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Senate Proceeding on May 19th, 2011 :: 1:43:40 to 2:05:50
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Jeff Sessions

1:43:39 to 1:43:59( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the floor. mr. sessions: mr. the presiding officer: the senator from alabama is recognized. mr. sessions: mr. president, i would like to speak on the liu nomination, and i appreciate the good advocacy of senator boxer, but i would remind her that she

Jeff Sessions

1:43:40 to 2:05:50( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions

1:44:00 to 1:44:21( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and her democratic colleagues changed the ground rules of the senate and created filibusters that had not -- that heretofore had not -- had been done in early 2000, i opposed that, but after much, much debate, several years in which several fabulous nominees to the court were being blocked by a filibuster, the

Jeff Sessions

1:44:22 to 1:44:43( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: gang of 14 decided that matter and said well, we all agree now we'll not filibuster except in extraordinary circumstances. and i think as a matter of law, not as a matter of character and personality, but as a matter of approach to law, extraordinary circumstances exist in this case. i've heard my colleagues talk about professor liu's unusual

Jeff Sessions

1:44:44 to 1:45:05( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: intellectual abilities, his academic career, clerkship on the supreme court and his prolific writings, and certainly i don't dispute he is a good man and is involved in debate about law in america. what they failed to mention, however, is his lack of any

Jeff Sessions

1:45:06 to 1:45:26( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: meaningful experience as a practicing attorney. s never tried a case before a jury and argued only once before a federal court of appeals. only once. this is a very serious shortcoming for a number of reasons, the most important of which is the plain fact that significant legal experience litigating in court provides

Jeff Sessions

1:45:27 to 1:45:49( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: insight to someone who would be a judge and understanding that words have meaning and consequences. and it is a real legal world testing ground in which persons can prove their judgment and their integrity and their skill. it's also -- it also provides a maturing experience where one

Jeff Sessions

1:45:50 to 1:46:10( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: learns that words have reality and that a single word and a deed, a contract, a letter or even an e-mail can determine which party received millions of dollars in a lawsuit or even whether they go to jail or not. seasoned lawyers bring much to the bench as do judges who have previous experience when they go

Jeff Sessions

1:46:11 to 1:46:34( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: on to the courts of appeal. this lack of legislation experience leaves me with only two sources of how to evaluate how this nominee would behave on the bench. his writings, which are extensive and his testimony before the committee.

Jeff Sessions

1:46:35 to 1:46:55( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: which, frankly, i never felt too great about the value of those testimonies. from his writings one cannot help but see that mr. liu has extraordinary beliefs about our law and constitution. beliefs that fall far outside the mainstream. they just do. professor liu does not believe

Jeff Sessions

1:46:56 to 1:47:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: judges are bound to apply the constitution according to what it actually meant at its drafting or what it plainly says, but he believes judges are free to adapt the constitution according to how they perceive the needs of modern society.

Jeff Sessions

1:47:21 to 1:47:41( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: in fact, he has written this: -- this -- quote -- "interpreting the constitution requires adaptation of its broad principles to the conditions and challenges faced by successive generations. the question is not how the constitution would have been applied at its founding, but,

Jeff Sessions

1:47:42 to 1:48:02( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: rather, how it should be applied today in light of changing needs, conditions, understandings of our society." this is judge from law, in my opinion. he has also written that the constitution has no fixed

Jeff Sessions

1:48:03 to 1:48:23( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: meaning. he's written that -- quote -- "our constitution has shown a remarkable capacity to absorb new meanings and new commitments forged from passionate dialogue and debate, vigorous dissent and

Jeff Sessions

1:48:24 to 1:48:44( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: sometimes disobedience." he goes on to say, fidelity to the constitution requires judges to ask not how its general principles would have been applied in 1789 or in 1868, but, rather, how those principles should be applied today in order

Jeff Sessions

1:48:45 to 1:49:05( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to preserve their power and meaning in light of concerns, conditions involving norms of our society." to that i would days debris and -- i would disagree and say that words do have meaning. they mean something specific and when they are written down in a

Jeff Sessions

1:49:06 to 1:49:27( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: statute or a constitution, that mere passage of time or the mere shifting of political winds or the judge's personal views about what may be the concerns, conditions, and evolving norms of our society. judges aren't empowered to do that.

Jeff Sessions

1:49:28 to 1:49:48( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: they're not empowered to impose their views about the concerns, conditions, that involving norms of our society. judges are given the power to decide cases and to say what the law means. for a judge to believe otherwise is a serious threat to the rule of law and to the principles

Jeff Sessions

1:49:49 to 1:50:10( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: that make this nation great. professor liu's writings express extreme views about more than constitutional interpretation. his writings have often expressed an unorthodox view of the role of a judge. alexander hamilton famously wrote in the federalist papers

Jeff Sessions

1:50:11 to 1:50:31( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: 78, that the judiciary has no influence over either the sword, the purse. no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society and can take no active resolution whatsoever. it may truly be said to have

Jeff Sessions

1:50:32 to 1:50:54( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: neither force nor will merely judgment. and, frankly, having read his writings and listened to his testimony where all his great capabilities and fine character

Jeff Sessions

1:50:55 to 1:51:16( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: are, i have concluded that he, indeed, lacks the most essential quality of a judge, and that's good judgment. proven in the practice of law or as a previously appointed judge. i believe that hamilton he was the role an vision by the chief justice marshall when he wrote

Jeff Sessions

1:51:17 to 1:51:38( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: it is the province and duty of the justice department to say -- the judicial department to say what the law is. close quote. i think chief justice roberts perfectly summed up the role of a judge as the founders saw it and as we've been raised to understand it when he said that a judge should be a neutral umpire who calls the balls and

Jeff Sessions

1:51:39 to 1:52:00( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: strikes without preference to either side, but professor liu does not agree with that analogy. he attacked chief justice roberts. he does not argue that the task of judges is to read the words of the constitution according to their original meeting. instead he's written that --

Jeff Sessions

1:52:01 to 1:52:23( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: quote -- "the historical development and binding character of our constitutional understanding demand more complex explanations than a conventional account of the courts as independent, socially detatched decision makers that say what the law is. then during the -- the enduring

Jeff Sessions

1:52:24 to 1:52:46( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: task the judiciary is to find a way to articulate constitutional law that the nation can accept as its own." i -- this is utterly wrong. that view cannot be accepted because it calls for a judge to be ponder, to seek, to render a decision that is popular or fits

Jeff Sessions

1:52:47 to 1:53:10( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the judge's own values. most certainly such a decision method is not law. it's not objective. it's subjective. really, it allows a judge to base rulings on factors that are incapable of being a standard. it introduces politics, ideology, religion and whatever

Jeff Sessions

1:53:11 to 1:53:32( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: else may be in a judge's mind in a decision-making process. and it's contrary to the entire history of the american rule of law that served us so well. mr. liu has also written that -- quote -- "the problem for courts is to determine at the moment of decision whether or collective values on a given issue have

Jeff Sessions

1:53:33 to 1:53:54( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: converged to a degree that they can be persuasively crystallized and credibly absorbed into legal doctrine." these words describe a policymaker, not a judge. professor liu's writings also

Jeff Sessions

1:53:55 to 1:54:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: show that he does not share our founding father's view -- vision of in many different areas. and having confused my papers here.

Jeff Sessions

1:54:25 to 1:54:46( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: i better get this straight. he does not see the constitution as a charter of freedom from government interference. instead, he argues that portions of the constitution create positive rights to welfare benefits. he attempts to derive all of these rights from the citizenship clause of the 14th amendment.

Jeff Sessions

1:54:47 to 1:55:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: that clause reads simply this: all persons born or naturalized in the united states and subject to the -- the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the united states and of the states where in they recite -- wherein they reside. it may be difficult to determine exactly what some of the words

Jeff Sessions

1:55:09 to 1:55:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: mean in the constitution. however, our language has not changed so much that these words could possibly be read to mean that all americans have a right to various benefits, such as -- quote -- " -- and this is what

Jeff Sessions

1:55:30 to 1:55:53( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: mr. liu has written -- quote -- "expanded health insurance, child care, transportation subsidie." i kid you not. "job training and a robust earned income tax credit." close quote. that's what he's written in several important law journals, not a casual conversation.

Jeff Sessions

1:55:54 to 1:56:15( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: he's written in law journals. he writes that citizenship does not mean citizenship but rather to be a fully, able participating member of society. close quote. the constitution didn't say that. the constitution just made the person citizens. his article says thead indication that child care,

Jeff Sessions

1:56:16 to 1:56:36( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: transportation subsidies, job training and presumably other welfare benefits you might need are constitutional rights because the citizenship clause ultimately requires equality of results in those context. he asserts that the judge's role is to ensure such a result is

Jeff Sessions

1:56:37 to 1:56:59( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: achieved even if the legislature may not so find. that's like no definition of citizenship i've ever heard. professor liu's interpretation of the citizenship clause is so far disconnected from the actual text of the document and what the people meant when they ratified it that it would be unrecognizable to those who

Jeff Sessions

1:57:00 to 1:57:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: drafted it. some of professor liu's supporters have said, as he did before the committee, that his argument about the citizenship clause was directed only at congress. legislative branch, executive branch. and it was meant for judges.

Jeff Sessions

1:57:21 to 1:57:44( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: that simply does not square with what he wrote. and we've researched this, tried to be fair to him. in 2008 professor liu published an article entitled "rethinking constitutional welfare rights." constitutional welfare rights. in that article he set out to

Jeff Sessions

1:57:45 to 1:58:07( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: make, as he said -- quote --"a small step toward reformation of thought on how welfare rights may be recognized through constitutional adjudication." that means by judges. judges do adjudication.

Jeff Sessions

1:58:08 to 1:58:28( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: in that same article professor liu argued once there is a welfare program, it is the role of the courts -- he said the courts to grasp the community meaning and purpose of that welfare benefit in light of the needs of equality and national citizenship. professor liu explicitly stated

Jeff Sessions

1:58:29 to 1:58:53( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: that, when necessary, courts should recognize or expand these welfare rights by -- quote -- "invalidating statutory eligibility requirements" -- this is his language that he quo -- quote -- "by invalidating statutory eligibility requirements" -- that means

Jeff Sessions

1:58:55 to 1:59:15( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: welfare -- or strengthening against benefits. well, congress withdrew and altered benefits with the welfare reform act in the late 1990's. president clinton eventually signed it and the judge -- does the judge think that the courts ought to strike that down? apparently so.

Jeff Sessions

1:59:16 to 1:59:36( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: in other words, professor liu believes that judges have right, and, indeed, the duty to rewrite laws written by congress when they think those laws are inadequate or when the judge, without the judicial limitations of legal standards, decides this case on what the judge thinks is fair. it's too close to that. it really is.

Jeff Sessions

1:59:37 to 1:59:58( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: this is a dangerous nonlegal philosophy. his writings also show that he holds a number of -- of views on some of the most controversial topics of our day that are extreme. he believes that the longstanding definition of marriage as between a man and a woman is unconstitutional.

Jeff Sessions

1:59:59 to 2:00:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: he filed a brief with some other law professors in california on that subject and we asked him about that at the hearing. and, frankly, his answer was not satisfactory in the sense that he said he was only referring to california law when, in fact, his brief cited the u.s.

Jeff Sessions

2:00:21 to 2:00:42( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: constitution which had similar language. he's also made statements that raise questions as to his temperament. it is -- he was very nice at our hearing. we've heard things said about him in that way.

Jeff Sessions

2:00:43 to 2:01:03( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: i would just ask if you consider these nice comments that he made about chief justice roberts, for example. he said, chief justice roberts has -- quote -- "a vision for american law, a right-wing vision, an tag insist particular to important rights and protections we currently enjoy."

Jeff Sessions

2:01:04 to 2:01:24( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: close quote. and criticized him for being a member of -- quote -- "the republican national lawyers' association and the national legal center for the public interest, whose commission is to promote, among other things, free enterprise, private ownership of property, and limited government.

Jeff Sessions

2:01:25 to 2:01:48( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: these are" -- this is all mr. liu's writings. "the mission of this republican law center or the national legal center for public interest is horror of horrors, to promote free enterprise, private ownership of property, and limited government."

Jeff Sessions

2:01:49 to 2:02:10( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: he considers those improper goals and says -- quote -- "these are --" this is his quote -- "these are code words phon an ideological agenda hostile to workplace and envir protections." give me break.

Jeff Sessions

2:02:11 to 2:02:32( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: with respect to justice alito, a fabulous member of the supreme court, so experienced, so far -- so much more seasoned as a nominee than this nominee comes close to being -- he went further. appearing in person before the judiciary committee to testify that justice alito -- quote -- "envisions an america where police may shoot and kill an unarmed boy to stop him from

Jeff Sessions

2:02:33 to 2:02:53( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: running away with a stolen purse, where federal agents may point guns at ordinary citizens during a raid, even after no sign of resistance, where a black man may be extensioned to death by an all-white injury for

Jeff Sessions

2:02:54 to 2:03:14( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: killing a black man." he acknowledged that was unnecessary -- unnecessarily colorful language at the committee when asked about it. nobody said that kind of thin

Jeff Sessions

2:03:15 to 2:03:37( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: it was an intemperament remark and it was unfair to justice alito. thus, i have concluded that the nominee presents an extraordinary circumstance that requires me to oppose cloture on the nomination, which i'm reluctant to do. i voted against some nominees.

Jeff Sessions

2:03:38 to 2:03:58( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: i voted probably for 90% of president obama's nominees, 90% of president clinton's nominees when i was in the senate, but this nominee, i believe, is -- represents an extraordinary circumstance. his record reveals that he

Jeff Sessions

2:03:59 to 2:04:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: believes the constitution is a fluid, evolving document with no fixed meaning, that he believes the role of a judge is to participate in a -- quote -- "dialogue" -- close quote -- with the legislature about what welfare benefits are to be required by the constitution and that the traditional definition of "marriage" is unconstitutional.

Jeff Sessions

2:04:20 to 2:04:42( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: his record reveals he's willing to use the courts in order to achieve what he thinks is the proper level of social welfare benefits and that he is willing to attack even -- and distort of record of honor bible judges to promote his own views of what he thinks the constitution should

Jeff Sessions

2:04:43 to 2:05:05( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: require. mr. president, i do believe that our senate would have done better not to have had filibusters. that was my view. but we had a debate on that, and it changed. if senator boxer and other democrats now have rethought that matter and would like to

Jeff Sessions

2:05:06 to 2:05:28( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: talk to me, i would certainly be willing to consider restoring the traditional view of dissent with regard to filibusters of judges. i don't think that's likely to happen, because it was done systematically and deliberately, with great deliberation and determination, by the democrats

Jeff Sessions

2:05:29 to 2:05:49( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: in the early -- in 2001, i believe it was, and they imposed that change on the senate. and that's what we're operating under today. and based on that, i do believe that senate -- presiding officer liu should -- professor liu should not be confirmed. i thank the chair and would

Jeff Sessions

2:05:50 to 2:05:50( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: yiel

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