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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  February 25, 2016 4:59am-5:27am EST

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discrimination. i know it dealing with those issues. i want to get with the proper v in this report. what sort of demand you are seeing for those services and the ability of that division to meet that demand. well, i will say that i certainly agree with you in the fact that i think we owe our veterans the greatest support. when they return home. be it an issue of health or services or the all important right to vote when they are also stationed overseas is one of the things that we do in the civil rights division is have a very active practice in making sure that service members who are stationed overseas have the information they need to know how to vote and that they -- that particular right is not infringed through a logistical problem or some other issue. we enforce the federal laws that help them also return to their work force.
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when they come home from military duty. we have seen a number of disturbing cases that involve financial exploitation of our service members. both when they are coming back and trying to seek housing and also while they are on active duty of service members and of their families. we have seen some unfortunate instances where that type of fraud is growing. that's a matter of grave concern to me as well. also, we also have issues, of course, with many of our service members returning injured. some of the injuries are visible. some of them are not visible. but it presents them with a business ability that gives them needs in terms of housing and employment and so we take very seriously our responsibility to defend their right to those reasonable accommodations as well. currently, the 2017 budget includes $4.1 million in resources which is going to plus up the service members' civil rights cases work by a little over $580,000. we also have a service members initiative at the department of
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justice that's led by my outstanding associate attorney general. and it really has been instrumental in making sure that we at the department look at all of the issues that our service members present and make sure that whether it's not just civil rights but other areas also. i mention the fraud cases growing. criminal division is cognizant of the issues as well. so we're trying to look at all the issues presented by our service members and be responsive. >> thanks. we would love to follow up with you on that. thank you, chairman. >> mr. kilmer. thank you, attorney general lynch, i want to thank you for your service to the country and keeping us all safe and for your cooperative relationship with this committee, it's deeply appreciated in ensuring that americans can sleep soundly at night knowing that the department of justice and their local and state law enforcement officers are working together to protect themselves and their families. thank you very much and the hearing is adjourned. >> thank you, sir. thank you.
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at 10:00 on reel america our final program on our three-part series on senator full briggete's hearings. secretary rust testifies. his opening statement is followed by committee members' questions. sunday morning at 10:00. the 1960 west virginia democratic primary debate between senators john f. kennedy and hubert humphrey. this was only the second televised presidential tell vised debate in history.
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because i believe strongly in my country and in its destiny, and because i believe the power and influence of the next president and his vitality and force are going to be the great fact nr meeting the responsibilities that we are going to face. >> at 6:00 we'll tour the plantation slavery museum that traces its history to 1752. >> the story is integral to the history of the united states. don't talk enough about the inequality of african americans and what they have faced in this country and we don't talk enough about our role today in perpetuating that inequality. so it's significant. also a lot of historic sites
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the i think it's important for people to come here and get a more complete understanding of slavery. >> members of the senate today talked about the supreme court confirmation process and majority leader mitch mcconnell's announcement that there would be no hearings to consider president obama's nominee. this begins with minority leader harry reid. he senior senator from iowa, along with other republicans on the senate judiciary committee, announced that they won't be holding a hearing on president obama's eventual nominee to the supreme court. they won't give the eventual nominee the common courtesy of even a meetin meeting. no hearings, no meeting.
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and this is all done even before the president has sent a name to us. this is historically unbelievable and historically unprecedented. the republicans don't know who the nominee will be. i've already mentioned that. already they've disiewded that they won't give -- already they've decided that they won't give the confirmation process even a start. why? because a person was nominated by president obama. remember, the republican leader said many years ago, the number-one goal he had was to make sure that president obama was not reelected. that failed miserably. the president won by more than 5 million votes. and everything has been done by the republican -- the republicans in the senate to embarrass, obstruct, filibuster, anything that can be done to focus attention on president obama, none of which has helped the country.
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but senator grassley has surrendered every pretense of independence. he let the majorit -- so partist that the senior senator from iowa won't respond to a personal invitation from the president inviting him to the white house to discuss the vacancy p. think about that. the president of the united states calls a very senior senator here and doesn't even repond to the president. this is a sad day for one of the proudest committees in the united states senate. so i ask, is this the legacy that he wants? is this how he wants his committee work remembered, as a chairman who refused his duty and instead allowed the republican leader to ride roughshod over the jurisdiction of the committee chairman.
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the strengths of the judiciary committee in senate have been legendary. no majority/minority leader could tell a chair what to do with his committee. that was off-balance. but it doesn't appear so now. in abdicating his responsibility, the senate has always held republicans -- has always upheld -- never in the history of the cou, has the senate ever refused to do anything. republicans are setting a dangerous precedent for future nominations, not only for the supreme court but for the senate itself as an institution. yesterday the senate historian's office reported that the denial of committee hearings for a
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supreme court nominee is unprecedented. if that's unprecedented, how about the fact you won't even meet with the person who's been nominated? if that's -- if that is unprecedented, how about the fact that a member of the united states senate won't even go to the white house to talk to the president about something about filling the supreme court seat? the senior senator from iowa will be the first judiciary chairman ever to refuse to hold a hearing on a supreme court nominee. that's quite an achievement. but none should make him very proud. this sort of wasn' wanton obstrn is not what the american people want. it is not what the people of iowa want. last week no more than six iowa newspapers issued scathing editorials calling on senator grassley to change course and give the president's supreme court nominee the respect he or she deservings. -- deserves. the "may son city globe gazette"
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wrote, "we were disappointed to see iowa's own chuck grassley join the partisan crowd calling for delay. there's no constitutionally historical precedential for such a shameful and bold-faced partisanship." the "gazette" in cedar rapids wrote of his actions, "it's hard to conclude this is anything but political maneuvering meant to meet partisan objectives at the expense of the supreme court. our constitutional process and the common good." "the des moines register" read, "suprem"senator grassley's supre court stance is all about politics." mr. president, is that the legacy the chairman wants for or iowa and our nation? i hope not. does he want to be remembered as the least productive judiciary chairman in history?
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at his current pace, he will be remembered as the most obstructive. senator grassley should take note of what senator biden did 25 years ago or generally as a member and chairman of that committee. in 1992 the judiciary committee under his leadership, senator biden's leadership, confirmed 64 circuit and district court nominations. all of the judicial nominations were made by a president from the opposite party. president george h.w. bush. in 2015, senator grassley's first chair as chairman of the judiciary committee, the senate confirmed 11 judicial nominations. that was the fewest judicial nominations confirmed ever. we -- forever might be a bit mu.
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that's quite a comparison. biden, 64. grassley, 11. but it even gets worse than that for my friend from iowa. in the entire 102nd congress, when joe biden -- joe biden as chair, the senate confirmed 120 nominees, 120 judicial nominations under biden. 11 under chairman grassley. the difference is stunning. i would encourage my friend from iowa to focus on chairman biden's actions and results rather than cherry-picking remarks. the judiciary committee of joe biden honored its nomination by confirming and visiting with nominees in a timely fashion even though they were a republican president's nominees. i can't say the same of the committee today. as chairman, joe biden did his constitutional duty to process
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four nominations for republican presidents for the supreme court. justice kennedy, that was the last year of reagan. that vote occurred in the last year of president reagan's presidency. souter and thomas. let's fowms -- focus on thomas for just a little bit. thomas got 52 votes. he squeaked through the senate. any one senator could have forced a cloture vote. any one democrat could have done it. we didn't do that. it was never done until the republicans showed up here in the last few years. now bork, a very controversial person, received a long, long hearing before the committee and a long debate here in the senate. and he was voted down. that's the way this place is supposed to work. other nominations have been voted down. but we didn't, with bork, we
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didn't say we're not going to hold a hearing on bork. we didn't say we're not going to take the committee's actions and leave it at that. listen to this, bork was turned down in the judiciary committee by an overwhelming margin, but in spite of that we brought it to the senate floor and there was a debate and he won by two votes. no filibuster. he was defeated in the committee. we didn't look for an excuse. that isn't the way it used to be done. this now -- the republican leadership now, they won't meeth the nominee, they won't hold a hearing and the chairman of the committee won't even go to the white house and visit with the president. as chairman, senator biden did his constitutional duty and processed nominations, even though they were republican nominations. so we don't have to go back to
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1980 or 1982 to prove the current chairman's ineptness. look at the spike in judicial emergencies that occurred on chairman grassley's watch just in the past year. what is an emergency? it means there aren't enough judges -- too many cases for a judge to do the work. a vacant judgeship is automaticically declared an emergency as it should be. when republicans controlled the senate last year there were 12 emergencies nationwide. today, a year later, that number has almost tripled to 31. by nearly every metric, the judiciary committee under chairman grassley is failing dramatically, setting all records of failure in this great body. the committee is failing the people of iowa and the nation. to the senator from iowa, the senior senator from iowa, i stress, i plead don't continue down this path. reject this record-setting obstruction and simply just do
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your job as a power mr. cornyn: i would ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, yesterday it was my privilege to say a few words honoring the memory of judge antonin scalia, known to his friends as nino, and a man whose intellect and wit and dedication to our constitution has served our country for decades. i'm glad others have said appropriate words honoring his memory and the many ways that he's helped strengthen our constitutional self-government and our democracy. as we know, the constitution gives the united states senate an equal role in deciding who eventually is to serve on the supreme court of the united states. president obama called my and other members of the judiciary committee yesterday saying that he intends to exercise his constitutional authority, and i recognize his right to make that
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nomination. but not since 1932 has the united states senate in a presidential election year confirmed a supreme court nominee to a vacancy that arose in that presidential election year. and it's necessary to go even further back -- i believe it was to the administration of grover cleveland in 1888 -- to find an election year nominee who was nominated and confirmed under a divided government such as we have now. so i find it very curious that some of our colleagues across the aisle are effusive in their criticism to withhold consent until we have a new president and in effect say this ought to be a choice not just confined to the 100 members of the united states senate and the president but to the american people. and we're not saying -- we're not foreclosing the possibility that a member of one party or
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another party will be the one to make that nominee. this isn't a partisan issue. this is about the people's having a chance to express their views and raising the stakes and the visibility of the presidential election to make the point that this isn't just about the next president, who will serve four years, maybe eight years. this will likely be about who will serve the next 30 years on the supreme court of the united states. so i'm going to remind some of our colleagues some of the things they have said in the past for which they are so -- they have so roundly criticized us. you know, people understand when there is differences of opinion. it's a little harder to understand hypocrisy, when you have taken just the opposite position when it's suited your purposes in the past to the position you take today. so let me just be charitable and say maybe they have just
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forgotten. i just want to remind, for example, the minority leader, senator reid. this is what senator reid of nevada, the democratic leader, said on may 19, 2005. this is when president george w. bush was president of the united states. he said -- "the duties of the senate are set forth in the constitution. nowhere in that document does it say the senate has a duty to give presidential appointees a vote." that's senator reid. i agree with him. that's exactly right. but that's not the position he appears to be taking today. the president has every right to nominate someone, but the senate has the authority to grant
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consent or to withhold consent, and what i and the other members of the judiciary committee on the republican side said yesterday in a letter to the majority leader is that we believe unanimously, all the republicans on the senate judiciary committee, that we should withhold consent. exercising a right and the authority recognized by senator reid in 2005. now, i have read some of the press clips. people recoil in mock horror. well, you're not even going to have a hearing? you're not even going to meet with the president's proposed nominee? well, that's right, for a very good reason, because it's not about the penalty of -- personality of that nominee. so it would be pretty misleading for us to take the same position that senator reid has taken and then say we're going to go through this elaborate dance of
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having courtesy meetings, maybe even having a hearing when we've already decided, as senator reid acknowledged is the right of the senate, not to bring up this president's nominee for a vote. and not to reordain who that next nominee will be, whether it will be nominated by a republican or democratic president, we don't know what the outcome of the presidential election is going to be, but this is too important for the congress and for the senate to be stampeded into a rubber stamp of president obama's selection on the supreme court as he's heading out the door, a decision which could well have an impact on the balance of power on the supreme court for the next 30 years. well, i'm not through with my charts. the next democratic leader in
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the senate, senator schumer, -- oh, i guess you could call the reid standard, we'll call it the reid rule and the schumer standard. it rolls off the tongue better. so this is what senator schumer said. this is 18 months before president george w. bush was -- left office. he said -- "for the rest of this president's term" -- this is 18 months. we're only looking at roughly 10 or 11 months until president obama leaves. "for the rest of this president's term, we should reverse the presumption of confirmation." i frankly don't know what he's talking about. the constitution doesn't talk about a presumption of confirmation, but it's pretty clear to me he wants a presumption that the nominee will not be confirmed for the next 18 months. senator schumer, one of the democratic leaders, said -- "i
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will recommend to my colleagues that we should not confirm a supreme court nominee except in extraordinary circumstances." so what we are doing is what senator reid and senator schumer advocated back when it was convenient and served their purposes way back when. they are now taking a different position because of course their interests are different. they want to make sure president obama gets a chance to nominate and the senate confirm president obama's nominee who will serve for perhaps the next quarter century or more on the supreme court. but it's pretty clear the senate's not bound to confirm a supreme court nominee or even hold a vote. finally, i want to point out, we'll call it the reid rule, the schumer standard and the biden
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benchmark. so here's what the vice president of the united states said, joe biden, back in 1992. he was chairman of the senate judiciary committee, and he gave a long speech in of which -- of which this is an excerpt. he said -- "the senate judiciary committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over. action on a supreme court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over." that's the biden benchmark. the reid rule, the schumer standard, the biden benchmark. now i read a statement from the vice president where -- that he issued after he saw that this old news clip and his statement had been made public. he quite conveniently said this is not an accurate view -- this is not an accurate description of my views on the subject.
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well, i think the words are pretty clear. i think what he might have said is that these are no longer my views on the subject because, of course, he would like president obama to be able to make that nomination. so i want to reject this myth that many of our democratic colleagues are spreading that what we are doing here and now is somehow unprecedented. quite the clear, what we are doing is what the democrats' top leadership has advocated in the past. what do they think we are? they think we're going to abide by a different set of rules than they themselves advocated? how ridiculous would that be? i could not explain that to my constituents back home in texas. if i was going to say well, the democrats can apply one set of


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