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Thank you mr.
Let me also extend my welcome to you would tear them.
You are to be congratulated on your nomination.
-- nomination is a reflection of who we are as a country.
And it represents an American success story that we all can be problem.
Your academic and professional accomplishments.
As prosecutor private practitioner trial judge and appellate judge.
And as a judge who have brought a richness of experience to the bench into the UD's judiciary.
Which has been -- -- operation for so many.
Today we begin a process through which -- -- gauges in its constitutional role to advise and consent on your nomination.
This week's hearing is the only opportunity we and the American people.
We'll have to learn about your judicial philosophy.
And your motivations before you put on the black role and I heard from only in your opinions.
The president has asked us to Entrust you with -- immense amount of power.
Power which by design is free from political constraints.
Unchecked by the people and unaccountable to congress except in the most extreme circumstances.
Our democracy our rights and everything we hold -- about America.
Are built on the foundation of our constitution.
-- more than 200 years the court has interpreted the meaning of the constitution.
And in so doing guaranteed our most cherished rights.
Right to equal education regardless of race the right to an attorney and a fair trial for the -- The right to personal privacy.
The right to speak vote in worship without interference from the government.
Should you be confirmed you and your colleagues.
Will decide the future scope of our rights and the -- of our freedoms.
Your decisions will shape the fabric of American society.
For many years to come.
And that is why it is so important that over the course of the next few days we -- good understanding of what is in your heart and in your mind.
We don't have a right to know in advance or you will rule on cases.
Which will come before -- But we need and we deserve.
To know what you think about fundamental issues such as civil rights privacy property rights the separation of church and state.
And civil liberties just to name a few.
Some believe that the confirmation process has become thoroughly scripted.
And that nominees are far too careful -- cloaking their answers to important questions in generalities.
And with caveats about future cases.
I recognize his concern but I also hope that you recognize.
Our need to have a frank discussion.
About these important issues.
And these are not just concepts for law books -- -- issues Americans care about.
As crime plagues our communities we navigate the balance between individual rights and the duty of law enforcement to protect and maintain order.
And Stanley struggle to make ends meet in these difficult times.
We question the permissible role for government.
In helping get the economy back on track.
As we continue to strive for equal rights in our schools and workplaces.
We debate the tensions between admissions policies and hiring practices.
That acknowledged diversity.
And those attempt that attempt to be colorblind.
These issues invite all Americans are struggle with the -- of democracy.
And a great questions of our constitution.
If we discuss them with candor I believe we will have a conversation that the American people will profit from.
When considering Supreme Court nominees over the years I have judged each one with a test of judicial excellence.
First judicial excellence means the competence character and temperament that we expect of a Supreme Court justice.
He -- she must have a keen understanding of the law.
And the ability to -- it in ways that both the litigants and the American people understand and respect.
Even if they disagree with the outcome.
Second -- look for a nominee to have the sense of values which form the core of our political and economic system.
No one including the president has a right to require ideological purity from a member of the Supreme Court.
But we do have a right to require that the nominee except both the basic principles of the constitution.
And its core values implanted in society.
Third we want a nominee with a sense of compassion.
This is a quality that I considered with the last six Supreme Court justices.
Compassion does not mean bias or lack of impartiality.
It is meant to remind us that the laws more than an intellectual game and more than a mental exercise.
As justice black said quote the court stand against any winds that blow as havens of refuge.
For those who might otherwise suffer because they're -- week outnumbered.
Or because they are non conforming victims of prejudice and public excitement.
A Supreme Court justice must also be able to recognize that real people with real problems are affected by the decisions rendered by the court.
They must have a connection with and an understanding of the problems that people struggle with than a daily basis.
Where justice after all maybe line but it should not be -- As Justice Thomas told us at his confirmation hearing.
It is important that it just is quote can walk in the shoes of the people who are affected by what the court does.
I believe this -- embodies what President Obama intended.
When he said he wanted a nominee with an understanding of how the world works and how ordinary people live.
Some critics are concerned that your background will inappropriately impact your decision making.
But as it is impossible for any of us to remove ourselves from her life story with all the twists and turns that make us who we are.
-- who have acknowledged quote my experiences in life unquestionably shape my attitudes.
And I hope that we on this committee can appreciate and relate to ourselves.
What you said next -- I'm cognizant enough that mine is not only experience.
You have an opportunity before this committee to assure us that your life experiences.
-- intact but not overwhelm your duty to follow the law and the constitution.
After -- confirmation to the Court of Appeals in 1998.
You said about the discussions that your confirmation hearing.
So long as people of goodwill are participating in the process.
And attempting to beat Dallas and their approach then the system will remain healthy.
I hope our process will include a healthy level of balance and respectful debate.
And I look forward to the opportunity to learn more about you and what sort of justice you aspire to be.
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