Floor Updates

Durbin, Sessions

JOBS Act (H.R. 3606)

Mar 21 2012

05:43 PM

Senator Durbin: (5:17 PM)
  • Spoke on televising Supreme Court proceedings.
    • SUMMARY "In a democratic society that values transparency and participation, there can't be any valid justification for such a powerful element of government to operate outside the view of the American people. For too long, the American people have been prevented from observing open sections of the Supreme Court - open sessions of the Supreme Court. Except for the privileged few, the VIP's, members of the Supreme Court bar or the press, the most powerful court in our land, some might argue in the world, is inaccessible to the public and shrouded in mystery. I'm pleased to stand in the committee, judiciary committee with Senator Grassley, the ranking member of the judiciary committee, asking that the Senate pass our bipartisan bill that would require televising open Supreme Court proceedings. With the benefit of modern technology, the Supreme Court proceedings can be televised using unobtrusive cameras and the court's existing audio recording capability. Our bill respects the constitutional rights of the parties before the court and respects the discretion of the justices. The court can decline to televise any proceeding where the justices determine by a majority vote that doing so would violate due process of one or more parties. In our view, Senator Grassley and myself, this is a reasonable approach that balances the public need for information and transparency, the constitutional rights of those before the court, and the discretion of the judges."
  • Unanimous Consent: The Senate proceed to the consideration of S. 1945, a bill to permit the televising of Supreme Court proceedings, that the bill be read a third time and passed, and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate (Sessions objected).

Senator Sessions: (5:30 PM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "I want to congratulate my matter that is - the Senate and the Congress has considered quite a number of years. It has not decided to take this step to direct a co-equal branch of government how to conduct their business, and I don't think we should. So i think it would be inappropriate to pass this on a UC without a full debate and discussion and a full vote on it. So I would say that. Also, I would note that the justices have opposed this policy. I think we have a duty to respect the co-equal branch of our government. They feel like it would impact adversely the tenor and tone of the oral arguments, that justices would have to feel burdened to explain why they're asking a question, to perhaps instead of just citing a case by name that all the lawyers would know, but to explain to non-lawyers now what was on their mind as a part of their process of questioning. And so I think that's a factor. I would also note that it raises constitutional questions. Why do we want to push to the limit and perhaps over the limit and try to dictate to a co-equal branch how to conduct the adjudicative process? Not the political process. We're the political branch. That's the nonpolitical branch, where judges are given lifetime tenures so to insulate them from pressure and to allow them to dispassionately decide complex issues."
  • Unanimous Consent: The Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of S. 67, that the committee reported amendment to 671 be agreed to, the bill be amended as read a third time and passed (Durbin objected).

Senator Durbin: (5:33 PM)
  • Unanimous Consent: Would the senator be willing to modify his request to include the passage of other bills which are part of that passage and have similarly important elements in terms of keeping America safe?
    • S. 179, Strengthening and Investigations of Sex Offenders and Missing Children Act;
    • S. 1793, the Investigative Assistance for Violent Crimes Act; and
    • Discharging the Judiciary Committee from further consideration of S. 1696, the Dale Long Officers Benefits Improvements Act, agreeing to a substitute amendment which is at the desk and passing the bill as amended (Sessions objected).

Senator Sessions: (5:35 PM)
  • Paid tribute to Senator Barbara Mikulski, the longest serving woman in the history of the United States Congress.