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SCOTUS Rules in Immigration Case; SCOTUS Limits EPA's Authority to Regulate Power Plants; SCOTUS to Hear Redistricting Case with Major Implications for Voting Rights; January 6 Insurrection Hearings. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired June 30, 2022 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Kate Bolduan. We begin with the big news out of the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court just handing down their final two decisions of this historic term.
First, a major environmental case; the court deciding 6-3 in favor of sharply curbing the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
And then on immigration, the court sided with the Biden administration to allow the president to end the Trump-era remain in Mexico policy, as it was known, which requires some asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while awaiting for their case to be heard by immigration courts.
More history will also be made in the high court in minutes. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be sworn in as the first Black female justice on the Supreme Court. She will take the oath just after Justice Stephen Breyer officially retires.
Let's start with CNN's Jessica Schneider. She is live at the Supreme Court for us this hour.
Quite a way to round out the term.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Two big decisions from the Supreme Court. First in that 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court really restricting the EPA's power to regulate carbon emissions from power plants.
And at the same time the Supreme Court here is sending a signal that, for big issues, big decisions from the EPA and even other agencies, those big issues and decisions could eventually be struck down by this court if they weren't explicitly written out by Congress as agencies having the power to do.
So this is what the chief justice John Roberts wrote in his opinion, saying it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme as in this law.
A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body. So the court really continuing to cut back on the EPA.
This was something that was met with a punch from the three liberal justices in their dissent.
Justice Elena Kagan saying, "Today the court strips the Environmental Protection Agency of the power Congress gave it to respond to the most pressing environmental challenge of our time."
She further said that this decision was, quote, "frightening because of the way it restricts the EPA and especially the effect it will have on climate change."
But this reining in of agency power has long been a goal of these conservative justices of the Supreme Court, today taking a huge step forward to restrict agency power. It's something we'll see a lot of litigation on in all agencies in the future.
The other opinion, it actually gives the green light to the Biden administration to roll back and end the Trump policy remain in Mexico. This was a policy that was put in place in 2019.
It said that migrants who made their way from Central America and got to the United States, they could be turned back and held in Mexico while their immigration proceedings played out.
The Biden administration almost immediately tried to end this policy but the lower courts said they didn't do it in the right way; furthermore, that they didn't have the authority to do this.
The Supreme Court saying, yes, the Biden administration does have the authority to end this plan. But now it needs to go back to the lower courts to see if the Biden administration actually did it the right way. So a little bit of a victory for the Biden administration today.
But in all, a huge loss for the Biden administration when it comes to combating climate change. And it really puts in peril the future of agency power from the Supreme Court. Kate, this all coming on the day that the Supreme Court issuing its final opinions.
Justice Stephen Breyer will be retiring effective noon today. And the newest justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson, will be sworn in. She comes into a court that has had high tensions, fraught with discord in their opinions and frontward facing.
Overturning Roe, a lot of big decisions on affirmative action, election law and a lot of big issues that she will face with this drastically changed court, solidly conservative 6-3.
BOLDUAN: Jessica, thank you so much.
Let's drill down more on the EPA decision. It will have a major impact on that agency's power to cut emissions and fight climate change. CNN's Rene Marsh has more. She's been tracking this for quite some time. [11:05:00]
BOLDUAN: What does this decision mean?
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: The Supreme Court ruling in favor of coal power plants, it was really a proverbial grenade. It blows up the Biden climate agenda and makes reaching his climate goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by the end of the decade extremely difficult at least and impossible at most.
As we've been saying, power plants are the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases and there's no debate that greenhouse gases are warming the planet and causing climate change.
And today the Supreme Court took away one of the EPA's most effective tools for drastically curbing emissions.
And the court says this authority belongs to Congress. But the reality is handing this authority to a broken Congress, where Biden's aggressive climate legislation has remained stalled, is really the equivalent of saying we're deregulating the power sector.
We've seen in real time that there is no political consensus to act on aggressive climate action. This is all happening in the context of large swaths of the country experiencing intense and extreme heat, a 22-year mega drought/wildfire season happening way earlier than usual.
So this ruling isn't just a blow to the Biden administration but it has the impact to affect people's lives for generations to come. We're still waiting to hear back from the EPA to hear their reaction to today's ruling, Kate.
BOLDUAN: All right. Rene, thank you very much for that.
The court's decision clears the Biden administration to end one Trump- era immigration policy, a policy in the spotlight right now after the tragic smuggling incident that killed 53 migrants in Texas. Priscilla Alvarez is live in Texas with more for us on all of this.
What is the impact of this decision?
PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, it's not immediately clear how quickly this decision will go into effect because, as you heard from Jessica, there are additional proceedings that have to happen.
But it is nonetheless a victory for the Biden administration which had criticized this policy and said it came at a steep human cost. This had been an unprecedented policy put in place in 2019 because it required migrants seeking asylum to wait in Mexico until their immigration court date in the U.S.
That was different from what had happened for years, which is that migrants could wait for those hearings in the United States, being released in the United States or while they were detained. Since 2019, more than 68,000 migrants had been subject to this policy.
Just over the last hour, Kate, I have been getting so many messages from immigration attorneys and advocates, who are celebrating this.
For years they had said that this policy had put migrants in dangerous and squalid conditions in Mexico, many of these migrants already fleeing dangerous conditions at home. And this decision, they say, will allow them the opportunity in the United States. Kate?
BOLDUAN: Priscilla, thank you very much. A lot to get to. Chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is here and Supreme Court biographer Joan Biskupic as well.
Jeffrey, let's start with the EPA decision.
How much do you see this, when you look at how the majority opinion was written, how much is this going to tie the hands of the agency going forward?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: A lot, a lot. You know, this has been a tremendous goal of the conservative legal movement for decades, which is restricting the power of federal agencies.
The gist here is, you know, the Congress passes laws that are necessarily general about the environment or about financial regulation. And then they allocate to the administrative agencies the power to write regulations and interpret those laws based on the expertise that they have.
What conservatives have been saying is, no, no, no; we want to limit the agencies to the precise words that Congress has passed. And anything outside the precise words that Congress passed is illegitimate exercise of power by these unelected bureaucrats.
That's what the court decided today, which was, we are not going to allow the EPA to regulate outside the precise words of the statute. What that means is we are not going to allow the EPA to regulate. And what the court says is this is up to Congress to write --
BOLDUAN: I don't know if Congress is prepared for that kind of responsibility. Let's be honest.
TOOBIN: Of course. Well, A, Congress doesn't have the expertise --
BOLDUAN: I'm not questioning the great experts and smart people on Capitol Hill at all. But these bills are already thousands of pages long.
TOOBIN: Exactly. And they don't have the expertise, knowledge, time, inclination to write this way.
TOOBIN: And the current Congress doesn't have the political will to do any of this. So what the decision means in real terms is that little to nothing is going to be done about climate change.
And that's what Justice Kagan's dissent is really about, is that this is punishing the planet because of the legal theories of the conservatives on the court.
BOLDUAN: Adding to this, Joan, is a little bit -- I'm going to call it a head-scratcher and you tell me if I'm wrong.
Is it surprising the court even took up this EPA case, since neither of the actual regulations in question in this case are currently in effect?
JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Kate, your premise that they shouldn't have taken it up. That's right. It's not so surprising given how aggressive they've been on this topic.
Back in 2016, one of the last acts that the late justice Antonin Scalia took was to vote against the Clean Power Plan, just as an emergency injunction. Justice Elena Kagan said this court has obstructed this original Obama plan and now is making it harder for President Biden to do anything.
So it was surprising in that there's no policy actually in place by either President Obama or even former president Trump, who wanted to roll it back with his own plan. So that part was surprising.
But it was aggressive and it fits with this pattern. That's why Justice Kagan said -- she uses the word "frightening." This is such a frightening decision given the scope. Clearly this step-by-step move toward really tying any administration's hands on regulation, particularly here for environmental protection, that's so important at this point.
BOLDUAN: Is it clear yet how far this goes, how far the implications are to reach beyond the EPA?
BISKUPIC: Oh, I think it goes very, very far. This is -- this has been a plan not just of -- obviously the Reagan years and both Bush presidents but Donald Trump had a White House counsel, who we all remember well.
Don McGahn had a personal interest in stopping regulation. He really hated campaign finance regulation. He railed against the administrative state, what many call it. And justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh picked it up. That's been a philosophy of the chief and Clarence Thomas and Alito.
But what people on the other side would say is, the government has its fingers in American life to protect Americans, to protect the environment, to protect labor, to protect public health and safety. To your core question about how sweeping this will be, very broad through all areas of regulation, Kate.
TOOBIN: Just for example, two federal appeals court judges in the 5th Circuit, which is in the South, recently said that the entire way the Securities and Exchange Commission enforces the securities laws by suing malefactors is unconstitutional under a similar theory.
I mean, having nothing to do with the environment but the same idea that Congress has to specifically authorize anything these administrative agencies do. So the goal is so they do nothing and they don't sue corrupt --
BOLDUAN: This gets to thing -- this came out today. You raise this, Jeffrey and people need to pay attention. The justices are going to hear a case in the next term that could be hugely consequential to voting rights in North Carolina.
TOOBIN: This is the independent state legislature doctrine. This came up all the time in the controversies over the resolution of the 2020 election.
And the question is, when a state decides its rules for an election, how they allow people to register, how they count the votes, the customary situation has been -- and the way the 2020 election was resolved -- was that the legislature in the various states passed laws.
And then the courts in that state interpreted those laws and said what was permissible and what was not. What this case asserts is that only the legislature can decide how elections are conducted. And the courts are not allowed to intervene at all.
TOOBIN: What that means is that these legislatures, especially in states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and Arizona, which are very conservative and very much gerrymandered, can do whatever they want. They can't be reviewed by the state courts.
It's a license to these very conservative state legislatures to decide and resolve elections any way they want, including the drawing of district lines.
BOLDUAN: The landscape is already gerrymandered and unfair. This feels like it's heading toward the Wild West but let's wait and see how --
TOOBIN: That's for next term.
BOLDUAN: That is for next term.
Really quick, Joan, we need to note a big moment in history today that I would like to get your thoughts on. Justice Breyer retiring and in an hour it will be Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson coming in.
BISKUPIC: That's right. After 28 years in the black robe, he's retiring at 83. Judge Jackson is 51 and the first Black woman to be seated in the Supreme Court in its 233-year history. So that is very big.
You know, Justice Breyer is the end of the President Clinton appointees. He comes from a different era, much less polarized. He stayed this year, thinking he could have an impact on all these cases we've been talking about over the last 10 days, including abortion rights and the Second Amendment.
And he found himself continually in dissent. So it's been a tough end of the term. But it'll be a major deal today in the West Conference Room at the Supreme Court, where Justice Breyer, who once was the boss of Judge Jackson, because she was a law clerk to him, he will read her the judicial oath, in which she will vow to administrate justice.
If she serves as long as he did, we'll see her for another generation and more so.
BOLDUAN: Thank you very much. I really appreciate it, guys.
Coming up, the January 6th committee has subpoenaed now former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone. We have new CNN reporting on how he might actually agree to speak to them. That's next.
BOLDUAN: CNN has now learned that former White House counsel Pat Cipollone will probably agree to written testimony with the January 6th committee after being subpoenaed last night. The vice chair of that committee, Liz Cheney, says in a new interview she believes he has an obligation to speak to investigators.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I think that this is an instance where the presidency, the American people, where we've been through something we've never been through before and where there's a very real and significant chance that there was behavior underway, about which Mr. Cipollone expressed significant concerns.
And I think he has an obligation to testify.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: CNN's Katelyn Polantz is live in Washington with more on this.
What more are you learning here?
KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: We're seeing this firewall around Donald Trump, appearing to be coming down at the attempts of Cassidy Hutchinson to shed light on what was happening inside the White House on January 6th.
So Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, there's basically no one that you can put closer to the president at such a crucial moment. They have long wanted to talk to him. There was the possibility for an interview for a while.
Now they're bringing this subpoena to him, demanding that he come in to speak. And that is because of what Cassidy Hutchinson brought to light. There were two crucial conversations that we know that she witnessed, according to her under oath testimony.
One was Pat Cipollone saying to her boss that blood will be on your hands. And then the other thing that Cipollone said to Cassidy Hutchinson, she testified, was that Trump, if he were to go to the Capitol, we would be charged with every crime imaginable.
That is huge and astonishing. It's also quite astonishing that we've learned that he seems to be responsive to this and willing to potentially sit for an interview with some limitations, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Good to see you, Katelyn.
Joining me to discuss is CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams.
Elliot, what do you think of the position that Cipollone is in now, facing the subpoena, probably likely will sit down with some limitations to speak to the committee?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I think the most important point in that sentence you just said, Kate, is "with some limitations."
Folks should know appearances before Congress are often negotiated, every element of them.
Number one, is it in public?
Under oath, are there cameras?
Is it sworn or written or anything else?
I would think and, frankly, hope that they would come to some agreement with him, in which all parties could agree to get information as valuable to the committee and to the public.
BOLDUAN: But if there are limitations, if there's executive privilege, do you see that there will still be value in the topics that he could speak to after that?
WILLIAMS: I would say absolutely because executive privilege is not going to extend to every single thing he saw.
WILLIAMS: Big picture we want as a country for senior officials in the White House to be able to have open conversation and dialogue with each other and the president have those protected. But that's not a blanket to shielding wrongdoing. Or conversations outside their work.
For instance, a statement like, hey, we might all be charged with crimes if we go here, you could make an argument that's not protected by privilege because he's advising a colleague about her personal interests, right?
So these are the kinds of things that the committee and the lawyers would work out, narrowing the scope of the things that he would provide. But merely having worked in the White House and, frankly, merely having been the White House's lawyer does not act as a blanket for coming in and testifying before Congress.
BOLDUAN: "The New York Times" is reporting that DOJ investigators are both astonished and blindsided by Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony, kind of laying bare how the committee's investigation and DOJ's investigations, they are parallel and overlapping.
This kind of negotiation is exactly what you handled.
So what is going on here?
WILLIAMS: Look, the Justice Department and Congress have been fighting over witnesses and testimony since 1789, to be perfectly blunt. And there's nothing new about this kind of back and forth.
Look, they're very, very different bodies. Congress' work happens in public. The Justice Department's work happens in private. Now we're seeing it all spilling out into the open.
A big thing to know about Cassidy Hutchinson that I think we're forgetting is she just got a new lawyer a couple weeks ago and, frankly, her new lawyer, number one, wasn't in Trump world. She was represented by somebody who was a Trump insider.
Number two, her new lawyer was the former chief of staff to the Justice Department. So, of course, it's more likely that she's now going to start appearing publicly. So I don't think any of us know for certain what is or was going on within the Justice Department other than the fact that we just saw this individual's testimony.
And so it kind of cuts both ways. It's just hard to know what really happened here.
BOLDUAN: Real quick, Liz Cheney ended Tuesday's hearing talking about the evidence that they have of potential witness tampering. She was asked if it could have impacted witness testimony. She didn't go there.
But she did say what they have learned, it is an issue they're taking seriously. I would imagine the Department of Justice would be very interested in and would take that very seriously as well.
Do you agree?
WILLIAMS: I agree emphatically. It's easier to prove than some crimes, seditious conspiracy and conspiracies against the government, because, for some of these witness tampering statutes, you don't need to prove that violence or a physical threat happened, just that the person seeking influence sought to delay or prevent or get in the way of somebody's testimony.
For instance, dangling a pardon in front of someone or saying, why don't you think about your testimony?
Those are all forms of witness intimidation and coercion. And I think the Justice Department could easily get there on some of the things just that have been publicly reported.
BOLDUAN: Good to see you, Elliot. Thank you so much.
Coming up, the Supreme Court's historic term ends with a big blow to the EPA's power to tackle the climate crisis. A former head of the EPA joins us next to react.