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Senate Proceeding on Jun 17th, 2009 :: 6:53:10 to 7:16:30
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Jeff Sessions

6:53:10 to 7:16:30( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions

6:53:15 to 6:53:35( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: quorum call: a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. a senator: i would ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: the nomination of a new justice to the supreme court of t brings to our minds a core question both for the senate and

Jeff Sessions

6:53:36 to 6:53:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the american peo what is the proper federal judge in our republic? answering this question is not simply an academic task. it's be doing here. how the american people and their representatives and their

Jeff Sessions

6:53:58 to 6:54:18( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: senators, the ones who have been delegated that responsibility, answer this question impacts not only the judiciary, but i think future of our legal system and american experience, really. i would jus say that from traveling the world as part of the armed services committee,

Jeff Sessions

6:54:19 to 6:54:40( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: i'm more convinced than before that the glory of our american experience, our liberty and our the fact that we have a legal system you can count on. and when you go to places like afghanistan or iraq or pakistan or the west bank and -- and you see people -- bosnia, and they

Jeff Sessions

6:54:41 to 6:55:01( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: just can't working. and it does not work and people are not protected in their persons from property is not protected. contracts often aren't enforced properly, and that just demoralizes countries and it makes it very difficult for them to pgress.

Jeff Sessions

6:55:02 to 6:55:23( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: so i'm so proud of the american legal system. it's something that we inherited. we built upon and it is the bull work for our liberty and prosperity. so we ask this question: what do judges do? do they faithfully interpret the text of our laws constitution as written? or do they have the power to reinterpret those documents

Jeff Sessions

6:55:24 to 6:55:45( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: through the lens personal views, backgrounds and innocence is the judiciary to be a modest one applying the policies that others have enacted or can it, the judiciary, create new policies that are -- that a judge may desire or think is good? and when the correct answer to a

Jeff Sessions

6:55:46 to 6:56:06( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: legal case is difficult to ascertain, is a judge then empowered to remove his or her blindfold, that lady of justice with the blindfold on holding the scales? can they remove the blindfold and allow their personal feelings or -- or

Jeff Sessions

6:56:07 to 6:56:27( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the normal judicial evidence factors to sway the ultimate decision in the case? so i'm going to be talking about that and addressing those questions in the weeks but i do think we need to first begin at the source. we must return to the words and ideas of those who fnded our

Jeff Sessions

6:56:28 to 6:56:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: naon, whose foresight resulted in the greatest republic this world has ever known and the greatest legal system in the world. so it's clear from reviewing these words and ideas and ideals, particularly as expressed in the itself, that our founders desired and created a court

Jeff Sessions

6:56:52 to 6:57:16( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: system that was impartial, restrained, and that through a faithful rendering of the constitution serves as a check against the intrusion of government on the rights of human kind. the founders established a government that scope and limited in its authority.

Jeff Sessions

6:57:17 to 6:57:37( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: nor to -- they bounded the government by a constitution. its powers were only those expressly granted to the government. as chief justice john marshall famously wrote -- quote -- "this government is acknowledged by all to be one of enumerated powers."

Jeff Sessions

6:57:38 to 6:58:00( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: en has the powers itself given and only those powers it was given. and if you'll recall the constitution starts out "we the people of the united states of america in more perfect union." to the speeple established it and they granted certain powers to the -- the people established it and they granted certain

Jeff Sessions

6:58:01 to 6:58:21( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: powers to the they were limited and and set forth. but our founders knew these limitations, history being what it is, standing alone were not enough. so they created three distinct branches of government creating a

Jeff Sessions

6:58:22 to 6:58:42( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to prevent any one branch from consolidating too much power. the constitution gives each branch its own responsibility. article 1 of the constitution declares -- quote -- "all legislative powers -- that's us -- herein granted shall be vested in a congress of the united states."

Jeff Sessions

6:58:43 to 6:59:05( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: close quote. ar "the executive power shall be vested in a president of the united close quote. an article 3 declares -- quote -- "the judicial power of the united states shall be vested in one supreme court."

Jeff Sessions

6:59:06 to 6:59:26( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: close quote. congress creates. so these words, i think, are unambiguous. the to make law or even enforce in federalist number 47, one of our founding fathers, james madison, cites the constitution

Jeff Sessions

6:59:27 to 6:59:47( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: of massachusetts which states -- quote -- "the judicia never exercise the legislative and executive powers or either of them to the end that it may be a government of laws and not of men." close quote. so madison in arguing for constitution trying to convince

Jeff Sessions

6:59:48 to 7:00:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the americans to vote for it, quoted the massachusetts constitution this provision in it with approval stating that's essentially what we have our federal government. madison was really a r man. he went on to describe the

Jeff Sessions

7:00:09 to 7:00:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: separation of powers as -- quote -- "essential precaution in and alexander hamilton in "federalist" number 78, "the federalist paper" that also was written to encourage americans to support the constitution,

Jeff Sessions

7:00:30 to 7:00:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: quotes the french fil montesquieu who said -- quote -- "there is no liberty if the power of judging not be separated from the legislative and executive powers." the judicial branch then is limited to the interpretation and application of law, lawhat exists, not law they create.

Jeff Sessions

7:00:52 to 7:01:12( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: at no point may its judges substitute their political or personal views for that of elected representatives or to the people themselves, the people's will having been permanently expressed in the constitution that created the judiciary. to gain a deeper understanding of this role, it's instructive to look further at hamilton's

Jeff Sessions

7:01:13 to 7:01:33( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: "federalist" number 78, widely regarded as one of the definitive documents o the american court system. in it, hamilton explains that -- quote -- "the interpretation of the law the proper and peculiar province of the courts. the constitution must be regarded by the judges as a

Jeff Sessions

7:01:34 to 7:01:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: fundamental law. it, therefore, belongs to them -- it, therefore, belongs to them to ascertain its meaning. judges do not grant rights or remove them. basically they defend the rights that the constitution enumerates. so it's, thus, no surprise that

Jeff Sessions

7:01:57 to 7:02:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: hamilton says a judge must have an -- quote -- "inflexible and uniform adherence to the rights of the constitution." but in order to ensure that judges would consistently display such an adherence to the constitution in the face of outside thought about this and they took

Jeff Sessions

7:02:21 to 7:02:42( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: steps to ensure that the judiciary was independent from the other branches and insulated from political interference as was often the case, the framers were guided by the wisdom of their own experience. they had a hot of common sense in the way they dealt with things -- they had a lot of common sense in the way they dealt with things. in

Jeff Sessions

7:02:43 to 7:03:07( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: not protected from the whims of the king. included in the declaration of independence's litany grievances is the assertion -- this is in the declaration when jefferson was setting forth the complaints he had against the king, he asserted had -- quote -- "made all judges dependent on his will alone for

Jeff Sessions

7:03:08 to 7:03:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the ten iewfer their that was a complaint. that was one of the things we objected to in the way the king was handling the people in -- in the colonies, and that was part of the declaration, and when the constitution was drafted, that matter was fixed. in order to shield the courts from the threat of political pressu or retribution, article

Jeff Sessions

7:03:30 to 7:03:52( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: 3 effectively grants judges a lifetime appointment whew. the only f america that has a lifetime appointment we have to answer to the public. so does the president. it also specifically prohibits congress from diminishing judicial pay or removing judges

Jeff Sessions

7:03:53 to 7:04:15( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: during times of good behavior. so congress can't remove a judge or even cut their pay. hamilton referred to this arrangement as one of the most valuable of modern improvements in the practice of government, closed quote. and he went on to say that it was -- he saw it as the best step available to -- quote --

Jeff Sessions

7:04:16 to 7:04:36( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: "secure a steady, upright and impartial administration of the laws." so madison hoped that the court set apart from the shifting times of public opinion would be better suited to act as -- quote -- "faithful guardians of the constitution to stand against dangerous innovations in government." in other words, courts are

Jeff Sessions

7:04:37 to 7:04:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: removed from the political process not so they are free interpret the constitution and set policy but so they are free from the pressures of those who would encourage them to do just that. the framers also understood that the courts as an unelected

Jeff Sessions

7:04:58 to 7:05:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: branch of government with a narrow mandate would also necessarily be the weakest branch. hamilton wrote that whoever looks at the -- quote -- "different departments of power must perceive that in a government in which they are separated from each other, the judiciary from the nature of its functions will always be the least dangerous to the p

Jeff Sessions

7:05:21 to 7:05:42( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: rights of the constitution because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them. it may true said to have neither force nor will but merely judgment." so in light of this narrow

Jeff Sessions

7:05:43 to 7:06:04( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: mandate that judges have been given, judges have understood from time to time that they ought not to be drawn into the political thicket, that they ought to decline to answer questions that they felt were more appropriately to be addressed by the political

Jeff Sessions

7:06:05 to 7:06:26( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: branches of government. typically this disciplined approach has been invoked when the constitution decision making on a particular issue to a particular when the court finds a lack

Jeff Sessions

7:06:27 to 7:06:47( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: of -- quote -- "judicially discoverable and manageable standards" to guide its decision making or it best not to assert itself in a conflict between branches that's what's happening. they're showing restraint and discline.

Jeff Sessions

7:06:48 to 7:07:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: this is an example of judicial restraint because it respects the powers of the other branches and the role of elected repres appointed judges in establishing policy. well, as i mentioned before, this is not an academic exercise or an abstract hypothetical.

Jeff Sessions

7:07:09 to 7:07:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: judicial consequences for every american, you see, because if judges who are given a lifetime appointment and guarantee of salaries are given the power to set policy, then that is an antidemocratic act because we've created

Jeff Sessions

7:07:30 to 7:07:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: someone outside the political process and allowed them to set policy for the country and they cease to be accountable to the american people. the men and women of the supreme court hold extraordinary power over our lives. it takes only five justices to determine what the words of the constitution mean. you think it's nine? it's really just five.

Jeff Sessions

7:07:52 to 7:08:13( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: five of the nine agree that the constitution means this or that, it's as good -- hold your hat -- it's as good as if three-fourths of the states passed a constitutional amendment along with the congress supermajority votes. so this is a powerful thing, a

Jeff Sessions

7:08:14 to 7:08:38( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: prospect justice possesses the ability to interpret words of the constitution. when justices break from the ideal of modest and restrained practices as described by hamilton, they rights and destroying rights based on their personal views. which they were never empowered

Jeff Sessions

7:08:40 to 7:09:00( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to do the temptation to reinterpret the constitution leaves judges sometimes, i think -- i succumb to the siren call of just using that opportunity they might possess at a given point in time to enact something they'd like to see occur. maybe somebody will write in a law review they were bold and

Jeff Sessions

7:09:01 to 7:09:22( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: courageous and did something great. but we've seen actions occur. under the power to regulate

Jeff Sessions

7:09:23 to 7:09:43( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: business and government is given, our supreme court recently ruled that carbon dioxide, which is a natural occurring substance in our environment -- when plants decay, they when they live, they draw in from the

Jeff Sessions

7:09:44 to 7:10:06( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: it's plant food -- they -- they ruled that it was a pollutant as a result of that, regardless of how you see that matter, i think when the statute was passed, they gave e.p.a. regulation to control pollution in 1970's, long before global

Jeff Sessions

7:10:07 to 7:10:28( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: warming was ever a thought, that that -- that the congress had no contemplation that it would be used to limit carbon dioxide some years later. but that's what the court ruled. i only say that because there was a hiewrnlg economic decision decision -- huge economic decision of monumental proportions that called on the

Jeff Sessions

7:10:29 to 7:10:49( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: agency of the department of -- of the united states government to america that uses fossil it's a far-reaching thing. right or wrong, i just point out what five members of the court can do with a ruling, and that was five members.

Jeff Sessions

7:10:50 to 7:11:13( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: four members dissented on that case. they also court -- or at least two members of the supreme court have concluded that the death penalty is unconstitutional because they

Jeff Sessions

7:11:14 to 7:11:36( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: concluded that it is cruel and unusual as prohibited by the eighth amendment to the constitution. they dissented on every single get others to agree with them -- some thought others may agree with them -- but as time went by, they have and no other judges have adhered to that philosophy.

Jeff Sessions

7:11:37 to 7:11:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: but i would say that is an absolutely untenable position, because the constitution itself makes at least eight ref to the death penalty. it's implicit in the constitution itself. it say the government can't

Jeff Sessions

7:11:58 to 7:12:18( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: take life without due process. a death penalty and you could take procestake life with due process. it also r crimes. it makes other references to the death penalty. every single colony, every single state at the founding of our government had a death penalty. it's an abuse of power for two

Jeff Sessions

7:12:19 to 7:12:39( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: judges to assert that the eighth amendment, which prohibited drawing and quartering and other inhumane-type activities, actually should be construed to limit the death penalty. that's judic they didn't like the death penalty. they read through the constitution, found these words and tried to make it say it when it does not.

Jeff Sessions

7:12:40 to 7:13:01( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: so the question is not wther these policies are good or bad, whether you like the death penalty or not. that's the definition of opinion, how strongly you peel and how one believes that global warming should be confronted is not the question. the question is whether a court comprised of nine unelected

Jeff Sessions

7:13:02 to 7:13:23( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: judges should set policy on h matters before the country that we are debating in the political arena shouldn't that be the president and the congress who's accountable to the voters to openly debate these issues and vote "yes" or "no" and stand before the people and accountsable to them for the actions they took?

Jeff Sessions

7:13:24 to 7:13:44( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: i think the constitution, as i've noted, clearly dictates the latter is the appropriate way. but a number of groups activists believe that the -- the court is sort of their place and that social goals and agendas that they believe in that aren't likely to be won at the ballot box, they have an opportunity to get audge to

Jeff Sessions

7:13:45 to 7:14:06( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: declare it so. so we court of appeals en banc ruling that the constitution is unconstitutional because it has the words "under god" in it. actually, it appears that it's actually never been reversed. it's been vacated, in a sense,

Jeff Sessions

7:14:07 to 7:14:27( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: because the prospect rejected on i think standing grounds but things that are out it's not in the constitution, i would contend. so this is america. if the judiciary heads further down that path, then i think we do have danger -- dangers, because we are actually

Jeff Sessions

7:14:28 to 7:14:50( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: weakening the constition. how can we uphold the rule of law if those who weigh the scales have the power to tip them one way or the other based on their empathy, their f or their their personal views. how can we curb the excess o federal power if we allow our courts to step so far beyond the

Jeff Sessions

7:14:51 to 7:15:11( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: authority? chow the least among us on the law to deliver justice to protect them, to steadfastly protect are no longer object and single judge has the power to

Jeff Sessions

7:15:12 to 7:15:33( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: place his or her empathy above the law and the evidence. so with these fundamental questions to mind i hope that the comments i make will be of some value as we talk about the future, the judiciary, and what the role of a judge ought to be on our highest court.

Jeff Sessions

7:15:34 to 7:15:55( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and to uphold our sacred charter of inalienable rights. let me repeat: i le the american legal system. i am so much an federal legal system. i practiced in it for 15 years before fabulous judges. they were accused, sometimes of

Jeff Sessions

7:15:56 to 7:16:17( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: thinking they were anointed rather than appointed but i found most of the time, mr. president, and you are a prosecutor, they will forke law and -- they will follow the law and they try to be fair and that is a factor that i will defend but the's a responsibility that comes with

Jeff Sessions

7:16:18 to 7:16:31( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the independence that judges get. that responsibility is when they get that bench and they assume that power they use integrity,

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