. judges must administer justice without respect to person and due equal right to the poor and to the rich. the newspaper cites rasmus enpoll from january of this year that found that nearly two-thirdsf the american
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people think that court rulings should be based on what is writment constitution, but only one-third believe that president obama's belief agrees with them. i hope that president obama will reflect further on this subject. i know he'll be receiving advice from our esteemed attorney general, and the counsel of the president, greg craig, one of the brightest and best lawyers who ever appeared before me. and although the first nomination hasn't been made yet, i am very heartened by a "new york times" article last week. with considerable hand wringing, citing officials who spoke on the condition of and none imity because naming judges involves a delicate polital process, involving senators among others, the "new york times" observed that at least so far the candidates being considered by the obama white house for early nomination do not appear to have a special ideological profile. for that i say hooray.
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the nominations are of course just the first step because of the senate's role to advise and consent it certainly makes sense for the white house to consult with senators before the nomination is finalized. and for district judges at least there's a tradition of considerable senatorial courtesy. but courtesy is one thing. for the president to totally abdicate his constitutional power to nominate is not wise. and those who want to submit only one name for the president's consideration rather than three or a panel are asking the preses to totally abdicate his role in the process. the president should rightfully refuse such entreaties. presidents, however, still has to get his nominees confirmed. the 41 republicans in the senate sent president obama a letter on march 2nd in which they said "we look forward to working with you as you consider nominees for the federal judiciary." they went on to say that
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unfortunately the judicial appointments process has become need lessly ack moanious. we would very much like to improve this process and we know you would as well. it is in that spirit that we write -- early on." the republicans then went on to request two steps the administration can take to achieve that stated goal. but before the white house had the opportunity to respond to the republicans' letter or even receive it as far as i know, an interest group was already quoted in news accounts as saying the letter seems the republicans as the party of no and said that voters gave president obama a mandate to appoint judges who understood that constitution and laws provide for equal justice for all. that kind of interest group reaction is exactly what causes or creates the poisonous atmosphere that exists today in the senate judiciary committee. indeed, it is reliablely reported that the interest groups on both sides feed
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questions to senators on all the hot button issues that divide our country: abortion, gay rights, guns, separation of church and state, death penalty. and then stand in the committee room to make sure that their senator performs adequately according to the script. as might be expected, the "new york times" has already run its editorial on march 9th condemning the letter from the senate republicans. i hope our esteemed attorney general can persuade the white house to take the republicans' letter as an effort to engage in a genuine dialogue, not as a threat to filibuster, and hopefully that's what the republicans have in mind. having now shot off my mouth on the subject,ly do my part. we have two republican senators from texas. i'll make an effort to convey my views to both of them. senator kay bailey hutchinson was in my class at law school at the university of texas and we've been friends ever since. and senator john corn anyone is
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on the senate judiciary committee. he could play the key role in helping move us to a new approach on judicial selections. i understand they've met with the president's counsel about judiciary vacancies in tas. i hope i can persuade them to play a broader role in putting an end to the current way of doing business. currently 67 vacancies in the federal courts and 22 of those are characterized as judicial emergencies. based on the size of the caseload and the amount of time the seat has been empty. short-handed courts cannot function properly, and many litigants who face lengthy delays and crowded dock et cetera are ultimately denied the justice they seek. the d.c. circuit has two vacancies, including the seat vacated by chief justice roberts. the district court has three vacancies. judge kessler's slot from two years ago, judge holden who -- and judge robertson who took status on december 31st.
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our court is swamped with guantanemo cases which have been too long delayed and which we are currently trying to expedite. the result is we don't expect to try virtually any civil case this spring or summer, and only criminal cases where the speedy trial act dictates trial now. we need new judges u just as many other courts do. the partisan bickering over who -- who and when eventually resulted in the confirmings hearings where the wife of the judicial nominee left the hearing room in tears because of the smears of her husband's good name and reputation. that really has a powerful and negative impact on persuading the best and the brightest to undertake the process of becoming a federal judge. one nominee that i know whose nomination lapsed told me that she asked the president not to resubmit her name to the new congress because she found the senate confirm, process to be so demeaning. escalating smear tactics and partisan grandstanding need to
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stop. and we need to end the war over selection of judges. the timing is right for a joint agreement to stop. i say to both republicans and democrats, you're injuring the federal judiciary. for the sake of our country, which needs a fair and impartial and independent judiciary, stop and stop this year. i want to end my talk today with some words spoken by judge flannery in response to an interviewer's question about his ruling in certain civil liberties cases including one involved a so-called squeal rule for abortions. judge flannery said, "i'm guided by the opinions of the higher courts. the court of appeals and the supreme court. i might disagree with an opinion of the higher court, but under my oath as i understand it i don't make the law, i follow the law and interpret the law. i might not be sympathetic to a particular little gant's theory,
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but i abide by law until the legislature changes it. because of my catholic upbringing and background element i abdicate those. i operate on that principle. he was my role model. that is why he was respected and loved. thank you, very much.
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just click on america and the courts. join us next week for america and the courts, saturday evenings at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> tomorrow, on washington journal, michael ettlinger and john lott this test the obama administration. make them guttman set interrelations. washington journal, lives at 7:00 a.m. eastern here on c- span. this week, on c-span is newsmakers, senate minority whip jon kyl discusses issues on the senate agenda.
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including confirmation hearings. >> i was reading last night. there is a lot of reading involved. i was reading some very troubling things last night about her views towards international law. she said you could interpret the united states constitution by looking to see what public opinion is in your. public opinion in europe has nothing whatsoever to do with what our constitution means. if that is really her point of view, that is very troubling. i could not vote for a judge who believe that. she has said it on several occasions. i will have to ask her what she meant by that. when people talk about a filibuster, understand that republicans could not filibuster this nomination on our own. even if we wanted to prove that none of us are talking about filibuster's. is all of response to the media. we are not opposing this.
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it would be difficult for us to pull off unless the democrats joined us. >> news makers with senator jon kyl. sundays at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span. >> the government funding of college is a late 1950's think. it has grown rapidly since then. >> the college as never accepted government funding and not even government-backed student loans are permitted. >> title 4 of the higher education act is 400 pages long. we have a lawyer in town that tries to keep the government from giving this money. i wanted him to send me a title for and he said it would not be invidious because i would not be able to read it. >> sunday night at 8:00 p.m. one q&a. or listen on c-span radio, xm-
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radio, or doubleclick podcasts. the government appointed commission on wartime contract ing -- a hearing on government contract and in iraq and afghanistan. a final report is due in 2010. first, remarks from john tierney, chair of the oversight committee on national security. this is one hour 40 minutes. >> the quorum being present the subcommittee on national security on wartime contract income interim findings and path for relook come tort. finance consent only the chairman and ranking member of the said committee be allowed to make opening statements and without objection sword. eyes finance consent the hearing record be kept open for five business days of members will be allowed to submit a written statement for the record. without objection, so ordered.
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good morning. i want to thank all of you for being with us here today. as i promised you, you were there and i am here, but i did have to restrain mr. shays on that. so today the subcommittee on national security and foreign affairs is going to continue its sobersided defense spending issues. with a hearing to discuss what is becoming all too familiar issue in recent years, aways, fraud abuse and lack of accountability in wartime contract thing in both iraq and afghanistan. with hundreds of billions of dollars the united states taxpayer dollars invested in these two theaters since 2001 and more to come, it is critical we continue to strengthen our oversight in contracts in these areas. before i begin my remarks i want to address a procedural issue for the benefit of subcommittee members and the public. we did have an arrangement with the commission earlier on that we would have the report released to us and not by the press until the evening of this hearing.
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that did not occur, and i want to apologize to the other members on that. were about to find out why that didn't occur a we wanted to give the members in opportunity to be prepared and to ask questions of the committee and to work on that, so we are going to find out what happened there. i still suspect members of that and opportunity to prepare themselves notwithstanding. united states reliance on contractors has reached unprecedented levels of the last eight years, reaching upwards of a court of a million contractors on the ground in iraq and afghanistan from the department defense alone. that does not even include those working for the department of state in the united states agency for international development or other agencies. it is an extraordinary number by all accounts but civilian contractors in a contract endermic elwell members of personnel related expenditures as the land the opposite trend occurred with respect to oversight. the united states national security department allowed their program oversight staff and expertise to dwindle to the
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point in many circumstances contractors have been hired to oversee other contractors work. report after report had identified the key need to rebuild branch oversight capacity but as yet we have seen little to show for it. we need to fix a broken contract and oversight function in the executive branch and add to it a oversight from independent sources of congress. that was the product of efforts by several of us in congress dating back to 2005. at that time it became clear to us we needed an entity that could provide sustained over the side of wartime contracts similar to the efforts of the truman committee during the 1940's. waste fraud and abuse in wartime contracts transcends politics. oversight should not be the luxury of the divided government and languish when congressional majorities in the president share a common political party. wiesel the disasters as we initiated in prosecuted action in iraq. i have by expectations for the
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contract thing can accomplish and we are here to assess progss to date. the commission's interim report highlights a number of issues related to management and accountability, logistics', secure in reconstruction efforts in iraq and afghanistan. one interesting case described in the reports as the costly construction of a duplicative dining facility at the cost of $30 million. that certainly is represented in such issues. ism portsmouth commissioner mckracken krampert others nuss in sync grading alvis i did the deed that merely duplicates the work going on by the government accountability office. we do expect to review those and synthesize them and use them to inform your work. i look forward to hearing what the commissioners finding help that we don't know about an inch shorter expect the witnesses this morning will insure us and the investment in narrative these was a worthwhile decision. we in congress as sponsors of the comish need to hear about any challenges or hindrances the commission faces in conducting its work. i'm concerned the commission
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will not able to fulfill its mandate without a semipermanent presence in theater and perhaps you'll feel a little bit about that today. cordy to report the commission is only taken two trips to iraq and afghanistan. i'm concerned the current one-year mandate might above responsible government officials and contractors to wait it out. this charge is too important to suffer defeat and i don't want to see a lack of subpoena power to deter the commission from going after recalcitrant parties that that is a problem susceptively stands ready to assist the commission in regard to whatever is appropriate. the dynamic in iraq and afghanistan is changing significantly, specifically as we move to drawdown activities in iraq while the same time increasing resources and afghanistan. within this framework we must look of the mistakes of our her decision-making with respect to contracts in iraq and avoid a repeat of those mistakes in afghanistan. as we have said before lessons learned must be lessons bolles. we will need every bit of
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experience, judgement and resolved at our disposal to get this right. as such it is imperative the commission has every opportunity to perform its work without hindrance. so i want to take this opportunity to thank the commissioners that are here and the rest of the members if you would be good enough to exchange debt with them and the staff for undertaking this assignment. over a month ago when i appeared before the commission on its first hearing, we noted we would be looking for to this date when we would switch seats. done write, your help safeguard the lives of our civilian and military personnel in iraq and afghanistan. done write your work will rebel the trust of the united states sade-- taxpayers to spend their dollars. those twin goals benefiting our people in harm's way in rebuilding the trust of those here, represent the bedrock intention behind accretion of the commission so thank you for being here and at this point i defer to chairman flake.
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>> i am pleased to be here in pleased to hear the testimony particularly from congressman shays. i know he traveled to iraq and afghanistan a couple of times, right? more than a few. and i just am pleased that we are doing more oversight here. obviously there is never too much oversight that can be done and particularly in this area. the u.s. military base budget for the current fiscal year is more than 500 billion. congress has appropriated roughly-- for the wars in afghanistan and iraq. i king commiserate with the commission on how tough it has to be to get access to information that you need to do. i had been waiting for more than two months for competitive bidding information just on a small subset of 2008 defense contracts. on details appeared to be shrouded in mystery here. in fact, i look forward to the possibility of having someone who is knowledgeable about the
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pentagon's process of-- contracting process appear under oath so we can get answers to some of these questions that we have wanted answers to for a long time on the competitive bidding process, and to that and i look forward to the witness testimony and think of the chairman again for holding this hearing. >> now the subcommittee will receive testimony on efforts panel and i would like to introduce you, if i may, mr. shays. let me introduce the panel. understand you are going to deliver remarks, is that what you are signaling? [inaudible] >> i definitely will. it never goes away, does that chris? [laughter] chris was in their comic he would always be buzzing over sharing-- [laughter] mr. michael j. thibault services the co-chairman was appointed by house speaker nancy pelosi and senate majority leader harry reid. from 2007 to 2008 mr. thibault worked at the navigant consulting and prior to that he
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was the chief compliance officer at younis is bedell systems. mr. thibault served as the debt the director of the audit agency report from 1973 to 2005. mr. thibault holds a b.a. from seven oregon university and a master's apart from central michigan university. the honorable christopher shays serves as co-chair of the commission of wartime contacting and was appointed by house minority leader john boehner. from 1987 to 2009 mr. shays served in the house of representatives where he represented the fourth district in connecticut. during his time in congress mr. shays served as ranking member of the subcommittee on foreign affairs as well as chairman of the committee. mr. shays holds a bachelor of arts from principia colleges wallison nda and mpa from new york university. mr. charles deaver serves as a wartime contrasting appointed by senate majority leader harry b. pirg aliza professor university of baltimore school of law, specializes in government
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contracts and contract legislation. from 1993 to 1994 he has served as acting general counsel on the house of representatives, from 1984 to 1995 he was the deputy general counsel in the united states senate. he holds a bachelor of arts from columbia university and a j.d. from harvard law school. colonel grant green is a member of the commission on wartime contract and an appointed by president george w. bush. he currently serves as the chairman of global marketing and development solutions and, development solution think. is still the number of senior positions in the government including undersecretary of state for management, assistant secretary of defense in the second secretary for the national security council. colonel green is retired from the united states army and served on the commission as an acting coach year. yields a bachelor of arts from the university of arkansas and an m.s. from george washington university. thank you for making yourself available to testify in the work you are doing for the commission as wells

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