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Senate Proceeding on Feb 2nd, 2009 :: 0:08:25 to 0:25:55
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Tom Udall

0:08:21 to 0:08:41( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: you would like to yield time to --f your mr. specter: senator cornyn i believe is next on the list how much time would you like, senator? mr. coburn: short of 15 minutes, probably 10 minutes. mr. specter: i yield that time

Tom Udall

0:08:25 to 0:25:55( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Tom Udall

Tom Udall

0:08:42 to 0:09:02( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: to senator coburn. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: i want to chairman for his graciousness and my ranking member. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma is recognized. mr. coburn: thank you. madam president, last week in the judiciary committee, i voted against the nomination of eric holder. i was constraints, offered the

Tom Udall

0:09:03 to 0:09:23( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: portunity to express my reason and logic for that. today i rise to opposition and to urge others who share my concerns to do the same. i have high praise for eric holder as an individual and as a lawyer. i believe certain aspects, however, of his record

Tom Udall

0:09:24 to 0:09:44( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: disqualify him for serving attorney general, and i plan on outling those in this talk before the senate today. specifically, his facilitation of the mark rich pardon, his defense as reasonable of faln terrorist commutations. in addition to his views on the second amendment and the first

Tom Udall

0:09:45 to 0:10:05( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: amendment, specifically with respect to his answers about the fairness doctrine. eric holder has spent most of his distinguished career as a public servant. by all account, h brilliant lawyer -- by allccounts, he is a brilliant lawyer. his nomination was met with high praise from both sides of the aisle. his intellect and ability have been noted throughout his

Tom Udall

0:10:06 to 0:10:27( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: career, and they were duly noted in his appearance before the senate judiciary committee. moreover, i believe him to be a man of good character. the long line of individuals who voiced support for his nomin speaks to the high regard in which he is clearly held. in our private meeting, i found him to be personable and he is undoubtedly a good man.

Tom Udall

0:10:28 to 0:10:51( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: these good qualities, however, are not concerns i have with this nomination. in particular, four issues have caused me to conclude that eric holder shoul not be given the assignment as the next attorney general of the united states. i believe the m that he lacks judgment, that he

Tom Udall

0:10:52 to 0:11:12( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: lacks independence, and i middle eastern is, is he -- and my concern is, is he now testimony lacks candor for such important joel. eric holder's role in facilitated the -- facilitating the pardon of fugitive mark rich is perhaps the

Tom Udall

0:11:13 to 0:11:34( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: yus blight on his record. condemnation of that is strong. even mr. holder will not defend his actions, telling the committee, it was a naive mistake. eric holder's involvement in this unconscionable pardon suggests either he has dangerouslyoor judgment or he has an inability to say no to powerful political pressure. as deputy attorney general

Tom Udall

0:11:35 to 0:11:56( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: orchestrated an end run around the justice department, ignoring the aice of prosecutors career professionals who oppose clemency for -- opposed clemency for mark rich. although pardoning a fugitive was extremely rare, the candidate appeared to have no qualms with the proposition. while he acknowledges his role in this mr. holder offers a curious

Tom Udall

0:11:57 to 0:12:18( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: explanation for the error. he told the committee that he was not familiar with rich's record at the time of the pardon. first of all, i find this to be unbelievable, as the facts suggest otherwise just a few years before the pardon, when holder was a u.s. attorn for the district of columbia, his office sued one of rich's companies after an

Tom Udall

0:12:19 to 0:12:40( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: extensive investigation into contract fraud. the complaint that was filed in that case and comments that were made to the press make it almost impossible to believe that eric holder was unfamiliar with rich at the time the pardon. moreover, given that rich had been featured as one of the f.b.i.'s top ten fugitives, it is even harder to

Tom Udall

0:12:41 to 0:13:01( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: believe t become familiar with the man in the 15 months that passed between the time he was contacted by rich's lawyer and the day clemency was issued. to say that this pardon was a mistake is an understatement of the worst kind. as others have pointed out, the best thing eric holder could have done for himself and his boss would have been to oppose the pardon and to convince

Tom Udall

0:13:02 to 0:13:22( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: president clinton not to issue it. while i mistakes are inevitably made by us all, i find the excuse for this one implausible. eric holder is a bright and contentious lawyer. at the time of the rich pardon, he had served for three years as deputy attorney general. in short, he should have known better

Tom Udall

0:13:23 to 0:13:44( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: because he allowed his good judgment to be overridden by political influence, i believe this act suffice to disqualify him from higher office. although the mark rich pardon may have been the best-known of controversial clemency in eric holder's record, the commutation

Tom Udall

0:13:45 to 0:14:07( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: of sentences for 16faln terrorists became an issue equal if not greater concern throughout the hearing. the faln organization had been linked to 150 bombings, threats, kidnappings and other events which resulted in the death of at least six americans and the injury of many more between 1974 and

Tom Udall

0:14:08 to 0:14:28( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: it's not under -- it's not hard to understand why these commutations were strongly opposed by the u.s. attorney, the f.b.i., the pardon attorney at the department of justice, as well as the victims' family. what is hard to understand is why eric holder chose to ignore those opinions and instead facilitate clemency for these convicted terrorists.

Tom Udall

0:14:29 to 0:14:50( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: new information discovered just before the hearing revealed that eric holder played an active role in securing these commutations. according to the "l.a. times," holder instructed his staff at justice office of the pardon attorney to effectively replace the department's original report recommending against any commutations which had been sent to the white house in 1996 with

Tom Udall

0:14:51 to 0:15:13( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: one that favored clemency for at least half of the prisoners. unlike the rich has embraced his role in endorsing these commutations. he told senator sessions during our committee hearings that the decision was reasonable and has stood unapologetically by tha statement, even after it was proved he knew very little about the terrorists or their crimes

Tom Udall

0:15:14 to 0:15:34( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: at the time of the commutations. perhaps no one is as angry about holder's role in this incident or about his elevation to this distinguished office as joseph connor, whose 33-year-old father was murdered when the faln bombed the new york city restaurant where he was eating lunch. mr. connor was nine years old. he's written numerous editorials

Tom Udall

0:15:35 to 0:15:56( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: and gave compelling testimony at our hearing about the devastating, indefensible acts that these commutations were. and i have to make clear that we will not tolerate officials who would put our lives in jeopardy by releasing it is a disrespectful affront to all americans, particularly to

Tom Udall

0:15:57 to 0:16:17( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: those of us who have come face-to-face with their violence violence." mr. connor's testimony struck a cord with me due to my own -- chord with me due to my own experiences with domestic terrorism. having dealt with the shock and aftermath of the oklahoma city bombing which happened prior to the faln commutations, i can relate to the grief and anger

Tom Udall

0:16:18 to 0:16:38( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: felt by the family member a victim murdered senselessly by terrorists. i've seen the devastation that these acts of violence inflict on a community and especially on the families they most directly impact. i've heard from the many law enforcement officers who worked scene, gather the evidence and tend to the victims. i've witnessed the long and difficult process of

Tom Udall

0:16:39 to 0:16:59( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: sentencing. i know that bringing perpetrators to justice is a crucial part for these families' haling process. i cannot imagine how awful those things would come undone if justice were mined as it was in the faln case. the danger in commuting sentences of terrorists responsible for the murder of

Tom Udall

0:17:00 to 0:17:22( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: american citizens and intent on killing even more is obvious. i won't recount those concerns here. but to help give a voice to joe connor and to the many other surviving family members of terrorist victims, i'd ask that our effect this decision's had on them. we are accountable to each and every one.

Tom Udall

0:17:23 to 0:17:45( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: eric holder concern with me and that is his hostility to the second amendment. i heard our chairman speak earlier about how he said he would uphold the second amendment. but when queried directly and specific abo second amendment, the answers were not forthcoming. as deputy attorney general, he

Tom Udall

0:17:46 to 0:18:07( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: advocated restrictive gun control legislation, waiting periods, an age limit that a soldier couldn't come back from iraq and own a shotgun because he wasn't 21 yet, a registration for every gun in this country, the elimination for me to be able to give my shotgun to my grandson when it's time to teach him to go hunting.

Tom Udall

0:18:08 to 0:18:28( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: all those things he has espoused limiting with the second amendment. while he has advanced those restrictions as a member of the clinton administration working under attorney general janet reno, he remained active in antigun advocacy after he entered the private sector. after at tax of september 11, he offered -- authored an op-ed for

Tom Udall

0:18:29 to 0:18:50( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: "the washington post" entitled, "keeping guns away from terrorists." i won't go through the details of that, but the details of what he's -- he purports to support would have a devastating impact on the second amendment in this countr perhaps the most telling and unsettling aspec mr. holder's eaptd gun record is

Tom Udall

0:18:51 to 0:19:11( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: the signing of an amicus brief in the supreme court seminole second amendment case in which he argued that the constitution did not protect an individual right to bear arms. now, i don't believe that -- i believe that he actually believes that, that we don't have the right. he now tells us that that's settled with the heller case. but on further query, we get

Tom Udall

0:19:12 to 0:19:32( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: tremendous nervousness about his support for the second amendment. the supreme court rejected his view on unanimously. his statement in our hearing that he respects heller as law of the land does not provide enough assurance of his

Tom Udall

0:19:33 to 0:19:53( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: commitment to defend the second amendment. it is neither controversial nor instruct turf make such a statement -- instructive to make such a statement. what matters are his views on specific proposals for gun control legislation and regu at his hearing, i used the vast amount of my time in three rounds of questioning to try and extract opinions from eric holder on the second amendment.

Tom Udall

0:19:54 to 0:20:14( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: in his testimony permanent ban on so-called assault weapons, an age restriction on handgun possession -- again, many of our troops returning and out of the military after two years would not be able to have a handgun because they're not 21 -- closing the gun

Tom Udall

0:20:15 to 0:20:35( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: what that means is i a gun to one of my neighbors without a background check on my neighbor. i cannot go and actually sell a piece of material that i have to someone else without going through a gun check. or i can't even sell it to my brother. he refused to commit to defending the state righ

Tom Udall

0:20:36 to 0:20:56( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: right-to-carry laws. there's more have those laws and he was questioned over and over and would not answer affirmatively that he would use the power of the attorney general to uphold the second amendment. he repeatedly theafd gun regulation was not -- repeatedly testified that gun regu for either he or the administration.

Tom Udall

0:20:57 to 0:21:17( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: consistently, mr. holder has unapologetically embraced his antigun views, yet at his confirmation hearing, he would not tell us what those views were. he has been a vocal gun control advocate in his official and individual capacities. he was

Tom Udall

0:21:18 to 0:21:38( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: amendment issues, an issue he has followed for years, as he was an issue which he could not possibly have enough information to prosecute judg prejudge. after an extensive review of his testimony and record, i'm convinced that as attorney general, ache rick holder will not adequately defend the second amendment.

Tom Udall

0:21:39 to 0:22:00( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: final, i have serious doubts as to committed to defending the first amendment against threats against the called fairness doctrine. this policy existed for decades before being abolished in 1987 -- and rightly so. today the concept is being revived again and the threat of government censorship is again a real possibility overhe airwaves.

Tom Udall

0:22:01 to 0:22:21( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: at our hearing, eric holder was asked about his thoughts on this proposal. specifically he was asked whether a matter of public policy, the fairness doctrine should be reinstated, to which he replied, "that's a toughy. i've not given an awful lot of thought to him. " it's hard to accept that eric holder, a former deputy attorney general, somehow missed the debate over this prominent issue in our

Tom Udall

0:22:22 to 0:22:42( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: it's even harder to accept his answer when reviewing statements about media bias. this not so thinly veiled attack targets the media outlets that advocates of fairness doctrine hope to cripple. there's no reason for this kind of justice.

Tom Udall

0:22:43 to 0:23:03( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: unfortunately mr. holder said nothing to ease the concerns about his predisposition on this issue. in written responses to further questions from the committee, he said, if a law or regulation is enacted that seeks to implement some version of the fairness doctrine, i will work with other agencies in the new

Tom Udall

0:23:04 to 0:23:25( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: administration and the department of legal counsel to consider a view of the constitutionality of the specific law or regulation under consideration. remarkably although eric holder was given an opportunity to distance himself from the inflammatory comments he made in the 2004 speech, he was --

Tom Udall

0:23:26 to 0:23:46( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: best offered was to give a considered view. what i expected from the attorney general was a clear and strong commitment to defend the first with what eric holder he fell far short of my expectation. the so-called fairness doctrine is not a tough issue. it was described by the -- was prescribed by the attorney

Tom Udall

0:23:47 to 0:24:08( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. coburn: i would ask for three additional minutes. as former s.e.c. chairman argued shortly after the policy was repealed, the fairness doctrine does not belong in a country dedicated to the freedom of press and the freedom of speech. i agree and am disturbed that

Tom Udall

0:24:09 to 0:24:31( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: our likely next attorney general does not. in conclusion, after carefully to eric holder's testimony especially regarding each of the issues i raised today, i'm forced to conclude that he lacks the judgment, independence, and candor to be attorney general. i did not reach this conclusion without careful consideration. when i first came to one of the first votes i had to

Tom Udall

0:24:32 to 0:24:55( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: make was on the nomination, consent and advice on attorney general alberto gonzales. i had a catch in my spirit on that nomination. i should not have cast a vote i was the first republican to suggest that he should resign. because he did not display the independence nor the candor nor

Tom Udall

0:24:56 to 0:25:17( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: the support for the rule of law. although hindsight's 20/20, i reserve my right to do the right thing on this nomination. there's no difference between the lack of independence that's been demonstrated by the testimony of eric holder and his past and what we saw in the lack

Tom Udall

0:25:18 to 0:25:39( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: of independence of previous attorney generals. often time nominees come to the senate with nearly a blank slate. this is not the case with eric holder. his time in public service specifically stand as attorney general for -- deputy attorney general president clinton stand for this. his role in the pardons and

Tom Udall

0:25:40 to 0:25:56( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: comiew indications are -- commutations are very troubling. i believe in summary independence is lacking. candor is lacking. and judgment is lacking. president obama deserves some degree of deference in his

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