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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  April 6, 2022 10:00am-2:46pm EDT

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nomination of judge ketanji brown jackson on the u.s. supreme court, a final confirmation vote is expected the end of this week. at 11:45, voting whether to confirm james o'brien as state department sanctions coordinator. live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, listen to our crisis for help. guide our lawmakers, empowering them to act with integrity. lord, give them the wisdom to test their motives, as they become more aware of your mercy.
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keep them from drowning in shallow water. inspire them to resolve to cultivate an unwavering trust in the unfolding of your prevailing providence. lord, we thank you that your mercies are new each day. great is your faithfulness. and, lord, we continue to pray for ukraine. we pray in your merciful name, amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic
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for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., april 6, 2022. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable ben ray lujan, a senator from the state of new mexico, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session and resume consideration of the following nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, supreme court of the united states. ketanji brown jackson of the district of columbia to be an district of columbia to be an
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took her first steps are honest and four towards confirming the historic nomination of judge ketanji brown jackson to the u.s. supreme court. by virtue of a motion to discharge judge jackson's was reported out of the judiciary committee, out of judiciary by -- really wasn't reported out of judiciary. by a motion to discharge judge jackson's nomination was put on the floor by a bipartisan vote of 53-47. she now comes to the floor for consideration by the whole chamber. every day we move closer to judge jackson's confirmation the case and likelihood of her confirmation grows stronger and stronger and stronger. and i thank my colleagues on both sides of the i will approach this process with good faith. at the end of the day it will be
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our courts and the american people who rely on our courts who will benefit most from having an amazing jurist like judge jackson elevated to the pinnacle of the federal judiciary. here is what happens next. later today i'm going to take the next step to moving forward with judge jackson's nomination by filing cloture on her. my call he should be advised we may have to take some procedural votes to do so but this will not affect the ultimate result of this confirmation process. once i file cloture the stage will be set for the senate to close debate on judge jackson's nomination by thursday morning. a vote on final confirmation will then follow. the senate could then vote to confirm judge jackson as justice ketanji brown jackson as soon as thursday. as soon as this thursday. i hope we can work together to make that happen. what better way to wrap up this
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work, this work. period, this productive, largely bipartisan work to read mac than by confirming this most worthy, most qualified, most of story nominee to the supreme court? yesterday i to something i think is worth emphasizing all week long. judge jackson's nomination is a joyous and momentous occasion for the senate. she is truly one of the most qualified and accomplished individuals ever considered by this chamber to the supreme court. she will bring a new and much needed perspective to the courts work while also affirming the rule of law and respect for president. as i said yesterday confirmation of the nation's first black woman to the highest court in the land will resonate for the rest of our nation's history. untold millions of kids will open textbooks and see pictures of justice jackson and understand in a new way what it means to move towards a more perfect union. it made all our nation struggles come for all the steps forward
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and steps backward, the long march of our democracy is towards greater opportunity and representation for all. so when the senate finishes its work this week, justice jackson will be the first of many, the first of many. her brilliance, her lifetime of hard work, , a remarkable story will light a flame of inspiration for the next generation to hopefully chart their own path for serving our democracy and unleash so much talent that is thus far not been utilized. this gives me great hope. that should give all of us great hope. >> the constitution makes the president and the senate partners since selecting supreme court justices and as a practical matter of sender gets to define what advice and consent means to them. for much of the 20th century, senate typically took a
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different approach. senators tend to give the president a lot of leeway as long as nominees checked basic professional and ethical boxes. but then the political left and senate democrats initiated a series of major changes. in late 1980s democrats thrust the city into a a more aggrese posture toward nominations with an unprecedented scorched-earth earth smear campaign that took aim at a nominee's judicial philosophy. the "washington post" editorial board said back at the time that the formally conventional view that presidents would get great difference have now fallen into disrepute. they worried that a highly politicized future for confirmation proceedings might lie ahead following democrats actions. just a few years later personal tax on then judge thomas made the previous hysteria over judge bork same like lofty debate by
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comparison. and one year after that, in 1992 then senator biden and proclaim that if another vacancy occurred toward the end of president bush 41 term the judiciary committee should not holding hearings before the presidential election. well, that situation didn't arise that year here and once president clinton took office republicans did not try to match democrats behavior simply out of spite. we tried actually to de-escalate justice ginsburg and breyer both won lopsided votes with opposition in single digits. that was during a time when republicans were in the majority. but the very next time that democrats lost the white house precedent breaking tactics came roaring back. during the bush 43 administration senate democrats and especially the current
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democratic leader took the incredibly rare tactic of filibustering judicial nominations and made it routine. the press at the time described the seachange. they said it was important for the senate to change the ground rules and the was no obligation to confirm someone just because they are scholarly or erudite. democrats decided that pure legal qualifications were no longer enough. they wanted judicial philosophy on the table. so 20 years ago several of the same senate democrats are now trumpeting the historic nature of judge jackson's nomination use these tactics to delay our block nominees, including an african-american women and hispanic man. of course nominated by a republican president. in one case democrat suggested their opposition was
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specifically, listen to this, specifically to nominees hispanic heritage would actually make him a rising star. had, had democrats voted against chief justice roberts the best appellate advocate of his generation all but for the democrats voted against justice alito where the most judicial experience of any nominee in almost a century. there was no question about the basic legal qualifications of either but democrats opposed both. but our colleagues recalled at the taste of their own medicine and broke the rules to escape it. they preferred to detonate a nuclear option for the first time ever rather than let president obama's nominees face the same treatment they had just invented, invented for president
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bush's. democrats got then change the rule for supreme court because there was no vacancy. but the late democratic leader harry reid said publicly he would do the same thing for the supreme court with no hesitation. by 2016 democrats had spent 30 years radically changing the confirmation process, and now they had nuked the senate rules. odyssey visit pushed republicans into a more assertive posture ourselves. so when an election year they can see you did arise we apply the standard and did not feel it. it. and then when democrats filibustered a stellar nominee for the next year, we extended the read standard to the supreme court here in 2016, in fr..20 republicans only took steps the democrats of publicly declared they would take themselves. get our colleagues spent the next four years, four years,
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trying to escalate even further justice gorsuch impeccably qualified, received the first successful partisan filibuster of the supreme court nominee in american history. justice kavanaugh got an astonishing and disgraceful spectacle, justice barrett received baseless delegitimizing attacks on her integrity. and mr. president this history is not the reason why i oppose judge jackson. this is not about finger-pointing or partisan spite. i voted for a number of president bush's -- president biden's nominee when i can support them. and just yesterday after the judiciary committee deadlocked on judge jackson, they approved another judicial nominee by a unanimous vote. my point is simply this, senate democrats could not have less standing to pretend, pretend
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that a vigorous examination of a nominee's judicial philosophy is somehow off-limits to my democratic friends across the aisle have no standing whatsoever to argue that senators should simply glance, just glance at judge jackson's resume and wave her on through. our colleagues intentionally brought the senate to a more assertive place. they intentionally began a vigorous debate about what sort of jurisprudence actually honors the rule of law. this is a debate democrats wanted. now it is the debate democrats have. and that's what i will discuss tomorrow. why judge jackson's bare judicial philosophy is not well-suited to our highest court. >> the senate will soon vote on the nomination of judge ketanji brown jackson to the associate justice of the supreme court. i will vote against her
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nomination. judge jackson may be a fine woman, but she is a dangerous judge. she built her career as as ar left activist and it didn't change when she put on a robe. she personifies activism from the bench. she has crusader to undermine criminal sentences and she cannot be trusted to interpret the law or the constitution as written. judge jackson's record makes clear that the her brief stint as a criminal defense attorney wasn't motivated merely by devotion to equal representation of all. it was part of a commitment to leniency norms around judicial appointments. these days, the senate takes an assertive role, in particular most senators do not merely check resumes and basic legal
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quality ficks, but also -- qualifications, but also look into judicial philosophy. this is a discussion republicans welcome because judicial philosophy is not a routine policy disagreement, like debates over spending or tax rates or energy. these are the sorts of normal policy differences that our system of government is built to handle. but if judges misunderstand the judicial role, that damages the system itself. our genius founding fathers set up three branches of government. two of them get to make policy. congress writes and passes laws. presidents sign or veto them. and they're both accountable through frequent elections. the third branch
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responsibilities are completely and totally different. the courts exist not to rewrite laws, but to apply them as written, to protect every american's right to the consistent, impartial rule of law. so the judiciary is insulateed and independent. republicans want touphold the separation of powers. we want judges to honor their limited role in our republic, stick to the text, rule impartially, and leave policy making to policymakers. and then we want those judges to have total freedom from political threats and bullying. the political left has a long held exactly the opposite. they believe the framers got the judicial role. they want the supreme court to be another forum where
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progressives can pursue policy outcomes and social changes. when liberals fail to convince 218 house members and 60 senators of a position, they want to cross the street and try to persuade five lawyers instead they want judges going beyond the text, roaming through policy questions, and moral judgments. so, mr. president, this a huge difference. it has consequences for american families on issues from crime to border security to religious liberty. and for the health of our institutions. so the key question before the senate is this -- where does judge jackson come down? where does her record land along this spectrum? well, before the nominee was announced, president biden gave a troubling hint.
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he said whomever he nominated to the court would have to, quote, have an expansive view of the constitution, end quote. acknowledge rights that our founding documents leave unsaid, and guarantee specific outcomes in certain categories of cases. the president promised he would only nominate a judicial activist for the job. so, i can only support judge jackson if her record and testimony suggested president biden actually made a mistake, that he'd accidentally chosen a nominee who was not the kind of liberal activist that he'd promised. but unfortunately, judge jackson's record and testimony suggest she is exactly the kind of liberal activist that the president promised. in case after case, when
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statutory text, standards, or guidelines pointed in one direction, judge jackson set them aside and charted a course for a different outcome. as the district court judge, the nominee heard the case of a liberal activist case challenging the federal government's authority to deport illegal immigrants. the statute in question plainly gave the department of homeland security, quote, sole and unreviewable discretion, end quote, to enforce the policy. but apparently, that didn't lead to the policy outcome judge jackson wanted. so she ignored the statute, sided with the activists, and used a nationwide injunction, a nationwide injunction, to impose her new policy making on the entire country. this was such a blatant act of judicial activism that even the liberal d.c. circuit overturned
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her ruling. or take another case involving a fentanyl trafficker. if you read the initial trial transcripts, judge jackson editorialized and expressed regret that the law forced her to punish him somewhat harshly. she literally apologized to this self-described kingpin that she wasn't allowed to go softer. but the next time she saw this criminal at a compassionate release hearing, judge jackson was ready to legislate from the bench to give him the sentence she wished she could have given him before. even after the judge ex priss italy -- explicitly acknowledged the first-step act was not retroactive, she tortured its compassionate release provisions to make it retroactive anyway.
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the fentanyl kingpin will be coming soon to a neighborhood near you thanks to judge jackson. congressional intent was no match for judge jackson's intent. and then there's judge jackson's troubling record in a variety of cases involving child exploitation. on average, where these awful crimes are concerned, judge jackson's peers on the federal bench fall within the assist sentences congress prefers a third of the time. but in 11 cases, judge jackson didn't fall within the guidelines even once. at her confirmation hearing last month, the judiciary committee gave judge jackson a chance to clear up the activist track record. the nominee did not reassure. she repeatedly declined to answer why her discretion slanted so dramatically and
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consistently in the direction of going soft on crime. she just kept repeated that -- repeating that she had the discretion. clearly, what senators wanted to know was why she used the discretion the way she did. judge jackson did tip her hand on a few occasions. she acknowledged that her ignoring the guidelines. ed to, quote, making policy determinations, end quote. another time, she referred her personal, quote, policy disagreements to explain her jurs prudence -- jurisprudence. so, if you look at her sentencing transcripts, that's exactly right. not only did the judge herself make frequent reference to her policy disagreement with the guidelines, but you can see the prosecutors in her courtroom knew they had to acknowledge her
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bias as well before arguing that she should final why i get tough in -- finally get tough in their particular case. but always in vein, of course, because she never got tough once, not once. in this area. but prosecutors knew what policy bias they were going to get when they showed up in judge jackson's courtroom. of course this is exactly, precisely what we do not want judges doing. senate republicans gave the judge many opportunities to reassure, but in many cases the nominee just dug deeper. at one point the judge even echoed an infamous quotation from one of the most famous judicial activists in american history, the archliberal justice brennan used to say the most important rule in
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constitutional law was the rule of five. the rule of five. and judge jackson told the senate, quote, any time the supreme court has five votes, then they have a majority for whatever opinion they determine. that's judicial activism summarized in one sentence. so, to summarize, judge jackson's nomination started off on the wrong foot because president biden promised he'd only nominate a judicial activist. i'd hope maybe the judge's record and testimony would persuade us otherwise. maybe she would persuade the senate. she understands the proper judicial role. unfortunately, what happened was just the opposite. i oppose judge jackson's confirmation to her current post
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last year over these very same concerns, and this process has only made those concerns stronger. i suggest the absence of a quorum. quorum call:
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mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority the whip. mr. durbin: i ask that we suspend the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: thank you, mr. president. i listened to the republican leader speaking about the supreme court nominee, judge ketanji brown jackson, who is coming before the senate either today or tomorrow, we hope, for our confirmation vote. we have solid support for her nomination on the democratic side, and three republican senators who have announced that they will join us to make it a bipartisan majority in her favor. she is deserving of this. she has an extraordinary background. she has the kind of resume every lawyer would dream of to graduate from harvard law school and clerk at every level of the federal judiciary, including clerk to the justice she hopes to succeed, stephen breyer, and then to serve on the
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sentencing commission which is considered one of the more prestigious assignments, and trying to rationalize sentencing under federal law. then of course to serve on the district court in the d.c. district, and to issue some 570 or 580 different opinions, written opinions during that time, to be elevated to the d.c. circuit court, often called the second-highest court in the land, where she served as well with distinction, and now to be the first african american woman to be nominated to serve on the united states supreme court. it's an incredible record, and she has made the rounds, as they say, in the senate visiting 95 or 96 different senators, sitting down with them privately in their offices, answering any questions or concerns they wished to express. i think she's an exceptional person.
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if you look at her record and all of these cases that she's handed down written opinions in, as i said, it's close to 600, and 100 of them were criminal cases where she imposed sentences, and some 10 or 15 of those cases which have been highlighted by her republican critics related to the issue of the exploitation of children and pornography. in every single case she imposed a sentence and to argue she is soft on crime is to ignore that reality and to ignore the reality that she is endorsed by the largest law enforcement organization in america -- the fraternal order of police. she's endorsed by the international association of chiefs of police and other noteworthy organizations. the national organization of black law enforcement, former prosecutors in the district of columbia. she's made it very clear that when it comes to applying the law to the facts, she does it with evenhandedness, so much so
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that she's respected by both sides of the table, the prosecutors side of the table and the defense side of the table. that takes some doing, but she's achieved it. that's why her selection by president biden is the right person for the right time for the right job. she's going to make history if we give her this confirming vote. now i will tell you, when you publish some 580, 600 opinions, you're going to find something in one of those opinions to raise. i listened carefully as senator mcconnell went to one of those opinions and drew his own conclusions. i'd ask him to take care in accepting that as the fair way to measure a person. people often say that in the united states senate, they ask us are you conservative? are you liberal? are you a fiscal conservative? where do you stand on civil liberties? and people announce a position that they would like to believe they fit in. and then folks go back and look at your voting record and then say, how do you explain this,
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senator? at any given day, any given vote can raise a question as to a generalization as to who you are and what you believe. for instance, there was a time, as hard as it may be to believe, when people were suggesting amending the constitution of the united states to make burning an american flag a violation. controversial. all of us revere the flag, but the notion of making this an amendment to the constitution was a matter of great controversy and debate. i remember it well in the senate judiciary committee. i came down against it, saying that i revered the flag, but the principles and values behind it were equally, if not more important to me, and so i opposed flag burning, and so did the senator from kentucky. yes, the majority leader -- minority leader, senator mcconnell. he opposed flag burning. and the organization that agreed with our position was the aclu. now, can i generalize from that position which senator mcconnell took years ago that
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he is an aclu type of senator? it would be wrong to draw that conclusion. there may have been other instances where he agreed with them, but it was rare. what i'm saying is if you can take one vote and measure a senator and realize that it's far short of an accurate and honest measurement, the same thing is true for a judge. to take one opinion and say, well, she ruled against president trump on the issue of immigration, therefore, she is after activist liberal judge. she ruled as well for president trump in other cases in his favor and ruled against democratic presidents when they came up with the proposals before the court. so generalizations are not fair for her, for individual members of senate based on one opinion, one vote, and that's what many are trying to do. i will also tell you that this notion -- and it pains me to even bring it before the floor but i know it's going to come up in the next day or two -- that she is soft on crime. as i mentioned, the law
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enforcement groups would not be endorsing her if they believed she was soft on crime. and the notion that she's somehow, in the words of one republican senator, quote, her sentencing endangers children. it's basically because he said as much in front of her family, and i thought about that, how painful that must have been for her to hear those words. they're not true. and to take one or two situations, each of them unique in their factual circumstances, and to generalize in terms of her position on an issue of that gravity is fundamentally unfair. but we've done it too on the democratic side, and i'm going to be first to admit, as i look back in history, there are things that should have been handled better when republican nominees were before us. and the majority of republican senators on the senate judiciary committee, led by the ranking member, chuck grassley, i believe were respectful and dealt with the judge in a fair
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manner, asked tough questions as they were expected to, but did not cross the line into personal attack. there were three or four who broke that rule as far as i was concerned, but the vast majority of republican senators were factual, were fair, and were basing their questions on sound legal questions before any supreme court nominee's consideration. that, i think, will be talked about over the next couple days, as it should be. i'd like to at this point, with unanimous consent, move to a separate issue in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, i want to take a moment to thank a former member of my staff who is an extraordinary man. he's smart, he gives wise counsel, and he's truly devoted to this nation. he worked for me for years. i've worked with eric raven since 2014 when i became ranking
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member of the senate appropriations subcommittee on defense. eric was the chief clerk of the subcommittee. the title clerk is misleading. he was the brains and the operation, operational force behind that subcommittee. as my right hand, eric led the massive and critically important effort to appropriate an average of $700 billion a year for our national defense budget. incidentally, that's about half of our government's annual discretionary spending. big assignment, the right person for that assignment. as i mentioned before, my first introduction to the senate was many years ago as an intern to a former illinois senator, paul douglas. douglas was a respected economist who joined the marines at age 50 -- 50 -- to defend democracy in world war ii. badly wounded, became a war hero, then was elected to the senate. douglas famously said, you don't have to be a wastrel to be a liberal. douglas fought against wasting government because he understood
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that every misspent dollar weakens our national defense. every wasted dollar undermines our ability to build a better future. i think paul douglas would have liked eric raven. eric has been a stalwart ally in my efforts to advance our national defense while also protecting taxpayers' dollars. and investing in things like defense medical research, domestic sourcing of the components critical to our defense industrial base. i traveled with eric to more places than i can remember. there was one particularly eye-opening visit to a classified facility in a desert outside las vegas. you might say it was out of this world. i'll also remember a trip we made to poland and the baltics in 23018 where we discussed the danger of overreliance on russian gas and arrishes. today we see that playing out tragically in the ukraine. it was always a relief to have eric at my side. his knowledge, his sense of
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humor, his black bag full secrets have served me and the committee and america well. i know that senator jon tester of montana, the new chair of that same subcommittee, and other senators with whom eric worked share my high regard for him. in his 20 years in the senate, eric has worked for senator dianne feinstein, the late-senator ted kennedy, robert byrd, senator inouye, our former colleague, senator murkowski. eric has been a mentor, cheerleader and always a friend. he is a pilot and a blackbelt in can a ratty. enjoys golfing, running, devoted husband to his wife, anne, father to his 7-year-old son edward. he will be our nation's next under secretary of the navy. the senate's loss is america's gain. i am confident that eric will
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excel in his new challenge, just as he has in the senate. i wish him the very best of luck and thank him for his outstanding service. i ask consent that the next statement i make be placed in a separate part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, it's been almost six years since the disastrous collapse of the infamous for-profit college chain i.t.t. tech. at that time, i.t.t. tech was one of the largest chains of for-profit colleges in the country. 130 campuses spread over 38 states and 40,000 students enrolled. it closed its campuses two weeks after the federal department of education barred the parent company from enrolling any more students using federal aid dollars. i've come to this floor countless times to talk about the deceptive predatory, desperate tactics of the
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for-profit college industry at large. at the peak of its profitability, 2000-2003, it was the hottest sector in wall street. shares rose 460% according to one analysis. in 2010, these for-profit colleges swept up more than $32 billion in federal student aid dollars. hundreds of millions more flowed in through the g.i. bill. for itt tech, the federal haul in federal dollars that year reached $1 .3 billion. six years later, the whole itt tech house collapsed leaving taxpayers holding the bag. new a new report reveals disturbing facts about itt tech, their high-pressure recruiting tactics and other forms of abuse that they used to rack up massive profits. the report is entitled "dreams
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destroyed: how itt technical institute defrauded a generation of american students." what makes this new report particularly damn something that the details of these abuses came not only from defrauded students but from the company's own executives. like -- the i have l.itt records visa veal a damning prioritization of profit over everything else. two years before itt tech's collapse, the company's disgraced c.e.o., kevin modeney, wrote to his marketing chief, i do not have anything more important on my agenda. recruitment is my personal top priority. prospective students were lied to, bombarded with high-pressure tactics to get them to enroll and sign up for more and more and more student loans. one former itt tech recruiter compared the working conditions
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to a sweatshop where all that mattered was hitting a quota. they were instructed to use the pain final -- a set of eight questions designed to reveal students' vulnerabilities. by identifying a student's pain points such as feeling unappreciated, recruiters were the trained to exploit that pain and present itt as the solution. itt tech then inflated grades, falsified attendance records to keep students enrolled so they can squeeze more federal dollars and more student debt for the kids. the company routinely falsely filed financial aid forms, including stealing student passwords, signing financial aid forms without the student's knowledge or consent. the list goes on and on. the result? modeney, the itt shareholders made millions. the students got ripped up and
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were left with worthless diplomas. what did the c.e.o. think about the students he was defraudingings? -- defrauding? look at his words. he said, take off the gloves with the student and including back! do not hold back in any way and anything that we can put out there to question the legitimacy of his complaint we should most definitely do so ... we need to call him out publicly. that's the kind of respect they had for these students. many of these kids, as the majority leader knows, were first-generation college students. they are mothers and fathers were so proud that they were at the itt tech college. they made it into college. mom and dad thought they'd have to work extra hours but it would be worth it. it was a fraud from start to finish. a fraud on american taxpayers and a terrible fraud on the students and their families. mr. president, i see that the majority leader is on the floor here h i have a few more pages that i'm going to put into the record on this subject.
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i have been talking about for-profit colleges for a number of years. luckily we have a president and a secretary of education who are putting watchmen in place, guardians of students in place, who believe that it's more important that kids are treated fairly and honestly than it is for some executive to make millions of dollars off of an abuse of the system. i ask consent the rest of my statement be entered into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i yield the floor. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. schumer: first i want to thank my friend and colleague, the senior senator from illinois, not only for his wonderful remarks here today but for his passion on this issue. he was one of the first to blow the whistle on these colleges. and when you hear about this, it just boils your blood. boils your blood. these kids did nothing wrong. it's one of the reasons we believe student debt should be forgiven. the federal government gave them the loans. that was required by law.
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but they were taken advantage of through no fault of their own. sometimes i wonder if this mr. moveney has been product? he does not deserve to have millions on the backs of all these students. this boils our blood what they did to these kids. that's one of the reasons weight believe that student debt -- that the white house ought to forgive up to $50,000 of student debt. okay, let's go to another subject. so yesterday, mr. president, was truly a sorry sight here on the senate floor. senate republicans down to the last member blocked critical funding for more vaccines, more testing, more lifesaving therapeutics that our country needs to protect against the dangers of future covid variants. the proposal we had before the senate was exceedingly reasonable, carefully negotiated, and desperately needed. but senate republicans blocked a
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mere debate on covid aid, knowing full well the consequences for the american people. knowing the consequences, republicans said no to merely debating more money for booster shots and vaccinations and research into future treatments. knowing the consequences, republicans said no to merely debating more testing. knowing the consequences, republicans said no to merely debating no less than $5 billion for lifesaving therapeutics, an indispensable tool for those with covid illnesses. and why did republicans say no? because they wanted to cripple covid funding legislation with poison pills that they knew would derail this bill, would derail the bill. let me say this again. instead of joining democrats to begin a simple debate on covid legislation, republicans wanted to kill this bill with unrelated
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poison pills. this is potentially devastating for the american people. vaccines, therapeutics and testing were negotiated in good faith, and they should not -- they should not be held hostage to extraneous, unrelated issues. this is too important for the health of our country. the administration for months has made clear that new covid funding is a matter of the highest urgency. some critical covid response measures are already being scaled back due to dwindling funding. they are message that -- their message that congress had to act, the administration's message was unmistakable. i hope republicans will get serious about this. it should not be so difficult do something so good and important for our country. and met me say one other thing. our republican colleagues think they may be gaining some temporary advantage. but god forbid a second variant hits and people ask, why aren't the vaccines there? why aren't the therapeutics there? the answer will be, the senate
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republicans, to a person, blocked the ability to move forward and get this legislation done because they wanted to play politics and inject extraneous issues into the debate. but it's not going to keep -- deter us from getting this done. it's vital for keeping schools, churches, businesses and our communities open if and when a future, more potent variant rears its ugly head. it's certainly better to act now than pay the price ten times down the line. we're going to keep working to make sure that congress sends covid funding to the president's desk. on scotus -- the united states senate happily, wonderfully is on the brink of completing one of the most important responsibilities entrusted to it under the constitution -- consenting to the president's nominee to the u.s. supreme court. and as i said, happily and
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wonderfully, it will be the first african american woman to serve on that august body. anytime the senate elevates someone to the highest pinnacles of the judiciary, the impact lasts a lifetime. and often far beyond that. the men and women who sit on the supreme court have the power to render judgment on any question they see fit that comes before them. the consequences of their decisions are seen and felt and reckoned with from here to the farrest corners of our country. so confirmation a supreme court nominee is, in other words, a big deal for the senate, one of the biggest deals in fact. and before the week is out, the chamber is set to follow through once again on this august and awesome responsibility. but, of course, even though this is one of the biggest deals for the supreme court -- for the senate to do in any situation, it's even a bigger deal now. this time is different. the nominee, the 116th justice is different in some important ways than those who came before.
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judge ketanji brown jackson, like many more of before her, is brilliant, accomplished and qualitiified to be on the court. but never, never before has the supreme court had a black woman bear the title "justice. requestings "she will have -- she will be the first and i have no doubt in my mind that she will pave the way for others in the future. the exultation among so many who have waited for this moment -- of young girls throughout america who may say, i can do this, too; the untapped potential, even for young people you particularly women of color, who are not interested in the law, the supreme court, but to say i can go somewhere, i can doing is, i can get there, is going to be great for america. there are many considerations that the senate should ponder when we're faced with the question of confirming judges. diversity and representation is certainly one of them. it's a key feature of a healthy and vibrant democracy.
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when americans of all walks of life come before the court, of course, they should have confidence that those who donn the robes have the ability to walk in their own shoes, to see and understand their side of the story. that's why diversity of background and experience has been one of the most important priorities in the senate, as we have confirmed the president's judges. and over the last year, as has been noted, we made incredible progress on that front. of the 58 senate-confirmed judges, three-quarters have been women, two-thirds have been people of color. and to be clear, these judges are diverse, not just through their background but in their experiences. more public defenders, more civil rights attorneys, more nonprofit lawyers have been added to the federal bench. after years of the previous administration confirming judges that were disproportionately white, disproportionately male, disproportionately from big law firms, senate democrats are
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working to bring balances back to our judiciary to make us healthier, stronger. as the country grows increasingly diverse in the century. judge jackson's confirmation is a major step to that goal, and i look forward to completing the role to this most qualified, deserving, and historic nominee. finally, as russia's was, in ukraine reaches an abomb nal level of brutality -- abomb nal level, you see the innocent civilians shot, young, old, children, men, women, every single american should unite on the side of the enrique people and against putin's indiscriminate violence. the pictures out of ukraine and out of the town of bouquet are -- bucha are pure evil. hundreds of civilians murdered in cold blood. men, women, children, the elderly, the defenseless, people
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were tied with their hands behind their backs, clearly civil yance -- civilians shot in the back of the head. because they're ukrainians. it's the only reason. it is a genocide. it was called a genocide today by a ukrainian official. it is a genocide. when these people are shot simply because of their nationality, they don't have arms, that's genocide, especially when it occurs in the large numbers it has already. individuals trying to live their own lives, targeted to be killed because of their nationality. putin is a war criminal. when putin says ukraine and russia are together, after he did this no ukrainian is ever going to believe it. even the isolated putin must know that. but he's cornered, and so he is a war criminal. any nation that indiscriminately and intentionally targets civilians should not enjoy doing business with american companies. but shamefully, koch industries
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is continuing to do business in putin's russia and putting their profits ahead of tee fending democracy. there's an explosive report this morning that the koch political arm is now pushing for the u.s. to abandon our allies and back off the hard-hitting sanctions the biden administration has imposed on russia. the kochs are selling out democracy for their own profits. every senator, democrat, republican, we all care about ukraine. every senator needs to condemn this push by the koch brothers and call on koch industries to immediately suspend their operations in russia. i look forward to every tough-talking senate republican to come here to the floor and call out the koch brothers for undermining america's resolve against putin's illegal, unprovoked, and criminal invasion of ukraine. senate democrats are working on legislation to add russia to existing laws that are already denying foreign tax credit for taxes paid to north korea and
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syria. american companies that continue to do business in russia should not receive the u.s. tax benefits that offset -- the u.s. tax benefits that offset taxes paid to putin's regime. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. cane: i -- mr. kaine: i proudly rise to speak about the nomination of judge ketanji brown jackson to be associate justice of the united states supreme court. when i began law school in the fall of 1979, the only woman justice at the supreme court was a white marble statue on the steps. there were no women members of the court. there had never been women members of the court. the motto engraved over the court's entrance, equal justice under law, sounded great, but it
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also rang hallow for -- hollow for the more than half of the united states population that had never seen themselves represented on the united states supreme court. and it was more than just the absence of women on the court. in 1868, the 14th amendment to the constitution was adopted in core memorable phrase guaranteeing to all persons the equal protection of the law. but the court for more than 100 years refused to extend equal protection to women. in one of the first cases testing the meaning of the phrase equal protection of the law to all persons, the supreme court considered an illinois state law restricting the practice of law to men only.
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a dynamic young feminist activist, myrah bradwell, passed the illinois bar exam and applied for a law license to practice law in illinois. she was turned down because she was a woman. she appealed her case to the illinois supreme court, and they turned her down because she was a woman, and then she came to the united states supreme court and said, we've just changed the constitution to guarantee equal protection of the law to all persons. surely, you cannot turn me down in my quest to practice law after i have passed the illinois bar exam. the supreme court of the united states, in 1873 by a vote of 8-1, ruled that she was not entitled to an equal right to practice the profession of her choosing. mr. president, let me read you a key part of the decision in that
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case. the paramount destiny and mission of women are to fulfill the noble and pee with nine -- benign office of wife and mother this is the law of the creator. so, wife and mother can't be a lawyer? so, every woman must opinion a wife and mother? that's what the supreme court determined in analyzing the simple phrase all persons are entitled to equal protection of the law. so, here's a great trivia question -- when did the supreme court finally decide that equal protection of the law applied to women? 1971. it took 103 years after the 14th amendment was adopted for the supreme court to say wait a
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minute. equal protection of the law to all persons, that means women. the case of reed v. reed, the court ruled that a state statute providing that males must be preferred to females in the administration of estates, it was an estate administration case, the court ruled, wait a minute, that violates women's rights to equal protection. who was the lawyer in that case? a dynamic young civil rights lawyer with the aclu named ruth bader ginsburg. so, within my career, as a civil rights attorney, from when i started law school in 1979 to today, 43 years later, i have seen great change in the law's treatment of women and in their representation on the united states supreme court. the nomination of judge ketanji brown jackson will make history. she'll be the first african american woman on the court.
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and she'll move a court that had never had a woman member when i started practicing to a court where four of the nine members are women. what powerful evidence of the capacity we have as a nation to come closer and closer to the equality ideal that was articulated as our moral north star in the opening phrase of the declaration of independence drafted by a virginian in 1776. so, i celebrate the history-making nature of this appointment, but it's not the reason for my support. i support judge jackson's nomination because of her stellar academic credentials, her prestigious judicial clerkships, her dedicated service as an attorney and member of the united states sentencing commission, her well-respected tenure as a federal trial and apellate judge, and the multiple
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attestations that she has received attributing to her fairness and to her character. mr. president, in particular, in particular i think that her successful confirmation as a justice will add two critical skillsets to this nine-member collegial body. first, that she's a public defender, and second that she's been a trial judge, that she was a public defender. so much of the court's docket deals with issues that are at the heart of the american criminal justice system, and there are currently members of the court -- just sotomayor, just alito, justice gorsuch -- who had experience as prosecutors in both the state and federal courts before they
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began their service in the judicial branch. that experience as prosecutor is really important experience, and it's an important expertise to have on the supreme court. but a justice ketanji brown jackson will be the first public defender ever to sit on the court, and for a court of nine to share perspectives and grapple with resolution of questions involving the criminal justice system, for that court only to have people who've prosecuted cases and not have people who have defended, and particularly the most indigent criminal defendants, it's a court that doesn't have the balanced 360-degree perspective that we would want in these important matters. so, the fact that she served honorably as a federal public defender, in my view, is a strong trait for her, but it's even a better trait if you think about what we would need in a
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nine-member supreme court. second, she's been a trial judge, a federal district court judge in the district court for the district of columbia, and that is really, really important. there's only one other member of the court now who was a trial judge, and that's justice sotomayor. some of the members of the court, as far as i know, i can find no evidence not only were they trial judges, some i'm not sure ever tried cases. what does it mean to have a trial judge on the court? well, again, think about the docket of the supreme court. so much of the docket of the supreme court is ruling on questions and controversies whose ultimate goal is to make the nation's trials, civil and criminal trials, more fair. admissibility of evidence, sentencing standards, definitions of police misconduct
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that could either gain or shed sovereign immunity in a trial going on in a trial court, how to impanel jurors, how to instruct jurors, when to strike a juror if there's evidence that the juror may have a bias or prejudice. these are all cases that come before the supreme court all the time, and these kinds of cases are particularly important to have a court that is well-represented by people who've actually been in the courtroom and done it. what trial judges have to do is they have to figure out how to instruct and impanel jurors and deal with the juror who may have a bias question. they have to rule on evidentiary objections in a split second, dispose of discovery disputes, rule on dispositive motions or motions to dismiss or summary judgment motions. bench trials actually render
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judgments, which usually involves crebilities -- credibility determinations. the judges in the federal system have the power of sentencing, the most difficult power of all. if you have not been a trial lawyer or a trial judge, you might underestimate how difficult and challenging each of those tasks are. but if you've had the experience of being a trial lawyer or trial judge, you understand how important that he are -- how important they are. i asked judge jackson as i interviewed her, tell me how you think being a trial judge might help you on the court. she said so much of our opinions are essentially instructions to state and federal trial courts -- here's how to conduct a fair trial -- i think my experience will enable me to write opinions that are more workable, that are more understandable and practical, and likely to lead to a result that is fair to the parties but one that also will increase the respect for the decision-making
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in courts themselves. when i was governor of virginia, mr. president, i did not have the power to put judges on the bench, except in rare instances, in virginia's state system, i wouldn't even nominate judges. is the legislature would choose the jubltion, and the governmend the governor would have no role. except when the legislature would deadlock. then the governor got to put in a judge or justice and tell the -- until the legislature came back next year, and they have to vote on whether to ratify what the governor had done. three times when i was governor, my two republican how longs deadlocked on an appellate judge. one on the court of appeals, two on the virginia supreme court. so i had this opportunity as somebody who practiced civil rights law for 17 years, as somebody who is married to a juvenile court judge, i had the opportunity to consider and then
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nominate people to be appellate judges. and i decided pretty quickly, as i analyzed who should be appellate judges, and i followed this rule in all three of my opportunities. i would appoint a great trial judge. in each of the three instances i appointed a great trial judge because i knew that that great trial judge would be able to sit on an appellate court and render rulings that weren't sort of philosopher king or queen rulings that might sound good in a law review article or a panel discussion, but they could render rulings that would be instantaneously understood in courtrooms across the commonwealth and able to be implemented by trial judges who were doing their best every day to conduct fair trials. and so that's why i think this second factor that judge brown jackson was a district court judge handling trials, multiple trials and motions every day will put her in such good company as she joins justice
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sotomayor as the only other judge with that experience. i'll conclude and say a justice ketanji brown jackson will add depth and perspective to a court that needs it. as we near the 150th anniversary of myra bradwell's quixotic case the confirmation of justice ketanji brown jackson will make the engraved phrase equal justice under law more accurate reflections of our nation's highest court. and with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. thune: mr. president.
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the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. thune: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the following senators be permitted to speak prior to the scheduled vote. myself for up to 15 minutes, senator cruz for up to 25 minutes, and senator stabenow for up to 10 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: mr. president, we're moving from disaster to catastrophe at our southern border. last week the biden administration announced that title 42, covid-19 restrictions which have provided for the immediate deportation of those who cross the border illegally will end in may. it's ironic that just as the administration pressures for more covid funding it's apparently declaring covid is over at the border. i just want everybody to think about the inherent contradiction in what's being said here. by ending title 42, the administration says for all intents and purposes, the pandemic is over. it's over at the border.
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but today it was announced that the student loan program, repayments on student loans would be extended until the month of august. why? presumably because of the pandemic. and there's still a policy in place, mr. president, if you can believe this, yesterday i had the chance to question in the senate finance committee secretary becerra, the health and human services department, about a policy that is in place right now that has not yet been repealed, that requires children under 5 in head start facilities to wear masks. masks not just when they're in the classroom, but when they're outside on the playground. children under five to wear masks. now who says that's a bad idea? well, for one, the world health organization.
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the world health organization isn't exactly a conservative-leaning institution. the world health organization says that it is not necessary for children under five to wear a mask because no discernible health or safety benefit derived from that. so that policy is still in place. kids under the age of five at head start facilities still have to wear masks not just inside, but when they're outside. and now student loans, again, been deferred. you don't have to repay your student loans at least until august. it's been extended again. these policies reflect a belief by the, on behalf of the administration that we are evidently still in a pandemic that requires these policies to stay in place. and so the student loan deferral request is, has been made, or is going to happen.
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they're just going to do it. they're doing that by fiat. and this rule that requires children under five to wear masks suggests we're still very concerned about the pandemic and about the spread of covid-19. and yet, mr. president, title 42 is going to be lifted at the border, which is a pandemic measure. it was put in place as a result of the pandemic and has enabled our officials at the border, customs and border control, to be able to at least somewhat manage the flow of illegals coming across the border. think about that. think about the inherent contradiction, the messages that you are sending. in addition, i would add to the $10 billion which was originally $15 billion that is being requested by the administration to deal with covid. so you're asking for more funding, you're requiring kids to wear masks, you're extending
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the deferral on student loan repayments, and yet you're lifting title 42 restrictions. let me tell you what that means, mr. president. once title 42 restrictions are officially lifted, the flood of illegal immigration across our southern border is expected to become a tsunami. the department of homeland security expects as many as 18,000 per day to attempt to cross our southern border after the policy is lifted. 18,000 per day. that adds up to more than half a million migrants per month. and to put those numbers in perspective, in fiscal year 2021, the border patrol encountered more than 1.7 million individuals attempting to cross our southern border. that was the highest number ever recorded in a single year. now we're talking about a rate of migration that would lead to
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our hitting that one-year record in just over three months. mr. president, title 42 restrictions were never intended to be a permanent border solution, and lifting them would not be a problem if the president had some meaningful plan in place for dealing with the border crisis that has been going on since he took office. but he doesn't. again, evidenced by the fact the president had no interest in visiting the border, nor has his border czar, the vice president of the united states. neither have been to the border. and after lifting title 42 without a plan, i should say and lifting title 42 without a plan to curb illegal immigration is nothing more than an innovation for our -- invitation for our current
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crisis to get exponentially worse which is what the department of homeland security expects to happen. you don't have to take my word for it on these problems with the administration decision. here is what one democrat senator had to say about the administration's title 42 decision. and i quote, this is a wrong decision. it's unacceptable to -- it's unacceptable in title 42 without a plan and coordination in place to secure an orderly and humane process at the border. this is a wrong decision. it's unacceptable to end title 42 without a plan and coordination in place to ensure a secure, orderly plan at the border. another democratic senator noted, and i quote, i think this is not the right time. we have not seen a detailed plan from the administration. we need assurances that we have security at the border and we protect communities on this side of the border, end quote. another democrat senator. this is another democrat
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senator, a third one -- today's announcement by the c.d.c. and the biden administration is a frightening decision. title 42 has been essential tool in combatting the covid-19 and the flow of immigrants at the border. that will only get worse if the administration ends the title 42 policy. we are nowhere near prepared to deal with that influx. we are nowhere near prepared to deal with that influx. again, a third democrat senator on the subject of ending title 42. mr. president, under the biden administration, we've had 12 straight months of border encounters in excess of 150,000. in february, u.s. customs and border protection encountered 164,973 individuals attempting to cross our southern border illegally, the highest february number in more than 20 years.
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of course those numbers only reflect individuals the border patrol has succeeded in apprehending. there is no question that many other illegal immigrants have crossed the border in the past year without being apprehended and have disappeared into the united states. and the president is largely responsible for this situation, thanks to the series of actions he's taken to weaken border security and immigration enforcement since his administration began. mr. president, illegal immigration is a very serious problem for several reasons. first of all, it's dangerous for any country not to know who is entering the country, who is crossing its borders. illegal border crossings are not confined to individuals wanting to build a better life for themselves. weak borders are an invitation to human traffickers, drug smugglers, gangs, and even
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terrorists. we currently have a very serious fentanyl problem in this country. in fact, fentanyl overdose is the leegget cause of death -- leading cause of death for u.s. adults between the ages of 18 and 45. and where, where is this fentanyl coming from? it's being trafficked across our southern border. in fact, mexico has replaced china as the dominant source of fentanyl in the united states. and there is no question that the worse the situation at the border gets the easier it is for drug smugglers to evade detection and capture. our border patrol officers do heroic work, but they are stretched incredibly thin and have been for the past year. it is simply common sense to acknowledge that the greater the flood of illegal immigration they have to contend with, the easier it's going to be for bad actors to get across the border. so there are real security
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concerns that illegal immigration represents. there are also serious humanitarian concerns. the journey to our southern border for those attempting to cross illegally is frequently fraught with danger, and there is nothing compassionate about encouraging individuals to undertake that journey to run the risk of exploitation and disease and exposure. finally, mr. president, encouraging or tacitly endorsing illegal immigration shows a real disregard for the rule of law. i'm a strong supporter of legal immigration. i'm one generation removed from immigrants in this country. and i hope this country will always serve as a refuge for individuals seeking new life for peace and for freedom. but immigration laws are not exceptions to the principle that the law must be respected. we can and should make changes
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to immigration laws as needed to address problems or to expand opportunities. but immigration must proceed according to the law. to suggest otherwise is to cultivate contempt for the rule of law. not to mention how unfair it is to those who have done what is required to come here legally. mr. president, as president, president biden has a particular responsibility to care for the country's security. when it comes to the border at least, he is failing in that responsibility, and he is betraying the duty he owes to the american people who should be able to count on their president to care about security concerns, including border security. we're less than two months away from the end of title 42 restrictions, and the border surge that we expect to follow. i hope the president will use that time to get serious about
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developing a plan to secure our southern border, because he owes the american people nothing less. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cruz: mr. president, i rise today ahead of the senate's vote on judge ketanji brown jackson to be a justice on the united states supreme court. there are few responsibilities
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the senate has that are more important than confirming judges, and in particular confirming justices on the supreme court of the united states. the supreme court is charged with the responsibility of defending and upholding the constitution and the bill of rights. it is charged with the responsibility of upholding the rule of law and protecting your rights and my rights. now, judge jackson is someone i've known personally for 30 years. she and i went to law school together. we were both on the law review together. judge jackson is someone that on a personal level, she's smart, she's talented, she's charming. i've always liked judge jackson, but the responsibility given to the senate is to not to make an assessment on a personal level but rather to assess a nominee's
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record and the kind of job they would do for the position to which they've been appointed. now, many democrats in this chamber and their cheerleaders in the corporate media insist we cannot examine judge jackson's record. they insist, in fact, that any scrutiny of a record, any difficult questions directed her way and certainly any opposition to her nomination must, must, must be rooted in racism or sexism. sadly this is a common talking point for democrats. whenever anyone disagrees with them on substance, you must be a racist. if you're not a socialist, you're a racist. that's their standard go to and in this instance all should acknowledge and should celebrate the historic milestone that
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would be having the first african-american woman serve as a justice on the supreme court given our nation's troubled history on race that is a major and important milestone. i would know, though, that the democrats celebrating that fact, patting themselves on the back, there's more than a little irony in their celebrating that fact. because the reason that we have not to date had an african-american woman on the supreme court, a major reason, is that the democrats who are so proud of themselves filibustered a qualified african-american woman nominated to the u.s. court of appeals for the d.c. circuit. her name was janice rogers brown. she was a justice on the california supreme court, and 20 years ago president george w. bush, a republican, nominated her to the d.c. circuit.
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and senate democrats realized that a qualified african-american woman on the d.c. circuit was a real threat to go to the u.s. supreme court. and janice rojers brown is a conservative and constitutionalist and for democrats that was unacceptable, and so democrats filibustered janice rogers brown. chuck schumer filibustered janice rogers brown. joe biden filibustered janice rogers brown, dick durbin filibustered janice rogers brown, pat leahy filibustered janice rogers brown, dianne feinstein filibustered janice rogers brown. so now all the democrats who are celebrating putting the first african-american woman on the supreme court have themselves to
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thank for that because it could have happened 20 years ago. but in the senate democrats' way of viewing things, if a black woman or a black man or an hispanic woman or hispanic man dare to disagree with leftist orthodoxy, they do not count. indeed, it was not just janice rogers brown, democrats filibustered miguel estrada. he is an advocate with superb credentials were criticized as the staff for tend kennedy wrote at the time in internal memos, they should filibuster him, quote, because he is hispanic. mr. president, this was before your time and my time in this body. but here's what ted kennedy's staff told him.
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they told him, identified miguel estrada as especially dangerous because he is latino. that is racist, which the democrats put in writing, if you're black, if you're hispanic, we will target you, we will filibuster you, we will block you, and that's what they did. and for that matter, it that's what democrats have done for three decades now to justice clarence thomas, one of the greatest justices to ever serve on the u.s. supreme court, and yet in democrats' minds, he is not a black man because he dares disagree with their leftist ideology. it's wrong, it's racist, it's cynical, and it's offensive. but we should -- what we should be doing, what every senator
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should be doing is examining judge ketanji brown jackson's record. her actual record. if you look at her substantive record, it is far out of the mainstream. it is an stream record -- extreme record. if you look at her record, i believe it demonstrates that judge jackson, if she is confirmed, will be the single most liberal supreme court justice ever to serve on the supreme court. i believe she will be to the left of justice sonia sotomayor, she will be to the left of justice kagan and she will be way, way, way to the left of justice stephen breyer, the justice she would be replacing. what does that mean to a practical matter, left and right? why do the american people care about the supreme court? they care because they care
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about their rights. as a practical matter what it means i believe the odds are nearly 100% that judge jackson would vote to overturn the case of heller versus district of columbia. what is that case? it is the landmark case that upholds the second amendment right to keep and bear arms, a fundamental protection for all of us. that case was decided 5-4. judge jackson, i believe, is a vote to overturn that case to take away our second-amendment rights and that means every senator who votes to confirm her is voting to take away the second amendment rights of americans. judge jackson, i believe the odds are nearly 100% that she would vote to overturn the citizens united case. what is citizens united? is it a landmark case that protects our right to free speech, our right to speak in the political process, to
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support candidates, to oppose candidates, to express our views and participate in democracy, citizens united was 5-4. one vote away from being taken away. by the way, mr. president, in the citizens united case, the obama justice department argued that the federal government has the power to ban books. the case was 5-4, there were four justices willing to go there. judge jackson, i believe, would support the assertions of government power to silence you, to silence me, to silence the men and women we represent. when it comes to religious liberty, i believe judge jackson will vote consistently over and over again against the religious liberty of americans, against our right to live according to our faith, according to our
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conscience, one of the most precious rights, the very first right protected in the first clause of the first amendment of the bill of rights. that's what our framers thought about it. is that -- is that without the right to seek out or worship the lord god almighty with all of your heart, mind, and soul, no other rights matter. and i believe she will consistently vote to undermine that right and in particular one of the applications of that right, the context of school choice. school choice is the civil rights issue of the 21st century. if you care about civil rights, if you care about advancement and opportunity for young kids, for young african american kids, for young hispanic kids, there is nothing, nothing, nothing that matters more than school choice and yet the supreme court in the case of zellman versus simmons harris, upheld the ohio school choice program by one
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vote, 5-4. i believe judge jackson would vote to overturn zellman versus simmons harris and vote to strike down school choice programs across the country. you know, one of the problems with politics today is members of this body like to avoid accountability for what they are doing. but everyone in this body is on notice that this is a justice who will vote to take away our free speech rights, vote to take away our religious liberty rights, vote to take away our second amendment, and that means every senator that votes for her cannot avoid responsibility for those lawless outcomes. when it comes to abortion, judge jackson's record is extreme. i believe she would vote to strike down every single restriction across the country on abortion.
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i believe she would vote to strike down prohibition on federal partial birth abortion, a truly horrific practice opposed by the vast majority of americans. the supreme court upheld the federal ban on partial birth abortion by a vote of 5-4, one vote away. judge jackson, based on her record of being a radical advocate for abortion, will consistently vote to strike down reasonable restrictions. all of those are extreme positions, but if you want to understand just how extreme, there was one portion of the confirmation hearing that i thought spoke volumes. when senator blackburn asked judge jackson, what is a woman? now, mr. president, what is a
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woman didn't used to be a trick question. 115 men and women have served on the supreme court and all 115 of them would have no difficulty whatsoever answering the question what is a woman. not so judge jackson. judge jackson's response, i can't define a woman. i'm not a biologist was her defense. now, does that really mean that judge jackson doesn't know what a woman is? no, of course not. what it does show is her sensibility that she is completely in line with the radical left that wants to redefine what a woman is and erase it from the dictionary. you know, yesterday a reporter stopped me, a reporter from a left-leaning publication, said he was asking every senate
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republican on the judiciary committee the following question, what is a woman? and he could tell from the expression in his this was a great gotcha question. i looked at him and said, an adult female human. and he looked at me astonished. he said, did you look it up? he said that is the dictionary definition. and id said, no. i just speak english. how about this question, a homosamian with two x chromosomes. people have known forever what a woman is. but judge jackson is such a fellow traveler with the radical left that she cannot acknowledge common sense. there's a reason the radical left groups in this country
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pressured the biden white house to nominate judge jackson because she was the most extreme of the nominees being considered. there's are reason they supported millions of dollars to support her nomination, because she is the most extreme of the nominees being considered. let me give an example of just how extreme. in the written questions, i submitted a question to judge jackson that says, quote, the theory that humans possess inherent or inalienable rights is reflected in the declaration of independence, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with inalienable rights. do you hold a position on whether individuals hold natural rights. yes or no. judge jackson answered, quote, and this is in writing, i do not hold a position on whether individuals possess natural
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rights. mr. president, that is a radical statement. our country was founded on the quote i just fred the declaration -- from the declaration of independence with those words that thomas jefferson penned. we declared our independence from great britain. we declared that we were our own nation, we started a revolutionary war, we drafted a constitution based on the proposition, we hold these truths to be self-evident. they're not evident to judge jackson. she doesn't hold a position that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. judge jackson says she has no position on whether you have a
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right to life. she has no position over whether you have a right to liberty. she has no position over whether you have a right to the pursuit of happiness. ful you're a modern leftist, if you're a socialist who wants the government to control every aspect of your life, every aspect of your freedom, then a judge that has no view on whether we have natural rights is exactly the kind of judge you want. and by the way, to understand how radical her opinion is, you can look at the make the road decision. this is a decision in the district court that was challenging the trump department of hom homeland security's depog people illegally in this country. the statute under which the secretary was removing illegal
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aliens, explicitly gave the secretary discretion and said that discretion is unreviewable in federal courts. it was as clear and explicit an authorization and a removal of the authority of federal courts to second-guess the policy determinations. that didn't stop judge jackson at all. she ignored the plain text of the statute. she issued a nationwide injunction to stop the federal government from removing illegal aliens. her decision was so extreme that on appeal, it was reversed by the federal court of appeals for the d.c. circuit unanimously. this is a left-leaning court with a majority of democrat appointments and unanimously the d.c. circuit reversed her because she ignored the plain language of the statute.
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but there is no area that is more extreme than judge jackson's record on crime. this was the central focus of the confirmation hearing and her record is far, far, far out of step with the mainstream. when it comes to crime gene generally, nationally the average for federal judges sentencing criminals is 45.1 months. that's the average sentence nationally. judge jackson's average is 29.9 months. 33.8% less than the national average. if you've a criminal -- if you're a criminal, you want to be in judge jackson's court because you're going to get a sentence more than a third less than you'll get in the average district court.
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that is far out of the mainstream. as you know, mr. president, there was considerable focus not just on her leniency on criminals or leniency on violent criminals or sexual predators or leniency on drug dealers. but there was a particular focus on her very disturbing records on it concerns child porno pornography. when it comes to child sex offenders, it is a truly grotesque problem we face in this country. i spent a number of years in law enforcement as the solicitor general of texas. i worked on many criminal cases. there are no cases that were more disturbing to me personally than the cases where people abused kids, where they hurt kids. the evil, sick predators who carry out unspeakable acts on little children. and i have to say when i first heard that there was a concern about her record on child pornography, i thought come on
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now, that can't possibly be the case. who is soft on child pornography? that didn't sound plausible. then i examined her actual record. i examined the cases. she had roughly a dozen child pornography cases as a district judge. in every single case where she had discretion, 100% of the time where she had discretion she sentenced the defendant way, way, way below the federal sentencing guidelines and way, way, way below what the prosecutor recommended, the very liberal d.c. prosecutors. now, when this issue was first raised, the democrats responded well, federal judges across the country sentence defendants below the sentencing guidelines, especially concerning child pornography.
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and that claim in so far as it goes is true. but her record is not simply sentencing below the guidelines. it is sentencing way, way, way below prosecutors and then we examined how does she sentence a child pornography indications compared to other federal judges. let's compare apples to apples. when it comes to possession of child pornography, the national average for all federal judges is 68 months, a little over five years. it's a serious crime with a serious prison sentence. judge jackson's average is 29.2 months. now, note, the national average sentences child porn offenders to a longer sentence than your typical crime. judge jackson sentences child porn defendants to a shorter sentence than your typical crime when it concerns possession of child pornography, it's a 57%
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difference. but it's even more disturbing in a second category, and that's distribution of child pornography. distribution of child pornography, the national average is 135 months, 11 years, long time for a horrific crime. judge jackson's average sentence was 71.9 months. that's a full 47% less than the national average, but it's even more egregious than that. when you understand that with distribution of child pornography, congress has passed into law a minimum sentence of 60 months. so federal judges have no discretion to sentence below 60 months. that's the bare minimum. when you look at that, you realize judges across the country -- and we're not just talking republican judges, we're talking bill clinton judges, barack obama judges, joe biden judges. they sentence on average 75
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months longer than the minimum. judge jackson sentences on average 11.9 months longer. it is a consistent and disturbing pattern. now, why does she do this? well, when you sit down and read the transcripts of her sentencing hearings which i have done, it is disturbing stuff. when you read the transcripts, she's very explicit that she has clear policy concerns. under the sentencing guidelines, there's a stricter sentence for child pornography involving very young children. she refuses to apply that. there's a sentencing enhancement for child pornography involving sadomasochistic abuse of children, children being
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tortured. she refuses to apply that. if you look at what she has said, she says to the prosecutors -- this is a quote from judge jackson at a sentencing hearing in united states v. cane, she says you're obviously aware -- she's talking to prosecutors. you're obviously aware of my policy disagreement. i just think it's very, very hard to deal with number of images as a significant aggravator. what does this mean? there are two other aggravators per child pornography. one is use of a computer. the other is the number of images. in case after case she refuses to apply them. on use of a computer, she says well, at the time the guidelines were passed, this crime was primarily creard out through the mail -- carried out through the mail. now everybody does it through a computer so i'm not going to use an enhancement for a computer.
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now, mr. president, i don't agree with her on that. but i understand that point. that point is not out of the mainstream. but there's another aggravator, an aggravator up to five levels for the number of images. and over and over again she says she won't apply the number of images. i asked her at her hearing, i said so you're saying that somebody who has videos of a thousand children being sexually abused and somebody who has an image of one child being abused, that those are the same crimes, that you shouldn't punish the one offender more than the other? she refused to answer that question. that is extreme. it is radical. and that's not the law. her disagreement -- i would note
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i believe i have 25 minutes and senator thune had a u.c. to change the time. the presiding officer: the senator has used the 25 minutes allotted. mr. cruz: when it comes to judge jackson's record, it is far out of the mainstream. this is a judge who has a justice owe who as a justice the odds are 100% i believe she will vote to strike down the penalty nationwide and she will rule repeatedly to release violent criminals, to release murderers, to release sex offenders. this is a pattern that is highly, highly disturbing. our democratic colleagues like to say they don't support abolishing the police. when you nominate and confirm judges that let criminals out of jail, you have the
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responsibility for the consequences of your actions. judge jackson's record is extreme and i urge my colleagues to vote against her confi confirmation. -- to vote against her confirmation. ms. stabenow: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you, madam president. first i have 13 requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the say approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. ms. stabenow: thank you. first let me say, madam president, after listening to my colleague from texas, if half of what he said i thought was accurate, i would not be supporting judge jackson. unfortunately, it's not.
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so i rise today to urge the senate to confirm judge ketanji brown jackson to the united states supreme court. i'm so excited about her nomination. and her nomination we know is historic. not just because judge jackson is eminently qualified for the position, both democrats and republicans agree. in fact, based on her broad range of experience, you could argue she is more qualified to serve on the supreme court than any sitting judge. and it's not just historic because of the dignified and honorable way she has conducted herself during this entire nomination process. if you think your last job interview was rough, take a look at hers. judge jackson showed incredible grace during more than 20 hours
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of questioning that at times was incredibly hostile and rude. i would challenge any member of this chamber to endure that level of pressure without cracking. i'm quite certain i couldn't do it. she's eminently qualified. and we've seen her judicial temperament up close. but what really makes judge jackson's nomination historic is this number. 115. 115. that's how many united states supreme court justices have served in our nation's entire history. 115. and out of those 115 justices, 108 have been white males. and just think ■about it for a moment. in other words, nearly 94% of
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the supreme court justices in our nation's history have been white men. that's a very exclusive club. and like many very exclusive clubs, it's tended to leave a lot of folks out in the cold. in a country has magnificently diverse as ours, that's simply not right. i'm so grateful president biden understands this. the decisions made by the united states supreme court touch every single american. what does the right to vote truly mean under our constitution? freedom of religion, our freedom of speech. how are we as consumers or workers treated under our constitution? can a public school district
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force white students to attend one school while sending black students to another? can that same public school system refuse to educate students with disabilities? can a couple not spend the rest of their lives together because they are gay? and can a woman be forced to continue a pregnancy that puts her own health and future at risk? these are some of the types of decisions made by the united states supreme court every day. and when the supreme court doesn't look like america, it means its decisions are less likely to take into account the lives and the needs of all americans. the late justice ruth bader ginsburg had a straightforward answer when she was asked how many women should serve on the united states supreme court? how many was enough? nine, she would say.
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well, we're not quite there yet, but four, i'd say that's a pretty good start. and a black woman justice, it's about time. it's past time. you may have seen a wonderful photo making the rounds, it's of judge jack -- judge jackson's 17-year-old daughter a leila, se is wearing a lovely lavender suit sitting behind her mom. the expression on her face is absolutely priceless. she's looking at her mom with such admiration and pride. well, leila isn't alone, millions of young black women and girls are looking at judge
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jackson with that same pride and admiration. they've never had someone who looks like them serving on our nation's highest court. and how many of these young girls will see this incredibly accomplished woman and think, hey, that could be me? i hope they all do. i will be honored to support judge jackson's confirmation. i'm excited. i'm proud of her. and i urge my colleagues to do the same. it's past time. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate will proceed to the consideration of the o'brien nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of state, james c.
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o'brien, of nebraska, to be head of the office of sanctions coordination with the rank of ambassador. the presiding officer: the question is on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: the yeas are 71, the nays 26, and the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table, and the president
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will be be immediately notified of the senate's action. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i rise to speak on the nomination of ketanji brown jackson to serve as associate justice on the supreme court of the united states. when confirmed later this week, judge ketanji brown jackson will be the first black woman on the united states supreme court in its 233-year history. yesterday morning, i had the privilege of meeting with her, and we discussed her judicial methodology as well as her story and her path in the law.
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rising up to overcome so many barriers, judge jackson's story and her family's story is truly an american story. it's a story of hard work and sacrifice. it's a story of commitment to excellence. judge jackson's academic credentials are impressive. graduating from harvard college and harvard law school, with honors from both college and law school. her unparalleled professional credentials, and the bred -- breadth of her legal experience equal or exceed that of any nominee in recent history. she's worked in private practice. she's worked as an assistant public defender, federal public defender, and as a law clerk at every level of the federal
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judicial branch, including a law clerk to justice breyer, who's going to be retiring from the court. perhaps most important, she has worked as a federal judge for nearly ten years, presiding over trials and later hearing appeals. during our meeting yesterday, judge jackson spoke about her career transition from attorney to federal judge, and specifically highlighted how her career as a trial attorney helped her grow into becoming a federal judge. often lost in our discussions regarding federal judges are the people, the people who are impacted directly by our legal system and our judges' decisions. at its core our court system, more so than any other institution, is dedicated to the idea that everyone, everyone --
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not just the wealthy or powerfur shot at justice, and that no one, no one is above the law. the beattitudes in the new testament speaks to this idea of justice. we've all heard it over and over again -- blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied. the power, the power of our judicial system and our judiciary stems from the integrity and the independence of our judges. it stems from their unrelenting commitment to the rule of law and to equal justice for all americans. and throughout her career, but particularly as a public
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defender, a federal public defender, judge jackson has fought for a more equitable and a more just america, representing individuals accused of committing crimes, and those who cannot afford a lawyer. all of those cases are difficult cases for any lawyer. the lawyer must be committed to upholding a core american value, that our legal system must protect all americans, including defendants, to ensure, quote, equal justice under law, unquote , as is inscribed on the front of the supreme court itself. judge jackson has lived this commitment to justice, to equal justice. she understands the awesome power that will be bestowed upon
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her as a supreme court justice. she has seen firsthand the impact that a judge's decision can have on plaintiffs and defendants alike. it's why judge jackson has discussed how, when she was a district judge, she would often take extra care to communicate with defendants in her courtroom, to ensure that they understood the complexities of the legal proceedings happening before them. for when a defendant is before the bar of justice, their liberty is at stake, and judge jackson wanted to make sure that they understood what was happening before them and what could happen to them. her commitment to equal justice is also evident by her impartial rulings and the widespread support she's received from across the political spectrum. as a district court judge and as
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a circuit court judge, judge jackson has ruled for and against the government, in favor of prosecutors and for criminal defendants, for labor and for business, for civil plaintiffs and defendants. her nomination received the support from several republican senators, republican-appointed judges, and former republican-appointed officials. she received broad support from law enforcement organizations, including the fraternal order of police, the international association of chiefs of police, and other top law enforcement officials, including former philadelphia police commissioner charles ramsey, as well as crime survivors and other advocates. her nomination has received
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further support from civil rights organizations, as well as business organizations. of course, judge jackson's nomination is about more than simply her great support that she's received. and her impeccable credentials. both are important, but that's not it. yesterday morning after my meeting with judge jackson, she was kind enough to meet with several members of my staff who have graduated from law school or who are getting and are ready to apply to law school or some of whom have been accepted. she offered some salient advice about law school. i won't disclose what it was here, but it was good advice. and she encouraged them to keep going to persevere. judge jackson is already, today, and has been for weeks and months now, an inspiration
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to tens of millions of americans. her graciousness, her humility, and her legal acumen are simply unmatched. her confirmation to the supreme court will also inspire many future generations, those yet to come, and not simply future lawyers and advocates. and certainly and particularly, her nomination and her confirmation will be particularly inspiring to young black women and girls to persevere, as she said to our staff yesterday. the day of her confirmation will be a good day for america. she lifts our spirits at a very difficult time for our nation. and while we have a long way to go, judge jackson's nomination is an important step to bringing us closer to having our
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institutions better reflect the great diversity of our nation as we strive to be a more perfect union. i'll go back to the beatitudes again. blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied. judge jackson, i have no doubt, will continue her work to strive for justice, to act with justice as one of the great hymns tells us. she will do all of this as she discharges her duty as justice jackson. i look forward to voting for her to serve as an associate justice on the supreme court of the united states of america. madam president, i would yield the floor.
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: madam president, i rise today in strong support of judge jackson to be the 116th justice of the supreme court of the united states. as a senator, one of the most important responsibilities i have under the constitution is whether to provide my consent to a president's nomination to the supreme court, the highest court in our land. the framers carefully designed our constitution using an
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intricate system of checks and balances. the framers designed the third branch of government, the judiciary, to be an independent branch from the political branches of government, the legislature and the executive branch. judges were given the unusual protection, unlike congress and the president, to have lifetime tenure and to hold their offices during good behavior. judges, therefore, do not have to fear retribution or loss of their office or dimunition of their paycheck if they make an unpopular decision. so while the supreme court must show a healthy respect for the other coequal branches of government, it must at the same time preserve its own independence and ultimately interpret the laws and the constitution of the united states. a critical part of the supreme court's role is to preserve and protect the constitution and to make sure that all americans are treated equally under the law. the marble entrance of the supreme court has etched above
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it the promise of equal justice under the law for all persons who enter. the supreme court must vigorously uphold the civil rights and civil liberties of all americans and pay special attention to safeguarding and enforcing the constitutional rights guaranteed in our system of government. as we know from our history, the supreme court has not always protected all americans, and indeed in the past has treated some americans as less equal than others simply due to their race, religion, or gender, among other factors. so let us remember the preamble of the constitution which declares that we the people of the united states in order to pomple -- have a more perfect union establish justice. i do believe in the words of dre arc of the moral universe is
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long but bends towards justice. americans know the supreme court makes profound decisions every day that impact the lives of people across this country. the supreme court regularly tackles so many of the controversial issues of the day that involve issues such as voting rights, criminal justice, labor rights, environmental protection, and many, many more. turning now specifically to judge jackson's nomination, she would replace justice stephen breyer on the court, who fittingly she had clarkd for after graduating -- clerked for after graduating law school. judge jackson has an extremely stellar background and sits on the u.s. court of appeals for the district of columbia circuit, often called the nation's second-highest court. the american bar association's standing committee on the federal judiciary gave judge jackson a unanimously well-qualified rating for the supreme court, which is its highest rating. the committee notes that to receive this highest rating, a supreme court nominee must be a
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preeminent member of the legal profession, have an outstanding legal ability, exceptional breadth of experience and meet the high standards of competence and judicial temperament. judge jackson passed all these tests with flying colors during her senate confirmation process. i had the privilege of chairing judge jackson's first senate confirmation hearing in 2009, when president obama nominated her to serve on the u.s. sentencing commission. i then had the opportunity to visit with judge jackson earlier this month prior to her confirmation hearing. it was a real pleasure to speak with her. i'm familiar with her background and many of her rulings. she's also a former maryland resident. we had much to talk about as she had many connections to my state. her brother served both as an infantryman, an officer in the maryland army national guard during which he was twice deployed overseas.
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and he also served as an undercover narcotics recovery officer in the baltimore city police department. judge jackson is eminently qualified. in our meeting we talked about her personal experience and her commitment to equal justice under law, especially for those who have had difficulty accessing our legal system. she discussed her work as a public defender, providing defense free of charge to the most vulnerable members of our society. in this work, judge jackson carried out the mandate of the sixth amendment of the constitution which provides in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial and to have the assistance of counsel for miss defense. she talked about her outreach to our next generation in terms of talking to students in high school and college as well as our next generation of lawyers in law school. i'm often reminded of the words of my dear friend, the late congressman elijah cummings of baltimore that our children are
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the living messages we send to a future we will never see. i do think judge jackson is having an important and ongoing conversation about democracy with our students. i frankly think she will be a powerful role model for so many that will follow in her footstep, in particular women and women of color that see judge jackson break yet another barrier and glass ceiling at the supreme court. these students can believe that, yes, they belong, even in the highest court in the land in the most elite corridors of power in our nation's capital. we discussed the importance of an independent judicial branch of government and protecting the rights of individuals against special interests that would abuse their power. i would impressed with judge jackson throughout our conversation. judge jackson exemplifies the american story and experience. her parents were public schoolteachers and judge jackson said she was inspired to go into law by watching her father study
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when he was in law school, raised in miami, florida, she attended florida public schools. she then went on to earn her b.a. magna cum laude from harvard university and later her j.d. cum laude from harvard law school. she went on to clerk for three different federal judges -- judge patti saris in the district of massachusetts; judge bruce selya of the first circuit court of appeals, and then justice stephen breyer on the supreme court of the united states. after working in private practice, she joined the u.s. sentencing commission as an assistant special counsel before serving as an assistant federal public defender in washington. judge jackson then returned to private practice again before being nominated in 2009 by president obama to serve as a commissioner and later vice chair of the u.s. sentencing commission. as i noted earlier, i had the privilege to chair this confirmation hearing for judge jackson after which she was unanimously confirmed by voice vote in the senate in 2010.
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in this role, i noted that judge jackson often worked to find common ground with her fellow commissioners that brought very different backgrounds and perspectives to the commission. in particular, judge jackson made significant strides to make our criminal justice system and sentencing policy more fair and just. for example, she worked on a bipartisan basis to effectively implement the fair sentencing act which addresses the 100-1 disparity in the law regarding crack cocaine and powder cocaine which had led to disproportionate and discriminate discriminatory treatment of minorities in our criminal justice system. i'm hoping judge jackson can use these same skills of finding common ground of individuals with different background and build a consensus as a justice on the supreme court. in 2013, president obama nominated judge jackson to serve as a u.s. district judge for the
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district of columbia and again unanimously confirmed her nomination by voice vote. as a district court judge, judge jackson wrote more than 500 opinions and considered a wide array of issues that would come before the supreme court. she has a real breadth of experience here including cases involving constitutional, civil rights, and national security issues, administrative issues involving federal agencies, environmental issues, criminal law and procedural issues, and matters involving government transparency. on the benchl, her record clearly demonstrates that judge jackson impartially applies laws and precedents to the facts in a fair and impartial manner regardless of her personal views on the subject. judge jackson took special care to make sure the parties before her understood her approach to deciding cases, and she issued clearly reasoned decisions. as judge jackson said in her confirmation hearing for the
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district court circuit, when i work with clients as a defender, most of my clients didn't really understand what was happening to them. no one really explained to them what they were supposed to expect, so they did not know where things might have gone wrong. therefore, as a judge, judge jackson said that she will take extra time to communicate with the parties. i speak to them directly and not just their lawyers. i use their names. i explain every stage of the proceeding because i want them to know what is going on. in reviewing her record i noticed that judge jackson's analysis and decision-making has had her ruling for and against the government, both for and against employers and workers, for and against criminal defendants and prosecutors based on the merits of the case and the application of the law to that particular case. in her confirmation hearing in written answers, she pledged to
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support the constitution and pledged to rule without fear or favor or prejudice or passion consistent with her judicial oath. she indicated she understood the limits of the judicial role and the importance of adhering to precedence of the court. and just last year, president biden elevated judge jackson to the u.s. court of appeals to the district of columbia circuit. she was confirmed by a bipartisan vote of 53 voting in favor. in that confirmation hearing, judge jackson again stressed the importance of courts having a duty of independence from political pressure, meaning judges must resolve cases and controversies in a manner that is consistent with the law, requires -- despite the judge's own personal view of the matter and even with respect to cases and controversies that contain
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controversial and political issues. she is committed to carrying out her oath as a judge. she particularly noted she did not pay attention to who was in the administration when ruling both for and against trump administration in different cases. judge jackson did a superb job during the recent confirmation hearings as our presiding officer knows and consistently impressed me with her talents. not only was she eminently qualified, we already knew that about her qualifications. not only was she in command of the legal subjects, we knew she would excel in her job as a judge. but her demeanor after outrageous comments. she showed why she will be a major factor on the supreme court. judge jackson's confirmation
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hearing reinforced to me how critical it will be to have her on the supreme court. members of the committee unsuccessfully tried to distort judge jackson's sentencing record. the record clearly rebuts these charges as judge jackson's sentences are well within the judicial mainstream and judge jackson often followed the recommendations made by the probation office. the a.b.a. standing committee debunks several of these myths when they analyze judge jackson's record as part of their review process before their confirmation hearing. the a.b.a. testified at the hearing that we did speak to various pros kiewctors and defense counsel -- prosecutors for judge jackson. none experienced any bias. one observer said that i didn't observe any bias and the judge was fair when concerned with
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sentencing in all aspects. we ask about bias whether it be the defendant or government and we found no bias. that was the a.b.a. in terms of the allegations that judge jackson was soft on crime, the a.b.a. said we heard how unbias judge jackson is. we heard about doing things by the book. there was a high-profile national sensitive security counsel, she said it was impressive judge jackson. after oral argument judge jackson took a recess, went back to her chamber and when came back, came back with a sentencing more in favor of the government. what impressed the prosecutor is that she -- it's not as if's she came into the hearing with her
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mind made up. she listened to what counsel on both sides said and came up with a sentence that the prosecutor was happy with. several prominent law enforcement organizations support judge jackson's nomination. the fraternal order of police wrote, from our analysis judge jackson's record and some of her cases we believe she considered the facts and applied the law consistently and fairly on a range of issues. there is little doubt that she has the temperament, intellect, legal experience and family background to have earned this appointment. we are reassured that should she be confirmed, she would approach her future cases with an open mind and treat issues related to law enforcement fairly and justly. and the international association of chiefs of police support judge jackson's nomination. they wrote when the iacp chooses to support an individual, we do not take it lightly and we take into califf consideration their
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background, experience and previous issues as it relates to law enforcement issues. during her time as a judge, she has days played her dedication to ensure that our communities are safe. we believe judge jackson's years of experience have shown she has the temperament and qualifications to serve as the next associate justice on the supreme court. that was the international association of chiefs of police. judge jackson has an unusual, broad range of support from law enforcement groups, crime victims, and survivors, business associations and civil rights groups. former d.c. circuit judge thomas griffith introduced judge jackson at her confirmation hearing. judge griffith vouched for judge jackson's califf approach and collegial manner. judge jackson has demonstrated a
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record of excellence and i believe based on her work as a trial judge when i served on the court of appeals that she will adjudicate based on the facts of the law and not in a partisan manner. and then former fourth circuit judge mitchell laudick, a president george h.w. bush appointee wrote that she is eminently qualified to serve on the supreme court and highly experienced in the law as any nominee in recent history. her colleagues have given her the highest ratings, those that know her best, those that have worked with her, it gives us great confidence in her qualifications and ability to serve on the supreme court. a group of conservative lawyers, many of whom served in previous republican administrations wrote in strong support of judge jackson and said, while some of us might take different concern
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in particular positions she has taken in a judge, we are united in our view she is exceptionally well qualified given her breadth of experience and her intellect and character. we think her confirmation on a consensus basis would strengthen the court and the nation in important ways. madam president, it's long past time for supreme court seat of a highly qualified black female attorney as a member. as we strive to provide equal justice under the law to all americans, she would be only the sixth woman out of 116 justices to serve on the supreme court. and only the second woman of color and the first black woman. a justice jackson will bring sorely needed diversity to the supreme court both demographically and professionally. as the leadership conference on civil and human rights voted,
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this professional diversity is another critical step in ensuring our courts look more like america. judge jackson will be the first justice with any significant criminal defense experience since the retirement of justice marshall in 1991 and the only supreme court justice to serve as a public defender. public defenders play a critical role in our legal system yet they are vastly under represented. there are nearly six times prosecutors as former defense lawyers. our highest court should reflect the diversity of the legal profession and judge jackson's meaningful experience is greatly needed on our supreme court. i believe that judge jackson will faithfully uphold her
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judicial oath where judges do equal rights to the poor and to the rich. i believe she respects the separation of powers and checks and balances in our system and she is committed to uphold the civil rights an civil liberties of all americans. i will proudly vote to confirm judge jackson so she will become justice jackson. with that, madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. ms. cantwell: madam president, i come to the floor today about something that is impacting consumers every day and that is our supply chain shortages with semiconductors. it is affecting americans who can't buy a used car, it's 41% increase over what they normally would have been to be able buy. it's impacting americans, why? because americans can't get new
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cars and they can't get through cars because they don't have semiconductors. it's impacting our ability to ship goods, it's affecting our national security and our communication systems. i know that this, a year ago we passed this legislation out of the senate. i'm pretty sure if we would have passed the funding a year ago out of the united states senate and it would have been adopted and gone to the president's desk, we would be in a different supply chain issue today. so i wanted to ask my colleagues to move quickly at going to conference on this legislation. reporting indicates that semiconductor shortages may have cost the united states a full percent of economic input -- output in 2021. other reports highlight the fact that semiconductor shortage is driving inflation and yet our colleagues don't want to help get us to conference. when you don't have chips, you don't have trucks to drive.
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so we have an opportunity to invest in american workers and to show international leadership and innovation by going to conference and passing this competition and innovation act. i want to thank senator schumer and senator young for their work in a bipartisan fashion to get this legislation before us to help us move it through the process and now help us deliver on what is impacting americans critical supply chain shortages. my colleagues have spoken long about the need to reshore our semiconductor supply chain, that's why when we passed this bill a year ago we had strong bipartisan support and we continue to grow the support for this action. we're here today though to say if we continue to delay this issue, the investment is going to go somewhere else. that is companies are trying to figure out how to deal with the shortage.
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if you imagine, madam president, they have a shortage, they want to get going on it, they know not only is the shortage here today, but we have to double and shiple the amount of -- triple the shipping, and the longer we don't get at that task, the longer this supply chain issue will be exacerbated. so our colleagues need to sign up with helping america with a critical supply chain shortage issue and help us deal with this issue. i've spoken many times about the importance of semiconductors. we know the cost of a used car has risen 41% since the semiconductor shortage, bringing them almost to the price of pa new car. i -- of a new car. i heard from so many of my constituents about this, they need to get to work, going to find a used car or repair a used
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car, this has had a huge impact. the lack of security in the semiconductor supply chain isn't just affecting automotive industries. it's part of critical agricultural equipment. we're hearing stories now about agricultural equipment that had a chip in it, something's happened and now you can't fix or replace that because there are no chips to do so. so, literally, our agricultural production is being slowed down and may miss growing season because they don't have the semiconductors. all of these industries are being impacted. in december of this past year 59 different company c.e.o.'s, apple, sysco, ford, g.e., and many others, wrote to congress saying they are supported this important investment in design and research in manufacturing of semiconductors and they pointed to the domestic vulnerability of
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our supply chain as the main reason to get this done. they knew that our domestic capabilities were sagging. companies like john deere and others who do precision agricultural equipment use the chips to maximize the fields. ship shortages are 40 weeks or more of parts needed to repair those farmers and ranchers and those working on our important agricultural sector. about two-thirds of the medical technology companies have semiconductors and over half of their products like ventilators, respirators and pacemakers, these companies need mature chip technology and compete with already automotive and industrial sectors. they know what the shortage is about. and yet we continue to delay to go to conference. if you care about anything in the supply chain and the shortages, then help us go to
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conference and get this legislation. medical tech component delays of one year or more have been reported. knowing how hard fought experiences of the pandemic, we need to have this issue with our health care system addressed. early on in the pandemic, the aviation industry avoided supply chain experiences that we now see with the autos and they know how much that safety depends on those chips. but now airlines are having to upgrade and modernize and they also are seeing the chip shortage. this is coming from lots of different people in the aviation sector. space x startling which is a satellite internet service provider is trying to provide internet service to underserved areas and beneficiary of some of the investments we just made in broadband to the very, very hard to serve remote areas of our nation. they say that the semiconductor chip shortage had impacted their ability to fulfill orders.
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what more do my colleagues need to know? we have a supply chain crisis. we have a chip shortage. and now people want to continue to delay going to conference and getting this done. the aerospace and defense industries are important to our national defense, and they are impacted. in february the department of defense published a report on our vulnerabilities. they said that the decline -- quote, the decline in domestic manufacturing represents a substantive security and economic threat for the united states and many of our allied nations. and yet people want toll delay. they also said that u.s. companies are finding it so expensive to build leading edge chips they're choosing not to do so, especially in face of the fact they can get foreign subsidies. it is 30 or 40% cheaper to build a semiconductor fabrication facility in asia than it is in the until.
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madam president, this is one of the things i think our colleagues don't understand is how expensive these facilities are in the billions of dollars to get done in a capital investment. i know some of my colleagues are concerned that why should we help in this supply chain crisis. well, we know that the united states wants to be a leader in this technology for our own national security issues. as one of my own constituents said, if there's a reason we support agriculture for food security, we should support chips for national security. i couldn't agree more. i'm not going to see the most advanced chips made by somebody else threatening us at some point in time that they won't give us the chips that we need for the operations of our economy. we need to build this equipment now, and we need to move forward. american companies know that semiconductor supply chains are vital and reshoring in the united states now as we look at how supply chains do to covid,
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now due to ukraine have caused national security issues. so these companies understand that being more secure by having the supply chain in the united states should be a national priority. it should have strong bipartisan support. we have companies trying to invest, but they also are saying is this legislation really going to get done. the fact that it was basically passed out of the senate and now we are delaying in tactics to go to conference is frustrating. earlier this year intel announced they were investing $20 billion in ohio to build semiconductor fabrication facilities. the c.e.o. of intel testified before the commerce committee about the importance of this investment and the importance of this underlying passage of legislation. he testified that this investment of $20 billion could soon become as big as $100
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billion but not if we don't pass this legislation. global foundries announced that it would invest billions of dollars in semiconductor manufacturing equipment in places in the northeast part of the united states. but they, too, are contingent upon us passing this legislation. when i think about the workforce that is going to be needed to produce this kind of product or the workforce that's going to be needed and cleaner sources of energy, i know that passing this legislation is key to getting the training and skilling of that workforce under way right now as soon as possible. there's one reason that apple, one of the largest sellers of smartphones in the world, announced last year they would have to bring back some of their production to the united states. it's because the government worked to bringing leading edge semiconductor manufacturing into arizona. this is about securing leadership in innovation. it is about this aha moment that everybody around the world has
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seen because of covid and ukraine that the security of doing this needs to be done now and invested in the united states, but some people are still dragging their feet. congress needs to act now and act swiftly to go to conference to reconcile these differences and support this supply chain crisis that is affecting our economy. every day that we wait, our companies, our manufacturers, our universities, our workforce are questioning whether we are going to invest in the united states of america. the c.e.o. of intel told us that europe has put $49 billion in a chips package and they had the money available before we had our legislation done. that's right. people listened to this issue of bringing for more secure reasons investment out of asia and back to the united states, but, yes, europe listened and went and got the money and got the bill done.
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that is why some people have said we're not growing to be buying chips in u.s. dollars. we'll be buying them in euros. this is some important. we must get this legislation done. companies may test their ideas in europe. maybe the r&d is in europe. but is that what we want? we want to be the leaders in this. there's an entire ecosystem in an information age that is about the next generation of advanced chips that leads to the next advanced manufacturing. if you want our automakers, if you want our truck makers, if you want the communications technology and the defense people to also have that ecosystem, you have to send this price signal now, that the congress, the house and senate are serious about resolving this issue. this is not a summertime issue. it is not an after the november election issue. it is a now issue.
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show the american consumer that you have concern for their costs and shortages that is plaguing them in all aspects of their life and get an agreement and let's go to conference and show americans that we can work in a bipartisan -- on a bipartisan basis to address the supply chain crisis. i thank the president and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: mr. president, i come to the floor today on two very important subjects. the first is about an issue that's of vital importance for the u.s. across economic security and humanitarian spheres and that is vaccinating the world's population. i think we all have learned in a
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very hard, hard way the last two years that the coronavirus does not respect international borders. it started in china. it came to america. it went all over the world. experts have been warning for months that if the virus continues to spread in other parts of the world, that new variants could continue to emerge. just as we are emerging and seeing each other again and going to family gatherings and having people, tour groups come into the capitol. we cannot let our guard down. american companies have worked with the world to create the most effective vaccines in existence. we put our faith in science and now we have an incredible vaccine that we can be proud of. and as we continue to ensure that americans get their shots and their boosters, we know that ending this pandemic is going to require a sustained multinational approach to getting these lifesaving shots
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to the rest of the world. this makes sense from a humanitarian perspective. it makes sense from an economic perspective. and it's just common sense because we can't let this happen again. and we certainly can't put our heads in the sand and pretend that just because it's going on on another continent or across the ocean that it won't affect us. for those in america that have lost loved ones, that couldn't even say goodbye to their loved ones because they were in the hospital holding the hand of a nurse and all they could do was see them in the hospital bed over a zoom screen or on an i ipad. we can't let any of that happen again. and that means we not only do our work at home and get the vaccines out and the leadership that we've seen out of the white house on that front, but it is also about leading in the world.
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the u.s. has long been a leader in global health programs. president george w. bush established pep far which stands by the way presidents emergency plan for aids relief. that program saved over 20 million lives and prevented millions of infections. it was a bipartisan effort that was led by president bush. the u.s. has also connected global towns and villages with clean water, fought to prevent malaria, led efforts to end smallpox and polio around the world. this is our legacy. but we can't rest on our success and the leadership from the past. we have to lead now. at this point only about 56% of the world's population is fully vaccinated. in nations around the world, the individual rate is much lower. in nigeria, africa's most populous country, only 5% of
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people are fully vaccinated. few people will disagree with the assessment that new variants will continue to form. ask dr. fauci. as long as much of the world remains unvaccinated. and that makes every nation vulnerable, including ours. and we can do this at such a relatively small cost to what the gain will be. the gain in saving lives abroad and in america, the gain in keeping a stable economy around the world because you know we export to the world, and we know we are interconnected with the world. so when it comes to beating this virus, we have to recognize that our destiny is linked to the rest of the world. we can't give up this fight. now is not the time to cut corners. we have suffered enough through this virus, and we have the needed tools to vaccinate a global population. we have the vaccine. we just have to get it to the
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people that need it. i will keep fighting to get the resources to get this done. we will work with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle until we get this done and vaccinate the world. second important topic, what's in front of us right now, and that is judge jackson's nomination to be an associate justice of the supreme court. i enthusiastically support the nomination of judge jackson. i supported it at a recent committee hearing and our committee vote on monday. as a member of the senate judiciary committee, i have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with the judge, in my office for nearly an hour and then watching her persevere -- that's a good word -- through two full days of questions. and i know that she is going to be confirmed by the senate and, by the way, i appreciate the support of every democrat of her
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nomination as well as senators collins and murkowski and ro romney. she showed the american people why she is the person to meet this moment in our country's history. she is someone that showed such grace under pressure as so many people have had to do, by the way, in the last two years. she showed herself to be a true person. when asked about how you balanced work with being a mom, she said we're not all perfect. i can't do everything all the time, but i try my best and i love my kids. and she clearly is a shining example of a good mother. she talked about her faith, even under direct over-the-top questioning by our colleague. she kept true to her faith and to her values and to her view of a judge, which is to take the facts and the law and make a decision without fear or favor.
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she showed the american people why she is the person to meet this moment as the first black woman nominated to the court and only the sixth woman in our country. 115 justices, she is the sixth woman. she will open a door that has been long shut for so many. and she'll do it by virtue of her strong presence, her skills, and her experience. she will show little girls and boys across the country that everything is possible. she was already an inspiration to one 1-year-old girl -- 11-year-old girl by the name of maddie morgan. i met her dad when i was on a walk in washington, d.c.,. he parked his car, sprung out of his car and showed me the letter that his daughter had written president biden when president biden announced that he was going to make a nomination but
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didn't reveal who it was and was interviewing candidates. maddie, this 11-year-old, decided that she would be appropriate for the job. she noted that she would live many more years and so, therefore, would be the longest-serving justice in history. she noted that she could be a voice for kids, and she also noted that she lived very close to the courthouse and she could walk to work all the time. and then when judge jackson was announced by president biden as the nominee, maddie said this -- if i'm going to be snubbed, it couldn't be for a better candidate. so that little 11-year-old girl was sitting in the hearing room watching as a woman who is truly an inspiration to her, judge jackson, answered question after question. and, by the way, i am not surprised by some of our republican colleagues either supporting judge jackson or voicing their belief that she is a qualified person and a smart
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person and someone who deserves to be nominated, even if they, for other reasons, aren't voting for her. i think they're pretty consistent in saying with the american public that judge jackson is qualified. in fact, two-thirds of americans, according to one recent poll, say judge jackson should be confirmed. as we learned during the hearing, judge jocks grew up in a family that values public service. her parents, who i had the chance to meet, started their careers as teachers. and when judge jackson's dad set his sights on become ago lawyer, her mom figured out how to support the family while he attend law school. as a lawyer, she balanced work with parenthood. i appreciated hearing about how judge jackson would sit with her dad while he was studying the law books and she was doing a coloring book. she, as someone who has been a federal public defender, the
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first with that experience who will be in the room where it happens but also having many relatives in law enforcement, has a unique perspective of the law and a very important respect for people in law enforcement. her brother was a police officer, who also served in the military. one of her uncles was a detective, and the other uncle was a chief of police for the miami police department. it was from that family of public servants that judge jackson set her sights high. after graduating from law school doing very well there, she was a clerk for justice breyer and then as she heads into this nomination, after three votes this will be her fourth vote in front of this senate with bipartisan support, she will come to the court with more -- with more judicial experience
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than four other justices had when they went on the court. she is are current -- these are current justices. sheols the person we need right now. we know that trust in the court has been fading and so to have someone that has her legal acumen and background but also to have someone who gets that these decisions aren't just words on a page, that the words on the page and the decisions you make as a judge are connected to real people. they affect whether someone is going to get health care. they affect their own health care choices. they affect if you're going to have clean water and air. and they affect whether or not you can actually vote and how you can vote and when you can vote and if you can vote. she gets it. i appreciated her willingness to take so many questions. we talked about antitrust, a subject true to my heart as well as the importance of the first amendment and many other
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detailed questions that she got. and i know a lot of those questions that got attention were the over-the-top ones, the attacks on her. but, nevertheless, the bulk of the questions in that hearing got to true questions about the law and her views and her knowledge of the cases. and she passed every single thing with flying colors. at this critical moment, judge jackson has the qualities to make sure that the court and the constitution in justice breyer's words work for the people of today. she has a quintessentially american story, and as she put it, her success is a testament to the hope and promise of this country. i urge my colleagues to embrace the hope and promise of judge jackson and the hope and promise of this country.
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vote for her. thank you. i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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>> i listen to the republican leader speaking about a supreme court nominee, judge brown jackson who was coming before the senate either today or tomorrow we hope for her confirmation vote. we have solid support for her nomination from democratic side and three republican senators who have announced they will join us to make it bipartisan majority in favor. she is has deserved this. she has an ordinary background andthe kind of resume every lawyer would dream of . she graduated from harvard and then clerked at every level of the federal judiciary including clerk to the justice she hopes to succeed, stephen breyer. and then to serve on the sentencing commission which is considered one of the more prestigious assignments and trying to rationalize the sentencing under federal law. and then of course to serve on the district court in the dc district and issued some
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570 or 80 different opinions written opinions during that time. in
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s clear to anyone after a few minutes with her, she has heart, compassion, and a commitment to justice. so it should be no surprise her nomination was met with wide acclaim, including from prominent republican lawyers and retired judges appointed by republican presidents. as a professional, judge jackson's record doesn't merely check the boxes we have come to expect from our supreme court nominees -- a clerkship for justice breyer, experience as a district court judge and a circuit court judge -- she also has experience that is less common in the highest court in the planned and for that reason all the more important. like her experience on the u.s. sentencing commission, a perspective only the retiring
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justice breyer brought to the supreme court, or her experience as a public defender, something no other supreme court justice has ever had. mr. president, this is so important and so long overdue. being a public defender means developing an in-depth understanding of the legal needs of everyday people. judges from these kinds of legal backgrounds can be better equipped to understand the experiences of each person before them, to recognize the burden laws often place on people who are living with low-income or otherwise marginalized, and ultimately to render more informed, more just decisions. and judge jackson's background is more than simply a resume. it is her perspective growing up as the daughter of two public schoolteachers. her perspective as a working mother with two daughters of her own, and her perspective as a
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black woman, woulding in a profession where -- working in a profession where stories like hers were few and far between. i have no doubt that perspective will serve her and the people who come before her well as a supreme court justice. and while her personal story tells us a lot, the way she gracefully and knowledgeably handled her confirmation hearings shows us even more. during the confirmation process that a few republicans tried to make up credibly unly go, she showed the -- ugly, she showed the kind of poise befitting a supreme court justice. over the course of hundreds of questions, she offered thoughtful answers that demonstrated an expert understanding of the law, a carefully considered methodology for how she approaches each case, and an unmistakable commitment to ensuring justice and upholding the lints of all americans, not just the -- the liberties of all americans, not just the powerful and well-connected. that's so porn, especially at a
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time when so many rights -- that's so important, especially at a time when so many rights are under attack. we continue to see republicans pushing through blatantly unconstitutional laws on the right to abortion. we are seeing the tragic consequences of those reckless restrictions every day. we are also seeing attacks on the rights of workers as they seek to organize or form a union and fight for a better workplace. we are even seeing attacks on the cornerstone of our democracy -- the right to vote. as republicans have continually pushed through measures to block the ballot box and some even continue to dangerously deny the legitimacy of the last election. we need a supreme court justice who understands, as judge jackson once put it, presidents are not kings. someone who understands equal justice is for all, not just the wealthy and the powerful. there are so many critical issues which come before the court that matter so deeply to the american people, cases about
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workers' rights or reproductive rights or voting rights or tribal sovereignty, climate change, gun safety, immigration, and so much more. my constituents deserve to know the justices hearing these cases are really going to listen to their concerns, understand their experiences, uphold our constitution, and defend their rights. they deserve a justice as thoughtful, compassionate and committed as ketanji brown jackson. madam president, i first ran for senate because of the supreme court. watching the hearings with anita hill i was frustrated that there was no one on the dais who looked like me, no one asking the questions that i would ask, and for most of the country throughout most of our history our courts have been the same way. they have not represented the diversity of our nation, not by a long shot. i'm proud to say we are finally
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fixing that, including in my home state of washington. soon we will take another historic step at the highest level possible. we will vote to put another mom on the supreme court. ketanji brown jackson will make history as the first black woman to serve on the highest court in the land. though i'm sure she will not be the last, because i know now there are little girls across the country watching as the senate confirms someone who looks like them to the supreme court for the first time ever. they aren't just watching history be made. they're watching a barrier fall down, a path open up, and new future that seems more possible than ever before. you know, i first ran for office because i watched the supreme court process, and i was frustrated. today, i'm no less energized, but for a very different reason. today, i'm excited. i'm inspired, even. and i hope people across the country watching this are as
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well. i hope a future senator or future justice or even a future president is able to talk about what this moment meant to them and what doors justice jackson opened for others. i am thrilled to be voting yes on this this nomination, and i strongly urge all of our colleagues to do the same. thank you, madam president, and i yield the floor. suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. brown: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brun -- mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent that dispense with the quorum. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: it's an honor to recommend to the highest court, ketanji brown jackson. i met with her yesterday. it's so clear she has the experience, the character and commitment to justice needed to be an excellent supreme court justice. we talked about the legacy and unfinished fights of dr. king, how we can never forget that he was martyred in memphis fighting for the rights of san dation workers -- sanitation workers, some of the most exploited workers in segregated america, segregated in segregated memphis, tennessee. dr. king understood better than perhaps anybody how worker rights and voter rights come together.
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it's clear that judge jackson understands the dignity of work and that the rights of workers are integral civil rights. people think of the supreme court as something like an ivory tower detached from people's everyday lives, and we know that decisions these justices make affect america's workplaces and paychecks and safety on the job. that's why it matters so much whom we promote to these jobs. i'm confident judge jackson will be a justice who protects the rights of all americans, not just the powerful, not just the privileged. she brings with her a diverse set of experiences and perspectives that have long been lacking from our nation's highest courts. we, of course, know she's the first black woman nominated to serve on the court. she's the daughter of a public schoolteacher, she went to public schools herself, not that common, frankly, in the u.s. supreme court, and she's a former public defender. the nomination's truly historic. her parents attended segregated primary schools, and now their daughter will ascend to the
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highest levels of our government. think about that. judge jackson has a history of bipartisan support. republicans supported her confirmation to the u.s. court of appeals. i'm glad a few of my republican colleagues have recognized those unimpeachable qualifications and are supporting her confirmation this week. i don't know how anyone could doubt her intelligence, her thoughtfulness or knowledge of the law, her commitment to justice. she clerked for justice breyer. she has shown she's the ideal nominee to carry on his legacy of building consensus and listening to all perspectives. it was an honor to talk with her yesterday and to hear her views. it will be an honor to vote for her later this week. over the coming months and years, the supreme court is set to make decisions on everything from ohioans' healthcare to workplace safety to their right to vote. as the court makes these decisions that affect all hoyans' -- all ohioans' lives,
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i'm confident judge jackson has a commitment to the constitution, including civil rights and workers rights. she will serve ohioans and all americans with the same grace and dignity and commitment to her country she has shown over the past several weeks, meeting with senators, speaking to the nation, with the president, and speaking to the nation through the judiciary committee hearings. i urge my colleagues to join me in supporting her confirmation. madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: it's my honor, something i get to do once a year now, my honor to join senator rounds of south dakota, senator hirono of hawaii, baldwin, and romney and warnock to join colleagues to read one of the greatest pieces of writing of the 20th century, dr. king's letter from the birmingham jail. i thank those senators for joining us. our former colleague, senator doug jones, began this
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tradition. he did it in 2019 and 2020. as he left the senate in late 2020, he asked me to continue the tradition that he began. he would have been here on the floor with us to watch and to listen, but he was called to the white house on his work with judge jackson. this is a bipartisan reading. i very purposefully chose three republican friends, senator rounds will go first, and three democratic friends, followed by senator hirono. let me lay out where we are, what we're doing. it was april, 1963. dr. king was held in the birmingham jail for the supposed crime of leading a series of peaceful protests and boycotts in the city of birmingham, alabama. the goal was to put pressure on the business community to end discrimination in their hiring for local jobs. some white ministers from alabama had taken issue with his boycotts. they said slow down, dr. king, don't move too fast. we're for voting rights, too.
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we're for ending discrimination, but don't demand too much all at once. dr. king rejected that premise. that's what this letter is about. it's about demanding justice now for people in alabama whose skin was black and simply could not vote because of the color of their skin. we can't wait around and hope the problems and families' lives solve themselves. it's up to us as citizens and church members. dr. king made this point more eloquently and persuasive than i can. we will begin the letter of the reading of the letter with senator rounds from south dakota. mr. -- the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. rounds: thank you, madam president. ladies and gentlemen of the senate, first, to my friend and colleague, senator brown, i thank you for the opportunity to participate today. i hope to do my best to add a
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feeling of strength to the message that dr. martin luther king shared in his letter. this is a reading from a letter from a birmingham jail. dr. martin l. king jr. april 16, 1963. my dear fellow clergymen, while confined here in the birmingham city jail, i came across your recent statement calling my present activities unwise and untimely. seldom do i pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. if i sought to answer all the criticisms across my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and i would have no time for constructive work. but since i feel you that are men of genuine good will, and your criticisms are sin seriously set forth, i want to
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try to answer your statement in what i hope will be patient and reasonable terms. i think i should indicate why i am here in birmingham, since you've been influenced by the view which argues against outsiders coming in. i have the honor of serving as president of the southern christian leadership conference, an organization operating in every southern state with headquarters in atlanta, georgia. we have some 85 affiliated organizations across the south, and one of them is the alabama christian movement of human rights. frequently, we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. several months ago, the affiliate here in birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent, direct action program, if such were deemed necessary. we readily consented and when
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the hour came we lived up to our promise. so, i, along with several members of my staff, am here because i was invited here. i am here because i have organizational ties here. but more basically, i am in birmingham because injustice is here. just as the prophets of the eighth century b.c. left their villages and carried their just sayeth the lord, and as the apostle paul left his village and carried the gospel of jesus christ to the far corners of the greco-roman world, so am i compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my only hometown. like paul, i must constantly respond to the macedonian call
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for aid. moreover, i am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. i cannot sit idly by in atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in birmingham. injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. we're caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. never again can we afford to live with the narrow provencial outside agitator idea. anyone who lives inside the united states can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its borders. yet you deplore the demonstrations taking place in
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birmingham, but your statement, i am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. i am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects, and does not grapple with underlying causes. it is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the negro community with no alternative. in any nonviolent campaign, there are four basic steps -- collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist, negotiation, self-pureification, and direct action.
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we have gone through all of these steps in birmingham. there can be no gain-saying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the united states. its ugly record of brutality is widely known. negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. there have been more unsolved bombings of negro homes and churches in birmingham than in any other city in the nation. these are the hard, brutal facts of the case. on the basis of these conditions, negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers, but the latter consistently refused to engage in good-faith negotiation. then, last september came the
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opportunity to talk with leaders of birmingham's economic community. in the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by the merchants. for example, to remove the stores humiliating racial signs. on the basis of these promises, the reverend fred shuttleworth and the leaders of the alabama christian movement for human rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. as the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. a few signs briefly removed returned, the others remained. as in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. we had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our
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very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self-purification. we began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves, are you able to accept blows without retaliating? are you able to endure the ordeal of jail? we decided to direct our direct action program for the easter season, realizing that except for christmas, this is the main shopping period of the year. knowing that a strong economic withdrawal program would be the by-product of direct action, we felt that this would be the best time to bring pressure to bear on the merchants for the needed
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change. then it occurred to us that birmingham's mayoral election was coming up in march, and we speedily decided to postpone action until after the election day. when we discovered that the commissioner of public safety, eugene "bull" connor had piled up enough votes to be in the runoff, we decided again to postpone action until the day after the runoff so that the demonstrations could not be used to cloud the issues. like many others, we waited to see mr. connor defeated. and to this end, we endured postponement after postponement. having aided in this community need, we felt that our direct action program could be delayed no longer. i yield the floor.
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ms. hirono: why direct actions? why student marches and so forth? isn't negotiation a better path? you're quite right in calling for negotiation. indeed, this is a very purpose of direct action. nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such attention that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. it seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. my citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking, but i must confess that i am not afraid of the word tension. i have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent
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tension which is necessary for growth. just as socrates felt it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. the purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. i therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. too long has our beloved south land been bogged down in a tragic effort to live and
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monolog rather than dialogue. one of the basic points in your statement is that the action that i and my associates have taken in birmingham is untimely. some have asked why did you give new city administration time to act? the only answer that i can give to this query is that the new birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one before it will act. we are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of albert boutwell as mayor will bring the millennium to birmingham. while mr. boutwell is a much more gentle person than mr. connor, they are both segregationists dedicated to maintenance of the status quo. i have hope that mr. boutwell will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive
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resistance to desegregation, but he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. my friends, i must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as reinhold niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals. we know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. frankly, i have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that
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was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. for years now i have heard the word "wait!" it rings in the ear of every negro with piercing familiarity. this "wait" has almost always meant "never." we must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied." we have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and god-given rights. the nations of asia and africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. perhaps it is easy for those who
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have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "wait." but when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your 20 million negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your 6-year-old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television and see tears welling
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up in her eyes when she is told that funtown is closed to colored children and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a 5-year-old son who is asking: "daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first
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middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "john," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness" -- then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. there comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair.
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i hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. you express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. this is certainly a legitimate concern. since we so diligently urge people to obey the supreme court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. one may well ask: "how can you advocate breaking some laws and
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obeying others?" the answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. i would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. one has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. i would agree with st. augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all." now, what is the difference between the two? how does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? a just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of god.
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an unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. to put it in the terms of st. thomas aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. any law that uplifts human personality is just. any law that degrades human personality is unjust. all segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. it gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority.
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segregation, to use the terminology of the jewish philosopher martin buber, substitutes an "i it" relationship for an "i thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. hence, segregation is not only politically, economically, and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. paul tillich has said that sin is separation. is not segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? thus it is that i can urge men
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to obey the 1954 decision of the supreme court, for it is morally right; and i can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong. let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. an unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. this is difference made legal. by the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. this is sameness made legal.
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let me give another explanation. a law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. who can say that the legislature of alabama which set up that state's segregation laws was democratically elected? throughout alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single negro is registered. can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?
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sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. for instance, i have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. but such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the first amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest. i hope you are able to see the distinction i am trying to point out. in no sense do i advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. that would lead to anarchy.
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one who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. i submit that an individual who breaks the law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice is, in reality, expressing the highest respect for law. of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. it was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of shadrach, meshach, and abednego to obey the laws of nebuchadnezzar, on
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the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. it was practiced superbly by the early christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the roman empire. to a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because socrates practiced civil disobedience. in our own nation, the boston tea party represented a massive act of civil disobedience. we should never forget that everything adolf hitler did in germany was "legal" and
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everything that the hungarian freedom fighters did in hungary was "illegal." it was "illegal" to aid and comfort a jew in hitler's germany. even so, i am sure that, had i lived in germany at the time, i would have aided and comforted my jewish brothers. if today i lived in a communist country where certain principles dear to the christian faith are suppressed, i would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws. i must make two honest confessions to you, my christian and jewish brothers. first, i must confess that over the past few years, i have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate.
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i have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the white citizen's counselor or the ku klux klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, "i agree with you in the goal you seek, but i cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the negro to wait for a "more convenient season." shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. lukewarm acceptance is much more
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bewildering than outright rejection. i had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose, they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. i had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the south is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. we merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. we bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with.
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like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness for the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured. in your statement, you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. but is this a logical assertion? isn't this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? isn't this like condemning socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock? isn't this like condemning jesus because his unique god
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consciousness and never-ceasing devotion to god's will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? we must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. society must protect the robbed and punish the robber. i had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. i have just received a letter from a white brother in texas. he writes: "all christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. it has taken christianity almost 2,000 years to accomplish what it has. the teachings of christ take time to come to earth." such an attitude stems from a
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tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. more and more i feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. we will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be coworkers with god, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. we must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.
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now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity. you speak of our activity in birmingham as extreme. at first i was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. i began thinking about the fact that i stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the negro community. one is a force of complacency, made up in part of negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self-respect in the sense of "somebodiness" that they have adjusted to segregation; and in part of a few middle-class negroes who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some
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ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses. the other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. it is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best known being elijah muhammad's muslim movement. nourished by the negro's over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in america, who have absolutely repudiated christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible "devil." i have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the "do nothingism" of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. for there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. i am grateful to god that,
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through the influence of the negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle. if this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the south would, i am convinced, be flowing with blood. and i am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as "rabble-rousers" and "outside agitators" those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies -- a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare. oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. the yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the american negro.
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something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of africa and his brown and yellow brothers of asia, south america and the caribbean, the united states negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. if one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. the negro has many pent-up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. so let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -- and try to understand why he must do so.


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