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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  September 18, 2020 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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contributions. but politics doesn't wait for long, doesn't wait for much and doesn't respect much and uncourt natalie i think it's coming. thank you so much to all my guests thank you to all my guests on this sad night justice ruth bader ginsburg has died at the age of 87. msnbc will have coverage all night long "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. good evening from new york i'm chris hayes. some stunning and sad, desperately sad news tonight supreme court justice ruth bad r er ginsburg has died she passed at the age of 87 due to complications of cancer she displayed this almost incomprehensible resilience. she survived cancer multiple times, going through multiple rounds of chemotherapy and still doing her job on the court her workout routines were
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legendary as she beat back cancer time and time again ruth bader ginsburg was one of the greatest lawyers of her generation, an absolute trail blazer for women's equality and women's rights before the law at every turn in her career she argued six cases before the supreme court. she worked for the american civil liberties union and by so doing built up a body of case law that would completely alter the way the constitution interacted with gender and protections for women and men in some places in the workplace she was nominated to the supreme court by president bill clinton back there in 1993 you see her there. she was absolutely beloved by her law clerks, by the people that worked for her. she had a deep and abiding friendship with antonen scalia, her ideological opposite on the court who of course passed away in 2016. she has been lauded for opinions in cases like united states v
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virginia where women were going the right to attend the all male virginia military institute and her dissent in the employment discrimination case. a concern about her health has, of course, lingered. it has stalked everyone who works in democratic politics, particularly in liberal jury ris prudence many wondering what should happen, and now we are there with 46 days to go before the election now, of course, you will remember that the last time a vacancy came up abruptly in an election year, due to a death on the court, antonen scalia in 2016 mitch mcconnell of course within hours of scalia's death very famously announced that they would be not entertaining any nominations for the democratic president, none whatsoever, that
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the senate should not, would not even have a hearing on the duly elected president's nominee. there would be in advising consent because there would be in consent to merrick garland who of course was appointed was stone walled in an unprecedented move never been seen before and of course when donald trump won he replaced him with kneel gor sick in the days leading up to her death, of course, ruth bader ginsburg was thinking a lot about this, apparently not surprisingly she understood what was going on she dictated this statement to her granddaughter. quote: my most fervent wish is that i will not be replaced until a new president is installed. for more i want to bring in justice correspondent pete wi willi williams what do we know? >> we know that she died today at her home in washington. the supreme court is saying that it was pancreatic cancer, which
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is what everyone feared with her. you know, she had four different kinds of cancer, four different battles with cancer, including colon cancer and lung cancer but it was clearly the pancreatic cancer which has a very bad survival rate, that was the most concern and tonight the supreme court said that she died of metastatic pancreatic cancer. the chief justice, john roberts, has put out a statement. he says our nation has lost a jurist of historic stature and we at the supreme court have lost a cherished college today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember ruth bader ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice but i think the question you raised, i mean, we have to lock backwards and forward tonight. we look backwards at her astonishing career, a woman who started out after law school
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unable to get a job anywhere because law firms wouldn't hire her to becoming perhaps, arguably, the most powerful lawyer or the most powerful judge in the country certainly the leader of the courts liberal wing and the person who assigned the opinions when she was in the majority but we also have to look forward to the point that you just made. i think there is little doubt that the president -- clearly they have been prepared for this at the white house they have been thinking about people because of the death concerns about justice ginsburg for the last several months they have been thinking about having to have somebody ready to go, so i assume the president will move relatively quickly as you just said, mitch mcconnell has said that he's determined to do this. never mind the happen that happened with merrick garland after justice scalia died who could never even get a hearing, and the question is i think the questions are twofold. you know, can the republicans do this with the schedule we face
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with the elections coming up >> right. >> but secondly, even if they can, do they have the votes? remember how close it was for brett kavanaugh. and i think you have to ask yourself: would lisa murkowski of alaska, susan collins of maine, would some of those republicans who are on the edge vote for anyone that the president nominates at this point given that we're, you know, the president's first term has almost come to an end and we don't know what the outcome of the election would be. so i think that's a fair question that we have to ask the other thing is is this a practical matter the supreme court's new term will start in just a matter of two weeks. the first monday in october is the traditional time so what it means is we are going to have a supreme court that will have an even number of justices and the last time that happened, when justice scalia died, you know, the court kind of scales
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itself back. when you face the possibility of these tie votes, you know, it's harder to trance act a lot of business on the other hand, it leaves the conservatives now with a determined majority on the court. even though it's just eight justices, there are really now just three liberals. three dependable liberal votes i guess you could say. remember, we have some big cases, including the future of obamacare, a case that will be argued just a week after the presidential election. >> we should also note, of course, that, you know, as we saw in 2000 when famously bush v gore went up to the supreme court and that was decided by a razor thin 5-4 majority with ruth bader ginsburg in that dissint, that protected election litigation could very likely end
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up in an eight-person supreme court if that's what it is, if that seat has not been filled, which would create a situation in which a tie would, if i'm understanding this correctly, uphold decisions but that would be an entirely novel set of circumstances. >> yeah. as a technical matter, a tie doesn't hold anything. whatever the lower court decision remains, it prevails. so that's right. that's another thing to have to worry about in this coming very strange term. >> one more thing that it seems sort of necessary to point out here, just because of her life and legacy is that ruth bader ginsburg was a very committed, both before and after being on the court champion of abortion rights in her jury ris prudence on the court and in her life as a litigant and advocate before that
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there has never been a confirmation about her opening that will so squarely put roe v. wade and abortion rights in the cross hairs or spotlight as a national referendum as this one particularly because justice roberts did side with the liberals in the one big abortion case in this last term striking down a louisiana law similar to texas. you now have a situation where it is always the sub text and sometimes the text of these battles, but inescapably so it would seem to me in this situation. >> if president trump is able to put her replacement on the court, it will be the biggest change in the supreme court's lineup in decades. certainly much bigger than justice brett kavanaugh's replacement of justice kennedy because remember that justice kennedy voted with the conservatives as often as he voted with the liberals. bigger than the replacement of sandra day o'connor by samuel
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alito which moved the court to the right. but that really moves the supreme court decidedly to the right for decades to come. that would be a huge -- a huge change in the supreme court's jury is prudence. >> pete williams, thank you so much for joining us at the last minute tonight with this very sad and monumental news. i appreciate you coming on thank you. >> of course. >> i want to turn to neal katyal, someone who has argued before the court as an oral advocate many times argued before justice ginsburg. your thoughts on her passing >> heart broken. i argued 41 cases in front of her, knew her outside of the court. her husband was a friend of mine at georgetown. and just the loveliest of people and a great jurist and a true american hero. and, you know, like this is
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someone who never missed a day of court until 2018, several rounds of cancer and chemo and the like i was in the courtroom the day after her husband marty passed away she was there delivering an opinion. even, you know, i had just recently been arguing in front of her when she was going through chemo and the like doesn't miss a beat. always really sharp questions. asked usually the first question of anyone and usually that question would get to the heart of the thing so this is not just someone who was, you know, leaves a legacy in all sorts of ways on equality and other things this woman is just darn smart. you know, just analytic power was off the charts and we lost today the best of america, and, you know, there is no replacement for justice ruth
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bader ginsburg i want to circle back to something you said because her husband marty who is a tax law professor and a cherished partner for years, they had a truly incredible relationship. it's just -- it's a wonderful part of the story of ruth bader ginsburg who of course was this remarkable trail blazer in an incredibly mail dominated profession, knocking down barriers against women in that profession time after time and had this relationship with a husband who was so evidently gleeful and supportive of this sort of lifelong career long battle that she waged against those barriers. >> yeah. we could learn so much from the way she lived her life also her friendships across the aisle which we'll talk about in a minute but she was a trail blazer this is the first woman member of the harvard law review, and she had a child at the time. she was the first person to be hired at columbia law school
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she writes the first case book on women's equality. she brings six landmark cases to the supreme court on women's equality she's the second female justice ever in our nation's history and the first female jewish justice ever so we did all those things and part of that was possible because she had a husband, marty, who revelled in helping his wife and learned to cook because she didn't want to do that and she needed more time to write and things like that and what a lovely model for our future to think about and reflect on on that >> i want to bring in to the conversation a professor at new york university, former clerk to justice sonja sotomayor, when she was a judge in the second circuit and cohost of a podcast about the court and lives and breathes and analyzes the court. this is a shoe that everyone knew would drop eventually, but there is something that takes
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your breath away about seeing the news, hearing the ews. >> this is a devastating and incalculable loss. justice ginsburg was not just a hero to so many young lawyers and so many women across the world and in the united states, but she was also the glue that was really holding together the court's fragile liberal wing and obviously her death at this particular time makes that particular position especially precarious of the court. the court is going into an incredibly fraught new term. there is an election looming and the vacancy on the court that justice ginsburg passing presents is obviously something that's going to be much talked about as we go into november. >> melissa, how would you describe -- i'm thinking about she's an incredibly rarefied air that one sort of analog is thur good marshall's career where she was this incredible civil rights lawyer and advocate and then ended up being on the court. ruth bader ginsburg had a
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similar trajectory there is not a lot of people in that category, that go from being the civil rights advocates before the court to becoming a supreme court justice. she's in a very small category. >> and smaller still some have argued that the fact of zealous advocacy on any particular position would almost doom one's prospects for the court today. yes, she and thur good marshall were in the same company she pioneered an entire approach to sex equality that wrote women into the constitution in substance as well as in spirit >> i want to talk a little bit about where we are right now and what it means for the court, melissa, and then i'll go to you and then you, neal there are a million different ramifications here from election litigation to gaming out a set of political judgments that mitch mcconnell is right now making, huddling with people
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about what his best political play is here but it seems to me that roe and the fate of roe and the fate of legal abortion rights in this country has never been hanging by a slimmer thread than it is at this moment as i speak to you, melissa is that a fair characterization? >> i think it is incredibly fair there is a lot of talk this summer when the june medical services opinion came down that it was a huge win for abortion rights and for the lib ceral cause. i was one of the few people mostly women saying this is not a huge win at all in which roe had been narrowly upheld but the substance of abortion rights had been gutted in profound ways i think we will see going forward if the president is allowed to pick justice ginsburg's replacement, we will not have a 5-4 precarious majority, we will have a solidified 6-3 majority. and the chief justice may feel more embolden to join the
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conservative wing in striking down these controversial opinions or at least the ones against his right wing ideology. >> neal, what do you think about the abortion jury is prudence and generally what it means for the direction for the court. >> it has been hanging by a thread i did an audio track about this back in march and read all the cases and became increasingly deeply concerned i think melissa is 100% right about that and more generally, yes. i mean, there are nine seats on the court. up until today we had five justices nominated by republican presidents, four by democratic presidents that doesn't always tell you everything you have a number of important times in which a justice doesn't vote the way their supposed political party would say, you know, most famously this year, justices brett kavanaugh and gorsich voting against president trump in the tax case.
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but there is a voting pattern in which certain justices tend to vote together a lot. to lose justice ginsburg i think really does change that for voting rights and for the gender equality and race equality and any number of other things and so, you know, i think folks should be concerned about what this means for the future of the court, absolutely. justice ginsburg was a critical, important voice. >> there is also, melissa, of course, the fact that the country is in the midst of this just ongoing catastrophe we have lost 200,000 of our fellow americans we're in the midst of a pandemic the president is actively seeking to undermine the legitimacy of elections. and i mean all of us have been very focussed on the role the courts will play as essentially the referee, as an arbiter of electoral legitimacy that was one of the first thoughts i saw when i saw the news, right?
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because there is this sense in which the president has been very clear he has a plan in place to attack legitimacy of the election, should joe biden win and the courts will be people -- the courts will enter into that fray at some point to render some verdicts, and there seems like there could be big effects here as well. >> surely this will be an enormous term for the court, not simply what was already on the docket but what may yet come before the court if this is a contested election all signs point to it will be elected. she was a member of the court, but she didn't believe that the court alone could protect our civil liberties. and she was one of the people that really believed in speaking not just to her other colleagues but outside of the court itself. so i'm thinking of her dissent in the case where she warned congress that the court was not going to be able to think about the question of women's fair pay without more congressional action on the issue. and she told him to take
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affirmative steps to do so and the first law that barack obama signed into law adds president. she was always talking about that in the last statement made to the court before the summer recess ended when her health concerns were announced, she basically said that she was hanging on which i took to mean that she was cautioning all of us that this election was going to be the most important of our lifetimes if for no other reason we would be selecting her successor. i think she's very loud and clear on this. >> yes, particularly the final statement of her life, it appears, dictated to her granddaughter. thank you so much for joining us on short notice on this very sad occasion i really, really do appreciate you guys joining us. i want to bring in my colleague andrea mitchell and chris lu who served in the obama administration through a variety of confirmation battles. he is now a senior fellow at the university of virginia's miller center andrea, let me just start with
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you. she was a legend she was a genuinely legendary figure. >> exactly. >> in the law and in american history. >> indeed. i of course knew her that way. i also knew her personally i knew her, her husband marty. justice ginsburg married me and my husband back in 1997. she was a very important figure in my life i recall after marty died, about two weeks later, i was at a dinner with her in aspen at the aspen ideas festival and it was an honor of justice o'connor's 80th birthday. and she got up and gave such an extraordinary tribute to sandra day o'connor and she told a story about how she was first placed on the court, she was the second woman of course, and she was assigned to write a majority opinion by the chief and she was frightened this woman who had done so much had been so extraordinary as a judge and also of course in her
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private legal work and always first in her class and struggling against all of the discrimination against women but she was so nervous about writing that opinion and she said, i could never have gotten through it. then she did a perfect imitation at this private dinner, this birthday party of sandra day o'connor and said justice o'connor said, just put one foot in front of the other. just do it you have got to do it. and the talked about the sisterhood between the two of them they couldn't have been from more distant lives you know, this jewish woman, you know, from work and of course sandra day o'connor raised in arizona. she could not get a job also when she got out of law school as ruth bader ginsburg couldn't. she told this wonderful story about what the embrace of justice o'connor stiffening her spine and getting her through that first majority opinion when the chief of course justice
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rehnquist assigned it to her and how scared she was, but she became so confident and so strong yes, i've got a bobblehead doll that someone sent me we all have our stories about ruth bader ginsburg, but her love of music, many occasions in washington when we would sit and talk and i can't say i was the closest to her and her friendship with justice scal scalia i know this is a horrible loss for all of those who loved her so dearly and honored her and respected her. >> you made that point about her pop kol churl meme status which exploded in the last five or six years. a former colleague here and friend who wrote this great biography of her. >> exactly. >> what i heard from people is that she really was into that. she liked the icon status.
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>> she did. >> she enjoyed being a kind of pop cultural icon. >> and she had great sense of humor about it, the notorious rbg. she let herself be videotaped during her workout she enjoyed it because, i think, she felt it was kind of amusing and reinforcing for other women, other women that she was such a role model for and also as a cancer survivor i can tell you her ability to work through the treatments and the pain and multiple cancers was just extraordinary. >> andrea mitchell, i know you have a lot of work to do and you were kind enough to share your recollections, and i thank you so much for that thank you for joining us. >> you bet. >> i really want to thank you for that chris, i want to turn to you now for some of the sort of more practical considerations now we're sort of -- i'm trying to kind of juggle on this evening
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two things, which is a tribute to the life and career of ruth bader ginsburg who was legendary. and there are of course the inevitable question of what comes next and now adds someone who served the obama white house through different confirmation battles, what is your anticipation now of what this means and what comes next >> chris, you know, i had the chance to serve during the two confirmations from the obama administration and then also with senator obama when he voted on the alito and roberts nominations. even in the best of times these are very complicated these are very heated. obviously we have seen this taken to a whole new level with the brett kavanaugh nomination look, if anyone is counting on president trump or mitch mcconnell to do the decent thing and to follow the precedent that they set or they claim to set back in 2016 with justice scalia, you would be sadly mistaken that being said, the senate is
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still an independent body. we have, i think, a statement already from senator murkowski from alaska saying she will not vote to confirm somebody until after the election there are a couple institutionalists, folks that are retiring, perhaps a chuck grassley, a mitt romney. but it will be interesting to see because we have moved to very polarized times even if this nomination battle can be pushed off, it's hard to see it does not get filled during the limb duck that period could be one in which there is a contested election that needs to go to the supreme court, leaving aside all of the other cases that are on the court's docket right now, including the fate of aca. so, look, i say to people let us honor the remarkable legacy of justice ginsburg let us think about her family,
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but let us recommit to doing what she would want us to do, which is go out and mobilize and vote >> one thing i would say here and i have covered a number of confirmation battles and covered the aca big legislative fight is that, you know, nothing is done until it's done. people should not preemptively conclude what will happen. it is just not clear these are unprecedented times and wildly unprecedented circumstances. people should not assume that mitch mcconnell, for instance can hold a caucus in the next 45 days i'm not sure he can do that. i'm not sure that's political preferable maybe dangling this for the lame duck is a useful tool for them. so nothing is done until it's done there is a lot of people who thought the aca was going to be repealed within the first 50 days of the trump administration and here we are. >> chris, i think that's a really good point. right now senate republicans are
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on the verge of losing the majority if you are mitch mcconnell, i don't know that you want to put this political baggage on a susan collins at this time that being said, you know, look, the monday morning quarterbacking from 2018 is that having a pitch battle over brett kavanaugh may have helped mobilize some conservatives. that being said, it would just as easily motivated a lot of progressives to come out as well look, you could see the president putting out a nominee. mitch mcconnell pushing this off until after election day and then just making this election simply about the future of the supreme court. and increasing further the stakes on an election that already has the highest stakes >> we should note also here that, just in case folks don't know, that of course there are five justices on the supreme court who are appointed by republican presidents. there were until a few hours ago
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four appointed by democratic presidents ruth bader ginsburg being the fourth of those and there are now three. thank you so much for being with me tonight. >> thank you now i want to bring in a democrat of hawaii, and she sits toen the senate judiciary committee, which is the committee that evaluates nominees first your thoughts about the passing of ruth bader bins gerg tonight, senator. >> we are in deep shock and sorrow and she meant so much to millions, to millions of people's lives, and i know what her last fervent wish was, that she not be replaced until a new president is installed, and that is how we should honor the legacy of this totally remarkable, courageous jurist. and that is to honor her last words that she not be replaced until a new president is
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installed. >> just want to note that the images we are showing there on your screen, of course, are outside the supreme court. where as the news has filled in, people have gathered to mourn and grieve and pay tribute to the remarkable life and career of ruth bader gins gerg wburg wo passed away today at the age of 87 the dying wish of the late justice, does that -- i'm not quite sure how to say this does that matter to your colleagues >> i think it mattered to my republican friend and colleague lisa murkowski, and she has already put out a message that to fill this vacancy now and not wait until 2021 would be a double standard. not that mitch mcconnell cares, but, you know, i'm glad that lisa murkowski who by the way was the only republican who voted against brett kavanaugh
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has put out that statement because what we're calling for is fairness and decency. and there are only 46 days before the election. note that the day that justice scalia died that is when mitch mcconnell made the announcement that it would be appropriate for the voters to decide in the election which was many, many months away. scalia passed away in february he makes an announcement in february the election isn't until november so the double standard that lisa talks about is very much something that i hope will move the republicans, but we shall see. in the meantime, i will look for every procedural tool that i can find to make sure that this does not happen we will do everything we can and this passing, chris, reminds me of when i did have a chance to sit next to justice ginsburg at a dinner two years ago and she talked about her concerns about the supreme court, that
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there would be more 5-4 decisions, and that would not be good for the court because you want to have the supreme court have as united decisions as possible to lay the frame work for other circuit courts and district courts to follow. she was very concerned and i shared that rn can so we talked about the major cases that have been decided in 5-4 decisions. she sad sadly there would be more >> when you talk about the murkowski -- when you talk about any procedural -- senator lisa murkowski's statement is very important for what it signals. her putting it out immediately is very important. that is a signal to mitch mcconnell as he's huddling right now figuring out the strategy but the point you said about procedural obstacles, doesn't a government funding bill have to be passed before the election? and there are talks about that right now. like there is not no leverage there. >> there are probably a number of things that we should be considering, but, you know, we need to think about this
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but my goal is to prevent the replacement before the new president is installed we all love and respected ruth bader ginsburg so much that this with what we should do if ever there was a time to do the right thing, this is it. and this justice, whoever will be replacing justice ginsburg, will be there for decades. the lasting legacy of the trump presidency will be all of the id you logical total right wing judges that he has placed on our federal courts for life. and they will be making decisions on the aca, on lbgtq rights, labor rights, human rights, individual rights. and already this supreme court has shown that it is much more willing to protect corporate interests over individual rights and, therefore, i will do everything i can to figure out how we can stop a replacement
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from happening but believe me, chris, what's going to happen is that there will be a lot more calls for supreme court reform if there is a replacement. but we're not there yet. >> yeah. >> let's honor ruth bader ginsburg first and foremost. >> well, one more question, and this relates to her legacy, as i said earlier she was a very stall wart champion of abortion rights, both in her career before the court and on the court and her writings on the court. and of course there was a decision, you know, in louisiana law that was struck down by the court. justice roberts joining the four liberals, including ruth bade r ginsburg how front of mind is that? how much is that something that the american people should understand as a sort of political consequence that roe v. wade, the law of the land for decades, is under threat in a
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very real way. >> and it certainly is and in justice brett kavanaugh, you have somebody who is overtly against abortion rights. he has made that very clear even in the short time he's been on the supreme court. yes. as well as individual rights, workers rights, union rights, you name it. these are all in peril if trump gets to put -- force another person on the court that is id logically driven those are the only kind of judicial knee nominees that have come before our committee. pretty much all we have been doing is confirming more judges. >> yeah. >> that's all we do. >> that's wild. >> when literally the country needs support and help with millions of people out of work and does mitch mcconnell feel a sense of urgency about that? nope he feels a sense of urgency to
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fill every single judicial vacancy. i'm hopeful there will be other courageous lisa murkowskis among the republicans. let's see if they have the guts to do the right thing. >> i thank you for joining us. thank you so much for being with us i want to bring a colleague on the judiciary committee as well. senator corey booker, a senator from new jersey who also serves on that key committee. a moment that many feared inevitable at some point, of course but your reaction to finding out the news today >> you know, this has been a year of such grief and such profound death for america, 200,000 americans almost dead from a coronavirus, losing heroes, john lewis and now a
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woman to what thur good marshall was for civil rights he was a champion for women's rights in our country. and then on the court as a -- as a law student, as a lawyer i mean, so many of the things that she did inspired. and even when she was writing in the dissent, i still remember in her shelby decision, this decision that gutted the voting rights act that john lewis fought so nobly for. right now is like getting rid of an umbrella during a rainstorm because you don't think you're getting wet anymore. she was just truly one of the giants of our nation and our nation's ideals. and this is just a deeply, deeply sad night and i just grieve for not just her family but i really do grieve for our nation and the loss that we see now in her. >> yeah. it really has been a freaking hard year for everyone, i think.
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and obviously this is another -- another thing to mourn and to grieve what happens in your life on a night like tonight as a u.s. senator? like, is there a text chain of the judiciary stems that you are talking about? is there going to be a phone call tonight is there a tragedy meeting people need to grieve, but i just feel like mitch mcconnell is probably going to start the wheels in motion in one way or another. >> well, your phone explodes and calls start coming in and you are -- your heart is torn between just grieving and being in the moment and feeling the loss and then also trying to think about the implications and it is hard not to. and if i could just show you all the unopen texts i have where i see the top lines of them of people who are fearful tonight about what might happen from the
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very legitimacy of the supreme court being undermined because, you know, it is worth reading what mitch mcconnell's words were the american people should have a voice in this election of their next supreme court justice. therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president. that was -- that was mitch mcconnell. lindsey graham, you know, to read from him, he says, and i quote, if an opening comes in the last year of president trump's term in the primary process or process has started, we will wait until the next election and, so, i don't know. i think your wise words earlier in your program were really right. none of us know what's going to happen we know what should happen, resolutely, unequivocally. we know that this seat should not be filled until after the next presidential inauguration but i think you said it right where we just don't know and
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people who are trying to predict this, the question is really the levels of integrity of each and every senator, each and every republican colleague of mine who gives floor speech after floor speech to justify the blocking of merit garland, the denying barack obama of a choice, more than 250 i think between 250 and 300 days before the next election i heard their justifications on their floor. and, so, this is going to be a big test of integrity. and i worry because if it goes the wrong way, we will have a lot of challenges in our republic for the legitimacy of our institutions and people's faith in government leaders and government officials so tonight i hope we all mourn i hope we don't tread over this loss i hope we don't just run by this greatness. i don't care what your political background is. this was a lifetime servant to the ideals of this country, and
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we should stay here for a moment and take our time to honor and respect and revere a great american and i know this will evolve in the days ahead but tonight i know that a lot of americans hearts are hurting >> the supreme court has been -- it has been a struggle sometimes to get democratic voters or some democratic voters to focus on the courts there is polling that indicates there has been an asymmetry, often in the prioritizatiopriorn you see it in the legislative sense in mitch mcconnell that's all you guys do in the senate he doesn't do any legislating. he passes must pass spending bills and confirms judges. that's it. what's the message to folks about the importance of this institution at this incredibly
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perilous moment? >> well, i learned, chris, that anger is a good emotion, as long as it's not channelled into negative manifestations. i have a lot more anger these days not for those americans who support a different candidate than me. my anger is for those people who don't understand what's at stake and want to sit on the sidelines. this is a life and death issue and i'm not being overly dramatic life or death issues on the ballot look at what's happening right now with the affordable care act, expanded health care for millions of americans. look at the difference between medicate expansion in some states versus those not being expanded in other caplaces from issues you have shown such scholarship on, criminal justice, to drug pricing to the environment justice issues
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plaguing so many communities whose children are addled with lead this is a life or death election there is so much on the line here i understand people that have different views than me and support different candidates i do not understand, i do not understand how someone with so much is on the line for so many people could not be engaged in this race, could not get up and care enough about your country and your country men and women to vote. and if there is any greater reminder now, we now possibly see the balance of the supreme court being held so if there is any election for you to vote on and to get up and do so for your ancestors, for two generations is this election and i'm sorry. it's going to take me a while to have patience with people that don't understand the urgency and don't participate. >> let me just say this. and it's that i think this is going to be a moment when there is going to be calls and expectations from people,
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precisely because the urgency said, to see democrats do everything in their power obviously within what you can do to stop filling a vacancy, right? there is a -- fortune favors the bold and i think that thinking outside the box procedurally on all those things, like whatever tool is at your disposal in the democratic senate leadership, people are going to mobilize to put pressure on you to use it. and i'm sure you understand that now, particularly having gone through that brett kavanaugh confirmation that there is -- you know, people are looking for leadership, too, that is going to fight, that understands the dynamics of power here and the stakes of it >> well, i understand the privilege that new jersey has given me, not only being a united states senator but to be on that judiciary committee. and i will stand up for what's right without any equivocation
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whatsoever and as you already surmised, there are conversations already going on among judiciary committee members and senators and discussions about how to move forward again, my prayer for my nation, not just for my own political perspective, my prayer for my nation, for the sacrosanct institutions of which we speak, the senate may have compromised its integrity over recent years, but the supreme court, if mitch mcconnell makes the wrong decision here, i just worry about the integrity and legitimacy of the court. >> senator corey booker of the great state of new jersey sits on that senate judiciary committee, which is going to be the focal point of much of the nation's politics already this evening. thank you for making time tonight, senator i really do appreciate it. >> thank you. all right. this is fantastic. joining me now my good friend and someone who i want to speak to about this as much as anyone in the world right now, rebecca,
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writer at large at new york magazine this is -- this is the nightmare scenario that has been dreading. you and i have discussed it for years and months, but it is now here what are you thinking and feeling at this moment >> i'm feeling shock that is probably irrational because this was something that everybody knew was a possibility every day. you know, if -- the timing of the news, it was very sudden i didn't -- there had obviously been recent news that she was ill with cancer and then she had been out in public so i feel surprised and horrified and chilled and i think everything that millions of people are feeling. i'm very scared, and i'm very sad. >> what do you see as the most sort of immediate pressing
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concerns politically i mean, again, what corey booker said here and what others are juggling the sense of mourning and the urgency of the last words of ruth bader ginsburg she obviously understood this and it loomed over her for the many years of her life in ways that it almost seems unfair and burdensome and prison like she knew that when she was fighting cancer she was fighting to both stay alive and to live out through the trump administration but the dynamics of this political moment. >> yeah. i mean, there is nothing that has happened, not only over the past four years, but the years that preceded those. there is nothing about mitch mcconnell's senate that would lead me to believe that there would be anything that anything would happen here except that they rammed through the justice
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of their choice. this is what the right wing has wanted this is what the right wing had been planning for. the right wing wants control of the court. and it has gotten it in recent years, and mitch mcconnell was willing to do outrageous things and break every rule in order to maintain control of the court with a democratic president. and he still has a republican president. and i don't -- you know, i just saw and i don't -- i just saw news that lisa murkowski has said that -- >> she did. >> -- she would want to wait but are we going to find enough people who are going to wait ernst was talking about how she didn't see voting for a justice even if donald trump lost the presidency there was an interview in the last two months in which joni
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ernst said that. i don't see a scenario where sort of reason and protocol and norms suddenly take hold and we wait to see who the next president is and what the will of the american people is. i don't feel a lot of optimism on that front. i hope i'm wrong to not feel optimism >> i want to put a -- read a statement that chuck schumer just tweeted out in which he, i think, just tweeted the words of i think that's exactly what mitch mcconnell said in 2016 after scalia's death the american people should have a voice in the selection of their next supreme court justice. therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a next president that is word for word mitch mcconnell's statement about scalia's passing in 2016 i want to follow up on the politics of the senate, but also just -- i mean, look, ruth bader ginsburg was a feminist giant. this is a year of and an era of
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sort of like reckoning around race and gender particularly between me too and black lives matter, not so incidentally with donald trump as president and losing her at this point coincidentally and losing her a day after yet another woman came forward saying the presidents of the united states sexually assaulted her. what does it mean to you >> it is the world's most chilling and horrible poetry this has been the project of the american right wing since the great social movements and political and legal shifts of the mid 20th century has been to reverse all that progress. the american rights had been working on this for decades and not just during the trump administration this has been a project for decades. you had the voting rights act. you had labor protection and you
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had environmental protection and you have even decisions like june medical services which some people read. the road to making abortion, everything but illegal is open and we are traveling down already. the major legal victory. this is the first day of in-person voting in virginia >> yes >> for the election and the day of the voting, perhaps for democratic president is the day that ruth bader ginsburg died. if she's replaced, i have reason to believe she will be by donald trump and by the republicans of the senate i would like to think, you know, earlier in this election when we
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have sights about liberal and left wing policy reform. there were some talk about court reform and seems unlikely to me that biden administration, not big crashing around and structural organization - the senate confirmed it is not just ginsburg's seat, lifetime appointment. trump appointed lifetime judicial appointments. the courts are stacked right now by donald trump and by republicans. i do think that one of the things we should, i hope that there is a conversation about what there is that could be done about this and the possibility of court reform. >> here is the one thing that i think and i want to hear your responses. the one thing that i think is not to lose silence is public
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opinion has moved. we have seen remarkable changes. it is so important for people not to be scared of their own shadow roe v. wade is popular overturning roe v. wade is unpopular. when you call the question that way, when you call the question century -- this is it, you get durable majorities >> 60% or 70% even in some purple and red states. >> this is massively important for somebody to understand don't be scare of a frontal or
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political fight on roe v. wade support for roe v. wade retun y routinely coming in at 65% >> you raised an interesting point. this moment should not be a moment where anybody thinks it is over. that's an instinct i have had within the past hour one of the easiest things to think is well, that's it, it is done it can't be. it is only done when there is nothing we can do. the fight has to happen. it has to happen from the democratic party and it has to happen around public opinion and around the expression of refusal to permit the system to be p corroded the way they had been if barack obama had been able to appoint his justice, this would not mean the thing it does now
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that was a breaking of how this country works. and we have to fight harder against that there has been a denialism including the democratic party about how hard republicans were willing to fight to get thwhat they wanted. those who are horrified and chilled to their bones tonight in addition to being agonizingly sad and scared need to remember what got us to this moment was a right wing that was willing to fight as hard as ehell over a periods of deck kaadedecades they fought and got here, where the death of one 87-years-old woman. those who are horrified at this moment has to be ready to do and willing to do and think of
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creative and energetic driven way to maintain the fight to keep this world from happening >> i want to bring some news that we saw chuck schumer's statement. mcconnell has a statement on the passing. i can't read it off the screen the key point is president trump's nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the united states senate. he has thrown down the direct opposite of what he said a year ago. i want to bring in vanita gupta. the mcconnell's statement is not surprising at all. this is the thing he lives for almost more than anything is confirming young right wings judges on federal courts
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>> that's right. >> he's been doing all this week while sitting on a bunch of legislations this is what anyone expects from mcconnell. there can't be any confirmation or votes on - >> we just lost vanita gupta right there. >> rebecca -- >> i agreed with what she was saying >> not surprising and not surprising that people are marking out this territory right now. it is what happens i do think to your point, lisa murcowski's statement struck me interesting and it is interesting she got ahead of it. and susan collins who's someone you have profiled and reporting on and spending a lot of time in maine. >> i am in maine right now >> i don't think it is good for
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her. >> in this election she's already trailing maybe i am wrong but your read from where you are >> it is one of the things have hit her the hardest and she has been hit hard. it is going to be a close election in maine. there was a poll that had her 12 points down which was astou astounding she's in trouble and has to fight hard and one of the thins that she is hit hardest on is her vote for justice kavanaugh and one of the things she prides herself on is votes for the president's choice for the supreme court across the board i think this will be a hard moment for her >> vanita, i am sorry you got cut-off. >> nobody is surprised by senator mcconnell's statement.
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what we need to understand that voters are voting as we speak in states like virginia the american people need to be able to decide this next nomination and confirmation. there should not be a nomination until inauguration the history of mayor garland, we know everything at stake i say this to rebecca, too there is going to be a fight like never before. people understand what's at stake. we understand what rbg is and how her legacy is and how it is going to touch every single women's life in america. people are nerenergized in this country right now. we are going to throw everything we can at this and there are simply no rational or reason, we know senator mcconnell will do everything he can. i do not view this as a done
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deal at all. we have to keep our eyes on all of that. this is going to energize voters and women in particular. >> vanita gupta and rebecca, you are both joining us on a short notice on an extremely sad, shocking head-spinning night thank you for joining us that's "all in," "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. >> chris, i have been watching you, i am compelled and it is beyond my means to not ask you what you think and what do you think will happen next >> i think -- i don't think mcconnell obviously can hold the caucus together for a vote in the next 45


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