Washington Week Special Edition - "The Roberts Hearings"
Washington, DC, United States
21:19:27 - 21:22:13
U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) says, "I believe that the American people still want and expect and demand a government to help insure justice and equal opportunity for all, and especially for those who through no fault of their own were born into poverty. The American people deserve a government as good as they are with a heart as big as theirs. In these hearings, we're going to be discussing constitutional issues that may seem legalistic, but they're vital issues. They effect every one of us, every day. When we discuss the Constitution's commerce clause, the spending power for example, we're asking about Congressional authority to pass laws to ensure clean air and water and children’s and seniors' health, and safe food, drugs, safe work places, even wetland protection, levees that should protect our communities from natural disasters. Our Constitutional values remain constant; we want to realize the American promise of fairness and equality and justice. Judiciary is the most isolated branch of our government, from public accountability, so this is the only opportunity to examine what kind of justice John Roberts will dispense at promoted to the Supreme Court, the direction he'd lead the Federal Judiciary. This hearing is the only chance that 'We The People,' we the people have to hear from and reflect on the suitability of the nominee to be a final arbiter, the meaning of the Constitution. An open and honest public conversation with the nominee in these hearing rooms is an important part of this process. This hearing is about the fundamental rights of all Americans and you're the first nominee of the 21st century. If you're confirmed, you serve not just for the remaining three years for the Bush administration, but you could serve through the administrations of the next seven or eight presidents. Judge Roberts would be deciding matters that affect not only all Americans today, but also our children and our grandchildren. Chief among emerging concerns of whether the Supreme Court will continue its recent efforts restrict the authority of Congress to pass legislation to protect the people's interest in the environment, in safety, in civil rights, and whether the Supreme Court will effectively check the greatly enhanced Presidential power that has been amassed in the last few years. In other words, Judge, will you be the protector of the rights of all Americans, not just Republicans, not just Democrats, not just Independents, but all Americans. Whether you can serve as the check and balance that all Americans expect."