Rachel Mitchell, Division Chief of the Special Victims Division for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, Arizona, sent a devastating memo to Republican senators delineating her independent assessment of Dr. Christine Ford’s allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. She concludes:
In the legal context, here is my bottom line: A “he said, she said” case is incredibly difficult to prove. But this case is even weaker than that. Dr. Ford identified other witnesses to the event, and those witnesses either refuted her allegations or failed to corroborate them. For the reasons discussed below, I do not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee. Nor do I believe that this evidence is sufficient to satisfy the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard.
Click here to see the report in its entirety.
Today’s update of Kavanaugh’s outstanding performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee must start with the debacle that was Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) as they questioned the nominee late last night.
To sum, it was all fluff and no substance. Sen. Booker decided to question Kavanaugh on emails from the Bush White House that the nominee could not access (more on that drama later). One particular email Sen. Booker focused on as particularly ominous actually showed Judge Kavanaugh agreeing with Sen. Booker that racial profiling shouldn’t be used. But the pompous way and mysterious circumstances of the whole exchange, where the email couldn’t be shown were all very dramatic.
It was clear Sen. Booker was there to make a point and was not interested at all on anything Kavanaugh had to say. The ironic thing is that Kavanaugh has shown through his record that he has been one of the leading voices advocating for minorities in the legal field.
Here is a bit of what he said about his efforts to help get more minority law clerks:
“Justice Thomas and Justice Brayer were testifying before the Appropriations Committee, and they were asked about minority law clerks and the lack of them at the Supreme Court. And they said, in essence, we’re hiring from the lower courts. And I remember reading that and thinking, well, I need to do something about that. I’m the lower court. I’m one of them. So, after that, I thought what can I do? And I didn’t just sit there. I went and thought what can I do, and I started on my own going to the Yale Black Law Students Association every year starting in 2012. I think I’m the only judge who has done something like that, or one of the few. And I just cold-called them, cold-e-mailed them and said I’d like to speak about minority law clerk hiring because I’m told there’s a problem there. And I showed up the first time wondering how it would go, and I explained, and I got a good crowd from the Black Law Students Association. And I said we need more law clerks. There’s a problem. Let me tell you how to do it. Here’s why you should clerk, and here’s how you clerk. Here are the classes you should take and the things you need. And I gave them my phone number and e-mail and said call me any time if you want to help. And it was a big success. I got a lot of e-mails after that. I helped students. I help students get clerkships with other judges. One of them recently finished the Supreme Court and thanked me for starting him on that road… I’ve continued to encourage African American law clerks, but not just encouragement. I’ve given them help and advice and been a source of counsel… I tried to be very proactive on that, including my own court hiring where there are only networks that prevented women and African Americans and minorities from getting clerkships, I have been very aggressive about trying to break down those barriers and be very proactive on that.”
Sen. Booker should be highlighting these great efforts, lifting Kavanaugh up as a model for other judges to follow. Instead, he was blatantly disparaging Kavanaugh’s record with unsubstantiated innuendo to make him look as if he didn’t care about civil rights.
Sen. Harris was also incredibly disappointing in her questions. She was very aggressive, and you can tell she came out “for blood,” so to speak. But, substantively, she delivered very little. The most telling exchange came when she dramatically asked Judge Kavanaugh over and over, “Have you discussed Mueller or his investigation with anyone at Kasowitz Benson Torres, the law firm founded by Marc Kasowitz, President Trump’s personal lawyer?”
As you might expect, Judge Kavanaugh was apprehensive and said he didn’t think so and he would need to see who works there. But Sen. Harris was stern: “Be sure about your answer, sir.”
The social media commentary was ratcheted up a hundred-fold. What did she know? She went so far as to tell him, “I think you’re thinking of someone, and you don’t want to tell us.”
But as The Los Angeles Times reported, there was no big reveal. It was all a show and it, “failed miserably.” So miserably, the law firm itself had to respond that they had no idea about what she was talking. “There have been no discussions regarding Robert Mueller’s investigation between Judge Kavanaugh and anyone at our firm,” a spokesman told CNBC.
What a dud.
And today it was more of the same. Judge Kavanaugh started and remained in that same spirit of cordiality and respect towards all there.
Which brings us back to more of Sen. Booker’s antics. While complaining about the emails that he couldn’t show yesterday to the Judge because they were marked “Committee Confidential,” which meant he would need to discuss them with the Judge at the private session they had today, Sen. Booker revealed he was defying Senate rules and the committee to release the emails publicly. He was engaging in an act of “civil disobedience,” like Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I’m saying I’m knowingly violating the rules,” he said dramatically, referring to the moment as his “Spartacus moment,” if you can believe it.
Only the documents he was releasing as an act of public disobedience had already been opened to the public the night before after a simple request was made. A statement from the George W. Bush’s record representative read, “We cleared the documents last night shortly after Senator Booker’s staff asked us to. We were surprised to learn about Senator Booker’s histrionics this morning because we had already told him he could use the documents publicly. In fact, we have said yes to every request made by the Senate Democrats to make documents public.”
And so, the hearings went on. The histrionics (which seems like an appropriate term) will surely continue. But Judge Kavanaugh was magnificent. There is no other way of putting it.
Tonight, they will conduct a private session with the judge and tomorrow several outside groups will speak in support and against his nomination. But his work is done—largely mistake-free.
The stark contrast between Judge Kavanaugh and his detractors was in full display on the second day of hearings for his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. As senators started their first round of questioning, Judge Kavanaugh was engaging and approachable. He dealt evenly with those senators who questioned him most forcefully, as with those who praised his exemplary record.
His message was clear and concise. It can be summarized by this one statement to Sen. Hatch (R-Utah), “If confirmed to the Supreme Court, and as a sitting judge, I owe my loyalty to the Constitution. That’s what I owe loyalty to. The Constitution establishes me as an independent judge, bound to follow the law as written, the precedents of the Supreme Court as articulated, subject to the rules of stare decisis, and I would do so.”
Loyalty to the Constitution is what is desperately needed at the U.S. Supreme Court.
In discussions with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), he described what makes a good judge. He talked about being independent and impartial, and also about someone who takes the law as written. He talked about treating every litigant with respect, judicial temperament and work ethic, among several factors.
Here is a clip where he described a judge that is a judicial activist. He said it is, “[S]omeone who lets his or her personal or policy preferences override the best interpretation of the law.”
.@SenTedCruz to Judge Kavanaugh: “How would you describe a judicial activist?”
Kavanaugh: “I would describe a judicial activist as someone who lets his or her personal or policy preferences override the best interpretation of the law.” https://t.co/V1p73I7qvf pic.twitter.com/1lxFx7SYGX
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 5, 2018
On the other hand, the vulgar detractors continued to interrupt, disrupt and embarrass themselves with complaints about anything and everything but Kavanaugh’s record.
Having failed miserably yesterday with their own efforts to disrupt the hearings from their seats in the committee, some Democrat Senators, thankfully, decided to greatly reduce (more on this later) their obstructionist tactics to disrupt the committee hearings.
That is not to say they were focused on Kavanaugh’s record. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), for example, decided it was appropriate to ask Kavanaugh about the Federalist Society and the types of policies Kavanaugh would enact for the selection of judges. He asked him about the Pacific Legal Foundation and the Judicial Crisis Network. He was appalled that some groups spend money on ads supporting judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. I was glad to hear Judge Kavanaugh point out that he and his family had seen a lot of ads opposing his nomination too. But, of course, that was not Sen. Whitehouse’s concern – the ones supporting him are the real problem.
In the end, Judge Kavanaugh proved, as Neil Gorsuch did at his hearings, he was the smartest man in the room. He was in his element, discussing the proper role of a judge, precedent, the Constitution and the many cases he has decided. Through it all, he was humble and in good spirits, despite the long hours that would start to weigh on anyone.
Bottom line is, Judge Kavanaugh is on his way to confirmation.
I said I’d have more on the fact that the shenanigans from Democrats being mildly reduced. Here is some of what transpired outside the hearing room where Democrats continued to pounce because they cannot stop the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) objected to a routine request that the Judiciary Committee be allowed to meet beyond the two-hour limit that is required by Senate Rules while they are in session. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) was then forced to adjourn the Senate for the day, preventing senators from doing their jobs.
Schumer made it clear he was protesting the fact that they haven’t received all documents related to Kavanaugh.
It bears repeating that Sen. Schumer, within minutes of President Donald Trump’s announcement of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination vowed to oppose him with everything he had. He literally needed no documents to make up his mind.
Not to mention the fact that, as noted in the hearings yesterday, the more than a half million pages of documents the Committee received for Judge Kavanaugh is more than the number of pages they received for the last five Supreme Court nominees combined.
Radicals tried everything they could to steal this moment from Judge Brett Kavanaugh. They failed.
After Kavanaugh’s opening remarks (text and video below), the picture that emerges following Day 1 of Judge Kavanaugh’s hearing is one of a decent, intelligent, humble man with an unquestionable record that is more than qualified to serve as the 114th justice of the United State Supreme Court.
The man the American people met today bears no resemblance to the histrionics of radical groups fighting against the wind.
Please take the time to read and see the remarks for yourself. Note his statement on the role of a judge:
A good judge must be an umpire — a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy. As Justice Kennedy explained in Texas v. Johnson, one of his greatest opinions, judges do not make decisions to reach a preferred result. Judges make decisions because “the law and the Constitution, as we see them, compel the result.” Over the past 12 years, I have ruled sometimes for the prosecution and sometimes for criminal defendants, sometimes for workers and sometimes for businesses, sometimes for environmentalists and sometimes for coal miners. In each case, I have followed the law. I don’t decide cases based on personal or policy preferences. I am not a pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant judge. I am not a pro-prosecution or pro-defense judge. I am a pro-law judge.
He also said spoke of his faith and his service to others:
Throughout my life, I have tried to serve the common good, in keeping with my Jesuit high school’s motto, “men for others.” I have spent my career in public service. I have tutored at Washington Jesuit Academy, a rigorous tuition-free school for boys from low-income families. At Catholic Charities at Tenth and G, I serve meals to the homeless with my friend, Father John Enzler. In those works, I keep in mind the message of Matthew 25 — and try to serve the least fortunate among us. I know I fall short at times, but I always want to do more and do better.
Here is the video and transcript of his opening remarks:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Senator Feinstein, and Members of the Committee. I thank Secretary Rice, Senator Portman, and Lisa Blatt for their generous introductions. They are patriots who represent the best of America. I am humbled by their confidence and proud to call each of them a friend.
Over the past eight weeks, I have witnessed first-hand the Senate’s deep appreciation for the vital role of the American Judiciary. I have met with 65 Senators, including almost every Member of this Committee. Those meetings are sometimes referred to as “courtesy calls.” But that term understates how substantive and personal our discussions have been. I have greatly enjoyed all 65 meetings. In listening to all of you, I have learned a great deal about our country and the people you represent. Every Senator is devoted to public service and the public good, and I thank all the Senators for their time and their thoughts.
I thank President Trump for the honor of this nomination. As a judge and as a citizen, I was deeply impressed by the President’s careful attention to the nomination process and by his thorough consideration of potential nominees. I am also very grateful for his courtesy. At the White House on the night of the announcement, the President and Mrs. Trump were very gracious to my daughters, my wife, and my parents. My family will always cherish that night—or as my daughter Liza calls it, her debut on national television.
As a nominee to the Supreme Court, I understand the responsibility I bear. Some 30 years ago, Judge Anthony Kennedy sat in this seat. He became one of the most consequential Justices in American history. I served as his law clerk in 1993. To me, Justice Kennedy is a mentor, a friend, and a hero. As a Member of the Court, he was a model of civility and collegiality. He fiercely defended the independence of the Judiciary. And he was a champion of liberty. If you had to sum up Justice Kennedy’s entire career in one word … “liberty.” Justice Kennedy established a legacy of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.
I am here today with another of my judicial heroes … my mom. Fifty years ago this week, in September 1968, my mom was 26 and I was 3. That week, my mom started as a public-school teacher at McKinley Tech High School here in Washington, D.C. 1968 was a difficult time for race relations in our city and our country. McKinley Tech had an almost entirely African-American student body. It was east of the park. I vividly remember days as a young boy sitting in the back of my mom’s classroom as she taught American history to a class of African-American teenagers. Her students were born before Brown versus Board of Education or Bolling versus Sharpe. By her example, my mom taught me the importance of equality for all Americans—equal rights, equal dignity, and equal justice under law.
My mom was a trailblazer. When I was 10, she went to law school at American University and became a prosecutor. I am an only child, and my introduction to law came at our dinner table when she practiced her closing arguments on my dad and me. Her trademark line was: “Use your common sense. What rings true? What rings false?” One of the few women prosecutors at the time, she overcame barriers and was later appointed by Democratic governors to serve as a Maryland state trial judge. Our federal and state trial judges operate on the front lines of American justice. My mom taught me that judges don’t deal in abstract theories; they decide real cases for real people in the real world. And she taught me that good judges must always stand in the shoes of others. The Chairman referred to me today as Judge Kavanaugh. But to me, that title will always belong to my mom.
For twelve years, I have been a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. I have written more than 300 opinions and handled more than 2,000 cases. I have given it my all in every case. I am proud of that body of work, and I stand behind it. I tell people, “Don’t read what others say about my judicial opinions. Read the opinions.” I have served with 17 other judges, each of them a colleague and a friend, on a court now led by our superb chief judge, Merrick Garland. My judicial philosophy is straightforward. A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written. A judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent. In deciding cases, a judge must always keep in mind what Alexander Hamilton said in Federalist 83: “the rules of legal interpretation are rules of common sense.”
A good judge must be an umpire—a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy. As Justice Kennedy explained in Texas versus Johnson, one of his greatest opinions, judges do not make decisions to reach a preferred result. Judges make decisions because “the law and the Constitution, as we see them, compel the result.” Over the past 12 years, I have ruled sometimes for the prosecution and sometimes for criminal defendants, sometimes for workers and sometimes for businesses, sometimes for environmentalists and sometimes for coal miners. In each case, I have followed the law. I don’t decide cases based on personal or policy preferences. I am not a pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant judge. I am not a pro-prosecution or pro-defense judge. I am a pro-law judge.
As Justice Kennedy showed us, a judge must be independent, not swayed by public pressure. Our independent Judiciary is the crown jewel of our constitutional republic. In our independent Judiciary, the Supreme Court is the last line of defense for the separation of powers, and the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution.
The Supreme Court must never be viewed as a partisan institution. The Justices on the Supreme Court do not sit on opposite sides of an aisle. They do not caucus in separate rooms. If confirmed to the Court, I would be part of a Team of Nine, committed to deciding cases according to the Constitution and laws of the United States. I would always strive to be a team player on the Team of Nine.
Throughout my life, I have tried to serve the common good, in keeping with my Jesuit high school’s motto, “men for others.” I have spent my career in public service. I have tutored at Washington Jesuit Academy, a rigorous tuition-free school for boys from low-income families. At Catholic Charities at Tenth and G, I serve meals to the homeless with my friend Father John Enzler. In those works, I keep in mind the message of Matthew 25—and try to serve the least fortunate among us. I know I fall short at times, but I always want to do more and do better.
For the past seven years, I have coached my daughters’ basketball teams. I love coaching. All the girls I have coached are awesome. And special congratulations to the girls on this year’s sixth-grade CYO championship team: Anna, Quinn, Kelsey, Ceane, Chloe, Alex, Ava, Sophia, and Margaret. I love helping the girls grow into confident players. I know that confidence on the basketball court translates into confidence in other aspects of life. Title Nine helped make girls’ and women’s sports equal, and I see that law’s legacy every night when I walk into my house as my daughters are getting back from lacrosse, or basketball, or hockey practice. I know from my own life that those who teach and coach America’s youth are among the most influential people in our country. With a kind word here and a hint of encouragement there … a word of discipline delivered in a spirit of love … teachers and coaches change lives. I thank all of my teachers and coaches who got me to this moment, and I thank all of the teachers and coaches throughout America.
As a judge, I have sought to train the next generation of lawyers and leaders. For 12 years, I have taught constitutional law to hundreds of students, primarily at Harvard Law School. I teach that the Constitution’s separation of powers protects individual liberty. I am grateful to all my students. I have learned so much from them. And I am especially grateful to the dean who first hired me, now-Justice Elena Kagan.
One of the best parts of my job as a judge is each year hiring four recent law school graduates to serve as my law clerks for the year. I hire the best. My law clerks come from diverse backgrounds and points of view. A majority of my 48 law clerks have been women. More than a quarter of my law clerks have been minorities. And I have had far more African-American law clerks than the percentage of African-American students in U.S. law schools. I am proud of all my law clerks.
I am grateful for my friends. This past May, I delivered the commencement address at Catholic University Law School. I gave the graduates this advice: Cherish your friends. Look out for your friends. Lift up your friends. Love your friends. … Over the last 8 weeks, I have been strengthened by the love of my friends. I thank all my friends.
I am grateful to have my family behind me. My mom rightly gets a lot of attention. So a few words about my dad. He has an unparalleled work ethic, and the gift for making friends with everyone, regardless of who they are or where they come from. We are both passionate sports fans. When I was 7, he took me to the 1972 NFC Championship Game at RFK Stadium just two miles from here—upper-deck Section 503, Row 3, Seats 8 and 9. When I was 17, we sat in the same seats for the 1982 NFC Championship Game. In 1995, when I was 30, we were at Camden Yards together when Cal Ripken played in his 2,131st consecutive game and broke Lou Gehrig’s seemingly unbreakable record. And so many other games with my dad. A lifetime of friendship and memories, forged in stadium seats over hot dogs and beer.
My daughters Margaret and Liza will be in and out of this hearing room over the next few days. In the time since you last saw them at the White House, I am pleased to report that Margaret has gotten her braces off and has turned 13. As for Liza, well, I tell her every night that no one gives a better hug than Liza Kavanaugh.
Finally, I thank my wife Ashley. She is a strong West Texan, a graduate of Abilene Cooper Public High School and the University of Texas at Austin. She is now the popular town manager of our local community. This has not exactly been the summer she had planned for our family. I am grateful for her love and inspiration. Ashley is a kind soul. She always sees the goodness in others. She has made me a better person and a better judge. I thank God every day for my family.
Mr. Chairman, Senator Feinstein, and Members of the Committee, I look forward to the rest of the hearing and to your questions. I am an optimist. I live on the sunrise side of the mountain, not the sunset side of the mountain. I see the day that is coming, not the day that is gone. I am optimistic about the future of America and the future of our independent Judiciary. I revere the Constitution. If confirmed to the Supreme Court, I will keep an open mind in every case. I will do equal right to the poor and to the rich. I will always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American Rule of Law.
It was a contentious start to the Kavanaugh hearing after Democratic members came ready to disrupt the hearings, not to talk about Judge Kavanaugh’s record. As reported by Kasie Hunt of NBC News, “Democrats plotted coordinated protest strategy over the holiday weekend and all agreed to disrupt and protest the hearing,” she wrote in a tweet.
Democrats plotted coordinated protest strategy over the holiday weekend and all agreed to disrupt and protest the hearing, sources tell me and @frankthorp
Dem leader @chuckschumer led a phone call and committee members are executing now
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) September 4, 2018
Presidential hopefuls Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) and Sen. Corey Booker (D-New Jersey) led the charge right out of the gate, asking for the meeting to be canceled. They spoke out of order and continued to disrespect every senator there and, frankly, those of us watching.
And they went on and on, whining about how they needed more documents for a nominee they’ve already vowed to oppose. NBC broke the news that Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had led a phone call about the coordinated obstruction and that they were executing it.
The attack was designed to complement the disruption in the gallery of radical leftist groups crying, “Don’t take away my health care.” It was embarrassing to watch.
But this is what we’ve come to expect now from the liberal side. The extremely radical “Women’s March” announced they are committed to disrupting the Kavanaugh hearings “every few minutes.” They are not interested in common sense and dialogue. It doesn’t matter that Judge Kavanaugh’s record does not fit the narrative they are selling. This is all part of their “resistance” to the imagined evil they despise which bears no resemblance to reality.
That is also what we must remember. After all their antics, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who displayed enormous patience throughout the day, was able to get opening statements going, and many were able to address the true aim of the hearings. In his opening statement, Grassley said:
Our legal system’s success is built on judges accepting that their role is limited to deciding cases and controversies. A good judge exercises humility and makes decisions according to the specific facts of the case and according to the law.
A good judge never bases decisions on his preferred policy preferences.
A good judge also has courage, recognizing that we have an independent judiciary to restrain government when it exceeds its lawful authority.
As President Andrew Jackson said, “All the rights secured to the citizens under the Constitution are worth nothing, and a mere bubble, except guaranteed to them by an independent and virtuous Judiciary.”
Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominees are an important opportunity to discuss the appropriate role of judges. As I see it, and I expect many of my colleagues will agree, the role of the judge is to apply the law as written, even if the legal result is not one the judge personally likes.
As Justice Scalia was fond of saying, if a judge always likes the outcomes of cases he decides, he is probably doing something wrong. I don’t want judges who always reach a “liberal” result or a “conservative” result; I want a judge who rules the way the law requires.
Judges must leave the lawmaking to Congress.
The committee took a break after Sen. Ted Cruz’ opening statement (11 opening statements overall). We expect the remaining 10 senators to make their remarks and then for the nominee to be introduced. Finally, we will be able to hear the opening statement from Judge Kavanaugh himself.
May the schemes of the enemy be derailed.
May truth and justice reign.
We thank You for Your involvement and care for us.
Who are we that You are mindful of us?
Help us to be engaged and to support truth and justice
through prayer and action as we help to get Justice Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
We do so, believing he is a man who fears You and will try to be an impartial guardian of justice.
May he do so with humility and honor, always remembering that it is truth that sets us free.
God and Father, we pray for our elected officials,
especially for our senators, as they consider
the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Give them a heart and passion for truth and justice.
Guard their hearts and minds against the schemes
of those who seek to pervert justice and truth.
Give them the courage to rise above partisan politics.
We thank You for the freedoms we have enjoyed for so many years.
We thank you for these senators who are to represent “we the people.”
Guide them in this difficult task.
Help senators to think clearly and justly on this nomination.
Help them to concentrate on Judge Kavanaugh and his record,
instead of the outside forces pressuring them to act for other personal interests.
In the Name of Jesus we pray,
Help all the senators and their teams
as they prepare to tackle this important task.
We ask that it be conducted with grace and dignity,
with respect and compassion.
In faith, we stand confident
that You are in control and will frustrate
the enemy’s plans at every turn.
We pray for miracles in the lives of all involved,
that they may see Your hand at play throughout this process.
We pray specifically for the members of the Judiciary Committee:
Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein of California,
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont,
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois,
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island,
Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota,
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware,
Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut,
Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii,
Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey,
Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, and Sen. John Neely Kennedy of Louisiana.