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tv   Confirmation Hearing for Supreme Court Nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson Day 4  CSPAN  March 24, 2022 12:57pm-1:37pm EDT

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>> president biden meeting with nato leaders with -- in brussels meeting about the crisis in ukraine. we will have live coverage of that at 3 p.m. eastern on c-span. today was the final day of the conference -- supreme court confirmation hearings of ketanji brown jackson. here is how the day started.
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[indiscernible conversations]
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>> just moments away from the start of the final day of the senate judiciary committee's testimony on ketanji brown jackson and her nomination for the u.s. supreme court. dick durbin is planning a vote to bring the nomination to the full senate.
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you can find more information about ju >> we will take a brief break from supreme court heroes of ketanji brown jackson. the house is about to take a be in session. no votes are expected. speaker. the clerk: the speaker's rooms, washington, d.c. march 24, 2022. i hereby appoint the honorable donald s. bu beyer jr. took thes speaker pro tempore on this day. signed, nancy pelosi. speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: the prayer will be offered by the guest chaplain. the chaplain: good and gracious god, we come to you with a fervent prayer for peace. you are a god of peace. may your peace reign in our hearts and in our world.
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we make a special petition for peace in the ukraine. may you watch over all your children, especially those in harm's way. may your love and peace triumph over hatred and violence. may we love our neighbor just as you do. we pray this in thy sacred name. amen. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to section 11-a of house resolution 188, the journal of the last day's proceedings is approved. the chair will now lead the house in the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will receive a message. the messenger: mr. speaker, a
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message from the senate. the secretary: mr. speakern: the speaker pro tempore: madam secretary. the secretary i have been trecked by the secretary to inform the house that the senate has pass s. 2533, be a act approve on which the concurrence of thes who is requested. the speaker pro tempore: thank you. the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives. madam, pursuant to the permission granted in clause 2-h of rule 2 of the rules of the u.s. house of representative, the clerk received the following message from the secretary of the senate on march 22, 2022, at 9:59 a.m. that the senate passed senate 120. appointments, national security commission on emerging biotechnology. commission on planning, programming, budgeting and execution reform. congressional commission on the strategic posture of the united states. commission on security and cooperation in europe. helsinki, during the 117th
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congress. signed, sincerely, cheryl l. johnson. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to section 11-b of house resolution 188, the house stands adjourned until 2:00 p.m. monday, march 28, 2022. >> house members are a district work period. legislative business rooted on monday. live coverage of the house live on c-span. back to our earlier coverage of the final day of the supreme court confirmation hearings for judge ketanji brown jackson. i am a lucky man to have him as my ranking member, thank you, senator grassley. >> mr. chair, i would like to point out that 62 years ago this week, chuck grassley started his political career in the iowa state legislature. i shared a picture with him this
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week and i believe the picture was him debating iowa statehood, i am not sure. [laughter] >> i reminded him his political career started a year after my mother gave birth to me. >> one year i did something like this, he took a quote from me and put it in his campaign brochure. [laughter] >> i received telephone calls from iowa democrat saying, what are you doing? do not do it again. i want to thank the members of the republican side, the majority of them handle themselves professionally in the best traditions of the united states senate. i want to thank him for a comment in which she used the term "jackassery," which i had
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never heard before, and i thank him for that observation. i wish i could say that across the board. on our side of the aisle, i am proud of all of our members, particularly proud of one member who spoke at the right moment, my wife is my go to critic and what is happening in my political life and she said when cory booker spoke yesterday, it cleared the air and refocused us on what we were doing and why we were here. his statement will go down in the annals of this committee and the united states senate for the impact they had at the moment. i wish i could say that for all of the things that have happened over the last 72 hours but i cannot. some of the attacks on this judge were unfair, unrelenting and beneath the dignity of the united states senate. you can disagree with a
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senator's vote, a judge's ruling, but to draw conclusions that reflect on them personally and their values and take it to the extreme is unfair, whether the nominee is a democrat or republican. i was so sad by that ended happened over and over and over again. i hope that is not a lasting impression the people have of the work in this committee. my lasting impression is a judge that sat there through it all, head held high with dignity, determination and strength. a lesser person might affect up and told her family we are the -- might have picked up and told her family we are leaving. it tells me a lot about her character and why the president was correct to maker the next supreme court justice. i want to turn to senator grassley for opening remarks. >> i have no opening remarks.
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>> that is new. let me turn to the aba panel. i will swear you in. do you confirm the testimony will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god? left a record reflect the witnesses have answered in the affirmative. judge williams, please commence. you need to turn on your microphone. judge williams: thank you. you were at both of my confirmation hearings, a thumbs up to you, senator grassley and other members. it is an honor and a privilege to appear before this committee. i am a retired federal judge and chair of the committee for federal judiciary. i am joined by jean veta and joe drayton.
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our vice chair, david brown, deeply regrets he is unable to attend, especially since he was the principal evaluator of judge jackson's d.c. circuit judge and. the standing committee has been asked to present to this committee our peer-reviewed, independent, nonpartisan comprehensive rating on a professional qualification of a lifetime appointed federal judge. the standing committee is made up of outstanding lawyers from every circuit, with varied backgrounds, professional experiences and practicing in law firms with six to 2000 lawyers. we do not give suggestions on who should be dominated, do not recommend or endorse any nominee. we do not base our ratings on or express any view of the nominee's philosophy, political
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affiliation or ideology. nonpartisan peer-reviewed evaluations are the hallmark of the standing committee. we began our work on february 25, the day judge jackson was nominated. on march 18, the standing committee voted unanimously that judge jackson earned our highest rating, well-qualified on appointment to supreme court. why? quite frankly, well-qualified was a rating we were compelled to reach after or exhaustive comprehensive peer review. to get that well-qualified rating, a nominee much be a preeminent member of the legal profession, have outstanding legal ability, have exceptional breath of experience -- breadth of experience. everyone we talked to, interviewed or had contact with uniformly gave the highest praise, brilliant, beyond
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reproach, first rate, impeccable, a+. we contacted 2800 judges and lawyers from 50 states, 13 circuits, 94 districts and state supreme court justices, law school deans and bar associations. we focused interviews on those with first-hand knowledge of her legal abilities. we spoke to federal prosecutors, lawyers who appeared before judge jackson, her judicial colleagues and judges and lawyers that were very familiar with her career before she became a judge. we created three reading groups to examine over 240 of her published opinions and other writings because the principal way supreme court justices communicate is by writing opinions, opinions that touched the lives of people throughout this nation for years to come.
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two academic reading groups from the university of illinois and stanford, cochaired by each school's dean, 37 academic experts. a reading group viewed the same writings. former law clerks to supreme court justices, justices appointed by both political parties, most have regularly argued before the supreme court. their words -- strikingly talented, exceptional, respectful. finally, we went beyond what judge jackson does in the courthouse. we looked at the other contributions she has made on the governing council of the american law institute, united states sentencing commission, chief justice roberts' appointment to the services committee, representatives from every organization said again and again, humble, brilliant.
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the question we kept asking ourselves, how does one human being do so much, so extraordinarily well? reflecting the combined views of more than 250 judges, attorneys and academics, the standing committee concluded judge jackson is well-qualified to serve as an associate justice on the supreme court. i now turn to jean veta on more specifics on the findings and then joseph drayton with comments on the reading groups and the breadth of judge jackson's experiences. ms. veta: thank you. my name is jean veta and i am the co lead evaluator of the evaluation of judge jackson. in addressing the federal
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qualifications of nominees, our committee considers three factors. integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament. i will address each of these factors in turn and explain why judge jackson readily meets our well-qualified rating. in evaluating integrity, our committee considers the nominee's character and general reputation in the legal -- along with diligence. we surveyed countless lawyers and judges at every level of the federal judiciary and all regard judge jackson as possessing the utmost integrity. reviewers describe her integrity as beyond reproach, impeccable and of the highest caliber. as one reviewer put it, you write the word integrity and put her initials next to it. another said judge jackson has a well-deserved reputation for the
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highest level of ethics and integrity. based on these and many other laudatory comments, the standing committee concluded judge jackson plainly possesses the highest integrity deserving of a well-qualified rating. in evaluating a nominee's professional competence, our standards provide a nominee for the supreme court must possess exceptional professional qualifications, including an especially high degree of legal scholarship, strong analytical and writing ability and overall excellence. judge jackson ably meets this heightened standard. as summarized by one judge, studying her opinions is like a master class in judicial writing. an appellate jurist stated she does a fantastic job of making impenetrable issues understandable. a litigant who lost a case before judge jackson stated, i
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have appeared before judge jackson many times, both in the district court and d.c. circuit judge in my opinion, judge jackson is one of the very best judges, or for that matter justices, i have ever argued a case in front of. she is brilliant. equally important, she possesses all of the other important attributes of a great jurist. she is practical and intuitive, and curious and courteous and always impeccably well prepared. given the uniform strength of these and many other comments, the standing committee readily concluded that judge jackson demonstrates the exceptional professional competence expected of a supreme court justice and thus merits a well-qualified rating. finally, in evaluating judicial temperament, the standing committee considers a nominee's compassion, decisiveness,
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open-mindedness, freedom from bias and commitment to equal justice under the law. as part of our evaluation, we considered whether judge jackson demonstrated any bias who favored criminal defendants, no judge, defense counsel or prosecutor expressed any concern in this regard and the uniformly rejected any accusations of bias . for example, with the allegation that judge jackson is soft on crime, one person responded i vehemently disagree. another prosecutor who has appeared multiple times before judge jackson responded by saying such an allegation, "absolutely was not borne out on my experience with her." prosecutors like the others we interviewed said judge jackson is a judge who considers all arguments for coming to a
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decision. one prosecutor said judge jackson is regarded by his office as a good draw because as he put it, she is a smart judge without any biases, which is all we are asking for. for these reasons, the standing committee found judge jackson clearly meets the well-qualified rating for judicial temperament expected of supreme court justices. because judge jackson easily satisfies the highest standards of integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament, it is the ada standing committee's unanimous conclusion that judge jackson is well-qualified to serve as an associate justice of the supreme court of the united states. thank you. >> thank you. mr. drayton, you are with a law firm and lead evaluator. would you please report to the committee what you found. mr. drayton: ranking member
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grassley, esteemed senators, i will share perspective related to judge jackson's writings and contributions to shaping the law. various groups of judges, lawyers, administrators and legal scholars confirmed that judge jackson has the ability required by a supreme court nominee to communicate clearly and persuasively in a manner to harmonize bodies of law and give guidance to lower courts and the legal community. she has done so across a significant range of complex issues. judge jackson has served on the american law institute and their leadership council. an organization impacting -- for close to 100 years third it re-publishes the statements of law. her fellow ali leaders remarked, incredible work ethic, very well prepared.
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i would describe her competence in this way, thoughtful intelligence. thoughtful superior competence. with regard to judge jackson's service as vice chair on the sentencing commission, created by congress to reduce sentencing disparities, her fellow -- praised her contributions. the first quote, she was gracious, respectful and wonderful to work with. she remained calm and positive even when debating emotional issues for sentencing policy. she was also very trustworthy, absolutely no bias. second quote, she works hard and is committed to the rule of law. third quote, judge jackson was a strong consensus builder during her time as a commissioner who
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worked across party lines. judge jackson also served on the united states judicial conference committee which oversees the federal defenders program and administration of criminal justice act. judge jackson listens carefully and when she spoke w andeight -- and weighed in, she would often sway the whole room. she brings a different viewpoint to the court. brilliant and converse of in many areas of law. i do turn to the observation of our scholarly reading groups. our teams of law professors and legal experts from stanford law and the university of illinois college of law, along with practitioners that include former supreme court clerks, law partners, attorneys and veteran
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evaluators of supreme court nominees, all of whom were impressed. one reviewer who argues reaching -- ritually before the high court, representative of the collective thoughts of all three reading groups, her opinions consistently reveal a deep commitment to legal process. she identifies and states the relative legal standards and meticulously applies them. the hallmark of her opinion is thoroughness. no matter how routine the case, judge jackson's opinions precisely described the applicable standard and context. painstakingly explains the application of the legal standards. her opinions are also structured. she at all times -- her reason for reaching the decision. her opinions show no favoritism
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or bias. this type of, is representative and consistent across all reviewers and provides insight into judge jackson's approach. in conclusion, judge jackson's leadership in the legal profession, reputation among such leaders, remarks from each of these groups consisting well over 60 of the top legal minds and our country, further supports that judge jackson as a preeminent member of the legal profession with outstanding legal ability and exceptional breadth of experience merits the highest rating of the american bar association, the rating of well-qualified to serve on the united states supreme court. >> thank you. i also want to acknowledge judge williams and the contributions of stanford and the university of illinois in this process. i want to make a note that virtually everyone involved was
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doing it on a volunteer basis to serve the needs of the profession. i would also like to establish one other point. i believe judge williams said some 2800 people were contacted, interviewed in this process, represented virtually everyone who came in contact with her professional career who was available to question. it strikes me that this is the kind of scrutiny that is rare but was done in a professional and complete way. here is the question i have to ask. over the last several days, we have had a handful of senators argue that judge jackson is out of the mainstream when it comes to sentencing, particularly sentencing cases of child pornography. this was stressed over and over and over again.
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during the course of your interviews of 2800 people who came in contact with her, would such an assertion have arisen during the course of your questioning, people able to observe whether they felt on a professional level there was any truth at all to the charge? judge williams: you said 2800 people we spoke to or interviewed, we cast a very wide net, so we contacted 2800, what we spoke with 250 judges and lawyers who had first-hand knowledge. we do not just rely on someone saying she has a good reputation. we find out what the basis of that is. had they worked alongside her? have they been on a committee with her? with respect to those issues, i will turn to joe drayton, who
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actually spoke to various prosecutors about the issue because it never came up in any of the interviews we conducted. mr. drayton: we did speak to various prosecutors, the majority of them in child porn cases, none of them felt she demonstrated bias in any way. i can share a few remarks from the people i personally spoke to. one prosecutor said, i did not observe any bias and the judge was fair to all sides in connection to sentencing in all aspects. another prosecutor said judge jackson displayed competence and integrity throughout the proceedings. her rulings were recent. we ask questions relating to bias, defendants, government and we found no bias.
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chair durbin: one of the senators on the other site tweeted they felt her sentencing in these child pornography cases and sexual abuse cases endangered children. those were his exact words, endangered children. would that have come out during the course of your interviews with all 250 judges and professionals who had contact with her? would such a thing have emerged from your questioning? mr. drayton: if someone felt that way, it would have come out in our interviews. we have a confidential process that allows us to have transparent communications. we did not find any evidence of that. chair durbin: no evidence? mr. drayton: no evidence. judge williams: not just the
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individuals who were listed there that the nominee selects, but beyond that, to test her ability, to test her integrity, to test her ability to be a fair and impartial jurist, and it never came up in any group. chair durbin: the assertion was made over and over and over again that judge jackson was soft on crime when it came to prosecution versus defense, that her background as a public defender, the fact she would consider representing a detainee being detained at guantanamo bay raised a question on whether she was soft on crime. i assume that means releases people who would be a danger to the community. did you find any evidence from all the people you interviewed of that assertion? judge williams: none whatsoever. jean veta did most of the work
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in that area. ms. veta: mr. chairman, in response to the question you raised, we heard consistently from not only defense counsel but prosecutors how unbiased judge jackson is. we heard phrases like, doing things by the books. one prosecutor described the sentencing hearing involving a very high profile, sensitive national security matter. what she said was, it was classic judge jackson. she said i had my sentencing manual, judge jackson had her sentencing manual, we went page by page and it was a very complicated legal issue that they were trained to work their way through. what this prosecutor said was judge jackson put both parties through their cases. what really impressed this prosecutor was after oral
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argument, judge jackson took a recess, went back to chambers, and when she resumed the bench, came back with a sentence that was more in favor of the government and what more impressed the prosecutor was the judge's ruling included arguments that had been made both by the defense and the prosecutor's during oral arguments. it is not as if she came into the hearing with her mind made up. she listened to what counsel on both sides said and came up with a sentence that the prosecution was quite happy with. chair durbin: from what i gather, and let me turn to senator grassley, the facts and the observations of 250 professionals belie two of the major criticisms that emerged over the last few days in front of this committee in terms of the sentencing standards being used by judge jackson in very
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sensitive cases involving exploitation of children, as well as her general approach against prosecution and defense and criminal cases lead those who were her contemporaries and who work with her on a professional basis to conclude she met the highest of legal standards. that is what obviously led to your conclusion. that she is unanimously well-qualified to serve on the supreme court. judge williams: you are correct. sen. grassley: i think you will find my tone differently than when i have questioned aba, i have been critical of your involvement in this process. i hope you understand -- maybe some of your folks have not been allowed long enough to know my
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history of criticizing the aba. does it remain the aba's policy to keep confidential the names of the people interviewed, as well as material dealing with analysis of nominees? is this information available to the judiciary committee? judge williams: senator grassley, that is our policy. the names are kept confidential. the heart of it and the reason is because we want candid, honest statements from those who we interview. if people knew their names would be associated with their comments, nobody would answer our calls. and if our deliberations were shared openly again, even if we did not name a name, one might be able to identify who made
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particular statements. the whole key of the aba investigation -- sen. grassley: i think i am satisfied with what you said. just give me some justification without having that information that interviews are not stacked for or against a nominee. please give a short answer. judge williams: the evaluators take what i think is almost like a sacred oath to conduct nonpartisan questioning, to get to the bottom line, to make sure individuals are able to be free to answer the questions that we pose. jean, you might want to comment more on that. sen. grassley: i think you answered that ok. what i need to hear from you,
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accepting the legitimacy of everything you told me to this point, would there be anything wrong with people interviewing -- for members of this committee seeing that material in a confidential environment? judge williams: there would be a problem with that, senator. sen. grassley: if two people know about anything in washington, d.c., it is no secret. judge williams: you are right about that. sen. grassley: you gave judge jackson a well-qualified rating, but most recently gave justice amy coney barrett a minority well-qualified rating. beside the reading groups, one objective groups of scale do you use? judge williams: first, if i could make one point, judge
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barrett received a well-qualified rating. when the majority votes well-qualified or qualified, if it is a majority vote, the rating is well-qualified. we use the same standard for each nominee and we follow the process with justice barrett. i was not on the committee at the time. certainly, our report is a matter of public record. the bottom line is she received a well-qualified rating from this committee. sen. grassley: give me a rough idea of the objective measurements. judge williams: her analytical skills were excellent, if i recall, from the report. you can refer to that report. our rating was well-qualified. sen. grassley: why did you
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choose to limit your review of her record to her over 240 published opinions on the district court? judge williams: you mean judge jackson? we focused on published opinions, other writings, we had the reading groups focus on those. we did not delve into the other orders, many of those were short. many of those did not give us sufficient -- many of the orders were short, i guess that is the easiest way to say it. the published opinions that people view, we felt were more important to review. we also consulted with academic committees and our practitioners group. we felt those writings that were published would be most appropriate.
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ms. veta: senator grassley, on that point, published opinions in the legal community or relied upon more so than unpublished opinions. it was those opinions she was putting out there for the legal community. sen. grassley: i might have one question to submit to you for answer in writing. chair durbin: thank you. >> welcome to the members of the panel. i do not know any of you and i do not know your backgrounds, >> we will leave this here to go live to remarks from president biden, speaking following an emergency meeting of russia's invasion of ukraine. president biden: if i had your voice, i would have been elected earlier.


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