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tv   Newsmakers  CSPAN  February 14, 2016 6:30pm-7:01pm EST

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large piece of legislation that could potentially get people -- cost a lot of money difficult. you find that with any committee in congress. though there are smaller bill that do not cost a lot of money, it could very easily go through the house, 430-zero. and then go through the senate nd become law. the one thing i would point to is they do an expiring authorities bill every year. it's a simple thing. attach something to that. the house is very active in his legislation. >> they are. >> but it's not a legislative committee so there is a fair
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amount of upheaval. while senator isakson is not there there could be a de -- very different cast of characters next year, especially in the house. >> miller will be termed out. that could that i things as well. >> thanks to both of you this week for being our questioners on kneesweek and we appreciate your time. >> thank you. >> thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corop. 2016] >> tonight on "q&a," former secretary of defense and former director of the c.i.a. robert gates discusses his book, "a passion for leadership." mr. gates has served under several presidents, most
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recently george w. bush and barack obama. >> at the end of the cold war when i was director of central intelligence, i came to believe they -- very strongly that the american people had given c.i.a. a pass on a lot of things because of this existential con ghrict the soviet union and i believe that after the cold war we were going to have to be more open about what we did, why we did it and even to the extent of how we did it to help the american people better understand why intelligence was important to the government and to presidents and why popts valued it. >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on "q&a." this washington journal morning, a discussion of the life and legacy of justice
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antonin scalia, who was found dead in el paso. this is about an hour. >> joining us here in our tudios is jeff braven, correspondent for the "washington journal". recollections about justice scalia and the impact he had on the high court. guest: with him it seemed that what you see is what you get. he was gareluss, sometimes extremely etimes intense. the personality that i saw on the bench when justice scalia was conducting oral arguments was the same one i saw when i interviewed him, when we had lunch occasionally. the guy was very authentic in a place where some people aren't. he was credibly, i would say he was among the most elite minds
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on the court. he was a true intellectual. but he was in no way pretentious. he was extremely down to earth as a person. he liked to try to draw a connection between, i think, the human scale of what he was doing and the kind of loftier ideas that motivated his writing. someone who is completely unapologetic, always someone who is 100% sure he was right, someone i think as a reporter had the fantastic gift of being quoteable in almost any circumstance. justice scalia was someone who wrote to be quoted. he wrote his opinions hoping that people would read them, would pick up the important lines. and he wrote for many audiences at once. he wrote for the sound bite that you might hear on television or we could use in a story. he wrote for law students knowing that his opinions would be excerpted in case books. wrote for lower courts and
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law professors. but one thing that he was not, though, was a compromiser. he didn't look at his role as making incremental changes in the law. that, i think, had an effect on the sort of legacy that he leaves us. >> when you got the news yesterday afternoon that he had passed away, he was in texas for a weekend hunting trip. but as you indicated just a moment ago that he had been traveling extensively over the last couple of weeks. what have you learned? >> he was on a 12-day trip to ashe visiting universities and aw schools with a legal writer professor at southern methodist university. the two of them have written several books about law and legal interpretation, and they ere lecturing on this topic. they've done around the country and world. i spoke to mr. garner yesterday as soon as i heard the news. he told me that justice scalia had been in fine health on
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their trip. that he had been quite vigorous. and there was no sign in his mind that there was anything wrong with him. so this was a complete shock to me and i think to watchers of the court who have seen him in recent weeks on the bench being his vigorous self. sometimes i think about just over ten years ago the last justice who died in office was hief justice rehnquist and chief justice rehnquist had a long debilitating illness for months he had thyroid cancer and there was a lot of speculation whether he would resign. he decided not to. he believed that his prognosis was good. unfortunately he died. so that was less of a shock for us. this was both out of the blue. and i think that for many people who watch the court for many years it's almost been conceiveable to watch it without without him up there.
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>> watch justice kennedy and breyer. we could see more changes if there are retirements on the court. >> that's true. stevens still apparently doing stevens still apparently doing quite well at age 95, talking, writing, quite out there. so it's i think he is -- all of us are at the age where you never know what's going to happen. the odds, uncertainty increaseses as we get older. justice ginsberg, justice kennedy and breyer, could be there for years, for months. but that is really true for all of us. but of course it does bring attention to the age of the court, the advanced age of some of the justices. i think back to the late 1960s, early 1970s when there was sort of a big burst of vacancies on the court. first the resignations of chief
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justice warren and fordice and shortly into president nixon's turn followed by the death of justice black and harden. that's certainly not something we will or won't know what happened. but it is a court that will be undergoing some changes in the years if not months ahead. host: did it surprise you in the statement by the president in the statements by congressional leaders and presidential candidates, of course paying tribute to justice scalia but then almost immediately talking about the battle to replace him? guest: i was surprised at that. normally there is at least a 24-hour period where the focus is on a great figure who has passed. it seems a bit crass to immediately begin discussing his successor. as they say, he hasn't been a
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funeral, we don't even know whether what the official cause of death. we haven't had a chance to hear from his family. it seems in some ways to reduce his legacy to turn him into just sort of a vote on the court that has to be replaced by one side or the other. i was surprised personally that the first out of the box was the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell who said that the seat shouldn't be filled at all. vake ht back to other sis when there were elections upcoming. and while some of those have been fought by the opposition party, usually, every time i can think of there was an actual candidate that they objected to. it wasn't anybody this president picks is ill legitimate or unworthy of conversation. that i haven't seen before. and that seemed to obama responded and he then spoke later in the day saying after
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raising justice scalia's intellect that he had move forward. >> justice kennedy was confirmed in 1988, elected in 1987. so to hear this argument it's been 80 years. it really hasn't. >> i haven't counted all the years but i don't know that those mean anything. in some way it's a political elected or the branches. justice kennedy was the third choice of president reagan to fill that seat. by the time he turned to his first nedy nominee had been rejected. the second nominee withdrew under some controversy. and the reagan administration knew that the clock was ticking and that their time was counting down. so justice kennedy was not as
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nservative as the reagan folks would have liked. they basically picked the most conservative side guy who would get through the democratic senate. they show he has not been as docket rinyir on many pivotal issues. such as gay rights and same sex marriage. >> the ranking democrat, with the democrats in the minority, he issued a statement and then said a following. the president and the senate should get to work without delay. guest: in this instance, president obama has already filled two seats on the court. so his administration is familiar with the process. the they have vetted other candidates. we know who is on the short
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list before. we know who was interviewed before. certainly we would assume they would start with the people they already looked at as well as seeing who may have else entered the field since then. to the extent they are preparing for a vacancy, i expect they were looking who might succeed ruth bader ginsberg. d there been some pressure for her to step down so he could replace a like-minded successor. the administration now though, with the republicans say ing we don't want to hear any -- we aren't going to consider anybody that obama nominates, i guess we have to see how serious that is. if obama was convinced that anybody that he puts up is going to just not get a they have to pose make some -- even greater political calculations and typically take place in supreme
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court nominations. what are the so-called optics going to be of a candidate walking up the senate steps and the door being closed or what have you. does obama pick someone who he thinks is a very provocative choice or does he go with the more moderate course? my sense, looking at the previous nominations, looking at how the administration has vetted candidates, obama will probably seek to find they have make a record is very solid, sort of a moderate democrat who there are very few substantive complaints about other than the fact that he was chosen by barack obama. that is my hunch about who the administration is going to look solid for host: could it be a member of the senate or potentially even the vice president? guest: well, this is an interesting question. for example, among the potential compromise approaches, as the discussions continue, could be a sort of care taker justice. probably the republicans would be less opposed to someone who
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was likely to serve a much shorter term on the supreme court. that could be the vice president who is in his 70s, or a senator. senators tend to have a lot of sympathy for people in their condition, that is having been senators. so traditionally they move alackty. th there hasn't been a senator appointed for more than half a century but it is a possibility. so if the rhetoric tones down a bit and obama looking at his own term winding down makes some sort of arrangement to have a de facto care taker
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from garland, texas, on the democrats line, good morning. caller: good morning and thank you for allowing me to speak this morning. i just wanted to offer my condolences to his wife and family. and i also wanted to say this is what bernie sanders meant when he talked about about revolution because you have mitch mcconnell coming out already talking about president obama don't even need to attempt to fulfill his constitutional duties. i think what bernie sanders is saying is that all the democrats from all over the united states and all the
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republicans who are represented by their republican senators need to call them and demand that they allow the president to do his constitutional duties and stop being constructionists. that's what i see as the political revolution bernie sanders talks about. it's very difficult for a president now to do his job. i am urging those people to call their senators at the washington, d.c. offices and insist that that he lou the president to do his duty. >> we'll get his response and share with you the story from the front page of "the new york daily news". justice antonin scalia of course was the longest-serving member currently on the court. could you respond to her question? >> well, the constitution
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doesn't require the congress to approve. in 1968 president lyndon johnson tried to elevate justice abe fortas to chief justice and replace him with justice homer thornberry, also from texas, and the senate just stalled those nom inages. filibustered until nixon came in. there saint clear indication of what the constitutional duty is. it is odd to have the senate leaders saying they don't want to consider any candidate from the current president. as far as sanders, interestingly, he was one of the first out of the box to put out a statement about scalia's passing, he said he admired scalia's intellect and respected him. there wasn't anything about replacing him. then the political rhetoric
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heated up about whether the seat should be empty r on and sanders joined other senate democrats in saying the seat should be filled right away. but initially he followed the usual practice of praising debt parted figure, saying they disagreed but he respected him. renev is joining us from texas, independent line. good morning. >> from texas good morning. i just wanted to say to the scalia family may god welcome my catholic brother. a couple things. first thing on that last caller. i believe president obama might sign an executive order to circumvent the process anyway. but my main two thoughts were when judge scalia wrote a scathing dissenting opinion saying that this law may make people feel good but has
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nothing to do with the constitution. and the state of the union speech where president obama was talking about being unconstitutional and judge scalia promptly reminded him of who gets to decide what's unconstitutional and onstitutional. thank you for your time. host: thank you for the call. it could be a recess appointment? guest: almost the supreme court has narrowed the president's flexibility in making recess appointments. an appoint when the senate is not in session to consider it. there have been recess appointments to the supreme court. i think chief justice warren actually was a recess appointment as was justice brennan. but not for reasons of political expediency. the senate wasn't there and they wanted the seat filled quickly. and the senate confirmed those two justices when they came back. >> what role do they have in our society? the supreme court in 2009.
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justice scalia answering that question. >> i think the same role it has played. i don't think it's changed. its proper role is in the democracy to give a fair and honest interpretation to the mete meaning of dispositions that the people have adopted. either congress in statutes or the people when they ratified the constitution. as simple as that. no more no less. i don't think we're a leader of causes. we're not pushing this society ahead. we are supposed to be interpreting the laws that the people have made. host: and that interview is on our website. he really enjoyed his job. guest: yes, he did. he loved his job. as he sometimes pointed out he was actually working for free. he had served in federal
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government long enough to qualify for retirement at full pay. so he continued to serve essentially free because taxpayers have to pay him the say whether he was on the bench or not. he reveled in it. he also said he actually enjoyed writing dissents more than majority opinion because majority opinion has to be a bit more sober has to command a majority. a dissent is where he really got to speak for if ages and try to fire up, he often said, law students who would be reading them in case books. so he loved that aspect of the job. but i have to say again ifts not a close friend. just really an observer. but it seemed he was someone who loved life, who enjoyed getting out there. he was on a hunting trip we read when he passed away. he loved opera, tral. he was not a monastic figure on the supreme court. he was somebody who liked to be out there in the world, meeting people, doing things.
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he was the president i think than life. larger i think that is true. there's no figure on the supreme court who really matches his type of -- his persona right now. i think perhaps ever. host: we're going to maryland next. clifford on the phone, democrat's line. good morning. caller: thank you for c-span and thank you for taking my call. my sincere condolences to the scalia family. president obama will make a nomination. the republican candidates and senate majority leader have all suggest that they will not act before the election. so my question, if the republicans delay or refuse to approve doesn't that give the democrats more ammunition to get a democratic senate? and then when president hillary clinton is elected she can nominate an obama, biden sanders. is there precedent -- when presidents have an opposition party as a majority in the
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senate to present more moderate candidates? and if they control the senate a more provocative candidate? so should republicans take what obama gives, which is likely to be more moderate than america in 2017? host: thank you for the call. guest: that's a great point. because in a sense, assuming that the republican position holds as we heard last night, they're really sort of playing for double or nothing. obama is as you say likely to pick someone who thinks is a plausible candidate who, i guess on air might have been a consensus figure as we said justice anthony kennedy was a more moderate figure than the reagan administration wanted but they recall dealing with an election year. so they picked someone who was they thought would be acceptable to the opposition party. the republicans are banking on the theory that they will
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control the presidentsy and the senate in the fall. or early next year. they may. but they may not. democrats certainly have very strong chance of retaining the white house. and because of the senate seats that happen to be up more than held by republicans and some in democratic trending states such as illinois, there is also a good shot that the democrats could retake the senate. if you have a president clinton or president sanders and a democratic senate in early 2017, particularly given how sore they will be at the republicans for having blocked obama's nominees, i think they would look to find a candidate who would be of no compromise then. they would go for probably -- they would not face the same political constraints that obama faces. host: this is a piece posted
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overnight. you indicated triggering a nomination battle. what names have you heard so far? what potential names do you think could rise to the top? guest: i think that so far nearly every justice has been appointed in the past half century has been a sitting judge. elena kagen has been an exception. so initially we look to the lower courts. and two names that have been frequently discussed are on the d.c. circuit court of appeals. a court that has been a stepping stone for many supreme court justices. they are sri certain vassen. was confirmed unanimously about three years ago to the d.c. circuit court. an obama nominee. but not one of the ones subject of a fight later. he had three subsequent nominees who were blocked and there was a change in the rules and so forth. she did not promote any
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controversy. considered a brilliant legal mind. he's young for a judge. and he also would be the first indian american to serve on the supreme court. no one could really question his qualifications. but perhaps he's too much of a cyber for the republicans at this point. appoint, the chief judge of the d.c. circuit gardnd is in his early 60s. obama considered him for prior vake sis, passed over him. but judge garland has a strong law enforcement background. he was a prosecutor in the justice department official who went after timothy mcvay and unebomer. well regard bid law enforcement and the justice department. considered more of a moderate jurist on the court. and at the time several republicans such as orrin hatch said that judge garland would be confirmed in a snap to the supreme court. so those are two figures that
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have already gained republican support in the past. they might be plausible nominees. there are others out there as well who as you say a current senator, perhaps one that is very popular with the other side. some people have mentioned she ulden white house whose is a new hampshire senator. there are some other candidates out there who might be in that situation. i haven't heard the vice president mentioned although he is a lawyer and he was chairman of the judiciary committee for many years. host: this is the headline from the los angeles times. scalia death royals the campaign. and as stan joins us. good morning. republican line. aller: good morning. i wanted to say that the president should have nominate loretta lynch starting general. she already went through the senate. and i think that would really stir the waters and i think
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that it would put a lot of pressure on the republicans to i wanted act. the second thing. when the holy father came and spoke to address the congress, there were several people that didn't show up, including justices. i urge all thinking americans to look at the transcript of what the pope had to say. they will see why things are happening in this country that shouldn't happen because people like scalia hasn't done what god wants them to do. thank you very much. host: loretta lynch. guest: right. she was stalled for many, many months when obama nominated her to succeed eric holder. no one really said it was because of any questions about her record. that was more of a political dispute with obama.
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she's been attorney general for over a year now. she's never been a judge. she certainly has the resume. she's been vetted. i suppose she is a plausible candidate. it would also create another vacancy for obama to fill. host: rootsdz. good morning. aller: good morning. i am very sorry about justice scalia. my condolences go out to his family. but i think that the republican party will never, if they could possibly get it through, appoint anybody that president obama put up. they have always stood in the way of him the whole eight years he has been there. they're not going to start now. >> well, the republicans -- i
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jess: and they could filibuster to his two appointees to the supreme court justice kagan and justice sotomayor. them got significantly fewer votes from the opposition party then justices usually get. most supreme court appointments have been unanimous or near .nanimous there have been a few battles over very particular nominees such as judge bork or clarence thomas. in recent years there has been a very clear partisan intent to the votes. on to mayor and kagan

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