LIVE THREAD: 26 January - Senate debate on nomination of Samuel Alito ...
The highlight of yesterday was the Hatch, Leahy spat, but Hatch's speech is a good read of its own right ...
Mr. HATCH. Yesterday, in the Judiciary Committee's businss meeting, the ranking Democratic member said that the very reason the Supreme Court exists is to be ``a constitutional check on the expansion of presidential power.''
The Senator from Massachusetts, Senator KENNEDY, said the very same thing yesterday, that the Supreme Court's historic role is ``enforcing constitutional limits on presidential power.''
These grand descriptions give the impression that the Supreme Court alone polices our system of separated power, hands down decrees about issues, opines on abstract theories, and decides how best to order the universe.
It does no such thing. The last time I checked, most of the Supreme Court's cases have nothing whatsoever to do with issues such as presidential power, abortion, religion, or the environment.
The Supreme Court does not exist to run the country, right all wrongs, and usher in peace and domestic tranquility.
The judiciary is part of our system of limited government; it is not a system unto itself. It is that whole system of government, not anyone part of it, that protects our rights and liberties, checks excessive government power, provides for social progress, and all the rest.
As a part of that system, judges who exceed their proper role and power are no less a threat to liberty than legislators or the president who do so. ...
The Senator from Vermont has repeatedly said that all by himself, Judge Alito is a threat to the rights and liberties of all Americans literally for generations to come. The critics have said that Judge Alito would give the executive branch a blank check to invade your privacy, strip search children, and tap your phones.
According to the critics, if Judge Alito has his way, machine guns will flood our streets, big business will pollute the air and water, and the poor and down trodden will be unable to find justice. ...
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, we have Senators who wish to speak.
On several occasions, but publicly and privately, I have asked the distinguished senior Senator from Utah if he purports to quote me, to try to at least get within the ballpark of accuracy. I realize that is probably a failing and useless request after hearing him misquote me again the last few minutes, but I renew the request, and I hope that he would do that.
Mr. HATCH. Will the Senator yield? [I think Leahy said "No, I will not"]
Mr. LEAHY. To suggest that I have said--I would like to find the quote where I said that Judge Alito, all by himself, would do away with all the liberties of Americans.
I see the distinguished senior Senator from Florida, and I yield to the Senator.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.
I predict that Hatch will take some time to complete the record, and will quote Leahy directly on the "Judge Alito is a threat to the rights and liberties of all Americans literally for generations to come" language.
The link above contains ALL of the Executive Session, 750Kb of text.
Other "events" of the day that caught my wandering eye include the following ...
EC-5296. A communication from the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, transmitting, pursuant to law, the report of a rule entitled ``Reindeer in Alaska'' (RIN1076-AE37) received on January 6, 2006; to the Committee on Indian Affairs.
EC-5307. A communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, transmitting, pursuant to law, the six-month periodic report on the national emergency with respect to the risk of nuclear proliferation created by the accumulation of weapons-usable fissile material in the territory of the Russian Federation that was declared in Executive Order 13159 of June 21, 2000; to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
[There are 4 other six-month reports that refer to national emergencies.]
- proliferation of weapons of mass destruction that was declared in Executive Order 12938 of November 14, 1994
- national emergency declared by Executive Order 13222 of August 17, 2001 [nature of emergency is not described]
- terrorists who threaten to disrupt the Middle East peace process that was declared in Executive Order 12947 of January 23, 1995
- with respect to the Western Balkans that was declared in Executive Order 13219 of June 26, 2001
EC-5223. A communication from the President of the United States of America, transmitting, pursuant to law, a report relative to entering a free trade agreement with the Republic of Peru; to the Committee on Finance.
Under authority of the order of the Senate of January 18, 2006, the following bills and joint resolutions were introduced, read the first and second times by unanimous consent, and referred as indicated: ...
By Mr. ISAKSON:
S. 2182. A bill to terminate the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Finance.
Under authority of the order of the Senate of January 18, 2006, the following concurrent resolutions and Senate resolutions were read, and referred (or acted upon), as indicated: ...
By Mr. LEAHY (for himself and Mr. KENNEDY):
S. Res. 350. A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that Senate Joint Resolution 23 (107th Congress), as adopted by the Senate on September 14, 2001, and subsequently enacted as the Authorization for Use of Military Force does not authorize warrantless domestic surveillance of United States citizens; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Resolved, That Senate Joint Resolution 23 (107th Congress), as adopted by the Senate on September 14, 2001, and subsequently enacted as the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) does not authorize warrantless domestic surveillance of United States citizens.
[The record has a Leahy Speech that was placed in the record without being spoken, and the full text of the proposed resolution.]
The following bills and joint resolutions were introduced, read the first and second times by unanimous consent, and referred as indicated: ...
By Mr. COLEMAN (for himself, Mr. NELSON of Nebraska, Mr. ALLARD, Mr. ENZI, Mr. BURNS, Mr. COBURN, and Mr. THOMAS):
S. 2186. A bill to establish a commission to strengthen confidence in Congress; to the Committee on Rules and Administration.
[Oh my - this is too funny - LOL!! A commission to strengthen confidence in Congress. Passing the buck on buck passing, if you ask me.]
By Mr. STEVENS:
S. 2194. A bill for the relief of Nadezda Shestakova; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
S. 2195. A bill for the relief of Ilya Shestakov; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Mr. STEVENS. Mr. President, I offer today two private relief bills to provide lawful permanent resident status to Nadezda Shestakova and her son, Ilya Shestakov.
The Shestakov family has lived and worked in Anchorage, Alaska for more than ten years. Nadezda has now returned to Russia, and Ilya is attending high school in Canada, in order to avoid further immigration problems, and to demonstrate that they intend to be good citizens who live within the letter of the law.
Nadezda's husband, Michail, is a legal immigrant working for Aleut Enterprise Corporation (AEC), an Alaska native corporation, and their youngest son is a United States citizen. Both remain in Anchorage awaiting the reunion of their family.
During their time in Alaska, Michail has been an exemplary employee of the Aleut Corporation. As a matter of fact, it was the Aleut Corporation who first brought this issue to my attention, as they wish to support the Shestakov family in any way possible.
The children have excelled in school, and Nadezda has remained an at-home mother, pursuant to the terms of her original visa.
The Shestakov family's problems began when they overstayed their visa due to an error by their attorney, who did not file the extension paperwork on their behalf, as requested.
These are upstanding members of the Alaska community, and they should not be punished due to an error by their former attorney. I would like to see this family reunited in Alaska, so that they can continue to contribute positively to our community.
By Mrs. CLINTON (for herself, Mr. REID, and Mr. BINGAMAN):
S. 2196. A bill to authorize the Secretary of Energy to establish the position of Assistant Secretary for Advanced Energy Research, Technology Development, and Deployment to implement an innovative energy research, technology development, and deployment program; to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Executive nominations received by the Senate January 25, 2006:
BRETT M. KAVANAUGH, OF MARYLAND, TO BE UNITED STATES CIRCUIT JUDGE FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT, VICE LAURENCE H. SILBERMAN, RETIRED.
MICHAEL A. CHAGARES, OF NEW JERSEY, TO BE UNITED STATES CIRCUIT JUDGE FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT, VICE MICHAEL CHERTOFF, RESIGNED. ...