tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN September 19, 2020 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
you're in the cnn "newsroom." i'm ana cabrera in new york with our continuing breaking news coverage. the death of justice ruth bader ginsburg is now setting up an historic fight on capitol hill with just 45 days to go before a pivotal election. gi ginsburg's last wishes for the country, politicians to step back. to wait until november. wait until the voters decide who will be the next president,
before pushing ahead to fill her seat. but in less than 24 hours since we learned of her death, cnn has been told president trump wants to announce a pick before the first presidential debate. that's just ten days from now. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell appears to be on the same page. vowing that trump's nominee will get a vote. but this just in. vulnerable gop senator, susan collins, now saying, wait a minute. the vacancy should be filled by whoever wins the presidential election. as senate democrats send an open letter to judiciary chairman, lindsey graham, making that same argument. let's go, right now, to capitol hill. our senior congressional correspondent, manu raju, is there. manu, tell us more about senator collins' statement and what it could mean for the path forward. >> well, i could tell you this had been expected from the republican leadership. collins had signalled, first, for a couple of weeks that she was unlikely to get behind any effort to fill a supreme court
vacancy, should one occur. and in the aftermath of ruth bader ginsburg's death, she's making her first statement making it clear she did not think it makes sense or the appropriate move to fill this seat. she says, in this statement that she just put out, given a the proximity of the presidential election, however, i do not believe the senate should vote on the nominee prior to the election, in fairness to the american people, who will either be re-electing the president or selecting a new one. the decision on the lifetime appointment to the supreme court should be made by the president who was elected on november 3rd. now, to dissect this a little bit. she has not said, explicitly, if she would vote no, automatically, on a nominee, should a vote occur before the election. or after the election, if president trump loses, and there is that lame-duck session of the senate between november and january. she's not saying she would vote no. perhaps, she will. we are asking her office to clarify if that is her position.
so if she is an automatic no, then, mitch mcconnell, senator majority leader, can't afford to lose three more senators. right now, majority is at 53-47 for the republicans. if it goes down to 52-48, if collins breaks ranks, then, democrats will need to pick off three other republicans to stop this nomination in its tracks. and right now, that's what everybody is looking at. who are those three other republicans? now, senator lisa murkowski of alaska is someone who's indicated that she is unlikely to go forward with a nomination before the november elections. now, that was before ruth bader ginsburg's death. afterwards, her office has not said where she stands. where will other senators come down? including, cory gardner of colorado. in a difficult re-election race, himself, what would he do? several other vulnerable republicans, ana, have indicated they will be with the president, like thom tillis of north carolina, kelly loeffler, mcsally of arizona.
those are among the senators that said they would back the president going forward. but then, there are some veteran senators and others like mitt romney, who has not said what he'd do. so there's going to be a lot of tensi attention and focus on whether any republicans will break rank. but right now, mitch mcconnell urging his colleagues not to take a position. and he is telling them keep the powder dry until they return to washington next week. >> that's right. and we've already seen senator lipd still lindsey graham flip flop, twice, from what he saying in the past few years. and today, he is changing his tune. so there's so many dynamics right now. manu raju, we know you will stay on top of it for us. thank you. let's go to ryan nobles in fayetteville, north carolina, where the president is holding a rally. wow. look at the crowd there. i know the president hasn't even left to arrive and, already, a lot of excitement appears for his visit there.
the white house wants to announce president trump's nominee before the first presidential debate. that's less than two weeks away. can you tell us more about who that might be? >> yeah. i will, ana. but first, i just want to point out speaking behind mright now s senator thom tillis, who is up for re-election here in north carolina. and he, of course, among these group of senators that will weigh in as to who president trump will nominate to replace justice ginsburg. and he is among those that's come out to say he will support the president's timeline and just one part of the backdrop as this campaign has really been sent for a loop because of the death of the supreme court justice. and getting back to your point about who the white house is thinking about right now. you know, they have never made a secret about who their favorites are, in terms of potential supreme court justices. in fact, it's one of the reasons many of his associates believe
he was elected because he wasn't afraid to put out a long list of potential jurists he thinks could fill that role. and he's done that recently. put an updated list of potential people. and we have a list we'll point out. but the name republic ps seemano be coming back to over and over again is amy coney barrett. this is someone that the conservative base could really get behind. now, she could face some opposition because of her opposition to abortion rights and some other areas. she will certainly get some tough questions by members of the senate judiciary committee, as a result. but, ana, i have to point out being at a political rally like we are now, we can't escape the specter of the election here. they are going to be talking a lot, today, about the fact that the supreme court nomination is up. and conservatives, particularly the ones that show up at rallies like this, want the president to
move quickly as possible. >> ryan nobles, thank you. joining us now, paul begala, he is author of the book "you're fired." the perfect guide to beating donald trump. also with us, amanda carpenter, and former communications director for ted cruz. she is author of the book "gas lighting america why we love it when trump lies to us." paul, i wanted to start with this statement from senator collins. democrats have to be encouraged to see that statement, right? >> i don't think they are. i think they've been dealing with senator collins an awful long time and she can find weasel words and wiggle room to get out of it. as manu reported, she doesn't say i will oppose -- she's like i'd rather the senate not vote. we will see. she's in a terribly tough race in maine.
she's behind to sarah gideon, the house speaker in maine. but a flood of mitch mcconnell's dark money going into that race to bolster susan collins and i think she will find her way to support mitch mcconnell. because i think mitch mcconnell's going to direct a lot of dark money into her race. >> as manu reported, to keep their powder dry, in his words. after collins' statement, does he need to be worried about other republicans saying the vote should wait? >> i think he's got to be happy with what people like thom tillis are saying. i mean, thom tillis has committed to supporting the president's nominee, before he or she is even named so that's pretty striking. i think you have to think about the republican perspective when it comes to getting this thing through. there are so many republicans in the senate, all over capitol hill, who didn't want to get on board with trump in 2016. and how did he win them over? he said it's got to be about the courts. i will deliver conservative judges to you.
and he's done that, twice. given how chaotic the past four years have been. they've gone through impeachment and everything else. it baffles my mind to think these senators would turn another opportunity to fill a seat right now. i think they are going to move as quickly as possible. i think they have to do that to appease their base. i mean, donald trump runs a base election. imagine how the base would feel if, somehow, the republican senate screwed up an opportunity to get that third seat. so i think everything goes toward moving this extremely fast, and there will be a vote before the election, whether susan collins likes it or not. and if you read her statement carefully, she said she wouldn't like that vote to be held. she hasn't said whether she would vote yes or no. >> but, paul, do you see any advantage for any republican in the senate right now to vote against a nominee that the president puts forward? >> oh, you know, this is -- we're in the middle of a pandemic. and this is a health care election and this is going to be a health care supreme court nominee. the affordable care act and its
protections for people with pre-existing conditions is coming before the supreme court on november 10th. just a week after the election. this is one of the reasons i think mcconnell and trump want to rush it through, so they can get a supreme court justice who will take away our right to protections against pre-existing conditions. the fifth circuit already said, no, no, no, and they threw the whole thing out. this is the most important issue in america, already, before the tragic loss of justice ginsburg. but this is a health care nominee. and we'll get to roe versus wade. we will get to the other issues but the pre-existing condition case is coming to the court in a matter of weeks. that's why trump wants this person on there, to overturn the protections we have for pre-existing conditions. >> we heard ryan talk about how this is something that could really fire up the conservative base, amanda. and i do wonder if republicans were to wait to vote until after the election, do you think this could drive anti-trump republicans to the polls to vote
for him? >> no. i think there would be far more republicans who would be upset that they are wasting this golden opportunity to bribe them to the polls, essentially, in november. i think that would backfire pretty quickly. i think everything goes in the interest of republicans doing this now. i mean, just think about all the problems this solves for mitch mcconnell. if the next month is about nothing other than a supreme court nominee. the next month will be focused on hearings, rolling out this nominee, grand ceremonies, kamala harris will have to come off the campaign trail to do her duties in the senate and the judiciary committee. i mean, this shifts the focus onto ground that they think is very favorable to them. it's better than talking about coronavirus. it's better than talking about donald trump's tweets. and so, if we want to talk about how a conservative justice will rule on the aca, they will be more than happy to do that. >> listen. >> we are one vote away from
losing our fundamental constitutional liberties. and -- and i believe that the president should, next week, nominate a successor to the court. and i think it is critical that the senate teaakes up and -- an confirms that successor, before election day. >> amanda, ginsburg's dying wish, we've learned, was not to be replaced until after the election. and after, you know, the -- whoever was elected had a chance to put forward their nominee. do you think republican senators consider that, at all? >> i think they may consider it. but that's not going to be a factor in their decision-making on -- on this. i mean, i -- i do think we have to think about it from this perspective. should -- there's a number of vulnerable republican senators, who may lose their seats. what happens if we actually wait to do this after the election? and say, susan collins loses. martha mcsally loses. maybe, donald trump loses.
are all these losing republican senators, then going to be in position? i think that would be even worse. and if you do want the american people to have a voice, it should be decided by the people running that are accountable to voters now. >> amanda carpenter, paul begala, appreciate you. thank you. coming up, a former clerk of justice ginsburg is going to share her memories of the liberal icon. but, first, a flashback. >> so, final question. help me finish this sentence. okay? there will be enough female justices on the supreme court when there are? >> you know what the answer is. when there are nine, of course. lysol laundry sanitizer kills 99.9% of bacteria. detergent alone can't. lysol. what it takes to protect. ®
appointed to the u.s. supreme court. she was not afraid to lead the way, and certainly not afraid to stand alone. my next guest, kelsey, had the opportunity to work very closely with justice ginsburg as a law clerk in 2013. kelsey, what kind of impression did she make during your time working with her? >> she is even more of a superhero, up close, than she is from far away. i know that everyone has a sense of her brilliance. but it's not until you're really working with her, day to day, that you get the full scope of her encyclopedic knowledge of every single piece that was before the court. every decision she had ever written. every statute was at the tip of her tongue. it was extraordinary. and her intellectual rigor and commitment to excellence, i was in awe. >> and i understand, when you
actually interviewed with her, there was some -- some bonding over being mothers. can you tell us about that? >> there's a well-known story that justice ginsburg graduated the very top of her class, both columbia and harvard where she transferred from. and she was recommended by the dean of harvard for a clerkship with justice frankfurter and he was initially willing to consider hiring a woman as a clerk. but when he found out that she was a mother, he decided that was too much and he cooperauldn hire her. ultimately, she didn't get to clerk at the court. it was interviewing to me. at some point, i mentioned that i had two children. and she smiled and asked me their ages. and maybe a minute later, offered me the clerkship. and i know what it meant to me, at that moment. i imagine it was a joy to her, to be able to give that opportunity to me. and i was just one of many, both male and female, clerks who were with her in chambers, while also
being parents. >> and we see this picture of your kids alongside her with their shirts that say team rbg. what a beautiful picture. justice ginsburg, we know, worked so tirelessly to expand women's rights and equality. but you say, in this current, political climate, her legacy has taken on a new significance to you. how so? >> yeah. i think that's right. you know, when her first ascension into worldwide fame was in 2013, after she wrote that dissent in shelby county. which is the case where the court struck down most of the voting rights act. and you might remember, there was a meme that was trending, at the time. it was a picture of her with a chalk crown and it said you can't spell truth without ruth. i love that so much because i think it captured her legacy, so well. she was a truth teller. our system of law has always privileged the perspectives of
the powerful. and what the justice did, when she began her career over half a century ago as an advocate for gender equality, was to say that the stories that the law tells us about who belongs where, who is capable of what. they're not true. men can be caretakers. women can be primary income earners. and she changed the law to reflect the lived experiences of the people it had ignored. and she continued that. that was her life's work during her four decades. i think to all of us, said that's not the whole story. look over here. women subject to discriminatory pay. factory workers who can't effectively organize. she was using her voice to bring marginalized people into the story of our legal system and in a way that no one has -- has ever todone, before.
>> so well put. ke kelsiings thank you so much for your time. and my sympathy for the personal loss you may be feeling today as well. >> thank you. >> some breaking news, just in. president trump speaking, moments ago, the white house ahead of his arrival to north carolina. and even gave clues to who that next supreme court nominee is likely to be. and he took on gop senator, susan collins, who we just heard said she wants to see the senate wait until after the election to address ruth bader ginsburg's seat. stay with us. i've been taking prevagen on a regular basis for at least eight years. for me, the greatest benefit over the years has been that prevagen seems to help me recall things and also think more clearly. and i enthusiastically recommend prevagen.
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breaking news. president trump speaking just moments ago after calling for a new supreme court pick, without delay. let's listen. >> so we are going to north carolina. we have a packed place. and it's going to be, i think, very exciting, as it was last night in minnesota. that was an incredible event. we have some very big news on tiktok. tiktok is moving along. we are dealing with oracle, which you know of. larry ellison. and we are dealing with, as a combination, walmart. walmart, a great company. great, american company. the security will be 100%. they'll be using separate clouds, and a lot of very, very powerful security. and they'll be making about a $5 billion contribution toward education. and we're going to be setting up a very large fund toward the
education of american youth. and that will be great. that's their contribution that i've been asking for. but, we'll see whether or not it all happens. but conceptually, i think it's a great deal for america. that he will they'll be hiring at least 25,000 people. it will most likely be incorporated in texas. it will be a brand new company. it will have nothing to do with any outside land, any outside country. it'll have nothing to do with china. it'll be totally secure. that will be part of the deal. and that will be, both, oracle, as you know, and walmart. and i think it's going to be a fantastic deal. the technology is superior to anything in the world. and we like that. and again, a lot of jobs, a lot of money. a lot of money for our country. billions of dollars of taxes will be paid, every year.
and hundreds of millions of users and they'll be happy. so everybody will be happy. it's a severance. it'll continue to be named tiktok, as it was, all along. and that's it. that's it. so i can say that i have given the deal my blessing. if they get it done, that's great. if they don't, that's okay, too. but it's a great deal for america. and very interesting. >> you approve the deal? >> i approve the deal, in concept, yes. well, we'll see what happens. we'll be talking to people, soon. we have great respect for the process. this has happened numerous times. and every time, there was a nominee, as you know. there's been many occasions where, frankly, it turned out to be during a presidential year. i think i heard 28. but whatever it may be.
but, in all cases, they wept forwa went forward. but we want to respect the process. the process will move -- i think it's going to go very quickly, actually. i agree with the statement put out by mitch mcconnell. i agree with it, actually, 100%. i put out a very similar statement you saw. so i think we are going to start the process extremely soon, and we'll have a nominee very soon. >> [ inaudible ] >> and tell, they're going to report the full scope of the deal very soon. very soon. but it'll be totally controlled by oracle and walmart. all of the control is walmart and oracle. two great, american companies. and you have the combination of the walmart, that's obvious, and the high tech of oracle and the genius of the two leaders of those companies. okay?
>> [ inaudible ]. >> who said that? >> senator collins. >> i totally disagree with her. we won. and we have an obligation, as winners, to pick who we want. that's not the next president. hopefully, i'll be the next president. but we're here, now. right now, we're here. and we have an obligation to the voters. all of the people, the millions of people that put us here, in the form of a victory, we have an obligation to them. to all of those voters. and it's a very simple thing. so i would disagree. if that's what she said, that's not the way i read it. i read it differently. but -- but if that's what she said, i totally disagree. >> do you have a short list? >> i do. i have a short list. i've had a short list, for a while. we added a number of people onto the list and previous lists. we have about 45, altogether.
i do, indeed, have a short list. i've -- i've gotten to know many of them from a legal standpoint, from a sophisticated understanding of the law, from a constitutional standpoint, i think it's the greatest list, ever assembled. and i think the other side should show their radical, left list and i think you'll be surprised. >> well, she is very highly respected. i can say that. >> [ inaudible ]. >> i could see, most likely, it would be a woman. yeah. i think i can say that it would be a woman. i would -- if somebody were to ask me now, i would say that a woman would be in first place, yes. the choice of a woman, i would say, would certainly be appropriate. say it? she is an extraordinary person. i have heard incredible things
about her. i don't know her. she's hispanic and highly respected. miami. highly respected. >> [ inaudible ] that was an election year. why should your pick get a chance to move forward in ap election year? >> well, that's called the consequences of losing an election. he lost the election. he didn't have the votes. when you lose an election, sometimes, things don't work out well. and by the way, i have to say this. judge garland is highly respected. i have a lot of respect for him. i do. i have a lot of respect for him. but it's the consequences of an election. >> do you expect a vote before the election? or after? >> well, i don't know. we're working with all of the republican senators and working with mitch mcconnell. and we'll be making a decision, i would think, before would be very good. but we'll be making a decision. i think the process can go very, very fast. i'll be making my choice, soon. and when the choice is made, i'll be sending it over to mitch
and the senate. and they will do what they have to do. i think we'll have a very popular choice, whoever it may be. but we'll be sending it over to the senate. i think the choice will be next week, yes, i do. i do. okay? so we'll see you, some of you, in north carolina. okay? thank you very much. >> let's go, live, now, to cnn's boris sanchez at the white house for us. boris, as we just listened to the president heading off to north carolina, what stood out to you in those remarks? >> ana, really, the timetable he has to make this choice to nominate a potential replacement for ruth bader ginsburg. the president saying at the end that he believes within the next week, he will be making this choice. and we do have a bit of breaking news from our colleagues, kristen holmes and ryan nobles. they have spoken with people close to the president who believe he is likely to wait until after the burial of ruth
bader ginsburg to announce his decision. that coincides with what we have heard from other sources, who've told us that the president wants to put his choice out there before september 29th. and that first presidential debate. further, the president making clear that a woman would be in first place. that he intends to nominate a woman. the president, as we've heard from sources, has been thinking about this for a while. we have been told by sources that, earlier this summer, the president, in a private conversation with aides, expressed his eagerness to nominate a woman, in part, because of polling. president has seen polls that show that he is doing poorly among female voters. and he believes that nominating a woman to the supreme court would boost his standing, going into november. further, the other thing that stood out, a preview potentially of some of the battles the president is going to have within his own party. with republicans, like senator susan collins, who believe that voters should ultimately decide the fate of this opening on the
supreme court. the president dismissing k collins' statement saying as the winner of the 2016 election, he has an obligation to voters to install the replacement for ruth bader ginsburg. notably, the president was asked about two specific names that we have heard that are on his short list from sources. the first. amy coney barrett. she is an appeals court judge on the 7th circuit. she first came up after justice kennedy retired as a potential replacement for kennedy. ultimately, choosing brett kavanaugh. but he said she is a very respected person. also, asked about barbara lagoa. she is an appeals court judge in the 11th circuit in florida. the president noting that she is an hispanic woman from miami. saying he doesn't know her,
personally, but that she is an incredible person. a ton of news coming from president trump. headlined by the fact that he believes he will nominate a pick to replace ruth gadbader ginsbu within the next seven days. >> thank you. let me bring in manu raju, live, on capitol hill for us. he disagrees with senator collins who announced, just in the last hour, she wants to wait to see the senate wait until after the election to vote on ruth bader ginsburg's seat. in fact, the pick should be made by the person who is elected on november 3rd. can mitch mcconnell afford to lose more than just one? and -- and do you have any sense that there is that potential that he wouldn't be able to get a supreme court pick through for the president? >> anything is possible. at the moment, it's unclear where those four total centers would come from. those four centers would have to defect to sechlkessentially sto
nomination in its tracks. other than susan collins, whether they vote no is a question. it's also a question whether collins, herself, would actually vote no. we have asked that question to her office. we have not heard back, yet. lisa murkowski of alaska is someone to watch. she said any nomination should wait until after the election. she has not said, yet, whether she will vote no against a president nominee either now or after the election, in a lame-duck session of congress between november and january. also, some others who have been critical of the president. mitt romney of utah. he has not said what he'd do. also, chuck grassley. former chairman of the senate judiciary committee. in june or july he told me they should not move forward if a vacancy were to arise. he has not said what he would do now that there is a vacancy on the court. but most republicans are pretty confident they will ultimately get the votes just given how
partisan an affair it is to get a nomination through. republicans tend to join republicans. and democrats tend to join democrats. so they are pretty confident they can get someone through. ana, just one point. the president made a curious argument about saying this is different than 2016, why merrick garland, president obama's nominee. the president said it's due to the consequences of losing an election. but, of course, barack obama was president. at that time, he had won his second term. it was the final year of his second term. it was march of 2016 when he named someone. now, there are just 45 days left before the november election and the republicans are pushing ahead. so that is an argument they're going to have to make to the american public and you are hearing them make different arguments on why they are taking different positions on this nomination fight. >> let's turn to the democrats' side and perhaps what they plan
to do moving forward. senator dick durban is joining us, now. thank you so much for being with us. you are a member of the judiciary committee. we just heard the president say he is moving forward, quickly, on a supreme court pick. i know you don't want that. your colleagues wrote a letter to lindsey graham to say as much. but realistically, what can you do to stop him? >> well, four years ago, the scalia vacancy, senator mcconnell made the announcement that we would leave it open, literally, for a year to wait for the presidential election, to see what the american people wanted done. now, he's completely reversed himself because it's to his political advantage with the president to move forward. so there are some members of the senate, i understand at least two, republicans, who have trouble with that kind of contradiction and hypocrisy. >> we just heard from susan collins. which one's the other that you can confirm for us? >> i can just tell you, press reports reports, senator murkowski has expressed the same thing. i think you just heard that from
manu, as well. but the second thing we cannot overlook is this is not just a political squabble among the big shots in washington. what's at stake here is issues like health insurance covering pre-existing conditions. one of the first cases the supreme court will take on. choice questions. women's rights, moving forward, in the wake of losing one of the leaders in our history, in terms of forcing the debate in america on women's rights. so it goes way beyond differences between politicians. >> right. i hear you. but what can you do about it, when you're on the minority? and when you have a republican president and a republican majority in the senate? >> i can tell you, we have a number of senators, on both sides of the aisle, who are up for re-election. they're going to hear it at home. this is going to change the conversation, in many of these senatorial contest. and some of them will have thoughts on changing the very position they were arguing for four years ago. it's a hard thing to explain.
>> the president said he is most likely going to pick a woman. what is your reaction to that? >> i think it's a good idea, as long as it's the right woman for the supreme court. >> i get why, politically and ideologically, you wouldn't want to fill a vacancy right now with republicans in power. but i just want to flout this new poll that showed 67% of americans, all, support holding hearings and voting for a supreme court vacancy during an election year. now, could it backfire on democrats if you don't listen to the majority of americans? >> i think, when the american people come to realize it just isn't matter a of -- of the precedent, which i think is thoroughly established. it isn't a matter of who is the more dominant political party. but it comes down to issues that affect them, personally. when we do a poll in illinois and ask people, in the middle of the worth public health situation they have seen in modern history, what's the biggest issue? you know what it turns out to
be? whether i can get health insurance to cover me if i turn up at some point or some member of my family turns up positive with a covid-19 test. and the republican position, to take away the protection of americans when it comes to health insurance for pre-existing conditions is a re red-hot issue in every state. and i will tell you when this question of mcconnell versus trump versus schumer versus whoever. it comes down to the real issues that affect american families, it will be a different debate. >> did you discuss, on your strategy call today with democrats, what you would do if democrats took control of the senate in november? would you add seats to the supreme court? >> well, we basically have kept options open. but we'd rather see this go through the regular process, that senator mcconnell announced, four years ago, that all of the republicans stepped forward and said we believe in this approach. we don't fill vacancies on the supreme court in the last year of a president's term. we'll wait until the american people choose the next
president, who will make that decision. >> well, as you know, their argument, now, is the american people chose republicans, twice. in '16, as well as in 2018. and that's why they think it's their duty to pick this next supreme court nominee. president trump has put out a list of potential nominees that he would put forward. should joe biden do the same? >> no, i don't think that's -- it's appropriate, at this point. >> why not? >> what i'd like to see -- well, he will have his time to do that but he's in the course of a campaign that has some six and a half weeks left to go. >> couldn't that be beneficial for voters to know, transparently, who he would want to put forward? couldn't that help democrats drive people to the polls? >> that -- that's up to joe biden to make that decision. but to call on him, at this point, to publish a list. this is unprecedented. i think donald trump was the first to do it. and we know most of these names and their backgrounds and why they're being chosen. but in terms of where we're going, i trust the judgment of joe biden, former vice president
of the united states, when it comes to selecting a new nominee to fill the vacancy on the supreme court. the question is, to the american people, who do you trust to pick a person who's likely to be in a position to decide your health care? to decide a woman's right to choose? whom do you trust? do you trust president trump? off or do you trust joe biden? >> why would it hurt him to put forward a list? why not put a list out? >> i don't know if that's in the cards, or not. i'd leave that entirely up to joe biden. >> would it be a disadvantage for him to put forward a list? >> i don't think it works, in either direction. i think it boils down to is it's a question of judgment. we know who president trump will choose. we know what they'll likely decide, in terms of your family's health insurance and then a woman's right to choose. and on joe biden, we know that he is going to stand up to make sure the affordable care act is there to protect families in the middle of a public health disaster. >> senator dick durban, i really
appreciate your time. thank you. tomorrow, bill clinton joins cnn's jake tapper ton state of the union to reflect on the life and legacy of justice ruth ginsburg who he put on the supreme court back in 1993. that's tomorrow at 9:00. we'll be right back. p it! yeah. whoops! but julie has resolve pet expert. its latest formula attacks odors at the source. no odor. no stain. no nothin'. whatever happens, no big deal. resolve.
welcome back. the death of supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg could potentially change the balance of power in the highest court in our country and reshape the 2020 presidential election. president trump today signaling he is prepared to move very quickly to fill ginsburg's seat. he tweeted this morning we were put in this position of power and important to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of united states supreme court justices. we have this obligation without delay. as we just heard him say, he is thinking it may be a woman and he plans to make this decision
very soon. if trump gets his way, republicans would have a 6-3 advantage on the supreme court. back in 2016, senate republicans blocked former president obama's supreme court nominee, merrick garland amid gop howls that it came too close to the 2016 election so they held that for 11 months. joining us now, timothy snyder, who wrote the book "on tyranny." thank you, tim, for being here. how do you see justice ginsburg's death impacting the election and what it means for america's democracy? >> well, i think it's important first to reflect on what shem t meant. i think the two things she'll be remembered for and the things she changed is equal protection for women under the 14th amendment, in the case she argued and won in 1971, reed versus reed, and then her
correct and prophetic dissent in 2013 in shelby county versus holder when she rightly said that if we take the heart out of the voting rights act, american states will start to pass voter suppression laws, which turned out to be true and has brought us in part to before we are today. so the thing that worries me about what's coming up is that the supreme court -- you know, it's always the most unrepresentative of the three branches. it's unrepresentative now also in the sense that its body of opinion is far to the right, i think, of the average opinion of americans. and now we're reaching a situation where that can be pushed even further while violating a precedent which the republicans set four years ago. so i worry that president trump may be pushing people past a tipping point and that the democrats will respond in a way which will also violate norms, which up to now have held. so i'm worried above all for the
supreme court itself. >> i want to read you what former obama advisor david axelrod had to say. he says, quote, if donald trump and senator majority leader mitch mcconnell ram through a replacement now, the scotus will have a majority of justices appointed by presidents who finished second in the popular vote, confirmed by senate majorities who represented less than a half of the country. a tyranny of the minority. he uses that word tyranny. do you see it that way? >> so this i think is what is wrong about how president trump is justifying his decision. he's essentially saying that we can do it, therefore, we should do it. but the whole point of the supreme court is to actually stand as a check on the other two branches of government, which means that our choices about it should be as free of partisanship and politics as possible. it's not about what you can do here, it's about what you should do. if i were the republicans, i would be thinking what is -- not
only what is the right thing to do, but what's the reaction going to be if, as you say, a president who lost my 3 million votes joined by senators who represent a very small percentage of americans do something to affect the interpretation of the constitution. the constitution which begins, of course, with the idea that the entire framework of american law comes from the people. we pushed ourselves too far away from that and we'll have problems. >> i think of all the uncertainty in the country right now. you just wrote a book with america's failures and responding to the coronavirus pandemic, but the president has made some people doubt whether their vote will counting. now we have this uncertainty on the supreme court. just how precarious is our situation right now? >> it's very precarious, but it's precarious in the ways that ruth bader ginsburg was quite properly worried about in 2013, it's precarious in the ways that african-americans have faced for
the last hundred years and more. it's a situation where what citizens do matters much more than it usually does. we've only got a few weeks to this election. people have to vote and people have to be ready to protest and people have to be ready to say the government is in our hands, not in the hands of people who are trying to take our representative institutions away from us. so it's precarious, but we're also in a situation which can be met with success. >> we mentioned your book, and i know you just went through an incredible health battle of your own during the time of covid and you got a chance firsthand to see what is wrong with america's health care system right now. we know one of the next supreme court's topics will be obama care and what is going to be the future of health care in america right now. what was your biggest takeaway from your experience, and what is on the line right now? >> i'm glad you asked that, because i think there's a big mistake in the way we think about health and freedom in this
country. we think we have to choose between the two of them. but when you're nearly dead, you realize that if you can't talk, you don't have free speech. if you can't move, you don't have freedom of assembly. if you can't see a future, you don't have freedom at all. this is true on a broader case as well. our country has spiraled downward in terms of health and freedom. if we want to have more freedom, we have to have better health care. if you want to have better health, we have to have more freedom. this question of voting is related to the question of health. if americans could vote more easily, we would have better health care. and if we had better health care, we would be less anxious, less fearful and more free. it's very important for americans to have better health care so we can be a freer country. there's no need to choose. we can have both. >> well, thank you so much, again, as always for joining us. timothy snyder, his books are "our malady, lessons in liberty
from hospital diary" and "on tyranny." that does it for me. cnn's chris cuomo picks up our coverage after a quick break. be sure to tune in for "rbg, a look at the inspiring life and career of an extraordinary woman." that airs tonight at 10:00 right here on cnn. have a great night. i'm a verizon engineer. and i'm part of the team building... ...a powerful 5g experience for america. it's 5g ultra wideband, and it's already available in parts of select cities. like los angeles. and in new york city. and it's rolling out in cities around the country. with massive capacity. it's like an eight-lane highway compared to a two-lane dirt road. 25x faster than today's 4g networks. in fact, it's the fastest 5g in the world. from the network more people rely on. this is 5g built right. only on verizon.
hey, everybody, i'm chris cuomo. welcome to a special saturday edition of "primetime." of course this is the jewish high holiday of rosh hashana. what was supposed to be a sweet new year is going to begin in mourning for many. a high court legend is gone. justice ruth bader ginsburg died on the cusp of the new year of her faith and also before the most divisive election in some time. so what's the situation? here we are being reminded of the best in a jurist in