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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 16, 2009 10:30pm-11:00pm EDT

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prosecutor she was. i remember when president clinton nominated her to the second circuit. the republican-controlled senate put a hold on her nomination. they tried to block her. there were a dozen speeches in the senate urging daleys have the courage to come forward and then who they are. they did not. in june 1998, there was a column in "the wall street journal" that said what we all knew. they were trying to hold her up the coast there was a rumor that president clinton will nominate her to the supreme court if there was a vacancy. the final release her nomination. she was confirmed overwhelmingly and not one word was spoke on the senate floor against -- by those who felt the
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need to hold her for an -- a disgraceful amount of time. when thurgood marshall was nominated to the second circuit, he faced stiff opposition. it did not make any difference that he graduated first in his class of harvard law school or that he had naacp legal defense fund. he had all kinds of hostile questions at this confirmation hearing, and his nomination was stalled for some time. he was then appointed solicitor general of the united states he successfully argued and won a remarkable 29 auto -- out of 32 cases before the supreme court. most lawyers dream they might have one case there. he won 29 of 32, and when president johnson nominated him to be the first african-american
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supreme court justice common the president knew it was the right time to do that. president obama has followed the tradition. as long as we -- know as long as we add not only her experience in private practice, she has served on the court longer than any nominee to the supreme court in 100 years. as the first lady said, not only do our believe she is prepared to serve all americans, as the supreme court justice, i believe the country is more than ready to see this accomplice and respected woman to do just that. this should be a time instead of the divisions we're seeing, this is a time we should come together and say what wonderful
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diversity in america to see this nomination. [applause] it makes my skin crawl when i hear one of the leaders of the other parties on his radio show compare her to the head of the ku klux klan. this is shameless. this is wrong. this goes beyond rhetoric, and i think about reading back over history of justice marshall's confirmation hearing in the supreme court, again, a man who won 29 of the 32 cases, and the kinds of questions like, are you prejudiced since the white people of the south? come on, give me a break. let's not go back to those kinds of days. i would hope the senate republicans remember the proud history of the party of lincoln and the civil rights act of 1968 and as a party that eventually
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voted unanimously who for thurgood marshall to the united states supreme court, but justice marshall was not the first to face of adversity. when one of the giants of the supreme court was nominated to the supreme court, he had overcome severe anti-semitism, significant opposition. the commentary at the time was questions about the jewish mind, how its operations are complicated by altruism. this about some little bit like an attack on empathy -- does that sound a little bit like an attack on empathy? as i mentioned, the opposite of empathy is in difference. do we really want that in and in justice? i think the first catholic nominee had to overcome the idea that as a catholic he would be nominated by the pope, which has
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nothing to do with the speech. that was an argument john kennedy faced when he was running, and a joke he told afterward set had he lost, they kept saying the pope was going to run things, and he said, have we lost, we would only have had enough money to send a one word telegram to the pope -- unpack. [laughter] i asked sonia sotomayer about comments she made. she said, of course one's life experiences shaped by who they are. she went on to say ultimately and completely as a judge that follows the law, there's not one law for one race or color. there is not one law for rich or poor. there is only one law, and ultimately, a judge has to follow the law and, no matter
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what his or her of regain maybe. -- her of bringing may be. that is the type of judge we want. that is the kind of judge sonia sotomayer has been, and when she is elevated to the highest court, she will live up to justice thurgood marshall's description. he said, in our day-to-day work, we must continue to realize we are dealing with individuals, not statistics, and i think those are important words because the court could have a fundamental impact on people's lives. let me tell you about one case. you students will study this. five justices struck a severe blow to the rights of working families across the country. 40 years ago, congress put in place a lot to outlaw
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discrimination in the workplace. -- pas law to outlaw discrimination in the workplace so men and women would receive equal pay for equal work. with the supreme court did, of course made up of people talking about judicial restraint during the confirmation hearing, a court basically struck down equal pay for women, and i was for a proud to be standing right behind president obama, and you were there and when he signed philosophizes first act, and that is going to change this -- the son the first law as it -- find this law as his first act, and that is going to change this. we should ask about those conservative activists who are
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the legislation designed to protect americans right to equal pay. the law is meant to protect the privacy of all americans from an overreaching government. when those laws are in place and conservatives on the port strike goes down, are they not being the same kind of activists -- the conservatives on the court strike goes down, are they not being the same kind of activist they try to avoid. we understand the real work to take dozens doctrine of separate but equal -- what is done more fair devlin in reality, it was offensive to the constitution. it allowed segregation, and all americans have come to expect -- to respect what the supreme court did in brown vs. board of education that ended this racial discrimination, but just two years ago, the seattle school
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desegregation and narrowly divided supreme court undercut that legislation. chief justice robert opinion failed to recognize the struggle for equality that persisted long after brown vs. board of education. segregation did not end with the case of brown vs. board of education. it did not end defacto, so justice stevens wrote in a dissent, and please read that, but the chief justice's decision twisted brown vs. board in a cruelly ironic whey. no justice price said he criticized the chief justice's opinion of supplying an overly theoretical approach to case
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law, and he said law is not an exercise in mathematical logic. if it was, we would not need judges. we could do with computers, and i do not want to see that day. [applause] chief justice warren, a man who had a real-life experience for two and a half years, made sure it was going to be a unanimous decision, so a deeply divided united states of america could except this. it ignored the real world experience of millions of americans, and in a few days the supreme court will issue one of its most important decisions in years. the constitutionality of the reauthorize the voting rights act.
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voting rights act section 5 is a time-honored way to prevent discrimination. the court has always upheld the constitution when section 5. i have got to tell you, i listened to the argument on the supreme court, and i am very worried about students are taught that there is no explicit power granted to congress of them the 15th amendment to protect us the right for vote. the passage of the voting rights act was a result of a historic struggle for civil rights. your-remembers that. members reached an -- your dad remembers that. members reached a crucial moment when i was 15 years old. -- i was 25 years. i wish i was 15.
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in selma, alabama, state troopers brutally attacked the civil rights marchers. if you ever have a chance to meet john lewis, you're meeting a hero. captured on newspaper photos and television, it proved to be a catalyst. america will go to the ugly face of segregation, and congress have the voting rights act within months, the constitution guarantees equal access to a political process, regardless of race not to be undermined by discriminatory practice. there was a big battle to get the through, but three years ago, republicans and democrats of the financier and the house of representatives came together. we reauthorize the softer 20 hearings in the house and senate. -- we reauthorize this after 20
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years in this house and senate. president bush had no major signing ceremony on it, and now we have to worry whether the supreme court is going to undermine the. senator john lewis was walking out after the signing. a search, isn't this wonderful we have kept this gunman who -- i said, isn't this wonderful we have kept this? i said, it is wonderful not only for african-americans. it is wonderful for poor whites. it is whether foreign hispanics triggered it is wonderful for retreat is wonderful for hispanics. it is wonderful for all those people might keep from voting. think what the enormous impact justices have on our freedoms and values, and whether you are from the south bronx for the south side of chicago or south burlington, vt., the american dream inspires all of us syrian
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your life story is -- inspires all of us. her life story is the american dream. we should unite all senators because of the 101 people that have a voice in the appointment and seating of the supreme court justice -- first and foremost, the president who makes the nomination and 100 senators who have to sit in place of 300 million americans -- we should come together. remember what the vermont marble over the entrance to the supreme court says. equal justice under logoaw. we should confirm her and guarantee equal justice under the law. thank you very much. [applause] do you want me to do some questions? thank you, thank you.
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any questions? i will let you -- you are the professor. >> first of all, thank you for that wonderful speech. thank you for honoring us by coming to the school of law. the dean has a couple i know she wants to present to you. i also know your -- haifa cup -- i also know your schedule is very busy. if their students but want to ask a question, we ask you identify yourself quickly if you would. yes, ma'am? identify yourself, please. >> we are the class of 2012. going back to the voting rights act, why after all this time should it still just been nearly for certain states and counties in virginia? why not just apply to everybody so all jurisdictions have to submit their redistricting? wouldn't that be more fair?
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>> the question is so all the streets have to resubmit their application. actually, most districts to not show a history of segregation. for example, my state of vermont is considered among the fairest election laws in the country. we do not have racial imbalances in vermont. we're probably the most homogeneous state in the country, but what we do is we know those areas where there have been problems. if new areas, with a problem, then it could be submitted. it is done in a very careful way, and it has worked for 1/2. most cases, even those that submited, have to submit their program, do not mind. i have people tell me it is a way of keeping us honest.
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i go back to the days brown vs. board and others, segregation was made illegal. i was 18, getting ready to go into my junior year in college, and i came down with my parents to d.c., and i saw for the first time signs but still said "colored " and "whites-only." my son-in-law remembers that even though it was illegal in richmond, there were places he could not go. it is not in getting rid of no legal segregation. it is getting rid of the factors segregation. >> one last question. anyone else? please, identify yourself. >> [inaudible] i have a question. you compared civil rights to
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human rights. can you talk about what happens in this country, i am wondering if within the context of the judiciary committee if there's going to be any effort or willingness to address some of the issues that have happened over the last eight years and the last administration as far as human rights abuses around the world, and historically, the u.s. has not tried to put its own citizens of former -- in that context for accountability on human rights issues around the world. of the same time, we have tried to hold other countries in trouble for human rights actions, so i am wondering what role the judiciary does in favor -- in terms of last eight years of this country that have been done by people in this government. >> i think our subcommittee on human rights will be doing a lot of fat, but a lot of it is by example. closing guantanamo bay prison is going to be one of the best
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examples we can make. i think a president who is not afraid to talk not only of the greatness of america -- and there are so many things occurred about our country -- but also been willing to talk about when we have made mistakes, that a seventh -- an example of countries that do not want to make their own mistakes. i think we lead by example. in the past we were able to lead by example. we have to restore our own principles. i had this time of the department of justice when as chairman of the senate judiciary committee common -- committee, i remember being extraordinary frustrated with then attorney general gonzales about what was going on, the manipulation of
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prosecution. when i was in washington, i was interviewed by the van attorney general. he interviewed a few students to get us to come to the department of justice, and i remember saying to that attorney general -- you will know who i am talking about in a moment. i said to the attorney general, in which you allow interference by the white house region would you allow interference by the white house and prosecution? he said, under no circumstance. i explain to the president that neither he nor anyone from the white house can get involved in prosecutions during the last administration. there were four under people who could not be involved, and i said to him, thank you, attorney general robert kennedy. that means a lot to me, and he ended up prosecuting a man who was vital to his brother's election as president. when his staff ask him if this
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was going to be a problem, he said there will probably not go to any family reunions for a while, but that is the kind of independent there should be. let me just close with one story. i remember the sadness of when my wife was working as a nurse to put me through law school, and we stood on pennsylvania avenue of the funeral of john kennedy common and i remember dean outpouring in so many people realize what they have lost, but i remember the enthusiasm of young people coming into do things for their government to regain that is why i give up a good position of the law firm to become a prosecutor.
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you have the same opportunity. think about what an exciting administration to study and learn the law, but do not forget one thing. as lawyers you will have a privilege position in society. remember, the more the privilege, the more the obligation common and the more you'll have to do for others. do pro bono work. how bout of nerves. do things that make your part of the community common not isolated from the community. you will be a better person. thank you very much. >> ladies and gentlemen, join me inthanking senator pat leahy. thank you. [applause] >> about six or seven years ago
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ruth later ginsburg was a lecturer, and she talked about how lonely it was to be a woman on the supreme court bench, so i know you're going to do the right thing. i also have to tell you are students provided 85,000 hours of legal services to the most vulnerable d.c. residents to our clinical program, which is the most extensive in the country, so you're talking to the right people. thank you common senator leahy. you rock. [applause] >> for more information on judge
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sonia sotomayer, visit our web site where you'll find video of president obama announcing, the reaction, and then in the day from a 1998 appeals court nomination. but as all online act c- coming up tonight on c-span, the state department releases its annual human trafficking report. and a senate confirmation hearing on nominees to the federal communications commission. later, a house committee hears from people who have their health coverage canceled by their insurance company. >> right now online, look for our redesigned booktv web site, and every weekend, stream booktv programming right to your computer. it is also easier to search for
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and watch videos with the redesign video player. you can share the videos with everyone you know. the redesigned, look for it today. >> the state department released a report today saying the global economic downturn has driven an increase in human trafficking. the report lists 17 countries that have failed to make progress in preventing human trafficking. now secretary of state hillary clinton talks about that report. she is joined by members of congress and the state department's and the trafficking coordinator. this is just under an hour. >> in morning. we are delighted to have with us some keen members of congress who have cared about and work on this important issue for a number of years.
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mrs. the first time we have in should -- this is the first time we have introduced this report in this way because we want to demonstrate this truly is a partnership between the state department and the congress. if it were not for the congress, we would not have legislation. we would not have the follow-up. we would not have the kind of outreach these members and others would be doing, and i am grateful they could take time out of their very busy schedules to be with us. you will hear from two of them in a moment, but let me introduce carolyn maloney from new york, ben cardin from maryland. we have eddie johnson from texas, chris smith from new jersey, iliana from florida, and i think that is all of our members who are here with us. there may be some others who will come later, and i will be introducing some of the other speakers in a moment.
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this is one of the really significant days in the calendar for our country, and particularly for the state department. we have so many people who have been affected binary this significant issue over the years common -- who have been affected by the significant issue over the years, and the significant wish to hold this on the eighth floor, where we -- and it is significant that we hold this on the eighth floor, where we have had significant events from our nation, and i am especially pleased our new ambassador, the new director of office to monitor and combat trafficking in persons of the state department was confirmed in time to be part of the ceremony.
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[applause] previously, he led the fight against slavery of the department of justice. he has been a valued member of the team on the house judiciary committee and whisk chairman conyers, and thanks to him, hundreds of trafficking survivors are living healthier lives in our own country while their abusers are behind bars. we are also joined by two very special guest from the front lines of the fight against trafficking. we have the head of a foundation that assist victims in toaster return end the man who opened the first -- and the woman who opened a shelter for women and girls. we're so grateful they could
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join us today. [applause] around the world, millions of people are living in bondage. they labor in fields and factories, under brutal employers who have threatened them with violence if they try to escape. they work in homes for families that keep them virtually imprisoned now. they are forced to work as prostitutes or to beg in the streets, fearful of the consequences if they fail to earn their daily quota. they are women, men, and children of all ages, and they are often held far from home with no money, no connections, and no way to run for help. this is modern slavery, a crime that spans the globe, providing ruthless employers with an endless supply of people to abuse for financial gain. .


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