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THE SITUATION ROOM
Supreme Court Rules on Arizona Immigration Law; One U.S. Town Now Hiring; "It's Growing So Fast It's Hard to Keep Up"; Tropical Storm Debby Flooding Florida; Romney Swipes Obama On Immigration; Inside Romney's Vague Reaction; Court Set To Rule On Health Care; Romney On Arizona Immigration Ruling; Greek Finance Minister Resigns; Saudi Arabia To Let Women In Olympics; Last Of Giant Tortoise Subspecies Dies; "Why Women Still Can't Have It All"
Aired June 25, 2012 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: The Supreme Court guts Arizona's controversial and sweeping illegal immigration law, an election-year ruling with huge implications.
Also, we visit a U.S. town where unemployment is just 1 percent, and there's a mad scramble to fill thousands of jobs. What has this town booming?
Plus, why women can't have it all. We will talk to the author of an essay that has working mothers buzzing.
Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Joe Johns, and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
It's a law that sparks controversy and outrage, as well as sympathy and imitators. But, today the Supreme Court told Arizona it went too far in trying to stem illegal immigration, taking matters into its own hands that constitutionally belongs to the federal government. The justices struck down three major portions of the law, but upheld one of its most controversial provisions.
CNN's Kate Bolduan has more.
Kate, what does the ruling say?
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Joe.
It was a very big day at the Supreme Court, one that has both sides trying to spin the ruling in their favor. But, bottom line, today, the high court put the brakes on aggressive state efforts to try to crack down on immigration, at least for now.
BOLDUAN (voice-over): From the Arizona border to the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices Monday offered a split decision on Arizona's controversial illegal immigration law known as SB-1070.
Writing for the majority in the 5-3 ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy said, "Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration. But the state may not pursue policies that undermine federal law."
And so the high court struck down three of the four key provisions in the law, however, unanimously upholding, at least for now, the most controversial piece, the requirement police check people's immigration status while enforcing other laws if the officers have reasonable suspicion they're in the country illegally, giving the law's supporters, like Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, reason to claim at least partial victory.
GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: Today, the state of Arizona and Senate bill 1070 was vindicated. And the heart of the bill was upheld.
BOLDUAN: But the court made clear the show me your papers section could face future challenges depending on how it's implemented, including concerns over prolonged detentions and racial profiling. Still, most of the provisions at issue were tossed out, one allowing police to arrest immigrants without warrant if they have probable cause, also the provision making it a crime for illegal immigrants to fail to carry immigration papers and a ban on illegal immigrants from applying for or soliciting work of any kind.
But writing a scathing dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia said, "We are not talking here about a federal law prohibiting the states from regulating bubble gum advertising or even the construction of nuclear plants. We are talking about a federal law going to the core of state sovereignty, meaning states securing their own borders."
BOLDUAN: In a statement today, President Obama seemed to applaud the court's decision, saying that he was pleased the court struck down key portions of the law.
The big question now, though, is what does this mean for all of the states considering similar laws, similar laws to the Arizona law? I think at the very least, this seems to be a warning shot from the high court to telling those states to tread carefully on this area that has long been federal authority, immigration policy, Joe.
JOHNS: Kate Bolduan, thanks for that.
Let's go in depth with CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
Jeff, you look at this thing and three of the four get overturned. But the one thing that is key that everybody seems to talk about gets upheld. So who really won?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's really kind of baffling to tell you the truth.
And even more baffling is what was the reason why three were no good and one was good? What was the principal distinction between that? I have been reading the opinion all afternoon. I'm still a little baffled by it. At one level the court seems to be saying it's OK for there to be parallel enforcement of state and federal authorities during immigration matters. But states can't go farther. They can't penalize more.
That seems to be the guiding principle.
JOHNS: And they also suggested that, hey, the state courts need to look into this a little bit more before we can rule on it.
TOOBIN: Well, they are going to let the other states experiment. And now the states have a guide. They can follow the one law and not the other three. But you can be sure all these laws are going to remain tied up in court for quite some time.
JOHNS: Let's talk just a little bit about the suspense today. A number of decisions coming down. Health care did not. But we really didn't know what was coming next, as is always the case with the court.
TOOBIN: It was nerd heaven in court today.
What happened -- the way it works in the court is, the chief justice says, we're going to have -- Justice Kagan is going to deliver the opinion in a case from Arkansas. It was actually a very important case where they struck down the death penalty -- life in prison without parole, mandatory sentences for juveniles.
And he says Justice Kennedy will deliver the opinion in Arizona vs. U.S. Then that opinion is given. You don't know what he's going to say next. Is he going to say I'm going to deliver the opinion of the court in the health care case? He didn't. He simply said the court will conclude its term next Thursday. So this Thursday, we know for sure the health care case, 10:00, everybody should gather around the computer.
JOHNS: Right. A lot of very fiery conversation especially in the dissents from some of the conservatives.
TOOBIN: Justice Scalia today was in rare form, where he said if this decision had come out in 1787, Arizona wouldn't have decided later to join the Union.
I guess he thought they would have joined Mexico instead. I thought that was a little bit hyperbolic, but that's what we rely on...
JOHNS: So let me read another one of the sort of fiery comments from Scalia in that very same immigration case.
"The president said in a news conference that the new program is the right thing to do in light of Congress' failure to pass the administration's proposed revision of the immigration act. Perhaps it is, though Arizona may not think so. But to say , as the court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law enforcing applications of the act that the president declines to enforce boggles the mind. So the issue is a stark one. Are the sovereign states at the mercy of the federal executive's refusal to enforce the nation's immigration laws?"
TOOBIN: It reads more like a newspaper column than a judicial opinion, doesn't it?
JOHNS: It does. And it seems to be more political than legal, or am I wrong?
TOOBIN: Well, particularly when you consider that President Obama's ruling on the DREAM Act, on not throwing young people out of the country, that came well after this case was submitted to the court.
So it was just sort of his -- Justice Scalia's commentary on current events.
JOHNS: So what is the instruction to the states here?
TOOBIN: It's tough. It's really hard.
It's basically be like the show me your papers law, not like the other three laws. But what the principal distinction is between those is a little hard to determine. That's why there are going to be more cases like this.
JOHNS: The Montana case is also fascinating too because this is a case that comes after the Citizens United case that basically opened the floodgates on the amount of money that can be put into political campaigns.
TOOBIN: Yes. Right.
JOHNS: And now the court says this also applies at the state level.
So, some people thought the court might have some misgivings about Citizens United. But this appears to be sort of a doubling down, doesn't it?
TOOBIN: Doubling down, that's exactly right.
As many people may remember, Citizens United is the case that said corporations have the right to give unlimited funds in support of a presidential candidate or any kind of political candidate. What Montana had a law, it said, look, we in Montana think corporations should not be involved in our political campaigns.
The court got that case, and they gave it the back of their hand, a one-paragraph decision saying Citizens United applies. This law, Montana's law, is unconstitutional. It was 5-4 ruling. Citizens United is here to stay.
JOHNS: On Thursday, we are going to have health care, which arguably is the biggest decision certainly of the term. You have said before that you see a train wreck for the Obama administration on the way.
And you said that you expect it to be ruled unconstitutional. Do you still feel that way? Do you want to change that answer?
TOOBIN: You know what? I actually believe in accountability for other people, but not for myself.
TOOBIN: So I don't think my prediction should ever be -- look, I thought the ruling -- the argument went very badly for the Obama administration, mostly because the conservative justices seemed very hostile. That was my feeling then. It was my feeling now.
The Supreme Court is the only institution in Washington that doesn't leak. So I have no idea what's gone on since March, when the case was argued. But I'm sticking maybe my prediction.
JOHNS: And they're pretty much answerable to no one, like yourself.
TOOBIN: They are not. Chief -- Justice Robert Jackson said we are not final because we are infallible. We are infallible because we are final.
Somebody has to have the last word. It's those nine justices.
JOHNS: Jeff Toobin, it's always great to talk to you, and especially nice to have you at CNN on a day like this.
TOOBIN: Yes, indeed. It's nice to be in Washington.
JOHNS: All right.
Much more on the Arizona immigration ruling. Mitt Romney is there in Arizona today -- details of what he's saying about it and perhaps more telling what he is not saying about it.
Also, where the jobs are. One town is scrambling to fill some 3,000 positions -- details of what's behind the boom.
Plus, a controversial new take on working mothers -- why one of them says she now believes they can't have it all.
JOHNS: Jack Cafferty is here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Joe, thank you.
Nearly half of Americans cannot name President Obama's religion.
Say what? A new Gallup Poll shows only 34 percent of those surveyed correctly say that Mr. Obama is a Christian; 11 percent say he's a Muslim; 8 percent say that the president doesn't have a religious affiliation.
And a stunning 44 percent say they don't know what he is.
Where have these people been?
President Obama has been in office for three and a half years. Plus, he went through that grueling campaign to get the job, a campaign during which his former minister, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and his controversial sermons were on television about every three seconds forever.
It's just one more example of how uninformed a lot of us really are.
Of course people who don't like the president continue to raise questions about his religion, his place of birth. And it seems that their efforts could be convincing or at least confusing some Americans.
The Gallup Poll also found a partisan gap here. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to correctly name the president's religion. In fact, 18 percent of Republicans think the president is a Muslim. That's nearly one in five Republicans.
The poll shows independents are closer to the Republicans than to Democrats when it comes to their knowledge of Mr. Obama's religion. That might not help the president in November.
Interestingly, though, Americans are more likely to correctly name Mitt Romney's religion. Romney is a Mormon. Only 33 percent say they didn't know that.
Some of that increased awareness has to come from the fact that Romney ran for president four years ago, at which time a great deal was made out of the fact that he's a Mormon.
So here's the question: What does it mean if nearly half of Americans cannot name President Obama's religion?
Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile. Post a comment on my blog. Or go to our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page.
I found that rather stunning, Joe, that almost half of us didn't know that, almost at the end of his first term in office.
JOHNS: That -- you're right. It's absolutely amazing, because four years ago, as you correctly point out, it was one of the biggest issues of the campaign.
CAFFERTY: Remember that incendiary Reverend Wright footage that all the networks played over and over and over again. I mean, that should have made some sort of --
Well, thanks so much for that, Jack.
CAFFERTY: All right, Joe.
JOHNS: Try to imagine a town with just 1 percent unemployment where they can't build houses fast enough for a surging population, and schools are struggling to hire dozens of new teachers. While much of the U.S. is struggling, Williston, North Dakota, is enjoying a boom most cities can only dream of. It's all thanks to one thing: oil.
Here's CNN's Dan Lothian.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is North Dakota's new heart, pumping around the clock, sending black gold from the oil fields to Main Street. Small cities like Williston in the northwest corner of the state are bulging with prosperity.
MAYOR WARD KOESER, WILLISTON, NORTH DAKOTA: We're blessed. For whatever, the good lord put the oil here.
LOTHIAN: Mayor Ward Koeser, on the job for 18 years, has gone from begging for new investments in his town to having more jobs than he can handle.
KOESER: Our unemployment is about 1 percent. We have about 3,000 jobs that are available. We have the businesses in town doing very, very well. The economy is just so very strong here right now.
LOTHIAN: Oil and new technologies that allow horizontal drilling and the fracking, or the breaking up of underground rocks, are driving this boom, raising the average salary here to more than $70,000 a year, and changing the landscape.
This was one corner of town 18 months ago. Here it is today.
(on camera): It's a community, with houses still being built and selling for $200,000 each. With all that expansion comes a lot of traffic. Like all these big trucks. This is a main road through town. In 2008, 9,000 cars a day drove through here. Last year, that number was 28,000.
(voice-over): The population has exploded from 12,500 people, to more than 20,000.
And nowhere is that felt more than in the classrooms.
VIOLA LAFONTAINE, SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT: Growing so fast that it's so hard for us to keep up.
LOTHIAN: School Superintendent Viola Lafontaine is scrambling. She's leased 32 modular buildings for the fall, might use FEMA trailers, and she's on a hiring binge to find 52 teachers.
LAFONTAINE: We're trying to prepare from anywhere to 800 to 1,200 students.
LOTHIAN: But luring teachers to a town where rents have skyrocketed from a few hundred dollars a month for more than $2,000 for a modest apartment is challenging.
(on camera): Since it's difficult for teachers to find affordable housing on a salary of $31,000, the school district has gotten into the real estate business -- buying these two apartment buildings.
(voice-over): Eight units in all, and the teachers have to double up, paying more than $400 each.
(on camera): You're also a landlord?
LAFONTAINE: I'm also a landlord, along with the rest of what I'm doing.
LOTHIAN (voice-over): Even if you have the money, there's a housing shortage. Motels are all booked with long-term residents. We had to stay 45 miles away, so called man camps have sprung up everywhere, housing oil field workers.
While oil workers are raking it in, people with jobs in retail or fast food are being left out in the cold. This church parking lot gets crowded once the sun goes down. Showers, shave and sleep inside or stay in your car.
James Kindell (ph) moved here for a job to support his daughter, says he was just hired at Wal-Mart where the pay is good. But he still can't afford an apartment.
(on camera): This is more than a car, this is your house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have air mattress.
LOTHIAN (voice-over): Adam Thompson has temp work and the lead on the good oil job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to buy a home. I want to have a good life. And I figure if I got to be homeless for a couple months and work my way up to that, I'll do that.
LOHTIAN: Chasing his dream, like others we saw from Florida, California, Georgia. It's like the Dust Bowl migration to California.
But some long time residents are worried about the dizzying growth and what happens once the oil stops flowing.
JIM FITZSIMMONS, ATTORNEY: The boom is causing problems although it's great for the economy. When it's over, the problems are going to triplify.
LOTHIAN: Mayor Koeser says he's looking to diversify from tourism and spending his city's new wealth wisely.
KOESER: You need to make sure it's sustainable and you don't get yourself in debt too much, you know, that you live off this and make the best of that. But recognize that there are no guarantees.
LOTHIAN: Dan Lothian, CNN, Williston, North Dakota.
JOHNS: Coming up, Mitt Romney reacts to the immigration ruling in Arizona with a heavy dose of political spin.
Plus, the essay that's going viral, striking at the heart of feminism. Why one working mother says, when it comes to career and family, something has got to give.
JOHNS: Just in as we continue to follow the crazy weather in the Florida Panhandle. We're getting reports of rain of up to five inches an hour.
Our Chad Myers in the CNN severe weather center on tropical storm Debby right now -- Chad.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Joe.
The problem is that the storm is not moving. The center of Debby hasn't really moved all day long. And so, therefore, the heavy rain bands haven't moved at all.
So, if you're from Tallahassee, all the way down to St. Marks, we have seen rainfall estimates now, by radar, between three -- and yes, you said five inches of rain in just one hour. And it has been raining for three to four hours all together. So, some spots may have 20 inches of rain by tonight. I don't know what you do with 20 inches of rain. Even in an area that's flat and near the ocean, it's still going to flood.
If you also are down here, a little bit farther, closer to Tampa, there are more rain bands hitting your way into central and western Florida here, you will see additional rainfall tonight. Some of those storms could even twist a little bit because the whole storm is twisting. Due to that twist, you could get some small tornadoes, even around Tampa, could be down to about Ft. Myers and certainly up here.
This is a big bend of Florida. You'd have St. Marks. Right here would be Port St. Joe. This would be the Island St. George Island, everybody loves to go there. And this white area right here, just south of Tallahassee. That's over 10 inches of rain in 24 hours.
And we know it's still coming down at three to five inches of rain per hour. Do some math. There's going to be flooding, Joe.
JOHNS: So, Chad, I would imagine, given a tropical storm, this is just about one of the worst possible scenarios you could have with a storm that just doesn't want to go anywhere.
MYERS: That's exactly right. And there's another thing involved here, too. North Florida has been in at a tremendous drought for a couple of years. The water table is low. There's not enough water in the water table down below this dirt to support the dirt. It's almost like a bridge that doesn't have anything holding it up anymore. We are going to get sink holes from this.
Now, the ground is saturated. There's nothing below holding it up because the water table is low. There's a big cave basically, caverns under the state of Florida as the water here saturates the ground. The ground is going to sink.
The sink holes at night are deadly. You think you're driving in two inches of rain, two inches of water. But there's no road there for you to drive on. You need to be careful in Florida tonight -- Joe.
JOHNS: Thanks, Chad. A really bad situation there in the panhandle of Florida. We'll have much more on that and the hour upcoming.
And we're also going to go out to Florida, where wildfires are raging, causing a huge problem there.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney reacts to the ruling on Arizona's controversial immigration law. But the Republican candidate plays it so safe, we can't tell if he agrees with it or not.
Plus, history at the Olympics. A country that won't allow women to drive says it will now allow women to compete in the games. And, if you were thinking about trading your car in for a bicycle, wait one minute. Gas prices are taking a huge plunge.
JOHNS: Reaction is pouring in to today's Supreme Court ruling, striking down most of Arizona's controversial anti-illegal immigration law, including from Mitt Romney. But it's hard to tell where he stands on the issue.
CNN national political correspondent Jim Acosta is traveling with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Jim, what are you picking up?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joe, Mitt Romney is holding a fund-raiser, and in, of all places, Arizona, just hours after the Supreme Court decision on the Arizona immigration law. But despite that proximity to the issue at hand, the Romney campaign has yet to say whether or not Mitt Romney agrees or disagrees with the high court's ruling.
ACOSTA (voice-over): In the hours after the Supreme Court's decision on the Arizona immigration law, Mitt Romney played it safe -- staying away from the cameras. Reporters traveling with Romney were only allowed to get this brief glimpse of the candidate on his campaign plane.
Instead, Romney issued a brief statement that blamed the president for the nation's immigration problem.
"I believe that each state has the duty and right to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law," Romney said, "particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities. "As candidate Obama, he promised to present an immigration plan during his first year in office. But four years later, we are still waiting." Romney's traveling press secretary could not say whether the candidate's statement means he agrees or disagrees with the court's ruling.
RICK GORKA, ROMNEY TRAVELING PRESS SECRETARY: We don't have a statement one way or the other if he agrees this decision today by the Supreme Court. Ultimately, this country would be better served if the president was fulfilling his campaign promises.
ACOSTA: Romney's support for state rights on immigration does line up with comments he's made in the past in favor of the Arizona law including this interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I support the Arizona law, recognizing that what Arizona has done underscores the failure of the federal government to do its job.
ACOSTA: At a CNN debate in Arizona earlier this year, Romney appeared to tout parts of the state's immigration system as an example for the country.
ROMNEY: You know, I think you see a model here in Arizona. They passed a law here that says people come here and try to find work that the employer is required to look them up and e-verify.
ACOSTA: But the Romney campaign insists the GOP contender does not see the entire law as a national model. And since the primaries, Romney has softened his tone on the issue.
At a conference of Hispanic Elected Officials last week, Romney vowed to find a lasting solution on immigration reform.
ROMNEY: We must also make legal immigration more attractive than illegal immigration. So that people are awarded for waiting patiently in line.
ACOSTA: Meanwhile, there's another Supreme Court test to come. Next up, the fate of the president's health care law that was modelled after reforms Romney first implemented in Massachusetts. In recent weeks, Romney has said he hopes the Supreme Court strikes down what has become the president's signature achievement.
ROMNEY: If I'm the president at a time when the Supreme Court has left Obama care in place, I will repeal it on day one by sending out a waiver of the all 50 states to keep them from having to pursue Obama care.
ACOSTA: Now Mitt Romney is holding a fundraiser here in Scottsdale, and there is pool of reporters observing what Romney has to say to those in attendance. So it is possible that the GOP contender will perhaps broaden his comments on the Supreme Court decision.
But, Joe, it is possible that Romney will decide to stay cautious not only on immigration, but on health care reform. That ruling is expected to come along later on this week. The Romney campaign as you know is focused on the economy, come high court or high water -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: Jim, thanks so much for that. I think you're absolutely right. We see a lot of vagueness with this candidate from time to time, when big issues sort of break, and you're looking for a reaction.
Let's get more with CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger. So you look at this and don't know exactly where he stands. We've seen this before, and I think the kind of question really is, did he have a rapid response problem or is it something that was fundamental?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I think it's -- they're vague because they feel like they need to be vague and it's not really rocket science. It's politics, right?
And they have a lot of problem with Hispanic voters right now. They're afraid of offending Hispanic voters. I mean, you covered the primaries, Joe. You understand that candidate Romney moved far to the right.
On the question of immigration during the primaries, you saw the clip that Jim Acosta used in his piece on the Arizona law. and now he is trying to tact a little bit more to the center to appeal to those independent voters.
The problem politically though I think is that when you run for president, seeming uncertain on something is really not good. People want somebody who's a leader, who has a clear position.
That's not the way Romney seems, at least not today. Maybe we'll hear more from him this evening, but so far very, very vague.
JOHNS: All right, so if you're going to keep your power dry and you're not going to get pinned down on specifics because you want to reserve that right.
JOHNS: But you also want to fix the problem, especially when it comes to, you know, Hispanic-Latino voters. How do you do it?
BORGER: Well, it's very hard for Mitt Romney. I'll tell you why. Take a look at this new -- not CNN, "USA Today"/Gallup poll of Hispanics. And the question was who would you support for president?
Take a look that. What's that, 41 points? That -- that is big, difficult thing to overcome. On top of that, take a look at what the president did 10 days ago, right, Joe?
On the Dream Act, OK, he gave his own version of the Dream Act, which doesn't lead to permanent residency, but allows the children of illegal immigrants to come out of the shadows and work.
So Mitt Romney has proposed his own version of immigration reform. But at this point, he's got to have Hispanics listening to him. And that's going to be a problem.
Don't forget, John McCain in 2008, who was viewed favorably by the Latino community only won 30 percent of their vote.
JOHNS: So how likely is it that this thing just sort of dies down, goes away, we get off of immigration and move in to November talking about jobs?
BORGER: One of the reasons it doesn't go away is because so many of the battleground states have large Hispanic populations. Of course, Arizona, one of those states. You also have Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada.
These are states in which Hispanics, if they are enthusiastic -- and the Supreme Court ruling may have something to do with the enthusiasm.
If they are enthusiastic and they come out to vote, which is what President Obama wants then that is a big problem for Mitt Romney. So the issue will stay alive.
By the way, we're not done with litigation. The Supreme Court did not end litigation.
JOHNS: Absolutely, it could start up next week.
BORGER: Again, probably will.
JOHNS: You bet. Thanks so much for that, Gloria Borger. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer will talk about the immigration ruling. That's coming up on "JOHN KING USA."
It's official. We now know that we'll learn the fate of President Obama's landmark health care law this Thursday. The impact of this historic decision will have on the next president of the United States. Standby.
A disaster is unfolding out west where massive wildfires are being fuelled by hot, dry winds. We'll take you to the scene in Colorado. Standby.
And it's no better in Florida where Tropical Storm Debby is unleashing tornadoes.
JOHNS: Joining me for today's "Strategy Session" is CNN contributor and Democratic strategist, Donna Brazile and Republican strategist, Bay Buchanan. She is a senior adviser for the Romney campaign. Thanks for both of you coming in.
Bay is also the author of the book "Bay and Her Boys." So Bay, I would like to start with you. We're talking all this legal stuff now and health care is coming up.
If you look at this thing going forward politically, what do you think Republicans are going to need to do if the Obama health care bill is upheld?
BAY BUCHANAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, as I see this, it doesn't matter what happens. It's to our advantage because if it's upheld in the one hand, less than 40 percent of Americans approve it.
You're looking at 50 percent who are absolutely opposed. You see Americans worried to death they're going to lose their health care insurance because of this bill.
States are big -- will be bankrupt by federal government likewise. So you run on that and you say this is a failed policy. It hurts Americans and you got the American people with you on it.
If it isn't upheld then you have -- the president's signature legislation failed in the Supreme Court. It was unconstitutional. He pushed this.
He was supposed to be a constitutional scholar and he went and signed a bill that unconstitutional. Huge power grab, I think either way it's a win-win for Republicans.
JOHNS: Donna, what if it's overturned?
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's bad for the American people. I think it's bad for consumers and of course, I think it's bad for both political parties.
Let me just say, millions of Americans have already started to take advantage of this law whether you have pre-existing conditions. Whether you are a young person that staying on your parent's account, whether you're a person like myself that needs to go to the doctors and now you have some preventive medicine that's great.
I got a little rebate check that I framed after I cashed it, of course, and if you're a senior citizen who needs extra money for a prescription medicine. So this law has already begun to help millions of citizens.
So I think it will be bad for consumers, bad for the American people. Yes, there's a lot on (inaudible). Look, Congress will not be able to sleep knowing millions of people no longer have insurance that are covered anymore because of what the Supreme Court decides to do on Thursday.
So I think it's bad medicine for the Supreme Court to rule it unconstitutional and not put in place some practical solutions that Congress can take up right away.
JOHNS: Politically, though, people are always talking about the possibility of blowback. In other words, if this thing were to be overturned, Republicans may have an uphill battle in the fall because Democrats and their base would be energized. Do you buy that and what would Republicans be able to do to sort of counter it?
BUCHANAN: No, I don't buy that because I think that Americans really do understand that this is not a good law. It's a very bad law. Donna is suggesting that the Supreme Court should uphold it because it helps some Americans.
The Supreme Court is not in the job of putting in legislation. They're on the job to decide what is constitutional and what is not. This president, he has way -- it's an abusive power. It's a grab for 18 percent of our economy.
The government never does anything better than the private sector unless it's the military talk. That is it. And so no, this should go back to this the private sector.
It should be the best thing for Americans is one on one, doctor and individual. That's the way it should go. And that is easy sell and that is why Americans are opposed to this.
BRAZILE: I think the constitutionality of the bill on the individual responsibility, individual mandate, which Mitt Romney once believed was so strong.
He had an op-ed in "USA Today" on July of 2009. I will tweet it tonight so everybody can read it. Because once again, you have Mitt Romney who once went out and boasted that this was the way to go.
This was the model. President Obama took up the model, a model that Republicans want to embrace in terms of individual responsibility and individual mandate, that they're now saying is no longer constitutional.
I think the Supreme Court like it did in Bush V Gore. They will make it up as they go along if they decide to overturn that individual mandate.
JOHNS: How do you see the Democrats responding though if this individual mandate were upheld? How do you see Democrats responding to blowback among Republicans who say, we hate this and we hate big government and it was a bad idea.
BRAZILE: You know, I think the Republicans sound like a broken record that can no longer sell at the grocery store. It's the same old whining, crying and beating their chest.
It's a gut law. It didn't go far enough, as far as I'm concerned in terms of a public option. I would have went for the public option. I would have given you something to cry about.
BUCHANAN: This Supreme Court decision is huge. It basically says, can the federal government require, force Americans to buy a product they have endorsed? That's the key.
It's much bigger than even the health care part of it. But the key is this bill Americans need to know it's damaging to our health care. Our health care is not improving, the quality isn't, the costs are going up.
We're getting fewer and fewer doctors are being attracted to this industry. It has to be turned on its ear. I'm hoping the Supreme Court does it.
BRAZILE: If it's broke, we should fix it. Both our immigration system and our health care system is broken. We need both a congressional remedy. We don't need the Supreme Court to make all these decisions.
JOHNS: It will be really interesting to see given today and how the Supreme Court sort of split the baby. Whether we get that kind of mixed decision on Thursday when they handle the health care bill. Thanks.
BRAZILE: Baby needs health care.
JOHNS: Thanks so much. Donna Brazile, Bay Buchanan, appreciate you coming in.
BUCHANAN: Glad to be here.
JOHNS: Face politics and the president. What does it mean if nearly half of Americans can't name his religion? Jack Cafferty is next with your e-mails.
Also, wildfires forced more than 10,000 people from their homes. Now the weather forecast, firefighters are dreading most.
Plus, a controversial essay goes viral. Is it a reality check for working mothers?
JOHNS: Just in. We have a statement from presidential candidate Mitt Romney on the latest immigration decision by the United States Supreme Court.
Reading part of it here, "Today there was a Supreme Court decision relating to immigration, and given the failure of the immigration policy in this country, I would prefer to see the Supreme Court give more latitude to the states, not less.
And there are states now under this decision that have less authority, less latitude to enforce immigration laws." Mitt Romney, the presumptive presidential candidate, on the Supreme Court decision today.
Jack joins us now with the "Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: You know, one day they'll chisel that on Mt. Rushmore what you just read there.
JOHNS: I kind of doubt it.
CAFFERTY: Question this hour, what does it means if nearly half of Americans can't name President Obama's religion?
Jackson writes from Georgia, "It means people don't do their research and believe what their preferred news outlets tell them to believe. Present company excluded, of course, Jack."
Susan in New Jersey says, "President Obama has stated he's a Christian. If he is, he rarely seems to practice it. Previous presidents have always had their picture taken coming out of church on Sunday giving the public the idea he doesn't think he's God. President Obama has not done this."
Dave in Seattle writes, "It shouldn't be important. The candidate's ability to run the country is what's important. The question is up there with boxers or briefs."
S writes, "It means my suspicions are true. We're kind of dumb over here." Mark in Topeka writes, "This is a lot better than the saying "Islam".
Floyd in California says, "It's obvious. Half of America is either totally ignorant or Republicans."
Mario says, "It confirms our world rating in education. I believe we're 17th. The ignorance will decide this election or maybe not."
And Connie in Indiana, "Let's see, Jack, 50 percent of America doesn't know who the vice president is and 50 percent of America doesn't know who you are. I guess, it proves we need to be spending more on education, not less, or we're wasting what we do spend. For the record, Obama is a Christian. Romney is a moron. I'm sorry, I meant Mormon."
If you want to read more on this, these are cheap shots, but we go for the cheap laughs laugh at times, go to the blog, cnn.com/caffertyfile or through our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page.
You don't get this high class material unless you fill in for Wolf, do you?
JOHNS: Yes, almost never. Thanks so much, Jack.
Just a word of clarification, apparently, that statement I read just a minute ago was something he actually said during a fundraiser, but it was off camera.
So we won't be getting any tape of it, to people who were apparently there to consider giving him some money. So there you go, Jack.
CAFFERTY: It wouldn't hurt for him to come out and make a public statement on some of these issues just for the record. I mean, people argue that he's not very definitive in his positions.
JOHNS: You said it, Jack, but I'm not going to touch it. Thanks so much for that.
The government is expected to take new steps to stop intelligence leaks. Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other stories in the SITUATION ROOM right. Lisa, what you got?
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Joe. Well, the director of National Intelligence James Clapper will likely appear on Capitol Hill this week.
Where we expect he'll roll out new measures aimed at stopping the recent string of classified leaks. They have affected ongoing operations such as al Qaeda in Yemen. Plus a secret drone program and a cyber attack on Iran's nuclear program. The FBI is conducting its own investigation of those leaks.
Greece's finance minister has resigned for health reasons. The development is a potential setback for the new government, which has promised to pay back billions of dollars Greece received as part of a bailout.
The resignation hit Wall Street hard where expectations were lower that European leaders would produce a game changer at a summit later this week. The Dow fell 138 points.
And history will be made as this Summer's Olympic games. Saudi Arabia says it will let its female athletes compete for the first time.
The International Olympic Committee had been putting pressure on Saudi Arabia where women can't vote or drive. Two other countries had barred women from competing, but now Qatar and Brunei are reversing their positions as well.
And sad news from the Galapagos Island where a giant tortoise named "Lonesome George" has died. He was the last surviving member of his subspecies. The pure breed Pinto Island tortoise was more than 100 years old.
George was actually relatively young for his breed and some giant tortoises can live to around 200. The cause of his death is under investigation. It's pretty sad because that's the end of subspecies. A lot of people are concerned about this.
You still have animals going extinct. That happens all the time and unfortunately for that subspecies no more.
JOHNS: That is sad. Thanks so much, Lisa.
Coming up in our next hour, more than half a dozen wildfires burning out of control in Colorado. Now 2,000 firefighters are facing some of the worst possible conditions.
Plus a state of emergency in Florida, pounded by Tropical Storm Debbie. We'll take you there live.
And up next, the flight of working mothers and a controversial essay that some say people have to think about.
JOHNS: Can working mothers have it all? Amery Slaughter isn't so sure. She's a former high ranking government official who has written a provocative new essay in which she says balancing a successful career while raising children doesn't work in today's world.
Lisa Sylvester is joining me now. Lisa, why has this article sparks such discussions?
SYLVESTER: You know, I think it really resonates with a lot of moms and dads out there. Our generation has been taught that really women can have it all that if you work hard and you study hard that you can be at the top of your game in any field.
And that certainly true, but what Anne Marie Slaughter is arguing is that if you also want a family, you're going to have to make tough choices. Sometimes it may be relying on trusted family members.
Sometimes it's assuming you have the resources, hiring nannies. But for a lot of women, vast majority of women out there, the truth is, it is really tough juggling both.
SYLVESTER (voice-over): Sharon Hembree has photos from her days as a key White House executive during the Clinton administration.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was definitely almost always very intense.
SYLVESTER: Long weeks with 12 to 14 hour days.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you guys going to try to clean that up?
SYLVESTER: Now Hembree is a stay-at-home mom taking care of her 3- year-old twin boys and a 6-year-old daughter. Juggling a full time demanding job and parenting was just too much.
SHARON HEMBREE, STAY-AT-HOME MOM: Maybe there are super women out there who can do it. I certainly couldn't. I couldn't be the super mom and I couldn't be employee that I wanted to be as a very type "A", very wanting to be the best employee out there. I couldn't make that balance work. SYLVESTER: Hembree has read Anne Marie Slaughter's provocative article in the "Atlantic" magazine entitled "Why Women Still Can't Have It All."
One of the "Atlantic's" most read online articles. It's touching off a firestorm of debate and discussion. Slaughter says American culture and society frowns upon women leaving the office early or working from home. So many mothers end up leaving high level careers to focus on family.
ANNE MARIE SLAUGHTER, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: If they are super human, rich and/or self employed, can or are having it all, and in many ways I put myself in the category.
But for everybody else, essentially our society, our workplace, our culture is making it very difficult for most women to actually have work and family and the same career choices as men.
SYLVESTER: Is there a glass ceiling for moms?
SLAUGHTER: No one says anymore this is no job for a woman because "A", that's discrimination. But plenty of people say this is no job for a mother.
SYLVESTER: Sarah Knight is another mom to a 4-year-old and 8-year- old. Like Sharon Hembree, Knight also worked at the White House and also took time off after the birth of her children. But she's recently started a new job as a consultant in Atlanta, where she can have flexible hours.
SARAH KNIGHT, WORKING MOTHER: I don't think I could go back to doing the amount of work that I was doing before and still spend time with my kids and have a great family.
SYLVESTER: And as for Hembree, she tells her 6-year-old daughter she'll have to find what works for her.
HEMBREE: You can be anything you want to be if you work hard enough and put in the time. I do think they can have that.
JOHNS: So, Lisa, what's the solution here?
SYLVESTER: You know, it's interesting because Sharon Hembree is talking about for her 6-year-old daughter that she wants to tell her daughter, you can do whatever you want to do as far as a career.
But she's also going to tell her daughter, look, there's a reality. You have to balance the work and family like what many people are finding out. Certainly I think support of spouses.
There are a lot of great dads out there that also play a key role. But what Slaughter really says is that companies need to change their mindset. Instead of just paying service to flex time or working from home, they have to really mean it. Because a lot of the companies have this stated on the books as their policy but then when an employee asks for it, it's denied. So we see a lot of that and that's what she says has to change, Joe.
JOHNS: Thanks so much for that. Lisa Sylvester.