Mr. SANTORUM. Will the Senator from Utah yield for a question?
Mr. HATCH. I am sorry. I am happy to yield for a question without losing my right to the floor.
Mr. SANTORUM. I thank the Senator from Utah because he has hit on a point that is deeply disturbing to me as a member of the Senate. I understand the Constitution talks about, we shall establish no religion, and that is generally termed, in many cases, the separation of church and State, although the words "separation of church and State" do not appear in the Constitution.
What appears to be going on in the Judiciary Committee by Members of the other side of the aisle is not a separation of church and State, but a separation of anybody who believes in church and faith from any public role. I do not believe that is what the Constitution was founded to do. I listened to the comments of the Senator from California who said because of General Pryor's "strongly held beliefs" basically he cannot be impartial.
So if you have strongly held religious beliefs, because of your strongly held religious beliefs
Mr. DURBIN. Will the Senator yield for a question?
Mr. SANTORUM. I will not. Because of those beliefs that are referred to continually, the "strongly held beliefs"
Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I have a
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah has the floor and the Senator has yielded for a question to the Senator from Pennsylvania.
Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, parliamentary inquiry.
Mr. SANTORUM. Are the beliefs that are referred to
Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, parliamentary inquiry.
Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, the Senator yielded to me for a question, which I am about to ask.
Mr. DURBIN. Parliamentary inquiry, Mr. President.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator will state it.
Mr. DURBIN. If a Member of the Senate characterizes the words of another Member of the Senate incorrectly, can those words be taken down?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is no such right.
Mr. DURBIN. I thank the Chair.
Mr. SANTORUM. I ask the Senator from Utah, when the other side uses the term "deeply held beliefs" over and over again, which we have heard on certain issues, would the Senator from Utah characterize what those "deeply held beliefs" might pertain to, and on what issues, and what they might tie to from the perspective of religious beliefs?
Mr. HATCH. At least in one instance over and over it was on the issue of abortion. Several Democrats asked questions about that.
Mr. SANTORUM. With respect to abortion and Mr. Pryor's beliefs, if the Senator from Utah will allow me, I would like him to comment on a letter just received today, written by Carl Anderson, who is with the Knights of Columbus. I ask unanimous consent that the letter be printed in the RECORD.
Mr. SANTORUM. I want to refer to a couple of paragraphs and I want the Senator to comment, because this is the point that I think is very important. There is a code word going on herecode words. When you hear the term "deeply held beliefs"I know the Senator from Illinois was upset when I used the term "religious" as a characterization. I think it is a completely accurate characterization of exactly what is going on. I am not alone. I will read a portion of the letter:
MANY HAVE QUESTIONED MR. PRYOR'S FITNESS FOR THIS POSITION BECAUSE OF HIS "DEEPLY HELD BELIEFS," IN PARTICULAR HIS OPPOSITION TO ABORTION. YET, THIS "DEEPLY HELD BELIEF" IS GROUNDED IN MR. PRYOR'S ADHERENCE TO HIS CATHOLIC FAITH, WHICH UNEQUIVOCALLY DECLARES ABORTION TO BE A GRAVE EVIL.
I am ending the quotation from Mr. Anderson's letter, and I just suggest that it is obvious to anyone that this code word is an antireligious biasnot an antireligious bias if you don't hold your faith deeply, but only if you do. Would the Senator from Utah care to comment on this letter I just quoted briefly from?
Mr. HATCH. First, I have seen the letter dated July 30, 2003, which I believe the Senator has put into the RECORD. The first time I have seen it is tonight.
Mr. SANTORUM. Yes, the July 30 letter.
Mr. HATCH. Right. I am concerned about this. I know some of these outside groups have been doing this regularly. I personally do not believe the distinguished Senator from California isand I hope none of the other Democrat Senators on the committee areagainst Mr. Pryor because of his religious beliefs. But I have to admit that people all over the country have been calling me and talking to me and saying, how could it be anything else? People are drawing that conclusion, and I will be honest with you, I am concerned about it.
Mr. SANTORUM. If the Senator will yield for a further question, I want to read the next paragraph and get his comment:
RAISING MR. PRYOR'S "DEEPLY HELD BELIEFS" IN TERMS OF HIS QUALIFICATIONS TO SERVE ON THE FEDERAL BENCH THUS SUGGESTS A DE FACTO RELIGIOUS TEST FOR PUBLIC OFFICE, SOMETHING CLEARLY PROHIBITED BY THE CONSTITUTION.
Would the Senator from Utah agree that the religious test for holding an office with the Government of the United States of America would be unconstitutional?
Mr. HATCH. There is no question about that. We all have to agree that our Constitution states no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office of public trust in the United States. I don't believe any Senator would intentionally impose a religious test on the President's judicial nominees. I do not think any Senators are guilty of anti-religious bias. However, I am deeply concerned that some are indirectly putting at issue the religious beliefs of several judicial nominees.
I will give you one illustration. During the Pryor hearing, General Pryor's religion was an issueand this is why I have raised it, which I have never done before. One Senator accused General Pryor during the hearing of "asserting an agenda of your own, a religious belief of your own." In his opening statement, another Senator stated:
"IN GENERAL PRYOR'S CASE, HIS BELIEFS ARE SO WELL KNOWN, SO DEEPLY HELD THAT IT IS VERY HARD TO BELIEVE THAT THEY ARE NOT GOING TO DEEPLY INFLUENCE THE WAY HE COMES ABOUT SAYING 'I WILL FOLLOW THE LAW,' AND THAT WOULD BE TRUE OF ANYBODY WHO HAD VERY DEEPLY HELD VIEWS."
THE ONLY DEEPLY HELD VIEWS THAT I KNOW OUTSIDE OF BELIEF IN THE LAW WOULD BE HIS OWN PERSONAL RELIGIOUS BELIEFS. I WILL JUST SAY THIS ON ANOTHER POINT. ON THE SUBJECT OF ROE V. WADE, SENATOR SCHUMER SAID, "I FOR ONE BELIEVE THAT A JUDGE CAN BE PRO-LIFE, YET BE FAIR, BALANCED, AND UPHOLD A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE. BUT FOR A JUSTICE TO SET ASIDE HIS OR HER PERSONAL VIEWS, THE COMMITMENT TO THE RULE OF LAW MUST CLEARLY SUPERSEDE HIS OR HER PERSONAL AGENDA. . . . BUT BASED ON THE COMMENTS ATTORNEY GENERAL PRYOR HAS MADE ON THE SUBJECT, I HAVE SOME REAL CONCERNS THAT HE CANNOT BECAUSE HE FEELS THESE VIEWS SO DEEPLY AND SO PASSIONATELY."
I don't know how you read it any other way.
Another Senator told General Pryor:
I THINK THE VERY LEGITIMATE ISSUE AT QUESTION WITH YOUR NOMINATION IS WHETHER YOU HAVE AN AGENDA, AND THAT MANY OF THE POSITIONS YOU HAVE TAKEN DO NOT REFLECT JUST AN ADVOCACY, BUT A VERY DEEPLY HELD VIEW AND A PHILOSOPHY, WHICH YOU ARE ENTITLED TO HAVE, BUT YOU ARE ALSO NOT ENTITLED TO GET EVERYONE'S VOTE.
As you know, General Pryor is openly pro-life.
Mr. SANTORUM. If the Senator will yield, does the Senator from Utah, who I know is not Catholic, know that as part of the Catholic faith, one of the central teachings with respect to faith and morals is that it is not an option under the Catholic church doctrine to be a faithful Catholic and not be pro-life. It is a core teaching of the church. It is not an optional teaching or a recommended teaching; it is a core teaching of the church. So to be a faithful Catholic, according to the church, someone has to embrace this opposition to abortion. Is the Senator aware of that?
Mr. HATCH. Yes. I am so advised. I have studied the Catholic faith and I respect it deeply, as I do all religions.
Mr. SANTORUM. So according to what the Senator has just said, someone who considers oneself a faithful Catholic, faithful to the core teachings of the Catholic church, which leaves no leeway on the issue of abortion, under that understanding, someone who has a deep faith and understands that with deep faith as a Catholic comes the requirement to be against abortion, that as a result of that deep faith and as a result of that deep faith in Catholicism, having to subscribe to the church's teaching on abortion, would that not lead, in a sense, to a prohibition by some Members of having anybody who is a faithful Catholic as a member of the judiciary?
Mr. HATCH. I cannot speak to that. All I can say is that I will take the Senator's statement at face value, as I know he is a practicing member of the Catholic faith, and I respect him for that. I know he is very sincere, and I know he has even written about it. But I am concerned.
Three of the people we have been told will be filibustered are traditional pro-life, Catholic conservatives. Certainly, Pryor is one of them. Kuhl is another. Holmes is another. It is a matter of great concern. I have to say that these inside-the-Beltway outside groups will use anything; they will distort a person's record. It is abysmal what they are doing, and they are well heeled to the tune of millions of dollars, which they spend spreading this bile all over the Senate. Unfortunately, I believe there are some in this body who do not decry what they are doing.
Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, will the Senator yield for another question?
Mr. HATCH. I will be happy to yield for another question without losing my right to the floor.
Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, I just described what is my understanding as a Catholic of what the teachings of the church are and what the responsibilities as a faithful Catholic are as a member of the church. I also understand the oath of office you take and the role that you play as a civil servant in a government and that you have an obligation to serve and to adhere to the law, particularly when you are sworn to uphold that law.
Are there any examples where Attorney General Pryor upheld the law even though he, as a Catholic, as a person of deep beliefs, went ahead and followed the law even though his personal viewpoints may have been different?
Mr. HATCH. I think there are all kinds of examples. Let me go through a few, if I can. Hopefully, this will be helpful in what the good Senator has asked for.
General Pryor's record speaks with far more authority and with much greater eloquence than the fulminations against him. His record of enforcing the Supreme Court dictates on abortion is unquestioned. He has enforced them all. Despite criticizing them all as a traditional pro-life, Catholic conservative, he has criticized abortion but he has upheld the law.
Although he has been attacked for his federalism arguments before the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court sided with him in most of those cases. Arguing that Congress does not have the power that it has assumed through certain legislative acts is not activist or radical. It is principled, entirely consistent with our constitutional separation of powers, and it is General Pryor's duty as State attorney general.
In all the federalism cases he has argued, he advocated that only certain portions of Federal laws were unconstitutional. In all cases, remedies remained available for aggrieved parties or the Federal Government. I cited some of these cases earlier.
Let me give another illustration. His critics have also attempted to portray him as an official without the respect for the separation of church and State. Again, it is simply beyond dispute that his record proves his repeated ability to enforce the law regardless of his strong personal religious beliefs.
In an effort to defeat challenges to school prayer and the display of the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Supreme Court, both the government that appointed General Pryor and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore urged General Pryor to argue that the Bill of Rights does not apply to the States.
General Pryor refused, even though his personal beliefs were different, and he argued the case on much narrower grounds despite his own deeply held Catholic faith and personal support for both of those issues.
General Pryor has always been attacked for his statements urging modification or repeal of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. However, despite General Pryor's well-documented concerns about section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, he has vigorously enforced all provisions of the act. He successfully defended before the Supreme Court several majority-minority voting districts approved under section 5 from a challenge by a group of white Alabama voters. He feels deeply about these issues.
He also issued an opinion that the use of stickers to replace one candidate's name for another on a ballot requires preclearance under section 5. Again, General Pryor enforced the law despite its conflicts with his beliefs.
Despite the distortions, half-truths, and outright falsehoods we have heard about him from the usual leftist inside-the-Beltway interest groups, General Pryor is a diligent, honorable, faithful man whose loyalties as a public servant have been to the law and its impartial administration.
He has told us under oath he will continue to follow the law, just as he has demonstrated in his distinguished career in Alabama. We should be proud to give his nomination an up-or-down vote.
Throughout his hearing, it was one question after another on abortionone question after anotherand he made it clear that as much as he thinks that the outcome of the case of Roe v. Wade is an abomination, because it has resulted in the death of millions of unborn childrenand he was very straightforward about it, very honest about it, and was complimented by my colleagues for his honesty, yet they will not accept his honesty on this topiche said he would enforce Roe v. Wade, which is the law.
Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, isn't there a case of the partial-birth abortion law in Alabama where he actually gave advice that would be contrary to what his personal beliefs are with respect to the issue of abortion?
Mr. HATCH. After the Supreme Court's decision in Stenberg v. Carhart, he upheld that law by ordering state officials not to enforce the conflicting Alabama partial-birth abortion law. Earlier, he had enforced Alabama's partial-birth abortion law narrowly, to ensure consistency with Supreme Court's dictates in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Even though he disagrees violently with both of those cases from a personal religious standpoint, but he enforced and upheld those laws, in the face of criticism from many of his conservative friends in Alabama.
Let me read one other item. At his hearing, I asked him this question:
SO EVEN THOUGH YOU DISAGREE WITH ROE V. WADE, YOU WOULD ACT IN ACCORDANCE WITH ROE V. WADE ON THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS?
This was his answer:
MR. PRYOR. EVEN THOUGH I STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH ROE V. WADE, I HAVE ACTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH IT AS ATTORNEY GENERAL AND WOULD CONTINUE TO DO SO AS A COURT OF APPEALS JUDGE.
CHAIRMAN HATCH. CAN WE RELY ON THAT?
MR. PRYOR. YOU CAN TAKE IT TO THE BANK, MR. CHAIRMAN.
To be honest with you, that is the way he is, and he is being condemned for that.
I have to say that some of my colleagues on the other side have become tremendously annoyed and hurt by the issue of religion being brought up in this matter, but the attacks on personal beliefs came originally from these inside-the-Beltway groups. They are well heeled, with money coming out of their ears, hiring all kinds of far left liberal lawyers to make these smear attempts and, frankly, that is what is distorting this whole process.
I suggest to my friends on the other side, they are going to have to start some day standing up to these people, but they do not seem to be able to do it.
Frankly, during the Clinton years, I stood up to some of the right wing groups that were occasionally trying to distort somebody's record. We did not see anywhere near what we are seeing today but I stood up. I am not asking them to do something I did not do.