AMY GOODMAN: Our guest is Congressman Jerrold Nadler. He represents New York’s Eighth Congressional District. It goes from the Upper West Side down right to Ground Zero.
REP. JERROLD NADLER: To, in fact, Coney Island.
AMY GOODMAN: In Brooklyn.
REP. JERROLD NADLER: Yes.
AMY GOODMAN: Speaking of districts, are you interested in the Senate seat?
REP. JERROLD NADLER: Certainly.
AMY GOODMAN: And what is the politics that goes on behind this?
REP. JERROLD NADLER: Well, that’s very hard to know. This is an appointment. It’s entirely internal to Governor Paterson’s head. So one doesn’t really know what the politics is. Obviously, the people supporting Senator—I’m sorry, the people supporting Caroline Kennedy think that a public campaign would be helpful. Other candidates have not been doing it. I have not been doing a public campaign. And no one really knows.
AMY GOODMAN: Have you talked to Governor Paterson privately?
REP. JERROLD NADLER: Yes.
AMY GOODMAN: And do you think Caroline Kennedy is qualified to be senator?
REP. JERROLD NADLER: Well, that’s up to Governor Paterson to decide, and I’m not going to comment on that. All I’ll say is that I think that’s the wrong question, and the press has been asking the wrong question. The question should not be is Caroline Kennedy or any other individual, for that matter, qualified, because the assumption there is if you meet the certain minimum qualification, you’re entitled to the seat. The question ought to be the same question anyone hiring someone for any responsible job would ask, and that is, is this person the most qualified of all the available candidates? That’s the relevant question.
AMY GOODMAN: And why do you think you’re the most qualified?
REP. JERROLD NADLER: Well, I think all the candidates think they’re the most qualified. I think my record in Congress is a very progressive and forward-looking record. I think I’ve shown very good judgment. I was one of the few downstate people who voted against the war, against the PATRIOT Act. I’ve taken a leadership role on civil liberties, on economic development. And I led the battle against the—I led the battle for eight years against the Bankruptcy, so-called, Reform Act of 2005, which we now recognize as probably responsible for maybe a third of the foreclosures that are going on in this country.
AMY GOODMAN: Which Vice President-elect Joe Biden championed.
REP. JERROLD NADLER: Well, he supported it. About a third of the Democrats in the House voted for it. And I think my record on economic development in New York, in terms of port development and transportation, has been a very far-seeing record. But, you know, all of this is for the Governor to weigh, and other candidates have other merits and other accomplishments, and he’s got to weigh all of them.
AMY GOODMAN: In terms of how you fit in with the new Obama administration, the path you’re taking now, pushing, for example, 1531, which would—well, which urges President Bush not to pardon people, this is not the path of the Obama administration.
REP. JERROLD NADLER: Well, we don’t know what the path of the Obama administration is, as I said earlier. We will see. I certainly hope that the new administration will recognize, and there are comments from the President-elect and from Eric Holder, who’s going to be the new Attorney General, and from other people, all over the lot on this, frankly, so it’s impossible to predict. But I would hope that they would recognize a necessity to investigate whether crimes were committed and, if they were, to prosecute them, and not—more to the point, not to hold high government officials automatically exempt from the normal processes of justice, because to do that is to loosen the bonds that protect us all.