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TRANSCRIPT EXCERPTS: 'Inside the Koch Brothers' 2011 Summer Seminar' - Closing Address by Judge Andrew Napolitano of Fox News | Pg. 2 of 4

[For the full story on these transcript excerpts, see
Part 1 of our exclusive special series at
Mother Jones.]

Excerpts from
Closing night address by Judge Andrew Napolitano of Fox News
As introduced by Fred Young
Koch Brothers' 2011 Summer Seminar
Ritz-Carlton Beaver Creek Resort - near Vail, Colorado

Transcribed from audio recorded June 27, 2011
Transcription by Emily Levy for The BRAD BLOG

< PREVIOUS | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | NEXT >

ANDREW NAPOLITANO (CON'T): I'll tell you how I got my job at Fox. I'm going to bring you back to a tempestuous time in American history, to November and December of 2000. What was going on? The recount. The recount between Al Gore and George Bush. You cringe when you think of that time period. Well, I have not hesitated in my work at Fox - notwithstanding the perceived political convictions of my colleagues --- to criticize the Bush administration when I thought it was exceeding the bounds of the Constitution…[tiny applause] …Which in my opinion happened almost every day. But I do bear some below-the-radar responsibility for the existence of the Bush administration, and here's how it happened:

Vacations are cancelled. Time off is cancelled. Weekends off are cancelled. We are all working 15, 16 hours a day for the 42 days of that recount. As Fox's chief legal person I have to become an expert in the most obscure law you can imagine, Florida election law. Hanging chads, dimpled chads. We don't have things like that in New Jersey. In New Jersey ballots end up in the Hudson River… [laughter] …We don't have a problem looking for chad. At least the ballots in the Hudson River you can understand.

And one day I'm on the air with my colleague Brit Hume, I'm in New York, he's in Washington, through the magic of television it looks like we're in the same room together and he's joking about - one of the issues with the recount, when all of a sudden Fox does what Fox does so well, about 25 or 30 times every half hour, "smmmeeeEESH! Fox Alert!" I don't know what the alert is because he's got the scriptwriters, he's got the television prompter in DC, starts to read it. Here's the alert: "The Florida Supreme Court has just ruled that the recount resume not only in the four counties where Vice President Gore has been challenged by Governor Bush, but in all 72 counties of the state of Florida! And the Bush lawyers are preparing to file an appeal of this decision of the Florida Supreme Court to the United States Court of Appeals, to the 11th Circuit in Atlanta." At that point he looks at me and he said, "What do you think they should do" I said, "It's pretty basic. The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta does not have jurisdiction to hear an appeal from the Florida Supreme Court. An appeal from the highest state court can only go to the United States Supreme Court. He said, "Well, what should they do?" I looked at my watch. It was five to seven. I said, "Supreme Court is home for the evening. They're not there. They should get in their cars and drive to Georgetown." He said, "Why Georgetown?" I said, "Because that's where Justice Anthony Kennedy lives, who is the emergent duty Justice for the 11th circuit." Basically the southeast portion of the United States. And even though he doesn't like to do this, his job is to take emergency appeals from the state court of last resort in the 11th circuit.

At that point, Hume's show is over. And I go up to my office to take a nap, because at 10:00 I'm on with O'Reilly and of course you need all the rest you can for an experience … [laughter] … like that. While I am sound asleep on the couch in my office - why am I telling you? This is how I got my job at Fox --- the phone rings. Seven o'clock. Is my ever-charming, ever-garrulous, wonderful colleague, never one to miss a beat, Shepard Smith. And he's on and they're talking about the latest moves when all of a sudden Fox does one of those screech alerts. Here's the alert. He starts reading off the TelePrompTer. And the alert is the following: "Governor Bush's lawyers have just been sighted in their cars in Georgetown… [scattered laughter] …looking for the personal residence of Justice Anthony Kennedy! To file some kind of an emergency appeal with him!" And that's when he stops reading what the script says, right, in the PrompTer, he looks at the camera and says, "You know what that means? That means that George W. Bush is watching Fox!... [laughter] …And he's getting his legal advice from Judge Napolitano!" [laughter, applause] And the rest, as they say, is history.

...

So the Bill of Rights was enacted in the same type of Constitutional Convention as was the Constitution itself. Every schoolchild and everyone in this room knows the words I'm now about to recite from the first amendment: "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech." Why do I emphasize 'the?' Because the drafters of the Bill of Rights understood that 'the' freedom of speech pre-existed the Congress, pre-existed the country, pre-existed the King of England in all of his glory. Pre-existed the Parliament. They understood, as did Madison, that the freedom of speech is as integral to our humanity as the fingers on the ends of our hands.

And so they attempted to articulate in those ten paragraphs the rights that they wanted to be certain that this new central government would never take away from us. We all know these rights. The right to think as you wish. The right to say what you think. I've often told O'Reilly that his favorite right should be the right to develop your personality however you want. [scattered laughter] The right to publish what you want to say. The right to worship or not to worship. The right to shoot at the government if it is taken over by tyrants. And if anybody tells you the second amendment is here to protect hunters, they are intentionally distorting history. It was written to let us attack tyrants! [applause]

...

Most people in the government are there because they think they know better how we should live our lives than we know, because they want to make choices for us. And we find out from history that the same generation who we revere as the framers, the founders --- they fought the King, they fought the Parliament, they wrote this Constitution, they added the Bill of Rights --- as soon as they achieved power, began to do the people here some of the very same things that they fought this revolution against the King because he had done.

...

When the New York Times 'exposed' the NSA spying, Alberto Gonzales, then the Attorney General of the United States, threatened the New York Times with prosecution under the Espionage Act because he forgot that it was invalidated by the Supreme Court in the Pentagon Papers case, but nevertheless he made that threat.

[NEXT: "The PATRIOT Act...is the single most abominable, hateful, unconstitutional piece of legislation enacted"]

< PREVIOUS | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | NEXT >

* * *

[For the full story on these transcript excerpts, see
Part 1 of our exclusive special series at
Mother Jones.]



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