Metavid

Video archive of the US Congress

Senate Proceeding on Sep 28th, 2010 :: 5:45:40 to 5:56:00
Total video length: 10 hours 14 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

Note: MetaVid video transcripts may contain inaccuracies, help us build a more perfect archive

Download OptionsEmbed Video

Views:79 Duration: 0:10:20 Discussion

Previous speech: Next speech:

Ron Wyden

5:45:37 to 5:45:58( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: quorum call: there are cu there are currently 48 vacancies on the court that are considered emergencies. let hey restate that of the that. filling these vacancies is now such a priority that they are considered judicial emergencies.

Ron Wyden

5:45:40 to 5:56:00( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Ron Wyden

Ron Wyden

5:45:59 to 5:46:19( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: one of those vacancies is considered to be a judicial emergency and is one of the positions for the u.s. district court for oregon. my view is madam president, this problem is only going to get worse, with another 20 judges have announced plans to retire. if these positions remain

Ron Wyden

5:46:20 to 5:46:40( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: vacant, we all understand it could delay trials and certainly justice delayed is justice denied. the stalling of nominations also discourages qualified candidates from serving on the bench. those that the country most needs on the bench can't put their lives on hold for months

Ron Wyden

5:46:41 to 5:47:02( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: or years while their nominations sit on the senate calendar, blocked for no apparent reason. one of the things that's most striking about how the country has gotten into this predicament is, madam president, experts who are analyzed the situation with respect to the delay in terms of

Ron Wyden

5:47:03 to 5:47:27( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: getting judges confirmed come back to senate procedures as a significant factor in the holdup. and repeatedly, these independent experts say that the senate's secret hold, the process by which one united states senator, just one, madam

Ron Wyden

5:47:28 to 5:47:49( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: president, can anonymously block a judicial nomination from being considered here on the floor of the senate is a central factor in getting these judges confirmed. and i have come to the floor today to say when you have got so many designated judicial emergencies, when there are so

Ron Wyden

5:47:50 to 5:48:10( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: many individuals who have won bipartisan support, and a big factor, a big factor in getting judges confirmed is the fact that the senate is unwilling to do public business in public, suggests to me, madam president, that it is time to overhaul this secret hold which is keeping

Ron Wyden

5:48:11 to 5:48:34( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: sunshine from coming to the united states senate when it comes to the consideration of judicial nominations and other important business. now fortunately, madam president, colleagues on both sides of the aisle, a big group on our side of the aisle and a big group on the other side of the aisle, have repeatedly said

Ron Wyden

5:48:35 to 5:48:56( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: they want to come together, end secret holds and do public business in public. at this time i particularly would like to commend my colleague from iowa, senator grassley, who has spent well over a decade working on this effort with me and also single out senator mccaskill from missouri who has done

Ron Wyden

5:48:57 to 5:49:18( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: outstanding work as well mobilizing colleagues from both sides of the aisle who also want to have this procedure changed and have a new accountability and sunshine here in the united states senate. all we need to be able to do, madam president, is get this out in front of the united states

Ron Wyden

5:49:19 to 5:49:39( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: senate, frankly out in front of the american people, so they can find out who is in favor of transparency and who is in favor of accountability and who still thinks that you ought to do business behind closed doors. now, some here in the senate continue to claim that a secret hold doesn't prevent the senate from considering a nomination or

Ron Wyden

5:49:40 to 5:50:01( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: a piece of legislation. they say, for example, that the majority leader can always file what we know as cloture on that nomination or bill to overcome a hold. that may be true in theory, but for all practical purposes, madam president, it can't be done. the process of filing cloture on

Ron Wyden

5:50:02 to 5:50:22( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: a nomination certainly can gobble up almost a week here on the senate schedule, so the senate could easily spend the remainder of the time this year with votes on just a few nominations now on the executive calendar and still not come close to clearing the backlog of nominations.

Ron Wyden

5:50:23 to 5:50:43( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: the fact is a secret hold can effectively kill a nomination or piece of legislation, and as we have said, our big bipartisan group here in the senate repeatedly, all of this secrecy, all of this work to keep the public from finding out what's

Ron Wyden

5:50:44 to 5:51:07( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: really going on, all of it can be done without anybody, colleagues here in the senate or the american people, knowing who was the secret obstructor and why they were, in fact, obstructing. one other point that i'd like to make, madam president, particularly with so much of the country looking at how

Ron Wyden

5:51:08 to 5:51:29( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: washington, d.c., works and how broken so much of our system is is the power that a secret hold provides to a lobbyist. i'm sure virtually every member of the united states senate has at some point gotten a request from somebody who is a lobbyist asking if the senator would put

Ron Wyden

5:51:30 to 5:51:51( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: a secret hold on a bill or nomination in order to kill it, to kill it without getting any public debate and without the lobbyist's fingerprints on it anywhere. certainly, if a lobbyist finds it possible to get a united states senator to put an anonymous hold on a bill, it's pretty much like hitting the lobbyist jackpot.

Ron Wyden

5:51:52 to 5:52:13( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: not only is the senator protected by the cloak of anonymity, but so is the lobbyist. and in effect, through secrecy, madam president, a secret hold can let the lobbyist play both sides of the street. it can give lobbyists a victory for clients without alienating a

Ron Wyden

5:52:14 to 5:52:36( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: potential or future clients. now, given the number of instances where i have heard a lobbyist asking for secret holds, i think it is fair to say that a secret hold is in effect a stealth extension of the lobbying world. so when you think about the powers the lobbyists already have, how in the world would you

Ron Wyden

5:52:37 to 5:52:57( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: want to give them another tool, the secret hold which could, as i have characterized it, literally be a stealth extension of the lobbying world. i think it makes no sense at all, madam president, and i come down on the side of openness and transparency. i congratulate my colleague,

Ron Wyden

5:52:58 to 5:53:19( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: senator grassley from iowa, who stood with me on this, senator mccaskill, a big group of colleagues from both sides. on the other side of the aisle, senator collins, senator inhofe and others have spent a great deal of time. here it's been senator whitehouse, senator udall, a whole host of colleagues, democrats and republicans, who think it is time when the

Ron Wyden

5:53:20 to 5:53:42( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: american people are obviously so angry at the way washington, d.c., does business is make it clear that we're all going to come together and change the process of letting an individual senator obstruct the people's business in secret. it seems to me, madam president, that the bottom line here is

Ron Wyden

5:53:43 to 5:54:03( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: that a secret hold is literally an indefensible denial of the public's right to know. the public's right to know, particularly at a time when there is so much frustration and anger at the way business is done in washington, d.c., ought to be just sacrosanct. certainly we're talking about

Ron Wyden

5:54:04 to 5:54:24( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: the kind of matters that democrats and republicans talk about all the time. nobody is talking about national security or classified matters being brought out here for the kind of sunshine that i and senator grassley and senator mccaskill want to bring to the senate. this is about the people's business.

Ron Wyden

5:54:25 to 5:54:45( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: legislation and nominations, those judicial emergencies and the scores of appointments that are being held up, pieces of legislation that involve millions of people, billions of dollars. it seems to me there ought to be public disclosure, there ought to be consequences. if a senator fails to disclose a secret hold and in the name,

Ron Wyden

5:54:46 to 5:55:06( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: madam president, of dealing with the crisis in our courts and the importance of bringing public business here to the floor of the united states senate, i hope my colleagues will come together and quickly pass the bipartisan effort which will once and for all eliminate secret holds. there have been past attempts.

Ron Wyden

5:55:07 to 5:55:27( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: senator grassley and i were able as part of the ethics legislation to get a provision through that we hoped would make a big difference, and what happened then, the friends of secrecy went back and found other ways to get around it. it's time once and for all to strangle secret holds. that's what a bipartisan group

Ron Wyden

5:55:28 to 5:55:48( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: here in the senate wants to do, madam president, and it is important that that measure be enacted and enacted quickly. madam president, with that, i yield the floor and i note t absence of a quorum. the will call the roll.

Personal tools

MetaVid is a non-profit project of UC Santa Cruz and the Sunlight Foundation. Learn more About MetaVid

The C-SPAN logo and other servicemarks that may be found in video content are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of these trademark holders are affiliated with Metavid