|00:00:00||HOW MUCH I APPRECIATE SENATOR SPECTER.|
|00:00:06||I -- LET ME JUST SAY THIS, I HAD THE HONOR TO SERVE ON THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE WITH SENATOR SPECTER THE ENTIRE I'VE BEEN IN THE SENATE, GOING ON 14 YEARS, I GUESS, AND NO ONE HAS A CLEARER LEGAL MIND, THE CLARITY OF HIS THOUGHT AND THE EXPRESSION IS ALWAYS IMPRESSIVE TO ME AND AS SOMEONE WHO'S PRACTICED LAW, I SEE THOSE GREAT LAWYER SKILLS THAT HE POSSESSES.|
|00:00:34||ALSO I WOULD NOTE THAT HE IS NOT JUST TODAY, BUT THROUGHOUT HIS CAREER, DEFENDED THE LEGITIMACY OF THE POWERS OF THE SENATE.|
|00:00:46||HE WAS VERY, VERY ARTICULATE OVER THE PAST NUMBER OF YEARS IN CRITICIZING THE ABUSE OF FILLING THE TREE WHERE AMENDMENTS -- BILLS CAN BE BROUGHT UP AND AMENDMENTS ARE NOT ALLOWED.|
|00:01:04||HE'S BELIEVED THAT THAT IS AN UNHEALTHY TREND IN THE SENATE AND HAS BEEN ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE ADVOCATES IN OPPOSITION TO IT.|
|00:01:16||HE SPONSORED AND PASSED AN ARM CAREER CRIMINAL ACT, ONE OF THE LEADERS IN THAT, HAVING BEEN A LONG-TIME PROSECUTOR IN PHILADELPHIA.|
|00:01:27||I LIKE TO TEASE MY -- OUR GOOD FRIEND, CHAIRMAN LEAHY, HE WAS A PROSECUTOR, BUT IT WAS IN VERMONT.|
|00:01:35||SENATOR SPECTER HAD TO DEAL WITH A LOT OF CRIME IN PHILADELPHIA AND WAS CONSISTENTLY REELECTED THERE FOR HIS EFFECTIVENESS AND IS A TRUE SOURCE OF INSIGHT INTO CRIME IN AMERICA AND HAS BEEN AN EFFECTIVE ADVOCATE FOR FIGHTING CRIME.|
|00:01:54||I WOULD NOTE, ALSO, THAT HE HAD A GOOD -- A GOOD VIEW ABOUT SENATORS.|
|00:02:02||HE RESPECTS OTHER SENATORS.|
|00:02:03||HE ASKED ME ONE TIME ABOUT SOMETHING OR I WAS SHARING WITH HIM MY CONCERN ABOUT A MATTE AND HE USED A PHRASE THAT I'VE HEARD HIM USE MORE THAN ONCE, WELL, YOU ARE A UNITED STATES SENATOR.|
|00:02:17||IN OTHER WORDS, IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, STAND UP AND DEFEND YOURSELF.|
|00:02:22||AND HE RESPECTED THAT EVEN IF HE WOULD DIS'S DISAGREE.|
|00:02:29||I REMEMBER ANOTHER TIME SENATOR SPECTER WAS ON THE FLOOR.|
|00:02:31||I HAD JUST GOTTEN HERE AND I WANTED HIM TO DO SOMETHING, OTHERS LONG SINCE FORGOTTEN, I SAID, SENATOR SPECTER, YOU COULD VOTE FOR THIS AND YOU COULD SAY BACK HOME THUS AND SO.|
|00:02:44||AND HE LOOKED RIGHT AT ME AND HE SAID, SENATOR, I DON'T NEED YOUR ADVICE ON HOW TO -- HOW TO CONDUCT MYSELF BACK HOME POLITICALLY.|
|00:02:55||I LEARNED A LESSON FROM THAT.|
|00:02:57||I NEVER TOLD ANOTHER SENATOR THAT, SENATOR SPECTER, BECAUSE WHO AM I TO TELL YOU HOW TO CONDUCT YOURSELF POLITICALLY BACK HOME IN THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA.|
|00:03:11||AND SENATOR SPECTER CHAIRED THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE DURING THE CONFIRMATIONS OF CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS AND ALITO.|
|00:03:17||HE WAS LEADING -- THE LEADING REPUBLICAN CHAIR AT THAT TIME AND HE RAISED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MOM ME BUT -- NOMINEES, BUT AS CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE HAS -- WITH THE VOTES IN SUPPORT OF HIS REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES, HE PROTECTED OUR RIGHTS.|
|00:03:38||HE PROTECTED OUR INTERESTS.|
|00:03:40||HE DIDN'T BACK DOWN ONE TIME ON ANY ACTION BY THE OTHER PARTY THAT WOULD HAVE DENIED THE ABILITY TO MOVE THAT NOMINATION FORWARD TO A VOTE AND PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF THE PARTIES ON OUR SIDE.|
|00:03:56||THAT'S JUST A FEW THINGS THAT COME TO MIND WHEN I THINK ABOUT THE FANTASTIC SERVICE HE'S GIVEN TO THE SENATE.|
|00:04:05||ONE OF OUR -- ONE OF OUR MOST ABLE MEMBERS, ONE OF OUR MOST EFFECTIVE DEFENDERS OF SENATORIAL PREROGATIVE AND INDEPENDENCE, ONE OF OUR CRIME FIGHTERS WITHOUT PAR, AND ONE OF THE BEST LAWYERS IN THE SENATE.|
|00:04:24||AND A PERSON WHO IS COURAGEOUS AND STRONG AND EVEN WHEN HE WAS CONDUCTING THOSE VERY INTENSE ALITO AND ROBERTS HEARINGS, IT WAS JUST AFTER HE HAD SERIOUS CANCER TREATMENT, THE CHEMOTHERAPY AND I KNOW HE DIDN'T FEEL GOOD, BUT YOU WERE FABULOUS IN CONDUCTING YOURSELF AT THAT TIME, SENATOR AND THROUGHOUT ALL OF THAT TREATMENT YOUR WORK ETHIC SURPASSED, BY FAR, THAT OF MOST SENATORS IN THIS BODY.|
|00:04:57||SO IT'S BEEN AN HONOR TO SERVE WITH YOU.|
|00:05:02||I WANTED TO SAY THAT.|
|00:05:03||MR. CHAIRMAN, I SEE MY OTHER COLLEAGUES MAYBE -- I KNOW SENATOR COBURN WANTED TO COME DOWN AND WAS TOLD HE MIGHT BE ABLE TO SPEAK AROUND NOON, SO I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR AT THIS TIME AND -- AND NOTE -- YIELD THE FLOOR AT THIS TIME.|
|00:05:19||A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?|
|00:05:20||THE PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM ALASKA'S RECOGNIZED.|
|00:05:22||MR. BEGICH: MR.|
|00:05:23||PRESIDENT, I RISE IN SUPPORT OF THE NEW START TREATY.|
Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I see my other colleagues. I do wish to talk about one or two judicial nominees, but I want to say first how much I appreciate Senator Specter.
I have had the honor to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee with Senator Specter the entire time I have been in the Senate--going on 14 years, I guess. No one has a clearer legal mind. The clarity of his thought and expression is always impressive to me. And as someone who practiced law, I see the great lawyer skills he possesses.
Also, I note that he has not just today but throughout his career defended the legitimacy of the powers of the Senate. He was very articulate over the past number of years in criticizing the abuse of filling the tree, where bills can be brought up and amendments are not allowed. He has believed that is an unhealthy trend in the Senate, and he has been one of the most effective advocates in opposition to it.
He sponsored and helped pass the Armed Career Criminal Act. He was one of the leaders in that. Having been a longtime prosecutor in Philadelphia, I like to tease our good friend Senator Leahy that he was a prosecutor, but it was in Vermont. Senator Specter had to deal with a lot of crime in Philadelphia and was consistently reelected there for his effectiveness and is a true source of insight into crime in America and has been an effective advocate for fighting crime. [Page: S10859] I note also that he has a good view about a Senator. He respects other Senators. He was talking with me one time or I was sharing with him my concern about a matter, and he used a phrase I heard him use more than once: Well, you are a U.S. Senator. In other words, if you do not like it, stand up and defend yourself. He respected that, even if he would disagree.
I remember another time Senator Specter was on the floor. I had just arrived in the Senate. I wanted him to do something--I have long since forgotten what.
I said: Senator Specter, you could vote for this, and back home, you could say thus and so.
He looked right at me, and he said: Senator, I don't need your advice on how to conduct myself back home politically.
I learned a lesson from that. I never told another Senator that, I say to Senator Specter. Who am I to tell you how to conduct yourself politically back home in the State of Pennsylvania? Senator Specter chaired the Judiciary Committee during the confirmations of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito. He was the leading Republican chair at that time. He raised questions about the nominees. But as chairman of the committee, with the votes and support of his Republican colleagues, he protected our rights, he protected our interests. He did not back down one time on any action by the other party that would have denied the ability to move that nomination forward to a vote and protect the rights of the parties on our side.
Those are a few things that come to mind when I think about the fantastic service he has given to the Senate. He is one of our most able Members, one of our most effective defenders of senatorial prerogative and independence, one of our crime fighters without par, and one of the best lawyers in the Senate, a person who is courageous and strong. Even when he was conducting those very intense Alito and Roberts hearings--it was just after he had serious cancer treatment, the chemotherapy. I know he didn't feel well, but he was fabulous in conducting himself at that time. Throughout all of that treatment, his work ethic surpassed by far that of most Senators in this body. It has been an honor to serve with him.
I see my other colleagues. I know Senator Coburn wanted to come down. He was told he might be able to speak around noon.