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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 3/23/22

Guests: Michele Bratcher Goodwin, Danielle Holley-Walker, Andrei Soldatov

Summary

Day 3 of Ketanji Brown Jackson`s Supreme Court confirmation hearing. MSNBC`s continuing live coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Putin`s inner circle gets smaller as Ukraine war stalls. Ketanji Brown Jackson pays tribute to Constance Baker Motley at hearing.

Transcript

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ali, and that is such a moving way to end your hour of coverage.

And there`s -- there is nothing like war coverage and it`s a struggle to figure out what`s belongs in it and what we can bring in any given hour. And you always find exactly the story to tell.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Thank you, my friend. Have a great show tonight.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Ali. Thank you.

Well, Senator Patrick Leahy has seen it all. And he`s never seen anything like what he saw today in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senator Leahy is the longest serving member of the current Senate. He is the longest serving member of the judiciary committee. He is former chair of the Judiciary Committee. He`s attended more Supreme Court confirmation hearings than anyone else in the Senate.

And he was outraged by what he saw in the hearing this morning, when Republican Lindsey Graham violated the time of the senator speaking, not by a minute or two, which is common, but by a full ten minutes, in addition to the 20 minutes that each senator was allowed to speak.

And in those ten minutes, Lindsey Graham launched a rage filled rant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): That`s an abrogation of everything the Senate should stand for. You had a Republican member who went way over the time allotted and ignore the rules of the committee, badgered the nominee with would not even let her answer the questions and I`ve never seen anything like that. I`ve been here 48 years.

Here we have a highly respected, respectable nominee and to be treated that way, I don`t know what the motivation might be, what the political motivation is, but to see the badgering of this woman, as she is trying to test fly, I thought was outrageous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Pat Leahy has never seen anything like it. And I have never seen Pat Leahy so outraged.

Lindsey Graham voted for Judge Ketanji Brown-Jackson last year in her confirmation to the second most important court of the country, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Every single objection that Lindsey Graham raised today to Judge Jackson`s record was in her record when Lindsey Graham voted to confirm her last year without saying a word about those issues.

Chair Dick Durbin may have allowed Lindsey Graham to seize control of the hearing for ten full minutes, in violation of the rules, because the chairman hopes that by indulging Lindsey Graham, he can win Lindsey Graham`s vote. That is again, for Ketanji Brown-Jackson. Does not look like that is going to happen, but if it does happen, which seems extremely unlikely, then Chair Durbin did the right thing today. Anything for a vote.

Dick Durbin is the chairman of the judiciary committee because Democrats lost confidence in 88-year-old Dianne Feinstein`s ability to run leadership hearings like this. So, the Democratic leadership pushed Dianne Feinstein aside in favor of 77-year-old Dick Durbin.

Now, the ability to run a hearing is not based on age, as Senator Patrick Leahy showed when he jumped in to show Dick Durbin how to shut down interruptions from Republican senators.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Ten senators on this committee are asking the chairman to provide those reports so we could do what Judge Jackson just said --

(CROSSTALK)

LEAHY: Mr. Chairman, I know the junior senator from Texas. I used to get on television. But most of us have been here a long time trying to follow the rules. And I can very easily hand you a letter to go to the record, he is saying he`s doing this to help Senator Hawley. Senator Hawley could put it in and he didn`t.

Let`s get back to regular order.

CRUZ: Senator Hawley didn`t write the letter.

LEAHY: Let`s get back to regular order.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Republicans spent the day saying that they don`t think that the prison sentences that Judge Jackson gave to defendants who possessed child pornography were long enough. Lindsey Graham said that the lightest sentence that judge axing gave, which was three months, should have been 50 years. That`s it. That`s what the Republicans spent the day saying, something that took me less than a minute to say just now, but it is literally a one sentence objection that they have to Judge Jackson.

[22:05:04]

It can be spoken in one sentence. They don`t think her sentences for possession of child pornography were long enough. Her sentences were within the norm for federal judges around the country. But these Republican senators don`t believe those sentences were long enough.

None of them other than Lindsey Graham said how long any of those sentences should have been. The potential candidates for president on the committee spent the day interrupting Judge Jackson, not allowing her to finish answers and Senator Tom Cotton said that he did not believe one of her answers. He was accusing Judge Jackson of lying under oath.

Republicans were treating the hearing, as they do every event that has cameras, as a campaign fundraising event. And through it all, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson persevered. She learned how to persevere when facing challenges a long time ago.

Cory Booker is one of the most bipartisan Democratic senators, and publicly refers to -- as friends. He publicly compliments Republican senators and when he, his turn came today, Cory Booker had no questions, really, today, he just offered an extraordinary, and extemporaneously set of remarks in which he commended Judge Jackson for climbing the mountains she climbed, to be now just one step away from the top of the judicial mountain in the United States.

We will bring you most of what Senator Booker had to say later in this hour. We are just going to roll that videotape later and let you see that moment. The moment that first brought Judge Ketanji Brown-Jackson today, tears of appreciation for the people who Senator Booker said made this day possible.

But that wasn`t the last time that Judge Jackson fought back tears today. The junior senator from California, Alex Padilla, is the second most junior the tragic member of the committee and so he always speaks towards the end of the hearings.

Alex Padilla`s parents came to California from Mexico and watch their son go off to college on the other side of the country at MIT, the most selective science-oriented university in the world. He told Judge Jackson today that, just as she was discouraged by some from applying to Harvard, he was discouraged by some of his high school teachers from applying to MIT.

And then he asked her what she says to young people who doubt that they can achieve what she has achieved.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, U.S. SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: I hope to inspire people to try to follow this path because I love this country, because I love the law, because I think it is important that we all invest in our future. And the young people are the future. And so I want them to know that they can do and be anything.

And I will just say that I will tell them what an anonymous person said it to me once. I was walking through. Harvard yard, through they, are my freshman year. As I mentioned, I went to public school. And I did not know anything about Harvard until my debate coach took me there to enter a speech competition.

And I thought, this is a great opportunity, a great university, one of the only ones I had seen, and said maybe will I will apply when I`m a senior. But I get there and, whoa, it`s so different.

I`m from Miami, Florida. Boston is very cold. It was rough. It was different from anything I had known. There were lots of students there who were prep school kids, like my husband who we knew all about --

(LAUGHTER)

Knew all about Harvard. And that was not me.

And I think the first semester I was really homesick, I was really questioning, do I belong here? Can I make it in this environment? And I was walking through the yard in the evening and a black woman I did not know was passing me on the sidewalk. And she looked at me and I guess she knew how I was feeling.

[22:10:02]

And she leaned over, as we crossed, and said, persevere. I would tell them to persevere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Michele Bratcher Goodwin, chancellor`s professor at the University of California`s Irvine Law School and host of the podcast "On the Issues with Michele Goodwin". And Danielle Holley- Walker, dean and professor at Howard University School of Law.

Professor Goodwin, let me begin with you in that lesson we just heard in perseverance -- the perseverance we saw on display today in these hearings. I`m going to let you have the Cory Booker moment. The microphone is yours.

MICHELE BRATCHER GOODWIN, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA IRVINE LAW PROFESSOR: Well, these are lessons that all black women have had passed down to them over generations that stranger would bring that to her is something that is very familiar to so many black women, at airports. The people who are working in our institutions who may be the people who are doing sanitation and picking up the trash at night, who hear the whispers in the other rooms but to give you that look and say, hang in there. It`s so important that you are here.

These are the lessons that have been passed down for generations. There`s something that sometimes I say, Lawrence, during speeches that I think we have never had to settle with in this country, which is, what is it that a black mother says the night before the slave auction? When she know she is never going to see her child again?

In a country that, by law, said that she would be property and her child would be property, and needing to express, no, you are human. You have humanity. You have grace. You are important.

And it may take a while for everyone around you to catch on to that idea, that you are human and that you matter. And that one day this country will realize that. That is what that stranger was saying at a time, so far after the ratification of the 13 amendment. And let me say this -- what we saw today was not the best of us.

And let me say this too, that there has never been a time in our history when it`s been without a fight for black people to integrate the most august of our institutions, whether we are talking about public schools or now the United States Supreme Court.

O`DONNELL: Professor Holley-Walker, what were your thoughts as you watch the hearing today.

DANIELLE HOLLEY-WALKER, DEAN AND PROFESSOR AT HOWARD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW: Judge Jackson performed as she did yesterday or the day before with just incredible amounts of dignity and grace in difficult situation. And I can`t agree enough with Professor Goodwin. I think it`s important for us to name, Cory Booker needed to affirm here in that way and why Senator Padilla needed to affirm her in that way.

The treatment of Judge Jackson throughout these hearings I have found to be disturbing and disrespectful. Senator Cruz, Senator Hawley, Senator Graham, and the things that were said to her, as you said, at the top, just not believing her and accusing her of things like being soft on child pornographers.

And I think it`s very important that we name what we saw today because I got so many text messages from black women around the country. And we are talking about lawyers, judges, law school deans who said that this has been my experience as well. And so the disrespect that we saw towards Judge Jackson is something that black women deal with every single day in many work places, and what we saw Senator Padilla and Senator Booker do to firm hurry something deeply touching, in a way (AUDIO GAP) how deeply disrespected black women can be in so many settings.

O`DONNELL: Professor Goodwin, I am happy to discuss the jurisprudence ill challenges presented to the nominee today. But it really is one sentence. It really is, we Republicans believe that the prison sentences that you did issue in child pornography cases, possession of child pornography, should be longer. That was the entirety of their legal approach today. I don`t think I missed anything else that they were challenging her on. That actually had anything to do with being a judge.

GOODWIN: No, you did not. What is ironic here is that Judge Jackson is not accused of having committed some crime herself or having violated under individual, which we have seen before in hearings, both with allegations against Justice Thomas (AUDIO GAP) and also with Judge Kavanaugh, who is now Justice Kavanaugh. We saw her engage with only dignity and grace through this kind of scorched-earth type of proceeding.

And you are right, it took you just one minute to basically explain what was the basic contention that they had with her. And so is really a proxy for something else, all of this about her sentencing, when in fact they looked at only a very slim margin of her record. There are over 500 cases they could have dealt delve into. But it was just kind of cherry-picking that was really about a kind of dog whistle to a base and not really about the deliberative process that they are responsible for doing and it was really irresponsible behavior, because there are other matters, they could have asked her about but they didn`t.

O`DONNELL: Professor Holley-Walker, the issue of sentencing is certainly a debatable one. It`s also something that the Congress can (AUDIO GAP). They can actually write by law sentences that would be mandatory, or a set of guidelines, or arrange that would be much more narrow. They have not done that.

But it`s not something that goes particularly to the qualifications, any kind of qualification, of a Supreme Court justice. They range of sentencing for individual crimes. I just -- I don`t see what the jurisprudential challenge is there.

HOLLEY-WALKER: There really was no jurisprudential challenge. I think we saw Judge Jackson masterfully, over the last two days, talk over and over again when asked repeatedly about her sentencing in these cases to point out that there`s a rule for congress, and there is our role for judges who are applying the law. She very carefully laid out the separation of powers, concerns, and talked about the fact that many of the sentencing issues that they were asking her about were things that Congress has the ability to clear up.

And as a judge, she`s there to faithfully apply the law, which she did. And we saw that -- and she`s right in the median of judges in terms of the sentences that are applied for child pornography, and for all of her criminal sentencing. It has been looked at, and we`ve seen fact-check, after fact checked, after fact checked. Showing that judge Jackson is an outstanding judge who rules right in the middle, in terms of her criminal sentencing.

She is not soft on crime. I think to hear this falsehood repeated over and over again, after she carefully explained her methodology was just not -- it did make this seem not like a confirmation hearing, as much as it was a real trial of her in many ways. And she was not accused of any crime.

O`DONNELL: And, Professor Goodwin, the only other challenge presented to her, was that she actually worked as a lawyer, as a defense counsel, and represented a couple of defendants at Guantanamo Bay.

And this is a principle of American justice that has been around since the founding, and before, the notion that American lawyers do their duty, and step up to the bar, especially when called upon, as public defenders, to provide a defense as the Constitution requires. Again, some of them tried to make that some form of a challenge to a nominee to a Supreme Court. Ice failed to see with the challenges.

GOODWIN: So, Lawrence, I`m so glad you asked about that this is why her nomination to the Supreme Court is so important. When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, then Judge Ginsburg, had her confirmation hearings, she spoke about how important it was that she and her court are never far removed from criminal justice. And she would make an annual trip, and bring the clerks around along, to visited jails in Washington, D.C.

As I have said before, the first ten amendments to our United States constitution are our Bill of Rights. They are to protect people against the tyranny of the state. Most of those amendments speak specifically to protecting and guarding people`s interest as in criminal interest against the state.

The Sixth Amendment itself protects individuals right to be able to have a jury of their peers, and also to be able to have counsel. So this is critically important. And we should honor what she has done.

O`DONNELL: As I put it out Monday night, for the first 127 years of the United States Supreme Court. There wasn`t a single confirmation hearing, not a single question asked of anyone, because all of the nominees were white Christian men, and no one else was allowed to even dream about holding that job.

[22:20:08]

We have seen what`s become of it, when these Republican senators are faced with someone other than a white Christian man. Those are the nominees that they are the most comfortable with. For whom they expect to be dealing with in these positions.

Professors Michele Goodwin, and Danielle Holley-Walker, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.

GOODWIN: Thank you.

HOLLEY-WALKER: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, Ukraine`s government released a transcript of an intercepted phone call, in which Russian soldiers call the war in Ukraine, whatever the Russian word is for bull crap, that`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: We are now less than seven hours away from emergency NATO summit, where President Biden will meet with leaders to discuss the next steps and punishing Vladimir Putin for his war that has claimed the lives so far of officially, on the official count, 121 children.

President Biden arrived in Brussels tonight for meetings with NATO, the G7, and the European Union, where leaders will discuss the military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and more sanctions against Russia today.

NATO announced that it was bolstering its defenses near Ukraine. Doubling the number of troops deployed in Eastern Europe today. The State Department formally accused Vladimir Putin`s military of committing war crimes in Ukraine, citing the indiscriminate targeting of civilians, and civilian infrastructure.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy who was scheduled to address NATO tomorrow called on the world to show support for Ukraine, by rallying tomorrow one month after Russia invaded Ukraine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Come in the name of peace, come with Ukrainian symbols, to support Ukraine, to support freedom, to support life. The war of Russia is not only the war against Ukraine. Its meaning is much wider.

Russia started the war against freedom as it is. This is only the beginning for Russia on the Ukrainian land. Russia is trying to defeat the freedom of all people in Europe, of all the people in the world. It tries to show that only crude and cruel force matters. He tries to show that people do not matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: NATO estimates that between 7000 and 15,000 Russian troops have been killed in the first month of Vladimir Putin`s war in Ukraine. Officials estimate up to 40,000 Russian troops nearly one third of those who invaded Ukraine have either been killed or are injured, captured, or missing in action.

Also today, audio released by Ukraine`s security service reports to capture an intercepted call between two Russian soldiers in which they described Putin`s war as bull shit.

One Russian soldier saying, quote, even Chechnya was better at least it was clear. It`s just bull shit here. Our own plane dropped a bomb on us. This is madness. This special operation that we are not destroying houses, this is all bull shit.

We are joined now by NBC News correspondent Cal Perry in Lviv, Ukraine.

Cal, what is the situation there tonight?

CAL PERRY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You know, it was remarkable, Lawrence. In just a time that President Biden flew from the east coast of the United States here, to Europe, the situation in the battle states and on the ground change pretty dramatically. We`ve had a counter offensive by the Ukrainian military in the capital in the eastern part of the capitol, we now understand they punched through those Russian lines. They move the Russian forces back about 15 miles.

The U.K. ministry of defense, just in the last three hours, said it is quite likely they will encircle and trap a group of Russian soldiers near the city of Irpin. That is where the civilians were being evacuated from earlier this week. Now, in the eastern part of the country, it`s almost as if the Russian army is taking out its military losses on the civilian population.

The situation in Mariupol remains absolute hell. That according to the mayor who says there`s 100,000 civilians still trapped there. He calls them human hostages on the behalf of the Russian military. You can see how that city now more than 80 percent of those buildings completely destroyed, civilians trapped unable to get out. That is the scene that at least two other Ukrainian cities.

The problem now for President Zelenskyy as NATO sits down for these extraordinary meetings is does he push for a cease-fire? Does he allow the Russians to regroup? To regain that military footing? But to allow the civilians that you are seeing right there to maybe get a chance to get out of these cities?

It`s something NATO will be discussing at, it`s something President Zelenskyy will be discussing. And overhanging all of this, Lawrence, 10 million people now displaced at least 4 million of them having left the country that is one in four Ukrainians on the move. Their lives totally upended -- Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Cal, what does it mean to Ukraine that NATO is strengthening the troops strength and in neighboring countries?

PERRY: It means that there is more support, it doesn`t mean there`s a no fly zone, people here still want that no-fly zone I think there`s a sense here that NATO is starting to stage case there`s a further redlined to be crossed President Biden`s comments about chemical and nuclear weapons have peoples attention here.

There is still a feeling here though that more needs to be done and I think you can expect Presidents Zelenskyy to continue to call for that no-fly zone. And to ask leaders of Europe how comfortable they are with the pictures we are seeing on our screens, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Cal Perry, thank you for joining us. Please stay safe, Cal.

And coming up, we will be joined by a Russian intelligence expert as reports surfaced of some members of Putin`s inner circle trying to abandon him with one of them actually leaving the country, that`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Tonight, there are growing signs of dissension in the ranks of the inner circle surrounding Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin is confirming today that Anatoly Chubais, the man you see here next to Putin has stepped down from his role as Moscow`s Climate Envoy making him the highest ranking official to break with Putin over the invasion of Ukraine.

[22:35:08]

Multiple outlets are now reporting that he has left the country and is now in Turkey. In the 1990s, Chubais, oversaw the privatization of the Soviet economy and even reportedly helped Putin get his first Kremlin job in the mid-1990s.

Today, Bloomberg reports that Russia`s highly regarded central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina sought to resign after Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine only to be told by the President to stay according to four people with knowledge of the discussions.

Bloomberg reports that sources say her stepping down now would have been seen as a betrayal by Vladimir Putin.

Joining us now is Andrei Soldatov. He is a Russian Investigative Journalist and expert on the Russian States intelligence apparatus. He is the author of The Compatriots: The Brutal and Chaotic History of Russian`s Exiles, Emigres and Agents Abroad.

What is your reading of what is happening around Vladimir Putin in with his closest advisors?

ANDREI SOLDATOV, RUSSIAN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: While I see a lot of confusion, lots of people and the Russian leads in the financial sector and also in the security services. They feel really unhappy with the way the war is going. And they blame one person, Vladimir Putin, because it looks like not a lot of people that briefed about his planned to invade Ukraine, while in a way he did.

O`DONNELL: And who is Vladimir Putin blaming for what is happening in Ukraine?

SOLDATOV: Well, that`s quite interesting, because right now he is in a month, he attacked three intelligence agencies in the role. He started with war by humiliating the chief of his foreign intelligence agency. And he did that publicly at the meeting of the Security Council.

Two weeks later, he attacked the FSB, for say, bad intelligence about the situation in Ukraine, political situation in Ukraine, and he placed two generals under house arrest. A week later, he got Deputy Head of the National Guard and this troops are involved in a fight in the Ukraine right now. Well, forced him into retirement. So it looks like right now Vladimir Putin decided to attack his own people, people here all this trust the most, the security services and while with the National Guard.

O`DONNELL: The New York Times is reporting this about the defense minister, even Russia`s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, who vacations with Mr. Putin, and has been spoken of as a potential presidential successor has suffered a loss of standing. Mr. Shoigu has not been shown meeting with Mr. Putin in-person since February 22 when he and his top military commander, General Valery Gerasimov, sat at the end of a long table as Mr. Putin on the opposite end ordered them to place Russia`s nuclear forces at a higher level of readiness. What is your interpretation of that?

SOLDATOV: Yes, so that is some mystery about Sergei Shoigu right now, and official version is that he is having some hard problems. But usually he is a very fit guy, and really healthy guy. So nobody actually buying this version. While some rumors may -- there are some rumors that probably Putin is thinking of replacing him, but it is a problem. Shoigu, he is the second most popular politician in the country. And in the past, he got rid of popular generals. So to find the replacement for Sergei Shoigu right now, to find some popular general is a big, big problem.

O`DONNELL: What is your reading of the intelligence that Vladimir Putin had before the invasion, was he given incorrect intelligence about what to expect in Ukraine?

SOLDATOV: Well, here we have a problem. Yes, the intelligence was not entirely correct, because what they predicted, they predicted that complete collapse of the Ukrainian state and the military in a day may be two, but the problem here is that President Putin himself, as we all know, is a former intelligence officer. So he believes that he knows better than everybody else, what is going on in Ukraine, and to challenge him and to give him something he doesn`t like and or doesn`t want to hear would be really risky especially because we`ve been living in a climate of repressions for the last seven years and Putin has been attacking not only the political opposition, but also his own people. That is why we got governors in jail and ministers, and also people from the security services. To say something bad to him, while it`s a challenge.

[22:40:23]

O`DONNELL: Do your sources indicate that they had specific intelligence about President Zelenskyy intelligence that would lead them to believe that Zelenskyy would flee instead of standing and fighting as he has done?

SOLDATOV: Yeah, something like that. They actually they believe that Zelenskyy would be afraid to respond with force to the Russian invasion. And they believed that the whole bureaucracy of Ukraine would collapse immediately. That is why the airstrikes were followed with the immediate attack of the troops, which doesn`t make sense militarily speaking, but they everybody I mean, in the Russian bureaucracy expected the Ukrainian military to collapse very quickly, which never happened.

O`DONNELL: Andrei Soldatov, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

SOLDATOV: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. And coming up, we will bring you an extended uninterrupted version of what Senator Cory Booker had to say in today`s confirmation hearing that left Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson fighting back tears. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:45:40]

O`DONNELL: On Monday, you heard Judge Constance Baker Motley`s son Joel Motley, discussing his mother`s legacy on this program. Constance Baker Motley was the first black woman confirmed by the Senate as a federal judge. In her opening remarks and her confirmation hearing Ketanji Brown Jackson described Constance Baker Motley as an inspiration to her. When Senator Cory Booker`s emotional remarks today turned to Constance Baker Motley. That is when Judge Jackson tried to hold back her tears.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CORY BOOKER, (D) NEW JERSEY JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I love that my colleague brought up Constance Baker Motley. You know, when, when, when she was getting to the floor of the Senate, they were trying to stop her with outrageous accusations. You know what the accusation was back then? She was a communist, dragging up soars, trying to throw anything that they might stick. But this is what you and I know. Any one of us senators could yell as loud as we want that Venus (ph) can`t return to serve. We can yell as loud as we want that Beyonce can`t sing. We can yell as much as we want that astronaut Mae Jemison didn`t go all that high.

But you know what? They got nothing to prove. As it says in the Bible, let the work I`ve done speak for me. Well, you have spoken. You started speaking as a little girl, watching that man right there. Try to raise a family and study law while your mama supported everybody.

You spoke in high school, when you started distinguishing yourself. And you know what you said when they told you couldn`t go to Harvard? Watch me. I went to law school. I didn`t serve on the Law Review. You did. I didn`t clerk at every level of the Federal Court, you clerked for a Supreme Court Justice, one widely respected on both sides, which really shaped you.

You left there and you went to private practice. And you know what you found? This is what you told me that you had those tough choices that working moms have to make, the demands of a private law firm, raising your kids, you went to became a public defender because you wanted to understand all aspects of the law. Who does that?

We live in a society that`s very materialistic, sometimes very consumeristic. You went to people become public defenders for the money. No, your family and you speak to service, service, service. And I`m telling you right now, I`m not letting anybody in the Senate steal my joy. I told you this at the beginning. I have -- I`m embarrassed. It happened earlier today.

I just look at you and I start getting full of emotion. I`m jogging this morning. And I`m at the end of the block I live on. And I get tired because I put my music on loud, I`m jogging, trying to block out the noise of the heart attack I`m having.

And this woman comes up on me practically tackles me, an African American woman. And the look on her eyes. She just wanted to touch me, because I think -- because I`m sitting so close to you. And tell me what it meant to her to watch you sitting where you`re sitting. And you did not get there because of some left wing agenda. He didn`t get here because of some dark money groups. You got here how every black woman in America who`s gotten anywhere has done by being like Ginger Rogers said, I did everything Fred Astaire did but backwards in heels.

And so I just sit here saying nobody`s stealing my joy. Nobody`s going to make me angry. Especially not people that are called in a conservative magazine, demagogic for what they`re bringing up that just doesn`t hold water. I`m not going to let my joy be stolen because I know you and I, we appreciate something that we get that a lot of my colleagues don`t.

[22:50:06]

I know Tim Scott does. When I first came to this place, I was the fourth Black person ever popularly elected to the United States Senate, and I still remember a lot of mixed people, white folks, Black folks work here. But at night, when people are in line to come in to clean this place, the percentage of minorities shift a lot. And so I`m walking here, first week I`m here, and somebody who`s been here for decades, doing the urgent work of the Senate, but the unglamorous work that goes on no matter who`s in offices, the guy comes up to me.

All he wants to say, I can tell, is I`m so happy you`re here. But he comes up, and he can`t get the words out. And this man, my elder, starts crying. And I just hugged him, and he just kept telling me it is so good to see you here. It`s so good to see you here. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

And I want to tell you when I look at you, this is why I get emotional. I`m sorry, you`re a person that is so much more than your race and gender. You`re a Christian. You`re a mom. You`re, you`re an intellect. You love books. But for me, I`m sorry, I, it`s hard for me not to look at you and not see my mom, not to see my, my cousins, one of them who had to come here and sit behind you. She had to be -- she had to have your back.

I see my ancestors and yours. Nobody`s going to steal the joy of that woman in the street, or the calls that I`m getting, or the texts. Nobody`s going to steal that joy. You have earned this spot. You are worthy. You are a great American. Your hero is Constance Baker Motley. Mine, she has sat on my desk for my offices that I`ve held. She`s my icon of America. Her name is Harriet Tubman.

There is a love in this country that is extraordinary. You admitted it about your parents. They loved this nation, even though there were laws preventing them from getting together. When they were loving, there were laws in this country that would have prevented you from marrying your husband. It wasn`t that long ago, it was last generation. But they didn`t stop loving this country, even though this country didn`t love them back.

And what were the words of your heroes and mine? What did Constance Baker Motley do? Did she -- this country that she saw insult and injuries, when she came out of law school, law firms went even hire her because she was a woman. Did she become bitter? Did she try to create a revolution? No, she used the very constitution of this nation. She loved it so much, she wanted America to be America. As Langston Hughes let, wrote, oh, let America be America again.

The land that never has been yet, but yet must be, the land where everyone is free. Oh, yes, I say it plain. America never was America to me, but I swear this oath. America will be. That is the story of how you got to this desk.

Harriet Tubman is one of my heroes because the more I read about this person, the more I mean, she was viciously beaten for whole life. She`s the fall and dispels cracked skull. She faced starvation, chased by dogs. And when she got to freedom, what did she do to cheat rest? No, she went back. Again and again and again. The star was -- the sky was full of stars. But she found one that was a harbinger of hope. For better days, not just for her and those people that were enslaved but a harbinger of hope for this country. And she never gave up on America. She fought, lead troops in the Civil War.

She kept looking up no matter what they did to her she never stopped looking up. And that star was a harbinger of hope. Today, you`re my star. You are my harbinger of hope. This country is getting better and better and better. And when that final vote happens, and you ascend on to the -- onto the highest court in the land, I`m going to rejoice. And I`m going to tell you right now, the greatest country in the world, The United States of America will be better because of you. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson completed her testimony to the Judiciary Committee this evening. The Senate confirmation hearing resumes tomorrow at 9 a.m. Eastern with testimony from additional witnesses both for and against the nomination. That is tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Stephanie Ruhle starts now.