tv The Beat With Ari Melber MSNBC June 27, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
we turn to one of the most significant moments of trump presidency thanks to justice anthony kennedy stunning announcement. he use ed the end of this week' court term to say he's retiring next month. we don't know why he chose today. there's much hyperbole and drama these days. let's begin this newscast with something i've never said before. the filling of this vacancy is the most developing this is the most far reaching decision donald trump will make. that presents a remarkable test for how congress and the democrats respond. before we go any further, we'd like to begin with substance around here. let's look at why kennedy is more pivotal than some other justices. he often broke the tie.
writing the hotly debated first amendment decision protecting money and speak of citizens united and siding with donald trump yesterday on that travel ban. when this court has narrowly leaned toward executive power, kennedy was the one helping or holding the line. when it was time too what many thought of as moving this nation forward, kennedy was the experienced republican nominee ushering in new eras like his historying ruling to define the right to same-sex marriage. the law of the land today or take on tough national security arguments after 9/11 and rule that even accused terrorists at guantanamo bay have due process rights. we've heard a lot about due process in the last week. he also issued an order that limited but still upheld affirmative action as a way to advance diversity at cam ppuses
around the country. women against the government of putting a burden on medical and abortion rights. a case the gop has targeted for decades. when you think about those ri t rights or cases. when you hear those decisions you're hearing the echo of justice kennedy's unusual approach on the court. a con seservative to be sure bu when the high court must lead the nation toward a model of incremental judicial progress. >> reporter: a 5-4 decision written by justice anthony kennedy. this is a total victory for the advocates of same-sex marriage. >> the court had ruled that foreign terror suspects held at guantanamo bay have the right under the constitution to challenge their detention in u.s. civilian courts. >> reporter: by a 4-3 vote the supreme court has upheld
affirmative action. >> an opinion written by justice anthony kennedy. those of us follow the court, you knew it meant something. often you knew it was 5-4. with kennedy leaving, every one of those cases could be wiped right off the board if a trump style con seservative takes his place. >> we will begin our search for a new justice of the united states supreme court that will begin immediately. we have a very excellent list of great talented, highly educated, highly intelligent, hopefully tremendous people. it will be somebody from that list. >> from that list which is a reference, a clear message to trump's base because in kcontrat
to all the unplanned moves, when you think about the travel ban, trump did not just make up his last scotus appointment. he used this list andclamoring vote that election years are no time to rush. >> we will vote to confirm justice kennedy's succesor this fall. >> this nominee will not be considered. >> mitch mcconnell broke over a century of precedent with that kind of hardball and it worked to deny barack obama his oi point. there's activists calling for pay back to shut down the senate to try to give mcconnell, the mcconnell treatment. we may be entering unchartered territory with the highest stakes decision that will out last the trump era.
this backs actuarial. a young replacement could rule for two or three or four decades raising fundamental questions about where we go from here. i say all that. that's the legal substance before you even consider the extra fact that donald trump will be picking a jurist who could ultimately rule on whether trump, the president who came under criminal investigation earlier than any other president in history, whether trump must turn over evidence or give testimony in bob mueller's russia probe. i'm joined by an e steesteemed panel. same question for everyone. what is the significance of kennedy if it moves toward a
trump style jurist? >> what we're going to see is another gorsich. he will be much more of a flag bearer. justice kennedy wasn't really a swing vote. i think it's the wrong way to think about him. he hates that term. most of his votes went with be conservative majority and most votes that were 5-4, he went with the majority. i think we're going to see someone much more ideological in terms of activism on the court. i think we're going to see this view on roe v wade will become an unspoken litmus test. it come out quite frontally when any of the candidates for this seat are being vetted because nobody wants to blow this up and that will certainly be one that will rally the democratic base. >> the age of reagan ended today. his last appointee, justice o'
connor, justice kennedy. we're now in a court where there's one bush 41 appointee, george w. bush, barack obama. this was the pay off for republicans who decided once trump had hijacked the party and the base had sided with him that they were willing to vote for trump because they did not want a president hillary clinton making the decision we're being con front confronted with today. there's two reasons that trump won with that part of the party. one was fewer taxes and the other was more justices. >> jeffrey. >> the difference between justice kennedy and the justice gorsich is the difference between an originalist and an advocate of natural law jurisprudence. justice kennedy was willing to define rights of privacy and
dignity that justice gorsich or another trump appointee would not. new privacy rights not extended. i don't think it's right that a future trump nominee wouldn't check the president if he threw journalist in jail or a self-pardon might be challenged. originalist conservative justices are willing to enforce limits when the history of the constitution supports it. the impact will be as huge as you suggested, ari, it may be more in a lack of a willingness to strike down state laws in the way justice kennedy was but the same willingness to strike down federal laws. >> part of this goes do what donald trump promised. again the theory of the case that he is a kind of a quote,
unquote, sloppy idiot is really rebutted by a lot of his actions and a lot of them are in the legal space because there's lines in the law. he loves the delight in breaking other kinds of norms. he figured out that people cared a great deal about this particular issue. take a listen to him on the campaign trail sticking to the talking points. >> it's our last chance. that includes supreme court justices and second-degr amendm. we need a supreme court that will uphold the second amendment. the justices i'm going to appoint will be pro-life. this is your final shot for the supreme court, for your second amendment. this is your final shot. november 8th. >> jeffrey, to that point, final shot. he mentions abortion there. if you had a gorsich style judge in place of kennedy, the last
big case, don't you think it would go quite differently? >> roe would be overturned. it's not clear that the effect would be as dramatic as pro-choice people rightly fear. justice ginsberg told me the real impact would be on poor women who don't have access to abortion in the red state where it's not available. though it would be luhuge and really define the republican party. it's not clear that the overturning of roe would be the most dramatic thing that could follow a kennedy retirement. there will be lots of other important changes as well. >> i would say that it would be quite significant and one reason is demographic. poor women, first of all, are
actually a growing part of the population thanks to income and wealth inequality. if you want to talk about southern states. you're talking about 55% of the black population and where the latino population is growing rapidly. you're talking about barring a huge percentage of women from huge swaths of the country from access to something that should be safe, should be within their control to determine whether or not it's medically appropriate for them with access to a physician who is qualified to give them medical guidance. once of the things that justice kennedy left us with is an incredible incursion in that in yesterday's opinion. in the actual lived experience of women in this country, it would be quite significant. >> quite significant. john, i have a member of the judiciary committee about to join us because they have a vote here. i wonder if you could widen us
out to history. you cover and explore how we get where we get. i don't know if it makes you harder to write the history book. >> makes it more fun. >> we think about civil rights and affirmative action. we think about the right offense people accused of terrorism and we know how much it could change and all of this coming out of the 2016 election. it was very close. the electoral college winner got fewer votes. are we looking at the changing of america in a fundamental sense? >> it's a rear guard action to some extent. having a republican president as jeffrey said, appointing originalis originalists, you have the cultural shifts where a lot of opinion, particularly among younger americans tend toward the libertarian.
the court will either be a force to manage that change or it could be a reaction to it. there's a troep in these things which is sometimes presidents don't know what they will get. the court has been a force ultimately for good. earl warren comes along and really forces the integrate gra issue. >> people didn't know what they would get to some justices. that led to the right saying no more suitors and this argument we're going to fly spect this. donald trump saying i will pick off your federalist society list which has very serious religious, sexual, gender and racial components to what they
want out of the court. >> which underscores why it's so important. i don't know where you stand on this but john roberts seems to be someone who is thinking about what people are going to say when they look at his oil portrait. i think we saw that with the obama care decision. we saw it less so yesterday. it's so funny to feel these goal posts mover up and down the field. i suspect if i told you 20 years ago that anthony kennedy would be the last great catcher in the rye, you would have thought how could that be. >> yeah because he's no thurgood marshal, you're saying. >> exactly. it is a sign of how there's this disconnect between broadly put those in power on the republican side and the way the country is changing. that's why i worry more and more. >> let me give my response.
you hear john say that and he sounds a bit like james earl james reading 1984 in such john is such a classy, calm presence that the way he delivers this message would still, if you hear what he's saying, to a lot of people at home watching this would think okay. everything's going to hell, although you put it very artfully. >> i've never been compared to james earl jones. i'm sorry goi i'm going home. i'm calling it a day. >> you say this is a huge deal and affects people's lives and could be ripped away by donald trump next month. >> what the election 2016 represented was the resistance to the games of the civil rights movement movement, of the women rights movement, of the gay rights
movemen movements. of the movements that spent the time struggling for full inclusion. this is why the court became such an inflection point to the trump base. one of the things that has to happen now is democrats like republicans have done, historically, have to look at the court as a critically important power lever to say are we going to have the kind of leadership in our balance of the governmental power that's paying attention to whether or not we have a body of government that is not elected, that's appointed that will look at this from the perspective of a naturally evolving society that has to live in the frame work of rights. >> it goes to what courts are supposed to do. there are things that are unpopular that has to be enforced by the courts. the political system won't do it. every one stays.
connecticut senator who serves in the judiciary committee. listen to your colleague about this vote. >> if he's consistent, using his own rule, we'll wait for four months, have an election and let the american people decide what the majority in congress will do. >> are you demanding that standard tonight? >> the american people should have a voice. my americrepublican colleagues respect their own precedent. a decision should take place after the new congress is seated. >> what are you prepared to do if mitch mcconnell goes forward with what he said is he's not going to follow his precedent. he's admitted is hypocrisy that o only applies to presidents he doesn't like. >> the american people should and will understand the
momentous importance of this choice for the reasons you discussed early. this justice will have a decisive vote. call it a swing vote or a majority maker. we're in an unparalleled moment of assault on rule of law when our fundamental liberties are in danger. we're going to use every tool available and we will possibly be creative about some new ones in seeking to give the american people a voice. a decision of this historic magnitude requires more deliberate consideration than is possible in the few politically charged months between now and the election. >> as you know, sir, there are many people, including within the democratic party who feel the democrats are always late and soft to these fights. can you say tonight what you or your colleagues are prepared to do on the committee or the senate to enforce that? mcconnell is being clear about what he will do. are you prepared to shut down
the senate, shut down other business to prevent a vote until after the midterms or are you not repaired to go there tonight? >> if the president nominates a right wing fringe idealog, i believe there are colleagues on both sides of the aisle who will stand up to be counted. we will galvanize them and the american people and we will use tools, every one available, to make the public aware of what's at stake here. it's not only reproductive rights and privacy rights and voting rights and clean air but also the fundamental rule of law that's at stake and the american people will understand it and will use every potential tool we have. >> that picks up on point that maya was making moments before you joined us. she was arguing that what we're seeing that is bigger than some of the other controversies of
the trump era, we're sees the fruits of the strategy to try to capture the court add a rear guard action to make up in the judicial process what wasn't always able to be won by con sefbti -- conservatives in electoral rights. do you agree with that? >> the agenda of all the potential no, ma'minees is to r back roe v wade and deeply established, long decisions of this court in defiance of one of the jurs prudential that courts should respect long established precedents. the president said he would nominate justices who would automatically overrule roe v wade. that's unacceptable. >> stay with me.
did you want to respond or have a question for the senator? >> you said two important things. one is if it's a really ideological appointee. what's ideological and what's too ideological? what are some of the rule tools that might enable more voice for the american people? >> i served as a law clerk for a supreme court justice. justice blackman who was the author of roe v wade the year before i clerked for him. my basic philosophy is that i want a fair and open minded judge or justice who will consider the arguments that i make carefully but will adhere to the rule of law established precedent, principles and values of freedom and democracy that are at the core of our
constitution. my philosophy is that a person of that intellect and integrity is an absolute requirement. we will mobilize the american public and i'm confident that colleagues on both sides of the aisle will stand up and be counted. overruling roe v wade, decimating women's health care or marriage equality or any of the other critical progress made over the last decade is really a definite threshold for me. >> i'll say briefly we're over time. as i ask you to respond, jeffrey, went on record and said roe v wade could be overturned based on this vacancy. is that overstated or do you agree it hangs in the blaalance? >> i think even more than roe hangs in the balance.
our fundamental rights and liberties are threatened now as never before. when the history of this era is written, i believe that the courts and our free press will be the heroes that preserve democracy because they stood strong. they disclosed what was happening. they prevented, for example, family separation and other abuses. i am very, very hopeful that we can fight any right wing idealog who chooses to roll back those basic protections. yes, roe v wade is at risk. >> a busy time for you on the day of a vacancy on the court. thank you for making time for us. special thanks to maya and jeffrey rosen for this discussion. coming up, we do turn more depth on this issue with some very special guests. a former democratic chair talks about how the supreme court fight is already changing election plans in the mid terms.
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yes, now roe v wade could be overturned. kennedy often the swing vote in many abortion cases writing the key ones and he has been in the situation that donald trump has flipped and flopped all over about on abortion but now as president he says he's clear where he stands. >> roe v wade has resulted in some of the most permissive abortion laws anywhere in the world. under my administration we'll always defend the very first right in the declaration of independence and that is the right to life. >> for a special discussion i'm joined by president of narrow pro-choice american.
your view of the issues tonight. >> the american people are already mobilized. our phones have been ringing off the hooks. we can't keep up with the e-mails wanting to know what to do. i need to be really clear, any attempts at appeasement will be disasterous. the american people are depending on these senators to stand strong. they know what is in the balance. every single senator needs to examine their moral conscious. understand that women, families are health and well being are in the cross hairs. it is game time. this is not a drill. i have to take one issue with one thing that jay rosen said, which i often agree with him. roe v wade being on the chopping block does matter. it is significant. this is not the anti-choice
movement of 1970. we have 20 ohio state legislatures signed onto a bill that would demand capital punishment for women seeking abortion. these are strange, terrifying dark times. the american people understand it. they know that donald trump made promises he intends to keep. the idea he will turn around and become a sane, rational human being and nominate a rational jurist is pure folly. they need to listen to the american people and stand strong against this take over of our court. >> you're flagging several important things including the contours of political effort that's not just about the status of the fetus in american law but as you point out is about how women are treated in this country and treated under law. i want to play for you what
donald trump did when i guess he was sort of doing his marketing free style trying to figure out during the campaign what would happen to women in you change these laws and he floated the idea of punishing the women. take a listen. >> you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no? >> the answer is that it has to be some form of punishment. >> for the woman? >> yeah. has to be some form. >> wendy. >> it just takes my breath away. unfortunately, i come from state where i understand the reality of that. i know there are a lot of people and the course of the last couple of decades who believe they could continue to vote for republicans knowing they were putting on the court anti-abortion perspectives but they kept saying there's no way that roe v wade will ever get overtu overturned. not only will it but we are looking down the tunnel of
potentially criminal liability for women seeking to make decisions about their own bodies and that sacred right to our privacy and person is being jeopardized by kennedy's retirement today. >> wendy, something you've spotlighted for a long time. we'll put up on the screen. in many states this was 84 restrictions enacted over the past year and a half since trump took office. these are state level efforts. some of them are constitutional under the way the supreme court and that kennedy opinion allows certain restrictions. some are not. they're sort of trial balloons or tests. walk us through where that fits into this. a lot of people around the country aren't sure. they feel sort of dulled or confused even about which trump thing is real and which is another rolling week by week controversy. how real is this tonight in your view? >> it's very real.
29 different states are either very hostile or hostile to abortion rights. it may be the case that we want see roe v wade overturned entirely. i think justice roberts will be very sensitive to the public view of what the court does. we know, those of us who work in this world of trying to protect women's access to making their own decisions, we know that states are very clever about chipping away at a woman's rights to accessing abortion and that is the point that you make here. i believe they're going to feel absolute permission to do that now that justice kennedy has announced his retirement. >> that's a lot on the policy substance. i turn to the politics and enforcement. what are you and the organizations you work with and the people you represent, what's your message to democrats who do not ultimately do everything in
their power to block the consideration of this trump nominee before the midterms? would you be prepared to oppose those democratis in election? >> 7 out of 10 americans want legal access to abortion. they don't always vote that way. even this week, we saw two extremely high profile women leaving the republican party an op ed in new york times. this is a question of human rights and morality. while i think democratic senators owe it, absolutely to the women who turn out poor women, particularly women of color on the firing line to stand strong and demonstrate that you are our leaders. you will fight with everything you have. i don't think it stop there is. i think every single senator needs to exam his or her moral conscious and understand they have to win elections in places like nevada, like arizona, where
the majority of people understand what's on the line and actually value personal freedoms and liberties as american principles. >> two leaders in the field. thank you. up ahead, paul manafort had secret russian debt for the first time tonight and could be a big puzzle piece in the mueller probe. how does the supreme court fight. the answers in the strategy that mueller wants to develop. are democrats calling for a street fight and saying the political steps are key in this supreme court fight? donna brazile is on that when we return in 60 seconds. i am all about living joyfully.
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for our country. they can swing different ways depending on who it might be in the court. it's always been considered a tremendously important thing. >> tremendously important. democrats agree with that. they say they may chuck the rule book and start really fighting. >> are you guys ready to maybe rip up some of the rules that have, as rachel said, limited democrats? >> yes. i know we're ready because i've seen these candidates. >> people from all across america should realize that they're rights and opportunities are threatened. >> we've been playing by the rule book. we need to play by street rules. >> that's what mcconnell did in 2016. ripping away and hijacking obama supreme court pick which paved the way for an upset election and neil gorsich to wind up on the court.
people say lelections have consequences. a huge primary upset self-described socialist and democratic party beating number four democrat in the house with a very radical, get tough progressive message. >> she's looking at herself on television now. how are you feeling? can you put it into words? >> nope. i cannot put this into words. >> i'm joined by donna brazile. let's start with your reaction there. >> this was a race in which the voters in that district wanted change. she was a progressive voice threw the campaign talking about issues that matter at the local level. he was the elder states person and i'm not talking about age,
talking about appearance. she was talking about what she plans to do. he was talking about what he's done in was a young, really aggressive campaigner. i watched her on one of the debates where she really talked about these issues. she spelled out medicare for all. she spelled out her policy positions on jobs, on tuition. she was an unabashed progressive . it is a wake up call. i hope democratic incumbents are paying attention. >>. >> this is a clear sign coming from the bottom up that people want a different reaction. that is big context for something nobody knew was coming today. chris mat tthews laying out the politics it will be a political ill implosion on their side.
>> they will find way to do it. there ways to slow down vote. they will find that way or they will fail. if they fail, they will lose their leadership. the party will not accept failure on this front. you lay down and lay down and accept this as history that can't be stopped, you'll see a political party in serious implosion. >> is that right, donna? >> this is a very important supreme court position. i can tell you, i've heard from the base of the party today. they want the democratic party, the democratic senators to apply the same mcconnell rule to this nominee. remember, mr. trump has the right to nominate. the senate is advising con sent. mr. mcconnell said the american people should have the right to have input into this selection. i believe we deserve input. as you recall that in 2016, mr. garland was selected.
he was nominated by the president. >> we have that. let's look and get your response. >> it is been 80 years since a supreme court vacancy was nominated and confirmed in an election year. there's a long tradition. you don't do this in an election year. >> will justice garland, judge garland get a hearing? >> no, i don't think so. this nominee will not be considered. let's let the american people decide. >> what do democrats do with that rather damming hypocrite cal video? >> we continue to tell the american people this is the mcconnell rule. it applied in 2016. it should apply in 2018. we have to use every constitutional mean that we have within the senate frame work. there rules are a little arcane. we have to use every constitutional frame work to make that point day in and day out. look, what the supreme court did today and the public sector
union case, what they've done this past week with regards to not just jerry mangerrymanderin woman's right to choose. this is a very important position. while very important while we respect the fact that the president, the president who is under investigation by the way, we respect the fact he can nominate. i think the senate democrats must be on the case. we should apply the mcconnell rule and it's simple. let the american people go to the polls in 131 days. only four months. that should give the senate enough time for them to wait until we get a chance to get our voices in the process. >> it's a big political fight. donna, mitch mcconnell's music, you don't usually sing from his song book. something must be going on. >> the american people should have a voice in the selection of the next supreme court justice. i'm going to keep tweeting this every day. i'm going to remind them of why they stood up andnominee.
they said we don't do this in election year. this is an election year. three fou-fourths of the nation governors will be elected this fall. all 435 members of congress. let the american people have a voice in this process. >> you put it starkly. it is summer but it's not a summer off. this seems this will focus the mind offenses of a lot of peopl. we appreciate your political insights. could bob mueller be part of what blocks donald trump supreme court pick? there are groups making the case that trump can't pack a court that's about the rule on key questions in his criminal probe. that's next. t for people with asthma. yes. it's a targeted medicine proven to help prevent severe asthma attacks, and lower oral steroid use. about 50% of people with severe asthma have too many cells called eosinophils in their lungs. fasenra™ is designed to work with the body
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what about on the president's life? does donald trump have the requirement to turn over evidence? does he have to testify before a grand jury? here is a big question for this or any president. can a president be indicted? clearly those are all questions that the supreme court decides in our system. we have seen that in past decisions involving nixon and clinton. >> the supreme court has just ruled on the tape controversy and we have the ruling. >> it is the decision ordering the president of the united states to turn over the tapes. >> the unanimous ruling clears the way for paula jones to pursue her sexual harassment lawsuit. the case involves unofficial conduct by an individual who just happens to be president. >> i'm joined by a former white house ethics chief. he's running for senate as a democrat in minnesota. we haven't gotten to the russia probe much in this hour given
all the other issues. do you view, as a legal matter, given your appearanexperience, the president is under this criminal probe and the statement and things he's done or allegedly done, should that enter in to his authority and the treatment of his nominee to fill this post? >> yes it should. these united states house and senate judiciary committees should have months ago started hearings to investigate the president's violations of the constitution, obstruction of justice, abuse of power and other crimes just as they did in 1973 with respect to president nixon. we're well past the point we were with president nixon when the house and senate judiciary committees had the hearings. they have not done that. that's the top priority. when they are finished with those hearings, and they report to the full house and the senate
with respect to president trump and vice president pence, we will then know whether these two men will remain in office. >> richard -- >> a very good chance they could be out. >> let me ask you this. there are reports in the washington post that even after picking gorsich, donald trump, accord to his own white house leaks worried he would not be loyal because he was critical of donald trump attacks on the judiciary. do you have a concern this president might view this pick in self-interested manner regarding the open probe and not thinking about this as an independence jurist? >> i just have a concern about that, i know that's the way he will pick a justice. that's the way he's talked ever since he ran for president and throughout his presidency. he does not want to participate within a democratic system set forth in the constitution. once again it's the obligation
of the house and senate judiciary committees to look into his fitness for office and that of the vice president before they consider for lifetime appointment on the united states supreme court someone someone nominated by donald trump. and yes, is he going to choose somebody to simply further his own agenda to make sure that his unconstitutional payments from foreign governments are permitted even though they violate the emoluments clause and to allow him otherwise to obstruct the constitution. >> right. >> and i am amazed that they would consider a no knee from this president before they have those hearings that they have an obligation to have just as they did in 1973 with respect to president nixon. >> i have to fit in a break. the audience i think can see in the way you're running your campaign and what you're advocating the senate should do, a difference to some of the current incumbents. this is the party debate within the democratic establishment
right now. you're putting your positions out there clearly. i think that's what we'll see in the midterms because you raise profound questions tonight as always. thank you for joining us. up ahead, a shocker where paul manafort's russian debt. (vo) we came here for the friends. and we got to know the friends of our friends. and we found others just like us. and just like that we felt a little less alone. but then something happened. we had to deal with spam, fake news, and data misuse. that's going to change. from now on, facebook will do more to keep you safe and protect your privacy. because when this place does what it was built for, then we all get a little closer. yit's hard to believe,ranteed. but i've been talking about
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some other big news today we may have missed with all of the supreme court developments. paul manafort exposed for a secret debt to a putin oligarch. he and his wife received a $10 million loan from oleg derepaska, the oligarch sanctioned by the united states during the trump era. he reportedly offered deripaska personal briefings about the election and later said he didn't deliver them. the new debt is another piece in the legal case as paul manafort waits in jail. it could be dry eye. xiidra is the only eye drop approved for both the signs and symptoms... ...of dry eye. one drop in each eye, twice a day. don't use if you are allergic to xiidra.
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it's a big night and "hardball" with chris matthews starts now. it's time for democrats to play "hardball." i'm chris matthews urging them to do just that. good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. there are times to fight and this is one of them. if the democrats in the u.s. senate allow trump to pack the supreme court with a 5-4 majority for the next 30 years, it's not something the progressive democratic voter