tv Meet the Press MSNBC June 30, 2013 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
leeding problems. ready to change your routine? ask your doctor about once-a-day xarelto®. for more information including cost support options, call 1-888-xarelto or visit goxarelto.com. this sunday, an historic week. the supreme court rules on some of the country's most highly charged political issues. yet the fight is far from over. a week that highlighted the rapid pace of social change in america does little to quiet the debates ahead. gay marriage, voting rights, abortion, and immigration, issues that still divide americans and will fuel next year's midterm congressional races. this morning my exclusive conversation with house democratic leader nancy pelosi, and a conservative leading the push to ban gay marriage, congressman tim hughes' camp of kansas. wendy davis joins us, a rising
liberal star in the abortion fight, takes on texas governor rick perry. and new attempts to restrict abortion rights in texas. and our "political roundtable" on the future of gay marriage, whether immigration reform can pass in the house, and the debate of snowden. will he be brought to justice. >> announcer: from nbc new in washington, the world's longest-running television program, this is "meet the press" with david gregory. good sunday morning. as nelson mandela remains in critical but stable condition. another emotional day for president obama. he arrived in cape town a short time ago and is spending the day at robin island, the jail where mandela was held for the 18 of his 27 years of confinement. saturday the president met privately with some of mandela's children and grandchildren and
discussed the former leader's legacy. >> as you go forward, i want you to think of the man who's in our prayers today. think about 27 years in prison. think about the hardships and the struggles of being away from family and friends. reflecting on his years in prison, nelson mandela wrote that there were dark moments that tested his faith in humanity, but he refused to give up. >> all of this and the significant political challenges and debates back home in washington. joining me now, msnbc's rachel maddow. and eric dyson, former republican senator from south carolina jim demint. and pete williams. pete, you are such a significant news man as we like to discuss around here, that even when you get news of something significant like the ruling in
the gay marriage debate, it's become a viral sensation on line. the loop seen round the world, hustling the decision to pete williams so he can inform the world. good to have all of you here. >> i was sweating, too. >> exactly. you were running just prior to that. let's begin with where this debate over gay marriage goes now. rachel maddow, the reaction has been so big, so fast, and yet what now becomes a really big question? >> the supreme court had the choice not only which way to rule pro or anti-gay marriage rights, but also how they were going to rule. they could have ruled federalism, saying this isn't a federal issue, all states could decide it, or decide it on equal protection grounds and say gay discrimination is wrong. those are the grounds on which they decided it. i tend to side with justice scalia on this, who ten years ago in the lawrence case said, if the court finds that there is not a state interest in
discriminating and showing moral disapproval of sexual immortality, we can't stop the marriage rights. >> if you look at the opinion of justice kennedy, he writes this. the defensive marriage act undermines the public and private decisions where it tells the couples and all of the world that there are otherwise valid marriages are unworthy of federal recognition. this places same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second-tier marriage. the differentiation demeans the couple whose moral and sexual choices the constitution protects. >> that's the part of the opinion that will be used by supporters of same-sex marriage as they try to come up with a legal strategy to go state by state. there is something in this opinion for everybody. justice kennedy uses the word dignity ten times to refer to same-sex relationships. but at the same time he says,
this is so important, because it demeans the choice the states have made. so the other side can say, no, no, no, this opinion is all about living it up to the states. not that there's a fundamental right, but that you have to defer to what the states want. that's something for the other side. >> here's how it looks in the states, as we put up the map where gay marriage is legal. 13 states and the district of columbia, legal or will be soon. wide swath fs of this country, 37 states, in fact, where it is not legal. what happens now? >> well, i hate to throw cold water on the celebration on the other side. but this court specifically and explicitly rejected what the plaintiffs argued in this case. which was, there is a 14th amendment equal protection right to be married as gays and lesbians. the court rejected that argument. and even in the doma case -- >> did they reject it or side
step it? >> clearly the votes were not there. you know, kennedys wanted to go there ever since the lawrence decision last decade. but the votes are not there. i don't expect the votes to be there anytime soon. and i also don't buy into the notion of history that this is sort of an inevitable train and this is where we're going to go. even after this decision, david, 70% of the american people live in states that define marriage as between a man and a woman. 32 of those states passed referendums with an average margin of 57%, and in a cbs "new york times" poll on june 9th, 60% of the american people and a majority of democrats said they want this resolved at the state level not the federal level. >> how does that dynamic change? because there is a huge part of the country, and in many states, where they're simply not on board with the notion that gays and lesbians have the right to marry. we also looked at the social
change that occurred, and political change so rapidly. so what changes the scenario? >> let me represent the tours against the whigs. that accentuates the necessity for political intervention on behalf of those people who have been underrepresented. here's the point. i come from a people where it was illegal to be married for a long period of our history in this country. so that now that that right has been extended to us, that becomes a metaphor for others who are struggling similarly against states' rights, number one, and to prevent their ability to participate in a right others share freely. if we bring in our own religious beliefs as well saying, dignity is a critical point there, we're dignified because we're human beings and we have the same rights. if you had polled people in
1963, '64, '65, there was a civil rights bill and voting rights act. but president johnson encouraged congress to get on board. the judicial, legislative and congressional have to be brought in. >> let me bring jim demint into this. i want to come back to pete's point. justice kennedy is using the word dignity over and over again. he's saying, you can't demean gay and lesbian couples, you can't discriminate against them. let's be honest, you will be viewed in many quarters as being intolerant of gay rights, intolerant of gays going back to the christian coalition. how do you oppose -- how do you answer justice kennedy saying, to oppose gay marriage is to deny equality to people who deserve equal protection? >> he is denying dignity to the millions of americans who for
moral or religious reasons believe that gay marriage is wrong. as you just said, you've got 37 states where the people have decided that they want to protect the marriage between a man and a woman, because they know that that's the environment where children can thrive and succeed. that's been proven. so it's not about the desires of adults, it's really about the best environment for children. we're talking all about politics. but the reason governments at the state level and the federal level have recognized marriage between a man and a woman is because it's better for our country and it's better for children. >> but justice kennedy addressed that issue specifically. he says that by denying marriage rights to same-sex couples, who have kids, you're humiliating and demeaning those kids by denying their families equal protection under the law, by the parents who are raising them and love them and make their family. so we can put it in the interests of children. but i think that cuts both ways, and i think the ruling cuts
against that argument. gay people exist, there's nothing we can do in public policy that makes more or less of us exist. you've been arguing for a generation that public policy ought to essentially demean gay people as a way of expressing disapproval of the fact we exist. but you just are arguing in favor of discrimination. and more discrimination doesn't make -- >> i really can't let that go. this suggestion that because somebody wants to affirm the marriage, by that argument barack obama was intolerant 14 months ago, by that argument 342 members of the house, 85 members of the senate, including, by the way, joe biden, harry reid, pat leahy, who all voted for this law, and bill clinton who signed it into law, were intolerant and motivated by an an
imouse. >> was president obama a bigot 14 months ago? >> wait a minute. >> you were motivated by hatred for somebody else because you believed the foundation and culture and socializing institution of western civilization is something to be protected. >> i'll tell you this, i've got to say this. >> go ahead. >> white supremacy against african-american people, it will destroy civilization, it will undermine the american family and challenge our civic institutions and unravel our policies. >> opposing george wallace? >> i'm saying george washington. my point is that in the american culture, yes, people can change their mind, they can evolve, they can grow, they can think one thing is true then, another thing is true now. most americans believe 50 years ago one thing about issues of ration, now they believe
something different. as we make a move toward progressive realization of what is enlightened viewpoints. your affirmation of marriage for those who are heterosexual goes against people who are affirming their right as same-sex people. >> let's go to pete williams. with all these points in mind, the supreme court deliberately did not answer this core question. >> with all respect to mr. reid here, did not reject the equality of marriage, just side stepped it with great relief. it was only too happy to find an off-ramp and say, you know what, the prop 8 opponents don't have the proper legal standing. it was obviously clear from the oral argument that the court is nowhere near wanting to take on this question. they would not like to see this come back. there were two cases pending in the supreme court after it decided these cases from two other states that raised the core question. the court said, we're just not going to hear those now. it does not want to see these cases back on its doorstep for quite a while. it wants the states to have the
very argument you're having now. >> i want to bring in another voice to this. joining me now is republican congress from kansas. congressman, i asked you to come on because you're on the leading edge of the opponents of gay marriage in congress, who want to have the fight in congress. you have pro possessioned a constitutional ban for gay marriage. you have some co-sponsors. but you have to admit that it seems that the flow of history now in the supreme court and others are sort of working against you, working against the politics of what you're trying to advocate. do you not think that's true? >> well, our founders made it extraordinarily difficult to amend the constitution, and that's what we're going to try to do. you look at this decision, it's outrageous what the court did. they took pob themselves to rewrite the constitution. but to suggest it can't be done, if you look at the issue of life and abortion, actually, we're moving in that direction, where
most americans oppose most abortions. by that same argument we should be looking closely at any abortion in this country or something close to that. >> what is it that you have against gays and lesbians marrying? >> this issue here is the definition of marriage. for centuries in this country and elsewhere around the country, every major religion identified marriage as between a man and a woman. that's the simple issue here. senator demint did note the research is very clear that the ideal for raising our children should be the issue here. and that's what we need to focus on in this debate. >> justice kennedy speaks to this. there's research that everybody talks about the interests of children. children tend to prosper in loving -- in homes where there is a loving marriage. right? there is really not evidence to suggest that if you are a same-sex couple, or heterosexual couple, that it makes one difference one way or the other.
>> actually, the research does not show that. actually, the research is very clear, as we have indicated here. >> no, but everybody throws that out. no, no, the research actually shows that in broken homes, it hurts the children. which i think most people would say, that would be true with same-sex couples or heterosexual couples. we don't really know, do we? but we do have a sense that loving marriages provides a good family life for children, right? >> we have an epidemic of fatherlessness here, and that's what i agree with the president on. we should be doing more to promote and protect marriage, between a man and a woman, for our children. the desires of adults, the court decided that the desires of adults should trump the needs of children. that's what's gotten lost in all the politics, all the hand wringing and debates in washington, d.c. >> i do want to ask you a political question. and give you kind of the two ends within the republican debate about how to treat this
issue. mike huckabee from arkansas tweeted this out on wednesday. my thoughts on the scottus ruling that same-sex marriage is okay. quote, jesus went. the faith-based party. david kochel, an iowa based operative, supports gay marriage. wrote the following. this is how politico reported on it. iowa-based republican strategist david kochel, a former top mitt romney adviser, who supports same-sex marriage, there will be people who want to roll back the clock who want to continue this fight over and over again. he said there will be a lot of fury, but i don't think it will amount to a whole lot over time. why don't you believe this debate is over? that the republicans are having? >> well, because we're the american people, it's not over. this court attempted to short-circuit the democratic
process. what you're hearing from these professional consultants who have lost election after election by the way, these folks have always wanted us to go light, and abandon our positions on social issues. as i mentioned earlier, there are more folks today that are opposed to abortion than support homosexual marriage. but the real issue here is, who gets to decide. do five justices get to decide or do the american people get to decide? or do consultants in washington, d.c. get to decide? i'm going to go with the 7 million californians who had their votes discarded from this court. >> appreciate your time. >> thank you. >> ralph reed, quick reaction on a political point. you have said this week, this is going to energize republicans, not only to fight gay marriage on the state level, but this has implications for the midterm race as well. >> no question about it. i think, first of all, it's far better for this to be resolved at the state level than by a
federal decision. second of all, it's better resolved in the political and legislative process at the ballot box than a back drop fiat. so what you're going to see in states like iowa, where the supreme court imposed same-sex marriage on the state, we're going to be -- >> the supreme court. >> the state supreme court. we're going to attempt to elect legislators who will pass a constitutional amendment to ratify this marriage between a man and a woman. >> electing mitt romney, getting that iowa supreme court justice thrown out and recalled for having voted in favor of same-sex marriage and the minnesota gay constitutional amendment. you lost all three fights. >> that was to turn out the evangelical vote. >> that was great. they lost. but between -- when oral arguments were made in this case, there were nine states that recognized marriage equality. by the time of the ruling there were 12 states.
by the time of the ruling, there were 13 states. >> we'll continue this. but i want to get to another voice in this debate. on friday i went to capitol hill, sat down with a democratic leader in the house, nancy pelosi, to talk about this issue, and some of the other big issues as well that congress is dealing with. my conversation with her. >> leader, welcome back to "meet the press." >> welcome to th >> thank you. always good to be here. let's start on this historic week on gay marriage and where the fight goes from here. some supporters said they would like it to be the law of the land in five years. but you've got 37 states in america where it remains illegal. do you think that's an achievable goal? >> well, first of all, let's savor the victory. none of us were surprised that the supreme court ruled the way they did. nonetheless, it was a relief to have it over. both in terms of the sections of doma as well as the sending proposition 8 back to where it belonged. and, you know, we still have
work to do. the president, as you know, has directed his administration to go through the federal laws that affect marriage equality couples in our country. and yes, we would like to see it be the law of the land upheld as a constitutional right. and no discrimination. no discrimination. that's what we're about as a country. >> you look at the states, arkansas, only 18% approval. how do you change that tide? >> well, you know what, look how fast things have changed. even when we went over to listen to the oral arguments at the time of doma in march. the chief justice said, people seem to be falling all over -- tripping all over themselves to come out in support of gay marriage. generationally, another generation of people think in a different way about this kind of discrimination. i'm optimistic that the momentum is with ending discrimination.
>> five years is achievable do you think? >> i would certainly hope so. of course, i've been in this, should i say, crusade for a long time and see the pace with which it has accelerated in the past few years is very encouraging. let's hope it's even sooner than that. >> what would you say to conservatives who are energized by this saying, no, this is still a faith-based issue? we're going to lobby the federal government to be very narrow in its implementation and make this a bit fight in the states to make it a faith-based view that marriage should only be between a man and a woman? >> for their faith, they can apply that to their religion. and we're not talking about saying that religions have to perform wedding ceremonies. we're talking about the state, what the state does, and what the state recognizes. people have a right to believe what they believe. but we are a country that professes not to discriminate.
and this is a discrimination. and again, more people see in their own families, people coming out, seeing people they love, profess to whom they love, they're much more receptive. i think that culturally, it's still a challenge, but it's changing in favor of being a non-issue before too long. >> i want to ask you about voting rights. the president this week said you wouldn't have to target particular states the way they were, quote unquote, pre-cleared in the past. but basically, that every state should be subject to rules with regard to voting, so that everybody can vote, and that there's no suppression. is that how you view it? is that the way to get started, do you think, to get legislation. >> what we want to do is correct what the supreme court did. and to do so we must do it in a bipartisan way, which it always has been, and to do so in a way that addresses the challenge.
it may be that we add parts of some other states. but whatever it is, you're not adding states, you're adding criteria. >> so many hot-button issues to get to, and i'd like to cover as many as i can. immigration. >> yes. >> you've apparently spoken to the president of the game plan forward. look how daunting this is. 70% of districts held by republicans in the house have a population of hispanic voters, 10% or less. you're an advocate, but you're also a realist. how tough will this be to get this in the house? >> i'm optimistic before too long, and certainly this year, have comprehensive immigration reform. thanks to the senate and the courage of those on the republican side especially who made the tough vote. on the house side, the speaker will have his way to bring a legislation to the floor, and hopefully it will be in a form that takes -- >> we know those are the outlines of it, but you've been tough on the speaker saying he's
weak, and how optimistic can you be, given the fact that i just -- you know, cited for you, and the views that you're hearing, that you're going to get something akin to what the senate did? >> we wouldn't even be where we are right now had it not been for 70% of hispanics voted for president obama, voted democratic in the last election. that caused an epiphany in the senate, that's for sure. so all of a sudden now we have already passed comprehensive immigration reform in the senate. that's a big victory. i believe that the members of congress, many more than directly affected themselves by the number of hispanics in their districts, will do what is right for our country. and it's certainly right for the republicans if they ever want to win a presidential race. the senators know it's important to win statewide, to have hispanics and other immigrant populations supporting them. hopefully they can persuade our colleagues in the house. but i think there are enough.
the question is, do we have to have these mathematical formulas to bring something forth. 218, that's a majority in the house. >> that's democrats adhering not only to a majority of the republicans. >> right. >> on abortion rights, look what's happened, this back-and-forth in texas this week, an attempt to narrow abortion rights there. as you look at it, here's the supreme court giving back to the states power over big issues, like gay marriage. do you see what's happening in the states as the potential, laying the groundwork for the potential to undermine abortion rights, by the supreme court, to take that up again? do you feel that pressure? >> yes, i do. but i think it's really important to enlarge the issue beyond abortion. because i have been serving here for over two decades and i have seen year in and year out, largely the republicans voting against women's contraception,
family planning. so they want to argue the sensational, which is about certain cases of abortion. but the fact is, it's a fundamental disrespect for women, women's judgment about the sizing and time of their families. this is a women's health issue. and again, if you want to win the day, take the issue to the extreme. but the fact is, every single day, america's families have to make decisions about their families. and that should be made by them, not by -- >> that's the argument open- >> not by texas or the united states congress. >> do you feel we're at a new age of the abortion rights? look at the number of states that have banned abortions, for instance, after 20 weeks. >> i think we're at a place where a woman's health is in danger. because of whether it's family planning or contraception or any issues relating to women's health. there is an assault on that in
the congress on the ongoing. and in other parts of the country. so we have to be ever vigilant and fight for this. this is, again, this is about respect for women, the judgments that women make and their doctors about their reproductive health. it's an important part of what women are, their reproductive health. >> let's talk about the nsa programs and spying. you were booed at a recent conference because you talked about edward snowden, leaking this classified material, as having broken the law. >> we don't know -- >> boo! >> as there is widening concern about, quote unquote, surveillance state, do you think we need more edward snowdens in this country who leak this material and force this kind of debate, or less? >> no. i think what we have to do is obey the constitution of the united states.
and by the way, it was a smattering, when i objected to him being called a hero, and yes, he did break the law. >> and he's no hero in your mind. >> no. here's the thing, i've been involved in the intelligence side of federal government for a long time. we all know that we have to have a balance between security to protect the american people, and liberty. we take an oath to protect and defend the constitution. and the american people. and so i have -- all of the legislation that i've been involved in puts serious obstacles to having surveillance that comes anywhere near to violating the rights of the american people, including the privacy and civil liberties forward which i think will now be further strengthened. it was a recommendation of the 9/11 commission when we won the house hr-1, the first bill we passed, was to enact the recommendations of the 9/11
commission, one of which was to protect our civil liberties, our privacy and civil liberties forward. the -- when the left or the right wants to say that president bush -- excuse me, president obama is the fourth term of president bush, that couldn't be farther from the truth. president bush exercised unfettered, unlimited presidential discretion for surveillance. under president obama, in '08 before he even became president, we passed the fisa amendments, which put up obstacles to the federal government, doing surveillance, which put oversight, whether it's inspectors general, whether it's the congress of the united states, whether it's in the privacy and civil liberties forward. so i would love to show you the chart to show you what was happening under president bush and what is the law now. whether it's a democrat or republican president, we do not want any president to have what
president bush had, unlimited presidential discretion. >> obviously there's a debate whether this president has expanded some of those programs. beyond that, you heard the president this week say, look, i'm not going to scramble jets to get a 29-year-old hacker. how important do you think it is that america track edward snowden down and make him face justice? >> i think it's pretty good that he's stuck in the moscow airport. that's okay with me. he can stay there, that's fine. >> he's still in a position to leak more documents. >> i think the bigger question here is, who are these consultants -- now we've gotten into -- this president has reduced the number of consultants, as i understand. >> we'll get into the nsa -- >> the contractors and the revolving door between the nsa and booze allen hamilton, and -- >> how aggressive should we be in tracking them? >> we have to really know evidence. we have to know what is it that
he has, and i don't know that he has that much substance. i don't know. he may know something about the machinery. i don't know that he knows that much about the content. but i think that anybody thought he was a hero to begin with, now that he's threatening in any event to share information with russia and china, if in fact he has any information, that should disabuse anybody of the notion that he is a hero. >> you talked about hillary clinton this week. >> yeah. >> you talked about how credentialed she would be, how prepared she would be to be president, and that if she ran, she would win in 2016. is that an endorsement, number one? and number two, do you see any challenges to winning the white house? >> let me just say it's a little too early to be talking about 2016. we have the election of 2014. >> you're pretty invested in that. >> it's urgent, so we can really have a job agenda, a budget that
grows the economy. >> obviously a lot of focus and planning going into this. and among these potential campaigns. so speaking out with significance. are you endorsing her for president? >> i'm excited about the prospect of a woman president of the united states. i think it would be -- well, especially a woman as well qualified as hillary clinton. i make a habit of not endorsing people until they make a decision to run. but i think there are many people who are waiting to see if secretary clinton runs. but first, we have to win in 2014. we need a budget, we need a jobs agenda, and all we have here is obstructionism. i wish in 2014, one word could be on the ballot, get the job done for the american people besides the obstruction that the republicans have put up against any initiative that president obama puts forth, to create jobs, to reduce the deficit, to
grow the economy, to strengthen the middle class. we've got to get through 2014 first. >> speaker pelosi, thank you very much. >> my pleasure. >> more with the round table, reaction to the pelosi interview. plus more on road ahead. immigration reform and voting rights. later, the abortion rights debate, my live interview with a woman who took a stand in texas. wendy davis will join me live coming up here. i found our colors. we've made a decision. great, let's go get you set up... we need brushes. you should check out our workshops... push your color boundaries while staying well within your budget walls. i want to paint something else. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the the home depot. right now get $5 off one-gallon cans and $20 off five-gallon buckets of select paints and stains
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and the supreme court struck down key elements of it, effectively killing most of it. we are back with our round table. michael eric dyeson, "time" magazine wrote this. liberals rejoicing about the gay marriage ruling, and the voting rights ruling. the thread running through all these cases is the possibility of change in american society, just as anthony kennedy wrote that changes in thinking about same-sex marriage have come slowly and then in rapid course. if such change is possible in this area, is it also possible in the realm of race relations. the court thinks so. writing that the ghosts of the 1960s can no longer be held against the states, particularly in the south. where does this go now? >> it's not the ghosts. it's the real living problems that are presented. thinking about attorney general holder's response to this, talking about the corrosion of the foundations of american democracy. he found out that texas'
redistricting plan and south carolina's i.d. plan were both rejected by lower federal courts in texas and south carolina today. not 50 years ago, not 40 years ago. what's interesting here is that in 2006, congress and george bush signing the legislation, reviewed this, and in a bipartisan way found there was compelling evidence to suggest we need to -- >> senator, you voted to reauthorize the voting rights act. is there not a bipartisan basis to find remedy along the lines that the president wants? which is striking. he said let's not go back and pre-clear states. but he said there are rules. >> there's just one section that used 50-year-old voting participation records. and the fact is, today, in those nine states, the participation of african-americans in voting is as high or higher than white. so all the court said is if there's a compelling case based on data today, then they need to look at it.
but i think it was a good judgment. and it's not going to hinder voting rights. >> in 2006, the formula wasn't on 50-year-old data. if you thought it was 50-year-old data, and a bad idea -- >> i would vote either i would throw the whole thing out or accept it. we just decided to continue it because a lot of it is good. >> but the point is, it's not -- to get back to the point, we're talking about what goes on now. the voting i.d. laws were unjust and the ways in which the gerrymandering that has occurred in texas and south carolina -- we're not talking about them asserting themselves now, practices used now to deploy against vulnerable populations. latinos, african-americans in particular. you're telling me the supreme court basically says, let's give you a credit card now, and if you mess up, we'll take your credit back. we've got the judicial weighing
in. the judicial said it's all good. i'm telling you a bipartisan congress and president said in 2006 that it was -- >> i live in a georgia, which is a section 5 state, okay? every single redistricting plan drawn by my state, from the time the voting rights act was passed in 1965, until 2011, was overturned by either doj or a federal court for being discriminatory against minorities. so i take this is seriously. my view is that, discrimination against anyone at the ballot box is wrong, and should have the full enforcement of the federal government. but the issue here was not as jim said, they didn't throw out the law, they just simply said, you're using an old formula that doesn't apply. if the department of justice today believes that any state has passed a redistricting plan that violates the minority rights of anybody in that state, they can go into federal
government today and -- >> let me just -- quickly before i run out of time, before we go to a break. is there a bipartisan basis to do something that ensures that voters are enfranchised around the country? >> yes. but it may be such a small number of bipartisan people. here's the problem. every time congress has in modern times reauthorized the voting rights act, it's log rolling. i'll keep your state and your county out if you'll keep my county out. that's the problem they're going to face the next time. that's why they're trying to come up with something they don't fully have their arms around yet which is, is there some way of saying, okay, we're not going to cover entire states, we're just going to say there's this whole nationwide rule. we'll come back and talk about abortion rights. my live interview with one of the most talked-about women of the week, texas state senator wendy davis, taking on texas governor rick perry. she joins me live. and also, the president in south africa.
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with more choices and fewer calories... america's beverage companies are delivering. abortion abortion rights, a big issue around the country. state senator wendy davis joins me from texas. she took on a bill that would restrict abortion rights in the texas legislature. taking on governor perry as well.
senator davis, welcome to "meet the press." >> thank you. good morning, david. >> for all that you've achieved in terms of your pro vial and your views, are you not just delaying the inevitable? governor perry has a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. will that become law? >> i don't think it's acceptable to concede on important articles like this. what we saw in the capital last week, is people weary of our politicians trying to boost their own political careers on the backs of women, by bullying them. and others, honestly, in order to promote agendas that help them personally. these are matters of personal liberty. in texas, we hold very dear to intrusions against our personal liberty. we fight very hard against that. and we will fight, as we begin the session again on monday.
i don't think that we'll concede that the battle is over. and even if this bill passes, obviously there will be challenges to it going forward. >> the issue at hand, banning abortions after 20 weeks, is not as divisive, quite frankly, as other portions of the abortion debate. among women, there's 50% support for a 20-week abortion ban. does that concern you, that you're fighting on a particular battleground that, you know, is pretty evenly viewed? >> this is an omnibus bill, david, that includes four different provisions. one of which would leave texas with only five clinics in a state as large as we are. one of which would dramatically decrease the number of doctors who are able to function in this arena. and with that, the turning back of the clock, and putting texas
in a place where women's health care, their ability to seek good health care for their reproductive decision-making would be seriously foreclosed. and the experts in this arena, the american college of obstetrics and gynecology, is warning us, if you do this in texas, you are putting women's health care in a very dangerous place. >> senator, do you think a 20-week ban on abortion is acceptable? do you think it's reasonable? >> right now, that ban, of course, is being talked about because of the idea of fetal pain. and that the constitutional level, what we, of course, have assured is that women have the ability to make these reproductive decisions up to viability. that has to remain the key question here. and of course, when we're talking about that particular issue, there are very, very few. it's used more as an emotional trigger point as part of the argument. but remember, it's a huge
omnibus bill that involves many, many other aspects to it, that are setting texas back. >> let me get reaction from governor perry's comments, about you personally, which a lot of people reacted to. we'll put it on the screen. >> she's the daughter of a single woman. she was a teenage mother herself. she managed to eventually graduate from harvard law school. and served in the texas senate. it's just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example. that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential, and that every life matters. >> you don't accept the notion that while he was certainly disagreeing with you, he was holding up your life story in a way to compliment you? >> david, my life story is something obviously that belongs to me very personally. and the fact of the matter is that i had choices, and chances, and opportunities that were
provided to me based on the way i was able to direct my own decision-making. and what i'm working to fight for is to make sure that all women have the ability to do that. i think some of the comments that he made really demean the high office that he holds. and i think that's why we saw such a strong reaction to it. >> senator davis, thank you for your time this morning. i appreciate it. back to our round table. just a couple of minutes left. pete williams, one of the things we talked about this week is whether this momentum to ban abortions after 20 weeks, narrow abortion rights is ultimately going to become a federal issue and even something that the supreme court takes up. >> i would bet on it. i would think there's a strong chance the supreme court will hear an abortion case again. i wouldn't be surprised after trying to keep this issue away, it's coming back. >> jim demint, your reaction to what's played out in texas? >> david, cases like the
philadelphia abortion gozmel shows horrendous conditions in these clinics that have actually killed women. if we talk about women's health, we need to consider that. now, two-thirds of americans believe that after a baby's heart is beating and they can feel pain, that they need some protection. so i'm glad to see a lot of states like texas and arkansas, again, to consider this. and the more the ultrasounds have become part of the law where a woman gets the opportunity to see that there's a real child, it's beginning to change minds. i think that's a good thing. it's time that the 3,000 babies we lose every day have some people speaking up for them. >> women don't get the opportunity with ultrasound, the ultrasound bills are mandated by the states. if a doctor does not want to have her an ultrasound, if it's not medically indicated, the state government is stepping in, and saying, you must have this ultrasound by order of the state government. because of the timing in a lot of these, what is being mandated
is a vaginal ultrasound. it's an invasive vaginal forced procedure that a woman cannot say no to by order of the state government. and that is all right with you. i understand that you feel you've got an interest strong enough to override a woman's desire to not have that happen to her, that you can insist it does as a legislator. but most american women i think will balk at that. if you want to make it a federal issue, i would say the democrats would be delighted to have that fight. as republicans push this further and further and further, it's the wendy davises of the world that will make the argument. >> she's forgetting about the thousands of women who want an informed choice, want the opportunity to get a free ultrasound which they can get, not from planned parenthood, but -- >> it's not free. it's a mandated procedure. >> just a few seconds. >> women's right to know laws are supported by the overwhelming majority, not just by men, but women. 70% of people favor bans on
abortion after the 20th week, late-term abortion. >> are they forced to have an ultrasound if they don't want one? >> in virginia they decided not to. that's a matter of prudential judgment by the state legislature. >> got to get a break in here. even as the debate continues. back in a minute. [ female announcer ] it's simple physics...
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before we go, the second volume of our "meet the press" 65th anniversary ebook is now available for a free download at the itups bookstore. ralph is already thinking about christmas. it covers the most recent history of the program, plus behind the scenes content. also, while you're at our website, watch the press pass conversation with pete williams and supreme court expert tom goldson. they go deep into the supreme court decision and the court. that is all for today. we'll be back next week.
if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." good sunday afternoon. i'm craig melvin. you're watching msnbc. here's what's happening right now. check out these amazing pictures. society split, violent, deadly demonstrations, on the anniversary of mohamed morsi's inauguration. we'll go live to egypt. also ahead -- >> mandela's spirit could never be imprisoned, because his legacy is here for all to see. >> reliving history. the first family visits the prison where nelson mandela was jailed for 18 years. we're live in africa