May 8, 2022
Sen. Whitehouse Remarks on Roe v. Wade During a Judiciary Committee Business Meeting 5/05/22 Transcript
Sen. Whitehouse has strong words on the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court leaks concerning Roe v. Wade During a Judiciary Committee Business Meeting on 5/05/22. Read the transcript here.
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Sen. Whitehouse: (00:00)
Thank you, chairman.
Speaker 2: (00:01)
Sen. Whitehouse: (00:02)
If Justice Alito’s draft opinion becomes law, women across this country will have had a constitutional right that most have enjoyed their entire lives taken away from them. I can’t think of any time in the history of this great republic where a constitutional right has been taken away, in this case a constitutional right that will have been taken away by a partisan cohort of the court.
Sen. Whitehouse: (00:50)
So let’s remember what’s outrageous here. Are people disappointed? Are people stunned? Are people outraged by the content of Alito’s opinion? Yes and properly so, because this is a first for the United States of America with a partisan cohort of the court taking away a constitutional right.
Sen. Whitehouse: (01:29)
If this decision was so wrong, wrong from the day it was decided, egregiously wrong, why did none of these justices say so in their confirmation hearings? I submit it’s because they were playing confirmation testimony hide the ball. So that’s a secondary outrage of dishonorable conduct with this committee by pretending not to notice the supposedly egregious mistake of Roe versus Wade when they were specifically asked about it during the hearings.
Sen. Whitehouse: (02:20)
Now let’s address just for a minute what actually undermines the independence and integrity of the court. It’s not this leak. What undermines the independence and integrity of the court is that for the first time in American history, the selection of justices got handed off to a private organization that had no transparent process for picking the judges and that took huge anonymous donations while it ran the turnstile to the court.
Sen. Whitehouse: (02:58)
That is unprecedented in American history and, frankly, if we sent a judicial group to another country that was running its judicial selection process by handing it off to a secretly funded private organization with no public process for how the selections were made, imagine the harrumphing we’d hear about that terrible, corruptible selection process. That is how the last three justices were appointed.
Sen. Whitehouse: (03:27)
If that’s not enough, once they were selected by these dark money donors behind this turnstile, then campaigns were put up, TV ad campaigns. People wrote $15 million checks, $17 million checks, and we don’t know who they are and we don’t know what business they had before the court. We don’t know whether they were the same ones who were funding the Federalist Society while it ran the turnstile, and then came in with the checks for the Judicial Crisis Network when they ran the ads.
Sen. Whitehouse: (03:59)
You want to talk about undermining the integrity and the independence of a court? Turn the selection and confirmation process over to big dark money special interest, and this is what you get. It’s actually worse because this is a court that is now instructed by flotillas of dark money front groups as to how to rule. The court cossets those groups by not requiring them to disclose who’s behind them when they turn up. So we find out through other memos that big right-wing groups are orchestrating, their word, amicus front groups to come in. That’s something the court could clean up tomorrow if it wanted to.
Sen. Whitehouse: (04:48)
Then, finally, we have a statistically improbable win rate at the court, an otherwise inexplicable pattern of victory for the exact interests that paid to select the judges, that paid for the confirmation ad campaigns for the judges, that are behind the dark money front groups that argue before the judges. I wrote an article years ago that put the tally in those decisions at 80-0. 80-0.
Sen. Whitehouse: (05:29)
As to the outrage about threatening the court, if you’re going to be outraged at people who are saying unpleasant things about the court, as Senator Padilla said, have the decency to be consistent. I didn’t hear a squeak from anyone when Laura Ingraham, who has a way bigger audience than my little amicus briefs, went up on the air to say we have six Republican appointees on this court after all the money that has been raised, the Federalist Society, all these big fat cat dinners.
Sen. Whitehouse: (06:07)
I’m sorry, I’m pissed about this, her words. Sorry. If this court with six justices cannot do the right thing here, doing the right thing here being rendering a decision just like Justice Alito’s opinion purports to provide, then I think it’s time to do what Robert Bork said we should do, which is to circumscribe the jurisdiction of this court. If they want to blow it up, then that’s the way to change things finally.
Sen. Whitehouse: (06:42)
Where was the outrage when a major Fox news commentator was talking about blowing up the court and changing things finally? If we’re going to be outraged, please don’t be so selective. As to my brief, the comment that has been described as a threat, was actually a quote. If you’re going to criticize my brief, read it. It was actually a quote from a poll that showed the American public is concerned enough to think that the court might need to be restructured. Thank you, chairman.