tv Newsmakers Nan Aron CSPAN July 15, 2018 6:00pm-6:34pm EDT
varying thelaw compensation for the services of the shall take effect until any collection of representatives shall intervene. i can remember standing in the aisle, holding that book in my if lightningwas as had struck. i could feel the pulsating electricity of it all. i thought, you know what, instead of writing about the equal rights amendment and this dispute of extension and its ratification deadline, why don't i instead write about this amendment that when members of congress want to adjust their salaries, they have to wait until the next election?
announcer: tonight on c-span's q&a. susan: our guest on c-span's" newsmakers" this week is nan aron. her organization, the alliance for justice," opposes the nomination of judge brett kavanaugh to the supreme court. we are going to learn more about why and what she hopes to do about it. thank you for being our guest. nan: thank you for having me. susan: the two reporters will be asking her questions this week is siobhan hughes, from the wall street journal and mark, who covers the supreme court for the associated press. siobhan: set the stage for us. what is the significance of this nomination, and why does it feel more monumental than the nomination of neil gorsuch? it feels more monumental because it is. he is being considered for a seat held by judge anthony kennedy who on very significant
issues set himself apart from some of his conservative colleagues on the court. on abortion, on lgbtq issues, on juvenile rights. so he was considered to be the swing on the supreme court. neil gorsuch when he was being considered for the supreme court was up for a hard right conservatives seat, antonin scalia. so anthony kennedy was more in the middle, so this has taken on much, much greater significance. it has also taken on greater meaning, i think, because the president has laid out very specifically -- in fact, when he was running for office, that if elected, he would appoint an individual who met two very specific criteria. one, he was looking for someone
who was against the affordable care act, and two, he was specifically looking for an individual who would oppose roe versus wade. so, this president has himself set out a very volatile process by setting out criteria, outsourcing the choice to two outside groups, "heritage action" and "federal society," and coming up with a nominee who on a number of issues related to american life has shown as he would turn the clock back. given the stakes you have laid out from your perspective, do democrats have a realistic chance of stopping this nominee? nan: i would say that democrats and republicans have a realistic chance of stopping this nomination. at the moment, really the only
thing we know, which is significant, about brett kavanaugh, is, one, we know what donald trump was looking for. two, we and others as well are reading those 300 legal opinions that he has written. so we know what his record is, and our belief is that once the american people understand his record, once they hear and read, and have an opportunity to review the thousands of pages of documents describing his work with ken starr, independent counsel, once they have an opportunity to review his records, when he was in the white house and the white house counsel's office, and other offices, there is just a trove of documents.
and our belief is that once the american people have an opportunity to come to understand his full record, they will convince, they will persuade, they reach out to their senators both on the democratic and republican side, and ask them to oppose judge kavanaugh. mark: i would like to turn to one of the issues it has gotten some attention already in the process, and that is the idea of his view of presidential power, and your group's view that he would not stand up to donald trump, i guess particularly in relation to the investigation into russian meddling in the 2016 election. we know from the past that clinton appointees voted against the president in the paula jones th case. the nixon appointees voted against him in the watergate case. why are you persuaded that justice kavanagh would not stand up to donald trump if it came to that? nan: market, it goes back to
judge kavanaugh's record. it is interesting. when he worked with the independent counsel, ken starr back in the 1990's, he aggressively sought president clinton's records. in fact, going to court three times to get access to president clinton's records. and he fought really hard to get the president to turn over a whole slew of information. interestingly, when he went to work for president bush right after the clinton administration, interestingly, one of the first things brett kavanaugh did was push for an executive order that would have shielded presidential papers -- 's presidential papers, even though there was a law requiring those papers to be
released. so it is his early interaction with the bush administration, then the position from then on, that the president should be exempt from criminal prosecutions, investigations. he has talked about the extraordinary powers a president has. so to us, he appears to be very much partisan player. when president clinton was in office, he sought disclosure. the minute president bush came into office, it was just the opposite. so based on what he has said and written and his actions, it appears that he would very much side with president trump in trying to shield all of his actions, memos, papers from the american people. mark: but he is also called, in addition to calling for congress to pass a law to shield the president from prosecution and investigation while in office, he has also said that he
believes that same law should include a provision that would basically require a president to respond to grand jury subpoenas, with the exception of national security -- as the one exception to that. that would seem to cut a bit against the grain that you just described? nan: that was a while ago. and what we know most recently about his views, is that he would very much do what he could to shield president trump from any kind of investigation, subpoena, anything else, at this point. siobhan: you have brought up judge kavanagh's white house service. what do you think the chances are that the senate will see all of the documentation related to that period of his service, or the chances that access to it that will be limited? nan: we would expect that chairman grassley, chair of the
senate judiciary committee, will request and obtain all of the records being sought about his years in the white house. there is actually some precedent for senator grassley to do that. john roberts worked in the white house. elena kagan worked in the white house. and they released all of the records, including their emails, so there is precedent requesting supporting the notion that these records need to be made available and carefully reviewed, and we would expect chairman grassley to obey that precedent. i think it is also important, because the supreme court nomination is so critically important, that the american people ought to understand and
understand well who it is that is being considered for that particular role. therefore, i think it is incumbent on republican parties to make this information accessible, available, and give people ample time to review and digest it. siobhan: there is so much paperwork. how quickly, then, could the senate judiciary committee get to a hearing? nan: well, it is interesting that you say that, because i just read that rod rosenstein is to comeor calling out assistant u.s. attorneys to help , assistant u.s. attorneys to help review those records. i have no idea what the timing will be, all i would say is that it is really the responsibility of the senate judiciary committee chair, to be fair and open, and make that information
available in time, so that people have an opportunity to review it. even before these records have been released, your organization has a ready come to the conclusion that he should not be confirmed. is there anything you would point to as a smoking gun and say, republicans or senators, that you would need to attract -- republican senators that you would need to attract to defeat the nominee? nan: i would say that we are ready have two smoking guns. one is, really, what president trump said, that he was seeking someone whose mind is made up on the issue of health care and the issue of abortion. really, in all the years that we have been toiling in these judicial fields, i don't think i have ever come across a president who was so direct about what he was looking for. and i would say, when you take a look at brett kavanaugh's
record, in fact, he does side -- he does take an oppositional roe and theboth affordable care act. i would say, when you step back for a minute in the process, i think what we are looking for in a judge or justice is someone whose mind is a made up. someone who can approach that cases with an open mind, be fair-minded. it are you have a candidate who always subscribes to some very justfic views, which -- imagine what donald trump couldn't do, repealing the affordable care act. , he will achieve to do, by
putting brett kavanaugh on the supreme court, depriving millions of americans of their health care. i would say that, in and of itself, is a smoking gun. but, to further the conversation, we expect there to be thousands of pages of documents released, and hopefully, ample time to review those. and, i know that people will be very interested to learn more about kavanaugh's views. in fact, at his d.c. circuit court hearing, i think it was on 2004, he was specifically asked about his views and what he did with respect to overseeing -- to having conversations about torture, abu ghraib -- he ducked those questions. in fact, in a letter sent to him
by senators leahy and durbin, and others still in the senate dismayexpressed th over his answers. so i think it is really important to see those documents, and perhaps, other issues will be made public. mark: just to follow-up, you raised abortion and health care in your answer. those happened of the two issues on which there are at least some conservatives out there who fear that, in choosing an establishment republican, that president trump did not go as conservative as he might have. and they point to opinions that judge kavanuagh wrote, where he did not go as far as he might have, or even in abortion cases, as one of his colleagues was willing to go in the case of the immigrant teen. nan: there is no question that in the case of that 17-year-old immigrant, she pursued all the
procedures that were in place at the time to get an abortion, and what brett kavanaugh did is said, you know what, i think we need to put more burdens in the way of her getting an abortion. comeile he may not have out right in opposition to roe v. wade, if she had had to fulfill those burdens, it would have made having an abortion much more difficult. and he did so, i would also say, in an incredibly patronizing way. she did exactly what she had to do, and the d.c. circuit said she should have the abortion, and he said, no. so, he -- i mean, it is not just the case of a 17-year-old immigrant. he expressed satisfaction with
rehnquist's dissent in roe v. wade as well. so i think we have a good view standse brett kavanaugh on the issue of abortion. but i want to make clear, it is not just a fight over abortion and health care. when you read and learn about brett kavanaugh's record across a wide range of issues, not just his views on residential power, not justial power, what he is said and done on health care and abortion, but the other major concerns are his views on the role of administrative agencies. he would have -- he voted against the existence of a consumer protection financial bureau. he has voted against the clean water act.ean he has voted against consumer
protections, net neutrality. i can think of there a few instances where he has voted in favor of everyday people, when their lives are affected or regulated by a government agency. so, there is a lot in this record, not just health care, abortion, and there is much to be explored and much to be learned. susan: eight minutes to go. siobhan: is there any trump nominee who could be acceptable to you, given that you feel trump has been so explicit about what he is looking for? nan: trump released a list of 25 names, and our organization, alliance for justice, researched each and every one of them and thatup with the conclusion none were acceptable. in part, based on their records, but also in part because of the criteria donald trump said he would apply in choosing a supreme court justice.
so, i think i would have to say, the answer is no. but, again, when you step back, there are probably republican lawyers across this country who would make great justices. we, in fact, know of some of these people. if i tell you who they are, it would probably be the kiss of death for them, but, you know, he is looking for a very specific person, and no one on that list would be deemed to be a really good choice for the american people. mark: do you think your group and others on your side of the issues might abduct what the federalist society and the heritage foundation did, and produce lists of possible candidates going forward under a democratic presidency? nan: oh, absolutely. in fact, we over the years, at
alliance for justice have been actively identifying and recruiting justices for judgeships. we have done that for over 40 years, and we are really pleased that so many of the individuals that we suggested have become judges. we will continue to do that. we are proud of the fact that president obama chose two excellent supreme court justices, elena kagan, sonia sotomayor. president clinton selected ruth bader ginsburg and stephen breyer, all excellent choices, and frankly all who garnered republican and democratic votes. siobhan: you had mentioned republicans also being in a position to block the nomination. who are the republicans you see as most likely to flip? nan: the two republicans that
are talked about the most are susan collins, lisa murkowski, collins from maine, lisa murkowski from alaska. both of those fine women voted against the repeals of the affordable care act because pre-existing conditions. it is now being litigated in the courts, and i should also mention that the trump administration has said that the pre-existing conditions are unconstitutional. i would think that both of those senators would be very concerned about that litigation, and very concerned that bret kavanaugh, if confirmed, would be sitting in on a case challenging pre-existing conditions in the supreme court. siobhan: and can you talk about the potential for rand paul to be something of a wild card this debate, given his concerns about privacy, his libertarian leanings? nan: it is hard to say about rand paul. i know that he has spoken out,
raising concerns, but i cannot predict at the into the day where he will be, except for we may learn a lot more about brett kavanaugh's views regarding privacy. the other thing i would say about the two republican women is they have for years professed to be supportive of roe v. wade, and i think we are going to look to those two women to be bold, to be courageous, and to stand up this time. susan: let's turn to the political arena for a minute. the timing is still close to november, the midterm elections. what does the timing do for both parties going into the midterms? nan: i think it works for us, and i think it works for us because this is an opportunity for the supreme court to be a conversation in all those elections, which is a critically important conversation.
during the presidential election in 2016, one candidate donald trump talked a lot about it, and one candidate, not so much. this will be an opportunity for candidates, in house races and senate races, to really talk about what the stakes are in an election. and the stakes for the supreme court, obviously, a presidential election is even more important, because who is elected president can name justices and judges to the lower courts, but i think it is a very good time. i also think that if you take a walk back in history a little, let us go back to daniel manion, . i know that that is many years ago, 1986. there was one republican
gorton. slade he was all set to vote against daniel manion for a seat on the seventh circuit court of appeals. at the last moment, he changed his mind, voted for daniel manion. and you know what? slate gorton lost his seat that year. if you look back to anita hill, clarence thomas, after that huge bruising fight and hearing, a number of democrats who voted for clarence thomas faced a very hostile crowd back home. georgia lost his race. alan dixon was up for that she to a seatbe reelected in illinois. he lost his seat to carol moseley over this issue. so, voters are paying attention, particularly at the supreme court level.
and because there are so much more engagement, so much more excitement, at least on the progressive side, i think this will be a huge issue. susan: three minutes left. one last question from each of you. siobhan: i wonder if though, the risk is you end up energizing an already energized them aquatic base, but do not necessarily expand the pool of public that might have concerns? nan: my assumption is, based on i,ot of experience in this that once people come to understand who brett kavanaugh is and what he stands for, and the threat that he would pose to all of our rights and liberties, not just for two years, four years, but for a generation, i think people will come to understand just how important this debate is, this discussion is, and press their senators to
vote against him. mark: just to stay on the political front, there are some democrats running for reelection in the senate who are running in states that trump carried. whom voted for gorsuch as well. do you expect them to oppose kavanaugh with their seats on the line? nan: i do. i absolutely do, because again, i think once their constituents , his more about kavanaugh record, and the critical importance of the supreme court, they will communicate with their senators. susan: what do the next couple of weeks and months look like for your organization? nan: oh my goodness! [laughter] nan: 24/7. we have lawyers. we have activists researching his legal record. we have got -- we are doing
polling. we are figuring out people in states to be communicating with. we will be doing a full service operation engagement around this confirmation. susan: well, thank you for making as part of your schedule , nan aron, the founder and president of the alliance for justice. nan: thank you for having me. susan: "newsmakers" is back there we had our guest was the founder and resident of the alliance for justice, who opposes the nomination of brett kavanaugh. -- two reporters let's start with the swing vote concept. justice kennedy did not like to be thought of that way, in fact, he was not always number five every time the vote swung. i am wondering what this dust of the dynamics of the court. mark: i think it does change the
dynamics of the court. i think it makes the chief justice, the justice closest to the center, on a range of issues , where it used to be justice kennedy. so he will control on a range of issues how far the court goes, either to the right or occasionally to the left. it must be said, you suggested that on some issues, he already found himself there, of course, health care being a prime example of that -- he was a vote, along with four liberal justices, who upheld the aca back in 2012. susan: so the story for any presidential appointee is what? mark: you cannot predict with certainty how everyone will vote on every case that might come before a justice, but there is a lot of work put in, in this case by the federal society and others, in compiling a list of candidates that conservatives feel will, in the main, deliver the kind of votes they would
like to see. susan: let us go to capitol hill and talk about getting this nominee confirmed. excuse me. we have talked about the list of senators -- two republican women and a number of democrats facing who are facing reelection, who are the targets of everyone's attention. joe manchin of west virginia was quoted this morning in the newspapers saying, i am 71-years-old and i cannot beat whipped them i democratic leader. what is the task for the democratic leader and what is the task of the republican leader has in the next couple of weeks? siobhan: mostly simple, to keep all their members together. that appears right now for the republican leader, to be easier, than the task facing chuck schumer. senator schumer ideally, would like to keep his numbers together, but he has to keep in mind that he has a number of democrats up for reelection in states that trump won, in some place overwhelmingly. he has to make the calculation whether to force them to take
one for the team and vote no and risk losing their seats, or cut them loose to do what they want. probably, he will opt for the latter approach, because at this time, it looks like this nomination is likely to go through. susan: so, better or not to lose the seats is the calculation? siobhan: play the long game. susan: what about senator chuck grassley? siobhan: he has a tough position, because his task is to stay on schedule, and yet, carry out the hearings in a way that preserves his credibility and the credibility of the institution. the problem is that this is a candidate who has perhaps the longest written record of anybody that trump could have chosen from those final four, so he has to figure out how many documents to request, how to corral staff members to read all these documents, and preserve an aura of credibility. susan: they are wanting to get
this done in time for the new court session. 1 would be ther deadline, although they would like him in place earlier. mark: several justices have joined the court after the term began, including justice kennedy, justice alito, justice thomas, and justice gorsuch. there is a steep learning curve. it may not be ideal, but it is doable. susan: this last question is for both of you. the whole spectacle of judicial nomination hearings. any senators express frustration with the with the candor of appointees before them. how have these hearings evolved and what can they learn about them. mark: the hearings themselves, i don't think that there is much to learn. i mean, the learning occurs in the release of documents. things we find out did not know about nominees.
the questions at the hearings themselves often leaves a lot to be desired. siobhan: we are in a social media world right now in which things like that russia aren't not as prominent as they used to be. susan: it is going to be an interesting couple of weeks. thanks for your questions. good to have you. siobhan: good to be here. thank you. on q&a.r: tonight she saw me came back sitting and the isle, physically tossed it at me and said, no change. i thought right then and there i'm going to get that ratified. gregory watson, the man responsible for getting the 27th
amendment to the constitution ratified. , downtownhe library austin, texas, and i came across a book that had an entire chapter devoted to amendments that had passed congress, but not enough state legislatures had approved, and this one jumped right out at me. varying the law compensation for the services of the senators and the representatives shall take effect until an election of representatives shall have intervened." and i can remember standing in the isle holding that book in my hand, and it was as if lightning had struck. i could feel the pulsating electricity of it all, and i thought, you know what, instead of writing about the equal rights amendment and this disputed extension in its
ratification deadline, why don't i instead write about this amendment that says when members of congress want to adjust their salaries, they have to wait until the next election? announcer: tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's q&a. the heritage foundation hosted a review of the supreme court's latest term, justice neil gorsuch's first year, the retirement of justice kennedy, and president trump's nomination of brett kavanaugh to replace him. this is an hour and 25 minutes.