Senator Franken

September 23, 2010, Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing

(Senator Franken interrupts Chairman Leahy at 65:43)

“May I say one thing about … ?  I’m sorry, Mr. Chairman.  My friend the ranking member brought up a quote from Judge Chen in last week’s business session, that trippingly over the years I just heard and I asked my staff to look at the context of it.  And it was notes from a speech that he gave.  In the speech he writes the notes, “What’s been most difficult under 11 and b, and this is the quote that the ranking member quoted as disturbing to the ranking member.  He said one of the most rewarding things, “Contributing to the development of the law via published opinion, especially if it comports with my view of justice.”

And that’s what the ranking member, and whom I respect tremendously, found disturbing.  Now I’m not a lawyer but I know how to read a sentence.  And what the sentence is saying is that what he finds most rewarding is contributing to the development of the law, via published opinion.  Don’t tell me Antonin Scalia doesn’t find that rewarding.  And then the next part of the sentence is especially IF (emphasis by Franken) it comports with my view of justice.  Well, I think that any fair reading of that clause would suggest that he writes opinions that don’t comport with his personal view of justice.  350 opinions, none of which have been criticized.  So if he finds it satisfying to write opinions that do comport with his view of justice, that makes  sense.  But that also … I don’t see how there’s any fair reading of that sentence that doesn’t say that he does write opinions that don’t comport … so that he follows the law, which is what you want.  And I would ask that … I’m sorry, thank you.”

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