Reel

CONGRESS: WE THE PEOPLE - "Opening Credit"

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Audio:
Location:
490772_1_1
Yes
Washington, DC, United States
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Video:
Timecode:
1983  (Actual Year)
Color
13:37:15 - 13:37:21
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Original Film:
HD:
11412
CWTP 122
N/A
WETA credit

CONGRESS: WE THE PEOPLE - "Open"

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Audio:
Location:
490772_1_3
Yes
Washington, DC, United States
Year Shot:
Video:
Timecode:
1983  (Actual Year)
Color
13:37:30 - 13:38:00
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Original Film:
HD:
11412
CWTP 122
N/A
Title sequence.

CONGRESS: WE THE PEOPLE - "Checks and Balances"

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Location:
490772_1_4
Yes
Washington, DC, United States
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Video:
Timecode:
1983  (Actual Year)
Color
13:38:00 - 13:40:10
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HD:
11412
CWTP 122
N/A
Program host Edwin Newman discusses the recent history and housing of the Supreme Court in its own building; before 1935, Justices convened within the Capitol building, which allowed Congress to work closely with the Justices to write and pass laws. U.S. Supreme Court building. U.S. Capitol Building. Newman walks into old Supreme Court chamber on ground floor of the Capitol Building. While the Supreme Court Justices actually used three different rooms during their tenure in the Capitol Building, the one Newman is standing in housed the court from 1810-1860, with the exception during the War of 1812. Newman describes the often tenuous relationship between the Court and Congress, particularly when writing and passing laws vs interpreting laws. As each branch tries to wrest power from the other, Newman states this episode will be dedicated to exploring the fragile state of checks and balances between the two branches of government. To start, there is the matter which the Constitution makes absolutely clear: Congress has the absolute power to confirm Presidential appointments. U.S. Senator Charles Mathias (R-MD) discusses the Senate's careful scrutiny of Supreme Court nominees over just about any other Presidential nominee. Newman (VO) says life tenure is one reason for this level of scrutiny.

CONGRESS: WE THE PEOPLE - "Senate Confirmation"

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Audio:
Location:
490772_1_6
Yes
Washington, DC, United States
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Video:
Timecode:
1983  (Actual Year)
Color
13:40:19 - 13:41:13
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HD:
11412
CWTP 122
N/A
Edwin Newman (VO) explains that impeachment is considered a process so difficult and politically distasteful that only one Supreme Court Justice has ever been impeached: Justice Samuel Chase in 1803, and he was not convicted. Illustrations of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase and his impeachment trial. Former Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas discusses the arduous nature of Senate confirmation hearings; he didn't know if there was going to be a thoughtful objective conversation or if a few members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were going to run a "lynching party."

CONGRESS: WE THE PEOPLE - "Senate Confirmation Hearing"

Clip#:
Audio:
Location:
490772_1_7
Yes
Washington, DC, United States
Year Shot:
Video:
Timecode:
1981  (Actual Year)
Color
13:41:13 - 13:41:26
Tape Master:
Original Film:
HD:
11412
CWTP 122
N/A
Edwin Newman (VO) says the Senate's confirmation hearings also serve as opportunity for Congress to publicly air its general grievances about the Supreme Court's power and independence. Panning view of adult Caucasian male and female audience attending Senate confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Sandra Day O'Connor.

CONGRESS: WE THE PEOPLE - "Senate Confirmation Hearing"

Clip#:
Audio:
Location:
490772_1_8
Yes
Washington, DC, United States
Year Shot:
Video:
Timecode:
1983  (Actual Year)
Color
13:41:26 - 13:41:53
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Original Film:
HD:
11412
CWTP 122
N/A
Judge Abner Mikva, former U.S. House Representative (D-IL), believes there's a constructive tension between the branches of government, but it's still tense. He's found there's nothing like a Senate confirmation hearing on a Supreme Court nominee for Senators to vent out frustrations on previous case decisions they didn't like.

CONGRESS: WE THE PEOPLE - "Sandra Day O'Connor Confirmati...

Clip#:
Audio:
Location:
490772_1_9
Yes
Washington, DC, United States
Year Shot:
Video:
Timecode:
1981  (Actual Year)
Color
13:41:53 - 13:44:27
Tape Master:
Original Film:
HD:
11412
CWTP 122
N/A
Edwin Newman (VO) says Senators venting grievances was precisely what occurred when President Reagan placed the nomination of the first female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 1981. Judge Sandra Day O'Connor speaking. U.S. Senator and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Strom Thurmond (R-SC): "What experience qualifies you to be Justice of the United States Supreme Court?" Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) asks: "Is there a need for life tenure for Supreme Court Justices?" Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) asks: "What, in your view, will be the most difficult question the Court will face in the next 25 years—the death penalty? Abortion? What will it be?" Judge O'Connor listening to the questions. Newman (VO) says no question is off-limits in a Senate confirmation hearing, and in the scrutiny of Judge O'Connor, it seemed no question was left unasked. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) speaking hearing. Judge O'Connor sitting and listening. Sen. Paul Laxalt (R-NV) speaking at hearing, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) sitting next to him. Judge O'Connor speaking. Sen. Jeremiah Denton (R-AL) asks: "Do you believe there are any constitutional limitations on laws which might be passed by a State or the Federal Government forbidding homosexuality, homosexual practices, or limiting the rights of homosexuals because of their sexual deviance?" Judge O'Connor responds, "Senator Denton, I can only say that the state of the law concerning homosexuality is, in one word, unsettled." Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asks, "Could I ask you your personal views on busing?" Judge O'Connor responds, "This is a matter of concern, I think, to many people. The transportation of students over long distances and in a time-consuming process in an effort to get them to school can be a very disruptive part of any child's educational program." Newman (VO) says that of all the social policy issues, abortion dominated the hearings. Sen. Hatch speaking. Sen. Thurmond asks, "Would you discuss your philosophy on abortion, both personal and judicial..." Judge O'Connor responds, "Very well. May I preface my response by saying that the personal views and philosophies, in my view, of a Supreme Court Justice and indeed any judge should be set aside insofar as it is possible to do that in resolving matters that come before the Court...my own view in the area of abortion is that I am opposed to it as a matter of birth control or otherwise. The subject of abortion is a valid one, in my view, for legislative action subject to any constitutional restraints or limitations."

CONGRESS: WE THE PEOPLE - "Sandra Day O'Connor Confirmati...

Clip#:
Audio:
Location:
490772_1_10
Yes
Washington, DC, United States
Year Shot:
Video:
Timecode:
1981  (Exact Date)
Color
13:44:27 - 13:46:02
Tape Master:
Original Film:
HD:
11412
CWTP 122
N/A
Edwin Newman (VO) says conservatives were trying to assert that the Supreme Court had exceeded its Constitutional authority in ruling on abortion, creating a policy where none had previously existed. Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC) wanted to know what Judge Sandra Day O'Connor thought about "judicial activism." Backs of the adult Caucasian male and female audience in the Senate hearing room. Sen. John East (R-NC) speaking. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) speaking. Sen. Thurmond speaking. Judge O'Connor responds, "It is the role and function, it seems to me, of the legislative branch to determine public policy; and it is the role and function of the judicial branch, in my view, to interpret the enactments of the legislative branch and to apply them, and insofar as possible to determine any challenges to the constitutionality of those legislative enactments." Newman (VO) notes that Judge O'Connor avoided making specific comments and spoke in generalities; the Senators, mollified by having "their day in court", confirmed Judge O'Connor to the Supreme Court without dissent. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) asks, "How do you want to be remembered in history?" Judge O'Connor: "The tombstone question—what do I want on the tombstone?" Sen. Baucus: "Hopefully it will be written in places other than on a tombstone." Judge O'Connor: "I hope it might say, 'Here lies a good judge.'" Sen. Thurmond: "...I guess a good epitaph for a judge would be, 'Here lies a judge who upheld the Constitution.'" Judge O'Connor: "I think that would be very apt, Mr. Chairman."