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Obama Immigration Challenge: Supreme Court to Hear Arguments on Protections; Russian Jet Barrel-Rolls Over U.S. Aircraft; Curry and President Team Up for Mentoring PSA. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired April 17, 2016 - 07:30   ET



[07:31:23] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Clashes over immigration legislation are about to come to a head. The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments challenging protections established by President Obama's administration.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: In November 2014, the president unveiled executive actions meant to bypass congressional inaction and create a program to help millions of undocumented immigrants gain legal status. A federal court blocked it from going forward in federal court last year. Tomorrow the court will hear from 26 states and the House of Representatives, challenging that action, possibly affecting more than 4 million undocumented immigrants.

CNN Supreme Court reporter Ariane de Vogue joins me with more now.

And, Ariane, good morning to you. And let's go into some specifics here. What exactly are the states fighting?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Well, you recall, it was over a year ago that President Obama unveiled what he hoped would be a second piece of the second term, these immigration actions. They were supposed to shield millions, potentially, from deportation.

But what has occurred now is Texas came in and challenged it. The court ruled in Texas' favor and the programs are blocked. The administration comes forward and says, look, we have broad authority here. We can decide and prioritize how to enforce immigration. And the states come back and say, you might be able to prioritize, but what you can't do is change the law. And they feel like in this instance, the president went too far.

And, interestingly enough, their support and at court tomorrow, we'll hear arguments from a lower for the GOP-led House of Representatives and that lawyer will say, look, you took this to Congress. It didn't work. And now, you can't step in and try to change the law. Only Congress can do that.

BLACKWELL: So, this is a court with eight justices, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. How does that vacancy impact this case? DE VOGUE: Well, it's interesting right, because when the court is

split 4-4, it basically automatically upholds the lower court opinion. And here, this preliminary injunction is in place and these programs are blocked from going forward.

So, if the court is split 4-4, then the programs will remain blocked. But there's an interesting twist in the case, because the court may never get to the issue of immigration. There's a big threshold question on whether or not Texas and the states have the legal right or the standing to bring the case in the first place. If the Supreme Court rules on that standing issue, it could dismiss the case, the programs would be allowed to go into effect and the court would have ruled but never really touched on the bigger issue of immigration. That's a big possibility on Monday, and oral argument will see how much that issue of standing means.

BLACKWELL: Again, this could impact millions of people across this country. Many will be watching it closely. We know you will be, too.

Ariane de Vogue, thanks so much.

DE VOGUE: Thank you.

PAUL: Let's keep talking about this with CNN legal analyst Danny Cevallos, get a legal mind here into this.

This was a fight that was brought on by Republican-led states. Texas, of course, leading the suit against federal government. I want to dig a little deeper here and ask, do states have legal standing to sue based solely on what they disagree on legally and politically?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's an important question, and a question this court has to resolve, because the effect would be if states do have standing to challenge federal policy, anytime they feel like it, the result would be a deluge of cases from states who don't agree with federal policy.

[07:35:01] Historically, federal law is the supreme law of the land. But the states are now arguing that we have the right to be in court because when you, federal government, make these policies, you impose costs on us.

For example, when you allow undocumented immigrants to stay in the country, we now have to pay for giving them driver's licenses. The issue becomes, is the mere fact that Texas may have to spend some more money, does that result in sufficient interest in the outcome to allow Texas into court as a litigant to begin with?

PAUL: Well, the states are arguing that the action was unconstitutional. I know you've read through everything. Do you see anything in that executive action that would suggest unconstitutionality in some regard?

CEVALLOS: At first blush, historically, when the federal government makes policies, especially in immigration -- because the federal government has the sole power to legislate as to immigration. There are some areas in federal and state law that overlap. But when it comes to immigration, the federal government is the supreme law of the land.

But, you know, the states are making an interesting argument, and an argument that at least a trial court and lower appellate court has agreed with, that Texas does, in fact, have standing because they must have some concrete outcome. And in this case, because remember, there are several states filing suit. In Texas' case, the idea is that because Texas has to spend more of Texas' money on these driver's licenses for undocumented persons, that therefore that is something that gives them the right to challenge this federal policy.

But the far-reaching implications are huge, which is why the Supreme Court should and hopefully will reach a majority, one way or the other, on this case and not deadlock.

PAUL: Right.

CEVALLOS: Because this is an issue that must be resolved going forward.

PAUL: And Ariane talked to the issue of gridlock there. But what happens if the Supreme Court does rule in the state's favor?

CEVALLOS: Procedurally what happens is this. If the Supreme Court ties, then the lower court opinion stands. It's sort of a wash.

So, you need that majority opinion to make some kind of decision. If you're deadlocked, you sort of take away the Supreme Court's power to even rule on the lower court case.

But practically speaking, the Supreme Court has every incentive to deal with this issue, because after all, the Supreme Court is a federal court. If they reach a conclusion that allows any state to sue any time it disagrees with federal policy, then ultimately, those are cases that are going to filter up eventually to the Supreme Court.

So, even though this case may be dismissed without ever reaching the underlying immigration issue, it may only deal with that threshold standing issue, it is nevertheless a critically important issue for federal courts to decide, because after all, it decides who allows them in the door of the courthouse to sue.

PAUL: To start with. OK, Danny Cevallos, thank you so much for your expertise here.

BLACKWELL: Ahead on NEW DAY, a close call between a Russian jet and U.S. aircraft over the Baltic Sea. Now, this comes after Russian jets buzzed a U.S. navy destroyer. What is behind all of this?


[07:41:51] PAUL: New this morning, another close encounter between Russia and the U.S. military in the Baltic Sea. This time, a U.S. reconnaissance plane was barrel rolled by a Russian jet in true, some say "Top Gun" style. BLACKWELL: But Russia's defense ministry released a statement and

here's part of it. Western media reports about SU-207 flying dangerously close to U.S. RC-135U in skies of Baltic seas are not consistent with reality."

All this comes after Russian jets flew within a few feet of the U.S. military ship in the same region earlier this week.

CNN's Brian Todd has details.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some call these moves striping runs without the firing. U.S. officials still furious over the buzzing of an American navy ship by Russian combat jets. America's top diplomat calling the incident in the Baltic Sea reckless, provocative.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Under the rules of engagement, that could have been a shoot down. So, people need to understand that this is serious business, and the United States is not going to be intimidated.

TODD: In wave after wave, Russian ships buzzed the USS Donald Cook, at certain points coming within 30 feet of the ship.

(on camera): No margin for error, right?

REAR ADM. TERENCE MCKNIGHT (RET.), FORMER STRIKE GROUP COMMANDER: That's correct. I mean, you are talking feet. We're not talking yards, or miles. We're talking feet. And, basically, if this pilot sneezed or looked at different, and the plane went another way, bang, it could have hit the ship.

TODD (voice-over): The Russian jets were not armed. Russian officials are defending their actions tonight, saying these fly-byes were in accordance with international rules.

But analysts say we're in a very dangerous period.

OLGA OLIKER, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: It's absolutely the worst it's been since the end of the Cold War.

TODD: The USS Cook was operating in international wars, but only about 70 miles off the Russian territory of Kaliningrad, where the Russians have military ports. That, plus the capabilities of the American Aegis destroyer likely got under Vladimir Putin's skin.

MCKNIGHT: This ship has the most advanced radar capability in the fleet of the United States Navy. It can not only detect missiles, but it also can shoot down missiles. And this is probably what irritated the Russians, not only that it was operating out in the sea, but also close to their shores.

TODD: Putin is being as aggressive as ever, using his ramped up military to threaten his neighbors, provoke the U.S., push every envelope, all with the clear message, we must be respected.

OLIKER: Putin's narrative is one of strength, right? So, at home, he got us off our knees. Internationally, it's, we are capable of standing up to the United States and other countries to assert our interests.

TODD (on camera): The danger, of course, is a miscalculation or mistake that caused us a provocation. And U.S. officials are now worried about a possible intelligence breach. During those fly-bys, this helicopter came very close to the USS Cook. It was probably taking high-res pictures of the radar, weaponry and communications on board to give to Russian commanders and defense contractors.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


[07:45:03] BLACKWELL: Bernie Sanders live on "STATE OF THE UNION" today, along with Governor John Kasich.

PAUL: Yes, the candidates sitting down with "STATE OF THE UNION" later this morning. Dana Bash giving u a preview of her interview, next.


BLACKWELL: Two presidential candidates are on CNN "STATE OF THE UNION" today. Senator Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side, and Governor John Kasich on the Republican side.

Dana Bash is taking over hosting duties today. She joins us now.

Dana, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: And Governor Kasich is picking up a key endorsement. What have you learned?

BASH: Well, he is going to be endorsed by the Republican governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval.

Now, that is a state that has already voted, but he is, Brian Sandoval, is an important national figure for all Republicans but also the kind of brand that John Kasich is going for, kind of the maybe more compassionate conservative. He is somebody who appeals to Latinos and others who Kasich says he's trying to bring into the fold.

But the other fascinating part of our discussion, I think, is obviously we've heard Donald Trump going hard after the Republican National Committee, saying that the system is rigged. Well, John Kasich is obviously running in the same race, and he has quite a different take on it.

Listen to this.


[07:50:00] BASH: Donald Trump is on a tirade against the Republican nominating system. He says the system is rigged. The vote is no longer a vote.

What do you think? Do you think the system is rigged?

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I don't know -- no, I think it's the way it works. You know, it's like saying I made an 83 on my math test, so I should get an A, just because I think it's rigged that you have to make a 90 to get an A. I mean, come on. Act like, you know, like you're a professional. Be a pro.


BASH: So, he clearly dismissing the idea of Donald Trump whining about the system. And, look, I mean, it's probably a different kind of situation -- it is a different kind of situation, Victor, for John Kasich because he hasn't won the number of delegates. He hasn't won the number of states that Donald Trump has.

And so, he's hoping that the delegate process in Cleveland actually helps him because the process is going to be based on the votes of the delegates, not so much necessarily the votes of the popular primaries and caucuses if there is an open and contested convention.

BLACKWELL: That is Kasich's only shot at this point.

BASH: Exactly.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about Bernie Sanders. He will be joining you live this morning. What are you going to discuss with him?

BASH: So much to go over still from our red-hot debate this past week in Brooklyn. The brawl in Brooklyn. You know, a lot to kind of unpack about what he said, what he didn't say about his positions, about Hillary Clinton's positions and some of the accusations that he's made against her.

He also just returned from the Vatican, left the campaign trail and got some headlines for a surprise meeting with Pope Francis.

And then there's also this, you know, fascinating situation with George Clooney, who is a Clinton supporter, who is talking about the fact that maybe it's not such a great thing to have all this money in politics even though it's not just a Clinton supporter, Victor, he's somebody who helped raise money for Hillary Clinton in the past, what, 48 hours.

So I'm sure Bernie Sanders is probably going to have some fun with that.

BLACKWELL: All right. Looking forward to it. Dana Bash, thanks so much.

BASH: Thank you. BLACKWELL: Do not miss Bernie Sanders and John Kasich on "STATE OF

THE UNION" this morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.


PAUL: Next, NBA superstar Steph Curry teaming up with President Obama in a new PSA to help other people. We'll have details on that.

And the injury that he's suffering right now may keep him out of his next game.


[07:56:04] PAUL: All right, the NBA playoffs under way, 16 teams work for their shot at the title.


Andy Scholes has more in this morning's bleacher report. Many things were going on in that moment. We don't have time to detail all of them.

Andy, good morning.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, guys. You know, the Warriors are the overall favorite to win it all again this year. And game one with the Rockets went as many expected it to go. Warriors leading it wire to wire, blowing out the Rockets.

Now, Steph Curry, he had another dominating performance. He was getting it done on both ends of the court. Here, look, steals the ball from James Harden and the fancy over-the-shoulder pass up the court to Andre Igoudala. Curry scoring 24 points. He only played 20 minutes in this game as the Warriors won 104-78.

Now, Curry only played 20 minutes because in the second quarter, he tweaked his ankle. Now, Curry tried to come back in the game, even begged his coach, Steve Kerr, let me back in, but Kerr would not allow it. Curry questionable now for tomorrow's game two.

Now, Curry, very active in the Bay Area community. When President Obama honored the Warriors at the White House earlier this year, he encouraged a PSA calling Americans to mentor youth in their community to make a positive impact. Now, that PSA aired for the first time yesterday. Here's a look.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This looks good. You don't need this little clip art over here. So let's take that out.

Incredible dancer. I don't know if people are going to believe you. Are you sure you want to do that?

STEPH CURRY, NBA PLAYER: Yes, set me up. OBAMA: The first time I saw the White House was in 1984. I had just

graduated from college. I was working at a community organizer out of the Harlem campus and state colleges of New York.

Release. Make sure it's on your fingertips.

CURRY: Maybe I should shoot lefty.

OBAMA: You can try that.

CURRY: I have one shot at this.


SCHOLES: This PSA is great for so many reasons, guys. And I have a question. Like when you play connect four against the president, do you have to let him win?

PAUL: I was just thinking the same thing.


PAUL: Whether it's genuine or --

BLACKWELL: No, you don't have to let him win. Basketball, I think you have to let him win.

SCHOLES: I found it funny that President Obama was giving Steph Curry shooting tips. Steph Curry is arguably the greatest shooter of all time.

PAUL: If you're not going to let him, you're not going to get invited to the White House.

BLACKWELL: That one time was enough.

PAUL: Andy, thank you.

SCHOLES: One more than me.

PAUL: Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: All right. Thanks so much for joining us this morning.