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Charles Schumer on Principles & Values

Democratic Sr Senator (NY)


1998: demanded 10 debates; 2010: declined all debates

Jay Townsend is trying to set up a debate with his Democratic opponent, even if it's a cardboard proxy. Townsend today called out to a cardboard cutout of incumbent Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., requesting that the real version take up one of the five debates he said several media outlets had requested the two have.

After reading off an anecdote about Schumer calling for multiple debates against his opponent Al D'Amato in 1998, Townsend, a marketing executive, said "if 10 debates was right for Sen. Schumer in 1998, I would think at least one is appropriate in the year 2010."

"I do believe New Yorkers are entitled to hear a vigorous exchange of our view," he said after declaring that this year's elections will determine the destiny of the country. While Schumer's refusal to engage in a debate with Townsend is a major focus of his campaign, he said that it is not defined by it. "I'll be happy to debate the imaginary Chuck if I have to," said Townsend, eyeing the cutout beside him.

Source: Politics-on-the-Hudson coverage of 2010 N.Y. Senate debate , Oct 7, 2010

Voted with Democratic Party 96.5% of 315 votes.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), was scored by the Washington Post on the percentage of votes on which a lawmaker agrees with the position taken by a majority of his or her party members. The scores do not include missed votes. Their summary:
Voted with Democratic Party 96.5% of 315 votes.
Overall, Democrats voted with their party 88.4% of the time, and Republicans voted with their party 81.7% of the time (votes Jan. 8 through Sept. 8, 2007).
Source: Washington Post, “US Congress Votes Database” , Sep 8, 2007

Alito responds, but doesn’t really answer questions

SEN. SCHUMER: You testified yesterday that you’d keep an open mind. Isn’t that right?

ALITO: I did and I do.

SCHUMER: Now are you aware of any nominee in the history of the republic who has come before the Senate and testified he’d keep a closed mind?

ALITO: I’m not aware of that. But I can only speak for myself.

SCHUMER: This morning’s newspapers were filled with headlines to the effect you would keep an open mind. My friends on the other side of the aisle have repeatedly said you’ve answered over 200 questions. Now it’s probably 300. But a response is not an answer. And you’ve responded to more than 300 questions but, in all due respect, you haven’t answered enough of them. And so, again, I think we ought to make clear that, at least to many of us here, we haven’t gotten the answers to questions, yes or no, on some important issues.

Source: Sam Alito Senate Confirmation Hearings , Jan 11, 2006

Nominees must prove they’re not extreme

While every Supreme Court nominee has a great burden, yours, Judge Alito, is triply high. First, because you have been named to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the pivotal swing vote on a divided court; second, because you have been picked to placate the extreme right wing after the hasty withdrawal of Harriet Miers; and, finally, because your record of opinions and statements on a number of critical Constitutional questions seems quite extreme.
Source: Sam Alito Senate Confirmation Hearings , Jan 9, 2006

Plans to be a good senator, but may not serve a full term

Q: If you are elected or re-elected in November, do you plan to serve a full term?

O’GRADY: Yes.

SCHUMER: The only thing on my radar screen is to be a good senator. But I never say never.

MILLS: Yes.

Source: [Xref O’Grady] 2004 NY Senate Debate, excerpted in NY Times , Oct 17, 2004

Voted YES on confirming of Sonia Sotomayor to Supreme Court.

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee kicked off the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor. In her opening statement, Judge Sotomayor pledged a "fidelity to the law:"
"In the past month, many Senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy. It is simple: fidelity to the law. The task of a judge is not to make the law--it is to apply the law. And it is clear, I believe, that my record in two courts reflects my rigorous commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its terms; interpreting statutes according to their terms and Congress's intent; and hewing faithfully to precedents established by the Supreme Court and my Circuit Court. In each case I have heard, I have applied the law to the facts at hand."
Reference: Supreme Court Nomination; Bill PN506 ; vote number 2009-S262 on Aug 6, 2009

Voted NO on confirming Samuel Alito as Supreme Court Justice.

Vote on the Nomination -- a YES vote would to confirm Samuel A. Alito, Jr., of New Jersey, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Reference: Alito Nomination; Bill PN 1059 ; vote number 2006-002 on Jan 31, 2006

Voted NO on confirming John Roberts for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Vote on the Nomination (Confirmation John G. Roberts, Jr., of Maryland, to be Chief Justice of the United States )
Reference: Supreme Court Nomination of John Roberts; Bill PN 801 ; vote number 2005-245 on Sep 27, 2005

Religious affiliation: Jewish.

Schumer : religious affiliation:

The Adherents.com website is an independent project and is not supported by or affiliated with any organization (academic, religious, or otherwise).

What’s an adherent?

The most common definition used in broad compilations of statistical data is somebody who claims to belong to or worship in a religion. This is the self-identification method of determining who is an adherent of what religion, and it is the method used in most national surveys and polls.

Such factors as religious service attendance, belief, practice, familiarity with doctrine, belief in certain creeds, etc., may be important to sociologists, religious leaders, and others. But these are measures of religiosity and are usually not used academically to define a person’s membership in a particular religion. It is important to recognize there are various levels of adherence, or membership within religious traditions or religious bodies. There’s no single definition, and sources of adherent statistics do not always make it clear what definition they are using.

Source: Adherents.com web site 00-ADH6 on Nov 7, 2000

Profiled in "Jews in American Politics".

Schumer is profiled in the book "Jews in American Politics":

When one reads accounts of Jews in American politics, the common theme is that Jews have achieved prominence in art, literature, academia, certain businesses, and entertainment, but not in politics or government. The Jewish politician was the exception, not the rule.

In the last third of the 20th century, however, that pattern changed. By 2000, Jews had become as prominent in the political realm as they have been in other aspects of American life. And Jewish participation is accepted for the contributions these activists make, not because of their Jewishness. Nothing could symbolize this trend more cogently than the nomination of Joseph Lieberman for vice president in 2000 and the national reaction to his candidacy. [Lieberman says]:

Although politics was not exactly a Jewish profession, individual Jews did throw themsleves into the democratic process. Some were traditional politicians; others machine politicians. Many more, such as Emma Goldman and the radicals of the early 20th century, were inspired by the ideal that they had a duty to repair the world—Tikkun Olam.

Many reasons account for the broader representation of Jews in American civic life today. The forces of antisemitism have been relegated to the extreme margins of society, the principle of meritocracy has increasingly opened the doors of opportunity. Moreover, the idealism and purpose that were spawned by the movements for civil rights, opposition to the war in Vietnam, environmentalism, and other causes drew many Jewish Americans into the political arena. Jews are admonished tp help perfect the world by the ancient wisdom of Rabbi Tarfon, who tells us, “You are not required to complete the task, yet you are not free to withdaw from it.”

[This book] provides brief biographical sketches for more than 400 Jews who have played prominent roles in American political life. The roster provides much of the basic information that we felt was previously lacking in one place.
Source: Jews in American Politics, Sandy Maisels, ed., pp. xii-xxiii 01-JIAP0 on Jan 1, 2001

Rated 100% by the AU, indicating support of church-state separation.

Schumer scores 100% by the AU on church-state separation

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2006 AU scores as follows:

About the AU (from their website, www.au.org):

Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom. AU is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans.

Americans United is a national organization with members in all 50 states. We are headquartered in Washington, D.C., and led by the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director. AU has more than 75,000 members from all over the country. They include people from all walks of life and from various faith communities, as well as those who profess no particular faith. We are funded by donations from our members and others who support church-state separation. We do not seek, nor would we accept, government funding.

Source: AU website 06n-AU on Dec 31, 2006

Other candidates on Principles & Values: Charles Schumer on other issues:
NY Gubernatorial:
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Bill de Blasio
Howie Hawkins
Kathy Hochul
Mike Bloomberg
Rob Astorino
Zephyr Teachout
NY Senatorial:
Kirsten Gillibrand

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Page last updated: Aug 04, 2014