tv U.S. Senate Sens. Cornyn Durbin Grassley Kyl on Kavanaugh CSPAN October 7, 2018 11:55am-12:39pm EDT
think about the comments i got back then, a lot of them were crazy in you sound like a sex starved woman who is just mad because men don't like you. it was already, when i was writing pop commentary about paris hilton, what the response automatically was, to -- too angry for me to take you seriously. even when i was covering that anger with jokes and a slyness and general good cheer. announcer: watch afterwards tonight at nine eastern. on book tv. the senate approved the confirmation of brett kavanaugh to be the next associate justice of the supreme court by a vote of 50 to 48. lisa murkowski voted present. montana senator steve daines did not vote. he was attending his daughter's wedding. here are some of the four speeches as the debate was winding up. we begin with john cornyn.
this is about an hour. in a few moments we will vote to confirm judge kavanaugh to the united states supreme court. it is time. justice gorsuch and sotomayor work and fumed that confirmed 66 days after they were nominated. today marks the 90th day since president trump nominated judge kavanaugh. the is in line with timeframe for previous justices. what is different, though, about this nomination is the manifest unfairness in the way it was conducted. and in the town and behavior -- tone and behavior of some senators, as well as special interest groups that support them. this institution used to be known as the world's greatest political party -- body. you would not know it now on this nomination.
the senator from maine said yesterday that we have hit rock comes -- bottom when it to the judicial confirmation process. sadly, i agree. >> what precipitated this embarrassing time for the senate was the deliberate withholding of dr. ford's allegations from the judiciary committee and judge kavanaugh until the 11th hour. and then, publicly ambushing everyone else concerned. that, inen a process words that echo from another senate, ther the mccarthy hearings, it has been cruel, reckless, and indecent. both to dr. ford and judge kavanaugh. these hijinks in the weaponization of the
confirmation process, we have bent over backwards to try to accommodate dr. ford once she said she wanted to come for the committee. we know she requested confidentiality answer allegations were investigated. she did not consent to -- or authorize the release of her letter. she did not want a public spectacle. judiciary committee staff has been offered to fight a california on a bipartisan basis and interview her confidentially. this offer was not even shared with her by her partisan lawyers. said she never understood that offer was on the table. she thought the only way she could tell her story was the midst of the three ring circus that the hearing became. after the damage was done to dr. ford when her identity became known, we invited her to testify. she came and did so and i respect and admire her courage. respect and admire her courage. it could not have been easy.
we listened respectfully to her story. we took it very seriously. we treated her the same way we would want our wives, our daughters to be treated, and we tried to learn the facts, cold, hard facts as elicited by an expert in dealing with sexual assault cases. we all know that after the hearing what that attorney told us because it game public. she said as a prosecutor, she would never recommend charges under these circumstances because in her view there was no corroboration of dr. ford's account, and there were inconsistencies in her story regarding the place, the time, and the people involved in relevant events. in other words, this was not a case of he said, she said. it was a case of she said, they said, including everyone
dr. ford claimed was a witness. not only no corroboration, the alleged witnesses refuted her claim, including her best friend, leland keyser who said she never met brett kavanaugh. then even after all of that, even after hiding information that should have been shared confidentially with the judiciary committee, even after the outrageous conduct by some senators at the first hearing intentionally violating committee rules and seeking delay after delay, even after that, we took another additional step to address any lingering concerns. the f.b.i. launched a supplemental background investigation. there are two words to note about this investigation -- supplemental and independent. supplemental because judge kavanaugh has had six other previous background investigations. this was the seventh.
independent because now opponents are saying that, well, the investigation was merely checking a box. it wasn't thorough or comprehensive enough. but that simply doesn't jive with the facts. the f.b.i. was told to investigate current credible allegations, and they had a free rein to contact anyone they wanted, and they contacted many of the people that our democratic colleagues, dr. ford and ms. ramirez themselves said were eyewitnesses or persons with relevant knowledge. i'm talking about folks like mark judge and others. so opponents are trying to have it both ways -- demand an investigation but then badmouth it when it doesn't reveal what they hoped it would. politics should not have and didn't dictate the terms of this supplemental background investigation. the f.b.i. knows how to do its work, and now opponents of this nomination should accept its
findings. but, mr. president, this has never been a search for the truth by senators who had already announced their opposition to this nomination. some of them even before judge kavanaugh was named. rather, it has become a matter of delay, defeat, and destroy. i do believe the senator from arizona and others who join in his request did us a great favor by insisting on the f.b.i. supplemental background investigation. the american people can feel better that leads have been followed and exhausted for those still interested in a search for the facts. the american people now know that we took it upon ourselves to take one last step to dispel the doubts about judge kavanaugh's fitness to serve on the highest court in the land, and that step is now complete. so to senators flake, collins, and others who requested the
background check, i say thank you. both judge kavanaugh and dr. ford have been treated badly throughout this process. dr. ford has been treated less as a real person than as a poker chip in a card game. her wisheses for confidentiality -- wisheses for confidentiality were ignored. this whole sad cher charade -- charade has been unfair to judge kavanaugh. this should have been under procedures and timelines designed to protect both the accuser and the accused instead we got mob rule. some blamed judge kavanaugh for his righteous indignation and impassioned defense at a second hearing, but as somebody who served for 13 years on the bench myself, i know the difference between deciding a case as a
judge for which judge kavanaugh's temperament has been universally praised, and defending one self against character assassination and personal destruction. judge kavanaugh understands the difference too, and i have no doubt whatsoever about his judicial temperament. but imagine what this has been like for judge kavanaugh's parents, for his wife, for his children, for the friends and colleagues who know the real brett kavanaugh. shocking or embarrassing doesn't begin to describe it. i am disappointed more than i can say at those who have unleashed this unjustified attacks on the judge and his family and disappointed in their lack of any empathy for remorse for what they have put them through. no empathy, no remorses, none.
for some of them it seems that the end justifies the means. chew good people up, spit them out, no problem. it's all in a day's work. after the dust settles on this dark period, we need to think about the damage all of this has done to the senate as an institution and to the judiciary committee confirmation process that we most certainly will embark upon again in the near future. it is my hope, it is my prayer that the politics of personal destruction simply because you don't agree with the nominee's judicial philosophy or the president that nominated him or her will stop. the low road is not available to us anymore because there is no lower road than the one we have been on.
it's my hope that some of the tactics we've seen, intimidation, bullying, violating the rules, taunting members, trying to coerce them through bribes, carpet bombing them with tv ads, sending them coat hangers in the mail, screaming at them in the hallway. these cannot become the new normal, and so we cannot reward those tactics. i guarantee that if these tactics had succeeded in blocking judge kavanaugh, they would become the new normal, and that ought to chasten all of us. i we've learned a painful lesson these past few weeks and will strive to do better. i pledge my good faith and best efforts to do so to try to help. we should recall the not so distant past when ruth ginsburg,
the former general counsel of the american civil liberties union was confirmed by 96-3, when justice scalia was confirmed by 98-0, and john paul stevens was confirmed by a vote of 98-0, as well. in a rational, logical world, judge kavanaugh should have similarly lopsided numbers, that is people were willing to get past their tribalism and look our nominee's record, look at the more than 300 opinions he's authored, the decisions he's authored that the supreme court has unanimously embraced, if they would look at his scholarship, talk to his former colleagues and law clerks. if opponents were willing to do that honestly and thoroughly, they would have found a brilliant individual who cuts no corners in his legal analysis,
who let's the chips fall where they may, and respects the very important, but limited, role of the judiciary in our constitutional system. in my view, a vote against judge kavanaugh is an endorsement of the way that the opponents have mishandled and abused the confirmation process as well as the shameful tactics they have employed. a no vote neglects all that the is and all he accomplished based on unproven allegations about adolescence. it would establish a dangerous precedent and legitimatize mob rule, including the presumption of guilt in violation of everything our constitution -- the presiding officer: restore
order to the galleries. the senator for texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, it would establish a dangerous preps dent. -- precedent. the presiding officer: as a reminder to our guests, expressions of approval or disapproval are not permitted in the senate galleries. the senator for texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, it would establish a dangerous precedent and legitimatize mob rule, including the presumption of guilt that everything our constitution and fundamental negotiations of fairness stand for. some say we are a nation divided, but i'm not so pessimistic as some. i actually hope we can all learn. we must learn, i believe, from this cruel, reckless, and indecent episode, but a no vote will not unite us. it will help reward despicable
tactics and set a new ugly precedent, it will only encourage the spurning of tradition and the flouting of agreed upon rules, norms, and process. we should not ignore, we cannot acquiesce in or condone what has happened here. we should send a message loud and clear that the united states senate will not be intimidated. i will cast my vote in favor of judge kavanaugh's confirmation for the -- to the supreme court of the united states and i hope my colleagues will join me. the presiding officer: the senator will suspend until the sergeant at arms will restore order to the galleries. the sergeant at arms will restore order to the galleries. the sergeant at arms will restore order to the galleries.
as a reminder to our guests in the gallery, expressions of approval or disapproval are not permitted in the senate galleries. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: thank you, mr. president. let me talk about the f.b.i. interview that has been raised repeatedly from our colleagues on the other side of the aisle. it was our request after we heard complaints of dr. ford and allegations that there be a thorough investigation on the democratic side we asked for that repeatedly from the republican majority. it wasn't until senator flake and some of his republican colleagues made a point of saying they wouldn't move to go forward with this hearing without an f.b.i. investigation that it finally was agreed to. let me also add that statements have been made publicly by the public spokesman at the white house about how the witnesses
were chosen for this f.b.i. investigation, according to mr. shaw, who works in the white house, he told us that a list of witnesses was sent by senate republicans to the white house and they were included in their request. that is not the investigation we were looking for. we were hoping the f.b.i. would revert to its professional status and to interview all of the witness ps who -- witnesses who were relevant and certainly among those relevant witnesses would have been dr. ford herself who could have been questioned under penalty of criminal prosecution if she misled or lied to the f.b.i., who could have added substantial corroborating information, she was never called on, neither was judge kavanaugh by the f.b.i. dr. ford provided eight different witnesses that she thought should be called to back up her side of the story, not a single one of them was called by the f.b.i. ms. ramirez suggested 20 witnesses be called by the f.b.i. on her behalf, not one of them was called. this was not the f.b.i.
investigation which we sought nor is it clear the charges against judge kavanaugh that were raised by dr. ford based on the fact that it was a scant interview that involved some ten minuteses -- witnesses in a matter of just a few days with a limited roster of people who were going to be questioned. let me speak to the matter at hand in a larger context. i've been in public life for a few years, but i've never seen the public reaction to this particular nomination and the hearings leading up to it that i've seen -- than i've seen in this case. i went back to chicago on friday, before i could get off the airplane, people were talking to me, passengers at random about and what the day before when dr. ford and judge kavanaugh testified before our commit. the same thing happened with cab drivers, the doorman at the hotel holding an umbrella in the rain and talking about the testimony given to the judiciary committee. for the next three days
everywhere i turned every person had a comment to make. america was tuned in and watching carefully because they knew how important this hearing was. it wasn't just the nomination for someone to serve on the supreme court. it was critically important to americans to know who would and that person, what their views were when it came to the health of women, the protection of our health insurance, our privacy, our right to vote. and it also was very clear that we held this hearing in the context of a national debate on sexual harassment and sexual violence. is it any surprise that this explosive issue, which has touched corporate boardrooms, our churches, sports, congress, has now been raised in our debate over a nomination to our highest court? and i ask my colleagues, is there a single one of us in the last two weeks who has not had an experience with someone coming forward either in writing or in person to tell you of their experience when it came to
sexual harassment and sexual violence? just a few minutes ago i read the latest letters we received in my office, two women from the state of illinois who told me in their letters they are saying for the first time what happened to them many years ago and how much they identified with dr. ford and what she had gone through. that is a fact of life. the fact that this touched a nerve to so many americans, and particularly to women who have gone through this experience, should put this whole debate in context. it should not be cheapened or lessened by political charges many we ought to understand the gravity of this debate in light of the cultural change we are facing in america. this afternoon we faced a day of reckoning, those of us who count votes for a living know how this will end. i want to make it clear there's something we need to remember. one of the lowsest votes in -- closest votes in the history of the supreme court will occur this afternoon with judge kavanaugh's nomination. you have to go back 137 years in
american history to find a closer vote for a supreme court justice. that tells you the seriousness with which this matter has been considered and undertaken by members of the senate and how divided we are on this nomination. but i want to ask my colleagues not just to reflect on this afternoon but to reflect on tomorrow. what about the future of this supreme court, this important, critical institution in our constitution? six years ago, in the days of about the nfib v.sabaleus decision, debating the affordable care act a pew research poll found that public approval of the supreme court had reached an all-time low. citizens united and bush v. gore had branded the supreme court as a political tool in the eyes of most americans. chief justice roberts stepped in
and wrote a decision in that case which infuriated conservatives but brought mement terry medical -- momentary credibility to the cower. filling this critical kennedy vacancy with judge kavanaugh will again raise the question about supreme court politics. chief justice roberts, are you watching? and what can we expect from this newest member of the court, brett kavanaugh? after his contentious nomination process, clarence thomas gave us ten years of brewing silence -- of silence on the supreme court. what can we expect from this new justice. will he be the soup kitchen volunteer or federalist society favorite? will he be the man to raged at the clintons and promised revenge for his ordeal, or the man who impressed senator collins? will he be a justice ever grateful top trump
who nominated him or a justice who honors the rule of law more than any political leader or political party? what about this senate? what should the next supreme court vacancy look like? will we continue to follow the merrick garland plow it through playbook of judicial appointments at any cost, freezing out a nominee to the supreme court for almost one year, abandoning the blue-slip process in the senate judiciary committee, ignoring american bar association ratings, overturning rules protecting debate, concealing documents, tweeting confidential reports? when we sweep aside all of the rules and traditions of the senate judiciary committee just to pile up more and more republican appointments to the court, what is left? thomas moore in "a man for all seasons" said famously, quote, and when the last law was down and the devil turned round on you, where would you hide the
laws all being flat? and if you cut them down, do you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? so will we establish and reestablish rules and procedures that show mutual respect for one another as senators and respect for this body we are honored to serve? i sincerely hope that conversation begins and begins soon. i want to say a word about the leaders of the judiciary committee. chuck grassley is my friend. he has been my friend for a long time. we do a lot of legislation together. we have a difference of political views. he's a loyal republican. i'm a loyal democrat. we have adjoining states. we find some things that we can work on in common. i want to say personally to him thank you for your leadership on this committee. i think there are moments when the white house and even your staff got the best of you, but i trust you, chuck grassley, in terms of where this committee is going. you have it within your power to
restore the tara digz of the senate -- traditions of the senate judiciary committee, and i hope you will. i join you in that effort. i want to say a word about dianne feinstein, too. she has been the subject of more texts by my colleagues than i have ever heard any member face in the senate. it's just not fair. dianne feinstein is a woman of integrity. she is a person who is caring. she has given a major part of her life in public service at so many different levels. some of the charges and innuendo which i have heard on the floor of the senate are unbefitting this body, and she does not deserve them. i thank senator collins -- thanked senator collins yesterday for specifically saying that at her remarks. i couldn't be more happy than to join her in those comments. and i want to say a word about protesting and mob rule. i will tell you that if you believe in free speech and our right as a citizen to petition our government, then you accept
some tough consequences. there are things that are said and done in the name of free speech which you may not agree with. violence is never acceptable. let me make that clear. but the decision that is about to be made in the united states is not being made by a mob. it is not mob rule. it is a decision made by men and women of the united states senate who are acting in accordance with the united states constitution. and one last point on the subject. this is one that i always remind my colleagues and even my opponents of. i believe the hottest ring in hell is reserved for those who attack our children and our families. if you want to take me out on an issue, so be it. leave my family and my kids alone. that ought to be a rule on both sides of the aisle. there is another issue which we need to face squarely. will victims of sexual violence be more or less likely to step forward and tell their stories after this high-profile political battle ends?
to dr. christine blasey ford, to her husband and her children, i will never forget your brave testimony last thursday. you gave new meaning to the term civic duty. you spoke not just for yourself but for millions of sexual violence victims who will never, ever have that opportunity. i'm sorry, genuinely sorry for the pain that you and your family have endured, and i'm sorry you were mocked by president trump at his rally in mississippi last tuesday. "the washington post" reported, and i quote, the president laid into ford with the ruthlessness of an attack dog and the pacing of a standup comedian. the crowd roared with laughter and applause, end of quote. no one could have been surprised with the president's performance, and when i hear repeated over and over again on the other side of the aisle we wanted to treat her just like we have our -- we would have our wife or daughter to be treated,
that certainly didn't happen when it came to the president's comments. we owe it to our wives, daughters, granddaughters, and all the women and men in this country who have been victimized to treat them with respect, not ridicule. we owe it to these victims to listen, learn, and stand with them as they relive their shattering experiences. i believe the debate over this nomination has created a stronger force in our nation for justice for victims of sexual violence, and i hope those who step forward know that they are not alone. thank you for your courage. tomorrow's another day. we are blessed to live in a democracy which protects our freedoms and gives our citizens the last word at the polling place. today i will cast my vote in the senate in opposition to the nomination of brett kavanaugh to the supreme court. mr. grassley: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for iowa.
mr. durbin: before senator grassley starts, i ask unanimous consent that a judiciary staffer in my office be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the day. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for iowa. mr. grassley: before i speak, i ask unanimous consent that following my remarks and those of senators schumer and mcconnell, all postcloture time be considered expired on this nomination. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. grassley: mr. president, i come one final time in support of judge kavanaugh's confirmation to serve as associate justice of the united states supreme court.
democratic leaders did everything in their power to make judge kavanaugh's confirmation about anything except his judicial record and his outstanding academic qualifications. the democratic leader has promised to oppose judge kavanaugh's confirmation from day one and use every play in the book to accomplish that goal even though the senate had access to more of judge kavanaugh's records than we have had for any other supreme court nominee, democratic leaders tried to bury the judiciary committee in mountains of irrelevant paperwork. when routine process arguments failed, they resorted to outright character assassination of the judge. their smear campaign featured
faceless allegations of -- baseless allegations of perjury and claims that as a teenager, he participated in gang rapes of women. i have been around long enough to see ugly left-wing smear campaigns against supreme court nominees, but this was beyond the pale, even beyond judge thomas and anita hill, and i was there. i'm encouraged that most of my colleagues had the courage to stand against the politics of personal -- personal destruction ignored in the media circus that the democrat leaders created was judge kavanaugh's extraordinary record as a judge and also as a citizen. i have said from the day the president announced judge kavanaugh's nomination on july 9
that judge kavanaugh is quite possibly the most qualified person ever nominated to the supreme court. he has spent 25 years of his career at the highest levels of the government, including the last 12 years as a judge on the second most important federal court. judge kavanaugh's record on the d.c. circuit has been remarkable, outstandingly remarkable. on a court containing some of the brightest legal minds, judge kavanaugh has set himself apart. the supreme court in at least 12 separate cases adopted positions advanced in judge kavanaugh's lower court opinions. as liberal law professor amir
wrote in "the new york times," quote, good appellate judges faithfully follow the supreme court. great ones influence and help steer it. several of judge kavanaugh's most important ideas and arguments have found their way into supreme court opinions. end of professor amar's quote. judge kavanaugh will not only bring his keen intellect and deep knowledge of the law to the supreme court, he will bring some other very important judicial characteristics as well. first among these is a proper understanding of the role of a judge in our constitutional system. he knows that a judge should interpret and apply law as written, not how he wishes it were written, because, as we all
know, it's congress' job to write the laws, not judges. he has explained in numerous cases that the fundamental goal of the separation of powers under our constitutional system is the protection of individual liberty. he has interpreted the constitution according to text, history, and tradition, not his own personal views, and that is exactly the type of a person we need on the supreme court. judge kavanaugh has also demonstrated judicial independence and courage. as an example, in the two years after he was appointed to the d.c. circuit by president george w. bush, he ruled against bush administration agencies on 23
cases. so don't let anybody tell you that he is obligated to a president trump. we can expect that justice kavanaugh will be beholden to no one and nothing except the constitution. judge kavanaugh also has a well-earned reputation for collegiality. he has an excellent relationship with all of his colleagues in the d.c. circuit, and his judicial record demonstrates the same. indeed, judge kavanaugh was in the majority in 97% of the cases that he participated in in that d.c. circuit. his democratic-appointed colleagues were as likely to join majority opinions written by judge kavanaugh as his
republican-appointed colleagues were. he will bridge the divide in the supreme court. judge kavanaugh has also shown a dedication to public service, to mentorship, and to diversity. he spent all but three years of his legal career in public service. judge kavanaugh is a proven mentor to law students and young lawyers. judge kavanaugh has taught courses at harvard law school and other top law schools for many years. the senate judiciary committee received a letter in support of his confirmation from these former students. they wrote, quote, we will have differing views on political issues surrounding the
confirmation process, but we will agree on one thing -- judge kavanaugh is a rigorous thinker, a devoted teacher, and a gracious person. end of quote. federal judges also play a very important role in mentoring the next generation of lawyers by hiring law clerks. judge kavanaugh has clearly taken seriously this mentor ship role. his former law clerks submitted a letter to this committee strongly supporting his confirmation. i quote from that letter -- it was a tremendous stroke of luck to work for and be mentored by a person of his strength of character, generosity of spirit, intellectual capacity, and unwavering care for his family,
friends, colleagues, and us, his law clerks, end of quote. one of the areas where judge kavanaugh has had a particular impact is his commitment to diversity. more than half of his law clerks have been female. when confirmed to the supreme court, his class of law clerks will be all female, the first time in the history of the supreme court. judge kavanaugh's female law clerks sent the committee a letter, and this is what this letter from the law clerks says quote, we know all too well that women in the workplace still face challenges, inequality and even harassment. among other things, women do not enjoy a representative share of prestigious clerkships or high-profile legal positions.
but this committee and the american public more broadly should be aware of the important work judge kavanaugh has done to remedy those disparities. in our view, the judge has been one of the strongest advocates in the federal judiciary for women lawyers, end of quote. well, as i think about history history, it leads me to this, the confirmation of judge kavanaugh is particularly meaningful to me. 31 years ago left-wing groups and their senate allies fired the opening shots in the judicial confirmation wars. they engaged at that time in unprecedented character
assassination against president reagan's nominee, judge robert bork. since then, they have only escalated this war, slandering several republican nominees to the supreme court and expanding their tactics to lower court nominees. so then, as history tells us more than three decades later, left-wing groups and their democratic allies in this body went back to the very same playbook. they tried the very same character assassination tactics against the person nominated to the very same seat that judge robert bork was supposed to fill. they succeeded 31 years ago, but this time they failed.
so i look forward to voting to confirm judge kavanaugh this afternoon and to greeting him as justice kavanaugh the next time i see him. i yield. i suggest the absence of a quorum. a senator: mr. president. a senator: thank you, mr. president. i know that the democratic leader is scheduled to speak next. mr. kyl: if there is a minute that i can take in between there, i just wanted to comment on the colleague that spoke yesterday, senator collins. i had wanted to come to the floor to speak on her behalf, but too many other people were speaking at that time. people remarked on her comments that they reflected the fact that she does her homework, and she indeed did. and i simply wanted to relay this anecdote. when i helped to introduce judge
kavanaugh to my fellow former senators, former colleagues, i think of all of the meetings that we had, and many of them were with lawyers who are senators, probably the most thoroughly meeting of all was that held with senator collins. she had clearly done her homework. the interview with judge kavanaugh consumed more than two hours, without a break. it was a grilling that could have been done by any fine lawyer because she had clearly done her homework and was very well prepared. and i know she did further follow-up after that. but i do want to commend her for the depth and the breadth of her comments. and as "the wall street journal" this morning said, mr. president, she not only debated like it used to be done in this body with evidence and sound reasoning, but also a reference to our founding principles and the higher things
that should motivate our public service and our discussions here on the senate floor. so i wanted to take this opportunity to commend her for her remarks, but to tell those who don't know her that this was par for the course. her performance was magnificent but it was not out of the ordinary for senator collins. i just wanted my colleagues consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. you now, in a short time, the senate will take a final vote on the nomination of judge brett kavanaugh to the supreme court. the road that led us here has been bitter, angry, and partisan. steeped in hypocrisy and hyperbole and resentment and outrage. from start to finish, president trump's nomination of brett kavanaugh to the united states supreme court has been one of the saddest moments in