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Current time:0:00Total duration:3:50
CON‑5.C.1 (EK)

Video transcript

when we think about how the executive or the legislative branch have some form of check or power over the judicial branch a key element of that is the executives ability to appoint judges to federal courts including the US Supreme Court but it's not just that the president can decide who gets to be a justice they have to be confirmed by the Senate and what you see over here what I'm about to play are the confirmation hearings from Justice Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 and what I hope you get from it is it's not an easy process this is going to be a question from Senator Chuck Grassley who's Republican from Iowa and you're going to be asking about whether marriage is a state or a federal question so do you agree that marriage is a question reserved for the states to decide based on Baker versus Nelson that also question that's pending an impending in many courts as you know the issue of marriage and what constitutes it is a subject of much public discussion and there's a number of cases in state courts addressing the issue of what who regulates it under what terms can I please interrupt you I thought I was asking a very simple question based upon a precedent that Baker versus Nelson is based on the proposition that yesterday in so many cases whether it was Griswold whether roe v wade whether it was Chevron whether it's a whole bunch of other cases that you made reference to the Casey case the Gonzalez case the Leegin creative leather products case the Kahlo case the you made that case to me you said these are precedents now are you saying to me that Baker versus Nelson is not a precedent no sir I just haven't reviewed Baker in a while and so I actually don't know what the status is if it is the courts precedent as I've indicated in all of my answers I will apply that precedent to the facts of any new situation that implicates it always the first question then tell me tell me what sort of a process you might go through so anyway you can see that this is not an easy process and in this situation you have an appointment by a Democratic president and you have questions from a Republican senator and this is fairly typical there they're likely to ask more pointed questions and try to get the appointee to trip up and if you were to see questions from a Democratic senator they'd be more likely to ask questions that would make the nominee look a little bit better and that tends to always be the case if it's from the same party they tend to try to smooth the process while the opposition party tries to make it a little bit more difficult and an interesting thing to think about is justice Sotomayor eventually does get appointed to the Supreme Court but what was the goal of Senator Grassley here and asking these questions even if he knew that she was eventually going to be appointed there's other themes that we've talked about in government that he might be playing - he might be asking these questions more for his constituents or there might be an element of even if a Supreme Court justice is going to be appointed at the end of the day there's also the court of public opinion so to speak and these might be opportunities to sow some seeds of doubt or to make it a little bit more difficult for a Supreme Court justice to in the future vote one way or another based on what they say during these hearings interesting things to talk about