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tv   U.S. Senate Sen. Blumenthal on Kavanaugh Supreme Court Nomination  CSPAN  July 31, 2018 4:58am-5:14am EDT

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a.m. eastern this morning. join the discussion. >> in the senate, richard blumenthal was critical of the supreme court nominee judge brett kavanaugh. asked to receive documents about his time with the george w. bush administration. ask the mandatory quorum be lifted. >> without objection. >> madam president, there are few responsibilities, i would ny none more important to the our duties in connection with the appointment of a united states supreme court justice. much is at stake in the nomination before the senate now to appoint judge brett kavanaugh as the justice who will replace
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justice kennedy. so much is at stake. the future of roe v. wade, affordable health care, particularly pre-existing conditions and the protection from them for millions of americans. i am not here to talk about judge kavanagh as a nominee, i am here to talk about how we reach a conclusion. as to how we vote, my colleagues and i. how we see and pursue the truth about judge kavanagh, his qualifications, his temperament, his integrity and intellect, who he is, and what kind of justice he will be. the best way to do it is to know what he has written and said.
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all of his writing and opinions, articles he has written -- these points are basic. i am struck by our colleagues' objection to our seeking documents that they have sought in connection with past nominees when they were made by presidents of our party, president obama nominated justice kagan. republicans asked for documents from the clinton administration for her tenure as dean of the harvard law school, even her clerkship for justice their goode marshall. senator grassley, now the chairman of the judiciary committee, said at the time, and i quote, "for the senate to fulfill its constitutional responsibility of advice and consent, we must get all of her
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documents and have enough time to analyze them so we can determine whether she should be a justice." i agree. and now, unfortunately, republicans want to apply a completely different standard to judge kavanaugh. they want his documents kept sealed and stored so that he can waltz on to the court without having to answer tough questions about what he's written and said and done. they maintain that there's nothing in the documents that would be relevant. well, we can't know this supposed irrelevance, and
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neither can they until we all see those documents. for some reason, the republicans seem worried. they seem concerned. they seem apprehensive. so the american people and we what are t to ask they concealing, and why are they scared of it? what is judge kavanaugh hiding, nd why is he afraid of it? and that's a question he should answer, and they have a responsibility to address before we begin the hearing. because our questions require those documents. there is, in fact, a lot of good reason to think that those documents will be relevant,
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particular 8 documents from his time in the white house. my republican colleagues are now downplaying the role that judge kavanaugh had while working for president bush. republican whip and judiciary committee member john cornyn, our friend and colleague from texas, said that judge kavanaugh was "more or less a traffic cop." but that contention contradicts what our colleague said at the time when judge kavanaugh was a nominee to the d.c. circuit court of appeals. senator cornyn himself said then of judge kavanaugh, and i quote, he is currently staff secretary to president bush, a job whose title belies the very serious and important responsibilities that that individual performs. senator hatch, also a
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colleague, and a very distinguished member of this judiciary k, said of judge kavanaugh, "his background as staff secretary may prove to be particularly good judicial training." but for me, the best indication of how important his role as staff secretary to president bush, not just as counsel, but as staff secretary was, comes rom judge kavanaugh himself. "when people ask me which of my prior experiences has been most useful to me as a judge, i tell them that all of them have been useful, and i certainly draw on all of them, but i also do not hesitate to say that my 5 1/2 years in the white house and my three years as
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staff secretary for president bush were the most interesting and, in many ways, the most instructive." i read that sentence again, but not sure i need to. it will be in the record. it's well known to many of my colleagues. and judge kavanaugh went on, "as staff secretary, i sat in eetings where he talked with different presidents, prime minister, and pope john paul. i was at the g-8 in scotland when the london subway bombing occurred. i saw and participated in the process of putting legislation together, whether it was terrorism insurance or medicaid, medicare prescription drug coverage, or attempts at immigration reform. i worked on drafting and revising executive orders. i remember times on the hill
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negotiating last-minute changes in legislation. i saw regulatory agencies screw up. i saw how they might try to avoid congressional mandates. i saw the relationship between independent agencies and executive agencies and the president and white house and o.m.b. i saw foia requests." that's from judge kavanaugh. if there is any indication as to why we need those documents from the time when he was staff secretary to president bush, it s the words of judge kavanaugh himself. if we want to know what kind of justice he will be, we need to understand the decisions he's made and the lessons he's arned in that most formative
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job. if we refuse even to try, we have an did i dated our constitutional responsibility. -- we have abdicated our constitutional responsibility. we have a duty. i submit with great respect the request made by the chairman of the judiciary committee involves all of us abdicating that responsibility unless we protest and raise a hue and cry and force production of additional documents. this goes beyond any sort of partisan divide. it goes beyond the question of whether any of my colleagues are voting for or against judge kavanagh. it is about our constitutional responsibility. these documents as judge avenal himself has said, in effect, ould reveal much about judge
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kavanaugh as he worked on every major issue as counselor to president bush, as staff secretary to him, karl rove noted in a recent interview, he said, "literally every document that goes to the president on a policy issue has to pass through the hands of the staff secretary." judge kavanaugh as he himself has said was at the president's side at many pivotal moments of the bush presidency from the passage of partial birth abortion to the ban on partial-birth abortion to debates over same-sex marriage and well beyond. we should know just what judge kavanaugh, as staff secretary, said to president bush during those and other critical moments of the bush presidency. his advice to president bush and his role in those decisions
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is relevant. i think that word understates its importance. it is critical to our judgments bout his qualifications. perhaps maybe just by chance there is nothing in those documents. when judge kavanaugh was in the white house, maybe he was just a traffic cop as senator cornyn has claimed or an honest brork, as the judge described himself at his confirmation hearing. but if that's true, what are they hiding? why do they need to conceal them? we should have the opportunity to determine whether judge kavanaugh truly was an honest broker, just a traffic cop, just passing documents through
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his hands without any input, the best way to do it is by reviewing those documents. mr. president, judge kavanaugh made this point when he was an appellate court nominee at his confirmation hearing. e answered "that is done through an assessment of going back, in my case, 16 years of my career and looking at the kinds of things i have done in the staff secretary's office, we should heed those words, they are the words of judge kavanaugh. we should examine all the documents. it may take some additional time to review all those ocuments, but maybe not. if there is nothing in there that relates to his view and his opinion and his role, if he was just a traffic cop or an
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honest broker, we can get through them very, very quickly. but regardless of the time involved, there's no more important task that we will undertake as united states senators than deciding his qualifications to be a justice on the united states supreme court. anything less would be a dereliction of our duty. thank you, mr. president and i yield the floor. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh continues to meet with senators on capitol hill. follow the confirmation process on c-span leading up to the senate confirmation hearing and the vote. watch live on c-span. watch any time on, or listen with the free c-span radio app. >> this is what's live on tuesday. a senate panel gets an update on immigration enforcement and family reunification efforts. the acting head of the u.s.
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border patrol is among those testifying before the senate judiciary committee. that starts at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. in the afternoon, a senate judiciary subcommittee holds an oversight hearing on the structure of the federal courts. coverage begins at 2:30 eastern. on c-span2, the senate continues debate on the nomination of the judge for the 11th circuit of appeals. the senate is also working on a package of four spending bills for 2019 funding. in the evening, president trump speaks at a campaign event in tampa, florida, for three republican candidates. that rally gets underway at 7:00 p.m. eastern. >> on c-span this week in primetime, tonight, nasa administrator on president trump's proposal to create a military space force. wednesday, the 2018 national governors association summer meeting on the transformation of the workforce by artificial intelligence. thursday at 10:00 p.m., the
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netroots conference from new orleans with new jersey senator cory booker and pennsylvania lieutenant gubernatorial candidate john fetterman. and friday, more from the netroots conference with senators elizabeth warren, cam al aharris, and new mexico congressional candidate deborah holland. this week in primetime on c-span,, and on the free c-span radio app. >> the relationship between states' economies and the arts was one of the topics at this summer's meeting of the nation's govern no, sirs in santa fe, new mexico. speakers included the country music association and a humanities professor at the university of richmond. they talked about how education in liberal arts can aid in the development of communication and creative skills. the session was moderated by washington state governor jay inslee, who chairs the education and workforce committee.


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