tv The Mehdi Hasan Show MSNBC July 3, 2022 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
tonight, on the mehdi hasan show, the supreme court's conservatives are trying to overturn american democracy. why aren't democrats doing enough to stop them? i will ask congressman mondale jones. plus, should the justice department work the working harder to indict donald trump, as former -- lisa graves. then, looking at the state of our union on the eve of america's birthday. my conversation with scholar and intellectual, cornell west.
good evening, i'm mehdi hasan. let us be clear what happened. a democratic president was elected to office in the midst of a once in a generation crisis, he entered into the white house with a mandate for the american people, a clear authorization for the president to push ahead with eight ambitious legislative agenda. but, a major obstacles hands in his way. a right wing, reactionary supreme court, with very little public legitimacy. sound familiar? this week, the supreme court wrapped up one of its most controversial terms in modern american history, scaling back decades of progress in the matter of near weeks. we've actually been here before, following a landslide victory 1936, president franklin d. roosevelt was elected to a second term in office. securing what was, at the time, the largest popular vote tally in american history. fdr's victory sold out of not
only a personal win, but a decisive victory for his signature legislative agenda, the new deal. despite the program's popularity amongst the american people, it face some serious opposition at the nation's highest court, over the years, fdr watched as the supreme court, led by a group of ultra conservative justices known as the four horsemen, chipped away, one by one, and several key pieces of that legislation. fresh off his reelection victory, though, roosevelt decided he had had enough. in 1937, he unveiled a plan to expand the supreme court, increase in the number of justices from 9 to 15. take a listen to fdr explaining his reasoning for the proposal in one of his famous fire side chats. >> we have, therefore, reached the point as a nation, where we must take action to save the constitution from the court and the court from itself. we must find a way to take an appeal from the supreme court
to the constitution itself. we want a supreme court which will do justice under the constitution, and not over it. in our courts, we want a government of laws and not of men. >> we must take action to save the constitution from the court itself. powerful words. we actually know how this plan worked out, the proposal was never adopted, and a number of justices remained at nine. but, we should be very hesitant to call that a failure. because, while his plan to expand the court never came to fruition, the political pressure campaign he lead was ice out of the a success. the threat of expanding the bench, seem to be enough to convince owen jay roberts. yes, justice roberts by then, a key swing vote to side with the liberals, saving cornerstones of roosevelt's agenda, such as the minimum wage and social security, and a short time
later, one of the four horsemen would retire. the end result, that supreme court would never again strike down a new deal law. for roosevelt, the mere threat of action seem to be enough to get the court in line. now, fdr's presence has loomed large over joe biden's presence, quite literally. his portrait hangs over the fireplace in the oval office. but biden seems unwilling, unable to heed the lessons of history. biden doesn't favor expanding the court, or saving the constitution. from the court itself. doesn't favor threatening the court expansion, following the reversal of roe v. wade. reuters reported that biden and his officials are concerned the more radical moves to -- would be quote, politically polarizing, ahead of november's midterm elections. ridiculous, in my view. his own press secretary, korean john perez went on the record to say that expanding the court's something that the president doesn't agree with, that's not something a wants to
do. the truth, is i just in the number of justices on the bench, it is not as polarizing and radical as some cautious dems would have you believe. as the court's own website acknowledges, the number changed six times before settling it nine in 1869. and even since that date, the number of justices on the bench hasn't always been consistent. need i remind you of 2016, when republicans launched an 11 month blockade a mayor garland's nomination to the supreme court, in the wake of antonin scalia. they kept the supreme court and just eight justices for almost a year. and they are stating the stage to do something similar again. mitch mcconnell has said he won't commit to any hearings for a biden scotus pick, if his party retake the senate and he becomes majority leader in 2023. radical is not changing the size of the court, something that has been done many times before, including by the republican six years ago. radical is what this current court has been doing over the
course of its most recent term. the far-right roberts court has ruled back abortion rights, dealt a deadly blow to the separation of church and state, strict these states ability to determine their own gun ntrol policies. curb the federal government's ability to tackle climate change, and, well, govern, and allowed multiple gop led states to go ahead with functionally racist voting maps. you are worried about being polarizing, mister president? unelected justices, five of them were appointed by presidents who initially lost the popular vote, and they are getting our basic rights. that is what is polarizing. but, if those decisions that we just put on the street green, they don't scare the hell out of you? well, maybe this will. on thursday, the supreme also announced he would hear -- the harper, that case is a challenge for the north carolina supreme court striking down of a gerrymandered congressional map, on the grounds that he violated the state constitution by giving republicans an unfair advantage. gop lawmakers want to throw out
that ruling, arguing that the u.s. constitution's elections clause gives state legislatures to determine how congressional elections are conducted. without any checks or balances from chased a constitutions or courts. you may have heard this referred to as the independent state legislature theory. it is the bunkers theory that trump lawyer john eastman was pushing on 16. right now, republicans control both legislative houses in 30 states. meaning, if this theory is enshrines by the supreme court, those republican state lawmakers will have the ability to choose their own congressional districts look like, but who should run in them, and how election both congressional and presidential is decided. they will have the parted throats foes in swing states like georgia and michigan, without any state court oversight, and all with the blessing of the supreme court. to be clear, the conservative justices on the highest bench in the land, having overturn roe v. wade, are now only months away from helping to overturn american democracy as
we know it. for now, though, we still have a democratic president, and democratic, house and democratic senate. so, shouldn't they be doing everything in their power to save our democracy? to stop this rogue supreme court? joining me now is one of the democratic parties few outspoken court reformers, new york congressman mondale jones. congressman, welcome back to the show. the chair of the republican national committee, running mcdaniel's tweeted today, that if democrats expand their sentiment already, they will pack the court. make no mistake, she says. i wish that were true, i wish you were right. the great irony is, the leaders of your party are not advocating do that. they are silent on this issue, or have come out against it, even as this roker court overturns roe and tries to overturn democracy itself. i wish wrote to mcdaniel's were right. >> i wish you are right to. i wish more of my democratic colleagues have the political courage to meet this moment, many. you know that i introduce this legislation with -- adler, and hank johnson a year
before we saw justice alito's draft opinion overturning roe v. wade. because, i knew that we would arrive at this point. my colleague scoffed me at the time that i introduced the bill, in april of 2021. of course, the american people are on our side, when you look at poll after poll. and thankfully, we do have about 58 has members who are supportive of adding four seats to the supreme court, but that is not nearly enough. we can't pass the women's health protection act, after getting rid of the filibuster, which we obviously need to do. but this supreme court has shown a willingness to strike down newly enacted laws by congress, they did so with the decision after decision of the voting rights act, which have been authorized nearly unanimously. i'm under no illusions anything short of court reform, specifically adding seats to the supreme court, is going to preserve fundamental rights permanently. >> i keep asking on the show, what is to stop the supreme court from shooting down a
codify roe? nothing. i want to read you a quote from a recent reuters article, based on white house sources. it says, quote, biden and officials are concerned that more radical moves would be politically polarizing ahead of november's midterm elections, and undermine public trust in institutions like the supreme court, or lack strong legal footing. isn't that infuriating to you, congressman, that a reactionary right-wing supreme court pact by the gop, overturns roe, sobs gun controls, undermines the epa, and the white house things that reacting to that, that is what would be politically polarizing. that is what would undermining -- their cause. how they got it backwards? >> of course have it backwards. obviously, the polarizing thing is the degradation of the fundamental rights in this country. whether it is the right to abortion, which is a 50 year old constitutional right as recognized by the constitution roe v. wade. or of course, eminently, the right to contraception, and the right to marriage equality, and the right to same-sex intimacy.
all these things were pointed, to him justice thomas's concurring opinion as things that are now under question. this court is on a rampage, and it speaks to how out of touch this white house is, that it would think that somehow meeting this moment by explaining to the american people what we will do if they come out to vote in november. is somehow going to be more polarizing and damaging then actually the status quo, where people are really hurting millions of people seen their rates taken away from them. we know that black and brown people, and lgbtq queue plus people who bear the brunt of no longer having the right to an abortion. >> this idea that people should go out and vote harder, and not tell them what they should be voting for, is just bizarre to me. you say the court is on a rampage. you and i agree on court expansion, we haven't talked about other things, potentially, on the table for reformers. how far would you go, congressman, when it comes to supreme court reform? would you, as some are now
arguing, vote to strip the court of jurisdiction over certain areas for example, voting rights. because, a lot of people don't know, this congress, under the constitution, technically has the power to circumscribe the courts jurisdiction and reach. >> yes, many of these ideas are my ideas that are introduced in the house. and, i have to tell you, when we were talking about hr one, and we are accepting amendments as the house of representatives, i tried to get a provision in the original version of hr one, that would deprive the supreme court of jurisdiction to review the constitutionality, and legality of that statute, because we have seen that this supreme court majority, this far-right majority is hostile to democracy itself. if we are to vote on the women's health protection act for the second time this term, i am pushing to include a provision to deprive the supreme court of review of that statute. there is precedent for this, it has been done before, and it is a practice that has been upheld
before. we know that most of the cases of the supreme court decides, it is only able to decide because the jurisdiction that congress has explicitly legislated it to have. the constitution is very narrow in terms of the scope of jurisdiction that it grants to the supreme court. we have tools at our disposal here. >> i do hope your congressional colleagues, and i do know the white house are listening to this, congressman mondale, drones as ever, thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> coming up, i will ask for murdered be the attorney general lisa graves, if she was a merrick garland's shoes today, would she indict donald j trump? s, if she wa a merrick garland's shoes today, would sh
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cassidy hutchinson's testimony from the january 6th at like committee, can only be described with where that i don't have to use that often, bombshell. >> something to the effect of -- they're not here to hurt me. let the people in, they can march to the capital after the rallies over, they can march on the ellipse, page take them away, then they can march to the capitol. >> in the wake of a stunning revelations like that, i'm left wondering, how is would she describe not a crime? a sitting president of the united states, knowingly urging unarmed mob to storm the capital? today, the committees vice
chair, liz cheney, a republican, said they make multiple criminal referrals of trump to the justice department. but, and there's always about. the new york times is reporting that donald trump is eyeing an unusually early announcement that he's running for president again in 2024. it would be a smart move for him, after all, it's much harder and much more controversial for attorney general merrick garland to prosecute a potential nominee, then it is to prosecute a private citizen, isn't it? joining me now is former deputy assistant to the clinton administration, lisa graves. thanks so much for coming on the show. i want to start by play new a clip of congresswoman liz cheney speaking this morning. have a listen. we >> will make a decision as a committee about it. >> so there's probably probable that there will be a criminal referral? -- >> the justice department doesn't have to wait for the committee to make a criminal referral, there can be more than one criminal referral. >> you were a senior official in the clinton doj. if you are the attorney general
today, if you were merrick garland, which you refer donald trump for a crime or multiple crimes? >> i think there is a lot of evidence that has been produced at the january 6th hearings that showed that donald trump committed crimes. i think the justice department has a duty to prosecute them. i think the attorney general should make sure that is prosecutors have the opportunity to put in these charges before the grand jury, and hold president trump in the people around him accountable for the crimes that i believe he committed. >> so what kind of crimes do you think he could be indicted for? >> well, i think, as you mentioned mehdi. there is certainly the crime of inciting a riot. i was so chilling in that testimony last week, is president trump saying that they weren't there to harm him, but he knew that they were arms, and he wanted them to march on the capitol, and wanted to go to the capitol with him. as they assaulted the capitol. so, i think that's very clear. there's also evidence that was provided by the committee to the public, that made the case
of donald trump in his close associates are engaged in witness scampering, which is also a federal crime. there's also just the broader crime of trying to defraud the american government through this perpetuation of this lie about the election. in america, voters are supposed to decide elections, and our freedoms are to mean anything, it means that the president or former president is not above the law, or the person who runs for office is not above the law. >> yes, and it is such a chilling line that you remind us of, they're not here to hurt me, which implies that they were here to hurt other people, and he was fine with that. >> lisa, take off your legal had for a moment, and put on a political hat. but do you make of the argument that prosecuting trump might be legally and morally justified, but politically it would be unprecedented, it will be crossing the rubicon, it would lead to followers riding in the streets. how much you lot by that line of argument? do you worry that the actual prosecution of trump could tear this country apart? >> first of all, his followers have already turned this country apart. there already has been riding in the street at his direction,
at his behest, and in pursuit of his big lucrative lie. i think the claims that it will somehow be polarizing fall flat in the face of the reality. but also, to your more direct question, many, i think this is a situation in which it would be outrageous for him not to be prosecuted. it would basically put our 2024 election in greater jeopardy than it already, is it would lay the foundations for greater sabotage, and also quite frankly, the reason that no former president's been prosecuted in this way, is because no former -- no president has behaved in that way trump has. these are unprecedented acts, which require a response from the justice department. >> yes, well said, a prosecution would be unprecedented, but what trump did was unprecedented. quick question, even if donald trump is too bigger fish to go off right now, that requires more time, what on earth is the doj not indicting mark meadows? why is he walking around scot-free? i don't get it. >> i think there is a criminal conspiracy with another turnover, them with mark
meadows and donald trump, and there are others that you have spoken about on your show, and i think that they are together a conspiracy, and they should all be indicted for the criminal conduct leading up to january 6th and on january 6th, in my opinion. >> i agree with you, accountability matters. lisa graves, thank you so much for analysis, i appreciate it. >> thank you so much. >> after the break, i will speak with a former republican operative who wrote an entire book on how his party went crazy, and embraced donald trump and the maga movement. but first, corey kaufman is here with the headlines, hello cory. >> hello, mary breaking news, police in akron ohio revealed somebody can refute footage of that fatal shooting of jalen walker. we want to warn you, it is disturbing. he took motors on a high-speed chase, he refused to pull over for a traffic violation on june 27th. but it shows officers, firing a barrage of bullets at the 25-year-old after he jumped out of his vehicle and ran. walker sustained more than 60
wounds from the shooting. authorities say walker opened fire on police during that high speed chase, but wasn't arms when he was fatally shot. eight akron officers have been placed on leave while the ohio attorney generals office investigates. three people are dead, and at least three others are in critical condition after a shooting at a shopping mall in copenhagen, denmark. police say a 22-year-old danish man is in custody. authorities are investigating, and have not ruled out terrorism as a possible motive. more of the mehdi hasan show, after the break. motive motive more of the mehdi [whistling]
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we do need to remove those valid boxes. >> there is fraud happening, and we know it. >> coronavirus was actually engineered to attack what we are susceptible to. it has been a sham. >> i do believe it was made to kill people. >> ukraine is corrupt. >> that was from this week's republican primary debate for the house seat held by miss cheney. if you think that is crazy, it seems arizona's republican gubernatorial candidates saw that, and said, hold my beer. >> i'd actually like to ask anybody on the stage, whether they'd agree that we had a corrupt, stolen election. raise your hand. >> why can't we treat human life in the same way we would treat alien life? >> i am pro-life, from conception to death. -- >> no exceptions for rape or incest? >> well, that is a gray area. >> abortion is evidence that we have failed women. >> how did the republican party
devolve into whatever that was? our next guest may have the answer. tim miller worked on the 2008 presidential campaign. ronnie campaign in 2016. he was a spokes person for each if bush, but he ended up voting against donald trump and formally abandoned the gop in 2020. now tim has a new book out called, why we did it. a travel log for the republican road to hell, and when she calls out his former parties embracing all things trump. he writes, quote, donald trump was the snake. everyone knew he was the sneaky. told us he was the snake. yet when the snake offered his spoiled for, these otherwise intelligent people took from the tree and ate it. tim miller joins me now. tim, congratulations on the book. i know it must have been a tough one to right. very personal. your book is called why we did it, referencing in particular the republican consultant class, the people who went from one campaign to another, even from talking to donald trump. so briefly explain to our viewers, why did you, why did
they do it, enable trump, and able the forces that produced trump? >> yeah, mehdi, look, i breakdown basically about a dozen different reasons why people went along with it. i really just use a few examples to try to explain them. i think it's important to understand -- in wyoming. the insane people talk about alien life, it's not with this book is about. it's about -- we saw the testimony last week about team normal. bill stepien is an adviser to one of those women that is running against liz cheney on the fact that the coronavirus was invented to kill people, and that the election was stolen. that's team normal. that gets to the crux of the answer in this book. too many people who consider themselves to be normal knew better, went along with this, because they were ambitious, because they wanted to be in
the mix. because they have learned to demonize the left, because they've compartmentalized all the crazy, and if you are the reasons, and that's what i wanted to detail in the book. >> so like you, tim, i'm much more fascinated by the least if onyx of this world, and i am by the marjorie taylor greene's are the jim jordans. if you clearly don't believe in trumpism, but they weren't trumpist until they absolutely need to be to get elected. but these are people who are willing to see the constitution be shredded, democracy being destroyed and making a deal with the devil just to get elected to the house or the senate. we have always had ambitious politicians. but never like this, surely. >> maybe always like this. it just has never been tested to this degree. these rationalizations ended up becoming much more powerful than i even realize. i looked at myself and i look back at my own rationalizations. why did i, as a gay man, work
for people that were against gay marriage? i reflect deeply about how i justified that and how i rationalized. and now i think, look, if i can work for somebody who wants to take away the most important part of my life, then how easy it is for somebody who is ambitious to rationalize going along with trump when maybe they're not affected at all. their privilege. their life is not going to be impacted by what's happening by trump's mean tweets or his cruelty. at least it's a prime example of. this i knew elise. i interviewed all her friends. she wouldn't interview with me. i knew her. well i worked with her. she ran in 2014 as april gave, pro immigration. i want to deal with climate change. rational, compassionate republican. that was her campaign in 2014. should not even say trump's name until 2017, after he was already in office. now here she is. she saw her opportunity and grabbed it. i think what we learned is that these rationalizations, when you see power, --
for certain kinds of people. >> you said elsewhere that you see her as a likely be candid for donald trump. that's a scary thought. tim, your book is not just a broadside against gop in the republican consultants, one of whom you were, but against the d.c. political caucus in general. people who just work in the shadows, don't believe in anything other really then winning then and getting ahead. you talked about how you had to behave amorally. you had to spin on behalf of people wanted to deny you a game on your rights. you make a point that was the industry. it was not a left right thing. it's what happened in d.c.. i wonder, how much damage has the cynical, amoral professional, political class -- to the ordinary americans faith in american democracy, and is there any sign that things are changing on this front in d.c.? >> yeah, look, i don't want to do a kind of a both sides equivalency, but i think certainly when i was in politics coming up in the 90s and 2000s, you know you had
gore and bush, there was this element of we are all in this big game. our clever tactics and riling up our bags, throwing them red meat about things we don't believe, is something that is more important than actually helping people. the whole point of politics. actually serving people. i think that this has spiraled out of control in the last 20 years. there's always competitive political advisers. but after the west wing, the sort of gamma fixation of the political class, it's absolutely corruptible and if you look at my peers right now, they're still doing the same stuff that i lay out in this book today in the republican party. they're getting more retweets before doing what is right. i think on the democratic side, i do think that you see an up and coming younger rising, more earnest political class. on the republican side, you don't right now.
i think that the damage has been immense and i'm just andy progress over my complicity. >> or almost out of time. quick last question. when you watch stuff like the wyoming debate or the arizona debate, you say look at those crazy people. look at with the gop has become, other than say this is with the gop always was, but people like tim miller just did not see it when he was within it. what would you say to that? >> really quick, i think both. i think there's always a subset of this within the republican party going way back in the 60s, probably before. what has happened in the last 20 years is that the crazy, the nationalists, the conspiracy theorists, have brought relatively normal people along with them. slowly but surely, and finally donald trump supercharge is it in 2016. we've all should've seen this coming in palin, but i think we also can't argue with the fact that john mccain when a competitive primary in 2018 on the pro climate change platform. i think this was existing within the party. but would happened is that
normal people allowed the crazy people to pull them to the, right and now the crazy people, the mob owns the party. >> they do indeed. the book is called why we did it, tim miller, thank you for writing it and thank you for joining us tonight. >> thanks. >> coming up, how did it come to be that none of the five conservative justices who voted to overturn roe were proved by senators representing the majority of the u.s. population? why does that matter? i'll explain next. don't forget, you can listen to the many hasn't show anytime for free wherever you get your podcasts. many hasn't show anytime many hasn't show anytime for free you're binging the latest true crime drama. while the new double oven you financed
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it's hard to overstate just how gleefully the supreme court took a hatchet to its own small of the democratic legitimacy over the past few weeks. from overturning roe, to nerfing the epa, from getting our miranda, writes to hacking away at the church separation of church and state. the robe reactionaries on this nation's highest court went buck wild, blasting away decades of precedent without a care in the world for public perception. having secured that sweet sweet 6 to 3 supermajority, they scotus conservatives gave into about just out every far-right maximalist impulse imaginable. this shock some, apparently, at the new york times, and other prominent outlets. it really shouldn't have, though. why would alito and thomas and kavanaugh and company dane to
care about democratic legitimacy, when they never had basic numerical legitimacy to begin with? by now, we are all well acquainted without how justice's got on the supreme court. in the event the scene opens, the president nominates a nominee, it's presented before the senate, and a vote of four down on confirmation. unless this person is named merrick garland, but i digress. let's consider for a moment, the two senators to confirm from each state or not confirm each day from -- the percentage of the u.s. population they represented, using census data prior to each justices appointed to the court. hamilton college professor philip thinking a, political scientist, he did just that. and when he found, and you give us the data is rather shocking. senators who backed clarence thomas, for example, presented just about 48.6% of the population. those behind amy coney barrett, 46.8%, how about the kavanaugh stands? 43.3% of the american
populists. about -- only chief justice john roberts got over 50%. now, let's compare those figures for the rest of the court there. the three liberals. 66.5% for kagan, 73.7% of the population for sotomayor, and 90% for breyer. to be clear, based on this data we can say definitively that none of the five conservative justices who voted to overturn roe were approved by senators representing a majority of the u.s. population. now, some on the right will say, rather dismissively, who cares? that is not how the system is supposed to work. it supposed to represent states, not the public opinion or the popular vote. which is technically correct. and fine in theory. but, in reality, as these reactionaries on the court to lead a blowtorch to our basic rights, rollback decades of popular laws, policies, and precedents, do you really think that the american public
weren't going to notice the lack of legitimacy or popular support? i am sorry to have to state the obvious, but democracy cannot survive if you have a rogue supreme court with no public backing. still ahead, celebrating the 4th of july as america enters a never-ending crisis over democracy and their basic rights. never-ending crisis over a monster was attacking but the team remained calm. because with miro, they could problem solve together, and find the answer that was right under their nose. or... his nose. democracy and their basi they customize your car insurance,
tomorrow marks americas to hitch -- but it comes when the country seems to be in a never-ending set of crises from the crisis of a democracy to climate change, to race relations. on the eve of independence day, where does the u.s. go from here and what does that collective future look like? who better to talk to about all of this and philosopher, author, public intellectual cornell west, professor at the union theological seminary, and award-winning author, i spoke with earlier. cornell west, thank you for joining me on this show. on monday, independence day will mark 246 years of this union, of these united states. what is the state of the unions on this independence day, do you think? how existential is a moment as this far democracy right now? >> i think very much like the 1890s. we are at a low point.
it's a very sad moment. i think we could bounce back, but you have to keep in mind, rather, from the very beginning, the united states was a very precious democratic experiment that was couched within the bowels of a treacherous u.s. empire. via the indigenous people, african slaves, women confined to domestic household. white men could not vote unless they had property. the working class could not organize and engage in collective bargaining -- so when you look back on these 240 something years, my brother, you've got to be able to think of these two ideas at the same time. precious democratic experiments, treacherous u.s. empire. settler colonial state on someone else's land with stolen labor and the world wanting to
come, no doubt, because the other empires, the british, the french, the belgium and so forth, had their own treacherous atrocities as well. we have had some wonderful breakthroughs. there is no doubt about that. from the douglas is, and maria childs, martin luther king, but we are at a moment now where the distress, the disrespect, the unbelievable despair of whether fact america can correct itself. form itself. that is what is probably the deepest issue, the legitimacy crisis -- losing legitimacy. congress losing timidity. presidents who losing legitimacy. universities, wall street. losing legitimacy! house democratic project slide? >> very good question. how does it survived? i want to talk about the supreme court in a moment.
are you following the 16 committee public hearings? if so, how alarmed are you by what you've seen and heard from the republican witnesses at those hearings? >> i mean one, you know i'm never surprised by evil. i've got too much christiansen's ability. i know corruption cuts deep. i was glad to see cassidy step forward and speak up truths. we knew that the gangster -- not just trump, but [inaudible] cassidy enabled him as well. she was on the trump bandwagon. and so many republicans around the trump bandwagon on tillis lastinute. but i do applaud them finally coming out and trying to tell the truth. but it's just part and parcel of the network of corruption. that is what we are really talking about. there's a whole network of
corruption that shot through, not just in the republican party, but it shot through the democratic party, to. we have to be very honest about that. i mean, look at biden himself. biden now wants to do away with the filibuster. is that a matter of principle? is that because of integrity? for the most part, no. it's a political calculation. american citizens, he wants them to vote for his party and for him. it's a political calculation. it had little to do with principle opposition to how you go about changing the other side in a positive way. too little too late. >> i mean, i can definitely agree with you on too little too late, but i think as a principle case for getting rid of the filibuster. did joe biden come late into it? yes. i'm glad he's making it. i'm glad he's making it. we have a supreme court. >> he should have [inaudible]
[inaudible] >> we have a supreme court right now, which is getting voting rights, abortion rights, minority rights. the ability of the government to restrict gun violence or stop climate change. is this illegitimate supreme court in your view, and is a time for supreme court reform, expansion, even? >> again, he got to keep in mind, i come from the people where the first wave of supreme court justices from 1780's up until 18 60s, a large numbers of them were slave holders. it's hard to ask me a question about whether it's a legitimate court, when it's been -- slave holders for the first 75 to 80 years. so for me, you think about legitimacy, i don't finger pick. i tried to say, well, how do we talk about a supreme court that does not reduce rule of law simply to raw ideology and raw power and raw politics?
i think unfortunately, the supreme court is more and more besieged to be just the function of raw politics and raw power. that's a sad thing. >> there is a new piece in the new york times magazine about the decline of moderate democrats, quote, unquote suggesting the democratic party is too beholden to the left. it basically makes the argument that when the democrats are moderate, pushing -- kitchen table issues, they win and when they're talking about minority rights or trends issues or racial justice and policing reform, they lose. what's your response to that argument? >> i think that is completely unconvincing. it is simply a way of trying to demonize the so-called far left. people like myself and others who bring pressure from the outside. i come from a school of thought that believes that the best of america is found in its social
movements. it's one organized, conscientious citizens come together based on principle. go to jail, put pressure on moderates. go back to the 1960s with martin luther king junior. -- moderate democrats. black folks still living in jim crow. we wanted to abolish it. the abolition was viewed as for radicals. let the motorists take care of it, martin. let the moderates take care of the fanny loop. no, my tradition is, hit the street, go to jail, tell the truth, bear witness. love justice. this is not revenge and hatred. this is not demonizing others, its citizens coming together. the future of american democracy depends on the moral and spiritual awakening of everyday people and citizens who put pressure to bear on corrupt elites, no matter what color leads, gender leads and are critical of the military and some of the empire and
other parts of the world. >> you mentioned you are tradition. what is it like to be a black intellectual, black activist, a black academic in america, mocking independence day in 2022 as books are banned, the teaching of history is restricted and white supremacists, probably taking off their hoods. how are you planning to celebrate or marked the fourth of july this year? >> we'll just being a black man in america's a beautiful thing. i come from a baptist church. i come from john cole train, aretha franklin. that's joy. that's love. that can never be taken away on july 4th or any other day, but -- to be empowered and fortified, to tell truth about the suffering, not just my own black people, but poor people, working people, oppressed people around the world. it becomes another moment in which i become more well equipped in light of the
history of great people who in the face of slavery and jim crow and jane crow and hatred and greed, -- freedom fighters, even at a moment of very deep sadness and sorrow, but sadness and sorrow has always been intimate companions of black people. we just don't allow that sadness and sorrow to have the last word. no. never. >> so, last question for you then. do you still have hope in the american -- american democratic experiment? if so, what's your advice for people watching at home or maybe losing hope in america right now? >> we must have an unequivocal and unconditional commitment to the empowerment of everyday people here and around the world. and hope is only found in our actions. in our deeds, and our courage. in our willingness to serve. hope is a verb as much as a virtue. it's not some kind of abstract
optimism. i am not optimistic about america. i am a prisoner of hope, because i believe that within the american empire, within the america red -- american democratic spirit, there's always courageous and visionary human beings of all colors who are willing to fight for justice. >> yes. yes, indeed. well said. cornell west, we will have to leave it there, but thank you for coming on the show. always a pleasure, especially on weekend like this one. >> absolutely. i salute you, my dear brother. >> thank you for watching. have a great fourth of july. tomorrow we will be right back here next sunday 8 pm eastern. for now, for me, goodnight. for now, for me, goodnight. here next sunday 8 pm or far from it. you and all your friends, or just you and the open sky. the experiences we never forget come from the choices we make. for now, or the grand wagoneer.
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