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Senate Proceeding on Aug 3rd, 2010 :: 0:04:00 to 0:27:40
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Patrick Leahy

0:03:56 to 0:04:16( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: mr. sessions, will control the second 30 minutes. mr. leahy: thank you. thank you, mr. president. more than 12 weeks ago president obama nominated elena kagan to succeed stevens as an associate justice

Patrick Leahy

0:04:00 to 0:27:40( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Patrick Leahy

Patrick Leahy

0:04:17 to 0:04:40( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: of the supreme court of the united states. having heard from solicitor general kagan at her confirmation hearing five weeks ago, i believe the american people hava sense of her impressive knowledge of the law, her good humor, and her judicial philosophy.

Patrick Leahy

0:04:41 to 0:05:03( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: in her testimony, she made clear she'll base her approach on deciding cases on the law and the constitution, not on politics, not on ideological agenda. but she made one pledge to those of us who werat that hearing. incidentally, i might say at the

Patrick Leahy

0:05:04 to 0:05:25( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: outset, mr. president, i compliment republicans and democrats alike for the amount of time senators spent at the hearing. i want to compliment the ranking member, senator sessions. we may have disagreed on the outcome and on the vote, but i think senators worked very hard to get questions asked, to make

Patrick Leahy

0:05:26 to 0:05:47( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: sure that the american people knew who elena kagan was. and i would note that in this, senator sessions and i set times for witnesses. and we were constrained somewhat by the distinguished presiding

Patrick Leahy

0:05:48 to 0:06:08( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: officer's predecessor who died that week, and we were trying to arrange for a time for many of us to go to the funeral. i just want to publicly thank senator sessions for his help in working out that schedule. but i was impressed that

Patrick Leahy

0:06:09 to 0:06:31( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: solicitor general kagan made us one pledge, that she will do her best to consider every case modestly, impartially, in commitment to principle and accordance with the law. mr. president, i've been here since the time of president gerald ford, and i've long urged presidents from both political parties to look outside what i

Patrick Leahy

0:06:32 to 0:06:57( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: call the judicial monastery, which of course is what presidents used to d here we did. i know there was criticism by some republicanshat this nominee lacked judicial experience. of course that did ignore one key fact. they are themselves responsible. president clinton nominated her

Patrick Leahy

0:06:58 to 0:07:20( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: to the d.c. circuit in 1999. the senate was controlled by republicans at the time. she was one of the 60 nominees that they pocket filibustered. she was not allowed to be considered. had she done so, she would have been confirmed, i'm insurance companies and would have had more than ten years of judicial experience.

Patrick Leahy

0:07:21 to 0:07:41( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: but just to give some idea of her abilities, and said when she was not allowed to have a vote, she went on to become dean of one of the most prestigious law schools -- i was going to say in the country, actually in the world. her nomination to the supreme court received the highest possible rating from the american bar association. her credentials and legal abilities have been extolled by

Patrick Leahy

0:07:42 to 0:08:02( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: many across the political spectrum. i give you an idea of two of them. justice sandra day o'connor and justice antonin sail i can't. no -- antonin scalia. no one can question the intelligence or achievements this have woman. from the moment thi nomination,

Patrick Leahy

0:08:03 to 0:08:23( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: solicitor general kagan has spoken about the importance of upholding the rule of law, enabling all americans to have a fair hearing. she said law matters because it keeps us safe, becauset protects our most fundamental freedoms and because it's the foundation of our democracy. like heri believe law does matter in people's life.

Patrick Leahy

0:08:24 to 0:08:45( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: that's why i went to law school. that's why i practiced law and then became a prosecutor. that's why i ran for the senate. i believe that law matters in people's lives, because the constitution, this amazing fabric of our nation, is our protection. she understands this, as did her mentor, justice thurgood marshall.

Patrick Leahy

0:08:46 to 0:09:06( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: in her tribute -- in her contribution to the 1993 tribute to justice marshall by the texas law review, elena kagan recalled how justice marshall law clerks tried to get him to rely on general notions of fairness rather than the strict reading of the law so they could allow

Patrick Leahy

0:09:07 to 0:09:27( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: an appeal to proceed on a discrimination claim. she wrote that the then-80-year-old justice referred to his years trying civil rights cases and said, "all you can hope for was that a court would not rule against you for illegitimate reasons. you could not expect that a court would bend the rules in

Patrick Leahy

0:09:28 to 0:09:48( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: your favor. that's the rule of the law." if you concluded, as i do, that justice marshall believed devoutly in the rule of law, he was a man of the law in the highest sense. he understood the constitution's promise of equality. i was disappointed to see the

Patrick Leahy

0:09:49 to 0:10:09( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: manner in which his legacy was treated by some during the recent confirmation hearing and to read there are republican senators currently serving or recently who said th would vote against thurgood march sha l shall's --ing thurgood marshall's nomination to the supreme court if he was up now. well, he was a giant.

Patrick Leahy

0:10:10 to 0:10:30( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: he was a giant. i would hope that if he was here again that those senators would reconsider whether they would vote for him or not. in this nomination, elena kagan falls in the footsteps of justice marshall. he was also nominated to the

Patrick Leahy

0:10:31 to 0:10:51( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: supreme court from the position of solicitor general. she broke a glass ceiling when she was appointed as the first woman to serve as solicitor general to the united states. and when she served as the first woman dean of the harvard law school. and when the supreme court next convenes for the first time in our history i predict that there

Patrick Leahy

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

Patrick Leahy: will be three women serving together among the nine justices. and one need to look no further than the lilly ledbetter case to understand the impact each supreme court case has on the lives and freedoms of countless americans. in the ledbetter case, five justices of the supreme court struck a severe blow to the

Patrick Leahy

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

Patrick Leahy: rights of working families across our country. congress enacted to protect women and others against discrimination in the workplace more than 40 years ago. but we still struggle to ensure that all americans -- women and men -- receive equal pay for equal work. it took a new congress, joined

Patrick Leahy

0:11:35 to 0:11:55( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: by our new president, to reverse the activist conservative majority in the supreme court by passing the lilly ledbetter act, striking down the immunity the supreme court had given to employers who discriminated against their employees and successfully hid their

Patrick Leahy

0:11:56 to 0:12:17( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: wrongdoing in the ledbetter case -- and the ledbetter case said, in a decision i still find shocking in this day and age, they they could give a higher rate to

Patrick Leahy

0:12:18 to 0:12:39( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: men than women as long as they kept it hidden. in citizens united, the case where corporate money can drown out the elections in america can drown out the tkrebg. they said, british petroleum wanted to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to defeat people who want to tighten the controls of our offshore

Patrick Leahy

0:12:40 to 0:13:00( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: drilling or want to tighten the kind of inspections required of offshore drilling. british petroleum, accordg to the u.s. supreme court, could spend hundreds of millions of dollars to defeat the people. i hoped that the senate republicans would join our effort to respond to the conservative activist majority

Patrick Leahy

0:13:01 to 0:13:22( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: of the supreme court who wrongly decided to override its own precedent and 100 years of legal development siding with president theodore roosevelt. but, unfortunately they filibustered the disclose act and gave their endorsement to corporate influence in american elections.

Patrick Leahy

0:13:23 to 0:13:46( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: for all the talk about judicial modestty and judicial restraint for the nominees of a republican president at their confirmation hearings, we have seen a supreme court in these last five years that has been anything but modest and rtrained. we've seen all too often in ese last yea the activist conservative members of the supreme court substituting their own judgment for those of the

Patrick Leahy

0:13:47 to 0:14:07( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: american people's elected representatives. now i think it's important that judicial nominees understand that as judges, they're not members of an administration, any administration, democrat or republican, but they're judicial officers. they should not be political partisans, but judges who uphold the constitution and the rule of

Patrick Leahy

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

Patrick Leahy: law for all americans. that's what justice stevens did in hamdan, which held the bush administration's military tribunals unconstitutional. and what he tried to do in citizens united. that's why the intervention by an activist conservive majority in the 2000

Patrick Leahy

0:14:29 to 0:14:53( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: presidential election of bush v. gore was so jarring and wrong, a case where mr. gore had gotten the majority of votes throughout the country, but he didn't get one vote on the supreme court, the one vote that decided the election, and gave it to later president bush.

Patrick Leahy

0:14:54 to 0:15:18( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: during the confirmation of the swricial role and the traditional view of preference to congress. hers were mainstream views. she indicated she will not be the kind of justice who substitute her personal preferences and overall congressional efforts designed to -- pursuant to our constitutional role.

Patrick Leahy

0:15:19 to 0:15:39( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: it is precisely because associate kagan's independence that many have opposition to her nomination. they seem to not like the fact that she is genuinely committed to judicial constraint rather than -- some who oppose this nomination do so because they seek to continue their losing

Patrick Leahy

0:15:40 to 0:16:01( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: fight against health insurance reform. they seek to transform the policy dispute they lost in congress and to our constitutional one that goes against 100 years of law in supreme court predence. th turn back the clock by discrediting long -- nearly a century ago. in favor of their opposition to

Patrick Leahy

0:16:02 to 0:16:22( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: health insurance reform is a constitutional attack, these critics would undermine the nstitutional basis of laws against child labor and those setting a minimum wage or the social security act or med or the clean water act or clean air act and the landmark civil rights acts.

Patrick Leahy

0:16:23 to 0:16:43( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: all are constitutional because of congress's authority to legislate pursuant to the core powers vested by congress by article 1, section 8 of the constitution including the necessary and proper clause. the radical consequences of narrow minded would be to enroll congress's ability to promote

Patrick Leahy

0:16:44 to 0:17:05( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: the general welfare of the american peep. these critics wish to return to the conservative judicial activism of e early 1900's, a period known by reference to one of its most notorious cases, 1905 lockner decision where the supreme court struck down new york state

Patrick Leahy

0:17:06 to 0:17:26( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: health of bakers by regulating the number of hours they could work. during this period of unbridled conservative judicial activism, the supreme court substituted their own views of property with those that elected branches in order to strike down nearly 200 laws including laws outlawing

Patrick Leahy

0:17:27 to 0:17:50( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: child labor. something we take for granted today. and laws protecting americans from sick chickens. something that created a huge health hazard. profits they made with child labor. and the protector of

Patrick Leahy

0:17:51 to 0:18:11( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: unrestrained ability to retain contracts. the american people suffered. their rights went unprotected. congress was unable to provide assistance. that is not a time anyone should want to return to because it's based on artificial legal restraints, the shackle the people's elected representatives in congress. millions of americans rely on

Patrick Leahy

0:18:12 to 0:18:32( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: social security and medicare and unemployment benefits, minimum wage laws. other programs protect americans in tough economic times. this radical conservative agenda is a threat to federal disaster relief, environmental regulation, even laws responding

Patrick Leahy

0:18:33 to 0:18:54( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: to the reckless and fragile behavior that wrecked our economy. america's great safety net for those in need will be left in tatters. this legal -- if this legal doctrine were to take root. ask our fellow americans in the gulf or those who have lost their jobs in the recession,

Patrick Leahy

0:18:55 to 0:19:15( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: those who have lost their homes, whether the court should adopt this radical view with the limits of congress's power to help them. ask them when they want to roll back the clock to overturn laws passed by congress to protect hard-working americans. the conservative agenda to restore the lockner era, would

Patrick Leahy

0:19:16 to 0:19:36( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: leave hard-working americans without the protection that their lifetime's of hard work, of playing by the rules has earned them. now, the fact that elana kagan will not state that she shares the views of those who oppose healthy, hard-working americans obtain access to affordable

Patrick Leahy

0:19:37 to 0:19:58( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: health care does not mean she's outside the mainstream. far from it. congress has woven america's social safety net over the last three score and 13 years. beginning before i was born, mr. president. congress's authority used as

Patrick Leahy

0:19:59 to 0:20:20( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: judgment to promote the general welfare cannot now be in doubt. america and all americans are better for it. growing old no longer means owing poor. being older or poor no longer means being without medical care. the social security and medicare

Patrick Leahy

0:20:21 to 0:20:41( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: and medicaid, congress estab corner stones of american economic security. comprehensive health insurance reform has now joined them. congress has acted within its constitutional authority to legislate for the general

Patrick Leahy

0:20:42 to 0:21:04( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: welfare of all americans. whether they're from vermont or west virginia or alabama or anywhere else. no conservative activist court should overstep the judiciary's role by seeking to turn back the clock and deny a century of progress. those who would corrupt the constitution by trying to revive

Patrick Leahy

0:21:05 to 0:21:26( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: the lockner era are intent on a results-oriented litmus test. this litmus test would lead them not just to vote against in nomination, but also against senate confirmation of justice sandra day o'connor, justice david souter, justice john paul

Patrick Leahy

0:21:27 to 0:21:49( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: stevens, justice kennedy, four justices appointed by conservative republican presidents. it's interesting, mr. president, i was here when john paul stevens' nomination came up. he was seen as a conservative from illinois. he was nominated by a

Patrick Leahy

0:21:50 to 0:22:10( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: conservative president, gerald ford. he nominated him. 2 1/2 weeks later -- 2 1/2 weeks later the united states senate, which was overwhelmingly democratic, voted unanimously to confirm justice john paul

Patrick Leahy

0:22:11 to 0:22:33( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: stevens. i haven't agreed with every decision of his, but, boy, i agreed with my vote for his confirmation. but if using these results oriented litmus test, it required them to reject the vast majority justices who have

Patrick Leahy

0:22:34 to 0:22:55( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: served honorably in the united states supreme court. indeed, if they were to be consistent they would have to rethink john roberts who testified in his confirmation hearing that during the lockner era, when the supreme court was striking down economic regulations of the late 1800's

Patrick Leahy

0:22:56 to 0:23:16( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: to the early 1930's, it's quite clear to -- could quote john roberts, they were not interpreting the law, they were making the law. well, i agree with him on that. i would say parenthetically he would have stayed consistent to that principle since he became chief justice.

Patrick Leahy

0:23:17 to 0:23:37( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: you know, we do not need judges or justice to pass a either the right or the left. in fact, i've urged senators, and they heard me say this many, many times, don't listen to the single issue or special issue groups on either the right or the left when it comes to the

Patrick Leahy

0:23:38 to 0:23:58( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: supreme court. we have 300 million americans in this great country, mr. president. 300 million americans. most of the justices we vote on will be there long after any one of us leave this chamber. there are only 100 amecans who

Patrick Leahy

0:23:59 to 0:24:21( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: actually get to vote. there are only 101 people who really get involved with this choice. first the president's nomination. but he can't appoint the person unless we advise and consent. so you awesome duty to pick somebody

Patrick Leahy

0:24:22 to 0:24:43( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: and to vote on somebody who is going be there to protect the justices and the rights of all 300 million americans. it's an awesome responsibility. so i tell groups of either the ght report left, and i heard -- right or the left, and i heard from groups on many of

Patrick Leahy

0:24:44 to 0:25:06( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: these nominees over the years, i will make up my own mind. ly bring my own -- i will bring my vermont principles, my own experience, my own judgment to bear and then i'll make up my mind. i would urge all senators to do that. ignore the special interest groups to the right report left. make up --

Patrick Leahy

0:25:07 to 0:25:27( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: make up your own mind. because we don't need judges or justices to pass a litmus test on the right or left, we need judges or justice that respect the law as passed by congress. it is the foundation of public confidence in our courts. this is important, mr.

Patrick Leahy

0:25:28 to 0:25:49( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: president, that we restore public confidence in our courts. they do protect our rights. they do proct the constitution. but they have -- we have to sure that we -- we have to make sure that we respect what they do. we need judges and justices that will fairly apply the law and use common sense.

Patrick Leahy

0:25:50 to 0:26:13( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: judges an justices that apreesh ate the proper -- that appreciate the proper role of the court. that's the standard i applied in reviewing this nomination. it is the same standard i apply to every supreme court nomination, including six justices nominated by republican presidents whom i have voted for.

Patrick Leahy

0:26:14 to 0:26:37( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: it's a standard i believe solicitor general kagan. solicitor general kagan not only has the qualifications to be a supreme court justice, but demonstrated her respect for the rule of law, her appreciation for the separation of powers.

Patrick Leahy

0:26:38 to 0:26:58( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: mr. president, will vote for elana kagan to be a supreme court justice and i'll do it proudly. and, madam president, the chair having changed while during the speech, first preside by our distinguished senator from west virginia, now by our distinguished neighbor,

Patrick Leahy

0:26:59 to 0:27:19( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: neighboring state of new hampshire, the distinguished senator from new hampshire. so, dam president, with that will close. i ask that my whole speech be made part of the record. objection. mr. leahy: i suggest the absence

Patrick Leahy

0:27:20 to 0:27:29( Edit History Discussion )

Patrick Leahy: of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.

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