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tv   U.S. Senate Sen. Hatch on Justice Kennedy Future of Supreme Court  CSPAN  July 1, 2018 2:46pm-2:58pm EDT

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women and men across the country aren't going to, either. there's no question in my mind that people nationwide understand just how important a woman's ability to control her own health care decisions is. that this is not about politics. it is about women's health. it's about their economic security, about a woman's ability to contribute fully and equally in our country. and i'm confident people across the country who do not want to go backwards will stand up and make their voices heard and reject president trump and vice president pence's extreme ideology wherever it rears its head. so i'm hopeful that president trump takes this to heart as he thinks about his supreme court vacancy. and i'm hoping that my republican colleagues are paying attention. and i am truly hoping that president trump decides to listen to people across the country, listen to what republicans just said recently, and not jam a nominee through
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before people have a chance to weigh in. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the president pro tempore. mr. hatch: mr. president, i come to the floor to speak on a subject of importance. it's a subject i know something about. one that will not only influence the senate aunderra in the -- agenda in the near term but will affect our democracy in the years to come. i speak about the supreme court. yesterday justice anthony kennedy, a great friend of mine and a wonderful justice on the court announced his retirement on july 31. he has served with the highest distinction. over his tenure, he has -- supreme court playing a pivotal role in some of the most consequential court decisions.
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from mcdonald versus chicago to citizens united versus f.e.c. he rightly gained a reputation as the supreme court's swing vote. sometimes he sided with the court's liberal wing. other times he sided with the conservatives, but he always sided with what he believed to be the correct interpretation of the law. what more could we ask for from a judge in throughout his public service justice kennedy has mentioned a generation of jurists who went on to become -- he mentored a generation of jurists who went on to become aluminum ordinaries in their -- aluminum ordinaries in their own right. not least among them is justice gorsuch, a former kennedy clerk, and now serves as his equal on the supreme court. with his one-time pupil now working alongside him and with
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dozens of former clerks now serving on the federal bench, justice kennedy leaves behind a legal legacy that is almost without equal. although he will be stepping down next month, his influence on our judicial system will be felt for generations to come. with justice kennedy's impending retirement, the responsibility now falls on us to confirm an able replacement. in the coming weeks the president will announce his nominee to fill justice kennedy's seat. in doing so he will seek the advice and consent of the senate, a process that entails confirmation hearings and extended hours of debate to fully vet the qualifications of the president's nominee. the questions we should ask during this confirmation hearing should focus solely on the judge's qualifications. does he or she have the
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experience to adjudicate wisely from the bench. does he or she understand the proper role of a judge under the constitution? does he or she respect our constitution? and does -- is he or she committed to upholding its principles no matter the consequence? this process should be simple, straightforward, and most importantly, nonpolitical, but it rarely is. that's because we already know that democrats will do everything they can to politicize a process that should not be politicized. we already know that millimeter of -- that many of them will ask questions of the nominee with an an ultimatier -- you will tearier motive. how do we know the democrats will do this? because we've seen them do it time and time again. it started with the character
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assassination of robert bork and and culminated with clarence thomas. tensions seemed to subside for a time but then came the unprecedented filibuster of samuel alito and the public flagellation of neil gorsuch. the nominee had -- but in every case my colleagues sought to drag these men into the partisan gutter, asking questions designed to parse their political positions rather than their legal philosophy. mr. president, in my 42 years of senate service, i have witnessed the gradual deterioration of the judicial confirmation process. as the former chairman of the judiciary committee and now its longer serving member, i have taken an active role of every
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justice currently sit og and the supreme court -- sitting on the supreme court and those who retired. i participated in half of all article three judges who have ever served. throughout the process i have met some of the brightest legal minds that they have to offer. i watched as the on the other side of the aisle looked to undo their gain. this is merely a symptom of a much larger problem, the politicalization of our courts. in today's america republicans and democrats espouse two vastly different visions for the judicial branch. on the right we believe in the judiciary as outlined in the constitution, an integral but necessary branch of government that interprets laws but doesn't make them. we believe in a judiciary filled
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with sober-minded judges who are committed to upholding the constitution as written, not molding it to fit their political preferences. on the left you have a starkly different vision. the left believes the judiciary should assume an activist role, stepping in to fill the gaps of legislation where congress fails. in doing so the judiciary become its own quasi legislative body, a congress 2.0 of sorts filled with hundreds of judges who are unelected and therefore unaccountable to the american people. this conception of judicial power is inherntly antidemocratic. it undermines the principle of representative government and creeds long- -- cedes the power to powers, a clustered group of men and women who have no constitutional authority to make
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legislation but seek to do so any way through their opinions. given the left's radical vision of judicial power, it's no wonder the confirmation wars have escalated over the years and it's no wonder the democrats have made a circus of confirmation hearings. they seek to politicize the process because ultimately they seek political judges. mr. president, it's usual -- as usual what the left wants is not what america needs. america doesn't need political judges. it doesn't need an army of super legislators telling us what to do. it certainly doesn't need a second congress making laws on a whim. isn't the one we have dysfunctional enough? now, mr. president, what is best for america is wholly different from what the left envisions. america needs a judiciary insulated from the corrupting influence of politics. accordingly we need principled
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judges that put the law before any partisan concern. as opposed to political judges, we need impartial judges, judges who understand their limited role under the constitution, judges who are content to say what the law is, not what they want it to be. judges who act as umpires calling balls and strikes instead of swinging at every pitch that comes their way. in short, we need judges who will interpret the constitution, not remake it in their own image. taking judge gorsuch as an example, i have every confidence that the president's nominee to the supreme court will be qualified, competent, and impartial in every way. and if the treatment of judge gorsuch is anything of the way
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things will be, i believe they will do everything they can to politicize the nomination process. they will do everything they can to malign the nominee no matter what his background or c.e.o.'s dengsal -- credentials and depicting him or her as an extremist who is outside the mainstream. they will press, prod, and pry to unearth an political agenda. they will bring all resources in order to bring a principled judge from taking justice kennedy's seat. they will pull out all of the stops to pull out the politicalization of the supreme court. we won't let them. mr. president, it's up to us to preserve the integrity of the judicial branch. we can begin by confirming a supreme court nominee who is
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committed to upholding the principles of the constitution at all costs and understands that the law-making power lies not with congress but with the courts. i look forward to working with my colleagues in this endeavor in the weeks to come. i have to say i have seen a lot of abuse in the area of picking judges and confirming judges throughout the years, and both sides have been explicit in some ways, but i've never seen more of a politicalization of the courts than that which has come from the other side. and i hope they won't do that this time. i don't know who the president's going to pick. i have a pretty good idea of the list of people that he's going to pick from, and i know he'll chat with me about it, as he


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