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Crucial Day in U.S. Politics; SCOTUS Releasing Opinions on Purdue Settlement, Air Quality Programs, Abortion. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired June 27, 2024 - 10:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): And it is a massive day of political and legal developments in the United States.

Welcome to our second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, live from Abu Dhabi. Time here is 6:00 in the evening. Time stateside on

the East Coast is 10:00 am and the historic presidential debate just hours away. Now.

We'll, have all the details on what to expect and how Donald Trump and Joe Biden are preparing.

First up though and happening this hour, the Supreme Court set to release a number of opinions. We are still waiting on a presidential immunity ruling.

And we may have a sneak peek of an important ruling on abortion before the court meant for us to see it.

ANDERSON: Well, I want to bring in my colleague, Erica Hill. She is in New York and she is ready to help us cover the news out of the Supreme Court

today -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR AND U.S. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Yes, Becky, thank you.

And as you noted, that posting yesterday had a lot of people saying, well, wait a minute.

Could this give us a clue as to what we could hear from the high court?

So any minute now they will post that first opinion of the day. We do know opinions will be coming both today and tomorrow. And there, are as you

noted, a number of blockbuster cases still pending.

One of those has to do with Idaho's incredibly strict law on abortion. A document about that case was mistakenly posted on the court's website for a

short period yesterday.

In the document, this was first reported by Bloomberg News, suggests that the justices are poised to temporarily allow abortions in medical

emergencies, not just if the life of the mother or the expectant mother is in danger but if her health is in danger.

That had been a state picking -- big sticking point, rather. So, Becky, we're watching for that and some of the other cases and we should get those

-- decisions should start dropping soon.

ANDERSON: All right. I'm going to get back to you as we get them.

Temporarily, perhaps a keyword here to help walk us through all of this, our defense attorney, Misty Marris, and "The New York Times" journalist and

CNN contributor Lulu Garcia Navarro.

Misty, what more does this leaked document tell us about this Idaho case at this point?

MISTY MARRIS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What we see in the leaked document is that the court is going to say that the review by the Supreme Court was what's

called improvidently granted, meaning the Supreme Court took the issue on too soon.

And so what's going to happen is in Idaho, where there's a very, very strict abortion law that says abortions can only be done in emergency

situations, if the mother's life is at risk.

So that put doctors in a real conundrum. It was a huge problem because what if something was a serious health concern and an abortion would have

resolved that?

Well, that could put them in a position where they would face criminal liability. So this is all part of the Biden administration's argument. But

the argument was bigger than just this law. It was about a federal emergency care law which, if the Supreme Court adopted, would have said

that these laws across the country have to be extinguished.

That medical care needs to be given, not just when a mother's life is at risk but when there is risk of a serious medical condition. This draft

opinion, what was posted yesterday, seems to fall short of actually addressing that key issue.

So it seems that, as you said the last hour, it's more of a kick the can, that more cases will come to the Supreme Court with different factual

scenarios. And at some point these issues will have to be addressed, because medical providers don't know what the line is in states where these

laws are so limited with abortion rights.

ANDERSON: Lulu, let me bring you in here to just follow on from what Misty has just been discussing there. Justice Alito, writing, as we understand it

on this -- on this opinion, writing, quote, "That question is as ripe for decision as it ever will be.


"Apparently, the court has simply lost the will to decide the easy but emotional and highly politicized question that this case presents. That is


We are seeing polling that the majority of Americans believe that this is a Supreme Court which is highly politicized at this point.

What are your thoughts?

LULU GARCIA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think the American people are correct. At this particular juncture, what we're seeing in this particular

Supreme Court is that there are a lot of questions about the Supreme Court's independence.

We've seen Justice Alito being embroiled in scandal after scandal, most recently with questionable flags being raised by his wife, apparently. And

we've also seen Justice Thomas also embroiled in ethics scandals.

Questions about how a very a wealthy Republican donor was giving him rides to vacations, et cetera. And so all that does here is erode trust in what

is the most important legal body in the land. This is where the buck stops.

This is the court that decides fundamental freedoms for this country. And so when you have these kinds of questions swirling, what it really does is

just erode trust in the very system that we have here of checks and balances.

ANDERSON: I'm hearing -- thank you. Misty -- I'm hearing that we have got an opinion on Purdue Pharma. This is Harrington versus Purdue Pharma. Many

of our viewers will be familiar with Purdue, obviously associated with the opioid crisis.

What have we got?

I know this is difficult but could you just -- reading as I go to you live --


ANDERSON: -- what are we seeing here?

MARRIS: -- so I'm opening up the decision right now. Keep in mind this case is about a an agreement whereby there was a bankruptcy. And it's about

whether or not this bankruptcy setup is constitutional under the law.

So I am pulling the decision right now to see where it came out. This relates to opioid victims who overdosed with OxyContin drug produced by

their company. And so obviously the opioid crisis --



ANDERSON: So I'm hearing that the Supreme Court has rejected this one. While I let you read it, let's just bring in, let's just bring in Erica,

who's got our justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider, who will also be reading in as we speak.

We're doing this live. This is live television. Bear with us, folks.

Erica, what have you got?

HILL: You have to appreciate live television, too, that comes with dense legal documents, especially for the non-lawyers among us, which is why

we're grateful to have the lawyers with us, including our own colleague, Jessica Schneider, who is an attorney and our correspondent.

So as we're looking through this, we did get to decisions here. But this most recent one, Harrington versus Purdue Pharma, this is one of the ones a

lot of folks were watching for because this was about whether the Sackler family, of course, well-known with Purdue Pharma, whether they could be

shielded from liability.

As we're just starting to comb through this, what did we hear from the court, Jess?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The Supreme Court rejecting that the Sackler family can be shielded from liability on the basis of this

bankruptcy settlement.

This is a 5-4 decision. This was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch. This is a big loss for the Sackler family. Basically, they were banking on this

bankruptcy settlement absolving them from any future lawsuits.

Because remember, they are the family that ran Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, a highly addictive painkiller that affected millions of

Americans. And as a result, as it became more and more clear how addictive OxyContin was, these families began suing.

And the Sackler family finally put forward this bankruptcy plan that is part of the bankruptcy plan they were going to settle all future and all

current lawsuits by these families of people who are addicted and affected by OxyContin.

So what the plan had proposed is that the Sackler family would donate $6 billion to help fight the ongoing opioid epidemic. Involved in that $6

billion settlement the money would go to state, local governments, Native American tribes.

And then Purdue Pharma would cease to exist and the new company would pop up that would be created to distribute opioid addiction treatment. So this

was a whole plan that the Sackler family wanted to put in place that the Supreme Court is now saying, that plan is no good.


You can't try to absolve all of your possible legal debt on the basis of a bankruptcy settlement. So we're continuing to go through this opinion.

But this is a 5-4 opinion written by the conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch. It is a serious blow to the Sackler family. They thought they'd be able to

wipe their hands clean of all of these lawsuits in exchange for this $6 billion settlement.

I'll note, Erica, that actually a lot of these victims' families, they were in favor of this $6 billion settlement. They basically had said that they

had gone through enough with this years-long process. Many of them were in favor of this plan to distribute a lot of money, $6 billion, to various


Creating a new company that would try to combat the opioid addiction problem. But now it looks like that plan will not go through. And it

appears that the Sackler family will continue to be open to these lawsuits brought by victims' families -- Erica.

HILL: Misty, as you -- as you look at this ruling and as you're going through it, I know in real time as well, the fact that the Sackler family

is now, as Jessica just pointed out, will be potentially, perhaps expectedly, getting more of these lawsuits.

What do you -- what does it mean moving forward?

The fact that the justices did reject this?

Does it impact on a broader level bankruptcy or other attempts, similar attempts potentially, in this country to shield oneself?

MARRIS: Absolutely. It's actually going to directly impact another setup which was very similar to the Purdue Pharma, although the subject matter

was much different. So Purdue Pharma with the (INAUDIBLE) was set forth just so perfectly set up.

Basically, it was a fund and that money was going to go to state governments. Also it was going to go with those were bringing claims

regarding opioids against that family. And so that amount of money was going to serve as what we'll call colloquially settlements, right?

It was going to be payouts relating to those claims. Now they're not immune to those lawsuits. Very, very similarly, the Boy Scouts of America actually

has a very similar statutory setup, where there is a bankruptcy, a bankruptcy proceeding.

And the victims who made claims against the Boy Scouts of America are going through that proceeding. So it's not really just in isolation that this was

something that Purdue Pharma was using to resolve these claims, to resolve litigation and to keep their damages basically capped at whatever that

amount of money was.

It's also going to impact other similarly -- similar statutory schemes that have gone through the bankruptcy courts. So it's going to have a much

broader impact. That's one of the situations where a similar setup has been -- has been done by the bankruptcy court.

But now that bankruptcy proceeding is not going to shield litigation and liability and damages in these types of cases. So it's actually a really

big ruling.

HILL: Really big ruling. There also is the broader impact of just the opioid crisis in this country. And what for many Purdue Pharma came to

represent. This is something that was a big deal on the campaign trail back in 2020. We cannot avoid the fact there is an important debate tonight.

We are nearing a presidential election and addiction in this country is still a major issue and all the fallout from it, much of that economic in a

number of cases.

On a broader level, from a society perspective, this is also a really important ruling -- Lulu.


MARRIS: -- but it also opens the doors for different levels of accountability in different legal theories to actually proceed.

HILL: Absolutely.

And Lulu, I'd love if you could weigh in on that as well, just in terms of what this means as a country, as people are looking at this and looking for

accountability in a number of these areas.

NAVARRO: Yes. I mean, as was mentioned, we are still struggling with a huge opioid epidemic here. And it's sort of fallen off the political debate

stage, if you will. I'm not sure that we're going to hear about that this evening other than in terms of immigration and the southern border.

But it is still a huge, huge problem. And so this is a significant ruling.

HILL: It will be interesting to see whether it would perhaps shift any of that discussion. But you're right, it isn't as prominent as it was, say, in

2020 or perhaps even in 2016, as things like the economy, immigration have risen up above.

We also did have an earlier ruling today, the first opinion that dropped that was about -- and I'm just going through my notes here -- but this was

in Ohio versus the EPA.

And Jessica, I'm going to start with you on this. As we look at it, this was about the so-called Good Neighbor law, which essentially said, if you

are a state producing pollution upwind, you have to be really conscious of the states that are downwind of you.


And you can't make it worse for them. This was also a 5-4 ruling.

Did it come as a surprise in what the opinion ultimately was?

SCHNEIDER: I mean, probably not. It didn't come as a surprise just because this court, in particular, once we've had this sort of super conservative

majority, they have cut back a lot on agency power in recent years.

And what this case does is it says to the EPA, you cannot institute this Good Neighbor rule just yet. It's not a -- it's not a final ruling. There's

still litigation that's ongoing.

But it's -- the Biden administration wanted to jumpstart this Good Neighbor rule and allow it to go into effect, which strictly limited emissions from

these power plants in states like Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, in favor of some of the downwind states, who are being affected or negatively affected

by these emissions.

And so the Biden administration wanted to put this plan into place despite ongoing litigation fighting the plan. And what the Supreme Court is saying

today in this 5-4 decision is that Biden administration, EPA, you cannot put this plan in place like you wanted to.

And we're going to have to let the litigation play out. This is significant and possibly very detrimental to this plan because it is likely now that

this plan will not go into place before the November election.

And then, of course, if Joe Biden doesn't win the next election and it's a different administration, the Trump administration, it looks like complete

death for this Good Neighbor plan.

So this isn't a final ruling per se on the actual plan. But it's not allowing the EPA to put the plan into place to limit these emissions as the

EPA had planned on.

HILL: And Misty, to Jessica's point, not much of a surprise given what we have seen and continue to see out of this very conservative Supreme Court.


MARRIS: -- not surprised at all (INAUDIBLE). In addition to that, the Supreme Court has been very skeptical and has been in many of the cases

that we've seen so far this term really limiting that federal agency power.

So while this case didn't necessarily go there -- it relates only to the emergency petition and what can be in place during that timeframe while the

litigation plays out.

We know that in several other cases and one involving the SEC that we might see today, that the Supreme Court has been very skeptical of federal

regulatory authority of agencies like the EPA.

So that makes this less, even less surprising than even just the merits of the case and the underlying issue.

ANDERSON: I just want to come in on this Good Neighbor issue here.

I think, for the benefit of our viewers internationally -- and Lulu, perhaps you want to take this one on -- what's the -- what's the real

impact here?

What are the consequences?

NAVARRO: The consequences are -- I'm just looking at what Justice Sotomayor, the liberal justice, wrote about this.

And she said today, and I'm quoting here, "For the very first time, this court holds that Congress violated the Constitution by authorizing a

federal agency to adjudicate a statutory right that inheres in the government."

And so what she's saying here is that what this court has done is undercut the federal government's ability to actually implement its policies. I

mean, if you think about what the EPA does, it actually helps regulate between states these things about air quality and water and all the things

that make life livable.

And so what the liberal justices are saying is, essentially, when you're gutting what the federal government can do, you're essentially saying that

it is left up to the states to kind of figure that out in an area specifically where we all breathe the same air, where water is a sort of

universal right.

And so it really does make the situation much more difficult. Beyond that, when we're thinking about the broader context, this is a bad day for the

liberal justices. I mean, we are seeing ruling after ruling coming down in which the conservative majority is making its case felt.

And I think that's why, politically speaking, you are going to hear tonight, while maybe not referring to these rulings, you are going to hear

in the debate discussion of the Supreme Court.

Because it has now become a very hot political issue for the Left in this country, what the Supreme Court does and what it means.

HILL: It's become a hot political issue. But interesting --


ANDERSON: -- you in here because -- apologies.


HILL: No, never easy when there's so many of us.

ANDERSON: Jessica, I just wanted to -- I've just seen some recent polling suggesting that the majority of Americans think Supreme Court justices put

ideology over impartiality. To Lulu's point there, your sense of what we're seeing as a kind of key takeaway in how the Supreme Court in the United

States is acting at this point.

SCHNEIDER: And Becky, I think you said that was for me, right?

Yes. You know, I think a lot -- I think really what tipped the scales for the American public was the overturning of Roe v. Wade two years ago. And

the American public saw that the law of the land since the 1970s had suddenly been overturned just because Donald Trump had appointed three new


And that is really when we start -- we started to see the confidence in the Supreme Court and the approval of the Supreme Court by the American public

really falter.

It was sort of this, wait a minute here; just because these justices, who Donald Trump said that he wanted to appoint, that were anti-abortion or who

would, would pledge potentially to strike down Roe v. Wade, that actually happened.

And in the past two years, we've seen this just constant -- we've seen these constant low poll numbers. I will say, however, that despite the fact

that many of these cases have been bad for the liberals, we have seen some justices, maybe that we least expect, plowing some middle ground here.

And we saw it with the mifepristone decision, with the abortion pill, the fact that they dismissed it for standing, meaning the abortion pill can

remain status quo, it is fully available now to women across this country.

And the majority of women use this in getting abortions, often in states where they don't have easy access to abortions.

And if we get that other abortion ruling that we saw previewed inadvertently yesterday, we also saw them take a sort of middle ground

here, saying, OK, we shouldn't have heard this. The Idaho law can remain frozen as these -- as this litigation plays out.

And we're actually seeing the Justice Amy Coney Barrett, play a role in sort of pumping the brakes on some of these issues.

We saw it in the gun case that came out in the past few days or last week, saying that, no, we're not going to rely solely on history and tradition to

decide these cases.

And they injected -- the chief justice injected some common sense in that gun case, saying, OK, there might not be a completely identical law that we

saw in the 1700s at the founding of this country.

But it still makes sense to keep violent people, who are -- have these domestic violence restraining orders from having guns. So sure. We have a

6-3 conservative majority that, two years ago, overturned Roe v. Wade.

But at the same time, we're also seeing this push and pull where they're not going full throttle because maybe, back to your point, Becky, maybe

they're understanding that the country at large, their confidence has been shaken in the Supreme Court. And maybe the court in some ways trying to

restore that confidence.

NAVARRO: I disagree.

ANDERSON: Jessica, Lulu, Misty and of course, Erica, my good friend and colleague, thank you. We are going to take a very short break.

Don't go away. This is all news you can use and incredibly valuable and insightful for our viewers in the States and around the world, of course.

So stay with us, folks. We'll be back after this.





HILL: Breaking news here as we were waiting for the final decisions to drop from the Supreme Court today, we did in fact get that decision, a

document related to it that was briefly posted online yesterday.

So we are getting that very important ruling on abortion out of the state of Idaho. Concerns there about what it can mean for women seeking emergency

care, women when they were pregnant and whether an emergency room doctor could in fact perform an abortion if needed for the health of that patient.

Or whether they would have to worry about facing jail time under Idaho's very strict abortion law. Our CNN Justice correspondent Jessica Schneider

is with U.S. Defense attorney Misty Marris as well as CNN contributor, Lulu Garcia Navarro.

Jessica, I want to start with you on this. So this is largely what was expected from the court based on that document that was, I suppose,

mistakenly and briefly uploaded Wednesday afternoon.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, it appears to be identical to what we saw Bloomberg Law capture off of the Supreme Court's website when it was briefly posted,

inadvertently posted yesterday.

So the takeaway for everyone watching at home is that this very restrictive Idaho law, that was a basic near-total ban on abortions that has been in

effect for several months now, actually ever since the Supreme Court let it go into effect in early January of this year.

It is now halted and the Supreme Court isn't issuing any final ruling on the Idaho law or whether or not it conflicts with this federal law. But

they're saying that they sort of jumped the gun when they -- when they allowed this law to go forward in January.

Now they're pulling back. They are reinstituting a pause on this law while the litigation about this potential conflict plays out because you'll

remember, the Biden administration had brought this lawsuit, saying, wait a second, Idaho.

You have this law that says that doctors can only perform abortions when a woman's death is imminent. However, there's a federal law that says, in

emergency rooms that receive federal funding, doctors have to take all necessary action when even the woman's -- when the woman is at risk of

severe injury.

It doesn't have to go to death or imminent death but even if the woman could be severely injured in that, maybe her future fertility could be

impacted. And if the doctor in that -- in that situation feels that an abortion needs to be performed, this federal law allows for that.

And because of that conflict, that's why the Biden administration sued. So at this point, the Supreme Court isn't weighing in on that broader issue.

But they're saying we stepped into too soon in January to allow this Idaho law to continue, despite the arguments from the Biden administration.

So now we're going to -- we're going to halt that Idaho law and let this litigation play out.

I will note, Erica, that there are actually several other states that also have these near-total abortion bans with similar provisions that a woman

needs to be near death. Those laws are still in place.

So it's going to be, as Justice Jackson said in her concurrence here, she put it this way. Today's decision is not a victory for pregnant patients.

It's just a delay.

So the pregnant patients in Idaho, they're going to get a reprieve on this but it's not the end of the story and especially not the end of the story

in other states that have these very restrictive abortion bans as well.

HILL: Misty, there was so much (INAUDIBLE) folks looking at this for that exact reason, right?

Because of whatever this decision was, the impact that could potentially have not only on other states with very restrictive laws but also perhaps

on other states that were looking to pass additional laws.

It's interesting to me that Justice Jackson points out they basically took the case on too soon.

Does it surprise you at all then that they decided to take this case up so early when ultimately they threw it back and said, hey, you got to figure

this out first?

MARRIS: Hi, they decided because, as we know, the Supreme Court does have that discretion at least to which cases they hear. But I do think, Erica,

to your point, what has happened in the wake of Dobbs.


And with these various restrictive laws, including this Idaho statute but other states that have mirrored very similar statutes, criminal culpability

is now on doctors if they perform abortions.

This particular state in Idaho, it's potentially five years in prison and loss of medical license if they illegally perform an abortion. So there's a

question mark about what it means, that an abortion can only be performed if a woman's life is at stake, imminent death, or any statute that had that

type of language.

Does she have to be at death's door?

What if there's another serious condition?

So doctors don't know what to do. They're stifled from the medical perspective to protect and care for their patients. So I imagine the

Supreme Court took it up because there does need to be clarity on a national level.

What does this mean?

However, this apparently was not the case to do so. So it's just punting this decision down the road, whether or not the federal statute actually

applies in these types of factual scenarios and allows doctors to give women the care that they need.

So it is going to just create more and more litigation and it's a waiting game. When the Supreme Court will actually lend some clarity that will help

the medical professionals actually provide the care needed to their patients.

HILL: I want to bring in Dr. Colleen McNicholas, who is also with us. She's a chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood in the St. Louis

region and southwestern Missouri.

Dr. McNicholas, as you look at this, I mean, to Misty's point so much of what I have heard from physicians, specifically from OB-GYNs, is they don't

know if they can actually do the job that they are there to do in some states because of this litigation.

They could go to prison, they could lose their license, their families could have to deal with all the fallout from this, right? They can be sued.

Given where we are today, what does this ruling mean?

Are you anticipating further chaos?


opportunity to decisively declare that, in this country, we really do value the health and safety of pregnant people.

But instead we continue to kick the can down the road, demonstrating, yet again, that we're not really serious about addressing maternal mortality,

that we're not serious about supporting healthy families. But the thing that we apparently continue to be really serious about is the

apparent disposable nature in which we see women in this country. I can not even begin to explain the degree of moral injury that physicians are

experiencing. Most doctors that I know went into medicine to take care for people and are

now repeatedly being told that, despite having the tools, the knowledge, the skill set, that they can't. And in some cases, they can't at the

expense of somebody's serious health and potentially even life.

It really is an unsustainable situation. It is untenable for physicians to have to continue to be handcuffed by politics when they have the simple

tools at their hands to help people live healthy, better and safe lives.

HILL: Doctor, I wonder, too, it's this, it's this difference, right, between lifesaving care, the life of the pregnant patient and emergency

stabilizing care. If we're looking at essentially what I'm told involves in these laws.

But as you point out, as a doctor, you are trained to do everything you can right to save a patient.

Does this in some ways violate the Hippocratic oath when, as a physician, you, you are not allowed to do your job?

MCNICHOLAS: I mean, I think that is the fundamental question that physicians are struggling with. I mean, nobody's kidneys should be up for

debate when really the trade-off is political ideology, right?

Physicians, we wish, I wish I had a crystal ball. I wish I could tell you what situations would end up in imminent death or serious injury. But the

truth is, pregnancy is incredibly complicated and can go from completely normal right now and in 60 seconds from now be a completely different


Physicians just have to be able to use their best judgment, the tools they have, the education they have to inform the decisions, first and foremost,

to prevent those near death experiences for people.

And uncertainty, laws like this, this makes it so incredibly for physicians to abide by that oath that they took, right, to treat patients with dignity

and respect and to make sure that we are doing everything we can to sustain people's health and their lives.

HILL: I appreciate all of you joining us, please stay with us. We do need to fit in a quick break here. But we're back on the other side.





ANDERSON: It's 6:37 in the evening in Abu Dhabi. Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson for you.

A recap on what is our breaking news, a busy morning for the U.S. Supreme Court. A short time ago we got that very important ruling about Idaho's

abortion ban. Now this temporarily allows doctors to perform abortions in medical emergencies.

Also among the decisions we've just heard, the court rejected a huge multi- billion-dollar settlement against Purdue Pharma. That settlement had shielded the Sackler family from lawsuits over opioids. Two really big

significant, important rulings today.

And our other big story today, of course, final preparations underway for the CNN U.S. presidential debates, where, for the first time, a sitting

U.S. president and a former president will go head-to-head.

The 90 minute debate between President Joe Biden and Donald Trump will take place at CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia in a few hours from

now. That's the setup. That is the debate environment, as it were. The set is set, the stage is set.

CNN's latest Poll of Polls shows no clear leader in the 2024 race, highlighting just how critical it will be for each man to make his case for

a second term in the White House. CNN's Jeff Zeleny joining us now from Atlanta.

Jeff just walk us through what we can expect tonight before we talk about who's going to turn up, which Donald Trump, how Joe Biden is going to

perform. Let's talk about what we're going to see.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, this is anything but a sequel. Yes, the same two candidates but so many

differences, including the fact there will be no audience.

In the pictures of this stage you are seeing there, it is the candidates alone standing about eight feet apart at their respective podiums.

President Biden will be on the right-hand side. He won a coin toss, so he chose that side. And former president Trump will be on the left and will

get the last word. that's what he chose in this coin toss.

The fact that there will not be an audience listening or perhaps cheering them on is a significant difference from their debates four years ago. It

will be them; they will not have access to their advisors or any notes. They walk in and they are alone with the moderators.


Of course, our colleagues, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash asking questions for 90 minutes. Each candidate will have two minutes to answer the question.

And then the other candidate will have a minute to respond.

An interesting thing, the microphone will only be directed toward the candidate speaking, designed to cut back and forth on the interruption to

focus on the policy here. So that's sort of some of the framework of what the candidates will see for 90 minutes, two commercial breaks.

But again, none of their advisors can be onstage with them. They can't confer with them at the commercial breaks. Just those two men, the 45th and

46th presidents, who, of course, are both vying for a second term.

ANDERSON: So what can we expect to hear?

ZELENY: Look, I think that President Biden has the most to gain perhaps and the most to lose perhaps in tonight's debate. He is eager to get the

country, get voters to focus on the contrast between him and former president Donald Trump.

He's going to remind voters of the Trump administration and warn them of the second term about democracy and other things he believes that a Trump

presidency would be a danger.

For president Trump's part he is going to try and make this all about the Biden record, the Biden economy, the Biden immigration challenge, the Biden

foreign policy. That is probably the biggest difference overall from their last encounter four years ago.

Yes, the coronavirus pandemic is no longer raging. That was the centerpiece of the conversation four years ago. Now it's about Biden's record.

So the question here is, can President Biden avoid being mired down in the defense of his record and draw this contrast with Donald Trump?

But the reason this is so significant, it's certainly the biggest moment of the campaign. It's been essentially locked in place. Donald Trump has had a

small lead perhaps but basically it's too close to call in a margin of error race.

This could be a moment that focuses minds. And both candidates have a lot to lose and perhaps a lot to gain as well, Becky.

ANDERSON: Jeff, it's always a pleasure. Thank you for that.

We are what, less than 11 hours away from the start of that first U.S. presidential debate. This is a CNN debate. CNN Politics' senior reporter

Stephen Collinson joining us now from Washington.

Stephen, you said, tonight's debate has a good chance of becoming the most fateful presidential debate in U.S. history. And it's even more important

in terms of what we are seeing, of course, in the Supreme Court today. So with that lens, just explain exactly what you meant.

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, first of all, it's remarkable that Donald Trump is there at all. This is the third

election cycle in which he will be a presidential nominee. That very rarely happens.

But I think it would've been very difficult if you had said on January 6, 2021, that Donald Trump be standing on the debate stage for the next

election. He tried to steal the previous election in 2020 and had had his mob ransack the U.S. Capitol.

We've seen an extraordinary turnaround. Trump has rescued his political career; he has reestablished control over the Republican Party. He has made

millions of people who support him believe that the election in 2020 was indeed stolen from him.

Looking forward, Trump is advocating a very hard line program that could transform the United States.

That is why President Biden will warn tonight that Trump threatens the freedom and democracy and the liberty and the ability of Americans to

decide who they want to be their leaders, citing the fear that a second Trump term would further erode democracy and the rule of law.

So these are massive issues that have never really been taken up in a presidential debate. Most times, if a Republican or Democrat wins, the

republic is not likely to deeply changed. That could be very different depending who wins this election in November.

ANDERSON: We're waiting on a decision on presidential immunity. That decision didn't drop from the Supreme Court today. And some suggestion that

that would have highly politicized whatever that ruling was, given that we are about to see this historic debate which includes Donald Trump tonight.

And we didn't get that. But what we did get was an abortion ruling out of the Supreme Court today.

What does that decision say about how the court is in or out of step with the American people?

And how if at all (ph) do you think that will impact tonight's debate topics?


COLLINSON: Well, abortion and the access to it is one of the very few issues in which President Biden leads Donald Trump. He is down on the

economy, on immigration, on foreign policy.

Remarkably, there was "The Washington Post" poll yesterday that found that in swing states, voters think Biden is a bigger threat to democracy than

Trump. So abortion is a key measure.

I think it was important that this abortion case, for Democrats at least, was not decided on the merits but was on procedural grounds. That allows

them to argue that the threat to access to abortion is still very much real in this election.

They believe that this is an issue that can get moderate voters to the polls, can induce turnout among women voters, even in places where

Republicans would be favored. The key districts in this election will be suburban areas around big cities that can go either to Democrats and

Republicans in a handful of swing states.

Abortion is an issue that really allows Democrats kind of access those voters. Trump, his position is that abortion should be left to the states,

which seems like a sensible political position.

Except, every time there is a hardline, anti-abortion decision by a state legislature or a conservative court in one of the conservative states, that

allows Democrats to stand up and say, this is what Donald Trump has wrought.

He created this Supreme Court majority that is allowing all this to take place. So it's a very powerful issue for Democrats.

ANDERSON: Stephen, finally, let's talk about the elephant in the room. Many, many people wondering just how fragile the U.S. president is at this

point. So questions about how he is going to perform over 90 minutes standing with Donald Trump, debating beside him.

Nobody knows who's going to turn up, which Donald Trump, which Donald Trump of course, is going to turn up. This is going to be a very much more

controlled former president.

Or is this one he is going to let loose?

What's your sense about the -- Joe Biden's, Joe Biden's potential to lose this because of his perceived fragility at this point?

COLLINSON: If you talk to voters, this is a massive issue. It's usually the first thing a lot of voters bring up, including Democratic voters, the

question of whether Biden is fit enough to get through a second term that would end when he's 86.

It's uncomfortable but the president has clearly slowed and aged during his first term.

A lot of voters are looking at that and saying, well, can he be in command?

Can he show strength inside the United States and on the global stage for another four years?

That is something that Republicans have been stressing over and over again. Having said that, there have been occasions when the president has been

energetic and vital; for instance, the State of the Union address.

That's the president Democrats are hoping to see tonight.

ANDERSON: It's good to have you, Stephen Collinson, always a pleasure.

We are going to take a very short break. It is a very busy couple of news hours. Still to come, more on what is this high stakes U.S. presidential

debate on CNN between President Joe Biden and Donald Trump. That starts a few hours from now.

And stay with us and we will do more insight and analysis on these decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court as well, hugely important stories.

Back after this.





HILL: A recap for you on the breaking news, a busy morning for the Supreme Court. A number of important decisions posted in just the last hour or so,

including an important ruling when it comes to a very restrictive Idaho abortion law. It essentially bans abortion in all cases, except if the life

of the mother is at risk.

Well, this decision by the Supreme Court to dismiss the case and to allow it then to play out will allow doctors temporarily to continue to perform

an abortion in a medical emergency if, in fact, the patient's health is at risk, not just the life of that patient.

Also, this morning, decisions on a massive multi-billion dollar settlement agreement dealing with Purdue Pharma, which, of course, is the company that

many pointed back to a lot of these lawsuits going to the opioid epidemic and addiction in the country, in the U.S.

The settlement had actually shielded the Sackler family, the family behind Purdue Pharma, from further lawsuits. That was rejected and the court is

signaling more decisions will be released, not just come tomorrow but that the term will now extend into July, into next week.

All of this, of course, happening on a very big day politically. We're just hours away from the historic presidential debate, the first debate of this

presidential election season in 2024. Joining me, CNN political analyst and historian Leah Wright Rigueur, who's with me now.

I do want to touch on a couple of different things. Let's, really quickly there, talk about abortion if we could.

What was interesting to me is Justice Jackson writing, this is not a victory; it is a delay, saying she disagreed with the decision to dismiss

this case because she feels that, since the court decided to take it up, that there was even more need to address the questions.

She said it's only increased in the intervening months. Interestingly, Alito, Justice Alito dissenting here, saying he was baffling (sic) that the

court decided to dismiss this. He thinks they should have ruled on it and they should have ruled in Idaho's favor.

Those two sets of commentary, I think, Leah, really give us a close look at where this court is, which is not where the majority of the country is as

we know from consistent polling.


And I think this is the why the question of abortion is going to, as we move into election season, full-blown election season, is going to continue

to come up over and over again. There is a real distinction between what the court believes about abortion and has signaled very, very clearly.


Particularly in that Dobbs decision from two years ago and what the rest of the American public feels. So there are a couple of things that we're going

to see. We're going to continue to see court cases around abortion come up in front of the Supreme Court, I think.

We'll also continue to see a real split amongst the Supreme Court in terms of how we should handle these abortion cases. In this case, I think Justice

Ketanji Brown Jackson is absolutely right. This is just delayed what should be decided in fact now, right, kicking it back down to the states, saying

let this play out in legislation.

When in fact what we know is across -- there are multiple lawsuits that are budding across states that affect the role of women's health, women's

lives, women's mortality rates. So it's not just about the health of the fetus in this case.

The court is going to need to take a stand, particularly given the kind of decision that they handed down two years ago.

Then the last thing that I'll say here on this issue is that it's become increasingly apparent that there is an ideological and political bent

amongst certain members of the court. They have made that very clear.

And I think the things that have gone on with Alito in his private life have spilled over into the court. It has become much more apparent that

there is a religious, a very, I think, fundamental religious component that is bleeding over into the kinds of decisions and dissents that somebody

like Alito and other court members are making right now.

HILL: The one thing that is for sure is, despite the wish, perhaps, of some of the justices that their decision two years ago on Dobbs would put

this to rest by sending this back to the states, it has done the exact opposite. Leah, appreciate it. Good to talk to you as always.

Thanks so much for being with us this hour.

Becky, thanks for letting me join you on CONNECT THE WORLD. I will be here again with you, I think, very soon as we wait for more opinions.

ANDERSON: I love it. Thank you. Opinion day is a good day as far as I'm concerned, when we have Erica Hill in the house. Thank you, Erica.

That's it for CONNECT THE WORLD. Stay with CNN. "NEWSROOM" is up next.