Skip to main content
U.S. Edition


Return to Transcripts main page


Supreme Court Nominee Visits President and Lawmakers; President Bush Speaks in Baltimore About Renewal of Patriot Act, Supreme Court Nomination

Aired July 20, 2005 - 10:00   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Federal Judge John Roberts has visits lined up with top senators as his confirmation process begins. Hearings are still weeks away but advocacy groups are already presenting evidence for and against the nominee.
Hurricane Emily roared ashore in Northeastern Mexico as a category three storm two-and-a-half hours ago. Emily's affects are also being felt in South Texas with heavy rains, high winds and storm surge. We'll check the hurricane's progress from our weather center and bring you live reports in just a bit.

The investigation into the London terror bombings moves forward. The wreckage of a subway car ripped apart by a bomb has been taken to an undisclosed location. Forensic teams are examining the evidence. In another development, the Egyptian government says a biochemist who was detained there has no link to the London attacks.

Health officials in Indonesia say three members of one family have died from bird flu. Officials say a Jakarta man and his two daughters died from the conventional strain of the virus. That strain does not transmit from humans to humans. The family's home is in an area not hit by previous bird flu outbreaks.

Good morning to you on this Wednesday morning. I'm Daryn Kagan at CNN Center in Atlanta.

We're following two major stories for you this morning. One involving a force of nature, the other a presidential test of power.

Last night, in a prime time address, President Bush introduced Federal Appeals Court Judge John Roberts as his nominee to the Supreme Court. That sets up a likely battle over his confirmation and already this morning the lobbying has begun.

And to the south, there's a powerful storm that has charged ashore. Hurricane Emily reaching category three with 125 mile an hour winds before ripping into South Texas and Northern Mexico.

We're going to begin with Mr. Bush's choice for the Supreme Court. Nominee John Roberts begins his day with breakfast at the White House and later meets with key lawmakers in the confirmation process. Our National Correspondent Bob Franken is at the White House and Congressional Correspondent Joe Johns is on The Hill.

Bob, first to you. Good morning. BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

You spoke a moment ago about the likely battle that's going to occur over this nomination. What we don't know yet is how intense it is. Right now we're going through what passes in Washington as the honeymoon phase. So far the reviews have been comparatively good by which I mean there's been very little ranker thus far, although some of the more liberal organizations have some very serious questions about Roberts' position on abortion. But that's to be expected.

What we don't have with this perspective nominee is that much of a paper trail. The president was showing him around the White House again this morning and calling on the Senate to get this done in a very, very quick way.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm confident the senators will come to realize what I've come to realize, we're lucky to have a man of such wisdom and intellectual strength willing to serve our country. I'm also confident that the process will move forward in a dignified, civil way.


FRANKEN: With that, the two went their separate ways. The president has gone to Baltimore. He is going to be appearing at an event that is highlighting homeland security matters. Roberts will be going to Capitol Hill in just a short time. One can only assume that this morning part of the discussion was how quickly the people at the White House, how easily the people at the White House were able to keep Roberts' name concealed until the last minute.


FRANKEN, (voice over): After a day of watching all the guess work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've heard quite a bit all day long about Edith Clement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Well the two Ediths have been mentioned.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The early rumors in terms of Edith Jones, Edith Clement.

FRANKEN: President Bush put a quick stop to the speculation by naming John Roberts.

BUSH: My decision to nominate Judge Roberts to the Supreme Court came after a thorough and deliberative process.

FRANKEN: A process that involved Democrats and Republicans alike. Finally, the president decided on Roberts to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. President Bush was having lunch yesterday with the Australian prime minister when he excused himself to call Roberts.

JUDGE JOHN ROBERTS, U.S. SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: I am very grateful for the confidence the president has shown in nominate me and I look forward to the next step in the process before the United States Senate.

FRANKEN: The Senate will be considering a 50-year-old graduate of Harvard, an active legal conservative. Roberts clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, worked as a deputy solicitor general and perhaps most importantly has not developed a long judicial record to attack since he's only been appeals court judge for two years. Not that Democrats and liberal groups won't be trying to pin him down.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, (D) VERMONT: No one is entitled to a free pass to a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

BUSH: I have full confidence that the Senate will rise to the occasion and act promptly on this nomination.


FRANKEN: And now that process can begin, Daryn, now that a source has told us that the nominee will be John Roberts. The source, of course, being the president of the United States.

KAGAN: A pretty trustworthy end. I guess we can we'll go with that on a single source.

Thank you. Thank you, Bob.

Let's go to Capitol Hill now. Our Congressional Correspondent Joe Johns to do some math for us about perhaps the confirmation battle ahead.

Good morning.


Nobody's calling Roberts a disaster right now among the Democrats, which at least is telling at this early stage. People are talking about him, of course. In the hallways and on the Senate floor, a lot of speeches out there today about Judge Roberts. Pretty predictable speeches as it were.

I talked in the hallways with Senator Barbara Boxer of California a little while ago. She's a Democrat. Of course she did say, in her view, there were some red flags, particularly on the issue of abortion. She said the United States Senate still has a lot of work to do.

Of course Judge Roberts started his day very early today, leaving his house first to go to the White House and meet with the president, as Bob just said, and then later expected to come here to Capitol Hill. He will be meeting with the Senate Judiciary Committee. That committee, of course, having a hearing right now on an unrelated matter. This will be, we expect, a long process. Also starting early today, as well . . .

KAGAN: Joe, I'm going to jump in here for a second. President Bush speaking this morning in Baltimore about the Patriot Act. Let's listen in.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Qualities that our country expects in a judge. Experience, wisdom, fairness and civility. He has profound respect for the rule of law. He has respect for the liberty guaranteed to every single citizen. He will strictly apply the Constitution and laws. He will not legislate from the bench. I urge the Senate to rise to the occasion to provide a fair and civil process and to have Judge Roberts in place before the next court session begins on October the 3rd.

I not only have the duty to nominate good people to the bench, I have the duty to work with you all to protect this country. That's our most solemn duty. And we'll talk about securing the homeland, but I want you to remember as we work to secure the homeland, we have to be right 100 percent of the time. And the enemy only has to be right one time. And so, therefore, the best way to protect the homeland is to go on the offense, is to find these people in foreign lands and bring them to justice before they come here to hurt us.

And that's exactly what we're doing. We're pursuing a two-prong strategy. We're sharing intelligence with our allies. We're working with people around the world. We're on the hunt. And we will stay on the hunt. If your most important duty is to protect the homeland, it's important not to lose our nerve, our will, and our focus. And the United States will not do so. We'll continue to lead to bring people to justice all around the world.

We're facing cold-blooded killers who have an ideology that is the opposite of ours. See, these people believe that there should be no dissent, no freedom, no rights for women, that there only ought to be one religion, which is the misinterpretation of the great religion of Islam. That's what they believe.

And they have designs, they have goals. And what are those goals? Well, they want to topple nations. They want to drive the United States and freedom loving countries out of parts of the world so their ideology can take hold. That's what they want. And they want to shake our will. And weaken our determination.

See, the only real weapon they have is the capacity to kill innocent people and to shake our conscience. To get us to withdraw. That's what they want. And there's a reason why they want us to withdraw from the world, because they want to impose their vision, their dark vision on people.

The only way to defeat an ideology of hatred is with an ideology of hope. And so our strategy is not only stay on the offense and to bring these people to justice, our strategy is to spread the ideology of hope found in democracy and freedom. History has proven that democracies are peaceful countries. History has proven that democracy and freedom has the capability of converting enemies and alleys. The best way to secure the future for our children and grandchildren is to spread democracy and hope and freedom to parts of the world that simmer in resentment and anger and hatred.

And that's precisely what the United States of America is doing and will continue to do. These terrorist will not shake our will. They will not cause us to retreat. I believe strongly we have a duty not only to defend our homeland today, we have a duty to lay the foundation of peace for generations to come, which is precisely what we're doing.

As we work to defend the country overseas first of all for those of you who have got relatives in the service, for those of you that wear the uniform, I want to thank you for what you're doing. And you tell your loved one and if you're in contact with a loved one in Iraq or in Afghanistan, you can tell them this the citizens of this great country, the citizens of the United States of America, stand squarely with those who wear the uniform of the United States military.

I found an interesting contrast that when I was in Scotland a while ago, that we were there to talk about how to end poverty and disease and how to help women, how to educate young girls in the continent of Africa. That's what we were there to discuss. We were there to discuss how nations that have been blessed with riches can do our part to save lives. I don't know if you know this or not, but the United States of America is by far the most generous nation in the world when it comes to feeding the hungry or providing help for those who are suffering from HIV/Aids. See, I believe that to whom much is given, much is required.

In the midst of those discussions, terrorists murdered in cold blood people from all walks of life, innocent people. It's an interesting contrast, isn't it? It should be a vivid reminder about the world in which we live. We will not let down our guard. And therefore, at home we're doing everything we can to protect the American people.

There are a lot of people who are working hard, and you're some of them. I want to thank you for what you're doing. Often times you don't get recognized enough by the citizens. We take your work for granted often. But I know how hard you're working and I want to thank you for that. And the federal government has a responsibility to help you in your work.

We're taking four key steps to protect the homeland. The first thing is to make sure that we spend resources necessary to protect the nation. Spend the money and spend it wisely, by the way. Make sure that we spend it on areas that need the help. And we're spending unprecedented resources to protect our nation.

We have more than tripled funding for homeland security since September 11th and I want to thank the members of Congress for working on that. Guys, thanks. We're developing innovative programs to defend this country against a biological, chemical or nuclear attack. In other words, one of the biggest dangers we face is if a biological, chemical or nuclear device gets in the hand of terrorists. Listen, they will use them. By the way, you can't negotiate with these people or reason with them. That's what you got to understand. These are not the kind of people you sit down and, you know, send a counselor over to hope to convince them to change their ways. These are cold-blooded idealogues who will kill and therefore we've got to plan for the worst.

We've provided since that fateful attack on our country, we've provided more than $14 billion to train and equip state and local first responders. That makes sense, doesn't it? That those who are going to be responsible for responding to an attack are at the local level, the federal government ought to help as part of a homeland security strategy, help train people. And we're spending money to do so. We've increased federal homeland security funding by more than tenfold. For our fire fighters and police officers and other responders. I mean if we're asking you to be on the front line, we ought to help you, and that's what we've done at the federal level.

Secondly, we're strengthening the defenses at our most important and venerable locations. In other words, part of a strategy is to try to figure out where the enemy may attack. You assess your weakness and you build on those and you strengthen your weaknesses. That's remember, this is a war. This isn't a, you know, maybe a, you know, a law enforcement adventure. We're at war with these people and therefore during a time of war, you've got to do everything you can to strengthen your defenses. And so we'll continue to enhance protect our borders and coast lines and airports and bridges and nuclear power plants and water treatment facilities and other critical sites, including transportation infrastructure.

Since September 11th, we've provided more than $350 million to help state and local authorities improve security on mass transits. I'm sure you can figure out why I'm trying to explain what we've done about mass transit. That's what the enemy hit the other day on one of our strong allies. They used their mass transit system to try to shake our will.

This city of Baltimore and other cities around the country have received $2.4 billion in urban security grants which they had the choice to use for mass transit security. I think that makes sense to say to America, you got a problem with your mass transit, here's a grant. And if you feel that's the best use of the money, use it there.

My budget for the next year proposes a 64 percent increase in infrastructure protection grants. In other words, grants that will go specifically for infrastructure to safeguard subways, light rail, city busses and other critical systems. And we're going to continue to work closely with state and local leaders to make other vital improvements in mass transit security.

First of all, we're constantly monitoring intelligence reports. And part of our job is to collect intelligence, look at it, analyze it. And if it's a problem that relates to a security system at a local level, we'll let you know as quickly as possible.

We take extra precautions at times of heightened risks. That's what Mike Chertoff recommended to me after the London bombings. In other words, he took a look at the situation and said, let's enhance our security at infrastructure points and he raised the threat level. We're widening the use of explosive detection teams and nearly doubling the number of rail security inspectors. We're targeting assets and resources to our infrastructure. We're accelerating the development and deployment of new technologies to rapidly detect biological, radiological and chemical attacks. That's what Mike announced last week.

We're going to continue to make sure that we assess our weaknesses and strengthen our transportation systems. Our sea ports are another critical element of our national infrastructure and we've done a lot of work at our seaports, and I want to thank those of you who have helped. At the Port of Baltimore, ships from around the world arrive with products ranging from lumber and fuel to electronics and automobiles and you've got a lot of it coming in, which is good news.

Commerce at this port generates more than $1 billion of revenue and sustains thousands of Maryland jobs. I know this port's important for your economy, in other words. This is a gateway for foreign markets which provides an opportunity and an important challenge for us, and we recognize that early. We've made dramatic advances in port security since September 11th.

We've established strict new safety rules for both domestic and international shipping, and we have taken new steps to identify and inspect high risk cargo. And that's important for our citizens to understand. We launched what we called the container security initiative to screen American bound containers at more than 35 foreign ports so we can identify dangerous cargo before it reaches our shores. Doesn't that make sense? Seems like it does to me.

In other words, we're stationing custom folks overseas and we're working with places that ship goods to us to inspect cargo there so we don't burden our ports. Since September 11th we've provided more than $700 million in federal grants to close off the vulnerabilities at individual ports, including $15 million for this port right here. The success of all these efforts depends on the vigilance of the men and women protecting the ports. And you're taking critical steps here in Baltimore. And I want the citizens of this city to understand what you're doing.

You've upgraded cargo inspection technology from clipboards to keyboards. I just saw some of your new cargo inspection technology. It's sophisticated. It enables a person to do a lot of inspections relatively easy. You're employing advance screening devises such as new radiation detector and x-ray equipment that can penetrate steel containers. That's what I saw. I mean you can look inside the truck and you don't even have to get in it. That's called technology.

And it's working. It makes a big difference. You're patrolling the waters around the port. I want to thank all of you who are working hard here. I want to thank members of the Coast Guard and Border Patrol and the Baltimore Port Authority. At a major international port like this, there's a lot to do to safeguard the people. And so we're committed to help you build the progress. The budget for next year proposes $2.3 billion in port security funding. That's 10 times higher than the funding since September 11th. The budget increases the Coast Guard budget by more than 11 percent, including new funding for patrol boats.

The budget boosts support for cutting edge cargo screening technologies. I mean we're really good at technology and we might as well be using that technology to protect the American people. What I'm telling you is, is that we're focused here and I want to thank again thank Congress for staying focused with us. When you're at war, you can't lose sight of the fact that you're at war. And if your most important priority is to protect the people, you've got to work together to do so.

Thirdly, to protect this homeland we're making our security operations more unified and more effective. More than 180,000 men and women from 22 different agencies are working together at the Department of Homeland Security. That's a lot of folks with a lot of agencies. So Chertoff's job is to make sure everybody heads in the same direction and we're making good progress. Changing cultures, streamlining cultures and getting people to work under a unified department.

The FBI is changing its mission. Its primary mission is to prevent a terrorist attack. Of course we want the FBI agents to find people and bring them to justice when they break the law. We want them to be a part of the preventative aspect of this war on terror too. We've reformed the intelligence community to stay a step ahead of our enemies. We created a new director of national intelligence to help integrate our intelligence. We want our intelligence folks sharing information and talking better.

I went to the National Counterterrorism Center the other day. It's an impressive place. It's a place where people from different agencies in our government sit side-by-side to share information.

This is a new kind of war. We're dealing with people who hide in the shadows of our cities. You know they kind of lay low and then they show up with deadly devices and, therefore, the best way to stop them is to share intelligence. And so we're constantly working to make sure our intelligence is as good as possible.

And to strengthen this security, we've got to strengthen our partnership with state and local officials. It doesn't do any good if we can figure something out and we don't share it with people at the local level. In this state, the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center, known as MCAC, brings together more than 20 federal, state and local agencies. You're doing good thing in the state and at the local level to coordinate information.

I want to tell you a story about MCAC's success. Last summer, Baltimore County police officers spotted a suspicious person videotaping the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. So, first of all, you had somebody alert on the ground who said, this is odd looking, somebody's videotaping the bridge. Maybe that happens a lot. Maybe it doesn't. Anyway, this person was wise. Saw something suspicious. So they alerted the Maryland Transportation Authority Police. Which then notified MCAC. When the personnel team there learned that the man was


so people can better talk. We're all in this deal together. We all have a responsibility to protect our local citizens and, therefore, it makes sense to have a seamless capacity to talk to each other on a real time basis. And it's working. It's working.

Fourth, to protect the homeland we've got to give our law enforcement better tools to track and stop terrorists before they strike. And one of the most important tools is the USA Patriot Act. The Patriot Act closed dangerous gaps in America's law enforcement and intelligence capabilities. Gaps that terrorists exploited when they attacked us on September the 11th. Both houses of Congress passed the Patriot Act by overwhelming bipartisan majorities and I was proud to sign this law and it's working.

The Patriot Act authorized better sharing of information between law enforcement and intelligence. Before the Patriot Act, criminal investigators were separated from intelligence officers by a legal and bureaucratic wall. Imagine that. Somebody investigating a problem and somebody collected intelligence and they couldn't share information. So the Patriot Act broke down that wall. How in the heck can people expect us to protect our country when you can't share intelligence with people who are investigating. The Patriot Act helped tear down the wall so that people can share information better and work as a team and break up terror networks.

Listen, finding our enemies in the war on terror is tough enough. Law enforcement should not be denied vital information their own colleagues already have. And so for the sake of our security, the United States Congress must not rebuild the wall that prevents law enforcement from doing its job. The Patriot Act allowed investigators to pursue terrorists with the same tools they use against other criminals.

Think about that statement. We have people that could use certain tools against drug dealers but couldn't against terrorists. Before the Patriot Act, it was easier to track the phone contacts of a drug dealer than the phone contacts of a terrorist. Before the Patriot Act, it was easier to get the credit card receipts of a tax cheat than that of an al Qaeda bank roller. Before the Patriot Act, agents could use wire taps to investigate a person committing mail fraud, but not specifically to investigate a foreign terrorist carrying deadly weapons. Before the Patriot Act, investigators could follow the calls of mobsters who switched cell phones, but not terrorists who switched cell phones.

That didn't make any sense. The Patriot Act ended all these double standards. The theory is straightforward and make sense to me, Dutch (ph), and I know it does a lot of your colleagues. If we have good tools to fight street crime and fraud, then our law enforcement ought to have the same tools to fight terrorism. The Patriot Act also has updated the law to meet high tech threats like computer espionage and cyber terrorism. For example, before the Patriot Act, Internet providers who notified federal authorities about threatening e-mails ran the risk of getting sued. Needless to say, that stopped some people from sharing threatening e- mails. Nobody likes to get sued. It happens to often in our society, by the way.

The Patriot Act modernized the law to protect Internet companies who voluntarily disclosed information to save American lives. Terrorists are using every advantage of the 21st century technology and we got to make sure our law enforcement has the tools to fight off that advantage. The Patriot Act helps us defeat our enemies while safeguarding civil liberties for all Americans.

The judicial branch has a strong oversight role in the application of the Patriot Act. Law enforcement officers need a federal judge's permission to wire tap a foreign terrorist phone or to track his calls or to search his property. Officers must meet strict standards to use any of the tools we're talking about. And they are fully consistent with the Constitution of the United States.

Congress also overseas the use of the Patriot Act. Our Attorney General Al Gonzales delivers regular reports on the Patriot Act to the House and the Senate. The Department of Justice has answered hundreds of questions from members of the Congress. In other words, there's a strong oversight role.

I want you to hear what Senator Diane

(INSERT 10:00)

Our Attorney General Al Gonzalez delivers regular reports on the Patriot Act to the House and the Senate. The Department of Justice has answered hundreds of questions from the members of Congress. In other words, there's a strong oversight role.

I want you to hear what Senator Dianne Feinstein of California said the other day. She said, we have scrubbed the area and have no reported abuses. She was speaking about the Patriot Act. I want you to remember that the next time you hear someone make an unfair criticism of this important good law.

The Patriot Act hasn't diminished American liberties. It has helped to defend American liberties. Over the past three and half years, our law enforcement intelligence personnel have put the Patriot Act to effective use. In other words, it's working, because we got good people using the tools within the Patriot Act. They have used the law to break up terrorist cells in New York and Oregon and Virginia and Florida. We've prosecuted terrorist operatives and supporters from California to Texas and New Jersey to Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio. In other words, we're making progress. It's one thing to have the tools. It's another thing to use them effectively within the guidelines of the United States Constitution. The Patriot Act is accomplishing exactly what it was designed to do. The problem is, at the end of this year, 16 critical provisions of the Patriot Act are scheduled to expire. All 16 provisions are practical, effective and constitutional and they are vital to defending our freedom.

This week, the House of Representatives will vote on legislation to renew the Patriot Act. As we saw in London, the terrorists are still active and they are still plotting to take innocent life. So my message to the Congress is clear. This is no time to let our guard down, and no time to roll back good laws. The Patriot Act is expected to expire, but the terrorist threats will not expire.

I expect and the American people expect the United States Congress and the United States Senate to renew the Patriot Act without weakening our ability to fight terror and they need to get that bill to my desk soon.


BUSH: I appreciate you letting me come by to talk to you about the war on terror. This is going to be a long war, but freedom is going to prevail. This nation of ours has always handled duties brought to us. And history has always brought us challenges and problems. We've always handled them. We'll handle this one, too. See, the enemy doesn't understand the nature of the American people. We're not going to be blackmailed, we're not going to be threatened. We'll stay strong. When history has called us to action in the past, we've responded. And history is calling us now. This is the great struggle of the 21st century and we're going to stay in the fight until it's won.

We're going to make this country safer, and as importantly for the moms and dads out there and grandfolks, we're laying the foundation of peace for your children and grandchildren. It is such an honor to be involved with good men and women like you all who are all joined together in this solemn duty to protect this great country.

I want to thank you for your hard work. I want to thank you for your dedication. May God bless you and your families and may God continue to bless our country.


KAGAN: We've been listening to President Bush as he speaks in Baltimore today. Two key topics, the reason we're listening to the president today. One, as you could hear, he was talking about the Patriot Act. There are parts of that act that are set to expire. He is encouraging Congress to make permanent some of the police powers granted to agencies that fight terrorism. Of course, critics say that many of those powers infringe on citizens' civil liberties. So that debate goes on.

Another debate developing, as President Bush announcing last night his nominee for the vacancy to come on the U.S. Supreme Court. That would be federal judge John Roberts.

Let's go back to Joe Johns and hear more about what's going to happen on Capitol Hill. Also hear some of the sound of what President Bush had to say about Judge Roberts. Good morning again.

JOHNS: Good morning again, Daryn. Of course, we are expecting Judge Roberts up here on Capitol Hill. In the afternoon before that, there continue to be speeches on the Senate floor about Judge Roberts, about that decision. Many Republicans, of course, conservatives praising him. Senator Edward Kennedy out on the floor right now. He's been sort of holding his fire. He could certainly be one of the big critics if he wants to. We'll get to him in a second.

Earlier this morning at a news conference at the Capitol, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- that committee, of course, will get the first crack at this nomination -- Arlen Specter went out and talked a little bit about this nomination. He was very complimentary of Judge Roberts, but he also expressed concern that some outside liberal groups were already attacking the nomination.


SEN. ARLEN SPECTER, (R) JUDICIARY CMTE. CHMN: I hope that the rhetoric will be low to give Judge Roberts a chance to be heard. And I can assure you that the hearings will be full, fair and complete. And that the 18 members of the judiciary committee will have a full opportunity to examine Judge Roberts in some detail.


JOHNS: Democrats, of course, are making the point there's a lot to go on with Judge Roberts, but also not much to go on at all. That, of course, because number one, a couple years ago, he went through a confirmation process here on Capitol Hill in order to go down to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. That's where he's a judge right now. The other half of it is, though, he's not been on that court long enough to put a lot of decisions out there where Democrats can see where he is on the record.

Let's listen to Senator Edward Kennedy from earlier today.


SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: I commend the president for making the nomination. But now this process is going to move ahead in the judiciary committee. In a few weeks, we'll have the opportunity to question. Those are the -- it's really a blank slate there. He's a person of distinguished -- of distinguished achievement and accomplishment and academic achievement, but his slate is pretty blank on this. And the American people want to know whether they are going to have someone that is going to protect their rights and liberties.


JOHNS: Sir Judge Roberts is expected up here on Capitol Hill between 1:00 and 1:30 Eastern time. He will be making the rounds, visiting not just the Democrats, also the Republicans, introducing himself. Perhaps reintroducing himself, because he is a known quantity here on Capitol Hill -- Daryn.

KAGAN: And you'll be standing by watching for that. Thank you. Joe Johns on Capitol Hill.

Let's get more about the selection process and perhaps what happens from here. David Yalof knows a lot about the behind the scenes work prior to a High Court nomination. His book "Pursuit of Justices" looks at the process since World War II. David Yalof is also a professor at the University of Connecticut and he joins me from Hartford

Professor, good morning.

DAVID YALOF, AUTHOR, "THE PURSUIT OF JUSTICES": Thanks for having me, Daryn.

KAGAN: Given how the selection process works, were you surprised by this choice?

YALOF: Well, I wasn't really surprised. John Roberts has been on the short list for really weeks and even before Sandra Day O'Connor's announced her retirement. So John Roberts has really been a name very much on the minds of officials within the Bush administration and in the media.

KAGAN: There's been a lot of talk about what happens up to the nomination. And then skipping ahead, looking at what happens after Labor Day when the confirmation hearings get underway. What about between now and then, what happens?

YALOF: Well, the interest groups have obviously large war chests at their disposal, both on the liberal and the conservative side. And they're going to use it. They're going to use those war chests. The commercials, many of them have already been filmed. They're right now filming commercials much more specific to this particular nomination. And we are going to hear a lot of the rhetoric. We're going to hear -- we're going to get arguments on both sides of John Roberts. And we really were going to get that no matter who the nominee was.

KAGAN: And on that note, let's look ahead to when there is a confirmation. As a student of the Supreme Court, when you look at this body that really hasn't changed -- it's been together for, what, 11 years or hasn't been a change. How do you expect it to change as it works?

YALOF: Well, it's going to probably change much more dramatically than in most Supreme Court nomination scenarios, and that's because the retiring justice Sandra Day O'Connor was the classic swing vote. We really haven't seen a swing vote of this magnitude retire since Lewis Powell in 1987. And you remember what happened then. Both Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg got into problems. Neither of them were confirmed and it became Anthony Kennedy. So I think we're going to expect with a swing vacancy, if you will, at stake, we're going to expect a lot of attention paid to this from both sides of the aisle. A lot of fury is going to be brought on to this process. But, you know, in the end, John Roberts is a very difficult target for the Democrats to get much traction against.

KAGAN: And we will be watching. David Yalof, Professor, thank you for your time.

YALOF: Thanks for having me.

KAGAN: And insight this morning.

In full force, Hurricane Emily comes ashore, packing 125 mile- per-hour winds. We're live with the latest details.

And a potential hiring fraud in Chicago has Mayor Daley under fire. What is the mayor being accused of or his office? We're going to talk to "The Chicago Tribune" reporter who helped break the story. Also ahead this hour on CNN LIVE TODAY.


KAGAN: We're going to talk to "The Chicago Tribune" reporter who helped break the story, also ahead this hour on CNN LIVE TODAY.


KAGAN: You're looking at pictures now from South Padre Island, Texas. Whipping winds and pelting rains from Hurricane Emily began hitting the resort area early this morning. Emily came ashore in Mexico nearly three hours ago.

Let's take a look at what's happening along the South Texas coast. That's where we have our Chris Lawrence. He is on South Padre Island with an update.

Good morning.


I've been using my face as a wind gauge, and I can tell you (INAUDIBLE). That is some good news. The power, though, in the last hour here in our area...

KAGAN: Well, not just your face as a wind gauge, Chris, but your microphone as well. Not working so well. We'll work on drawing that out and getting back to Chris.


KAGAN: And stay with us throughout the day for the latest on Emily. CNN is your hurricane headquarters. Different type of storm brewing in Chicago. The mayor, Richard Daley, is defending his office against allegations of corruption. I'll be speaking with a reporter from "The Chicago Tribune" who's been covering the story. Stay with us.


KAGAN: Our next story is about Chicago, a city steeped in colorful political history you might say, and the name Daley is arguably the most legendary. Well, now the administration of Mayor Richard Daley, son of the city's longest serving mayor, is under fire. Yesterday, Daley addressed federal charges that city jobs were dolled out to political insider, supporters and cronies. We'll get details now from reporter Craig Wall of CNN's Chicago affiliate WFLD.


CRAIG WALL, WFLD REPORTER (voice-over): With the federal corruption probe moving ever closer to his office, Mayor Daley was on the defensive as he reacted to the latest charges targeted two high- level city workers accused of rigging the hiring system to guarantee city jobs for political operatives.

MYR. RICHARD DALEY, CHICAGO: If there's any criminal activity whatsoever, I had no knowledge of any criminal activity, whether it's shredding, or testing or altering papers, whatsoever.

WALL: But critics, including Michael Shakman, who fought to ban political hiring, resulting in a federal decree bearing his name, questioned the mayor's denials, especially after federal prosecutors detailed the hiring scam at city hall going back at least a decade.

MICHAEL SHAKMAN, DALEY CRITIC: It certainly raises questions about what the mayor knew and knows and what he has proved. My view is he's the captain of the ship. He's either responsible for what happens because he failed to supervise properly or worse, because he knew it and approved it.

WALL: Ron Sorich, who worked in the mayor's office of intergovernmental affairs, is accused of fixing interview scores to make sure applicants on a so-called "blessed list" got city jobs. Patrick Slattery allegedly helped implement the scheme as head of staff services at streets and sanitation.

DALEY: I did not know of any political hiring personally in the sense that people have opportunities, but you know, I don't know of any political hiring per se on that itself, because that violates the Shakman decree.

WALL: The Better Government Association says the mayor needs to come to terms with the corruption being more than just a few bad apples.

JAY STEWART, BETTER GOVERNMENT ASSN. It's amazing that a few bad apples has led to a new chief of staff, five or six new commissioners. The minority contracting program has completely been revamped. The hire trump (ph) program's abolished. Now the hiring practices are in question. But it's just a few bad apples. It doesn't pass the smell test. WALL: The mayor was asked how the continuing scandal might impact his plans to run for re-election, to which he replied he loves his job.

DALEY: Sometimes you're in the mountain, sometimes you're in the valley. And sometimes you have difficult challenges and there's always difficult challenges.


KAGAN: That was reporter Craig Wall of CNN's Chicago affiliate WFLD.

Our next guest helped break that story. Dan Mihalopoulos is a reporter with "The Chicago Tribune." Dan, good morning.


KAGAN: The idea of corruption in city politics in Chicago, go figure.

MIHALOPOULOS: Well, it's been said and it's a standing joke nationally that in Chicago, you vote early, vote often. You can also vote after you die, as well. There's sort of dead people voting. In this scandal, we actually had what prosecutors allege is a dead person who got a job. Four days after he was buried, he allegedly sat for an interview and was named a winner for that job. He had the blessing of a political sponsor, according to the court papers filed by the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald.

KAGAN: Aren't there other allegations that people who had drinking problems getting jobs over better qualified candidates? And then one man who was actually serving in Iraq was written down as doing fantastic on his interview, when there's no way he could have because he was clearly overseas?

MIHALOPOULOS: That's exactly what prosecutors are alleging. There are also cases where witnesses have come forward to tell the federal government that they complained to Mayor Daley's office that goofballs or drunks were getting jobs, and they were told to do the best that they can with those people because they had political sponsorship, had worked on campaigns either for the mayor or for candidates that the mayor had supported.

KAGAN: We heard a lot of sound from the mayor in the piece that preceded this interview. Mayor Daley talking about, there's mountains, there's valleys. Clearly this is a tough time, but is he going down as part of the scandal?

MIHALOPOULOS: Well, that's unclear. People have said for a long time that the Mayor Daley, like his father before him, can be a mayor for life, can die in office, essentially, if that's what he wishes. He's certainly had a lot of support. He has a big reputation nationally. I think "Time" magazine recently named him the best mayor in America. But there have been rumblings of a challenge. Particularly the rumored challenger could be Jesse Jackson, Reverend Jesse Jackson's son, who is a Congressman from the south side.

KAGAN: But besides an electoral challenge, could this scandal perhaps make him quit or is it way too early to even start thinking about that?

MIHALOPOULOS: Well, right now, the scandal has reached into his office for the first time. That's what we do know. This person that was charged on Monday, Robert Sorich, who was mentioned in the report, is very close to the Daley family's native Bridgeport neighborhood. It's a neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, near White Sox Park, where many of the city's mayors, particularly Irish mayors of the past century, have come from. It's the mayor's political power base. Sorich was from that area, from his 11th (INAUDIBLE) Democratic organization. And he was very close, particularly with the mayor's brother John Daley..

KAGAN: Well, we will be tracking it and watching your paper as well. Dan Mihalopoulos, thank you. From "The Chicago Tribune," a story that the national media just starting to pay attention to.

More of CNN LIVE TODAY still to come. Stay with us. We're going to have a check on the morning markets, after a quick break.


KAGAN: Few minutes left in this hour.

Let's check how the markets are doing. Does miserable sound appropriate? The Dow is down 61 points, the Nasdaq is down 11. It is earnings time. And big losses by G.M., also lackluster reports from Yahoo! and Intel making things not too happy on Wall Street today. We'll hear more from our business reporters in the next hour.

As well as, he was one of the 19 hijackers responsible for September 11th. Now we're going to hear from Mohamed Atta's family for the first time. They are disturbing comments and they are just ahead.

And if you think you're too busy to eat lunch today, you are not alone, but you might want to make time. You're going to hear an expert's concerns about the growing trend to skip lunch.

The second hour of CNN LIVE TODAY will begin at the top of the hour after a quick break.



CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNNAvantGo Ad Info About Us Preferences
© 2007 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines