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The Supreme Court heard arguments in Mississippi abortion case today. Interview with Sen. Elizabeth Warren D-MA. Tonight at the very last minute former Trump Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark tried to avoid being cited for criminal contempt of Congress by suddenly offering to testify to the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol.
And guess what this is. They have important things to say. I just have to turn on their microphones. Well, the Supreme Court of the United States today, the solicitor general of the state of Mississippi kept insisting with the apparent agreement of Republican appointed justices that the Constitution does not include a right to abortion.
Wade insisted that the right to abortion is in the foundational documents of the United States of America. First, in the Declaration of Independence. We hold these truths to be self- evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And then in the very first sentence of the Constitution, the Founders wrote, we the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.
The only word that appears in both of those sentences, in both of those documents and those sentences, the only word, the only right promised in both of those sentences is liberty. If this court renounces the liberty interest recognized in Roe and reaffirmed in Casey, it would be an unprecedented contraction of individual rights and a stark departure from the principles of stare decisis. The court has never revoked a right that is so fundamental to so many Americans and so central to their ability to fully participate in society.
Liberty is the word Republicans use for the right to leave guns lying around the house so that high school boys can pick one up and take it to school and create our next mass murder event. And Republicans tell us there is absolutely nothing we can ever do to stop mass murder in our schools because of the liberty granted to us by the Constitution to have more guns than people in this country.
One of those guns that Republicans insist is a trophy of American liberty was used to kill four students in a Michigan school yesterday and wound seven. But today, the Republican side of the argument in the Supreme Court did not use the word liberty. The opponents of abortion on the Supreme Court today argued that because the word abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution, the Supreme Court should have no role in establishing abortion laws.
That should be left entirely to the states. In other words that the Constitution is neither pro life nor pro choice on the question of abortion but leaves the issue for the people of the states or perhaps Congress to resolve in the democratic process?
Is that accurate? Wade as the law of the land in statute. Senator Warren, a former Harvard law professor will us in our discussion of this case tonight. If any combination of the three Supreme Court justices appointed by the two Presidents Bush and the three Supreme Court justices appointed by Donald Trump, decide to overturn Roe vs. Wade and make each state the final authority on abortion law, nothing will actually change for most women in America because the populations of the states that will not restrict abortion in any way are ificantly larger than the states that might restrict or ban access to abortion.
At this point in our history, Roe versus Wade is simply protecting the women in very Republican states, protecting their liberty. In truth, Roe versus Wade is really only protecting the women in those states who cannot afford to travel to New York or California or Illinois or one of the many other states that will always safely and responsibly provide abortion services. No one rich in Mississippi will be affected by any change in this law. No Republican woman, rich woman in Mississippi, not one Republican rich daughter in Mississippi would ever be affected by the change in the law that the state of Mississippi is asking the court to approve.
It would just be economically disadvantaged women in Mississippi who would then find themselves struggling to somehow come up with the money to be able to travel to another state in the pursuit of liberty. Justice Sonia Sotomayor made the point about how many Supreme Court justices including Republican appointed Supreme Court justices have supported Roe vs. Wade over decades and what it will mean if the current Republican Supreme Court justices decide to overturn it. You want us to reject that line of viability and adopt something different.
Fifteen justices over 50 years have -- or I should say 30 since Casey -- have reaffirmed that basic viability line. Four have said no, two of them members of this court. But 15 justices have said yes, of varying political backgrounds. The newest ban Mississippi has put in place, the six-week ban, the Senate sponsor said we are doing it because we have new justices on the Supreme Court.
Will this institution survive the stench this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? He has won 35 cases in the United States Supreme Court.
I want to basically give you an open mic to respond to what you heard today in the Supreme Court but begin if you will with this one point. Is this the first time, it is the first time I remember hearing an argument in the Supreme Court about taking a right away from people. If the Supreme Court does what it is absolutely certain now that it will do and that is whether it calls it overruling Roe v.
All along we have expanded rights. Brown v. Board expanded rights beyond what Plessy has said. Lawrence v. Texas expanded rights for LGBT people. But if we do what the court now is poised to do it will be the first turn- around. Once we do it this time, it is going to be a lot easier next time with contraception, with same sex marriage, with gun rights, for example -- rights that conservatives like, rights that liberals like.
It has always been a matter of expanding rights. This will be the first reversal of that trend. It will also be the first time the Supreme Court since Dred Scott in took the position that when there are rights on both sides, you know, back in they thought that slave owners have rights but we could have a nation half slave and half free, just let each state decide for itself. There is a third first that I think is extremely important. You ended with the quotation from Justice Sotomayor asking whether the institution of the Supreme Court can preserve its legitimacy, continue its important role in our country.
If the stench on that court is so visible and evident as it will be when nothing but the composition of the court is changed. Nothing else has changed in the 30 years since Casey and really in the 50 years since Roe, nothing constitutionally relevant. Now, important as the institutional legitimacy of the court is, and I think it is important, even more important, even more fundamental is the question, will we have a legitimate form of law if we have a nation in which half the citizens, half the citizens have less than full rights?
We men have the right to control our bodies. People have a right under the religion clauses to say, no. Keep your hands off my body. But there will be one group of people who are subject to a very different regime, who can be told that their bodies can be scripted to remain involuntarily pregnant. Nobody then has to be an involuntary parent. Nobody with any sensitivity could think that is the meaning of liberty, dignity, equality, freedom. The stakes could not be higher. And ing us now is Cecile Richards. She is the co-chair of American Bridge 21st Century.
She is the former president of Planned Parenthood.
Cecile, I just want to open your mic and say what was your reaction to what you heard today in the court? Look, this, and Lawrence Tribe I think really captured some of the most horrifying moment but the moment with Justice Barrett as if somehow women would just be vessels for the state to force to continue pregnancies they did not choose to have. Look, this all comes down to politics and what we saw today was the direct result of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell jamming through three justices on the Supreme Court. Donald Trump told us he was only going to appoint justices that would overturn Roe versus Wade and that is what he did.
Justice Sotomayor said during the hearing as referenced earlier, this is a right women have had to make the most personal, private decisions about their pregnancies for nearly 50 years in America. And she posed the question which really distilled the whole hearing to me. What has changed in 50 years? The only thing that has changed is politics and the Republican Party has been on a mission to end access to safe and legal abortion for years and now they are within striking distance of doing just that.
This was chilling. It is frightening to think this is happening. Effectively Roe has already been overturned in the state of Texas and this Supreme Court has done nothing about it. I think the most important thing about all this is the solution is at the ballot box.
And this issue, the ability to make your own decision about your pregnancy is igniting women around this country and not just Democratic women, Republican women, independent women, 80 percent of people in this country believe these decisions should be made by women not by politicians and this is an issue I believe and certainly hoped it is going to energize voters in the midterm elections so we can begin to right the course.
But if it really is an issue about choice, why is 15 weeks not enough time? As we know Mississippi is passing a six-week ban as well because as the legislature has seen, wow, we have three justices now on our side, so we can basically restrict abortion whatever way we want to. The question is, this has been an established, constitutional right for 50 years. So, my question back to Justice Roberts would be what is it that has changed that has allowed this court to stand on its head 50 years of an existing right, as Laurence Tribe said, the first time the Supreme Court of the United States is taking away a right of more than half of the people in this country.
What is that justification? Frankly, they had none today.
Really appreciate it. And former Harvard law professor Senator Elizabeth Warren has both analysis of what happened in the court today and a proposed solution. She will us next. Well, Roe vs. We must end the filibuster so we can codify Roe. Thank you very much for ing us on this important night, Senator. We really appreciate it. What it does to our rights. This is the day it happens.Warren looking to be your sex slave
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