Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 13, 2014 11:30pm-1:31am EDT

11:30 pm
honor. the medal of honor is stowed upon sergeant kyle white. his story deeply inspires our nation. our devotion to one another. it gives everything its value. , weonoring sergeant white also honor the memories of the man who ought that they. -- thought that day. we increase our faith and renew our hope. we pray all this in your holy amen. >> amen. >> good afternoon, everybody. month's be seated. to the white house.
11:31 pm
courage is said true a perfect sensibility of the a mental danger and willingness to incur it. our ore than 12 years with the men and women have known the danger that comes military service. but year after year, tour after displayed a ve selfless willingness to incur it forward, by volunteering, by serving and greatly to keep us all safe. troops are coming home. by the end of this year our war will be over and we'll welcome home this 9/11 generation that has proven itself to be one greatest.a's
11:32 pm
today we pay tribute to a soldier who embodies the courage generation, a young man who was a freshman in high towers fellthe twin and who just five years later paratrooper with the 173rd airborne the sky soldiers. today we present our nation's declaration, ry honor to sergeant kyle white. for the second soldier metal of honor in afghanistan. joins staff sergeant brotherhood proud honorees. we have a lot of v.i.p.'s here acknowledge the parents, rtant, kyle's
11:33 pm
cheryl and kirt and kyle's girlfriend helen. am told that back home in when he wanted to enlist at first he set his sights on the marines. dad, kirt, is a veteran of the army special forces so was a difference of opinion. [laughter] a good family t discussion as commander in chief cannot take sides in this debate. joined the is kyle army. in doing so he carried on his amily's proud tradition of service which found his expression on a november day over six years ago. across afghanistan base commanders were glued to the listening as american forces fought back in ambush in the rugged mountains. one battalion commander remembered that all of a hanistan was listening as
11:34 pm
soldier on the ground described what was happening. him by his call sign, romeo.y 16 we know it was kyle who at the time was just 20 years old and months into his military service. earlier that afternoon kyle and 13 members of his team along with a squad of afghan soldiers a village after athleting with elders. their way ns made back up a steep hill a cliff a slope the right and of rocky shale dropping on their left. that theynot to stop, had to keep moving, they're as ed into an area known ambush alley and that's when a single shot range out and an entire n and then canyon erupted with bullets coming from what seemed like every direction. it was as if kyle said the whole valley lit up. platoon returned fire.
11:35 pm
kyle quickly emptied a full to load but as he went grenade an enemy knocked him unconscious. he came to with his face pressed against a rock. he moved fire hit sending his face.cross yle saw a teammate specialist trying to treat his own shattered arm using a tree as cover. what they called the smallest ree on earth, i'm sure that's how it felt. kyle sprinted through enemy fire tourniquet.a then he saw another soldier down. the two injured to reach cover. kyle remembers thinking it's of time before i'm
11:36 pm
dead. if that happens i might as well someone while i can with himets impacting all around he began to pull the injured cover. to ut worried because of the bullets he retreated. once more he retreated to distract the enemy fire. once more he went out, over and over, thinking to himself, imgoning to make it. kyle could feel the pressure of him.rounds going by but somehow miraculously they never hit him, not once. it was as if kyle was moving faster than a speeding bullet. succeeded in pulling his comrade to cover. on that cliff e sergeant succumbed to his wounds. final moments this solace in rine found
11:37 pm
white the the soldier who was there by his side. soldier other injured was still out there and sustained another injury this time to his knee. out once more to cane's side and ripped off his own belt tourniquet and got his hands on a working radio. charley 16 romeo came into base. behind the lone tree he began calling in air strike positions. enemy he stayed with the specialist as was too fell and cane badly injuried to move and he was starting to feel the fog on own concussion set in but he knew he was cane's best chance alive and he asked the afghan soldiers to form a perimeter. in a medivac and made sure they were on board and only to be d he allow himself lifted out. helicopter pulled away he
11:38 pm
as he the darkness pulled away from the cliff. when you're deployed those people become your family. what you really care about is i want to get this guy to the left and to the right home. tested that day. not a single one of them escaped brave injury and six americans gave their lives, last full measure of devotion and we remember them oday, sergeant phillip a. box, captain matthew c. fer rare ra, joseph m. long core, sergeant jeffrey s. and corporal kyle's best friend longsman.ean k. a. some of their families are here today. we can em to stand so
11:39 pm
recognize their extraordinary sacrifice. applause] >> the legacy of these fallen heros endures in the courage and strength of their unit. arms.n forever brothers in we're proud to welcome those who ought so val epbtly that day, specialist cane schilling and battalion the second of the 173rd airborne brigade, will you please stand. [applause]
11:40 pm
>> we honor kyle white for his actions on that november day, but his skwrurpb to this speaks to the story of his generation. e completed the rest of a 15 month deployment in afghanistan. he came back home and trained troopers as air they prepared to deploy. service, ompleted his he decided to pursue a different dream and with the help of the to college andnt graduated and today works for a bank in charlotte, north carolina. when kyle walks into the office every day people see a man in a uit headed to work and that's
11:41 pm
how it should be. a proud veteran welcomed into contributing his talents and skills to the progress of our nation. that the ill tell you transition to civilian life and dealing with the posttraumatic hasn't been easy. more than six years later he can the images and hear the sounds of that battle. every day he thinks about his buddies. if you look closely at that man in the suit you'll notice the carries with him sleeve, nder his shirt the stainless steel bracelet etched with the names of his six fallen comrades who will always be with them. me to acrifice motivates be the best i can be. everything i do in my life is to make them proud. kyle, members of chosen company, you did your duty and now it's time for america to do ours. a decade of war
11:42 pm
to welcome you home with the support and the benefits and you have ies that earned. you make us proud. of us to bevate all the best we can be as americans, a nation, to uphold our obligations to your genre eugs who have faced that measure of danger and the willingness to encure it. may god bless you and may your us age inspire and sustain always and may god continue to bless the united states of america. ith that i'd like have to the citation read. act of congress march 3, has awarded the medal of honor to
11:43 pm
specialist kyle j. white united states army. kyle j. white distinguished himself at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of truth while serving as a radio telephone operator with company seed, second battalion airborne infantry, 173rd airborne. specialist wait and his comrades were returning with village as the soldiers traversed a narrow path surrounded by rocky terrain. pinned against a steep mountain face, specialist white and his fellow soldiers were completely exposed to enemy fire.
11:44 pm
shaking off his wound, specialist white noticed one of his comrades lying wounded nearby. without hesitation, specialist white exposed himself to enemy fire in order to reach the soldier and provide medical aid. after applying a tourniquet, specialist white moved to the marine providing aid and comfort. specialest white returned to the soldier and discovered he had been wounded again. applying his own belt, specialist white was able to stem the blow of blood and save the soldier's life. notice his and other soldier's radios were inoperative. he then provided information and
11:45 pm
updates to friendly forces allowing prevision air strikes to stifle the enemy's attack and ultimately permitting medical evacuation aircraft to rescue him, marines and afghan army soldiers. specialist kyle j. white, extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of dewton keeping -- duty on keeping with the highest regimen. [applause]
11:46 pm
[applause] >> let us pray. god's gracious mercy and protection we commit ourselves inspired by the actions of sergeant kyle white, we go our way in peace.
11:47 pm
it will be a good courage, we hold fast to that which is good. under to no evil, no one evil for evil, rather than to be strengthened and support the weak. we help the wounded and honor all persons. god be with us to this day. we pray in his holy name, amen. >> that concludes the ceremony. but not the celebration. i hear the food here is pretty good. and the drinks are free. i hope all of you enjoy the hospitality of the white house. i hope we all remember once again those who are fallen. we are grateful to the families who are here and to kyle and all
11:48 pm
of who serve in america's armed forces. we want you to know that we will always be grateful for your extraordinary service to our country. thank you very much. have a great afternoon.
11:49 pm
first , let me make the point. have said the notion if we pass trade this will stop this from happening. when in fact half of the new emissions on the planet are developing countries nd half of that is coming from
11:50 pm
one country china. but in a way that through a cost benefit analysis is good for the economy and i don't think those things are necessarily incompatible. and the other thing that i would point out is that i agree we spend time in energy on mitigation as well. because there are mitigation to be taking eed place whether it's how we store prepare to west or harden and address storm occurrences in the southeast we built veryhere expensive structures that are to weather occurrences and all sorts of weather events. no problem with mitigation events and no problem but advances in technology, i by no means will go out and tell people if we do these laws by changing these and the way we conduct our energy policy that it would have ny measurable impact on our
11:51 pm
weather because it's not accurate to say that. what information reports, tudies or otherwise are you relying on to inform and reach human nclusion that activity is not to blame for climate change? not ain, headlines withstanding, i've never disputed the climate is change pointed out the climate is always changing and never static. that's not the question before as a policeymaker. the question before me is if we coal in the u.s. and ban all carbon emissions will it hange the dramatic changes in climate and these weather impact that's we're now reading about? will is o says that we not being truthful. the truth of the matter is united states is a country and not a planet. there are things that we can do to become more efficient in our and to do to s develop alternative sources of ofrgy and be better stewards
11:52 pm
the energy resources we have like natural oil and gas. but for people to go out and say if you pass this bill that i'm proposing, this will somehow tornados have less and less hurricanes that's an accurate statement and that's what i take issue with. >> on our next "washington role,al" we'll look at the mission and history on the counsel of foreign rehraeugz hich was founded in 1921 and edwin we'll talk to him about ukraine relations.ssia one year after publishing n.s.a. documents greenwald will talk about how he met eric snowden. join the conversation on facebook and twitter.
11:53 pm
>> at a senate judiciary conference hearing michael pwogz his votes in the georgia legislature on the onfederate flag and the public naming of abortion trz and hear nominees at the hour 40 minute hearing. >> trz and hear from other nominees at the hour 40 minute hearing. >> atrz and hear from other nominees at the hour 40 minute hearing. >> trz and hear from other nominees at the hour 40 minute hearing. >> strz and hear from other nominees at the hour 40 minute hearing. >> trz and hear from other nominees at the hour 40 minute hearing. >> and hear from other nominees at the hour 40 minute hearing. >>
11:54 pm
what most americans see is their ace and voice when they seek justice in our courts and as one who has practiced i have very high work for the service they for our country and likewise that their families provide. want to welcome all the nominees here today, including your families who are part of why team, each of you are teams, and contribute mightily that you will do.
11:55 pm
able and ost well-regarded colleagues, isaacson and . if you have an opening statement i'll be pleased to call on you our colleague >> i just shook hands with all the nominees. you once congratulate again and congratulate your family and friends which proud of your advancement today. today we're going to hear from nominees who have been ominated to serve in courts in georgia, two appellate court nominees and five district court nominees. today's hearing is a product of very long deliberations between georgia house, the senators and this committee. i'm happy to see that this solution to the vacancies in georgia -- and i'm looking forward to hearing from
11:56 pm
nominees. i note that one member of the house of representatives equested to testify in opposition today and the chairman didn't grant that request. decision an's regarding outside witnesses in nominees to judicial for lower courts is very judiciary with past committee practice. several note that outside liberal interest groups ave already weighed in on and urged senators to oppose two of today's nominees. that my democratic colleagues wouldn't subject nominees to any litmus nominees the them ame benefit of the doubts and he same deference that they provide for president obama's nominees. early every nominee that comes
11:57 pm
through our committee has taken some position that we may disagree with. why home state support is so important and as i've said, all these nominees have both the t of president of the united states and their home state senators. given great deference to the home state senator report on h reaching decisions whether to support nominees. believe home state support is important in the process including the judiciary as well as the full senate. in fact, very soon the full will consider six district court nominees from somena, even though i have concerns about several of those nominees, i plan to support them part out of deference to home state senators who recommended them. i'd hope that my colleagues same deference to the nominees we hear today. i welcome the nominees and the
11:58 pm
forward today and look to the testimony and answers to our questions. thank you. much, senator.ry welcome to thank you so much for being here. and i'm sure to nominees. >> to you and ranking member and committee ers of the particularly chairman with whom worked so closely together to reach this point, not just the hearing but to reach the point of the nominations, i thank you. consider the nomination of julie and jill to circuit judges. district ams to be a court judge and michael boggs, mark, lee may to be district court judges for the northern
11:59 pm
district. e have a committee of six very distippi distinguished lawyers who are review cial nomination committee ask one simple equirement of those six lawyers, and that is when considering considering judicial nominees send us excellent lawyers. we have got today seven excellent lawyers to be resented to the committee for ultimately hopefully confirmation to the 11th circuit of our as to two districts in georgia. their ey will introduce family, but these seven so highly are georgiaof by lawyers in that today there are two individuals here although last i heard they were stuck in traffic. here by now.e but there are two individuals
12:00 am
who represent the epitome of the legal justice system in georgia who own their own and have spent they are time and spent their money to come show their support of these ven individuals. that is the chief justice of the supreme court, justice and the chief judge of the court of appeals is here to show support. introduceleasure to these people to the committee today. we have a diverse and highly qualified group of legal minds. i do want to take a moment to
12:01 am
recognize these nominees. a judge.has been she has served as the chief judge since 2009. joe prior has been in private practice for nearly 25 years and played a pivotal role in some of the largest and most complex cases in history. leslie abrams has been an assistant. her time in private practice will serve her well. balks served on the bench. as a judge on the court of appeals since 2012. he was the chair of the justice reform counsel.
12:02 am
is -- hast that he handled 14,000 cases on the bench. market going began clerking with a federal judge. he worked with the governor's office. he entered private practice in 1999. accumulating accolades ever sense. she each and every one of these individuals would be an asset to the federal bench.
12:03 am
caseloads,rowing their confirmation is particularly important. finally, i would like to take a moment to thank the president and his counsel for going above and beyond in this process. the effort here is an example of what we can accomplish when we were together. i am appreciative of the time that they put in to make sure that these vacancies are filled. kathy, she has served the president well as his counsel. unfortunately, she is leaving the office of counsel and we will certainly miss kathy. we wish her well in her future endeavors. thank you very much for letting
12:04 am
us be here today. to introduce the panel of lawyers. >> thank you. it is an honor to be here today. thesociate myself with all remarks. we are presenting seven well-qualified lawyers to be on the bench of the court. abrams, eleanor ross. i am not a lawyer. company and i have been in court. i know what i am looking for. i want someone who is going to call it down the middle and the fair. i can submit to you that all seven of these individuals meet that.
12:05 am
as the senator said, there is a joint committee that vets all of the potential nominees and we will confirm them. all of these have given the highest recommendations. i want to thank the president of the united states. we had a process that began to fill the vacancies. without hesitation or reservation, president obama has been an elusive. -- inclusive. make suree the best the best nominees have been sent full top i would not single one of them out. i have to add a note of personal privilege. as a member of the house of representatives. on the back row, there was a guy named charlie. he was the head of a saw mill
12:06 am
gang nominees. >> thank you for your wisdom. i know you have a busy schedule. just to tell everyone here. you may not be able to stay. appreciate you contributing this morning. thank you. i will now ask the first panel to come forward.
12:07 am
julie and jill, the committee welcomes you. you are nominees to serve as circuit judges. julie has served as a judge on sinceited states court 1992 and chief judge since 2009. jill was an attorney. i hope i got the pronunciation right. 1989. serving as a partner. our custom is to swear u.n.. i am glad you are standing. swear tyou in. i'm glad you're standing. thank you. that you have a short opening statement, we welcome you to give it. >> starting with me?
12:08 am
>> certainly. i would like to thank obama for the honor that he has conferred on may. -- me. i would like to thank the georgia senators. andfor their recommendation enthusiastic support, this would not have come to pass. i would like to thank you, senator lumen tall and senator grassley, for serving as ranking and respecting matters. l and senator for servinger se ar members.g i would like to introduce my
12:09 am
family members. my husband is behind me. steve is a respected lawyer. he is the smartest and wisest lawyer i have ever dealt with and a man who has made a lot of personal and professional sacrifices in support of my career. my daughter is behind me. kelly is the assistant attorney general for the state of georgia. and her husband are here. they are also lawyers. they live here in washington, d.c. the headline news for them is that susie gave birth to twins. she made us grandparents and that is a happy occasion. there are people who are not here. my son. he is pursuing an acting career in los angeles. he would want to be here with
12:10 am
you, senator franken. that would have been a wonderful honor. >> why? >> in the hopes that you could for him.b >> your first mistake was giving senator franken a floor. mean theo people who most to me and my life and are responsible for everything is my mother and father. my mother celebrated her 87th birthday. my father, you heard senator isaacson speak of him. a remarkable life. he grew up in a poor family. he signed up for the navy in world war ii and the korean war. he came back and used the g.i. bill. he got a college and law degree.
12:11 am
he ran for the legislature and became the chief judge of his court. >> good morning. and the other members of the committee. appearing here today is the greatest honor of my life and i can say that honestly. it is a great privilege to be here with judge. -- the judge. i would like to thank the obama.s and president
12:12 am
the spirit of cool operation to fill the state vacancies in georgia. with me today are family members. my husband. he is my law partner and one of the finest lawyers i have ever encountered. my son is here. he is a student. i am pleased that he is here. roommate. who was my i have a daughter who is at home. she came down with a little bit of a bug over the weekend. old, she would rather go to school then have to spend a couple of days with her parents. we are fortunate that she is not here. she is very well behaved.
12:13 am
it would have been the weekend that would have been tough. have people watching from home. without loving guidance, i would not be here. , my sister. their families and many other family and friends are watching and cheering me on today. 25 years ago, i had the privilege of working for the judge. the judge gave me the gift of that i amge pan wearing. he started me on the path of circuit and i am grateful for the guidance over the years. i would like to extend my gratitude to all of the partners , associates, and staff of the
12:14 am
law form -- law firm. iyer the finest professionals have ever met and are dedicated to their cases and their client. i cannot thank them enough for all of the support. anything i have accomplished, i owed to them. >> i think it should be a smooth transition. i will go for the positive parts. most of the cases are cases that i have handled. we issue a lot of opinions. opinion writing is what judges do and i am familiar with that. the difference will be the process by which the opinions
12:15 am
are issued. write. right you operate in panels of three. opinion writing is a collaborative process and you have to work with other people. i think i will master this. relationshipdial and i hope that that will be an easy transition. was there a time as a yourict court judge when disagreed with the opinion of the court of appeals? >> stanch would be strong. reversedlikes to be and sometimes, you think there is a point there.
12:16 am
sometimes, you read it and disagree. you see it both ways. i do not think i have ever had stanch disagreement. >> what do you think will be the ?reatest transition advocate andn an it will be different to assume the role of a judge. i have practiced in private practice and i am familiar with the impact and the importance of well reasoned opinions that will guide the opinions. i had the opportunity to serve as a law clerk. -- most of the difficulty will involve internal procedures and practices is. becoming familiar with those in becoming an in my work.
12:17 am
>> had a practice a great deal before the court of appeals? >> yes. i have. >> thank you. senator grassley. -- you haveart with had a distinguished career as an attorney. .ppellate practitioner i will ask you a few specific areas of your practice. ofwill start with the scope remedies available under section 183. a constitutional violation occurs and i would point you to at&t wireless versus atlanta. that you did not
12:18 am
want reversed. how would you decide scope of 183.ies under section and iwas a long time ago think you are referring to at&t of something. they soon under 1983 to get attorneys fees. i ruled that they could not sue pursuant to 1983 because this is andrefully regulated area 1983 did not come into play. the 11th circuit reversed me and the case was vacated. they never got to that hearing and the supreme court issued an opinion that indicated mine.
12:19 am
>> another case. circuit reversed it in 2003. remedies for983 voting rights and the privacy act. i want you to talk about the scope of remedies available for voting and privacy rights. let's there was no precedent and i relied on a ninth circuit case that said that there was no right to action. the circuit disagreed. in that case, or any other case, . will follow the president >> what about the voting rights issues. >> which case are you referring to? >> i thought privacy rights and voting rights were involved in the case?
12:20 am
>> it has been a long time. the voterher or not is required to give her social security number. >> thank you. more general. i am referring to justice stephen breyer. as a describing the law conversation among judges, professors, law students, members of the bar. --provided this discussion description. he says it is appropriate to look to sources other than the constitution or federal statutes when it comes to deciding what a law means. thatu share this view judges should occasionally look for guidance from sources like articles or other scholarly comments? maybe i should leave stephen
12:21 am
breyer out of this. thatu share the view judges should look for guidance from sources like law review articles? >> i do not think there is anything wrong with looking at a law review article, if they have collected a lot of cases and it shortens the research process. if a statement is being made to indicate that a judge should be in fluids in the decision-making about this, gasoline not. we rely on the case and not the opinion of someone in academia. >> do you believe it is appropriate to rely on legislative history? >> for most judges, legislative history is the last thing you look to. like a lot of judges, i am leery.
12:22 am
i would never say never. is nottive history something that congress enacted. it is something that staff rights after the fact. all else would have to fail before i look at the legislative history and i would look at it with rates you need. but thank you. i will now go to mrs. pryor. you have been involved in several challenges to the parole system. what is your interest in parole issues? >> throughout my career as a cases, i have taken on and, in the parole cases you mentioned, particularly that case, i was appointed by the inh circuit to represent a may. it is important. when i'm called upon to do that work, i respond to the affirmative. what's your interest comes from when you were invited into that
12:23 am
environment? >> yes sir. i had no interest or prerelease -- reviews experience. >> would this change sentencing decisions? >> no. i would apply president and follow the law. >> the next question sounds confrontational. i asked a lot of people involved in political activity. you have contributed to democratic causes and politicians. assurances that these nominees can give me that you will be fair to all who come before you and in particular -- whoho advocate on at advocate for causes you disagree with. >> it would not enter into decision-making that i have. i was exercising my first amendment rights and, of course,
12:24 am
as a judge and nominee, i am prohibited from engaging in that activity. confirmed, will be your judicial philosophy and applying the constitution? >> the constitution isn't unchanged document and we have to apply it to new situations and technologies. undeniably that changes the meaning of the constitution. ordo you believe that gender ethnicity should have any influence on the outcome of a case? explain.ike to have to >> no. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> i want to enter into the record that, if there is no objection, a statement from senator leahy.
12:25 am
>> thank you. in the interest of time, i know it that the judge, in testifying or the house or maybe, raising the issue about mandatory minimum sentencing and what you describe as the blunt and inflexible cool that is that law. i would note that we have passed a smarter sentencing act that will address that for all federal judges in the future. i thank you for that testimony and i yield back. >> thank you. senator franken. >> thank you. congratulations. congratulations on being a grandparent. that is a big deal. and, also, i am sorry that your son has chosen to be an actor.
12:26 am
that almost never turns out well. >> maybe he will listen to you more than oz. >> no. i hope he has a great career. you talk about being reversed. reversalsgoing to be when you are in the circuit court. there may be. all talkknow, you the judging in your job and remaining true to precedent. when i -- you know, i am not a lawyer. the fifth day i was here, we had a confirmation during. on my fifth day. bits kind of a little confused by one thing.
12:27 am
it was that it seemed that the judge, who had been on the circuit court, had been taken to task for two decisions that she had made that were overturned by the supreme court. firefightersring and promotions of firefighters in new haven. race as part of that. she voted one way and decided that way. the supreme court reversed that decision. it seemed to me that she had stare decisis. thee was another one on second amendment. she was very much taken to task by senators on the other side.
12:28 am
>> on the court of appeals, we have no choice. presidentred to go by . i have no alternative. judgeis a precedent for a who believes that the president that they are relying is falling use. dis you can request and have the full court to side. judge uses president, they cannot be faulted. what's that is what i think.
12:29 am
-- >> that is what i think. >> and, mrs. pryor, you said you would rule according to precedent. >> yes. upwhen a situation comes that there is a question involving something that is pretty right and there is no .ause for me to go then, that is the proper way to go, right? rule according to what was already decided by the supreme itself.e courts >> yes, senator franken. >> i thought that then and now.
12:30 am
congratulations. thank you. mr. chairman. >> thanks. questions for our you this morning. we thank you for being here and your families. we wish you well. the positions that you are hopefully going to occupy our ones of a man's trust. thank you for your willingness to serve. we go on now to the next panel. if they would come forward. m. eastern. you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter.
12:31 am
u.s. the street court michael boggs who is currently a judge at the georgia appeals court. he has been criticized for his work while serving in the georgia legislature, including a vote to reinstate the confederate flag. this part of the hearing is two hours. >> please raise your right hand. do you are from the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god? please be seated. i invite you toto provide an opening statement. blumenthal,, chair ranking member grassley, senator durbin, senator franken. thank you all for being here and calling this hearing and hearing from us today. i would also like to thank
12:32 am
president obama for this nomination and for the faith he has put in may. now i would like to recognize several people who are here with me, both family and friends. my parents are seated right behind me. ordained elders and the united methodist church. also with me, one of my college roommates from brown university, tiffany, and her mother whom i lovingly refer to as my fairy godmother. two of my best friends and study group members from yale law school who are part of a group of friends you still get together every year and we call ourselves the law school ladies,
12:33 am
becky and christie. two of my compatriots from my time here in bc. i also have watching my five brothers and sisters, dr. andrea abrams, the honorable stacy abrams, richard lewis abrams, walter abrams, and dr. jeanine abrams, as well as my grandmother. i would like to thank my u.s. attorney's office family, and my family from central united methodist church as well as the judge i clerk for. thank you. >> judge boggs? >> thank you, members of the
12:34 am
committee, for the opportunity to be here today. i would like to thank chairman lay he or arranging for this meeting. i'm very proud and appreciative to the president for nominating me. i also want to thank senator chambliss and senator isaacson for the warm introduction and for the support throughout this process. i have with me today my wife of 15 years on thursday, although i'm not sure a trip to d.c. is what she had in mind for a gift. she was the teacher of the year last year for our school district, and i get a quite a it of encouragement from her. i am honored to have two special guests from the judiciary from georgia to me. seated from behind me is hugh thompson and the chief judge of the court of appeals, the court on which i serve, and i am honored. these are both mentors of mine and very astute members of the
12:35 am
judiciary and well-respected members of the judiciary in our state. i am honored to have two very good friends, richard hyde is here with me today, as well as a friend of now probably 30 years, from when i was first a legislative aide to congressman from georgia, my good friend pete robinson. my parents passed when my -- my father, when i was 21. my mother passed a couple years ago. everything i have ever coverage to his because of things they taught me in the time i had with them. i have two wonderful in-laws, my wife's parents, and i know they are proud and very excited for me on this occasion. i am honored to be here, mr.
12:36 am
chairman, and i want to thank the many people who have helped me. i know many of them, including my staff, are whopping highway of webcast. i am appreciative of their support, and with that, i appreciate the opportunity to introduce my friends and family and welcome any questions. >> thank you, senator blumenthal, senator grassley, and also thanks to chairman leahy and the rest of the members of committee for making this georgia today at the senate judiciary we really appreciate it. want to thank president obama for giving me the greatest honor that i have ever had in my 34 years of practicing law, this nomination. i want to thank senators chambliss and isaacson for their warm remarks and for their support throughout this process. there are several people i would like introduce today. first and foremost, sitting behind me, is my wife, my best friend, and the love of my life, bonnie cohen.
12:37 am
she was a legal secretary for over 35 years from and despite working for lawyers, she agreed to marry me, and for that i will be forever grateful. i would not be sitting here today without her love and support, and we celebrate her 70th wedding anniversary next week. also here to date are two people who are like family members to bonnie and me, judge stephanie and bob. we worked at the georgia attorney general's office for many years preachy as been a mentor, friend, and a role model. the one whose career has been inspirational to me throughout my career. here today also with me are two young partners from a law firm. jamie and kevin have worked with me on every major piece of litigation i've handled at the firm. they are two of the finest young lawyers it is been my privilege to work with during my legal career, and i would not be sitting here without support. also here, also for me, as well
12:38 am
as judge boggs, is pete robinson, managing partner of our atlanta office, a former democratic majority leader in the state senate, and a longtime friend. and two former colleagues of mine who worked in washington are also here, and i appreciate your attendance. there are a lot of people watching on the web who are friends and colleagues of mine. i want to particularly mention one very special one. one of the most beloved georgia attorneys, norman underwood. he became my mentor and took me under his wing and he may need a better lawyer, and if i am fortunate enough to be confirmed by this august body, i will be privileged to say i got to practice law with norman underwood. finally, i would like to recognize my parents, didion and irving cohenn. they were born in brooklyn, children of immigrants, and children of the great depression, because of their family situation, they were
12:39 am
unable to achieve the education that they provided for their only son. my father enlisted in the united states army during world war two. he was a disabled veteran, and he ran a small business. my mom was the secretary and worked in the home. together, because of their support and sacrifice, i was able to go to college and law school and lead a life that led me to this moment before you today. i know if they were here they would be very proud. and with that, i welcome any of your questions. >> thank you, mr. cohen. >> thank you for holding this hearing and i'm honored to be here today answer your questions i also want to thank senators chambliss and isaacson for their kind introductions and their support throughout this process. i would like to thank president obama for the great honor that
12:40 am
he has given me in this nomination. it is something that i am very proud of and it is the highest honor that i can think of achieving. i have quite a crowd of family here today, and i will try to get through it quickly. my husband is here. he is an architect, the love of my life, and the person that is been there for me every day throughout this process. i also have with me my seven-year-old son. he is the first grader at a school in atlanta and has thoroughly enjoyed his trip to d.c., especially the chance to discover the washington money but yesterday as it reopened. it has been a special trip for him. my mother is here. she is in her final year as a first grade teacher indicator, -- teacher in decatur, county georgia. my in-laws are here. they also have both retired from public education, and i'm happy to have them here today.
12:41 am
i have my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephews, stephen julie, here from alabama. i also have my law partner and a daughter of one of my other law partners here for me today. i really have appreciated the support of my law firm and the partners and the other staff have given me. i am happy to have troll here today. thank you very much. >> thanks very much, ms. may. >> thank you, chairman, ranking member, i would like to thank the entire committee. thank you to senators champus and isaacson for the warm introduction as well as the by partisan efforts for this process. thank you also, president barack obama, for the honor of dissemination.
12:42 am
i do have some special people with me. first, my husband of 13 years, fellow attorney brian ross, seated behind me. he is my rock and source of inspiration in all of my professional and personal endeavors. our two daughters, brianna and leighann. they made the sacrifice to miss a day of school to attend. i thank them and their teachers for allowing them to do so with the understanding that they will be making up missed school work. also my siblings are present, my sister valerie and george otis. my father george cornwell also was a teacher. he passed away when i was eight. he is with me here in spirit as he had always has been, and today i have with me a person who has served as a father figure for my entire life. that is my uncle jim clark. i also have my two beautiful teenage nieces.
12:43 am
i also would like to acknowledge my mother-in-law, shirley covington, who is also a retired public school teacher as well as principal. she could not make the trip to d.c. today, but supports me from her home in columbus. finally, i would like to much my colleague and my exceptional staff at the state court. they're keeping things running through the while i am in washington. thank you. i welcome your questions. >> thank you very much to all of you for your opening statements and most important for your records of public service. i want to say again how important these hearings and this process is. i want to welcome chief justice thompson, chief judge -- you
12:44 am
honor us by your presence today. we are sorry you had difficulty getting here, but you weren't mentioned in absentia by senators isakson and chambliss. like you, these individuals have performed a great deal of public service over the course of your careers are ready. the decisions we make here really will be to put you in a place where for many people seeking justice you will be the last person making a decision, even though there may be a right of appeal to the court of appeals, you will be the source of justice for them. and so this decision for us is immensely important, and we will approach it i think with a close scrutiny that it deserves in every instance. i would like to begin, judge boggs, with some questions.
12:45 am
if i look to the responses to the committee's questionnaire, i noted that there were no texts of remarks from a no speech drafts, notes, anything in writing of that kind. over the course of your very long career in public life, and you never deliver a prepared speech? did you never submit for example to the judiciary committee when you served in the state legislature in prepared remarks? >> thank you. it was not the practice of myself while i was serving for the four years in the general simply to speak regularly before committees. in fact the only occasions i had to do that were on those that i had authored. i never spoke to any committee of the house or senate on any bill that i did not offer other than a bill that meant i had to testify before the senate on a matter pretty if it is not the
12:46 am
practice of the general assembly then and now that witnesses submit any written comments are testimony, and indeed that was not my practice. i typically spoke extraneous lee -- extemporaneously. >> on some of the videos i think that our of your service in the legislature, you seem to be reading from something. did you keep none of those texts? >> i was reading from the text of the bills i was presenting. i was not speaking about support, but asking legislators to support the bill. what i was reading from and what i always took to the well on this occasion was the text of the bill. >> and on the issue for example of women's reproductive rights, i know that you spoke passionately about your views on the topic, on the rights of women to seek reproductive health care. you have stated her opposition to abortion. you repaired no remarks on any occasion that you delivered? >> senator, to my knowledge, i never given any public comments on my position on reproductive rights. i cosponsored some bills in the general assembly. to my knowledge i also voted on
12:47 am
a couple of amendments on the floor of the house that i did not author. to my knowledge i've never given any speeches concerning reproductive rights. i never authored any of those bills. i had no role in drafting that legislation. >> and i notice also, as you well know, that on april 10, you supplemented your response is to the questionnaire to this committee with additional material. some of them dealing with the controversial issues that may be of interest my colleagues. can you assure us there are no additional materials that are relevant to particular questions 12c and 12d of the questionnaire? >> i can assure that. i respectfully suggest that the effort that i went to to supply
12:48 am
the information in my original questionnaire was quite exhaustive. i did all of the notable searches on the internet searches that were available. the newspapers that covered the area i served as a legislator are not searchable to the public in any form other than by review of the hard copies. in addition, computer applications and questionnaires of nominees who had prior legislative service and attempted to mirror what they had done with respect to their submissions. i did not note that any of those nominations had ever submitted a
12:49 am
listing of bills and cosponsored. as a matter of public record, and i could have easily provided it. with respect to question 12c, which asked for my public statements on matters of public policy, i do not view that bills that i did not author, and i had nothing to draft with as be a part of my public status. with respect to question 12c, that the public speeches. i have been a judge on the trial court bench and appellate court for 10 years on advice of the state bar of georgia. i destroyed my files for my old law office which would've possibly contained references of when i spoke to certain civic organizations, dates to mind to whom i spoke, but because of information and media coverage of that was not, took five days, i traveled to under 50 miles to
12:50 am
my hometown, and i reviewed 515 newspapers, roughly a thousand pages personally, and then hired somebody to review on the internal programming system of our daily newspaper their data in order to provide the additional submissions. i am appreciative for the opportunity to have done that. >> i appreciate that explanation. i do not need to remind you that some of my colleagues, particularly on the side of the aisle, have found the failure to be completely forthcoming and frank with this committee in terms of providing materials as a reason to disqualify, and in fact, put in jeopardy denomination of a judicial nomination. i would urge you if there are any materials that are discernible and anyway that you provide them as quickly as possible. >> absolutely. >> let me go to some remarks and actions that you made in the
12:51 am
course of your career, if i may. when you were a candidate for the georgia superior court, who spoke at a candidate forum. you told the audience at that time, "i am proud of my record, you do not have to guess where i stand. i oppose same-sex marriage," and you went on, " i have a record that tells you exactly what i stand for." when you're coauthorship be indicative of how you will serve as a judge on the district court georgia, if you're confirmed? >> thank you, senator for the questions. i made the comment you refer to. later in that speech i refer to my respect for the separation of powers and the lawmaking authority that is vested in the legislature, and that judges should not be policy makers. i have maintained that position for the entirety of my career. i agree that comments that i made probably gave the wrong impression to the audience to
12:52 am
whom i was speaking, particularly additional to the job i was seeking. i should have done a better job of delineating the roles of the different roles and a markedly different roles between a legislator and a judge. i was a legislator at the time, but i was seeking the office of judge. however, i think my record, my 10-year record of disposing of roughly 14,000 cases demonstrate unequivocally that i have never allow personal views i may have on any issue to affect how i analyze issues or how i decide cases. >> have any of those cases doubled reproductive rights or a woman's right to choose? >> i think on my time on the georgia court of appeals i've dealt with one case on my panel. it was not the case i offered, but one case that dealt with georgia's current statute on a minor having to receive parental consent in order to receive an abortion.
12:53 am
it was on appeal to a petition to a juvenile court. other than that, it is true that i have rarely dealt with issues of those constitutional magnitudes. >> so other than that one case, to know where you stand on the issue of reproductive rights or a woman's rights to choose from a yet to go back to your actions in the georgia state legislature? >> i do not necessarily agree. i think the best evidence of the type of judge i will be is the record of the type of judge i have been. i don't think my legislative record is over a decade old is indicative of what type of judge i might be on the federal district court. i would point my record as a trial judge disposing of 14,000 cases dealing with civil cases and criminal cases, rolling for plaintiffs, defendants, running for the state,, ruling against the state.
12:54 am
>> where do you stand on reproductive rights or a woman's right to choose? >> my personal opinion would be inappropriate and a violation of the code of judicial conduct of georgia that i currently am bound by the state in a position on this matters. but i can state unequivocally that my personal position on that matter or any other issue is irrelevant to how i have decided cases for the past 10 years, how i have analyzed issues, and i committed to following the rule of law, the doctor and of stare decisis. >> and the constitutional right to privacy, included? >> absolutely. >> you said that you are a strict constructionist. is that your general philosophy? >> i think at the time i made those comments, which was upon my transferring from the superior court to the court of appeals, i made those comments to a reporter. what i intended to convey was my
12:55 am
fidelity to the rule of law and my fidelity to the limited role of a judge in our democracy and intended to contain my respect for the limited role of a judge. and that is to not decide cases based on public opinion, to not decide cases based on public clamor, but to decide cases based on the faithfulness to the rule of law and the doctor and -- doctrine of stare decisis. >> normally a strict constructionist is one looks very specifically and judges would say faithfully to the text of the constitution and the philosophy is to avoid going beyond what is actually written in the text of the constitution. is that a fair description? >> as my understanding, yes, sir, it is a form of constitutional interpretation and analysis. >> 2004 use of privacy is not "in the context or in the text of the constitution." >> i'm not familiar with having said that, senator. i'm happy to respond later if i can find out where that quotation might've come from. i am not familiar with having said that. >> well, you stated it in 2004.
12:56 am
limited your chance to explain now. if the right of privacy is not specifically dial-in needed were described in the text of the constitution, is it still equally valid as a rule of law? >> yes, sir, i believe the easy answer to that question is that i would ace every decision on rights of privacy, fundamental rights, and use a constitutional interpretation model that is based on precedents of the 11th circuit. >> so you would now allow -- not allow your view of the constitution would interfere with any way with the right to private individuals that would come before you? >> absolutely not, senator. >> let me ask you about another part of your record.
12:57 am
he supported legislation that would require doctors to report the number of abortions they perform. would you tell us why you supported that legislation? don't you think it was ill-advised? >> senator, let me respond this way. the legislation you refer to was an amendment eight on the for the house of representatives. it was not an amendment that i drafted. it was not an amendment i was familiar with. it came up on the floor of the house in the routine of handling the business of legislature for that day. i supported measures like that and including that because those issues were very important to the people that i represented. my constituents as a state that is later were 38,000 citizens in one county in southeast georgia for the first two years i served. the district grew a little
12:58 am
larger than that. but that district is a very conservative and a very conservative and very pro-life constituency. i believed it was the obligation of a legislator to vote come listen to, and for the will of the constituency. those issues were very important to my constituents, and that is why supported that amendment. >> that amendment came within a few years after and before attacks on doctors who provided abortions or visits. would you agree with me that it was a mistake to support the kind of amendment? >> in light of what i subsequently learned, yes, sir, i do not think it would be appropriate to be listing the names of doctors that perform abortions within what was then the georgia patient right to know act, which dealt predominantly with litigation that doctors have been involved with and the ability of patients to see that information. >> thank you. my time has expired. and i would turn to the ranking member grassley. >> it might surprise you, but i'm going to ask you a lot of questions, and i am going to ask
12:59 am
similar questions to what you did. and i hope the rest of you do not feel let out. [laughter] you surf the past 10 years as -- again, to judge boggs -- as an elected state court judge. in this election could you run under any particular party? >> no, sir. georgia's judges are elected nonpartisan at the level i ran. >> so your role has been -- >> and charlie. >> 2001, and you said you were elected as a democrat to the georgia general assembly, right? >> that is right. >> you been criticized by some groups were some of the policy positions you took as a legislator. for instance, as a legislator united pro-life voting record,
1:00 am
you supported traditional marriage. i have asked you a couple questions. if i'm going to read something that you said -- first i will read something you said during senate resolution 595. this resolution recognizes marriage as the union between a man and a woman in a statement on the resolution you said it is my opinion both as a christian and as a lawyer and as a member of this house, and as a member of this house is our opportunity to stand up in support of this resolution." so please explain what you meant by the statement. >> i have clearly meant that my personal opinion was at the time over a decade ago that i was in support of the proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage. my position on that, senator, may or may not have changed
1:01 am
since that time, as many peoples have over the last decade. moreover, my position on that as reflected by those personal comments in 2004 have never had any import whatsoever in how i decided raises or how i analyze issues, both as a trial court judge and as an appellate court judge. >> is it fair to say that your christian faith informs her policy positions as a legislator? >> yes, sir. >> by contrast, how does your christian faith affect you in your decision-making assistance as a judge -- decision-making processes as a judge? >> it has never, senator. >> is there anything in your personal views that would make it impossible for you to apply the laws of a federal judge even if you disagree with it? >> no, sir. >> you've also said i was proud to represent you, i tried to base all my decisions on common sense conservative values that are based on the fact that i was raised in a christian home and that has given me true family values. again, do you hold any personal
1:02 am
or religious views that make it impossible for you to apply the law as a federal judge even if you personally disagreed with it? >> absolutely not, senator. >> further, as i mentioned, you been criticized for your legislative record with respect to a portion during her time in the legislature. cosponsored bills that would help encourage women to encourage adoption and a bill that required minors to accompany -- to be accompanied by parent or guardian before getting an abortion. three questions in regard to that -- there may be some concern that your views on per
1:03 am
have many years experience as a .udge were there any times and decided based on your applicable precedent? >> if fortunate enough to be confirmed, that would never happen. >> mr. cohen, you have been litigation with the voter id law. i have three questions in regards to that. can you describe who you were representing in these cases and how you became to be involved in
1:04 am
them? >> when i went into private it was a variety of high-profile litigation. there was the affirmative-action program and that passed by a predominantly democratic georgia assembly. involved in the enactment of those policies or legislation. i was hired just like any other lawyer is fired and that is to represent the client and advocate their position in court . >>
1:05 am
>> if you were confirmed, how would your experience with voter id laws influenced your decision-making process as a judge if the voter id case were to come before you? >> it wouldn't influence my decision-making at all. i would be bound by the decisions of the united states supreme court which in this case is the crawford versus marion county case and the 11th circuit court of appeals in resolving that issue. >> some have claimed that voter id laws generally, these would be like laws you defended, exist "for no other reason than to deny african-americans the right to vote." do you agree with that statement? >> i think the case law in this area has come down depending on the state it was brought in in different ways. in georgia, the evidence that was presented in our case do not leave the court to conclude that it was against the right to vote. because of different factual circumstances, in other states they were presented in different statutes and different state constitutional provisions.
1:06 am
the decision came out differently. i think in any case involving a challenge to a photo id law, it depends on the facts that are presented and the specific statute that is being reviewed. >> you already made reference to an affirmative action case. johnson versus board of regents, a class of students that were denied the challenge of university system awarding points to africans based on diversity. you defended that an 11th circuit found that the system was not narrowly tailored and hence unconstitutional. tell us about your case and who you representing. >> i was representing the board of regents at the university of georgia. at that time, that was before the supreme court's decision so the university of georgia was implementing a points program very much like the university of michigan did in their undergraduate institution.
1:07 am
both cases were appealed at the same time. the michigan case got to the u.s. supreme court. our case was settled before that time. >> if confirmed, this ruling will be binding precedent. what assurances can you give this committee that you will follow it and any other precedent? >> as a district judge, in article three judge, i am bound by the decisions of the united states supreme court. on the issue of affirmative action, that would be the fisher case and any other decision that might be issued. >> ms. abrams. -- >> i am going to quote scalia -- "the risk of assessing standards is that it is all too easy to believe that evolution has come
1:08 am
and they did in one's own views." do you believe that -- forget that he said that. think of the concept. >> i respect judge scalia, but i don't want him to be the focal point. do believe judges should consider overhauling standards when interpreting the constitution? >> thank you, senator. i believe that a judge, particularly a district court judge, is bound by the court of law, down by precedent. in my case if i were to be fortunate to be confirmed, it would be the precedent of the supreme court and that would guide my decision. >> you think it is ever
1:09 am
appropriate for federal judge to incorporate his or her own views when interpreting the constitution? >> no, senator. >> because there was a split in the rating of you, a majority of the standing committee on the judiciary rated u.s. qualified. a minority found the opposite. the attachments you provided in response to questions to your senate questionnaire provided very well of examples of legal writing. >> i have practiced both in federal court civil as well as criminal law. and strong motion practice appellate practice in my last almost four years, i have handled criminal cases including trials, jury trials in an article. habeus handled my own bab
1:10 am
motions and from the court of appeals. after graduating from law, i served as a clerk for a district judge and not firsthand experience has helped me understand what the day-to-day obligations of the district c ourt are. i understand that there will be a steep learning curve, but i have spoken to all the judges in the district of georgia i would work with if i am confirmed. i know that they will support me in getting up to speed. i think my ability to study -- and i have studied all of the rules in the bench book and my hard work ethic will help me do my duty as a district court judge, if confirmed. judge if i am confirmed. >> i am going to yield. i will assume you two will not -- >> thank you, senator grassley. just for the information of my colleagues, we are scheduled to have a vote at 11:10 a.m. i will turn the gavel over to senator franken when that
1:11 am
happens and he and i will trade places and will continue the hearing. i am going to turn to senator durbin. before i do, judge boggs, you mentioned a case that was decided while you were a judge, perhaps on the georgia appellate court. i am not aware that case. can you provide the name in the opinion if there was one to the committee? >> i may have misspoken but when i was referring to was the political notification law has been the law in georgia since 1987, before i became a legislator. my actions in the general assembly between 2001 and 2004, to amend that bill in two specific ways was to amend current statute. the case you are referring to would be the one that was on my
1:12 am
panel of the court of appeals. absolutely. >> he could provide the name in the opinion if there was one and any other details of that case. >> certainly. >> i'm going to submit questions in writing. >> we will have the record -- the record will stay open for all of us for a week after this hearing to submit questions in writing but that one in particular, if you could respond i would appreciate it. senator durbin. >> thank you. let me say to all nominees -- thank you for being here today and a special thanks should be given to your two senators who have worked very hard for this moment and have told each and every one of us about your nominations. they think very highly of you. that commands all of you to our positive consideration. i do have a few questions. judge boggs, i would like to ask you because you appear to have served in the georgia general assembly in a very controversial
1:13 am
moment when your state was debating its state flag. the question was whether or not the flag would be changed and no longer display the confederate battle symbol. you were embroiled in that debate. i ask you this question. do you believe that confederate flag issue had anything to do with the issue of race? >> when that flag was passed in 1956, there was no legislative history. i was in a flag historian nor am i now. looking back on that issue and preparing for today, i know that some argue that race, particularly it was passed in reaction to the brown decision from the u.s. supreme court in 1956, i have no reason to dispute that. there are arguments on the other side as to what the motivation was for the bill originally. >> beyond the motivation for the
1:14 am
original form of the flag, when you were serving in the general simply end the debate was underway and i believe overwhelmingly the african-american legislators opposed that symbol in the flag, did that lead you to believe that debate had anything to do with the issue of race? >> yes, sir. >> what was your feeling? >> i was offended by the flag. at the time that i made that a vote in 2001, i was a freshman legislator. i was in my 17th day of service. i was very respectful of the opinions of the majority of the african-american community in my state had towards that flag. it was not only a symbol of a reminder of the civil war and the horrific tragedy in a horrible time in american history. a reminder of the institution of slavery. it was also more predominately than more contemporary uses of that flag by organizations that a spout over racism.
1:15 am
i found that one of the most challenging things of being a legislator was deciding when to vote with my constituents and went to vote the will of myself. it was something i know other legislators struggled with. the overwhelming majority of the constituents in my one county that i represented which likewise contain a minority population that was not ignorant of, overwhelmingly, those constituents wanted georgians the opportunity to vote on whether to change the flag. that is why i cast the vote the way i did. i'm glad the flag was changed. it reflected something that i thought georgia could be better with. >> since you understood that the debate in your time dealt with issues that at least brought up echoes of race problems and slavery, let me ask you this. when you compromise design was proposed in 2003 that remove the confederate x that echoed the confederate stars and bars flag,
1:16 am
this design was supported by african-american democrats and you voted against it. why? >> yes, sir. for the same reasons. the overwhelming majority of my constituents wanted a choice between the 1956 flag and the current flag. intervening between the vote in my original vote was another opportunity to vote for a referendum on the flag and i voted for that. that would've afforded georgians an opportunity to vote. however, i reiterate, looking back on that vote at the time i cast that vote, it was a very difficult decision to decide whether to vote my conscience which was reflective of the will of the constituents in my community or vote my own conscience.
1:17 am
i couldn't be more respectful of the people that wanted that flag changed and i am glad it did change. >> judge boggs, each year for over 10 years, congressman from your state john lewis organizes a civil rights pilgrimage inviting members of both political parties to come down and personally witness some of the scenes of civil rights struggles of the 1960's. i was honored to be invited one year and as fate would have it walked over the bridge with congressman lewis in the early morning sunday hours. he pointed out the spot where he was beaten unconscious and club down by troopers on that march. he said to me there are many people that are knowledged as heroes and i should not be one of them. there was one in particular who hardly ever gets credit and his
1:18 am
name was frank johnson. frank johnson was a u.s. federal district court judge, and position that you five aspire to. the middle district of alabama. he not only ruled that the statute that allowed putting rosa parks on the back of the bus was wrong, he went on to rule that that march would be allowed. for that, his mother's home was firebombed. he was invited away from polite society but became an icon to many of us in terms of courage on the bench. i understand the role of the legislator and politician trying to measure your constituents and what they want against what you believe is right. sometimes sadly they come in conflict.
1:19 am
obviously, and judge johnson decided sitting on the federal court that even though he would be ostracized, he would do what he thought was right. i have asked you a lot of questions about when you were state representative and you said you reflected how your people felt. now, how do you view the issue of race when you have an opportunity to serve on the district court here? >> thank you for the question. first, let me say of the utmost respect for congress and lewis. i know him and i respect his career. while i know he might be critical of me during this process, i don't take any affront to that. i deserve the criticism based on that vote. i have nothing but the utmost respect for congressman lewis and for all of those, including my colleague that sits behind me, who fought for three years
1:20 am
of decades of racism and oppression and became the second african-american juvenile court judge in my state. my boat was never meant to be disrespectful. it was never intended to fail to acknowledge the struggle that succeeded in the quality. my vote was never intended to reflect that. i believe everyone that comes before me should be treated equally. i believe my record as a judge reflects my faithfulness to that. i don't think anyone can disprove if someone is accusing someone of being a racist. how do you disprove that? i think the best evidence i would have that the people that know me best don't believe that any is that after that vote, had a challenge in the democratic primary in every african-american elected official in my city supported me. they grew up with me and i went to school with them or their children. they know me.
1:21 am
they know that a vote was not indicative. in that election, i received 90% of the vote to be returned to the general assembly for second term. the same people overwhelm only the supported me with 80% of the vote when i ran for superior court judge. i think that is the best evidence. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator durbin. senator lee. >> thank you for all of you. ms. abrams, let's start with you. i see most of your practice has been in civil litigation, is that right? >> yes. >> that is giving you a good flavor for both of them which will be important components of your caseload should you be confirmed. when you approach a civil case and -- as you know, a lot of civil cases are decided on
1:22 am
motions and when they are not decided on those, it is still usually a motion that is made at some point or another. when you review a dispositive motion whether it is a motion to dismiss or motion for summary judgment, do you think -- it is appropriate for a judge to defer on the side of granting or denying a dispositive motion? there are some judges that occasionally will say, at least privately, i would rather err on the side of giving the plaintiff his or her day in court, a trial. do you lean in either direction? is it just as bad to grant a dispositive motion where it is not wanted as it is to deny one where it is? is either one worse than the other? >> i don't believe that one is either worse than the other or
1:23 am
that it would be appropriate for me to hold a belief. i think that every case that comes before me if i am confirmed should get the same treatment and that is a fair and impartial application of the law to the facts of that particular case. >> ok. you wouldn't have any predilection any way or another? based on the issues brought before you? >> yes. >> i sometimes see a dangerous tendency in the courts in that sometimes we could end up with trial by attrition where it is easier to deny a motion for summary judgment than it is to grant one in some ways. some ways it involves less risk. you don't have to write a lengthy opinion or deny one. it is not immediately appealable so it is easier to say i will
1:24 am
deny this one and see what happens on appeal. would you tend to agree? >> i think that certainly does happen. i fortunately was trained by a judge who believed that we had to get it right. when i was a clerk, i did in fact deny a number of motions that ended cases but that was because the applicable law dictated that that was how a case should be handled. i hope that i learned enough from the judge and that i would in fact fairly and impartially apply the law to the fact of each case as a comes up warming. >> he is still on the bench right? he is still available? >> he certainly is. >> judge ross, you are already a judge. do you agree with what ms. abrams has said or disagree? >> i agree with ms. abrams that i would have no predilection
1:25 am
either way. also, i can say by having served as a state court judge, i have never ruled on a motion for summary judgment just at the point of being cautious. i have taken longer to rule on some of them than on other issues because like ms. abrams said, i wanted to get it right. i'm fortunate enough to say that none of the rulings i have rendered on motions of summary judgment have gotten reversed with the exception of one portion of one ruling based on attorneys fees and i'd agreed that i should have analyzed it slightly differently. >> do you have any particular judicial philosophy? how would you describe how you describe your philosophy? >> my philosophy would be to apply the law fairly and equally to all people that would -- if i am confirmed as a district court judge -- that would appear before me. i think it is very important for judges to get it right. that means following the
1:26 am
applicable supreme court and 11th circuit precedent to the letter and not allowing my own personal opinions to get in the way of fair, decisive and applying applicable law. i think it is important for judges to treat both the parties and the attorneys with respect and listen to all sides to an argument to make sure that as a judge i would understand the arguments of the parties. also, when issuing orders or ruling on specific issues, i believe it is very important for a judge to be clear and let the parties know exactly what the ruling is so they can imply that to the rest of the case. >> thank you. judge boggs, you commented a few minutes ago about your inclination as a legislator to try to figure out what your constituents would prefer and that it sometimes but legislator in a difficult position. does any of that apply to you as
1:27 am
a judge either as a state judge or would it apply to you as a federal judge if you were confirmed? >> no, it doesn't apply. that is a very comforting part about being a judge. i think i'm more suited to be a judge that i was a legislator. there was a lot of comfort in the rule of law. you can look good in the rope. i am confident not. the gauging of public sentiment on any issue as a legislator is always difficult. the political implications of votes are difficult. the considerations that partisan politicians have to make a in and day out are difficult decisions. the decisions judges make are likewise difficult, but the fortunate part about the rule of law is that you don't stick your
1:28 am
finger in the wind every time you decide a case to decide what is popular, what is public will, and what is the general direction of the public on this issue. i am very comforted in knowing if you are faithful to the rule of law, if you are faithful to applying precedent to every case, and you don't interject your personal opinions, while it is true you may make -- you might make unpopular decisions, popularity is not what the justice system will do. >> will not apply even if you're asked to make a ruling that is going to be strongly against the public will? it is not just that it might not be the most popular ruling but a ruling that may seem unfair and harsh? perhaps a very sympathetic plaintiff or defendant? >> i think judges that are faithful to law will make unpopular decisions on a regular
1:29 am
basis. the comforting part about being a judge is that the law should prevail in each and every case. sympathy for the party, empathy for the party has no role. sexual orientation of the party has no role in deciding how you can issue a decision. it is much more difficult when you are a partisan legislator to do with those issues because i think most of you all have the districts in your states and i did as a legislator where your entirety of your constituency rarely agree on everything. fortunately as a judge, do not concerned with those issues. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator klobuchar? >> thank you to all the nominees. this is a very special day and i see you have a lot of happy family members. i was going to ask some questions to mr. boggs. i know you were a judge for how long? >> 10 years now. >> obviously, there is a lot of understandable questions about the positions that you took as a
1:30 am
candidate and in the legislature on choice and civil rights and marriage equality. did you rule in any those cases when you were a judge? cases involving those issues? >> as a trial court judge in georgia's highest level of trial court, didn't have jurisdiction to rule on constitutional questions. as a judge in the intermediate appellate court for the last two and half years, we of limited constitutional jurisdiction specifically we only deal with constitution is applied and whether it was applied in an unconstitutional fashion. jurisdiction and confidential cases present with the supreme court. >> can you talk about your overall judicial philosophy? how your personal views have shaped that philosophy? >> i don't know if my personal ew