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Weather Forecast Worries California Firefighters; Contrasting Weather Fuels Fires in California, Snow on East Coast; Fiery Q&As as U.S. Supreme Court Weighs Same-Sex Wedding Cake Arguments; Army/Navy Football Game an Hour Away; Trump Highlights Civil Rights Battle at Museum Opening; Trump Stumps for Moore 3 Days from Alabama Election. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired December 9, 2017 - 13:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:00:07] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, again. Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

President Trump heading back to West Palm Beach, Florida, after wrapping up a visit to the new civil rights museum in Jackson, Mississippi. Tensions were high as many top civil rights leaders and prominent African-Americans chose to stay away from the grand opening.

The president's low-key speech lasted about 10 minutes. He paid tribute to those who fought and died for civil rights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The civil rights museum records the oppression, cruelty and injustice inflicted on the African-American community. The fight to end slavery. To break down Jim Crow. To end segregation. To gain the right to vote. To achieve the sacred birth right of equality. Here --

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: That's big stuff. That's big stuff. Those are very big phrases, very big words.

Here we memorialize the brave men and women who struggle to sacrifice and sacrifice so much so that others might live in freedom.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right, I want to bring in Athena Jones now. She's at the museum.

So how was the president's messages received today?

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fred. Well, there was certainly applause after those remarks, and during those remarks, especially when he recognized the widow of Medgar Evers, who was there inside the museum during the tour. But he came, he toured the museum, he saw several exhibits, including

Freedom Riders, who helped desegregate buses in the '60s. He mentioned James Meredith, who was the first black student to attend the segregated University of Mississippi in 1962. He spent a good deal of time talking about Medgar Evers himself, who was assassinated here in Jackson in 1963. Jackson's airport is named after him.

It's interesting, that bit of sound, that clip you played just now, with the president talking about the fight to end slavery, to break down Jim Crow, end segregation, gain the right to vote, well, a lot of the president's critics, those protesting his inclusion in today's festivities, including U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson, from right here in Mississippi, and Georgia Representative John Lewis, who is himself a civil rights icon, part of their argument has been this president has not been a strong defender of civil rights. They point to a long list of concerns, including the fact he questioned the legitimacy of America's first black president, the fact he has endorsed Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore, who when asked when America was last great, he said, during slavery. He said, "Back when families were united, even though we had slavery." They've also pointed to the criticism he's logged at mostly black NFL players who have been protesting racial inequality. And they point to his Voter Integrity Commission that many see as an effort to actually suppress votes.

So a lot of detractors here. That may be one reason he chose to deliver his remarks indoors to a smaller group -- Fred?

WHITFIELD: Athena Jones, thank you so much.

All right, let's talk more about the president's controversial visit to the new civil rights museum in Mississippi.

Joining me right now is Cornell William Brooks, a CNN contributor, and former president of the NAACP.

Cornell, good to see you.

CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's good to see you too.

WHITFIELD: So I'm wondering, what did you believe the president's goal to be if he was not going to respond to the litany of criticisms that were just outlined by Athena and previous guests who talked about his track record dating back to, you know, housing discrimination to, you know, leading the Birther movement, trying to discredit the first African-American president. What was the president's goal, in your view, and did he achieve it?

BROOKS: The president's trip to Mississippi, to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum had the effect of marginalizing and trivializing the civil rights victories of the past and the struggles in the present. So his visit to Mississippi, which provided a kind of whitewash and -- to his visit to Florida, endorsing Roy Moore. Is, frankly, disgraceful. It's a matter of political opportunism. Then it was a true acknowledgement, recognition and honoring of the sacrifices of people like Medgar Evers. WHITFIELD: There weren't enough hours to separate the president's

remarks in Pensacola, supporting a candidate who the president says is to help push his personal agenda, his political agenda, but at the same time, one cannot forget about the allegations of being a pedophile --

BROOKS: That's right.

WHITFIELD: -- the allegations of being a racist, by his own words that were recorded, trying to draw parallels between greatness and slavery.

BROOKS: That's right.

[13:05:10] WHITFIELD: And then the president would be at the civil rights museum and he would say -- you know, and reiterate the importance of, you know, trying to have representations there at the civil rights museum, that talk about the efforts of ending oppression, to break down Jim Crow, and to achieve the sacra birth right of equality. So why does the president not see and why would his office or anyone not see that the hours separating those giant opposing events makes it very difficult for a lot of people to digest?

BROOKS: Very difficult to digest. But this was not a matter of political miscalculation. We need to be very clear here. Listen to the president's remarks. All the verbs were in the past tense. In terms of civil rights struggles in the past. All the nouns were referred to the civil rights struggles of the past and did not speak to the current civil rights struggles in which this president stands against those who stand for civil rights. Note that when President Obama went to Selma a few years ago, he stood beside John Lewis, as opposed to President Trump being boycotted by John Lewis in Jackson today. So this is not a matter of political miscalculation. In fact, what the president is trying to do is to whitewash his civil rights record. His civil rights record is really not a matter of not doing -- I should say, doing too little. Or not going fast enough. But doing too much, going in the wrong direction. This is a president whose attorney general stands against the use of consent degrees to prevent police brutality and protect civilians from police misconduct. This is a president who supports a voter fraud commission which perpetuates the myth of voter fraud while turning a blind eye to voter suppression. This is a president, on a regular and re curing basis, uses language and rhetoric and political speech -- I should say political tweets to divide Americans. To refer to Mexicans as rapists. To refer to NFL players as sons of "B"s, to demonize and diminish the legacy of black women. And so the point being here is his visit to Mississippi does in no way obliterates, in no way whitewashes his record on civil rights which is precisely why people are so offended by his trip to the museum.

WHITFIELD: For those who do support the president, among them we had our guest on earlier, a Trump supporter, and he said that people need to be looking at what the president is doing now. And Paris Dennard was saying the tax plan is one in which African-Americans would be benefiting. Help said the lowering of the unemployment among African- Americans are a continuation of that, should be credited to the president of the United States, and that that should count.

BROOKS: Well, listen with all due respect to Mr. Dennard, rhetoric around tax reform is not a substitute for racial dignity. The fact of the matter is, the tax reform package supported by the president written on the back of a napkin as the Senators were voting, in fact, does a tremendous amount of harm to those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder, is not good for the economy, is roundly and widely panned as being a tool which will exacerbate income inequality. So with all due respect to the apologist to the president, you don't get to duck the ways in which you perpetuate racism by talking about tax reform. This is not acceptable.

WHITFIELD: So now what for the president? How would you challenge the president to -- to encourage his words of promise to be the president of all people to be met by actions that would be mindful of all people of this nation?

BROOKS: Well, I would encourage and call upon the president to stand in the full stature of the office. Which is to say when a president visits a museum, when a president uses a symbolic weight of the office, they use it to speak to policy, they use it to speak to current challenges. Not a nostalgic road trip but to speak before the current challenges. So the president can take a stand against voter suppression. The president can take a stand against police misconduct. The president can take a stand against the discrimination we see in the workplace daily or the discrimination that we see in our schools.

The point being here is the president needs to act in a presidential manner as opposed to engaging in this presidential hypocrisy of standing against civil rights while commending civil rights, which is a moral perversion. I would note, the president wants some sense of how he should be with respect to civil rights, take a note or two from President Obama. He did a more than decent job at that.

[13:10:31] WHITFIELD: Cornell William Brook, good to see you. Thank you so much.

BROOKS: Good to see you.

WHITFIELD: All right, it's down to the wire in the Alabama Senate race, as President Trump does stump for Roy Moore. Democratic star power is also pouring into that state in a show of support for the Democrat Doug Jones. So will that make a difference in these final hours? We're live in Alabama next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:14:56] WHITFIELD: All right, Alabama has just three days left in what has been a hotly contested special U.S. Senate race. Voters will decide whether to elect Roy Moore, a Republican, accused of being a child molester, or Democrat Doug Jones. Democrats Cory Booker and Deval Patrick -- Duval Patrick, formerly the Massachusetts governor -- campaigning in Alabama for Jones. And last night, President Trump put his star power on the line at a rally for Moore near Alabama.

I want to bring in CNN's Alex Marquardt, who is in Montgomery, Alabama.

So, Alex, what is the focus with just three days to convince voters?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fred. We're seeing two completely different tracks here. We've got one candidate, the Democrat, Doug Jones, who is going all out, trying to squeeze every last vote out of potential voters this weekend. And then Roy Moore, the Republican who is being relatively quiet. We know Doug Jones has a number of events today, at least four, and more tomorrow. Roy Moore on the other hand is staying relatively quiet. Of course, he could add events to his schedule.

But as you mentioned, the president came out and spoke in favor of Moore last night, reiterating his full-throated endorsement in nearby Pensacola. So clearly, he is letting the president's words do the talking for him for at least for now.

Let's take a listen to what he said last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We can't afford to have a liberal Democrat who is completely controlled by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. We can't do it. Can't do it.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: His name is Jones, and he's their total puppet, and everybody knows it. He will never, ever vote for us. So get out and vote for Roy Moore. Do it. Do it.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: So the president making clear there that his emphasis, his preference, is for someone who could act as a bulwark against Democrats, who can advance his agenda, rather than someone who has had all these accusations of sexual misconduct.

Now, Doug Jones, this was already -- this race, before these allegations came out against Moore, he could have won relatively comfortably. These allegations made this a very close race. Now, we don't have any real reliable polling, so it's really anyone's guess, but we do know it's very close. We know that Moore -- I'm sorry, that Doug Jones, the Democrat, is going to be working 24/7 until Tuesday to try to get people to come out for him to vote.

Now there are two very important groups that he really needs to turn out. Women. They are an easier target for him, especially in light of these allegations. But in particular African-Americans. African- Americans make up a majority of the Democratic electorate. So he is working very hard to turn them out. And we have seen -- we're seeing this in his events today. As you mentioned, he's got a number of Democratic all-stars coming down to campaign for him, Duval Patrick, John Lewis, Cory Booker. He has an event with Cory Booker in Selma, Alabama, today. He is coming here to Alabama State University, which is an historic black college. So he really is targeting the African- American electorate in these final hours before everyone heads to the polls on tuesday in the special election -- Fred?

WHITFIELD: Special elections are tough because, historically, voter turnout is very low, but we'll see what happens this time, because both of these candidates are hoping for a significant turnout.

All right, thank you so much, Alex Marquardt, in Montgomery.

I want to bring in my panel now, CNN political reporter, Rebecca Berg, and CNN contributor, Salena Zito.

Hello.

President Trump holding this rally for Roy Moore last night. Today, he was in Mississippi for the opening of the civil rights museum where he honored heroes like Medgar Evers.

So, Salena, do you think the president's words at the Mississippi museum will resonate with black voters in Alabama or did the president's message at the Roy Moore rally derail -- you're already shaking your head -- any attempt at reaching out to the black community?

SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: You don't even have to verbalize. I read your body language.

ZITO: Exactly, I'm Italian. This is what I do.

Honestly, I think they are two separate things. I think people in Alabama are going to view them separately. What he did in Mississippi I think was important. He was going to get -- he was going to get a, you know, criticism, whether he showed up or not. He took the high road. He went. He deserved some of the criticisms he's received from the African-American community on his choice of words and his choice of -- the way he approaches things, a lot of things.

But, you know, I think it was a good thing that he went. I think it was a good -- the speech was good. He didn't go overboard. He didn't go over the top. He said the appropriate words and he left. People are going to criticize him for being there, for not being there. I think it was the right move. I don't -- you know, I don't look at it as a political move.

Alabama -- well, Pensacola, last night, 20 miles across the border, he's not -- he was not going to win over any of the African-American Alabama vote that he was already going to get. There's going -- there has been a certain small percentage of African-Americans who have supported him, you know, for a number of reasons, mostly economic, from the ones that I have interviewed. But, you know, there's no -- I don't see the two of those speeches as -- as being one benefiting the other. They're completely separate.

[13:20:48] WHITFIELD: OK, so the president, just in the last hour, was in Mississippi, and he had his remarks, you know, paying homage to the many heroes, Rebecca. But still perhaps upstaging what took place at the civil rights museum where his words, you know, in Pasadena, while he mentioned Roy Moore, even though it was in Pensacola, not in Alabama, but I guess the hope was that the Alabama audience was listening. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We can't afford to have a liberal Democrat who is completely controlled by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. We can't do it. Can't do it.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: His name is Jones and he's their total puppet. And everybody knows it. He will never, ever vote for us.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Rebecca, it's an interesting way to convince voters that perhaps they need to look beyond any accusations of Roy Moore because, you know, Doug Jones, just by virtue of the name, is a far worse candidate.

REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Absolutely, but the president's endorsement is a big deal in this race, Fred, make no mistakes about it. Democrats saw in their internal data and their internal numbers a boost for Roy Moore after the president initially endorsed him and this sort of rally, this big sort of campaign event is a good way to get out the vote in a special election. You mentioned in the report from Alabama that it is very difficult to turn out voters in any sort of special election, much less one that has been so controversial. There are so many negative feelings attached to this race for Alabama voters for obvious reasons. So encouraging voters, making them feel good about coming out to the polls for Roy Moore, that's exactly what the president's trying to do. He has made somewhat of a difference according to the data.

WHITFIELD: So Alabama, very red state. It wouldn't be to anybody's surprise, you know, a Republican would win this seat, even in light of all of the accusations. So then, if Roy Moore does win, can the president, you know, celebrate calling this a real referendum, you know, on him and that, you know, his support is still strong --

(CROSSTALK)

ZITO: Right, Alabama's sort of a difficult state to use as a gauge for a strong support for Trump. If you remember, that was where he held his first rally in 2015 or early 2016, right. This was a state that was always going to be supportive of him. On Moore, it's really complicated because he didn't support Moore in

the primary. That wasn't his guy. Luther Strange was. And voters in Alabama voted against Luther Strange and for Roy Moore. So it's a little more nuanced than this. In Alabama, whatever happens, it's not reflective of the moment, because there's so many different things that are outside the norm.

WHITFIELD: But, Rebecca, you know, the president said even when Luther Strange didn't get it, he said I will support Roy Moore. But then all the allegations rose to the top. Then there was kind of radio silence before now. The president said flat-out in Pensacola, "Go, Roy Moore." What's changed?

BERG: There was a sense among Republicans that as distant as the hope was, there was some hope they would be able to get Roy Moore drop out of the race and have some other Republican candidate step in. That's why initially you heard all these Republicans from mitch McConnell to the RNSC cutting off Roy Moore and saying he would be expelled if he were seated, calling for him to step aside, that sort of rhetoric. But now obviously he's not stepping out of the race. He's the Republican candidate --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Can the president take credit for really kind of putting the rest of the party in check by saying, let the voters decide? Was that the president's doing?

[13:24:58] BERG: Yes, absolutely. You know, it's interesting, because he ended up putting the Republican National Committee in such an awkward position, because they follow the lead of the National Republican Senatorial Committee calling for, you know, distancing themselves from Roy Moore. The president comes back from his trip to Asia and decides he is going to endorse Roy Moore after the rest the Republican Party had gone in a different direction. Absolutely, a significant split. And it will be very interesting to see what happens if Roy Moore wins and comes to Washington.

WHITFIELD: Three days and counting.

Rebecca Berg, Salena Zito, good to see you. Thank you.

BERG: Thanks.

ZITO: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: CNN will have complete election-night coverage of the Alabama special election, this U.S. Senate race, starting Tuesday, 5:00 p.m. eastern time.

And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:30:12] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. Well, winter isn't even officially here, but one look outside says otherwise in many parts of the nation. In fact, there was even record-breaking snow yesterday in some parts. Take a look at Houston, Texas, receiving its first snowfall in eight years. Other places seeing upwards of 10 inches. Some cities got more snow Friday than Minneapolis or even Buffalo have received all season long. Atlanta, it's especially hard hit. There was at least one fatality reported when a power line fell on to a man and electrocuted him. You see right there, there is snow accumulation in Atlanta and beyond. The same system has now moved north. Take a look at these scenes from New York City. This is the city's first snowfall of the season. Boston, too, could get up to 8 inches today. More than 60 million people are already under a winter weather alert.

Meantime, firefighters on the front lines in southern California are worried what today's forecast just might bring for them. There are still six raging wildfires that are being battled. Many have been burning for nearly a week now. The air is still very dry. Temperatures will top 80 degrees later on this afternoon and the winds fueling the fires are expected to pick up. Together, all six fires have scorched more than 170,000 acres.

CNN senior national correspondent, Kyung Lah, is watching the Thomas Fire in Ventura.

Kyung, what's happening there?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the worst of the six fires you were just talking about, Fredricka. Just taking a walk around this particular corner of it will explain why. This is what's left of one home. You can see it's just a shell. There are some metal items you can still see sticking up, but this is one home. If you took to your left, as my cameraman pans over, there is house after house after house that have been destroyed in this neighborhood. All you can see essentially are some of the railings and the chimneys that are stuck here. There are burned out cars. People who have lost everything that they own. This is very much -- even though we're in the part that has burned through, this is very much an active fire. 148,000 acres. That is about 10 times the size of Manhattan. It is -- thousands of firefighters who are working in southern California trying to put out these brushfires. And you can see how my hair is kind of flying around here. The winds have been picking up throughout the day. But this isn't the worst of it, Fredricka. The winds are expected to be much worse tomorrow.

Once you get a spark, if there's any hot spot left, those embers can fly, catch another roof on fire and you're talking about more damage and potentially more lives at stake -- Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Oh, that's horrible. So right where you are, in that area you just showed us, this giant swath of homes just gobbled up by that fire. How about residents, are they able to come back to that area yet to see if there's anything they can salvage, at least look at the remains, or is it still kind of off limits?

LAH: It's horrifying in some ways because we are starting to see some of the first residents come back and begin to try to gather what they have. There's actually our producer speaking to we believe a resident who is just kind of wandering around. You can see them starting to come back, trying to figure out what they can pick up. We spoke with a man who is trying to pick up any artifacts that his parents had. And they understand that everything's gone. That their clothes are gone. That their cars are gone. What they're looking for is some sort of memory, some item, maybe a piece of porcelain or a plate from their wedding that they can have just to save some memory, some part of their lives --Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Wow, terribly sad.

All right, Kyung Lah, thank you so much, from Ventura.

Forecasters are closely watching the weather in California, as well as on east coast, because you've got these amazing contrasts. You've got snow and you've got dry conditions and terrible fires.

CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar tells us what we can expect on both coastlines.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Fred, the biggest concern right now is not just that we have all of these large fires but it's also all the small fires that could turn into big fires once those winds do begin to increase. We expect that transition to take place tonight and carrying into the day on Sunday.

So here's a look at our major fire that we're dealing with around the Los Angeles area. But these winds also expected to be around the same area. Once we get to, say, 10:00 tonight, we're looking at winds already about 40 to 60 miles per hour. In the overnight time frame, it's 70 miles per hour. That takes some of the fires we already have and cause them to expand even larger. Not to mention, it can take even the smallest of embers and carry them into other places where we don't have existing fires that the time. Those are going to be the big concerns for firefighters and for a lot of the folks that live there at least in the short term. We're talking about smoke. Take a look at this. Extending 1,000 miles out from where those fires original. That's the equivalent of the fires going from New York all the way down to Miami so that's also a big concern.

On the eastern half of the country, the big concern right now is rain and snow. Rain is really mainly along the coastal region and then snow off to the north and west. The big cities we're talking about today, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York, as well as Boston. Now, widespread totals, we're talking about 2 to 4 inches, but there will be some spots that could pick up 6, even 8 inches of snow before this system finally makes its way back out.

However, the winners in terms if you can really call it that may actually come from southern cities. Jackson Mississippi picked up 5 inches. That's more than Minneapolis and Buffalo combined for the winter season as well as -- take a look at this -- Wood Valley, Georgia, picking up 10 inches. That's more than Anchorage, Alaska, and even Denver, Colorado, have picked up so far this winter.

[13:36:24] WHITFIELD: Wow, that's incredible. Early winter for so many of us. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

All right, still ahead, a wedding cake is at the center of a U.S. Supreme Court case. Some say it is a case of free speech. Others call it discrimination. Where are the justices likely to fall on this argument? My legal panel weighs in next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:41:16] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. It's being called one of the most significant U.S. Supreme Court cases of the term. At the center, a Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, citing his religious beliefs. Oral arguments presented earlier this week are giving some hints as to how certain justices are potentially viewing the case and what issues they're wrestling with.

Here's CNN Supreme Court reporter, Ariane de Vogue.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Fred, this is a clash between religious claims and LGBT rights. Jack Phillips owns Masterpiece Cake Shop and he refused to make a cake for a wedding reception for a same-sex couple. He argues it goes against his religious beliefs. He comes to the court with free speech arguments. He says his cakes are his artistic expression and cannot be compelled to convey a message that goes against his religious beliefs. The Trump administration sides with Phillips. But lower courts ruled in favor of the couple and cited anti-discrimination laws. The couple says this has nothing to do with cakes or free speech, it's discrimination plain and simple.

And in oral arguments, all eyes were on Justice Kennedy and he seemed torn. He was worried about an affront to the gay community, but he also wondered whether the state had been hostile to religious. Kennedy's vote, Fred, in this case could be key.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Ariane de Vogue, thank you so much.

All right, joining me to dig a little deeper on this case now, Avery Friedman, a civil rights attorney and law professor in Cleveland.

Good to see you.

AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Hi, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Hello.

And Richard Herman, a criminal defense attorney, joining us from Las Vegas,

Good to see you as well.

RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Hey, Fred. WHITFIELD: All right, so gentlemen, Avery, you first.

So what do these questions and the oral argument tell you about how these justices just might be thinking here.

FRIEDMAN: Well, in order to understand the answer to the question, you got to look at the constitutional history. You see back in the '60s, Congress passed a law similar to the Colorado law. And the owner of a place called Piggy Park Barbecue said he didn't want to let blacks in because it, quote, "contravened the will of God," end quote. Well, that's the same argument that Jack Phillips is making here. So if we look at precedent, if we look at precedent, the Supreme Court is likely to affirm the rights of those individuals to be free from discrimination. And the argument of religious freedom is going to go nowhere, just like it went back in the 1960s.

WHITFIELD: All right, so cut-and-dry discrimination case it sounds like.

FRIEDMAN: As far as I'm concerned, yes.

WHITFIELD: Is what you're saying.

So, Richard, it doesn't seem as though it's that cut and dry though because it's made its way all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

HERMAN: Right, Fred, it's not cut and dry. And for cases that usually have an hour of argument in front of the Supreme Court, this took 90 minutes. It's not cut and dry.

Of course, the justices are divided along conservative and liberal lines. And Justice Kennedy, being the swing vote, the drafter of the 2015 decision recognizing states -- compelling states to recognize gay marriage, but here he struggled. He struggled with the way the Colorado state commission treated Phillips and the way he believes they trampled on his religious beliefs.

You know, you look at this case first blush and you say, come on, baker, just bake them the cake and move on, you know. And what the baker says is this, I have a lot of cakes in my bakery. I'll sell them any cake they want. Just don't compel me to use my artistic abilities to create a beautiful cake for these people who are -- I don't care that they're gay, but it's what they're doing, they're getting married. And to me --

(CROSSTALK)

[13:45:00] WHITFIELD: How did that become -- I guess the burning question is, how does that become a religious freedom argument? Because that they want the cake does not necessarily say that you, you know, have to be in step, you know, with everything that we stand for, that we live for. So how is this a religious freedom application?

HERMAN: Well, what he's saying, Fred, is that my religious belief is that a marriage is between a man and a woman, not two people of the same-sex. Bo by you compelling me to use my artistic abilities to create something to support that, I'm not going to do it.

And I disagree with Avery. I do not think the Supreme Court is just going to turn around and stamp the lower courts. I think what they're going to do is send the case back down, rebuke the Colorado state commission, and ask the state court to fashion some sort of remedy here. I don't think the Supreme Court's going to answer this.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Avery, help us understand. So it's the baker who is now saying it's my freedom of speech, the way I make my cakes is an extension of my freedom of speech and so, thereby --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: -- if I don't agree with the same-sex couple, I'm able to refrain from extending my piece of work, my freedom of speech, to this couple because I don't agree with who they are.

FRIEDMAN: Well, and that's why the argument goes up in smoke, because the way it works is just Phillips makes cakes. And he goes, here, I'll sell everybody cake, I have a commercial license, and you've got to do that. But then he says, hey, wait a minute, what are you going to do with that cake? Well, I mean, again, if we look to precedent, the Piggy Park case where the guy says, well, it's my religious belief that I can discriminate --

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: That was race. That was race.

AVERY: -- that's the same argument that Jack Phillips is making. I think -- and I disagree with what's been said. I think at least 6-3, 5-4, supporting Colorado in its anti-discrimination law.

WHITFIELD: So, Richard, the argument has to be made, particularly for Phillips, that this is different than if I were selling a car, if you come into my store and want to buy any product, which is would not be supported by law no matter what, right? That I don't want to sell you this product because I don't agree about anything, you know, that you represent, who you are, et cetera. That's flat-out discrimination. And there's already precedent for that.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Why is this different?

HERMAN: Yes, you're right, Fred, that would be outright discrimination. But here, what you're doing is you're compelling this baker to use his expertise to create something, to - him, personally, to create something, not just sell a cake. He said, I'll sell any cake they want to buy in my store. Here, take any cake you want. Don't make me create a cake for something that I oppose in my religion.

(CROSSTALK) WHITFIELD: What does that mean?

HERMAN: I think it's ridiculous. I think he should have made the cake. But we're looking at it legally and we're analyzing it legally and that's his position. Don't compel me to do something that violates my religious belief --

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDMAN: That isn't what the law does.

HERMAN: He's open to the public. And Avery's right, that's not what the law says, Fred. He's open to the public. I don't think he has the right to do this. Ultimately, I think either shut your bakery down or make the cake. I think that's how it's going to end up. But it's going to go back -- I don't think the Supreme Court's going to answer this one.

WHITFIELD: You don't think the Supreme Court's going to answer this one, OK.

FRIEDMAN: I think they can.

WHITFIELD: All right, we'll leave it right there, gentlemen.

Richard and Avery, thank you, good to see you.

(CROSSTALK).

WHITFIELD: All right, still ahead, it's one of the biggest rivalries in football, Army/Navy. It's kicking off later today in Philadelphia. Guess who's there? Our Coy Wire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, I'm the luckiest man on the planet I'm out here for the --.

(CHEERING)

WIRE: -- Army/Navy game, America's game. Oh, my goodness, gracious. We have a lot of fans ready for this one. We're going to hear from them, coming up after the break.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:53:29] WHITFIELD: All right. Excitement is building in Philadelphia where the Army/Navy football teams facing off. Kickoff is just an hour away.

Guess who is there? Our Coy Wire, in the thick of it all, bundled up, a little snow falling. There with the fans, fun and football.

COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has turned into an absolute winter wonderland here for the 118th edition of the classic and iconic Army/Navy rivalry.

(CHEERING)

WIRE: Since 1890, it's been pageantry and tradition and passion at its finest. It's one of America's greatest sporting spectacles.

(CHANTING)

WIRE: Still wanting to get that big win.

Ever since the early morning, our friends here, Bill and Suzie, have been out here tailgating. They're known as mom and dad on the tailgate here.

(CHEERING)

WIRE: Talk about where you're from and how long you've been tailgating.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're local here from Philadelphia since our daughter went to the academy, four or five years before that. She graduated in 2014. So, yes. We come down every year. Great time.

WIRE: Daughter serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. Thank her, and thank you.

Suzie, for those of us who have never seen this game, tell us what makes it so special.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's incredible. The rivalry is so incredible. They come up every year and it's absolutely amazing. You just cannot miss it. You've got to be here.

[13:55:04] WIRE: Unbelievable.

Energy, atmosphere, good food. They're serving up food here.

(CHEERING)

WIRE: Barbeque.

(CHEERING)

WIRE: It's almost kickoff time, 3:00 p.m. eastern, Fred.

(CHEERING)

WIRE: It's going to be an incredible matchup. Watching those who defend our nation go out and play.

(CHEERING) WHITFIELD: OK. You have flurries, food, fun, and football.

All right, Coy Wire.

Army/Navy, go, go team.

Thanks so much from Philly.

We've got so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)