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September 08, 2005

Tomorrow's Transcripts, Today: Democratic Senators Question Judge Roberts

Content Warning, towards the end. If you're put off by sexual jokes, stop reading when it gets to Senator Kennedy (who else?).


Rush transcript from CSPAN 2. Not yet corrected or edited.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D-NY): Do you believe the Constitution establishes a Right to Privacy, Judge Roberts?

JUDGE ROBERTS: Certainly there are fifty year old court precedents establishing such a right, Senator.

SCHUMER: But do you believe the Constitution itself establishes such a right?

ROBERTS: Certainly there is an implicit and sometimes explicit concept in the Constitution establishing a freedom from government coercion in numerous areas. The exact parameters of such a freedom are debatable. As a general matter, I believe that the parameters of this freedom are best established as the Constitution intended them to be, by the people's representives in the political branches of government.

SCHUMER: Well, that's a very cagey answer. Let me ask you this: Does the right to privacy embrace the right to be free from intrusions by hurricanes? Such as Hurricane Katrina, which killed possibly several thousand black people?

ROBERTS: What?

SCHUMER: It's a simple question, Judge Roberts. The American people have a right to know your thinking on this.

ROBERTS: With all due respect, I'm not sure it's a simple question. Are you saying the Constitution guarantees a freedom from inclement weather?

SCHUMER: I'm not the one on trial here, Judge Roberts. The question was posed to you. The American people want to know if your rightwing ideology allows the Constitution to protect them against flooding and mayhem caused by natural disasters such as hurricanes.

ROBERTS: I, uh... I'm not sure I comprehend how a paper document can protect people against flooding.

SCHUMER: So the Constitution's guarantees in this area are a nullity? That its precendents and clauses which protect the American people from the wrath of nature are to be overturned on your watch? Is that what you're saying?

ROBERTS: I-- I don't think I'm saying that. But to be honest, your question is so, uhhh, odd that I'm not really sure what to say.

SCHUMER: Obviously you haven't considered this vital question with any amount of academic rigor.

ROBERTS: Well, look, I don't know. Which clause of the Constitution are you referring to? Which part of it says that people will be free of tornados and hailstorms?

SCHUMER: It's in there.

ROBERTS: Where?

SCHUMER: You're the one who would presume to be Chief Justice of the United States. You should know these things.

ROBERTS: Uhhh, yeah, if it was actually in the Constitution, I guess I would...

SCHUMER: Does the Third Amendment of the Bill of Rights ring any bells?

ROBERTS: The one about not quartering troops in citizens' homes except in times of war?

SCHUMER: That's the one.

ROBERTS: What does that have to do with hurricanes?

SCHUMER (scoffing): If you don't know that, "Judge" Roberts, I'm not sure you're fit to serve on this nation's highest court. We're talking about people's homes, "Judge" Roberts. And their invioability, an inviobility guaranteed by the Constitution itself.

ROBERTS: Yes, but against the quartering of troops.

SCHUMER: And when the Constitution speaks of "troops," what do you think it really means?

ROBERTS: I think it really means "troops."

SCHUMER: A hurricane isn't a kind of troop in your reading? A kind of circular-storm army? A... constructive Category 5 militia?

ROBERTS: No, it's not an army. It's, you know, a storm.

SCHUMER: And what were the bad guys in Star Wars called?

ROBERTS: What?

SCHUMER: Stormtroopers, Judge Roberts. Storm. Troopers.

SENATOR PAT LEAHY (D-VT): All dressed in white, by the way.

SCHUMER: Indeed. An intergalactic Klan.

ROBERTS: I'm not sure that Return of the Jedi can be cited as an authoritative Constitutional text.

SCHUMER: Well, I'm sure the thousands of dead in New Orleans will be happy to hear that answer, Judge Roberts.

ROBERTS: If I can just explain--

SCHUMER: Time's up, Judge Roberts.

ROBERTS: But--

SCHUMER: Can it. I've got to do Paula Zahn in an hour and I can't waste any more time with a man who thinks our Founding Fathers wanted thousands of black people to die in horrible floods.

LEAHY: This racist son-of-a-bitch probably cried when Emperor Palpatine died.

ROBERTS: How dare you sir. How dare you. I was rooting for Luke the whole time.

LEAHY: But not Lando? (chuckles) I think we know what you're all about, Judge Roberts.

SENATOR SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): I think we're getting a little far afield here.

ROBERTS: I like Lando Calrissian. I want that in the record. I like him.

LEAHY: I'm sure you did. He was a criminal and he wore a cape. Basically, he was the Chief Pimp of the Cloud City of Bespin. But I suppose that comforts you, given the stereotypes you have about black people. I'm sure you think Luke "took" things from Dagobah while Lando "looted" stuff from Bespin.

SCHUMER: Probably would have been happy to see Lando drowned. An industrious black man, having achieved the pinacle of political power. A threat to you and your white-supremacist ways. Maybe we should have just let Bespin get flooded as well.

ROBERTS: Well, there's so much wrong with that I don't know how to begin. First of all, Bespin can't flood, as it's in low orbit around a waterless gas giant.

SCHUMER: And President Bush said the levees would never break, too. I guess you're just two peas in a Lando-hating pod.

COLLINS: Please, Senator Schumer. Your time for questioning is over. Senator Leahy has the floor. And please-- no more Star Wars. Quite frankly, I only saw the first one and I don't even know what the hell you guys are talking about.

LEAHY: Very well. Judge Roberts, do you believe in the anti-lynching laws Congress established in the Reconstruction phase of our nation's great history?

ROBERTS: Of course I do.

LEAHY: Your retrograde and rightwing extremist views would not interfere with your enforcing those laws?

ROBERTS: I challenge the phrasing of the question, but no, I feel that Congress was perfectly with its rights to establish such laws under the broad grant of authority given to it under the thirteenth, fourteenth, and especially fifteenth amendm--

LEAHY: Should Hurricane Katrina be subject to anti-lynching laws, Judge?

ROBERTS: In what sense?

LEAHY: In the sense that this white-supremacist circular storm constructively "lynched" thousands of poor black folks?

ROBERTS: I'm sorry, again, we seem to be playing games with words that have very simple and very well-understood meanings. "Lynching" has a specific meaning in the law, and in the common parlance of this country's sometimes-shameful history, but I don't believe that a storm--

LEAHY: You're in favor of granting immunity to Hurricane Katrina for its odious hate crimes?

ROBERTS: It's not a question of immunity, Senator.

LEAHY: Jurisdiction then?

ROBERTS: No... It's just that, you know, you can't-- you can't arrest a storm.

LEAHY: And why not?

ROBERTS: Well, for one thing, it's gone now. Where would you find it?

LEAHY: Ah. Just like Osama bin Ladin. "Just can't find him," right? Can't "smoke him out of his caves," eh? I see why George Bush nominated you, Judge Roberts. You seem to take a very lackadaisical approach to the arrest and prosecution of America's sworn enemies.
(disgusted shaking of head)
I'm all done with this... specimen.

COLLINS: Senator Kennedy, you have the floor.

SENATOR KENNEDY (D-MA): ...

COLLINS: Senator Kennedy.

KENNEDY: ...

COLLINS: Senator Kennedy, please turn off the blender and address the witness.

KENNEDY: Errr, ehhh, pardon me, Chairperson Collins. I was just whipping up some passionfruit margaritas. Would you, errr, ehhh, like one?

COLLINS: No thank you.

KENNEDY: It's kind of, errr, a chick drink. Girls from GWU love them. They suck them down like candy. I pour the tequilla with a heavy hand, too, if you errr, ehhh, know what I mean.

COLLINS: Senator Kennedy, please.

KENNEDY: I promise it's not spiked with ruffies this time.

COLLINS: I believe you, but I'm working.

KENNEDY: Well, look, there's a little bit of ruffies in it, but that's just because it compliments the Cointreau so, err, nicely.

COLLINS: Can we move on?

KENNEDY: Very, err, well. More for me.
(chugs Margarita directly from blender, unbuckles belt, addresses Roberts)
You don't mind if I get comfortable here do you?

ROBERTS: I'd actually prefer if your pants stayed on.

KENNEDY: They will.
(takes pants off)

ROBERTS: You said you wouldn't take them off.

KENNEDY: They're not off.

ROBERTS: Yes they are. You just draped them over the table. A matchbook from Fudd Ruckers just fell out of one of the pockets.

KENNEDY: (reaches under table to retrieve matchbook)
Actually it's from, err, Hooters. Can't lose that. That has Misty's phone number on it.

ROBERTS: Fine. Can we move on?

KENNEDY: She's not just a waitress in a tight top, you know. She's going to be a veterinarian. She told me so. She just serves buffalo wings to save money for school.

ROBERTS: (frustrated) Whatever.

KENNEDY: She also does some light stripping, but it's very tasteful.

ROBERTS: Can we get to the questions?

KENNEDY: Don't take that tone with me, Judge. Remember where we are. This is CSPAN. It's cable. Anything goes. Loosen up and have a passionfruit margarita.

ROBERTS: No.

KENNEDY: What a bunch of, errr, squares. Now, Judge Roberts, are you familiar with the show Diff'rent Strokes?

ROBERTS: I... I've seen it, yes.

KENNEDY: I suppose that show disturbed you.

ROBERTS: Oh, God...

KENNEDY: A white man taking in two black boys off the street. Allowing them to live with his teenaged white daughter.

ROBERTS: I can see where this is going, and I'd like to just skip it and get to the Commerce Clause.

KENNEDY: Did you have nightmares, Judge Roberts, about those two black boys taking advantage of Kristy McNichol?

ROBERTS: (covers the microphone, confers with advisor) My counsel advises me that it was not Kristy McNichol. It was Dana Plato.

KENNEDY: Oh, err, I think you're right. Dana Plato. Bit of a whore, if you ask me. Did some soft-core. Robbed a video store. So I can see why that might not bother you. But if it, err, were Kristy McNichol living with those black boys -- sweet, pale-skinned, succulent Kristy McNichol -- that would have bothered your racist heart, wouldn't it?

ROBERTS: (annoyed) No.

KENNEDY: With all due respect, I think it would have. Imagine it, Kleagle Roberts. Willis and Arnold having their way with sweet Kristy, tricking her to appear in amateur bukkake videos--

ROBERTS: "Bukkake videos"? I'm not familiar with that term.

KENNEDY: Oh! Well, you should be! They're great! See, a chick sits there in the middle of about a dozen guys--

COLLINS: This is not an appropriate line of questioning, Senator Kennedy.

KENNEDY: I think it's necessary to explain "bukkake videos" in order to strengthen the power of my hypothetical.

COLLINS: Fine. Can you explain it tastefully?

KENNEDY: Very tastefully. So, in these bukkake videos, which I, errr, heartily recommend to anyone who may be watching... errrr... how do I put this?

COLLINS: Please be careful. Kids can see this.

KENNEDY: Well, it's sort of like when a baseball team wins the World Series. And they're showered with confetti as they parade through the streets. And the girl, errr, she's the New York Yankees, if you know what I mean.

ROBERTS: (sighing) I think I understand.

KENNEDY: And also-- it's not really confetti. It's male genetic material.

COLLINS: SENATOR KENNEDY!!!

KENNEDY: It's really hot. The girl winds up with more DNA on her than OJ left at Rockingham. She walks out of there with more frosting on her than Cookie Puss and Fudgie the Whale combined.

COLLINS: Please restrain yourself, Senator! Either ask a question about the law or end your questioning.

KENNEDY: Errr, ehhh, all right. If I must. Judge Roberts, I take it you are familiar with U.S. v. Lopez?

ROBERTS: Of course. It's a very controversial case about the parameters of the Commerce Clause and federal power to intrude in areas typically controlled by local government and laws.

KENNEDY: So, errr, ehhh, in U.S. v. Lopez... If Jennifer Lopez were in a bukkake video, would that be hot, or what? She's got what I like to call "the Big Ass," you know.

COLLINS: Don't answer that, Judge Roberts. I'm calling a recess. I intend to have a word with my esteemed colleague Senator Kennedy.

KENNEDY: Later. I have to meet Misty for, errr, lunch.

COLLINS: You're forgetting your pants.

KENNEDY: They'll be just fine where they are, Senator Collins. I should be back, errr, in a half hour or so. Misty's only got a little bit of time before between her gigs at Hooters and Runway 69.

End transcript.

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