tv PBS News Hour PBS June 26, 2013 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> what do we want? equality! when do we want it? now! >> ifill: gay rights advocates scored two victories at the supreme court today, as justices ruled same sex couples are entitled to federal benefits and cleared the way for gay marriages to resume in california. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the "newshour" tonight, we examine the action on this last day of the term with analysis from marcia coyle, plus reaction to the much-awaited decisions. >> ifill: then, ray suarez reports on a resilient fungus being spread by the hot, dry, dusty winds of the mojave desert and causing serious infections. >> i thought i was dying. that first weekend, i thought, i mean, i thought for sure.
i've never been this sick in my life. >> brown: we recap a dramatic night in the texas state senate, where a marathon filibuster and chanting activists foiled a last-minute push to pass new restrictions on abortions. >> ifill: and margaret warner updates the mounting tensions in egypt, as president mohammed morsi addresses his nation and the opposition plans large scale protests. >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and...
>> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: supporters of same-sex marriage claimed a twin win today, coming on the final day of the u.s. supreme court's term. both of the closely-watched cases were decided, five-to- four. ray suarez begins our coverage. >> reporter: outside the court building, supporters of gay marriage erupted at the first decision. >> doma's down, doma's unconstitutional! >> reporter: the justices had struck down a key section of the "defense of marriage act" or doma. that section of the 1996 law, signed by president clinton, defines marriage as "one man and one woman", and it bars same-sex couples from collecting federal marriage-related benefits.
but the majority, led by justice anthony kennedy, found those provisions are unconstitutional. kennedy wrote: the court left intact a separate provision that lets a state refuse to recognize a same-sex union from another state. still, for gay rights supporters, the overall decision was welcome news. >> i'm very proud today of our supreme court's decision. it's very, very personal and i'm deeply appreciative. >> reporter: a smaller group of gay marriage opponents deplored the decision. >> well i'm disappointed in the ruling. i believe that marriage is between one man and one woman and i'm afraid that this ruling will affect the definition of marriage so that if it's not between one man and one woman. it can be... it can be anyone. >> reporter: gay rights proponents also celebrated
a decision on california's proposition eight, the 2008 ballot measure that banned same- sex marriage. a federal trial judge found it unconstitutional, and supporters of prop eight appealed and lost at the appellate level. but today's supreme court majority chose not to rule on gay marriage bans in general. instead, they found those behind the appeal had no legal standing. as a result, chief justice john roberts wrote that: "we have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the 9th circuit" court of appeals. that means the trial court's afterward, the principals in the case emerged, two california couples who challenged proposition eight. david boies is one of their lawyers. >> our plaintiffs now can go back to california and together with every other citizen of california marry the person they love. >> reporter: but andrew pugno of
protect marriage-- the group behind proposition 8-- said not so fast. >> today's ruling has completely nullified the 9th circuit's ruling against proposition 8. that precedent has now been wiped away by the supreme court. and so there is currently today no appellate court decision invalidating propsition 8, and we remain committed to the >> reporter: reaction from official washington was swift and mixed. after leaving for africa, president obama released a statement applauding the doma decision. aides said he later telephoned the plaintiff in that case-- edie windsor-- from aboard air force one. he also called two of the california plaintiffs, kris perry and sandy stier during their live interview on msnbc. >> we're proud of you guys and we're so proud of california. >> reporter: at the u.s. capitol, a group of house democrats, led by minority leader nancy pelosi also welcomed the rulings. >> from the start, many of us had believed section 3 of the defense of marriage act is
unconstitutional and in fact, we believe the whole bill is unconstitutional. today the supreme court agreed, and justice will be done for loving l.g.b.t. couples across my home state. >> reporter: on the other side, house speaker john boehner had filed the case asking the supreme court to uphold doma. he said in a statement he was disappointed. other house republicans went further. >> what the supreme court ruled today was on the basis of equal protection and yet in one of the greatest ironies of this decision, they denied equal protection to every american in the united states, how did they do that? because they undercut the people's representatives when they voted on the defense of marriage act in the first place. >> reporter: the effects of the two decisions will be seen in short order. the doma ruling opens the door for gay and lesbian couples to seek federal benefits in the 12 states that now allow same-sex marriage. as for proposition 8, today's
action means a lower court ruling that struck down the california law remains in effect, so same-sex marriages there could resume in about a month. throngs gathered at san francisco's city hall this morning to hear the news. "the newshour's" spencer michels spoke with mayor ed lee about what comes next. >> they will be gay marriages all over the state of california so we don't believe there will be a big rush to come to san francisco to get married. we are waiting for the legal instructions from the attorney general that instructs all the counties in california to abide by certain rules and regulations as they invite gay marriages to occur. >> reporter: california governor jerry brown directed state officials to start issuing marriage licenses to gay couples as soon as possible, but the 9th circuit court of appeals said it won't lift its current hold on same-sex unions for at least 25 days.
>> ifill: for more on today's court decisions we are joined once again, by marcia coyle of the "national law journal." what a week we've had here, marcia. >> amazing week. >> ifill: today was undoubtedly good news for gay marriage advocates but not for the same reasons. >> true. these were two very different cases. one involved with the federal government could do, the other involved ha the states could do and they raised two different questions. first decision we heard from the bench today was in the challenge to section 3 of the federal defense of marriage act and that section defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. edith windsor brought the challenge. she was legally married under new york state law. after her spouse died she was denied an i.r.s. exemption for a spousal estate tax exemption. she was faced with an almost
$400,000 estate tax bill. her spouse left her, edith, her estate. she prevailed in the lower courts. they found that section 3 of doma was unconstitutional and the case came to the supreme court with a problem, just as the other case from california came to the court with a problem. in the doma case, by the time the case got to the supreme court, the united states had stopped defending doma. so the first hurdle the court faced was whether it actually had a case or controversy before it since the united states agreed we dith windsor that doma was unconstitutional. justice kennedy today found there still was a stake for the federal government in this case. the i.r.s.' tax bill. so he was able to reach the merits of the question that edith windsor had initially raised about doma's constitutionality. >> ifill: as ray said,
proposition 8 was mostly about the that they didn't have the standing to even bring this case to where it ended up being so they kicked it back down for the courts in california to decide. >> right. proposition 8 asked whether a state consistent with the 14th amendment could define marriage as between a man and a woman. its problem was that the proponents of proposition 8 had appealed the trial court's decision that proposition 8 was unconstitutional. did the proponents then have what we call standing to bring that appeal in federal court and chief justice roberts wrote for a divided court today that they did not have standing. >> ifill: to be clear, even though as i said this is good news for gay rights activists, this is not the court saying that gay marriage itself, same-sex marriage is constitutional. >> no, it was pretty clear after the oral arguments back in february that the court was not going to announce a national right to marriage by same-sex
couples. but it was -- this was a victory first of all. the doma challenge, that was raised as whether doma was constitutional as applied to legally married same-sex couples and the court said that it was unconstitutional as applied to them. justice kennedy looked at how states have had the authority since the beginning of our nation to regulate and define marriage. congress, he said, can legislate in a limited way in this area but doma reaches far beyond that. it applies to over 1,000 federal laws. and he also found that what new york state for edith windsor was trying to protect, people it was trying to protect, doma injured. because it imposed disadvantages and a stigma on legally married same-sex couples. >> ifill: but nothing that the court did today would prohibit a state if it wanted to fro the from passing a law banning or forbidding gay marriage? >> no, justice kennedy was
explicit in his opinion that it was confined to states that recognize legally married same-sex couples. >> ifill: yet there were three separate dissending opinions about this and justice scalia was particularly blistering. >> justice scalia read a summary of his opinion from the bench and he took issue with the fact that there was a controversy before the court. he would have found that there was no controversy in and the court would not have reached the merits. on the merits he was quite passionate that the court was imposing its own moral judgment here and not allowing the current debate over the legality of same-sex marriage or the constitutionality of it to proceed in society. he said "instead of allowing society to elect change, the court imposed change." and he said that was only for the court's own self-aggrandizement that it was stepping into this debate. and it was doing a disservice, he said, to both sides of the
debate by not allowing them reach a final conclusion. >> ifill: is there a legal avenue-- even though we know in california tonight they say they're going to wait 25 days and allow marriages to begin-- either through prop 8 or through doma for any of these challenges to come back to the court? >> well, there could be -- i don't think on the specific grounds that the court ruled here. but justice scalia pointed out in his dissent and justice -- chief justice roberts also mentioned that the arguments that justice kennedy made to knock down section 3 of doma-- states' authority to regulate marriage-- may be used by those who support state bans on marriage. and that may -- that issue ultimately may get to the supreme court. >> so maybe he was hinting around this is the way you can bring this back but not the way it came to us today. >> exactly, exactly.
>> ifill: marcia coil, it's been quite a ride. thank you so much. >> my pleasure. >> brown: we'll have more on today's landmark rulings later in the program. also ahead, valley fever made worse by hot, dry weather; a dramatic filibuster of an abortion bill in texas and looming protests in egypt. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman. >> holman: immigration reform easily passed its latest tests in the u.s. senate today. a key border security amendment won formal approval. it doubles the border patrol, among other steps. and, supporters of gay rights dropped an amendment to let americans sponsor same-sex spouses for admission to the u.s. the proposal was potentially divisive, but vermont democrat patrick leahy said it's no longer necessary, given today's supreme court decisions. >> it appears that the anti- discrimination principle that i have long advocated will apply to our immigration laws and to bi-national couples and their families can now be united under the law. as a result of this very welcome decision, i will not be seeking
a floor vote on my amendment. >> holman: even opponents of the bill acknowledged it is likely headed for final passage, by friday. but republican dan coats of indiana said he still doubts the bill will live up to its promise, despite some helpful additions. >> the employee verification has been strengthened, border security has been strengthened, the exit visa problem has been strengthened, if the promises come true. but they've only been strengthened on a piece of paper, and we need to see it strengthened for real. >> holman: the senate's newest member will not arrive soon enough to vote on the bill. democrat edward markey won a special election in massachusetts yesterday. he'll be sworn in after the fourth of july recess, succeeding john kerry, who's now the secretary of state. president obama has embarked on a week-long trip to africa. he arrived this evening in dakar, senegal, beginning
his second visit to sub-saharan africa since taking office. the president is also scheduled to make stops in south africa and tanzania. the visit comes as former south african president nelson mandela remains hospitalized in pretoria in critical condition. federal agents today launched the largest crackdown yet on makers of synthetic designer drugs. they served 150 arrest warrants and seized 2,000 pounds of chemicals used in synthetic marijuana, bath salts and other drugs, across 35 states. meanwhile, the u.n. drug control agency warned the spread of designer drugs is getting out of control. it said new variants appear faster than governments can ban them. b.p. has launched an aggressive campaign to challenge alleged over-payments in its gulf oil spill settlement. in full page ads today, the oil giant charged trial lawyers and politicians have encouraged businesses to submit claims for inflated or non-existent losses.
b.p. also said it's sending hundreds of warning letters to businesses. the company faces thousands of claims. pope francis created a special commission today to review the vatican bank, amid new allegations of money-laundering. it was the latest step in the pontiff's efforts to reform the highly-secretive financial institution. leaked documents last year told of dysfunction and corruption within the bank. the new, five-member commission is to report directly to the pope, bypassing the vatican bureaucracy. wall street rallied for a second straight day. the dow jones industrial average gained nearly 150 points to close at 14,910. the nasdaq rose 28 points to close at 3,376. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and we return to the major developments at the court today with a look at the legal implications for the same-sex marriage rulings. for that we are joined by mary bonauto, special counsel for the group gay and lesbian advocates and defenders. she has litigated cases against
the "defense of marriage" act. and austin nimocks, senior counsel for the alliance defending freedom, a conservative christian legal organization. he was co-counsel for the supporters of proposition 8 this year. mary bonauto, let me start with you. taken together, how much of an endorsement of gay marriage do you read into these decisions today? >> i read some and i say that because with respect to doma we are now replacing a system that officially disrespected the legal marriages of same-sex couples for over a thousand federal purposes and replacing it with federal respect for those marriages. so that's obviously an important endorsement. the opinion couldn't have been clearer that this law saying only marriages of same-sex couples would be disrespected demeaned the relationships that the states had meant to confer dignity and respect and doma was taking that away and hurting people. and it does hurt people when they can't get a family policy
of health insurance or file their taxes jointly. but it also hurts much more in the way the court really picked up in terms of saying this was really a way of saying gay people and their families are unworthy. >> brown: same question to you. i want to get this general proposition and walk through the details. how broad a read dog you make of today? >> i think if any endorsement can be taken from today's decisions it's ann endorsement of the right of the states to debate and decide the question of marriage. striking down doma, the court said we need to defer to the states that have traditionally had the province here. so what we know is that this issue is going t to continue toe debated and decided by people at the state level with their state representatives and their state provisions for dealing with these questions and so the question now goes from the supreme court back to the people in their various states. >> ifill>> brown: on doma itsel, you're not seeing the kind of sweeping decision that mary bonauto is saying. you're saying it send it to states again? >> the supreme court clearly
struck down doma and the reason the supreme court said they're striking it down is because the federal government has traditionally deferred to the states. so if a state declares somebody is being married, the federal government needs to recognize that. so it recentracentrallizes poweo the definition of marriage to the states. >> brown: where do you think it leaves things? >> i think that's a slight overreading here because the court noted that states traditionally say if somebody's married or not and it was extremely unusual-- the first time ever in history-- that the federal government has stepped in and wiped out a class of marriages. that was what was unusual. but the court couldn't have been clearer that while states regulate marriage they're subject to the constitution and that's why i think the issue will be back at the court probably in short order because if there's a fundamental right to marry and the court has said so 14 times the question remains why is it that fundamental freedom is being denied to committed loving gay and lesbian couples. >> brown: we heard from gwen and marcia talking about the fact that the court did not rule on whether there is a constitutional right to gay
marriage. was that a disappointment? did you want it to go that far? >> well, in the doma situation that was specifically not at issue. it was about doma itself and i've -- and with respect to the proposition 8 issue, you know, if the court had gone in that direction so be it. but i think the handwriting was on the wall that the state itself had not appealed in california, the proper parties were not from front of the court so to me it's a great victory that marriage is being restored to california. >> brown: how do you read the proposition 8 decision, one you were very much a part of? >> we're disappointed the supreme court determined we didn't have standing to defend proposition 8. but ultimately our opponents didn't file that lawsuit to prove we didn't have standing. they filed the lawsuit in order to impose 50 same-sex marriage solution on the entire country. and they were unsuccessful. the 9th circuit's opinion striking down proposition 8 was vacated and sends it back to california and we're very happy about that that the supreme court did not act with a heavy hand. that's what we've been saying all along. the supreme court doesn't need
to act with a heavy hand here, it needs to take a more muted approach and not try to resolve this for the entire country. >> brown: is it clear in your mind where this leaves things in california? does it, in fact, open the door for gauges to go forward? >> it's not clear at all at this juncture what type of legal circumstance remains in california and there's a 25-day window that will be considered in terms of what happens now, what goes forward. because there is no appellate court decision holding proposition 8 unconstitutional and so it's a legitimate question. we're still looking at the opinions, other legal scholars are looking at the opinions and we'll see coming forward what may happen with that. >> brown: have you had a chance to look at that? >> my sense is that marriage is going to happen statewide in california. the registrar of california was a defendant in that case and is directed to control the county officials who control marriage licenses. so i have been been through some of this where people try to restrict a ruling and so on but i suspect we're going to have
marriage in california in a little over a month. >> brown: are you suggesting there will be legal -- some kind of legal action in the next 20 days or months? >> it's certainly possible. what we don't have right now is a lot of clarity with regard to it and so i know that, you know, the two big supreme court opinions with all the things i've said a lot to digest in a few hours but i think in the days coming there will be more clarity as far as that's concerned. >> brown: i want to think about where things go next. what about in states that just have civil union right now. is there anything out of today's action that might have an impact for those states? >> modestly, yes. >> modestly. >> for the most part the federal government has a system based on marriage. that's the primary relationship that it respects, although it does also respect some other relationships and there are some programs that, again, when you delve into the details where the statutes are clear that if you have certain obligations to one another, certain rights under state law you would be protect sod there will be some -- >> pelley: with a legal reasoning from these cases might apply in those cases?
>> yes. yes. >> do you see that possibility? >> i don't see that as a possibility because the proposition 8 decision from the district court was so specific as to the state of california and every state has come about its laws in completely different ways. some states have marriage laws that were enacted by the legislature. others voted on by the citizenry so i don't see a lot of transportable precedent as far as that is concerned. what we can agree on is that the states are going to have the right to continue to deal with marriage through their democratic processes and i think that's the most important take away. >> brown: go ahead. >> yes, that is all true and it's a debate that obviously has been -- our country has been engaged in at every level and that's a terrific thing. at the same time the court is clear that every state law is, of course, subject to our constitutional guarantees. that's why, you know, virginia's antimiscegenation law had to fall when it did. ultimately the court is the one to say if a state is enacting its marriage law has drawn the wrong line. >> brown: so where do you see
the fight going next? is it a lot of legal battles? are they political battles? is it still a mix of both as we've seen for many years? >> i think it's a mix of both but i have to say that i think this issue will return to the court. i think you're going to have states where this debate continues. i think you're going to have states going back to the ballot to repeal some of those hastily enacted constitutional bans. i think you're going to have state court decisions and there are a number of federal court cases already pending. >> brown: when you say "return to the court" do you mean the supreme court? >> i mean that court, yes. >> wha >> brown: what do you thk about the prospects of that? >> i agree with mare they the process will continue. probably some courtroom of public opinion and what not and we can agree on that i think the marriage debate will continue in this country. the supreme court didn't settle it nor did it try to settle it in its entirety. so there's going to be a mix of different things happening. but americans who are -- as justice scalia todayed today, deeply invested in this issue going to continue to voice their opinions.
>> brown: austin him knox, mary bonauto, thank you. online, just what are the benefits that legally married gay couples will now be able to receive? we have a list of some of those on our homepage. and we have more reaction from california from the "newshour's" spencer michels' coverage at san francisco city hall this morning. >> ifill: next, an often undiagnosed disease known as valley fever is spreading throughout the southwest. ray is back with our science story. >> reporter: the mojave desert is known for extreme heat and fierce wind. recent years of hotter and drier seasons have only intensified those conditions. drivers sometimes need headlights to navigate through thick dust storms. you might think of a blast of gritty breeze as uncomfortable, rather than threatening, but westerners have good reason to
worry about what that wind is carrying. biologist antjie lauer is at the desert's western edge-- the nasa dryden center-- to study one tiny local inhabitant she suspects is actually benefiting from prolonged drought-- a microscopic fungus called coccidiodes or cocci. >> they adapt to desert soils. so they can tolerate high temperatures. higher p.h. levels. i take a sample a little deeper from the soil, because i want to find a spot where the plant is actually growing, and not just blown into the site. >> reporter: while a continued drought may be good news for the cocci fungus, it's very bad news for humans, because this fungus can be deadly. all it takes is a gust of wind. when the fungus becomes airborne it's easily inhaled. once in moist lungs, it can
cause an infection called valley fever. the infection can cause illness ranging from flu like symptoms to severe pneumonia, even death. >> we will alter the extract d.n.a. from the soil and try to find the fungus growing in it, in the lab. >> reporter: valley fever is not contagious, and it is not new to people who live in california and arizona deserts, particularly those who work outside. but the c.d.c. reported this march that the number of valley fever cases in endemic areas soared between 1998-2011 from 2,000 to over 24,000. >> we have about 900% increase in valley fever cases, and people try to speculate why that is the case, and one hypothesis that i'm pursuing is that the draught is actually favoring, or the continuous drought is favoring any spore formed in the soil, which includes the valley fever fungus, and it outcompetes all the microorganisms that are not easily forming spores. >> reporter: while antje lauer looks at the coccis ability to
thrive in dry soil, scientist vic etyemazian, from arizona's desert research institute, explores the role of dust in valley fevers dramatic rise. >> valley fever is very much a sort of a dust-related event, if you have much more abundant areas where valley fever spores can be suspended in the air, then you can imagine that the exposure for people can go up to the future. >> reporter: etyemazian and a colleague move measuring devices propelled by a baby jogger across the rutted desert landscape. >> what we're doing is measuring the potential for wind erosion and the potential for dust emission at different equivalent wind speeds. so we're trying to understand if the wind is blowing at say 35 miles an hour, which of these areas is most susceptible to... to dust becoming airborne. and this instrument we have is something like a wind tunnel, it's a very compact version of a wind tunnel, and that's exactly what it does.
it simulates higher wind speeds and as the wind speed gets higher, you measure the dust and >> reporter: the scientists are part of a bigger project funded by nasa to study possible impacts of climate change on nasa centers. climate change is not the only suspect in the increased illnesses. you also have to take into account the human footprint on the land. these days the desert sprouts subdivisions, shopping centers, and oil derricks and every time you disturb the land you can release the cocci spore into a stiff wind like this one, and they can travel 75 miles. 90 miles northwest, at the edge of the desert in fast growing bakersfield california, infectious disease specialist dr royce johnson, an expert on valley fever, says anyone can get sick, even if you just drive through a desert area. >> all you have to do is take a breath at the wrong time, it'll impact your lower lung, and the infection starts from there, and can spread anywhere it wants to in the body. you can roll down the window driving on i-5 and you could be driving from san diego to
seattle, you could catch cocci while you're driving through, no question. that can happen and has happened. >> reporter: johnson says so little is known about valley fever it is still unclear why reactions to the infection are so varied. >> most people in fact will successfully fight off the infection, and have no symptoms, and have lifelong immunity from it. about 40% of the people that are infected get a flu like illness. >> reporter: for a small fraction of the population-- people like al rountree-- the condition can be life threatening. his lungs became so inflamed, he was put on breathing machine in the i.c.u. >> i thought i was dying. that first weekend, i thought, i mean i thought for sure. i've been sick a lot, but nothing like, i've never been this sick in my life, and like i said, i've had a lot of things happen, but i've never been this sick in my life, and it's just devastating. >> reporter: now, after months of intensive infusions of an antifungal drug that is very tough on the body, rountree is
on the mend. >> we'll transition you to an oral drug and well probably treat you for the next three years or so... >> reporter: al rountree's infection was confined to his lungs. valley fever is most dangerous when the fungus spreads, or disseminates, that condition is often fatal. since 1990, more than 3,000 people have died. >> if it goes to your brain it produces meningitis that can kill you by a variety of mechanisms. it can also kill you if it goes through the blood stream, and goes back to your lung, and you get respiratory failure, you can end up on a ventilator in the i.c.u., and then it can also kill you sort of like cancer does, you can just waste away from having a lot of disease, and not being able to control it. >> reporter: while people with weaker immune systems are more vulnerable, it is not know why some healthy individuals can get just as sick. >> so this thing burst open and then they do the same thing:
>> reporter: dr. johnson says much of the general public and many physicians have never heard of valley fever, leading to patients going untreated as the disease worsens, or getting treatment for the wrong illness. >> i tell my medical students that they will know more than 99.9% of all the physicians that ever lived about this disease. >> reporter: higher profile illnesses like west nile virus receive 20 times as much in federal funding, even though more people get sick from valley fever. >> west nile virus came to the united states in new york city-- one of the world's most famous metropolises. it also has multiple medical schools. but new york city, bakersfield, tucson, maybe not equivalent in terms of international notoriety. i think resources were put together because of where this virus landed. >> reporter: antje lauer agrees. >> there are no valley fever
cases, and there is no incidents of coccidioidomycosis on the east coast, where all the politicians are sitting, so they are never reading anything in the news about valley fever around washington. so they are not that concerned. >> reporter: there's a lot more scientists say they must know about cocci spores: how they grow; where they blow as the tiny spore makes more americans sick. >> brown: a postscript to ray's report: this week a federal judge ordered the california department of corrections to transfer 3,000 or more inmates at high risk of contracting valley fever. attorneys say 18 inmates have died in the past two years from complications related to the disease. the state has 90 days to move them from two prisons located in the san joaquin valley. online, you can find the c.d.c.'s list of 10 things you should know about valley fever, including symptoms of the disease and other important information.
>> ifill: now, how a local battle in texas over abortion legislation erupted into a national debate. chaos erupted in the texas state senate last night, as abortion- rights backers thundered their opposition to tough, new restrictions. in the midst of the din, majority republicans insisted the bill, which would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, had passed. but official records showed that didn't happen until after a midnight deadline had come and gone. just after 3:00 a.m., lieutenant governor david dewhurst, who presided over the session, conceded defeat. >> regrettably, the constitutional time for the 83rd legislature had expired. senate bill 5 cannot be signed in the presence of the senate at this time and therefore cannot be enrolled. >> ifill: the bill would have
required clinics to upgrade to surgical-level centers, an expense that would have caused most existing facilities to close. had it passed, texas would have joined alabama, arkansas, kansas, north dakota, and virginia-- all states that recently adopted stringent new anti-abortion laws. the campaign to derail the measure was the brainchild of fort worth democrat wendy davis, who declared her intent to talk the bill to death. >> is it still your intention to filibuster? yes, mr. president... >> ifill: sporting pink tennis shoes, davis began speaking at 11:15 in the morning. >> members, i'm rising on the floor today to humbly give a voice to thousands of texans who have been ignored. these are texans who relied on the minority members of this senate in order for their voices to be heard. these voices have been silenced >> ifill: news of the filibuster
quickly grabbed national attention on social media and a catchy hashtag. late in the day, president obama tweeted: "something special is happening in austin tonight. stand with wendy." davis continued speaking for nearly 11 hours and had intended to go until midnight. >> laws are to create justice for all. we also received this written testimony. there's a medical necessity. women need timely access. >> ifill: but around 10:00 p.m., republicans forced an end to the filibuster, ruling davis had strayed off topic. that sparked nearly two hours of heated debate, as democrats raised procedural questions to delay a vote. then, the protesters crowded into the gallery took over. when it was finally official that the bill had been blocked, davis thanked her supporters. >> today was an example of government for the people, by the people, and of the people. >> ifill: it's unclear what will
>> ifill: late today texas governor rick perry called a special session to address the abortion bill. fo for more on the high noon texas political drama, as it unfolded, we turn to evan smith, editor- in-chief of the "texas tribune." so give me a sense about how this went from being a local showdown to being a big national story. >> you know, it's amazing how in the world of technology things this never would have gotten the attention of people outside of austin let alone outside of texas become national and international stories. we live stream it had senate debate last night. the senate live streams the debate themselves but we put it out there in a way that other media could embed the video. and very quickly we had more than 100,000 and ultimately almost 190,000 people from around the world watching this story. more than anything else, social media and youtube made it possible for this story to go international and for wendy davis to be the latest folk hero to come out of texas. >> ifill: let's go back a moment. tell us a little bit more about
what this legislation would have done. it would have closed 32 of 42 clinics that currently exist, practically? >> well, that's not entirely clear. it would have required the abortion clinics-- and there are 42 in the state of texas-- to upgrades to the standard of ambulatory surgical centers. supporters of the bill said clinics were not required to close, they just had to meet the standard and pay the money to make the upgrade. but abortion supporters or pro choice -- the pro choice side of this said that the burdens on these clinics were so onerous that the practical result would be to close them. the expectation would be that of the 42 clinics you should this bill, as many as 37 were likely to close, leaving just five abortion clinics in the entire state of texas that would be available under this new law. >> ifill: evan, tell us a little bit about wendy davis. this is not the first time she's filibustered something. >> correct, back in the 2011 legislative session when they were getting ready to cut $4 billion from public education-- a historic cut-- wendy davis filibustered at the end of the first regular session. she talked this to death.
basically she was able to run the clock out as she was not able to do by herself yesterday. governor perry called a special session, they came back in, they instituted those education cuts anyway in the special session but wendy davis became something of a folk hero two years ago for having had the brass to stand up to the power structure in texas. she was one person by herself she basically talked those cuts to death. so coming into this session she already had a reputation for being willing to do that and, you know, look, the abortion issue is one that divides texas as it divides many other places and when these laws were proposed, not just the upgrade of the abortion clinics but also the ban after 20 weeks, wendy davis announced "i'm going to do what i can to stop this." made the point of filibustering again. and, again, you and i both remember the movie "billy jack." she is basically state senator billy jack from fort worth. she's assume add folk hero status. not since anne richards has a
democrat risen to international level of acclaim-- for good or ill-- that she has. >> ifill: in the end, did she and other democrats outmaneuver republicans? because they have the majority and the public opinion behind them on this. >> yeah, it's kind of amazing. there are 95 republicans out of 150 in the texas house. 19 republicans out of 31 in the texas senate where wendy davis serves. republicans enjoy almost a supermajority in both houses. every statewide elected official is a republican. in fact, no democrat has been elected statewide in texas since 1994. this is not just a red state, this is a blood red state. how amazing in a state like this with those numbers that the republicans could not manage to get this through. the democrats used the rule book as their weapon. the only weapon they had available. they simply outplayed the republicans in this case. >> ifill: there have been a lot of theatrics. i've been following your tweets on this and it seems there was one episode in which women showed up dressed as characters
from "mad men"? >> yeah, you know, this week has been one for the books in terms of how the public inserted themselves into the process. not just by being more engaged than at any time i've seen before. not just by using twitter and other social media platforms to build community and to organize around the this issue. but the numbers of people who showed up in various states, in dress and in orange shirts to signify their pro-choice leanings and, quite frankly, the pro-life side, they showed up in blue shirts. they didn't show up in quite the same numbers. the public's level of engagement on this issue should give hope to people like you and me who think no one is paying attention. everyone's paying attention. and i come back to what i said at the beginning. because of technology in a literal sense the whole world was watching. that's why this thing was such a significant moment for texas and texas politics. >> ifill: well, we know for sure that governor rick perry is paying attention and we hear this afternoon that he plans to take another whack at this. tell us about how that would
have to happen. >> he's coming back -- bringing them back into session on monday, july 1. and here's the deal: the democrats were able to use the rule book to run out the clock this last time. they're not going to be able to use the rule book almost certainly to run out the clock this time. they won the battle, they will almost certainly lose the war. they can marshall the opposition to this bill, wendy davis and her colleagues can stand and talk and maneuver and do everything they can, the outcome of this is more or less decided. they're going to pass this bill. the victory was achieved in forcing them go into a second special session. and the reality is, whatever the outcome, wendy davis is the folk hero that everyone views her as and her celebrity is on the rise, her political prospects have risen and for the first time really, i go back to anne richards, gwen, for the first time since anne richards the democrats have somebody they can rally around as a candidate who may begin to turn the clock back. >> ifill: keep your texas history hat on for a moment.
how atypical is this kind of challenge? when you say, you know, that they're going to lose the war, just the fact of this kind of challenge, how unusual was it? >> there haven't been many successful filibusters and certainly not of this length in the history of this state. it wasn't just successful for what she did, it was successful for the way she did it and for the times in which she did it. i goo back to this point: democrats haven't had very much to be hopeful about in this state for a very long time. there haven't been candidates who have run successfully who have come close to winning. in the legislature the democrats don't have enough numbers to do anything or prevent anything. it's been acation where the democrats are effectively the third party in a two-party state. the two parties are the old moderate republicans and the tea party and most of the big political fights are republican on republican rather than republican and democrat. redistricting has taken competition out of the vast majority of our elections so
that's why it's so unusual. democrats have had so little to get energized about. last night was one that we haven't seen in a long time. >> ifill: it was interesting to watch, evan smith. thanks a lot for joining us. >> thanks, gwen. online, see how social media allowed spectators across the country to take part in the austin debate. >> brown: finally tonight to egypt, where there is unrest as angry crowds react to a major address by the country's president. margaret warner has more. >> warner: trying to defuse growing defiance to his rule, egyptian president mohammed morsi called on his opponents to help end the country's political polizarization. in a live speech televised nationwide, morsi warned that if the breach isn't healed, egypt could slip into chaos. he acknowledged he'd made mistakes, but also accused remnants of the old regime of fomenting anti-government
violence. he spoke just days before mass protests set for sunday on the one-year anniversary of morsi and the muslim brotherhood assuming power. earlier today, two people were killed and more than 100 were injured as clashes broke out between morsi opponents and supporters. for more, we turn to nancy youssef of mcclatchy newspapers in cairo. nancy, thanks for joining us. the president's speech ended really just about an hour ago. we saw there were throngs, thousands of people in tahrir square watching. what was the reaction? >> well, just as morsi has been a divisive figure throughout his presidency, this speech had just a divisive reaction. if you were in tahrir square, the iconic tahrir square where the uprising of 2011 led to the fall of hosni mubarak there were chants of "leave" and cursing. in fact, you could bearlier that speech there because of all the chants. if you were nasr city which is near the presidential palace
there were cheers of support for morsi. those who support him saw this speech as confirmation that he needs more time, that he has been bullied by remnants of the former regime and opponents saw this as another example of a president who wouldn't reach out to him. in a sense, this speech confirmed what people felt going into it so the ultimate goal of pacifying concerns at this weekend's protest that could turn violent, in that effort he failed. rather it solidified the lines that have been here since the early days of his presidency. >> ifill: in fact, the lines have been there since the early days of his presidency. has it been growing? is the polarization growing? how severe is it. say compared to a year ago? >> well, when he took office initially, he won with 52% of the vote and his popularity rating was as high as 74% early
on. you talk to egyptians now more and more of them are frustrated by everyday problems. today in egypt alone i spoke to egyptians who stood in line for literally 24 hours in nearly 100-degree heat to fill up their car with gasoline. more people are hungry, more people are unemployed. the hopes and dreams of the 2000 uprising are gone. people are looking for basic services to come back. a good day in egypt is where one has water and electricity for the entire day so i think his popularity has fallen and in fact the poll numbers show they're back to mubarak levels. but at the same time there are people who say that the solution is not to just keep going to the streets and calling for protests. that is at the moment of accountability is at the ballot box not on the streets and that's what's at stake this weekend. who's -- who decides what the political will of this nation is? the ballot box or a popular
referendum as to opponents are calling the protests they've planned for this weekend. >> warner: so the protest planned for sunday, which is the one year anniversary of his taking power, does it have an objective? or is it just to vent? >> well, that's a great point. the -- one of the reasons that -- that opponents have had a hard time winning over support or winning their fight to call for morsi's resignation is that they are disenfranchised and just organized amongst themselves and can't agree on what they want to come up with at these protests. some will say morsi need to step down and be replaced by the constitutional court leader. some will say that the army should take over again. some will say that there should be no elections right away. some will say that elections should happen in six months from now. so there's really no agreement amongst them. it's this chorus of calls for change without really defining what that change should look
like. and that's one of the reasons that morsi has been able to hold on to power in a way that i think most people here wouldn't have expected had there been a viable opposition movement here. >> warner: and you mentioned the army. what has been the army's role in all this? i gather that the army chief made a -- issued kind of a warning on sunday to both sides in this conflict. >> that's right. the man appointed by morsi in august said that both sides needed to come to some sort of reconciliation. he gave them a week deadline and, in fact, morsi in his speech tonight called for a committee, a reconciliation committee. he also said, though, that the military would only intervene if it turned into a quote/unquote uncontrollable conflict no matter who started it. that is, if the brotherhood and the morsi supporters instigate violence they will defend morsi opponents and if morsi opponents start to shoot at the brotherhood and morsi
supporters, they will stop that. the military is a revered institution here and seen as the last nationalist force that could serve as an arbiter in what's become a protracted conflict that has defined morsi's first year in office. >> warner: what's the atmosphere like at least in cairo and elsewhere as this weekend approaches? >> it's very tense in 2011 when the uprising started it began as a way to rid the police of corruption and evolved into a call for mubarak's fall. whereas here it's starting as already as a call by many for morsi to step down. so there's a real feeling of tex +*r tension. grocery stores are empty, people are stocking up on food, on water, on ammunition in some cases. people are looking down in their homes. people are trying to find
gasoline wherever they can and there's a real expectation of violence. and when you ask egyptians why is it okay for people to die? they'll say question we might have to die to get rid of morsi, that he will not leave easily and that this is the price to really bring about a revolution in egypt so it is the most tense i have that ever seen this country and i think that's why this speech was the most important speech delivered since mubarak's resignation in february, 2011. >> warner: well, nancy yousseff of mcclatchy, that's saying something. thank you. >> brown: again, the major developments of the day: the u.s. supreme court ruled same-sex couples are entitled to federal marriage benefits. it also cleared the way for gay marriages to resume in california. and president obama arrived in senegal, beginning a three- nation african tour. one stop will be in south africa, where former president nelson mandela remains in
critical condition. >> ifill: and something completely different online: why do humans have the unique ability to throw fastballs? kwame holman tells us more. >> holman: did early spear hunting help humans evolve into great baseball pitchers? on science wednesday, we look at the mechanics of throwing and a new theory about the evolution of that specialized skill. and for those looking for a good return on investment, an energy expert on making sense says increasing energy efficiency in the home might be the safest bet. all that and more is on our website newshour.pbs.org. >> brown: and again, to our honor roll of american service personnel killed in the afghanistan conflict. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here, in silence, are nine more.
>> ifill: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on thursday, we'll cover president obama's trip to three african nations: senegal, tanzania and south africa. i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. thanks for joining us. good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> support also comes from carnegie corporation of new
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