tv In Depth with Jeffrey Toobin CSPAN August 26, 2016 8:00pm-9:31pm EDT
next on booktv in prime-time, "in depth" with author sub war and then "after words". the author of many books including the old: too close to call in his most recent, american heiress area. >> host: jeffrey toobin welcome to "in depth" the author of seven books and countingks including her most recent book "american heiress". i want to begin where you and the book. he wrote this without her
cooperation. >> guest: i did. >> host: why was that? >> guest: there were several things that were different about this book than my other book. this is the first book i have written that was really at the border of journalism and history. all the other books that i wrote i had covered the underlying story in real time and then wrote about it. this is something, i was alive in the 1970s but i was a kid. so i was really starting from scratch in terms of my research and i discovered that there was a tremendous volume of printed material, in particular 150 boxes of material about the symbionese liberation army and i managed to obtain access to that so i knew i had a great deal of material that no one had ever seen before but obviously just to answer your question i would
have liked to have talked to betty hearst. she made clear to media areas wt and indirectly that she wanted no part of this that i realized i had so much material from her and about her, her own book, her own testimony, her fbi interviews, transcripts of interviews that she had given to the fbi and others. i had her perspective and i got to speak to many people who knew her during that period and subsequently so i was able to report around her in a way that i think i was able to give a fair impression of her perspective on the events. >> host: this quote probably further explains why he wrote the book to the kidnapping much of what happened to americanan society in a diverse number of fields including eliminating the future for the media, the culture of celebrity, criminal justice and even sports. >> guest: i sometimes thought
of a hearst case when i was writing the book as a trailer for modernity like a coming attraction for so many things that we began to see in big ways and small ways.s area i it was the first of the great modern celebrity criminal defense that anticipated the o.j. simpson case. the shootout on may 17, 1974 were six of the eight kidnappers died was the first live rock cast of a breaking news event that anticipated so much of how we cover news and even smaller things like participants in the big news story seeking out appeals during the event here. you had the former fiancé. you had one of the people who sheltered the sla trying to get
a book written. you had edward bailey her defense attorney trying to write a book while he was, as a defense attorney. so many things that became commonplace started or became visible in the hearst kidnapping. >> host: of course ran off and catherine hearst, their pictures when the newspapers and they run television and he made acatherin reference to the black dress that she often wore, her mother. why? >> guest: well you know one of the important facts in the wholk kidnapping and in its aftermath was patricia hearst's difficult relationship her mother catherine hearst. there was and is, excuse me let me take a sip here. >> host: by the way patty hearst is still alive. >> guest: very much still alive living in the new york suburbs. she is 62 years old.
a homemaker, socialite. she has got two daughters, couple of grandchildren and she races show dogs. that's what she does a lot of the time but just to answer your question about the black dress because i think it's important. like a lot of 19-year-olds, patty was 19 years old when she's kidnapped, she had aki contentious relationship with her mother especially in the 70s where people used to talk all the time about the generation gap. catherine hearst came from a very conservative georgia family and patty at the time of her kidnapping was living with heraa boyfriend, what used to be called living in sin with steven weed her fiancé and there was a lot of contention there. when patty was kidnapped and they were all the press conferences that her parents held in front of their house in hillsborough, patty said one of the early communiqués, mom get
out of that black dress. that's not helping anyone. and it was an interesting signal of how she was bringing her rebellion against her parentsr into her life with the sla. it's part of the reason why she joined the sla was that she was alienated from her parents, not a big deal in ordinary circumstances. a lot of 19-year-old young women are alienated from her parents but here under extraordinary circumstances it turned out to be significant. >> host: in a way to get a release to write the following the event was a without precedent in american history. no one had tried to see thousands of people and what made it more extraordinary is it to ways and in american kidnapping. >> guest: just to back up a little bit, when patty hearst
was kidnapped initially there was no, there were these bizarre communiqués from this group that called themselves the symbionese liberation army but unlike most kidnappings they didn't say give us money and we will give you the person back. eventually the sla which was chaotic and disorganized, sort of on the spur of the moment said okay randy hearst, patricia's father, yes millions of dollars. that will be our initial ransom demand and randy hearst are markedly set up an entire organization called people in need run out of the big warehouse in san francisco and they did in fact spend millions of dollars feeding the poor. it didn't go very smoothly and some of the food distribution, there were riots and so many people wanted the food that people were injured seeking it
out but randy hearst who i thins it's sort of one of the fewly heroes of the story, randy really wanted to get hisk daughter back and he had lesssa money than the sla thought he did that he spent millions to set up this organization which did in fact give out a lot of food.s >> host: this is a picture of catherine hearst and steven weed after the kidnapping. he did not come across as a very strong character. >> guest: one of the things i learned in doing lots of interviews about the story is that the only thing that the fbi , the sla, the hearst family and patricia herself having comment was that none of them could stand steven weed. that was the one point of unanimity. stephen was a 23-year-old thenep this is not a bad person, bad guy. he was a graduate student in philosophy but he was kind of houthi and arrogant and he sort of thought he knew better than
anyone about how to handle the a situation and he succeeded onlya in annoying everybody. the hearst family and patricia were particularly resentful of the fact that during the kidnapping itself on the night of february 4, 1974 after he was hit by bill harris, one of the kidnappers, he ran off instead of staying to protect patricia. >> host: we will spend the next three hours with author and lawyer jeffrey toobin. you can join us on facebook and facebook.com/booktv the send us a tweet @of tv. our twitter is @tv and send us an e-mail, booktv @c-span.org on average how long does it take for you to write a book lacks. >> guest: well i have a very simpleminded system for writing books which is related to theo a fact that i'm a staff writer at "the new yorker" and my editor gives me a limited amount of time off.
i don't have the bandwidth the capacity to write both articles and continue my work at "the new yorker" but what i do is when i am in the writing portion of the book after i have done enough reporting and i feel like i have enough material i write five pages a day. i write 1250 words a day and that is i find a significant amount but not an overwhelming amount to write and it really accumulates if you keep up at that pace. it's 25 pages a week, 100 pages a month and i find that gets me to an appropriate book length i. somewhere around six to eight months.iew th i view the reporting and research as equally if not more important than the writing. that is a little harder to
measure, how long that takes. as i said these other books ii have written i was reporting in real-time so it wasn't a separate research period but all in, at least a year but probably some more. place i >> host: talking about the kidnapping that took place in 1974. you have a picture the house where it took place in san francisco. in berkeley.ue you point out that san francisco change significantly from the 70s toward us today. >> guest: it really is remarkable. this to me was one of the realrg revelations in that era, how different the 1970s were especially in northern california from the way things are today. i will just give you one statistic. and amid 1970s there were a thousand political bombings a year and united states. think about what that would bebe like today. most of them didn't cause injuries or death although some dead but this was just a time of
tremendous political violence in the epicenter was the bay area, san francisco and berkeley. there had been the summer of love in san francisco in 1967. they had been the free speech movement in berkeley in 1965 but by the 70s those movements which began with a good deal of idealism had curdled into real anger and resentment and san francisco in particular was riveted by terrible crime including the zebra killers. i think people forget, everybody ev remembers dirty harry, clint eastwood's famous detective.use he was a san francisco detective. san francisco at the time of those movies was the symbol of all that was horrible anddst dangerous in the united states. today of course san francisco is silicon valley and high-tech and
prosperity and high rents. then, it had a completely different reputation which was interesting to me as someone who was coming at the story. >> host: join in the conversation 202-74-8899 -- 2027488201. we also welcome our listeners on c-span radio. our conversation as we do the first sunday of every month on c-span2 with jeffrey toobin. let me go back to 1997 you are in nbc's dateline with patricia hearst.sh that >> patricia hower rejoinder stand the so-called after the chute out the sla members are killed. a you could have left it in a number of points. i think i >> it's not sure that i could p have left at any point. i couldn't do anything at any point anymore. i couldn't even think that's of myself anymore because i have
been so programs that the fbi was looking for the sla and i shouldn't even try to think about rescue because they were calling in psychics to find me. that's the kind of thing that i believed. >> host: what led her toay basically stay with him? >> guest: she was part of the crew. her nam she called herself tonya. she took the name tonya because jake roefaro's partner and fellow revolutionary in bolivia was tonya in east german woman. one of the things i tried to stay away from in writing "american heiress" was the jargon associated with the story, brainwashing, stockholm syndrome, all of which are journalistic terms. they are not scientific terms. i try to look at the facts of
the story and what actuallypp happened and when you see what patricia's life was like during that year between may of 74 and september of 75 when she is arrested you see these repeated opportunities for her to leave that she encountered the least officers, she went to hospitals and she had poison oak and shetr needed to be treated and gave a fake name. she traveled across the countryh with jack scott and his elderly parents to basically begged her to go back to her family and lied. i think it's good to look at things sometimes in the simpleminded way. she didn't go back because she didn't want to go back. she had joined the sla like a lot of young people did in the 70s. they joined in with revolutionary groups that they
later rolled her eyes and thought how in the world could i have been involved with those crazy people. i have no doubt that she wouldn't do it today like most of those people wouldn't do it today but she did. >> host: your descriptive and the condition she was in. here is somebody who grew up inn wealth and privilege and she was in an apartment house that was pretty squalid and dirty. she took the name tonya and she met with what she called her comrades that she met within the sla.e leas >> guest: to call the way they lived a lifestyle, they were desperados on the run and they had no money. sometimes people ask where they on drugs and the answer is no. the reason in part it's because they had no money to buy drugs even if they were inclined in that. they robbed banks. they robbed three banks for the
very simple reason that willie sutton said that's where the money is. they needed money and they were living on enormous 20-pound bags of -- at one point they ate horse meat. they bought enormous containers of black beans and black eyed peas, the cheapest that we could have rated that the life she wag living for much of this time and it was very tough. >> host: take a look at this film from one of the bank robberies at one of the iconic photographs of the mid-1970s. where was she, what were she'd doing and why did this become synonymous with her situation? >> guest: this video is from the first bank robbery, the most famous one. remember she was kidnapped on their 44, 1974. on march 31, 6 or so weeks later she issued a communiqué that a said she was pontypridd two weeks later in april 15, this
robbery we are look at now it's the hype ernia bank in the quiet area of san francisco. they go in as a group and remember just how and shocking this was. the bank robbery as scary as it is usually committed by one or two people. this was basic to all six, aid actually kidnapped thela membe symbionese liberation army were involved in some way in this bank robbery and they had scouted the location of this bank robbery and noticed a relatively new innovation, the security camera. they stationed patricia as you can see right now, she was told to stand where they knew she would be photographed by the security cameras as in fact she was because the sla believed in guerrilla theater. several of them came from thee indiana university theater
program and they wanted to show off their prize recruit so that's why they put her at thatt part of the bank so the camera would take her picture. >> host: another book "the nine" inside the secret world of the supreme court. how are they doing now with n agency's? >> guest: the supreme court can clearly function with eight people. it is not designed to function with eight people and i think most people don't realize is dark we got the constitution does not staff a number of justices in until after the civil war the number fluctuated actually in the number of justices. the congress could raise or lower the number of justices at any time but to state the obvious there was a reason why there was an odd number of justices on the court because aye votes, that's not an
effective way for the court to operate. this is not ideal but it iscerti certainly, doesn't mean theis supreme court is not functioning but it's indicative of the political dysfunction that we live with that no vote is taking place. plus who is the chief justice john roberts the umpire he said he wanted to be? >> guest: chief justice roberts is an extremely impressive person and he is a very good symbol and custodian of the court public persona. he is i think someone who takes very seriously how the court is perceived in the country and i think does a very good job to make sure the court is seen in the best possible light.
he is also a serious judicial conservative. he is someone who likes the other justices was appointed by a president who wanted him toes represent a certain ideologicalc perspective on the court and roberts has done just that. he now faces a very unusual and, extraordinary situation where a chief justice may be in the minority in a great number of cases going forward if in fact barack obama or if hillaryhi clinton wins her appointees represent a majority on the court. >> host: one final question before we get two calls do you suspect the senate will go backt on its pledge not to have a hearing on their arla and if hillary clinton is elected andte will she announced her appointment after she becomes president in january of next year? >> guest: no. i think when mr. o'connell says the next president should fill
the seat they think he means the next president should fill the seat. by no means does that mean if hillary clinton wins she will have an easy glide path to confer whoever she appoints but i don't see any real possibility that this senate which is so politically polarized and includes people like ted cruz and tom cotton who will not stand for any sort of vote on an obama nominee and can gum up the work in a tight timeframe, i think the idea that there will be a lame-duck confirmation seems out of the question. i think it's possible that hillary clinton may renominate mert arland and that may be an entirely different situation but in terms of an obama getting a merrick garland vote a don't
think it's going to happen. >> host: let's go to david for jeffrey toobin. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. very quickly it want to thank c-span and you mr. scully and mr. swain for your coverage of both the conventions were outstanding.hank you >> guest: me too. sorry to interrupt but i might as all add my voice of praise. >> caller: my question for mr. mr. toobin is is there precedent for what justice ginsburg did in speaking out on the politicalhe presidential campaign in such a way that it became very controversial. she obviously apologize but i think in your book it's refreshing to get to know the judges a little bit more and i
applaud you for that. i would like to know more about the justices. i like the fact that she spoke out. >> guest: the answer is in the modern era there is no precedent for an explicit endorsement orb nonendorsement of the supreme court justice in the middle of a presidential race. interestingly during the 40s and 50's william -- was considered as a possible vice president joe candidate fornd harry truman and others so i think people can be shocked that supreme court justices have lyrical opinions. look, they are very smart and savvy people. they live in washington and they were appointed by presidents. they areby very aware of an interest in a presidential
election and also i think you know we can have a naïveté about the apolitical nature of the supreme court. the supreme court is a deeply ideological body and there is not, the idea that they are entirely separate from politicsn is unduly naïve however i do think there is a good tradition of justices staying out of direct electoral politics and that is why ruth ginsburg was criticized across the ideological spectrum and even from people who are ordinarily friends of person i would include myself in that rupert and i think she recognized that she made a mistake that i know she recognize she made a mistake she apologized and moved on andd i don't think we will herein anymore comments about heralandf moving to new zealand if donald trump wins the election. >> host: not only questions
about whether or not barack obama was born in the u.s. in the 2008 campaign but then came generate 20, 2009 senator barack obama taking the oath of office from the chief justice of the united states and we talked aboutut john robert at moments ago. here's how it unfolded. [applause]e >> are you prepared to take the oath senator? >> i am. >> i barack hussein obama do solemnly swear that i will execute the office of president of the united states faithfully. >> i will execute.ully in >> faithfully the office of president of the united states. and will to the best of my >>ility. preserve, protect and defend the constitution of united states.nd >> preserve protect and defend the constitution of the united states. >> so help you god?
>> so help me god. >> congratulations mr. president. [applause] ♪ >> what a mess. >> host: he had memorized the oath of office. >> guest: well gosh you know just to refresh, not everybody knows this that is watching, i wrote a book the sequel "the nine" which was called "theth oath" in the opening chapter is about why the oath was botched between the two of them bear ant i watched it many times when i was writing the book but i haven't watched it for a number of years. startling again just to see how badly it was botched and the real reason it was botched was a classic. graphics snafu which is that
chief justice roberts, his assistant, sent a copy of the oath with the clauses marked off for how he was going to divide it up. he was going to divide up the words. but not to obama's office. that document which i actually have a copy of would never -- was never forwarded to obama's transition office so obama didn't know how roberts was going to divide up the words and as you see what happens there is that roberts thinks he's going to say i barack hussein obama do solemnly swear and obama interrupts him after his name and then roberts gets flustered and the whole thing goes to hell. but it's all because neither one of them new how the other was
going to break up the words. >> host: what's interesting inst the book you talk about the next day the first full day of thee obama white house the number one issue was the legitimate, was he a legitimate president which really created a white house today's apocalyptic about that. >> guest: there were newspaper stories about the oath and david baron who was a young deputy assistant attorney general and hardly anyone was in there office staff at that point, had a conversation with the white house counsel at the time. .. so they, on the morning of the 21st, have all these sort
of -- not panicked but serious conversations about, what should we do about that? and in short order, they decide, you know, just to be sure, belt and suspenders, let's redo it, and they call the chief ai the white house council called and said we'd like to do this, and roberts says, absolutely, i'd be happy to do it and that afternoon comes over to the white house and they re-enact the oath oath, just a bizarre post script. when obama is re-elected in 2012, inauguration day, falls on a sunday. and on -- by tradition, the public ceremony is never on a sunday, so roberts came to the white house and administered the oath privately on sunday, and
then publicly and successfully on -- you know in front of the capitol. so broken barack -- barack obame only president, except franklin roost roost to they can the oath of office four times. >> it's interesting there's no video. we have this picture from the white house of the chief justich giving him the oath of office,he january 21, 2009, but the white house did not allow reporters -- they allowed a pool photographer, print photographph are but no video. >> guest: robert gibs the incoming white house press secretary -- this was happening on the fly and he was given short notice, and he decided in effect to heck with a video pool of this. we'll just have still photographers. in retrospect it was a mistake not to have a video record of that.
there were handful of witnesses. there was a pool of reporters who were present, and some of them have just pulled their tape recorders out, and i had chance to listen to the audio, but there is no video of the -- of what happened there. >> host: next, jim, from caliente, california, you're on with jeffrey toobin, a write are for the "the new yorker" and a distributor to cnn good afternoon, jim. >> caller: thank you for havingn me and thank you for the show t you do and for c-span in general, which is a wonderful network, one of the great ones. didn't franklin roosevelt take the oath -- he did it in one take the first the first inaugural. >> host: he memorized it. >> guest: when i was writing
"the oath" i got into oath minutiae. oath history. and you're absolutely right that franklin roosevelt is the only president of the modern era -- we don't have take recordings how it went much before him, but who just recited it outright without the chief justice telling him what to say. another sort of peculiarity ofre the oath story is that the lasta line that we're so familiar with so help me god, is associated with george washington.with g he -- george washington supposedly said it after being sworn in as the first president, but even that is subject to a little bit of historical debate. the fact that he supposedly said it, wasn't disclosed until aboue 20 or 30 years later, and the question arises, why did no one talk about it if that's what he said, for another 20 or 30 years?
so there is a lot of mystery about how the oath evolved the way it did. >> host: jim, are you still there? was that your only question or did you want to follow up? >> caller: i wanted to ask also about the appointments to the court, beginning with bork, where i thought he was unfairly treated. and i think that's where the politicalization of the court began. and since then we have had what i would call boring appointments, not because they're not brilliant lawyers or they don't have the background or the skills, but we used to have law professors, my constitutional law professor at northwestern, many years ago, was one of bran -- brandeis' last law clerks.ut goldberg and stephens came out of my school but lately it's been harvard and yale. we don't have the scope and the diversity that we -- i believe
we should have on the court. with everybody going to the same schools, the same education, all being supreme court clerks and so on.pr i'd just like your comments on that. >> guest: diversity -- i think you make an excellent point about diversity.rs we usually think about diverse any terms of race and gender and that is important. but there are other kinds of die diversity. the supreme court that decided brown v. board of education in 1954, not one of the justices had been a fulltime judge before going on the court. hugo black was a senator. robert jackson the attorney general. these are people who led big, complicated public lives. in the modern era. you're right to pin point the bork -- the pork -- bork nomination as a turning point there has been a tendency to
move towards only appeals court justices. when samuel alito replaced sandra day o'connor day, all nine justices were former federal appeal court ins and the cot misses something without people who ran for office. sandra day o'connor was the last justice who ran for office. she had been a state senator? arizona. it's a terrible loss nor court they don't have that kind of diversity of experience, but i do think that -- i think the caller is right that the bork experience led presidents to pick people with relativelyiv bland public records, that even though people on the inside might know their actual political views, they are seen as safe choices because they can't be pinned down with controversial opinions. >> host: let me follow up on le that.
you write: tempermentally chief justice rhenquist never left the nixon justice department.ti justice o'connor never stopped being a politician. never s antonin schoola, stephen briar, remained the law professors they once wore, and john roberts was a lilt gator whose responsibility was to figure out ways to win. >> guest: that's right. i think that illustrates why diversity is a real value. sandra day o'connor wanted the court to stay towards the center of american politics. because that was the kind of politician and the kind of judge she turned out to be. antonin scalia was someone who had very definite views born in the academy of what the constitution meant, and he spenn two plus decades trying to push that agenda. i think -- these justices are
the people they always were. i just wish that the talent pool was different, that it wasn't just appeal court justices and law professors. >> host: this is a tweet from a viewer disagreeing with your assess. of patricia hearst saying, miss heart joined the sla. she was a victim. mr. toobin does not understand brainwashing. >> guest: this is an argument i take seriously and someone who has covered criminal law as a former prosecutor, i am very aware that crime victims are people who need to be treated fairly and with dignity, and there is no question that patty hearst was a crime victim. she was kidnapped. it was a terrible thing. she was put in a car -- she was put in a car trunk, and then put in a closet, and she had no role, she had no agency, she had
no participation in that. there were -- have been rumors she had some role in staging her own kidnapping. that's all total nonsense. she was a pure crime victim.pu however, there comes a point when people do change, and you look at what happened from february of '74 to september of '75 and you look at her behavior, and the only conclusion i can draw is not that she was brain washed, which is a concept that i think is murky at best. the -- what i believe happened is this was a reckless and vulnerable woman, who was appealed to by people who were treating her by and large well by march and april. she fell in love with a captor, willie wolf. no doubt about that.
then she joined in with them. and spent the next year on the run. willie wolf is one of the people who war killed in the big shootout with the los angeles police department in may. she meets up then with steve sole ya, and as she acknowledges in her own book she falls in love with him. yes, she was a crime victim and, yes, crime victims definitely deserve our sympathy and respect, but in this circumstance, my conclusion was she joined the sla. >> host: why and how did she get the pardon by president carter. >> guest: she got a commutation and a -- from president carter p and a pardon from president clinton. to bring people up to date on the story, she is trade after she is arrested -- she is tried, after she is arrested, for the first of the three banked robberies she is involved with. she did three bank robberies, including one where a woman was killed. she was tried for the hibernia
bank robbery, the first one, the one we saw the surveillance video from on april 15, 1974 in, san francisco. franc she made the defense that the caller was talking about, and people were talking about, i was brainwashed, i was coerced and the jury reject that defense, and she was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison. following the failure of herllon appeal, the hearst family organized this tremendous drive for president carter to commute her sentence. ronald reagan, close friend of the hearst family, joined in this effort. her local congressman, leo ryan, joined? this effort. and something happened on the eve of the decision -- carter's decision whether to commute her sentence that really tipped the balance, and that was people who are alive in '70s may remember
this -- the reverend jim jones' followers, who was also from san francisco, in guyana, committed mass suicide. they all drank the -- a lot ofof people hear the expression and don't know writ came from. they drank the kool-aid. they dranked cyanide laced kool-aid and committed mass suicide. how can you get people to do something like this?t and carter in the immediate aftermath, commuted her sentence and he only served 22 months. >> host: congressman ryan was killed in the shootout at the same time. time. >> guest: exactly. what killed in guyana visiting his con city tunes. two decades later bill clinton is about to leave office, and jimmy carter and rosa lynn carter urge him strongly to pardon patty hearst and on the same day he issued pardons for
his brother, roger clinton, and he pardoned patty hearst, my view of the commutation and the pardon, it this purest example of how wealth and privilege helped patty hearst. i our prisoners are full of people who fall in with bad people and make bad decisions and wind up locked up for a very long time. there are lots of people like that. but our system does not havet much room for forgiveness of those people, but patty hearst backs the only person in all of american history to receive a commutation from one president and a pardon from another. and that to me is a story about wealth and privilege. >> host: and the relationship with her mom, post commutation? >> guest: you know, like so mana teenagers who find their parents
intolerable and unfair and annoying, she not only develops a loving relationship with her mother, she very much becomes her mother, like lot of us, become our parents. >> host: lodger in decatur, georgia. >> caller: few for c-span. jeffrey, let me say first that i find your work too journalistic, it's not really thoughtful enough for someone iowa write only deadline. i'd like to get some of yourd le experiences, observers of the supreme court do you think the justices have a jurisprudence when they come to the court? is this something that is sort of created by law professors that they write about and then the justices try and follow it? is it something that they're trying just be consistent with the opinions they have written ask they sort of find themselves
boxed into a place where they can't change? in other words -- >> guest: i get your question. let me try to give you a thoughtful answer that you'll find satisfactory. the supreme -- the constitution is a document that does not interpret itself.at it is subject to many, many interpretations. and the -- it is a political document. and interpretation of the political -- a political document, is a political act, and the reason justices are picked for the court is that presidents think they will be able to extend their own political and ideological legacy through their appointments, and you know what? the do a pretty good job of it. that's why we see the four democratic appointees voting one way and the four republican appointees voting the other, in most -- not all but in most cases.
when you look at questions like does the constitution protect a woman's right to choose an abortion? many university -- does the constitution require that every state allow gay people to get married? the constitution doesn't answer those questions. you need an ideological approacl to the constitution, to answer those questions. and there are differences and they are largely based on politics and that's why it matters whether democratic or republican presidents makepublin appointments. >> host: a tweet@booktv or an e-mail,@book tv at c-span which is.org, lauren says whatever happened to stephen weed? did you interview him for the book? i sure did. he was a graduate student in philosophy when he was living with patty hearst, and he didn't become a philosopher. he became a real estate broker
in silicon valley and he has led a very nice life in largely in obscurity, the way most people do, and he is a nice guy, and he remains somewhat bewildered, ate anyone would be bewildered by this crazy experience, but he is a -- now in his mid-60s, and married, kids. fine. >> host: in the interest of full disclosure we're obviously interested in this tweet from a viewer saying: i've read all your book signed by him. can jeffrey comment on the future of video in the supreme court. >> guest: oh. c-span has a real axe to grind on this one. g >> host: not an oaks -- axe to grinder want to open the process. >> guest: look. used to say that the reason there were no cameras in the supreme court could be answered in two words. and those two words were, jon
stuart because the justicesid didn't want to be made fun of on "the daily show." jon stewart is gone now but i think the concept is the same, and we talk about stockholm syndrome in the context of the patty hearst case.in how about the stockholm syndrome in the case of sonia sotomayor and elena kagan, both of them during their confirmation hearings both said i think cameras in the courtroom would be a great idea. now you ask them, oh, i don'ttno know. i'm worried about the effect on the deliberations. to me, the arguments against cameras in the supreme court are terrible arguments.. there are no witnesses to be intimidated. this is just lawyers arguing. the importance of the subject matter is unquestioned. it's their story. -- their candy store.
they don't want to open themselveses couple too much scrutiny. one thing i think will happen in the next decade or so the justices well evegetablely way -- eventually allow live streaming of the audio of supreme court argumented. there already are -- if they release the audio at the end ofi the week when they have arguments. think that will be their concession to the modern world, and i think they will recognize correctly that takes the heat off them for video. video would be different in t fairness to the justices you'dul have to put in cameras, have to change the lighting, and i think they should, but it would be a significant change. the livestreaming the audio would offer no change at all. >> host: from "the nine" quote: outsiders tend to be surprised how rarely supreme court justices speak to each otheruprt one-on-one, under justice rhenquist the nine spent a good deal of time together as a group.r what changeed?
>> guest: hasn't changes that much. john roberts was a law clerk to william wren fist hen rhenquist was an associate justice and i think tempermentally and the interpersonal dynamics roberts has replicated the rhenquist court. rhenquist served under chief justice burger who was generally unpopular among his colleagues in part because his colleagues thought burger tried to have too much of a heavy hand in the court's deliberations, and rhenquist said, look, we are going to disagree. that's inevitable. but we are not going to bother each other. so, rhenquist, who didn't have lot of patience in general, tried to move things along, and the court conferences this, secret -- chen they meet with each other to discuss the casesa basically they go around to thel table and vote and wouldn't discuss the case very much and that's expanded a little bit
under roberts but it's basically -- it's a similar scenario. rhenquist's philosophy about the justices was, good fences make good neighbors. we leave each other alone. we'll get along better. and it remains mostly that way. they do interact somewhat but this is really nine separate law firms and they vote and theyey exchange memos but that's mostly it. >> host: nancy, you're next, from brooklyn, new york. >> caller: i have two questions. one is, what is the derivation of the symbionese liberation army name, and, two, is, i'm mystified that a person who is 70 years old would not be able to acknowledge that they were a different person 50 years ago from the one they are today. so i'm kind of mystified and puzzled and wonder if you could comment on that. i know you don't know her motivations, but it just seems
bizarre to me as an elderly person myself. thanks. >> host: she is in her early -- >> guest: early 60s and as far as i'm considered the early 60s are not elderly. it just becomes a little more in the for seeable future. don't want to think of that that elderly.y. so i don't think she is elderly but it's a good point. i think people become locked in with their stories. people try to justify their behavior. people try to explain. it's a lot easier to say you were a victim than to say you actually participated in some very bad acts, and there were some very bad acts during that lost year that patty hearst was on the run with the remnants of the sla. two more bank robberies, including one where a woman was killed. there will bombings. she shot up a street in los angeles.
this was a serious crime wave. by patty hearst and others, which renders her commutation and pardon all the more incredible. to answer your first question, donald defreeh was the leader of the sla. it's funny, a lot of people think the sla were one of this b black revolutionary groups. donald defreeh was the only african-american in the sla and he collected recruits about him that were mostly middle class w kids, berkeley students, berkeley dropouts, innocent students who had migrated from indiana and he came up with the word "symbionese publish pi which is sort of a corruption of sim biosis. he thought people were working together in symbiosis. he made up the word
"symbionese." he called himself, general field marshall sin q, which was an illustration of the sort of absurd inflated concept that they had about their own importance, and that is why he called them an army. and liberators, but as i pointnt out in "american heir ess"sy symbionese is not a world. they didn't liberate anything or anyone and certainly were no army because there were bat does of them tops. but that's the derivation of the name.. >> host: you have a relatively recent photograph of patty hearst in new york city. >> guest: i do. she is now best known for raising show dogs. she races shirt skews and she had a victory with a dog named rocket at the westminster kennel
club in one of the divisions. one of the amazing things about patty hearst's story is that for all the tumult and the crisis of these events and going to prison, she has led the life for which she was destined. a wealthy homemaker, socialite, and just shows we are who weho are. >> host: richard, ventura, california, you're next. >> thank you. i look booktv, and as a former prosecutor, i'm reading your book on the hearst case with great interest. you noted in the book that patty hearst was living 25603 ben singer a knew in berkeley, the scene of the kidnapping in 1970 i left at 2606 benson avenue, two-story apartment building across the street. >> guest: indeed. >> caller: and that's where you said in the book some of the
students witnessed part of the thing and were fired upon by two of the kidnappers. >> guest: actually, not. they were -- the students who were studying for the biochemistry exam were not across the street, they were next die and were standing on the porch. one of the incredible things, when you think about the kidnapping and the whole saga of the sla, is and donald defriese and nancy lynn perry opened up and fired on these kids who were -- who came out on to the porch to see what was going on. it's a miracle that they didn't kill more people, considering how many rounds of ammunition h they fired, both at the kidnapping, at the bank robbery, at the shootout in los angeles. and patty hearst herself at mel's sporting goods. we can only be grateful the sla
were horrible, horrible shots. >> host: richard, are you stille there? >> guest: i'm sorry. >> you noted in the book how radical the area was but but failed to mention another famous female resident. >> guest: what would that. >> caller: hillary rodham clinton lived on benson after knew in the summer of 1971. she came across the country from yale to work for a radical law firm, which represented many of the revolutionaries of the time, like the black panthers. >> guest: i -- it's news to me. >> caller: i hope you'll -- well, it's a true story. you can look it up on the internet and so on. hope you'll urge people to not only read your book by bryan burrow's book "days of rage," an ex-end look on the ear are. i just second that motion enthusiastic. the book "days overarm" is
about -- days of rage "is about many of the radical movements of the 1970s. mostly focuses on the weather underground gut also talks about the puerto rican faln, there's in stuff about the symbionese liberation army. it's a terrific book and i'm dehighlighted you mentioned and i'm happy to endorse your recommendation. >> host: we have seven books to go through. >> host: too close to call itch want to read a quote from the book in reference to the supreme court ---- >> guest: you say it's about the recount in 2000. >> host: right. and you say. in all the supreme court'sup performance in at the election case, bush v. gore, v.i.p. vindicated the famous observation offer bid justice robert jackson in 1953. he said we're not final because we are infallible but we are infallible only because we are final. let me ask you about that point and also what al gore did not do that might have changed history. >> guest: oh, boy. okay. well, you know, of all my books,
pie i -- "too close to call" is my favorite child. >> host: you lived through it. y >> guest: i lived in florida for in the full 36 days and i cameme to washington for both supremeth court arguments, but that book came out in october of 2001. you therefrom was a pretty big news event in september of 2001. so, it came out in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, and people did not want to hear about bush v. gore after 9/11, especially a few weeks afterwards so that was a tough sell, and that book was not, i'm pleased to say, unlike the others, not a commercial success, and i guess i have a special fondness for it for jusl that reason. i have a lot of respect for the supreme court. ...
came out the way they did. bush v. gore, i think, is a very dark moment in the history of the supreme court. it think it is a bad and nearly indefensible decision. it was badly reasoned. it was badly written, it was inappropriately they took the case inappropriately to start with. >> they took the case inappropriately to start with. i still have a very critical view of that decision. that robert jackson quote which i love, it basically says have o though, look we have to stopfo somewhere. somebody has to have the last word in american political and legal life. we have decided to have the supreme
court to it, for better or worse.stration that is why are election ended the way it did in 2000 but that doesn't mean we have to be happy about it. >> you had for very different people central to this. george w. bush and his up approach, al gore, the city vice president, or crisper, the current secretary or christopher, the current secretary of state the clinton administration, jim baker who is longtime friend, confident with herbert worker bush administration forid theyre played as central role in the 36 days. >> guest: they did. al gore chose warren christopher which was this very distinguished former diplomat because he thought he thought this dispute over the very close outcome in florida was going to be handled in a high-minded way and people would reason together and figure out a way to come to a just and fair resolution. jim baker to from the date
george w. bush called him that this was going to be a knife fight. he knew this was going to be something that required all of his resources, legal, political, media, and he approached it that way. the difference in approach and skill level and enthusiasm between the democrats and republicans in florida was one of the key factors in why the decision came up waited. i do not know if al gore had different personnel, there may have been a different outcome. there were heroic effort on the part of the democrats. ron clay who is the young leader of the democratic forces did enormous labor under very difficult circumstances andrc almost still one.
but the amount of effort and resources was tremendously out of balance. that was the result of the different approaches that the two sides had. >> you quote marty baron, the former executive of the miami herald. let me show with you a q&a interview with ryan lamb. it runs about 90 seconds. >> remind us what the miami herald concluded about the florida election. >> guest: i will tell you what we did, for small it was after the u.s. supreme court decided that there be no full-scale recounted the vote in florida. we decided that we should determine for history sake what were the real results. so we did our own recount. we went to everyone at the 67 counties in florida and obtained all of the ballots. we are able to do that under the expansive public records law florida which is really wonderful. so we obtained the ballots, we
went with an accounting firm and they did their counter we did our count as journalists. we went through every singlehad ballot and we have theho supervisor of elections hold up the ballots and we recorded weather that ballots and how that ballot was voted and whether it could be in fact be counted. in some instances they remark that they cannot possibly be counted. if you recall there are different standards. so the question is, how do you judge a hanging chad. so if you had ballots that were punctured in someone commits a little piece of paper was hanging on, did you count that or did you not count that. so we looked at the vote under very standards. we determined that that george bush actually won that election in florida. >> if i can just add one moreama point, the miami herald to their own recount. later the research center at the university of chicago did a
different, even more comprehensive recount sponsored by a consortium of news media organizations including the new york times and the washington post.gt it reaches somewhat different dt conclusion. that said that if the whole state had been recounted, gore gore would have one. now if only the four counties that gore sought to have recounted, bush would have won. >> and i was a a tactical mistake by al gore. >> guest: it was certainly a tactical mistake to only call m for a four county recount. but i think the broader issue is this. what we know for sure is that the supreme court decision in bush be gore ended the recount. there was no more recount after and i remember being int being tallahassee where the recount was ongoing.
when the people's primitive cell phones and cell phones were primitive in those days theyey started bringing her people said , the supreme court has issued a stay, stop counting the ballot. they did. they did. they stopped counting rights in the middle. what the miami herald recount tells us, what the the broader media recount tells us, is that we will never know. we will never know who won the election, who would have been designated the winner of the election if the recount had been allowed to proceed. there were people who said it doesn't matter because bush would have one anyway based on what marty baron said. that, respectfully respectfully that is not the lastpe word. the last word which i believe with all my heart is that we cannot figure out who would wanr because recounts you cannot re-create them. they can onlyha happen in real time and we just
do not know who would one. >> host: an e-mail from a viewer, did you go to college and what did you study? to that significant affect your future?si >> guest: i went to harvard college and majored in american history literature. i wrote my senior thesis about samuel adams. i just want to say since we aren't television now that if someone wants to make a musical about samuel adams, i am happy to help. i am really ready to help. >> host: ron is taking notes. >> guest: in fairness, i think hamilton's life is a is a little more suited for a musical. did that have an impact question i guess but i love going to college. i spent most of my time in college at the student newspaper. that is really much more my major the my academic interests. i like my classes and i did well and i was happy to study early e
american history. but that is what i really caught the journalism bug. even though i did go from there to law school. i still have a great fondness for history an early mark in history. writing american aris was kind of a return to those college roots. in one very specific way, my, my last two books at aboutut about the supreme court and the supreme court, virtually everything about it now is on pdf or jpeg. it is very easy to manipulate the research material. studying this event from the the 1970s where i had received these hundred 60 boxes of paper, it was really startling and quite difficult for me to do
with actual paper again and a research context. i'm very anxious to have theses hundred 50 boxes out of my life. >> host: send us an email a book to be at c-span.org. anotherou view saying what you like to do in your free time? what was your favorite books right? >> guest: what i like to do my free time, i love interesting stories. i love to go places and i have a story coming out in the newro yorker which requires spending a lot of time in alabama which i just love because it's very far from my home in new york. i like interesting things in the world. my own life is not terribly interesting or complicated. i'm sort of a homebody. i like to play golf with my wife. i like to like to workout in the
gym.ke i like to read breed books. there is nothing especially interesting or colorful about what i do in my day to day life. but i'd like to be out in the world and see the colorful and interesting things that other people do. >> host: gary is joining us from miami, florida.or go ahead please.. >> caller: i would like to ask about her current president. i'm a a former resident of hyde park in chicago. i was very familiar with reverend wright in the church. my question is the president attended the church for more than 20 years. he says in his book thatis reverend wright was his mentor.m he married, him and michelle, he blessed blessed his home, he baptized his children. and he knew that reverend white
previously had been of a muslim and he had a company. >> host: so what is your question. >> guest: what mike. >> caller: my question is doesee jeffrey toobin believe that thet president did not know any of this or does he come to the conclusion as many of us do that the president was either line or is not as smart as he is claiming to be. >> guest: well, boys like it's 2008 all over again. this was an issue that was exhaustively examined in the 2008 election. oba brock obama was a parishioner of reverend wright's church. i don't think that means that the president endorsed everything that jeremiah wright ever said. i don't think it means that he
knew everything that jeremiahgh wright ever said. brock obama has been president for seven and half years now. i think there is a lot of basisa on which judged whether he has been a good president are not based on what he did as president. what he did or did not think about jeremiah wright at this late date just seems to me utterly irrelevant. i say that respectfully. >> host: the run of his life, the people versus oj system sent some. >> guest: the book that cameme into my life over the past year and a half. >> host: as he sits in a nevada jail what you think is going through his mind right now? >> guest: boy, i got a raw deal. boy, people are unfair to me. boy, i. boy, i would like to tell you about all the unfairness. one of the things about oj is that he is a compulsive talker. he undoubtedly has a great deal
to say about what is going on in his life both recently and in the more distant past. a lot of people sometimes have asked me over the years, do you think oj has admitted to himself that he killed ron goldman and his ex-wife, nicole brown simpson. let me just lay my cards on the table, i certainly do believe that he did. i think he doesn't really focus on that question in his thoughts. i think he feels like the legal system has been unfair to him. and i and i think like a lot of people have been involved in the criminal justice system, they focus on what they think are the unfairness is of the system and not the underlying conduct that got them into trouble in the first place. that is sort of how i think oj oj
thinks about his life right now. >> host: what are the underlying questions for those that follow the case, he had everything going for them. he had celebrity, he had an ex-wife who is beautiful. he had two children. a terrific home. by allas accounts, a pretty successful career both as a football player, commentator, actor, and celebrity. why? so i? spee2 because it it domestic violence is a real thing. c >> guest: it's easy to make complicated arguments about the case. in many respects it was a comp located story. but why oj killed mike nicole? because husbands kill their wives. because intimate intimate partners kill each other, because men kill women. that is what happened here. it's really not that complicated. although, there and. >> you looking in the preview monitor. this is from cnn coverage, the verdict and you are right in the
courtroom. >> guest: i was. there is ron goldman's father in front of me. there is, there i am with no gray hair at all. thirty-two years old, looking pretty young, and even then i knew that it was an amazing thing to be in the courtroom atn that moment. i knew that this was like being it in be in a piece of history that was unfolding.'t i did not even know at that red-hot moment when the verdict was being announced about the racially polarized reaction that we would soon see which vaulted the story even more. >> host: which is my next quote. racism in law-enforcement has persisted through decades and life and vice black citizens and lecturers have stored too many insults for too long, the, the police in general and the lapd in particular report they so.
>> guest: that's right, i wrote this book in the immediate aftermath of the o.j. simpson case. in 20 years later, brad simpson and anita jacobson came to me and said we want to make a miniseries based on the fx network and with ryan murphy they made this magnificent series and it was broadcast earlier this year.st and it just showed how a great story is timely forever. because the miniseries came out in the immediate aftermath of ferguson. and eric garner's death in new york. in all of these incidents that gave rise to the black lives matter movement. in this story, specially the way i wrote way i wrote it in the way it was pretrade in the fx series wasit about race in america, and about how jurors, especially saw african-american jurors saw the
relationship between the the los angeles police department and african-americans. it turned turned out in my view that o.j. simpson deserved, who became the utterly undeserving beneficiary of that poisonous history. but, this year which had so much attention on the o.j. simpson case, it just showed how timely that story was because the relationship between african-americans and the police were remained the story at the center of american life. >> host: yes or no, did the verdict surprise you? >> guest: yes, yes it did. as my wife and others have reminded me many times, if you recall what happened the jury announced that they had reached the verdict on the previous day
and then we had to wait until 11:00 a.m. the next day. i was on television all through that the overnight. say what you what you think is going to happen. i predicted that oj would be convicted and given how brief the jury deliberations weren't the fact that i freely admit this that having sat in the courtroom throw the trial, i was utterly convinced of his guilt. i. i thought the jury would see the same way.>> hos i am very much ready to say that i was completely wrong. >> host: nancy joining us from california. you are next. good afternoon, welcome to book tv. >> caller: thank you. thank you c-span, our timing was almost perfect, mr. toobin to ben regarding the supreme court and bush versus gore. have you read the book the trail of america about the decision in 2000 based on a novel -- was in the nation i believe. what are your thoughts on that. i read that book like i was a scholar. he basically said that.
[inaudible] i would love to hear comments on that. i will hang up and thank you so much. >> guest: i am an admirer of the other. he was as many people may remember, one of the prosecutors in the charles manson case. his book, helter-skelter about the manson cases as ezra i'm concerned, one of the great books ever written. this is very critical of the decision in bush versus gore i. i think his criticism is much as i disagree with it is a little over-the-top. to talk about treason and talk about this a apocalyptic sense of how bad it was. and i say none of this in order to defend the decision in bush versus gore, but i found that
book somewhat overstated. >> host: quote, al gore had seen his recount as a logic puzzle. he sought after sought after judicious reflection.lv but while the vice president and aids were hunched over their coke leaders, the republicans were breaking barstools over their heads. >> guest: yes. as i said, i spent the 36 days, it was november and december of 2000 in 2000 in florida, intel has a. one of the things that you cannot help but notice was that the only protesters in the street were republicans. they were in front of the viceou presidential mansion in washington getting and saying get out of cheney's house.
gore did not want protesters on the street. he wanted this to be an orderly political process. i think one of the main differences between the two parties especially between jim baker, the republican leader in warren christopher was thats baker understood that this was a bar fight as well as a legal fight. that was one factor in the outcome. >> host: william you are next from missouri. h w >> caller: yes, steve, hello. i'm your c-span cartoonist of yesteryear. you may remember during these years i'm just so tickled to see you and jeffrey both. and c-span is wonderful, c-span is a safety valve for system of government in trying times i think right now. >> host: well and thank you for your work, your work lives forever on rc website. >> caller: why appreciate you
too. then that is wonderful, and jeffrey i have to say, it sounds to me like i have got to get, i have your other book, either by library or my wife insists on buying books nowadays is a probably we have contributed to. i want to apologize, just wanted to mention it. but i love the way you write, i love that you -- i have a couple of comments. first of all i think i have towc get your patty hearst book because it sounds like when i was teaching criminal justice, instead of practicing law before i started cartooning, i might add. what i did that, anthony lewis' book about the getting case, "gideons trumpet" he was one of my favorites. now i think i have to get your book as maybe the
obverse of that case talking about patty hearst and her brushes with the law. so i think that is when to be very fascinating. i do have a question for you, i think think it jeffrey you might be interested in i appreciate particularly as a former teacher of constitutional law what you said and i think it was the nine, the explanation of the major cases. every citizen of the united states are to read that book. i swear it is just. >> guest: can you imagine the sales of every citizen read it, that that would be grade. >> host: william, thank you very much for the call. >> caller: i just want to say jeffrey that if you can come up with an idea about how many morp people we can put on the supreme court, just like roosevelt thought, maybe, maybe we'll get some better decisions that's all i can say. >> guest: you mean nine justices
roosevelt tried to pack the court with more than nine, now we can i think it it tonight. so i think we shouldn't worry about adding 29, let's just get tonight. the be the first step. >> one of the first book, or what oliver north did deserve imprisonment? he doubted the ideas that you learn at your mother's need and he flies in cheated. >> guest: i'm pleased to hear you asked that question is if people know who oliver north is. he's on fox. but i feel obligated and
answering that question to explain a little of theut background because i think the iran-contra scandal is not necessarily at the top of people's minds at the moment. oliver north was a lieutenant colonel in the marine corps who was assigned to the reagan white house. he managed, with the assistance of his superiors including john poindexter to provide assistant to those fighting though left-wing government in nicaragua which was part of the cold war. he managed also to sell missiles to iran in order to try to free hostages. he's some some of the money he got from iran to fund the contras which congress had prohibited. >> host: as you point out it is headline this week with thet: freeing of the hostages in the $400 million today. >> guest: it's remarkable how iran in particular, out of all the countries in the world manages to confuse and basically
mess up the american government. there is a uniquely uniquely bad relationship between iran and the united states that seems to recur in decade after decade. anyway north there is an independent counsel appointed, an outside prosecutor, his name was lawrence walsh. i was the junior member of the team that prosecuted oliver north for l lying to congress for trying or taking the security fence inappropriately. he was convicted but the court of appeals overturned his conviction and he has been out and about ever sense. he is now military analysts on fox. i wrote a piece about it for the new yorker a few years ago i am
pleased to think that anybody remembers the saga at all. >> host: we have time for one more call before short break. linda from minneapolis. >> caller: good afternoon, i have not a very significant connection about the patty hearst book, and the present, you mentioned that she is a homemaker, i think she lives ink greenwich and she is living a life she was born to. didn't she marry her bodyguard or her chauffeurs and if so, she still married to them?? >> guest: this is not a trivial question at all she did marry her bodyguard right after she was released from prison on bair her lawyers hired bodyguards for her and they hired an off-duty police officer the two of them fell in love and they married in the late 70s.
they moved to the east coast, not to greenwich and i think it's fair not to disclose where she lived, she, she is understandably concerned about her security. but they had a very long and happy marriage and had two daughters, unfortunately bernie died of cancer in 2013 and patti hearst is now a widow, perhapsow not surprisingly she became the head of security at the hearstfu corporation and many of my friends who look at hearst magazine at esquire cosmopolitan. they said i knew bernie's, he took my photo id and there is a generation of. >> we are at the midway point of our conversation. what is your next project? >> guest: i don't know. when i write a book, i find the effort so all-encompassing that frankly the last thing i want to think about right now is what my
next book will be about. books, i do know happily that i will write more books. they tend to emerge organically and i don't know exactly, i don't don't know at all what it will be about." >> much more with jeffrey to been on in-depth as we continue our conversation and more of your calls, your e-mails come in your tweets. your book to be. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪