tv [untitled] CSPAN June 25, 2009 6:30am-7:00am EDT
she has been widely noted -- as can -- if confirmed, she would bring more federal judicial experience to the supreme court in any justice in 100 years. today david souter is the only member of the supreme court with prior experience as a trial court judge. sonia sotomayor would be the only justice with experience as a trial court judge. i happen to agree with this other senator. it is important that one of the nine supreme court justices have that experience. trial judges must apply the legal principle enunciated in supreme court opinions. this nominee served five years at the -- as a local prosecutor and practice law afor seven yeas
at a private law firm. she will be ever mindful of the need to provide those in the courtroom with clear and practical decisions. more important, she will understand how supreme court opinion affects real human beings. as a trial judge, she directly faced innocent victims of crime , vicious perpetrators of crime and occasionally a wrongfully accused. she directly faced injured parties seeking civil address and several defendants who may have to make honest mistakes. she had to answer what is the right verdict? what is the right length of incarceration? what is the right level of damages? these are not easy decisions. i know that, because my husband was a state trial court judge for 16 years.
trial court judges must be able to live with the justice they measure out. it takes more than an understanding of the law. it takes an understanding of people. judge sotomayor has a great understanding of both. i had the pleasure of meeting with her the day she fractured her ankle. i said to her, you are tough. she said i grew up in the bronx. you have to be tough. she handled that a painful injury with grace and humor. she has a first rate temperament. she has first-rate intellect. after growing up in a public housing project in the bronx, she excelled at princeton and yacht -- yale law school. i believe that she is an excellent choice to replace david souter as a supreme court justice. she deserves a fair and a thorough hearing without delay.
mr. president, i look forward to that hearing, and i yield the floor. ms. klobuchar: well, thank you very much, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: i ask for recognized? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: i want to thank my colleague, senator shaheen, for her remarks and for her reminiscence of meeting with the judge and her -- once again, the judge showing i was saying that this nominee would bring more federal judicial experience to the supreme court in any justice in 100 years. i notice my exchange in the
airport with one person who wondered if she was a worthy of this position and apply the facts and the law. when you look at the experience that she brings, and you compared to any of these other nominees on the supreme court, she stands out. she stands out because of her unique background. she overcame obstacles to get here. she stands out because of her experience. all those years as a prosecutor and federal judge. that makes a difference. amount to a just one other point that has been made about her as her capacity as a judge. i want to talk about the temperament issues. there's been some stories and comments, mostly anonymous, the question her judicial temperament. according to one news story about the topics, she developed a reputation for asking tough questions at oral arguments. she is sometimes rough with
lawyers who are not prepared to answer them. she is a little cart -- curt. asking tough questions is the very definition of being a judge. i cannot tell you how many times i have seen judges get impatient with lawyers who were not prepared and did not know the answer to a question. as a lawyer, you owe it to your clients and the bench to be well-prepared. as one person said, she sometimes dominates oral arguments. if she is feisty or pushy, then she will fit right in with the united states supreme court. we have come to a time in this country where we can confirm as many to the point of female
judges as we have confirmed to the point and drop male judges. think how far we have come with this nominee. when sandra day o'connor graduated from law school, more than 50 years ago, the only offer she got from a law firm was for a position as a legal secretary. she had a great background, at a very impressive background. the only opera she got was as a legal secretary. justice ginsburg who sits on the court of face similar obstacles. she was the only one of nine women in a class of more than 500 at harvard. one professor asked her to justify taking a place that would have gone to a man in that class at harvard. someone asked her to justify the
fact that she was there. i am sure she can justify it now by saying that she is on the u.s. supreme court. looking at just so, you're -- judge sonia sotomayor's record, we can see that she has come a long way. she was nominated by the first president bush and confirmed by this senate former first federal position. now she is before us again for confirmation for the position of the united states supreme court justice. after learning about her background, legal career, her judicial record, like so many of my colleagues, i am very impressed.
i hope that she will bring to our nomination hearing and to the supreme court if she is confirmed not only the knowledge and the experience acquired over a course of a brilliant legal career, but the wisdom accumulated from an inspiring life journey. justice o'connor was on the today show this morning. she was asked about her work and what it was like. she was asked about judge sonia sotomayor. what she said was, she was asked when you retire, you will like a woman to replace you. you were disappointed when a woman did not replace you. what is your reaction to the nomination of sonia sotomayor?
she said, i am pleased that we will have another woman on the court. i do think it is important not to have just one. our nearest neighbor, canada, also has a court of nine members. in canada, there is a woman chief justice, and four women also on the canadian court. she was asked, do you think there is a right number of women who should be on the court? she said no, of course not. then she pointed out that half of all law graduates are women today. we have a tremendous number of qualified women in the country who are serving as lawyers. they should be represented on the court. she was also asked about opponents of sonia sotomayor who never brought up the term activist judge.
i know this is a term that you have railed against in the past. would you object to about the term? >> i do not think the public understands what is meant by it. it is thrown around by many in the political field. i think that probably, for most uses of the term, they are distinguishing between the role of a legislator and a judge. the problem is at the appellate level, the supreme court is at the top of that, rules become binding law. it is hard to talk in terms of thbeing an activist. when i talked to sonia sotomayor about this, she talks about how she lays out of the facts and law, showing how the law applies to the backs, and then reaching a decision.
-- how the law applies to the facts, and then reaching a decision. she has agreed with judges who have been appointed by a republican president and 95% of the time they reach the same decision. unless you believe those republican appointed judges are activist judges, then you would say she is an activist judge. when you look at her whole record, i see someone who is moderate sometimes, and at other times she comes down on the other side. i look at whether they apply the law to the facts. they need to be fair.
sometimes our prosecutors office would not agree with a judge's decision. in the end, when we evaluated these judges and decided if we thought they were fair to have won a case, we looked at the whole experience. we looked at that to make a decision about whether or not this judge could be fair. when you look at her record, i am looking very much to this hearing. bob some colleagues will agree with one case, and side of the al, and others will do the same for the other side of the aisle. you'll see someone of experience, someone who is thought of, who makes a decision based on the facts and the law. i am very much looking forward to these hearings. i know that some of my colleagues are coming down here
as we speak. i am looking forward to their arrival as we become ambassadors of truth to get these facts out. it is really important for all of those watching c-span right now and all of those who are in the galleries today, people need to take these facts away. she has more judicial experience than anyone over the last 100 years. she has more experience on the bench than any of the justices nominated in over 100 years. look at the work she has done throughout her whole life where she came from nothing and work your way, got into good colleges
and law schools. as i said at the beginning, this is an nominee who understands law and understands the constitution, but also understands america. thank you very much, mr. president. i yield the floor. >> the senator from louisiana. >> thank you very much. i thank my colleague for her passionate remarks about this particular nominee. i join many of my colleagues in supporting her. i commend president obama for his selection. i wanted to come to the floor to
express my strong support for this nominee. the supreme court is the highest tribunal in the nation. it archer is our laws. -- it arbitrates our loss. -- laws. they serve as interpreters of our constitution. it is in a very important charge. it is our duty to ensure that the members of this high court which we are asked to confirm surf -- are fair minded. a number of my colleagues have expressed concern about this nominee. they are not concerns that i share. having reviewed your regiment, right academic credentials, her time both on the bench, on the
second circuit as well as in a trial capacity. she has an expense of judicial record. i think that provides evidence of the kind of judge she will be and just as she will be on the supreme court. she has been described as a peerless prosecutor. for six years as a trial judge, and 11 years on the court of appeals. she has represented a variety of different kinds of clients. she has written extensively. i think the record reflects the kind of balance, fair minded, intellectualism that we are looking for. she has been appointed by both
a democratic and republican administration. there were some things seem in her by president george w. bush as well as a bill clinton. she participated in over three dozen decisions. she has written over four unassigned opinions. -- she participated in over 3000 decisions. she has written over 400 signed opinions. i have had the opportunity to meet with her in my office earlier this month. in addition to having an impressive professional wrestler may come our her personal journey also captured -- professional reza masume, her
personal journey also captured my attention. she has had a supportive family to leave her and guide her from the bronx to harvard and yale school. she has lived up to the promise that her mother and grandmother saw in her at a young age. i believe that she is the kind of person that will bring extraordinary intellect and character and credibility, but a tremendous wealth of experience that will be very helpful to the court and the issues that are before them today iand in the future. her life has been an inspiration to all americans proving that
with determination and hard work, anything is possible. she is at a historic choice that will bring a wealth of experience and diversity to the nation's highest court. she will become only the third woman to serve on the nation's high court if confirmed and the first hispanic justice in the history of the united states. this is a remarkable turning point. not just because of her gender or her cultural back them up because of her role resume, -- because of her resume, she should get a lot of support. from my review, she deserves our support. i look forward to doing what i can to process her nomination.
i thank my colleague from minnesota. >> i thank my colleague for her very thoughtful remarks about the nominee. we are now joined by a former prosecutor who will shed some light on this subject. i want to thank the senator from kansas for allowing us to take an additional five minutes here. thank you mr. president, and i yield the floor. >> thank you, mr. president. >> senator from missouri. >> i want to thank my colleague for helping us get organized this afternoon. i want to talk about this outstanding federal judge who is being nominated for supreme court justice.
i was not familiar with the jet sonia sotomayor before she was nominated. -- with judge sonia sotomayor before she was nominated. i started looking at her rsume. there -- resume. there are so many things that are so amazing. you can get distracted about where she went to school enter several levels of the federal bench. she had a very big job in a complex litigation and a law firm. the part of her resume this book to me was our time is a district attorney in new york. i do not know that most americans truly understand the difference between a state prosecuting attorney in a federal prosecuting attorney. those of us who have spent time
in the courtroom like to explain that we are the ones who answer the 911 call. as a state prosecutor, you do not get to pick the cases you try. you try all of the cases. when a state prosecutor, you do not have the luxury of a large staff or a light case load. it would be unheard of for a federal prosecutor to have a case load of 100 felonies at any given time. that is the case load that this nominee handled as an a cystic district attorney -- as an assistant district attorney in new york. when she came to the prosecutor's office, it was almost the exact same year i came to the prosecutor's office
as a young woman out a law school. i was in kansas city. she was in new york. i know what the environment is in the prosecutor's office. there are a lot of aggressive type a personalities. it is very difficult to handle serious felony cases. everyone wants to handle the serious felony cases. in six months, sonia sotomayor was promoted to handle certain cases in the courtroom. she prosecuted every type of crime imaginable, including the most serious crimes that are committed in our country. she had many famous cases. one was the tarzan murderer. she joined a law enforcement officers scouring houses for evidence. after a month of trial. she convicted of one person on three district -- three
different murders. he was sent to life in prison. so my york -- sonia sotomayor stepped up to deal with a case dealing with child pornography convictions. she helped to bar those that had sexually explicit use of children. a trial judge is an unusual kind of experience for a supreme court justice. keep in mind what they do. they look at the record of the trial. they are trying to pass some laws that emanate from the courtroom. what a wonderful nominee we have
that does not only stood at the bar as a prosecutor, but also sat on the bench ruling on matters of evidence and matters of law. i am proud of the fact that she has this experience. she is confirmed or when she is confirmed, she will be the only supreme court justice with that trial judge experience. she is replacing the only judgment that experience, the justice souter. this is a meat and potatoes moderate judge. this is a judge who has agreed with republicans on our panel 95% of the time. this is a judge who has the kind of experience that will allow her to make wise decisions on the most important matters that
come to the highest court in this country. we have a dagotcha mentality. we all bridges a break in and. it is not -- we all participate in it. sonia sotomayor will become a supreme court justice after having gone through a gotcha process. at the end of the day, this is a smart, a proud woman who has fought her way through a system of tremendous odds to show that she has integrity, great, intellect, and the ability to pass judgment on the most difficult and intellectual challenges that face the supreme court justices. i am proud to support her nomination. i look forward to the day when
she will take her place on the highest court in the land. thank you. >> i want to thank the senator from kansas and others who spoke today. no that others will be -- i know that others will be speaking in the next few weeks. many of my colleagues will be speaking on this nominee as well. we are very excited about this upcoming hearing. we are glad we are able to be here. thank you. i yield the floor. >> you can learn more about sonia sotomayor on our website. just go to the feature delete section of c-span.org. you will find a video of the president's announcement of her nomination, reaction from congress, and the senate floor debate from her 1998 appeals
court confirmation. >> as this year's supreme court comes to an end, here chief justice roberts talk about the course work. then annexed. panel court watchers -- then an experienced panel of court watchers will talk about the decisions made this year. live coverage saturday morning on c-span at 9 eastern. >> there were two sides to it. >> historian douglas brinkley on teddy roosevelt and his leading role on the conservation movement in the early days. >> he believed in hunting. he did not believe in hunting so that you make a species extinct. he cared about butterflies, what