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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  July 16, 2009 11:00am-1:00pm EDT

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but let me ask you if you agree with martin luther king when he said he dreamed of a day when his children would be judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. do you agree with that? >> i think every american agrees with that. >> amen. >> thank you, senator cornyn. we're going to go to senator specter, who is a long-time member of this committee and one of the most senior members here. and i would -- once senator specter's questions are finished, we will take a very short break. and does that work for you, judge? >> it most certainly does. thank you. >> so, senator specter is recognized for up to 20 minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. judge sotomayor, you have been
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characterized as running a hot courtroom, asking tough questions. what we see popping out of the supreme court opinions from time to time, statements about putting tough ideological battles in their conference room. and justice scalia was quoeted s saying, the court must live in another world case by case and it is designing a constitution for a country that i do not recognize. referring to a woman's right to choose and rowe versus wade he said this, judge o'connor's assertion had a fundamental rule of judicial restraint requires us to reconsidering rowe to not be taken seriously. do you think it's possible that if confirmed you would be a
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litigator in that conference room? take on the ideological battles which pop out from time to time from what we read in their opinions? >> i don't judge on the basis of ideolo ideology. i judge on the basis of the law and my reasoning. that is how i have myself in the circuit court. when my colleagues and i in many cases have come to disagreeing positions we have discussed them and persuaded each other, changed each other's minds and worked from starting point of arguing, discussing, exchanging perspectives on what the law commands. >> well, perhaps you'll be tempted to be a tough litigator in the court and time will tell if you have some of those
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provocative statements. let me move on to a case in which you have decided you have been reluctant to make comments about what other people have said, but i want to ask you your view of what you're saying. in the case of energy versus, which involved the question very important of matters being considered by congress now on climate control and global warming, you ruled in the second circuit that the best technology should be employed, not the cost benefit. supreme court reversed 5-4 saying it was cost benefited. could we expect you to stand by your interpretation of the clean water act when, if confirmed you geet the supreme court and can make that kind of a judgment because you're not bound by precedent?
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>> well, i am bound by precedent that all precedent is entitled to the respect, to respect under the doctrine of stare decisis. and to the extent that the supreme court has addressed this issue under the clean water act, that is what i would hold to any new case and establish the framework i would employ to new cases. >> let me return to subject i raised yesterday but from a different perspective and that is the issue of the supreme court taking on more cases. in 1886 there were 451 cases decided by the supreme court and in 1985, 161 signed opinions. in 2007, only 67 signed
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opinions. the court has not undertaken circuit splits. in the letter i wrote to you, which will be made a part of the record. a great many circuit splits and the problems that that brings when one circuit decides one way and another circuit another and the other circuits are undecided and the supreme court finds to take cases. do you agree with what justice scalia said descenting where the court refers to take a key circuit split that when the court decides not to "it seems to me quite irresponsible to let the current chaos perveil with other courts not knowing what to do or state it differently, do you think the supreme court has time to, i'm sure, take up more circuits?
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>> it does appear that the supreme court's docket has lessons over time. the decisions it's addressing. because of that, it certainly does appear that it has the capacity to accept more cases. and the issue of circuit splits is one of the factors that the court's own local rules set out for a concern for justices to think about in the search process. so an answer to your question, direct answer is, yes, it does appear that it has the capacity. >> petitions for certiorari are applied and there is a search
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pool where the seven of the nine justices excluding only justice alito do not participate in the cert rule so that people applying for cert don't have the individual judgments when chief justice roberts was, before he became chief justice he said little disquieting, would you join the cert pool or maintain an independent status as justice alito do in having their own clerks and their own individual review on whether cert ought to be granted? >> i would probably do what justice alito did, although i don't know about becoming a member of the supreme court.
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i haven't decided anything. i am not even sure where i would live in new york or washington if this would happen. putting that aside, senator, my approach would probably be similar to justice alito, which is experience the process, take for a period of time and consider its costs and benefits and then to try the alternative or not and figure out what i think will work best in terms of the functioning of the chambers and the court. i can't give a definitive answer because i generally try to keep an open mind until i experience something and can then speak about whether to change it or not. >> senator specter trying to pin her down as other senators have done. most of them without much success. sonia sotomayor answering questions, but not going into the kind of specific details, the specific answers so many of
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them would like to hear. she's following in the footsteps of other supreme court nominees who have dodged a lot of these more sensitive issues including samuel alito and john roberts during the bush administration. let's take another quick break. remember, cnn.com is where we're streaming these hearings uninterrupted if you want to watch it on your laptop or desktop, cnn.com. my doctor told me something i never knew. as we get older, our bodies become... less able to absorb calcium. he recommended citracal.
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get right back to the senate confirmation hearings for sonia sotomayor. she's being questioned by arlen specter, a democrat former a republican of pennsylvania. >> and will participate in discussions with them on this issue. and those things i would do, senator. >> some of my colleagues have questioned whether, as you stated your panel in the maloney
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case was really bound by supreme court precedent. the seventh circuit reached the same decision your panel did and in that opinion written by a highly respected republican judge, the seventh circuit pointed out that heller specifically declined to reconsider older supreme court cases which have held that the second amendment applies only to the federal government. judge easterbrook wrote, "that does not license the inferior courts to go their own way. it just notes that the older precedent is open to reexamination by the justices themselves when the time comes." that was your court's conclusion also, wasn't it? >> it was and i understand having reviewed justice easterbrook's opinion that he agreed with the reasoning of maloney on that point. >> i want to return to the issue
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of basic authority and responsibility of the supreme court to decide the major cases on separation of power. there was a case which the supreme court denied certiorari just a couple of weeks ago involving claims for damages brought by survivors of victims of september 11th against a certain individuals in saudi arabia and this case posed a classical conflict between executive and legislative responsibilities. congress had ledgislated under sovereign immunity in 1976 that tore claims like flying an airplane into the world trade center were an exception to sovereign immunity and the
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executive branch interposed objections to having that case decided because of the sensitivity of matters with saudi arabia and the case involved circuit splits and a very, very important matters in that tragedy, which you've commented you've been very close to the incident. don't you think that that's the kind of a case the supreme court should have heard to decide that kind of a very basic conflict between article one powers of the congress and article two powers of the executive? >> senator, obviously, issues related to september 11th and national security are very important issues for the country as a whole. for the reasons i mentioned earlier, i lived through
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september 11th, so i understand its great tragedy and effect on america. the question you ask me, though, is one that asks me to make judgment about an act the supreme court has done. and i didn't participate in their discussions. i didn't review the cert petitions and i didn't talk about with them their reasons. it would seem and is inappropriate to me to comment on a question that i wasn't a party to in making the decision. >> wouldn't you at least agree with a proposition that conflicts between the congress and the executive branch of the highest duty for the supreme court to consider and to decide?
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>> all conflicts under the constitution, all issues arising from the constitution are important. >> well, i know that, but that's a pretty easy question to answer. i'm not asking you to agree with justice roberts and the court ought to take more cases, which seem to me to be pretty easy and question about justice scalia saying that there's turmoil when the circuit split and you don't have the supreme court taking cert. but isn't that of the highest magnitude. our discussions here have involved a great many issues. but i would suggest to you that on separation of powers and when you undertake the role of the congress and contrast it with the role of the president, congress is article one. it was placed with privacy because we're closest to the people.
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and when you have a question which you wouldn't comment on yesterday, like the terrorist surveillance program which flatly contradicts the congressional enactment on foreign intelligence surveillance act that the only way you get a wiretap is with court approval and the case is declared unconstitutional in the detroit district court and the sixth circuit dodges in the case on standing with very questionable grounds and the supreme court won't even hear it and you have a case involving september 11th and a very blatant conflict between congress powers expressed under article one with the sovereign immunities act and the president stepping in under foreign powers isn't that a category of the highest magnitude? >> it is so difficult to answer that question in the abstract.
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for the reason i've just explained. the issue is much, much, much more complicated than an absolute that says if a case presents this question, i'm always going to take it. that's not how a judge looks at the issue of granting or not granting certiorari, i assume, because the court is weighing so many different factors at the time that decision is made. >> judge, i don't want to interrupt you, but i only have a mn minute and a half left and a couple comments i want to make in conclusion. i would ask you to rethink that. and i would also ask you to rethink the issues you didn't want to answer yesterday about conflict between the congress and the court. even though the constitution made congress article one and the president article two of the
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supreme court has really reversed the order. the judiciary is now really an article one if the powers were to be redefined and i will ask you to take a look. you have said repeatedly that the job of the court is to apply the law, not to make the law and take a look again at the standard of proportional and congruent and see if you don't agree with justice scalia that that's another way for the court to make law and take a look, too, at what justice roberts said here in the confirmation hearings that there would be difference and respect for congressional fact finding and how that is not done in the garret case and in the voting rights case. and out of consideration for the people who are going to appear here later on, not prepared yet to announce my own vote, but it is my hope that the conventional
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wisdom is very strong for your confirmation that you'll use some of those characteristics of your litigation experience to battle out the ideas that you believe in because i have a strong hunch that they're closer to the ones that i would like to see adopted by the court. and don't let the issues of separation of power skip by. the congress is entitled to difference on these big issues and at least they ought to be decided by the court. thank you very much, judge sotomayor. you've done quite an outstanding job as a witness. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator specter. and, judge, we will take a short break and thank you for all this. when we come back, we'll go to
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recognize senator coburn, who's next. thank you. >> senator patrick leahy, the chairman of the judiciary committee ordering a recess right now, a break, 10 or 15 minutes and thaen they'll resum the questioning with senator ted coburn of oklahoma. we watch sonia sotomayor greet her friends and family members and leave the hearing room for a little while and let's get ready to assess what we just heard and arlen spectser one of the most senior members of this committee, but technically ranks as the second most junior member right now because he switched parties from the republican party to the democratic party and only al franken more junian than him right now. he is spending 20 30 minutes in the first round, 20 minutes in the second round asking those questions. there may be a round of 10 minutes each although patrick leahy would like to eliminate that, if possible. they want to move on and get the
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outside witnesses to come in who have been asked to testify for and against her confirmation. we're standing by to speak live with senator jeff sessions of alabama. he's the top republican on this committee and we will when our coverage continues of these historic hearings right after this.
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welcome back. they're in a break right now, short break. members of the senate judiciary committee questioning sonia sotomayor become a supreme court justice. we're standing by and going to be speaking shortly with jeff sessions. the top republican on this committee and the republican senator from alabama. stand by for that live interview. but in the meantime, let's digest what arlen specter just did with sonia sotomayor.
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our cnn contributor bill bennett is still with us. bill, arlen specter, arguably, one of the most intriguing members of this panel. >> intriguing is a good adjective. becoming a democrat hasn't made him any funnier. look, i know arlen specter very well. when i was drug czar he got very much into it, very technical. he made a great point at the end to be veryioserious. you look at the constitution which senator sonia sotomayor invoked many times. may maybe it's the supreme court, perhaps that's the big power and we should think hard about that. maybe that is one of the most important things. i think he's right about that and a lot of people think about and worry about the amount of power the court has. this is a bipartisan wereorry. people worry with a democratic
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president that all will be made by a liberal and liberals worry that -- >> all right, looks like -- >> you remember months ago -- >> we're getting a technical glitch there. but just wrap up your thought. >> i'm sorry. remember eric holder said a few months ago we're too cowardly to talk about race, we're a nation of cowards? we had something of a conversation of race about these hearings. not all aspects of it, but one aspect of it. judging through race, judging through gender and it was a conversation was carried on very well, i must say, by most of the parties to this conversation. we can do this in america and this was a pretty good example. >> there was an exchange on race that's john cornyn had with judge sotomayor. joining us right now the top republican on the judiciary committee senator jeff sessions of alabama. senator, have you made up your
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mind? >> well, i haven't. but i want to agree with bill bennett on one thing and i will mention that in a minute and that is we had a more honest discussion of some of the complexities and sensitivities of the race question in this hearing than in the 12 years i have been in the senate. so, i was proud that the attorney general's challenge that we be more honest about these issues were somewhat met in this hearing. >> is it still possible, senator sessions, you might vote to confirm her? >> i will try to do the right thing. i got to tell you, i'm very worried throughout a long period of 15 years of speeches and judicial philosophy she expressed that's contrary to mine and very, very troubling in approach and some of her cases reflect that. i do think she's on the -- i'm worried about what with it would be like for a lifetime appointment for her. >> how much deference do you give an elected president of the
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united states? in other words, elections as john mccain and lindsey graham keep saying, elections do have consequences. >> i don't think there's any. i think it's a good question, wolf, first. i think you give some deference because a president will submit someone else with a similar philosophy if they're elected and lack their commitment and then you have to ask yourself, do you think that the nominee once loose on the american public and on that court for a lifetime, maybe 30 years, do they have the discipline, the character, the restraint that will be worthy of that office? because if they don't have it, if it's not their philosophy to have it, what we've seen is that judges do tend to follow the siren song to set a little policy when they get a chance. >> candy crowley, our senior political correspondent senator has a question she wants to ask you. >> senator, one thing i'm curious about just going back to the firefighters' case for a moment because it's one of those
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that have been cited by republicans as possibly a hint of when her background ethnicity or gender came into play here. so, what i wanted to ask you is if you'd look at the supreme court decision overturning that, why did you not also look at the supreme court and say that their background, ethnicity and race also had something to do even given that clarence thomas was one of those who was with the majority? >> well, the problem was, quite clearly, that in her speeches, despite, i'm glad she disavowed that at the hearings, but her speeches quite suggested it's appropriate for a judge to take their background. prejudices and sympathies into account when they decide cases. she's quite clear about it. we can argue over it, but, to me, it's not disputable. so, that was part of our concern on that question. >> gloria bordure has a question for you, as well.
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>> lindsey graham said today that he's hopeful that judge sotomayor is not an activist. do you share that view? >> well, we certainly all hope that. she has announced president obama's empathy standard. i thought that was good news because i have really been troubled by his statement about what he looks for in a judge and how they should decide cases. that was interesting. but it will be a tough requirement for all of us. we're going to have to wrestle with that death threat standard. i don't think the republicans are going to adhere to the standard they adhered to 20 years ago when ruth bader ginsburg came along. i don't think they won't go as long as president obama went when he opposed justice roberts and alito and filibusted alito. so, i think somewhere in there we'll all wrestle with it. i intend to look at the record to see how many contradictions
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there are in the testimony. there are some, there's no doubt about it. i didn't like the way she handled the firefighters' case. they'll be here in a little bit. that was a summary order. they tried to render that order where the fight clearly appears that there would be no public notice of it and maybe even the circuit wouldn't know about it. by chance someone found out about it and caused an uproar within the second circuit and they came within her vote of rehearing that case. >> we'll hear from some of those firefighters later today. john king has a question for you, senator, as well. >> senator, you have, as promised, had a polite, pointed at times, but a polite conversation with judge sonia sotomayor. i talked to an activist this morning who said, look, there is no doubt she will be confirmed. but we are asking our guys, he meant the republicans on the committee to feel her out a little bit more and ask her more of tax funding of abortion and the death penalty.
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this activist said the goal was to try to get more statements from her on the record that could potentially be used against blue state, purple state, red state, vulnerable democrats in the 2010 presidential elections. have outside groups approached you or your staff asking you to help you here for political purposes? >> all kind of ideas and philosophies on how to approach this and how to make political hay out of it. my view is that we should just do the right thing. we have a constitutional responsibility to conduct a thorough hearing. she had a number of things in her background that were very troubling. most of those have been pretty, you know, inquired into. we'll all have to decide how well those answers hold up to scrutiny and we can't do this on politics. she is a good person, i don't think there's any doubt about it, a good background and a wonderful person. so, i think that's where we'll be. each senator will have to make
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up their mind and maybe discussing these issues are important because a lot of americans would feel that we failed if we didn't at least ask about some of these troubling statements to make sure that we get a public commitment to the people of the united states to be faithful to the law. >> is there going to be a third round of questioning now, ten minutes each maximum for the senators, senator sessions? >> there will be. that's what we did on roberts and alito and senator leahy committed to that. i'm -- we'll all try to keep our time down now. most people had most of their questions answered. but there will be a third round. >> you promised the american people they would be courteous, substantive sessions, if you forgive the pun, with the supreme court nominee and i want to thank you because these sessions have been very useful, very good. we've learned a great deal about the law and the supreme court and i think it's a useful service for the american public
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who are watching right now across the country. senator sessions, thanks very much for doing that. >> thank you, i appreciate your affirmation of that. that's one of my highest goals and i hope people will feel that way when it's all over. >> when the dust settles we will all have at least learned something about the law that is critical to all of us. thank you, jeff sessions, the ranking republican on the judiciary committee. we will continue our coverage of these historic hearings. we are waiting for al franken, he will have some time to ask some questions and tom coburn, the republican senator from oklahoma, himself a physician. he will be asking more questions and our coverage will continue right after this. not long ago, this man had limited mobility.
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we're getting into a lot of the so-called issues, important issues and technical details trying to understand what kind of supreme court justice she might be and she's giving us a little bit of flavor, but she's trying to avoid as much detail as possible. >> she's really doing a good job of avoiding detail. but i was struck by something in your interview by senator sessions. i think we're seeing two conceptions of what the senate's role is. one is the lindsey graham, orrin hatch view, which is elections have consequences and the president, by and large, gets the benefit of the doubt. the other view is actually shared by two unlikely fellows. senator obama and senator sessions. both of whom say ideology matters. that i am going to vote against someone who ideology i don't share. and i think that's really what the republicans who are the votes in play here are going to have to decide. is it the differential to the
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president's standard embraced by mccain, john mccain and lindsey graham or is it the lindsey graham, jeff sessions standard which is, we just don't approve of your ideology, you won't get our vote. >> it's an important, important issue as you take a look at what's going on. jeff, are there going to be any more surprises or basically what we've seen so far is what we're going to get. >> i think this is it. when senator specter was asking questions, he raised an issue that i don't think a lot of people know about outside of supreme court nerds which is that the united states supreme court has gone through an extraordinary reduction in its workload. in the 1980s, the justices were deciding about 150 cases a year. last year they decided 67 cases. this year, a handful more. the justices simply do less work than they used to and some of the old timers are not happy about it, including specter and
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it's interesting, chief justice roberts said i will take more cases when he testified during his hearing, hasn't really happened. judge sotomayor, kind of danced around that issue, but it is interesting to note just how much less work the supreme court does than it used to. >> does a whole lot less work but they have an excellent staff, everyone on the supreme court and they can be well-prepared. >> well, do the math. 67 cases divided by nine justices and each of whom have four law clerks and it is a pretty cushy deal being on the supreme court. not a lot of work every year. i mean, it really isn't. and i think some of the senators are upset about that. >> as we all know, jeff toobson the author of the best-selling book on the united states supreme court, the nine. you know a great deal. i do know this and i have always admired the members of the supreme court for their summer recess. they have a nice little summer vacation, don't they? >> you know, when chief justice
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roberts was working in the white house under president reagan, he wrote a memo about an idea to give a new, to create a new court of appeal and he was about 26 years old and he pointed out that only school children and supreme court justices are expected to and do take the entire summer off. >> they're basically off all of june, july, august and september. they don't come back until october. they have a better summer vacation than school kids. >> did i tell you, it's a good job. no wonder people fight so hard to get on. >> all right, guys, we'll continue our coverage. i want to hear what's going on. tom coburn is asking some questions and al franken getting ready to ask some questions and we'll continue our coverage right after this. right now, 1.5 million people are on a conference call. 750,000 wish they weren't. - ( phones chirping ) - construction workers are making 244,000 nextel direct connect calls.
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getting right back to the senate judiciary committee hearing. the confirmation hearings for sonia sotomayor. the republican senator from oklahoma is asking questions about precedent to sonia sotomayor. >> the seventh circuit decision to say not what we should be doing, it's what the supreme court should do is to reexamine a precedent that's directly on point. i can assure your constituents that i have a completely open mind on this question. i do not close my mind to the fact and the understanding that there were developments after the supreme court's rulings on
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incorporation that will apply to this question or be considered. i have a completely open mind. >> do you not consider it ironic that the majority of the debate about the 14th amendment in this country was about the taking of guns from freed slaves? is that ironic that we now have some kind of conflict that we're going to say that the whole reason and the debate about the 14th amendment originated from states taking away the rights of people's fundamental right to defend themselves. is that not an irony to you? >> senator, would you want to judge our nominee who came in here and said, i agree with you, this is unconstitutional before i had a case before me, before i had both sides discussing the issue with me, before i spent the time that the supreme court
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spent on the heller decision, that decision was mighty long, went through two years of history, did a very thorough analysis and discussion back and forth on the prior opinions of the court. i don't know that that's a justice that i can be. i can only come to this -- >> i agree with you, your honor. i don't want you to tell us how you're going to rule. but i ask you, isn't it ironic that in this country where the law comes from blackstone forward, comes from english law which our founding was perpetrated and carried out under this fundamental right and that we have a 14th amendment right and that we have through legal, what i would consider as a physician, schizophrenia, have decided that we can't decide whether this is a fundamental right. i'll finish with that point, other than to note the pressure reference was to pressure in
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immunity and not due process. >> i understand the importance of the right was recognized in heller in heller, and all i can continue to say, senator, is i keep an open mind on the incorporation doctrine. >> i appreciate that, your honor. thank you very much. let me go back to an area that i know is -- not everybody wants to hear about, but i think it's important. i asked you about where we were in terms of settled law on roe and doe. and today i want -- i only want to focus on roe and doe, not casey. what was the state of the law, say, in 1974, one year after roe? where did we stand in that issue? >> that women have the right to
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terminate their pregnancy in some situations. without government regulation. in others there would be permissible government regulation. >> let me -- did any of the law -- >> that's steadily, because the court did look at other questions in terms of government regulation. >> then let me ask you this, did any of the laws of the 50 states that regulated abortion survive the decision in roe? >> i don't know that i could answer that question, because i don't -- >> that's fair. they didn't. was there any limit to the right to abortion, either in the age of the child in the womb or the reasons for electing that surgery? and if so, what are those limits, according to roe and doe? >> i -- senator, i don't actually remember the court addressing that, because my
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studies have been on the undue burd test established in casey, so my experience in this area, or my knowledge, really has been most particularly concentrated on the casey standard, which is -- >> i understand. >> -- what casey did was change the roe standard. >> which goes back to why i asked you those two hypothetical, not abstract, but hypothetical cases yesterday, the 28-week, and a 38-week infant. the truth is ever since january 22nd, 1973, you can have an abortion for any reason you want in this country. and even though carhart ii has now been ruled, that's a procedure that will eliminate that pregnancy, is still legal and viable everywhere in this country. and so what i was trying to draw out to you is, where do we stand in this country when 80% of the rest of the world allows abortion only before 12 weeks,
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only before 12 weeks? and yet we allow it for any reason at any time for any inconvenience under the health of the woman aspect. and that's the other reason why i've raised the viability, because technology and the states' interest under the supreme court ruling starts with viability, that's when a state can have interest. it's guaranteed, and there's limited states can have to control that after that. is the casey ruling, the undue burden ruling test, is that a policy choice? i know it's the supreme law of the land today, but in your mind, would that represent a policy choice? >> i understood that that was the court's framework for
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addressing both the woman's right to terminate her pregnancy under the constitution and the states' rights to legislate and regulate in areas within its jurisdiction. so, it was the court's way of attempting to address those two interests. >> and justice ginsburg's not real happy with those tests and neither was -- neither are several other members on the court. i want to end up our conversation, when we had a private conversation i approached you about the importance of the cases that you decide to take if you're on the court. let me ask you a few questions. and i just want your opinion, and i'm not trying -- this is not to put you in any box, and
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if you think it is, please say so, you're trying to put me in a box. do you believe the court's abortion rulings have ended the national controversy over this issue? >> no. >> okay. you don't have to name them, but do you think there are other similarly divisive issues that could be decided by the court in the future? >> that i can't answer. i -- i -- >> i don't want you to name any, i'm just saying in -- as you think through your mind, do you think there are other similar divisive issues that are -- that we could have that would divide the country so remarkably? you know, assisted suicide, euthanasia? >> i can only answer what exi s exists.
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people are very passionate about the issues they believe in. and so almost any issue could find an audience or a part of our population that's fervent about it. >> which is a great answer, because on these divisive issues, is it better that the court decides them or elected representatives? if you had a preference and you were king tomorrow, and you would say we can decide it either in the supreme court or force congress to make this decision, which do you think would be better for us? >> in the first instance, it's always congress or state passing regulation that the court is reviewing and determining whether it complies with constitutional limits. so, it's not a choice of either/or. it's always congress' first instance or the state legislators' first instance with the nonveto -- >> i got 30 seconds left. i want to ask you another question. one of the -- you said just a
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minute ago people are passionate about what they believe in. and i've read your speeches and your -- and your publicly kangess and your talks, and i believe you're passionate. and i believe your speeches reflect your passions. i look at myself, and when i give a speech, i let it all go, what i really believe. i'm more measured. some people wouldn't believe that up here, but i am more measured when i'm here. but when i give a speech. and the problem i'm having is i really see a dissonance that you said outside your jurisprudence. and the only ability we have to judge is what that passion has relayed in the past and your statements here in combination with your judicial practice. and so you are an admirable
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judge, an admirable woman. you have very high esteem in my eyes, for both your accomplishments and your intellect. i have yet to decide where i'm going on this, because i am still deeply troubled because the answers that i couldn't get in the 50 minutes that i've been able to ask, and also deeply troubled because i believe what you've spoken to the law students, what you've spoken in your writings truly reflect your real passions, which i sometimes find run in conflict with what i think the constitution has to say, but i thank you for giving us such a cordial response, and i am mightily impressed. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. >> senator coburn, the republicans have asked for a third round of those who want another ten minutes, and so you will have a chance for more questions, if you wish, because
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trying to be fair to both sides, and i'll allow that. before we go to senator franken, though, and while you're still here, senator coburn, i had reserved about ten minutes of my time, just use a minute or so of it. you spoke about the second amendment, which is a significant issue, and it is one people care about. you spoke about gun owners out west in your life in both wyoming and then oklahoma. i look at that, of course, because oklahoma has more restrictive gun laws than my own state of vermont. i could say that virtually every state has more restrictive gun laws than we do in vermont. i've been a gun owner since my early teens. i have -- i target shoot at my home in vermont as a way of relaxation all the time. i own numerous weapons, handguns
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and long guns. i have not heard anything or read anything in the judge's writings or speeches that would indicate to me that in any way i have to worry that vermont gun owners and many vermonters are gun owners, it's just a way of life, that that's going to change. it's not going to change for me. it's not going to change the weapons for my two sons, one a former marine, at home. and i will still be, if judge sotomayor is on the supreme court, i expect i'll still be back at home -- you're welcome at any time if you'd like to come and go target shooting -- and go target shooting with me there. >> mr. chairman, i would just say briefly that -- but it is a real pivotal time we are in, because if the decision by judge
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sotomayor becomes law, any city, maybe not vermont, but any city or state in america could virtually, i believe, fully ban all firearms. and that's just where we are, and you may -- we can discuss how much precedent bounds you to reach this conclusion. it's not a little bitty issue. it's very important. >> but states mate laws that they've gone along. vermont has decided not to have the restrictive laws that you have in alabama, and -- but states have made up their mind. senator franken? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have a letter here from several former u.s. attorneys from the southern district of new york. some of them republican appointed and supporting the judge's confirmation, and i'll read a little bit from it. it says that each had personal
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experience, including appearing before judge sotomayor. she came to our cases without any apparent bias, probed counsel actively with inciteful and tough questions, and demonstrated time and again that she not only listens but is often persuaded by counsel. in our matters, judge sotomayor's opinions are clear and disciplined -- it's great. it's a great letter. i would ask that it be entered into the record, sir. can i enter into the record? okay, thank you. thank you, judge sotomayor, for your patience and your terrific answers. we've heard a lot about your thoughts on specific cases and on principles of jurisprudence. i'd like to ask a much more general question and one that i think is a really good question in job interviews.
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and that is, why do you want to be a supreme court justice? >> you're going to hate me for taking a few minutes. but can i tell you a story? >> i would love it. >> because it will explain who i am and why. when senator moynihan first told me that he would consider sending my name to senator d'amato for consideration as a district court judge, he asked me to keep it quiet for a little bit of time, and i asked permission to tell my mom. and he said, sure. so, they were visiting, and i told them. and mom was very, very excited. and she then said, how much more money are you going to earn? and i stopped and i said, i'm going to take you, i'll take a big pay cut.
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then she stopped, and she stopped. and she said, are you going to do as much foreign travel as you do now? because i was flying all over the u.s. and abroad as part of my private practice work. and i said, probably not, because i'm going to live in a courthouse in lower manhattan, near where i used to work as a manhattan d.a. now, the pause was a little longer. and she said, okay. then she said, now, all the fascinating clients that you work with -- you may have heard yesterday, i had some fairly well-known clients -- you're going to be able to go traveling with them and with the new people you meet, right? and i said, no. most of them are going to come before me as litigants to the cases i'm hearing, and i can't become friends with them. now the pause was really long. and she finally looked up and
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said, why do you want this job? and omar, who was sitting next to her, said, selena, you know your daughter -- this is in spanish. you know her daughter and her stuff with public service. that really has always been the answer. given who i am, my love of the law, my sense of importance about the rule of law, how central it is to the functioning of our society, how it sets us apart, as many senators have noted, from the rest of the world have always created a passion in me. and that passion led me to want to be a judge -- a lawyer first and now to be a judge, because i can't think of any greater service that i can give to the country than to be permitted the
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privilege of being the justice of the supreme court. >> thank you. well, i for one have been very impressed with you, judge, and i certainly intend to support your confirmation. for the court. i guess there is another round. i thought i was going to be the only thing between you and the door. so, i planned to just yield my -- all the rest of my time, but since i'm not, i'd like to ask you some -- no. i'll yield the rest of my time, if that's okay. >> thank you. thank you very much, senator franken. i will reserve my time. we'll have -- senator sessions has asked this, ten-minute
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rounds, i think to be primarily on the republican side. i may speak again when they finish. but we'll begin with you, senator sessions. >> thank you. thank you, chairman leahy. i believe we've tried to meet our goal. i had a goal at the beginning that people would say this is one of the most fair and effective hearings we've ever had. i hope that has been the case. it's a great issue, the choice of putting someone on the united states supreme court, and our nominee has a wonderful group of friends and a long and distinguished record, but a number of questions arose that are important. american people rightly are concerned that on important social issues that are not clearly stated in the constitution, on important legal issues not clearly stated in our law, seem to be decided by unelected, lifetime appointed costs. those are big, big issues that
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we've discussed here today. i hope in a way that's healthy and positive. judge, one thing i will ask you -- i asked justice roberts, i'm not sure how much good it did, because he came back asking for a pay raise the next week, i think -- but can you live on that salary that you're paid? we are in the largest deficit in the history of the republic. a lot of people are going to have to tighten their belts. are you prepared to do so also? >> i've been living on the salary for 17 years, so i will suffer through more of it. it is difficult for many judges. the pay question is a significant one for judges who haven't received pay raises, i think it's more than 20 years now if i'm not mistaken. >> you're saying pay raises based on -- they're getting pay raises almost every year, really. and the cost of living and that kind of thing, but there was a big pay raise about 20 years
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ago. i think that it's about -- about four times the average family income in america. i hope that you can live on it. if not, you probably shouldn't take the job. all judges, whether they're activists or not, if asked are going to say they follow the law. they just have a different view of the law. they just have a little, more looser interpretation of the law. so, that's why we press some of these issues. we want to determine, as best we can, just how tightly you believe you're bound by the law and how much flexibility you might think that you have as a judge to expand the law to suit perhaps a predliction in some policy hearing or another. attorney general holder recently said that he thought that we
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lacked courage in discussing the ration issue, and i think that's something that we should take seriously. that was a valid comment. in my opinion, we've had a higher level of discussion of that issue than -- since i've been in this committee, and i hope we've done it in a way that's correct. because this is so sensitive and it's so important, and we need to get it right, and we must be fair to everybody. we know that there are cases when people have been discriminated against. they are entitled to a remedy, and the supreme court has been quite clear that when you can show a history of discrimination -- and we've had that not just in the south but in the south -- the jurisprudence has developed that it's appropriate for a judge to have a remedy that would encourage a move forward to a
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better opportunity, those who have been held back. so, that's good. but the supreme court has also said that this is a dangerous philosophy, because when you do that, you have identified one racial group, and you've given them a preference over another. so, it can be done in a legitimate way that's remedial. and we still have vestiges of discrimination still in our society and there will still be needs for remedial remedies. but i do think, as justice roberts said, the best way to end discrimination is to quit doing it. and a lot of our orders and court decisions are such that they benefit one race over another solely because of their race, and it has to be tied to a remedy, and that's why the supreme court has made clear that when you do that, it must meet the highest scrutiny. the courts are supposed to review that very carefully, and
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the language they use is strict scrutiny. you don't favor one group over another without meeting that high standard. so, i'm glad we've begin to discuss that, and we'll have the firefighters and they'll be able to express their view on it in a little bit. and, judge, let me just say, before i go forward, that you -- you've done a good job. you've had a good humor. you've been direct in your answers, and we appreciate that. i will not support -- and i don't think any member of this side will support -- a filibuster or any attempt to block a vote on your nomination. it's a very important vote. we all need to take our time and think it through and cast it honestly, as the occasion demands. but i look forward to you getting that vote before we recess in august. let me discuss -- >> all right, so, there you hear
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senator jeff sessions saying there won't be a filibuster against sonia sotomayor. there had been a democratic filibuster against samuel alito when he was nominated by then president george w. bush. unlikely that a filibuster would have won given the fact that there are 58 democrats, two independents who vote with the democrats. that's 60, enough, needed to beat a filibuster, but he was gracious in making that comment, nevertheless. senator jeff sessions saying he appreciated what was going on, refusing to say how he would vote when he told us earlier, just a little while ago, he was still undecided. we'll continue our coverage of these hearings in just a moment. we'll be right back.
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we're continuing our coverage of these historic hearings on capitol hill before the senate judiciary committee. the supreme court nominee, sonia sotomayor, still answering questions. we're now in the third round of questioning. each senator will have a maximum of ten minutes to wrap things up. senator jeff sessions, the ranking republican, the top republican, asking some questions right now. getting through some of these substantive issues. they're in some technical stuff right now. jeff toobin, as we watch this wrap up right now, the third session, we clearly have heard from the chairman, patrick leahy, he's hoping that not everyone gets through these -- these ten minutes, that they'll be able to move on. later in the day there will be
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witnesses who will be coming forward and testifying on a whole host of issues both for and against. but i want to play for you this little clip, from senator john cornyn, republican from texas, because he raised with her the very serious issue of race. >> do you agree with chief justice john roberts, when he says the best way to stop discriminating, based on race, is to stop discriminating based on race? >> the best way to live in our society is to follow the command of the constitution, provide equal opportunity for all. and i follow what the constitution says. that is how the law should be structured and how it should be applied to whatever individual circumstances come before the court. >> with respect, judge, my question was, do you agree with chief justice john roberts'
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statement, or do you disagree? >> the question of agreeing or disagreeing suggests an opinion on what the ruling was in the case he used it in. and i accept the court's ruling in that case. and that was a very recent case. there is no quarrel that i have, no disagreement. i don't accept that in that situation that statement the court found applied. i just said, the issue is a constitutional one, equal opportunity for all under the law. >> all right. very sensitive issue, jeff. race has certainly come up in many ways over the course of these four days. >> and -- and the profound question that senator cornyn was asking is, is affirmative action discrimination, is it discrimination against white people. for example, the case in which that -- chief justice roberts made that comment involved the school districts of seattle. and one of the things seattle
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did was, they set up school districts that had a provision for establishing some racial balance in each district. they said that we want to make sure that there aren't all white and all-black school districts, and the supreme court said, that's not acceptable. you can't use race in that way. and this keeps coming up. it came up in the new haven case that we've talked about so much. can new haven cancel a test because they feel african-americans didn't do well enough? can the university of michigan law school use race as one factor in admissions? in 2003 justice o'connor said yes. very unclear whether the current supreme court would say the same thing. all these questions are about may the supreme court approve the use of race. is that discrimination, or is it a benign attempt to achieve diversity? that's the heart of the controversy. >> and i'm going to maria
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echaveste in, democratic strategist, who teachs law at the university of california-berkeley. worked in the clinton white house. the issue of race, it doesn't get more sensitive than that. >> it's certainly part of our long history. but i think we need to be very clear that this decision, the case that jeff referred to, is, in fact, the precedent. and justice o'connor, and i'm quoting from her opinion, said, just as growing up in a particular region or having particular professional experience is likely to affect an individual's view, so, too, is one's own unique experience of being a racial minority in our society like our own in which race, unfortunately, still matters. so, this is -- this is still an issue, but this -- race and that case was found that it can still be considered as part of an overall evaluations for admissions. i think the new haven case has been misconstrued, because it
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was at bottom whether the city properly acted to throw out a test before it has been sued. that's what the issue was. it wasn't affirmative action per se. >> it was that case and it was also the wise latina comment, utterance, that she made that sort of gave the impetus for this whole discussion, gloria, about race, playing such a significant role. >> right. and as senator coburn said, when he was speaking with her today, there seems to be a conflict. and this is what republicans seem to be focusing on. whether that writing or her speeches truly reflect her passion, or whether her legal rulings reflect who she is. and so there's this kind of dichotomy, and they're trying to resolve it. and those who resolve it like lindsey graham, seem to be saying i can resolve it by saying i believe your legal opinions will reflect who you are. >> because lindsey graham did have another exchange with her
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precisely on this subject right at the very end of his allotted time. listen to this. >> you have said some things that just bug the hell out of me. >> may i -- >> last question on the wise latino woman comment. to those who may be bothered by that, what do you say? >> i regret that i have offended some people. i believe that my life demonstrates that that was not my intent, to leave the impression that some have taken from my words. >> you know what, judge, i agree with you. good luck. >> gracious comments from lindsey graham. you know, he's been very, very tough with her. but at the same time very generous in saying, you know what, i may still vote to confirm.
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>> and, again, we've talked about this. his standard when a president wins the election, he gets his pick, unless the nominee is proven unqualified. it's interesting on that question, much more so in the previous question you played from senator cornyn and the other day when lindsey graham asked what seems to be a simple question, are we at war. you see judge sotomayor, the wheels start turning. because justice roberts said in that case, the best way to end discrimination is to stop discriminating. why would you disagree with that. you see the wheels going, where are we going. the republicans are trying to take me out. are three trying to take me out on thin ice. is there a question coming next. do i need to be careful about answering what seems to be a very simple question. that's part of the drama. you can see the wheels turning in her head. sure, i agree with chief justice roberts, but if i answer yes, what's coming next. >> and the question that al franken asked, why do you want to be a supreme court justice, i thought it did -- she had an opportunity to explain her decision 17 years ago when pat
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moynihan, the then senator from new york said, you want to be on the federal bench to begin with. she had to take a pay cut. we did check, candy, the supreme court justice, associate justice, makes, what, $208,000. the chief justice makes $217,000 a year. that's a lot of money, but certainly private law practice, working for big wall street firms, you make a whole lot more than that. >> it is. and her simple answer is to why you want to do this is public service, i believe in public service, which is just the right answer to make, because you don't generally get rich in the -- in the rich legal lawyer term, when you work for the federal government, unless, of course, you move on out after that, and then you pretty much can get a lot of money for it. >> but, you know, basically she said i'm in this for public service. and i think a lot of people -- one of the things we miss sometimes is so many of these people, whether they're on capitol hill, whether they're sitting on the supreme court, they could make so much more money elsewhere, so the motivation of public service is
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a true motivation. >> she said public service, love of law, love of country. those are the reasons she decided to take that pay cut and go into the federal bench, go on the federal bench, to begin with. dana bash, our senior congressional correspondent, is getting some new information, dana, on when we might get a vote on the committee and then on the floor. what are you hearing? >> reporter: well, we talked to the chairman of the committee, patrick leahy, who says that he is going to at least try to put sonia sotomayor's nomination on the committee calendar next week on tuesday. that is the democrats' hope. however, there is a rule in the senate judiciary committee that any senator can put their hand up and say, no, i want to hold it over for a week. and i spoke with jeff sessions, the top republican on the committee, and he basically suggested that four days between the end of the hearings and having a committee vote is pretty fast, especially when, in his words, when it's the united states supreme court we're talking about, so he suggested that somebody probably will delay it. so, it probably will be in about two weeks.
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that's likely. but ultimately democrats' will have their goal, and their goal ultimately is to have a full senate vote for sonia sotomayor by the time the senate leaves for august break. everybody, democrats and republicans, believe that that is going to happen. but if you just look at what's going on behind me, you have four, five, maybe even six republicans still lined up to ask a third round of questioning, because they think they can derail her nomination, but because they still want to, you know, show that they're trying and that's the same reason why republicans want to give it just one more week before they vote. >> this is a lifetime appointment. she'll be on the bench 30 or 40 years, who knows how long, and they have every right to get her on the record. it's the only chance they will have before she becomes a life member of the united states supreme court, so that is their prerogative and they're taking advantage. dana will be with us throughout the day, watching what's going on. the third round of questioning is now under way. our coverage, remember, uninterrupted is available for you at cnn.com. we'll have more coverage about what's happening in washington, capitol hill, plus all the day's
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hello, everyone, i'm tony harris. here's what we're following for you right now in the "cnn newsroom" -- new developments in the killing of a florida couple who took in special-needs children. authorities in pensacola holding a news conference that just wrapped up moments ago. they say they have pinned down a motive. there are eight people under arrest in the case. the latest arrests coming yesterday. the escambia county sheriff said pamela long wiggins will be charged with accessory after the fact in the deaths of byrd and melanie billings. the parents of 17 children were shot july 9th in their home. the state attorney says the motive was simple, robbie. >> in our opinion this was a home invasion robbery, where the people stole a safe. we recovered the safe, and we think it's as simple -- i personally -- the sheriff can speak for himself -- think it is
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as simple as that in terms of the motive and the -- and what occurred. >> investigators say they still want to question some so-called persons of interest. the house taking action today, on the future of your health care. two committees expected to vote on a sweeping reform planned, it seeks to cover nearly all americans through subsidies for the poor and taxes on the wealthy. we will delve into the details with senior medical correspondent, elizabeth cohen, in just a few minutes. meantime, president obama is keeping up the pressure on lawmakers to act before the august recess. >> time for us to buck up, congress, this administration, the entire federal government, to be clear that we've got to get this done. our nurses are on board. the american people are on board. it's now up to us. we can do what we've done for so long, and defer tough decisions for another day, or we can step
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up and meet our responsibilities. in other words, we can lead. >> so, the real fight over health care is heating up, but behind you at bickering and the partisan proposals are personal stories. cnn's jim acosta reports on one mother's fight for reform. >> reporter: before washington takes another step on health care reform, hilda sarqisian wants the politicians to hear her story. >> if we don't change this now, my story is going to be their story. >> reporter: her 17-year-old cancer-stricken daughter natalie made national headlines when the family's health insurance company denied coverage for a liver transplant in late 2007. they raised a ruckus, and the company reversed its decision. the moment caught on camera. but it was too late. that same evening, natalie died. >> now she's in heaven. >> reporter: she was brought to washington by democratic
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activists pushing for a reform bill that would give americans the option of joining a government-run plan to compete with private insurers. the option, they say, will keep the industry honest. >> this is my message to everyone. insurance companies cannot decide who's going to live and who's going to die. >> reporter: but she will have to win over an army of skeptics, from republicans nervous about the price tag. >> they're spending too much. they're taxing too much to get us there. and they're writing legislation that is totally partisan that -- that isn't going to work. >> reporter: -- to special interest groups. beverage companies are running an ad opposing one government proposal that would pay for reform in part with a soft drink tax. >> is no time for congress to add taxes to simple pleasures we all enjoy, like juice drinks and soda. >> reporter: the president is ready to play hardball. >> those that oppose our efforts should take a hard look at just what it is they're defending. >> reporter: the democratic party has a new ad out aimed at
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its own senators who are wavering on reform. >> it's time. >> it's time for health care reform. >> reporter: in the fight, hilda vows no surrender. >> i know i'm going to face congress and meet the president eye to eye, and i'm going to tell them, he had the responsibility to become the president and we're proud of it. but guess what, we need something in return. >> reporter: the president said he wants both the house and the senate to wrap up their work on health care reform before lawmakers take their long august break. in the halls of congress may get crowded, as supporters of reform plan to flood those hallways with more people like hilda s sarquisian. >> it is a wrap soon for judge sonia sotomayor. if all goes according to plan, the supreme court nominee will finish the question/answer portion of her confirmation hearings. and then senators will hear witnesses for and against her. let's go live to cnn's congressional correspondent,
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brianna keilar. there she is, on capitol hill. are we into the final round of questions despite the final ten-minute round right now? >> reporter: you know what, tony, i'm not exactly sure if we're there yet. but if not, we're moving in that direction. i'm trying to get a handle on who is asking questions. it looks like chuck grassley. she has been grilled on some of those hot-button issues. for instance, abortion. and we didn't hear a whole lot different from watt we heard yesterday, tony. she said that the law -- because she's been couching, of course, everything in the law, that roe v. wade and the recent case in the 1990s, planned parent hood v. casey says that the woman has certain rights in certain situations. so that's certainly not a headline there. but certainly when she was questioned about gun rights, we heard the question from the very
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frank-speaking senator lindsey graham he was explaining why he really wants to get to the heart of what she feels about gun right. let's listen to him. >> i do believe at the end of the day, you're not going to find a law book that tells you whether or not a fundamental right exists vis-a-vis the second amendment, that you'll have to rely upon your view of america, who we are, how far we've come and where we're going to go and our relationship to gun ownership. that's why these choices are so important. and here's what i'll say about you -- and you may not agree with that, but i believe that's what you're going to do, and i believe that's what every other justice is going to do. >> reporter: now, lindsey graham went on to say, tony, that some of sotomayor's speeches, quote, bug the hell out of me. in particular he was talking about the wise latina comment. but when he was talking about
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gun rights, he went on to say to her -- and he has hinted he may vote to confirm her -- that what makes her more acceptable to graham is that he thinks she's broad-minded enough to understand that america is more than the bronx, where she is from, and bigger than south carolina, where he is from. >> yeah, yeah. good wrap of when we are right now. brianna keilar on capitol hill. brianna, appreciate it. thank you. and just this morning, a deadly shootout at an apartment in jersey city, new jersey, the pictures are amazing here. eight police officers are hurt, one critically. look at this. two suspects are dead. a police official says one of the wanted men, quoting here, came ready to do war with us. five of the officers were shot, the other three were injured during the shootout. >> the entry was attempted to be gained to the apartment, and the people inside just started firing through the door and through the wall. one of our jersey city officers was hit in the neck and the
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chest. he had a bullet-proof vest on. he went down, he's been operated on. and things look good for him right now. another one of our officers, that was immediately behind him, was also hit in the face. he was in very, very bad shape, life-threatening situation. >> wow. the mayor later said the condition of the officer shot in the face has improved. so, some good news there. more amazing video to show you. take a look at this. this is hazel park, michigan, ten miles from downtown detroit. a car collided with two big rigs last night. one of them a tanker. the explosion and fire caused the interstate 75 overpass to, yeah, collapse. firefighters faced a real inferno battling the fire last night. the driver of the car and the two truckers were not seriously hurt, but the impact of the crash was felt throughout the neighborhood. >> the flames had to be 30, 40 feet in -- in the air, and the senior citizens, all this
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neighborhood, has lost power, and all the people are gasping for air in the senior apartment because of the fire. >> the tanker that exploded held 13,000 gallons of fuel. the u.s. military in afghanistan is turning to some old-fashioned footwork to find a missing soldier. it's handing out pamphlets in two provinces asking for help in the search. the soldier walked off a u.s. base with three afghan counterparts. it is believed he's been captured by the taliban. one pamphlet warns, quoting here, if you do not release the u.s. soldier, then you will be hunted. another includes a phone number to call in case the soldier is spotted. the military has not released the soldier's name. as congress moves toward approving plans on health care, how will your health and your wallet be affected? senior medical correspondent, elizabeth cohen, will join me to talk about it. that's next.
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new jobless numbers just out. the labor department reporting new claims fell to 522,000. that means last week about
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47,000 fewer people filed for first-time unemployment benefits, and it is the lowest level since january. government analysts say the drop doesn't necessarily point to improvement in the economy. instead, it's largely because auto plants have reopened after being closed temporarily. democrats in congress pushing ahead on health care reform. the first house votes are expected today. two committees scheduled to take action on a plan from house democrats. it includes a government-funded insurance option, requires individuals and employers to participate, and it taxes the wealthy to help cover costs. a senate health commit tee approved its health proposal yesterday. so, how can this affect your relationship with your doctor. senior medical correspondent, elizabeth cohen, is here to talk about it. what do you think here? changes in our relationship with our doctors specified, laid out, in these plans, what do you think? >> well, the folks that wrote these said absolutely not. absolutely not. our bill isn't going to change anything.
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>> yeah. >> we'll just try to make medical care better and less expensive and we're going to try to insure the uninsured. however, there are some concerns that there are some provisions of this plan that could possibly, maybe in the future, affect the relationship with your doctor, so i'm looking at page 501 of the 1,000-page house bill. and if you look in here, there's a mention of something called comparative effectiveness research. >> we've wanted to talk about this for a while. it's actually here in the legislation. >> it's here, comparative effective research. >> explain this to folks. >> all right, what it's spending millions of dollars to try to figure out what are the best treatments for any given condition. >> sure. ? >> so, a woman has breast cancer. should she have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy which makes the most sense? a man has prostate cancer, should he have surgery or radiation? again, what makes the most medically and what makes the most sense financially. what the groups would do is try to come up with best practices,
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if you will. >> best practices, that means more research. sounds good. who could be against more research? so, what's the concern here? >> well, there are some republicans that are concerned that once they come up with those best practices that then there would be pressure for insurance companies to only pay for -- pay for the best practices. >> right. >> and that medicine is an art, not a science. and so -- >> wait a minute, doctors go to school for years to learn the science of anatomy, everything else, physiology, and now, what, at the end of the day they're told that health is -- and the work that doctors do is as much about art as it is about science. come on! >> the best doctors i know, the ones who are the most respected, the smartest guys and gals out there, they will tell you that medicine is an art, not a science. and you can have dr. jones and dr. smith seeing the same patient and they are -- they might come up with two different approaches. both of which -- >> yeah. >> -- are respectable and okay. so, the question is, can science tell us what's really best? and is the aftermath of this bill, that if there is research
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that says what's best, will doctors be forced to prescribe that to their patients. >> okay. so, in other words -- >> concerns. nothing sort of in writing, but concerns. >> another hot topic here, pay-fors. and we've been talking about this back and forth for weeks, look, pay-fors, in the plan here, is it going to cost a lot of money and can we pay for it? who pays? >> health care reform, all of health care reform is thought to cost about a trillion dollars over ten years. >> right. >> that trillion dollars doesn't exist at this moment, they have to find the trillion dollars. and tony had, for example, talked about taxing the rich, which everybody thinks is okay, except for the very rich. four democratic senators another idea floating out there, let's tax insurance companies, let's tax them, that could help us raise as much as $100 billion. as you can imagine, insurance companies aren't too excited about this. >> okay, the finance committee on the senate side. the house side is working on it as well, and we'll just see what comes out of it. we ultimately know there's a
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senate bill that comes out, there's a house bill, and it all has to be worked together and we got to get the comprises in, right? >> that's it. we'll have to see what they come up with. >> thanks, elizabeth. >> thanks. we want to hear from you about health care reform, we've been asking you to chime in on this. let's continue to do that. what do you have to have in your health plan? should the government mandate coverage? do you support a public option? one more question here -- who should pay? we invite you, as always, to join the conversation on our "newsroom" blog, just go to cnn.com/newsroom. so, hitting the books and pulling out the plastic. college students are using credit cards more than ever. and that can be very dangerous. personal finance editor, gerri willis, is here to help us get schooled about the pitfalls of plastic on campus. and gerri, good to see you. unbelievable how much these students rely on credit, just how bad is it? >> well, i got to tell you, tony, it's disturbing.
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>> yeah. >> almost 30%, almost a third of undergrads, put tuition on their credit cards. >> oh, boy. >> according to a recent study on sally may. on average students carry five cards. can you imagine, five cards? i carry two. it gives you an idea. the unfortunate part, only 17% of students regularly pay off their bills, so they're incurring a the although of interest fees. bottom line, college students should be building their credit while in college, credit cards are a good way to do that. you just have to build good habits. >> college students will they actually be seeing some changes in this area soon? >> absolutely. well, the new credit card legislation that we talked so much about on this network. it starts in february. if you're under 21, you're going to have to get a cosigner before you can get a credit card. and, guess what, marketers are not going to be able to set up shop on campus. the expectation out there by people in the industry they'll move off-campus, to off-campus events maybe even the local
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watering hole. >> got you. >> to give out cards. so, this semester coming up is prime time for credit card marketers to get people signed up and using credit cards. >> right. >> you really want to be aware of that, whether you're going to college or the parent of somebody going to college. >> absolutely. i got another quick one for you. what kind of credit card should college students actually look for? >> well, there are student-specific card and you can find them on cardratings.com or creditcardratings.com. you have to look for one with an interest rate of 17% to 18%, believe me that's low for students. no annual fee. you can get a rewards card only if you plan to pay it off each and every month, which you should be doing. here are the best student-rated cards, citi forwardsm card. chase plus 1 student mastercard, and discover student card, their rate is 14.99%, which is low compared to a lot of them. take a look at the websites they are great cards for kids who are in college. >> gerri, any ideas, tips,
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advice, on ways that college students can better manage their credit cards? >> you know, don't use your credit card for stuff like tuition, rent or groceries. >> yeah, yeah. >> you want to use it in an emergency, maybe to book a flight home, to pay an unexpected car bill and then you got to pay it off each and every month. you really don't want a revolving balance if you don't have a steady source of income. and you can send us questions at gerri@cnn.com. >> good to see you. >> my pleasure. >> let's do it tomorrow. >> absolutely. still to come in the "newsroom," turning pet pampering into a way to survive the recession. we will show you one woman's plan.
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unemployment, high. the recession, dragging to an end. many financial experts believe it is the perfect time to start a small business. and this week's "money & main street," we meet a decorated, out-of-work military vet looking for a financially sound way to follow her dreams and become her own boss. cnn national correspondent, susan candiotti, reports.
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>> reporter: in the eight years since she retired from the air force, lorie lawrence has had three different jobs. she quit one and was laid off twice. after the last layoff in february, she started rethinking her options. >> i started thinking, i'm tired of going through this. what would i really enjoy? >> reporter: though her aging husky cody is too old to need much grooming anymore, cody inspired her to set her sights on opening a dog-grooming business in the suburb of atlanta peachtree city. but money was tight, so she swallowed her pride and opened a fruit stand. >> it's not doing anything that like what i had hoped it would do, but it's more money than i had last week. >> reporter: fruit is only bringing in a few hundred dollars a week. compared to that, dog grooming looks like a gold mine. >> people spend $42 billion last year on their pets alone. you know, it's there. how do i -- how do i get in?
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i want in, you know? >> reporter: lori attended a number of sba seminars and googled business plans offer there startups, then drafted her own. small business experts danny babb and john rutledge offered to take a look. >> she has a specific idea in her head, and about what this is going to look like and what the consumer is going to walk away with. >> reporter: john and danny helped lori reduce her taftup costs from $147,000 to just $35,000. they showed her how to save money on labor and equipment. they suggested she look for free advice online instead of hiring an attorney and cpa. and they're helping her negotiate a better lease in the down-and-out commercial real estate market. >> in your plan, you have also things like pet sitting, dog taxi -- >> uh-huh. >> -- retail, a bakery, all those things, ways, of adding more revenues on just the basic wash your dog. >> reporter: for the time being, dog washing is all lori offers,
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but she hopes to be providing the pampered pooches in her area, a full range of services by the end of next month. susan candiotti, cnn. >> and you can watch "money & main street" every thursday right here in the "cnn newsroom," and you can see even more "money & main street" tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on "campbell brown." well, the numbers are in, the housing market's as bad as you thought it was. we want to make sure that we provide responsible lending, and we want to make sure that we enable our customers to be successful homeowners. bank of america is lending. whether it's a purchase, a refinance, line of credit... we're here to assist our customers. so we try to make it as simple as possible especially for that first time home buyer. there's a lot of opportunity right now
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with what's happening in our economy to really get out and educate. this is responsible lending. it's a lot more conservative than it once was. but in reality, it's a lot smarter. we, at bank of america, have simplified the process by offering the clarity commitment. this is a one-page document, very simplified, letting the customer know what they're going to sign up for. and there's not a lot of loan mumbo jumbo that most people don't understand. it's about educating someone. it's about making them feel comfortable. it's not just one piece of it, home ownership, but it's about everything kind of along the way. we're going to be able to hold your hand from this from step one to the end and welcome to bank of america. "what do you mean homeowners insurance doesn't cover floods?" "a few inches of water caused all this?" "but i don't even live near the water." what you don't know about flood insurance may shock you. including the fact that a preferred risk policy
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boy, some sobering statistics in the housing crisis. the real estate monitoring company, realtytrac reporting 1.5 million homes hit by foreclosure filings in the first half of this year. that's 15% more than a year ago. we are talking default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions. a realtytrac spokesman said the numbers show efforts to stop the growing crisis are not working. new states, including idaho and

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