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Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade; Soon: Biden Speaks On Supreme Court Overturning Roe v. Wade. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired June 24, 2022 - 12:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: Hello everybody, and welcome to Inside Politics. I'm John King in Washington. Thank you for sharing this truly historic day with us. The constitutional right to an abortion is no more. The Supreme Court this morning releasing a 6-to-3 decision that overturns Roe v. Wade, and now leaves abortion rights as a question for each state to settle. The final ruling closely track that draft that leaked back in May. That heads up if you will, by no means makes this day any less consequential.

Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, says Roe was egregiously wrong from the start, "on a collision course with the constitution from the day it was decided." In a joint rebuttal, the courts three liberals wrote this, with sorrow for this court, but more for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection, we dissent. The impact on women nationwide will be immediate.

Nearly half of states have trigger laws or other plans in place to ban or place strict limits on abortion quickly. The role reversal was the goal of course, of a decade's long conservative campaign to tilt the courts their way, the three Trump appointees to the High Court, the culmination of that.

Now, a new legal chapter unfolds state-by-state, as does a new political fight. We will hear from President Biden shortly. The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vows to make abortion rights and the court, the defining issue now in the midterm campaign. Let's kick off with the big legal decision and the ramifications, our justice correspondent Jessica Schneider, outside the court. Jess, tell us more.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, the Supreme Court here issuing its most consequential decision in decades, holding that there was no longer a federal constitutional right to get an abortion. And now handing the issue to individual states that will decide abortion rights for millions of Americans and millions American women. And this change will happen fast.

There are about 26 states that are expected to ban abortion completely, either immediately or in the months ahead. There are about a dozen states that have so-called trigger laws that will ban abortion either immediately or within about the next 30 days. Then there are about a dozen states that have these so-called zombie laws. These are actually abortion bans that were in effect before Roe v. Wade in 1973, that will go back on the books. Now that Roe has been overturned.

Now this is a five-four decision written by Justice Samuel Alito. It's almost identical to the majority opinion we saw leaked back in May. This five-four decision does not include the Chief Justice, John Roberts. He dissented. He did agree that the Mississippi law issue here, banning abortions at 15 weeks. He would have said that that could be upheld. But he did not agree with the majority of this court to go so far as overturning Roe v. Wade.

In this majority opinion, Justice Alito, writing that Roe was egregiously wrong. He also talks about how it to deepen divisions in this country, rather than officially settling the issue when it was decided back in 1973. But the dissent writing a very pointed dissent here, saying that women's rights, their status is free and equal citizens is no longer. So, John, we are really seeing the deepening divisions of this change court and now solidly conservative court, and now today overturning Roe v. Wade. John?

KING: Jess, stand by for us. We'll come back to you in just a moment. But I want to get straight to the White House now. CNN's Phil Mattingly is there. Phil, we will hear from the president shortly. What will he say?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, White House officials have been resigned to this moment being a reality. Now for several months, the leaked draft really kind of put that into concrete, and also helped escalate behind the scenes efforts to prepare for this moment. Whether or not the justice department will get involved. How regulatory agencies will work?

The Vice President Kamala Harris, playing a key role in several behind the scenes meetings with abortion rights groups, trying to plan for what happens next. And that will be a component of the president's remarks. His remarks he's been working on for several days, according to advisors in preparation for this moment.

But I also think, John, it's the history of this moment that you'll hear the president acknowledged. Nearly 50 years of precedent, really an earthquake on an issue that is as complex for the president as it is for the broader American public and issue, he's evolved on over the course of his 40-year plus career, an issue that obviously is complicated from a faith perspective for him, but also an issue that he rarely wanted to address directly over the course of his career.


Since he's been presidency, president almost never mentions the issue of abortion at all. That shifted a little bit after that leaked draft. The president coming out very forcefully. Something I expect you will also see today in those remarks, John?

KING: Phil Mattingly, at the White House. And again, we'll hear from the president a bit later in this hour. Phil, thank you. Let's get some more insights now, bringing our CNN legal analyst, Supreme Court biographer Joan Biskupic, the former federal prosecutor, CNN legal analyst, Elliot Williams, and Steve Vladeck, professor of law and CNN legal analyst.

Joan, I want to start with you. We throw around terms like historic, big deal too often, perhaps, but this is truly, this is 50 years of American constitutional law wiped away.

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN LEGAL ANALYST & SUPREME COURT BIOGRAPHER: You know, John, you cannot overstate this. We all had a glimpse of it when that first draft was leaked. But even with that, I think this everything was so startling. 50 years of interpreting the constitution rolled back. Privacy rights, the consequences of this not just for abortion rights, but for other kinds of family, women's rights, reverberations nationwide, the dissenter said this court is not done yet.

And that's the point I really want to make about this court. The five justices' majority, three appointees Donald Trump, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas also took such a different approach to constitutional privacy rights. Highlighting fetal life, in fact, referring at one point to an unborn human being, which is the way Mississippi described its ban on abortion to protect the unborn human being. It's such a different look at the constitution than what America is used to.

And finally, I'll just mention that we've had so many other justices, conservative justices, Republican appointed justices who said, we might not have liked Roe in 1973, but it's important to uphold it because it's become so much a part of America. The justices did that in 1989, most famously in 1992. But this is a whole new court, made possible by the addition of Amy Coney Barrett, less than two years ago.

KING: We'll come back - I want to come back to the view now on precedent, whether we can come back to other cases. But Steve Vladeck, let me go to your first in terms of what happens today, tomorrow and next week. We know there are 13 states that already have trigger laws in place. Essentially, if the Supreme Court wiped out Roe v. Wade bang, laws go into effect in those states.

We know there are another dozen 13 states, maybe even a couple more than that, that are prepared to move quickly as well, either to attempt to ban abortion or to place very strict limits on abortion rights. What happens state-by-state in America now that the Supreme Court has wiped Roe off the books?

Steve Vladeck: Yes, John. It means we are going to have two Americas. We're going to have one America where abortion is still available, at least at some point, we're going to pregnancy and one America we're not. And I think the next battleground, the next frontier is going to be efforts by states, my state of Texas to actually even limit out of state travel, by people who live in that state to obtain abortions.

You know, that one of the fascinating threads in today's opinions, Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote a concurring opinion, basically holding out this idea that it'll be up to the states that you still have the specter of people choosing states. First of all, of course, that does nothing for folks who don't have the means to travel.

Second, it ignores the possibility that states are going to try to reach across their own borders. And third, we've already heard from Vice President Pence, about support for a federal abortion ban, at which point as the dissent points out, it won't be about traveling to New York or California for an abortion, they'll be about traveling to Toronto.

So, even before we get to other rights, the impact for abortion is going to be overnight to create two different Americas, and perhaps even one national rule where abortion is going to be all but impossible to attain if we see this move toward a federal ban take hold.

KING: So, Elliot, I want to read a little bit from Justice Samuel Alito, and he says, we hold that Roe and Casey, which was the 1992 decision, must be overruled. The constitution makes no reference to abortion and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely, Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Justice Alito, saying it's not in the original text, therefore it does not exist. That has implications not just for abortion rights.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Any number of rights and even though he's sort of Hanson (Ph), and he did this in that first draft, that those other rights aren't on the chopping block. Look, the dissent from Justice Thomas makes very clear that there is a voice on the Supreme Court that is willing to go after or at least address the questions of same sex marriage or contraception or whatever. And it's the same general legal framework that would strike them down. So, that's point one.

Point two, is that right now, Justices Kavanaugh and Roberts in their concurrence, made clear that maybe, you know, we're not going to go all the way there yet. Well, that means that that we are one justice away, if one of them were to leave the court or change their mind or whatever else, from those questions coming up. So, I think, you know, there isn't any more clarity today than there was yesterday, and we're sort of entering the legal Wild West here, on any number of questions and not just (cross talk)


KING: You say the legal Wild West. I want to bring Jess Schneider back into the conversation because Joan teed up this point, that if it's OK to wipe out this precedent or what about other precedents. And Jess in the writings on this and the consents and concurring opinions, Clarence Thomas gets very plain, speaks very plain language about this, right?

SCHNEIDER: Yes. And what's interesting, John, is this opinion is five- four, but we're essentially seeing a three-way split here as to how this Roe opinion could affect other rights that many Americans in this country take for granted, like the right to conception, or the right to same sex marriage, which was established by this court.

So, what we saw from Justice Alito, is him assuring the public that this does not go beyond Roe. This is what Alito wrote. To ensure that our decision is not misunderstood, or mischaracterized, we emphasize that our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion, and no other right.

Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt in precedents that do not concern abortion. And Justice Brett Kavanaugh, also reiterated that in his concurrence. However, you noted that Justice Clarence Thomas actually was quite blunt about what he wants.

And here is the quote from him. In future cases, we should reconsider all of this court's substantive due process precedents, including Griswold Lawrence, and Obergefell. Griswold contraception, Lawrence saying that the state cannot criminally punish sodomy, and Obergefell the right to same sex marriage. So, John, you know, we are seeing this conflict between the conservatives. Justice Thomas wanting to go much farther than maybe some of the others.

KING: So, Steve Vladeck, if I wanted to challenge same sex marriage. If I want to challenge the right to contraception. I'm either in court today or tomorrow, right, thinking this court might give me in a year or two, I'm before the Supreme Court.

VLADECK: So, John, obviously, there's one step before that, which is we would need to see states because the only red states adopted laws that go after these precedents. But that's not a hypothetical. I mean, we know there are legislators in Mississippi and Idaho, for example, who want to introduce legislation to restrict abortion.

And you know, John, Jessica read the line from a leaders' opinion about how this is limited to abortion. Well, I think the dissent also has a pretty good response on this, which is that the analysis is not limited to abortion, the notion that the constitution doesn't protect rights unless they're deeply rooted in our traditions. That's not limited to abortion.

So, what the joint dissent said, I think this is important, "either the mass of the majority's opinion is hypocrisy, or additional constitutional rights are under threat." It's one or the other. And, John, it's not hard to imagine red states moving quickly to try to push the envelope on these other rights. We're already seeing it.

KING: We're already seeing it. And Joan, to the point you made earlier on justices, I want to read a little bit from Chief John Roberts, who says, and this is tradition for him. I would take a more measured course, that has been the trademark of John Roberts. He's just now voted because of these three trumpet players. But I would take a more measured course.

I agree with the court that the viability line established by Roe and Casey should be discarded under a straightforward stare decisis analysis. None of this, however, requires that we also take the dramatic step altogether eliminating the abortion right first recognized in Roe.

So, we're going to have a conversation throughout the program later about the politics of this. But is it fair to say that more than anybody else, this is Mitch McConnell's day, because if Merrick Garland was on the Supreme Court, if Mitch McConnell had not blocked the Obama nomination of Merrick Garland, you would not have six-three? Roberts may have said, Mississippi law is OK with me 15 weeks, but not wiping out Roe v. Wade.

BISKUPIC: Mitch McConnell locked Merrick Garland and he spit up Amy Coney Barrett, that is what's so consequential here. And Chief Justice John Roberts, who for so long, has been at the height of his power to controlling things. He just doesn't have it. And the five justices on the far left who control this, three of them are in their 50s. These are the people who will be controlling your Supreme Court.

John Roberts in that concurrence, you know, he concurred because he wanted the Mississippi law to be upheld. They didn't want Roe to be overturned, use that word measured. And he is so concerned about this court lurching to the right. You know, the court informally bears his name, but this is a whole new court, and it really is not the John Roberts' court precisely for that reason.

And Clarence Thomas, I just want to reinforce what Jess and Steve are getting at. Clarence Thomas had like this battle cry of, yes, go after those other rights. They are not deeply rooted. The right to contraception is not deeply rooted, they should be challenged.

WILLIAMS: It just to be clear, this is not just about three justices on the Supreme Court. They're the final two years of President Obama's term. No, or almost no appellate judges were confirmed, very few trial-court judges. It was a systematic push by Mitch McConnell and President Trump that they did quite successfully at shifting all the federal courts in the country to the right.

So, it's not, you know, so yes, there are three very consequential Supreme Court justices, and frankly, a very consequential presidency, but the focus on the courts, like you said, John, this is Mitch McConnell's day and the legal questions now like in vitro fertilization and any other number ones.


KING: Any other number ones. We'll continue that conversation throughout the hour. Including next, the political fallout, conservatives are joyful, angry. Progressives say, the November elections will prove, they are on the right side of the abortion fight.


KING: Live look there you see outside the Supreme Court. Conservatives are celebrating today, progressives are angry, and they are protesting, Roe v. Wade no longer the law of the land. The political fallout of course is immediate. Let's get straight up to Capitol Hill, our chief correspondent Manu Raju. Manu, this a day many conservatives have waited and waited for, and a day we saw from the House speaker especially, the mace progressives angry and sad.

[12:20:00] MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. They do and they are, and they are demanding saying, this is will be on the ballot come November. I do want to point out some news about it and keys vote who helped confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Susan Collins, she was one of the decisive votes here and she just put out a statement, John, and when she said that the decisions is inconsistent with what justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and in their meetings with me. She goes on to say, she is very disappointed by this ruling.

Joe Manchin also a key vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh said similar inconsistent with what Kavanaugh and Gorsuch had said to them, privately about allowing this precedent to be upheld. Now nevertheless, Democrats are vowing to make this an issue come November, including the House speaker who had some strong words in the aftermath of the ruling.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): But this means to women is such an insult. It's a slap in the face to women about using their own judgment, to make their own decisions about their reproductive freedom, reproductive freedom is on the ballot in November. We cannot allow them to take charge, so that they can institute their goal, which is to criminalize reproductive freedom.


RAJU: Now, Republicans have a starkly different view of that, of course appraising this ruling something they have pushed for, for some time. But a number of them are downplaying what they believe the impact will be come November. They say, ultimately, this will be an election that will turn on key issues, like the economy and inflation and the draft Supreme Court opinion that leads months ago. They argue has not really changed the dynamic of that shows the Republicans are heavily favored come November.

So, while Republicans are hailing the roaming, they're also downplaying the impact. Of course, Democrats, as you heard from the speaker, they're having a much different calculation, planning to run on this very aggressively come November, and hoping that changes the dynamic as they run into the midterms.

KING: Just in the early hours of trying to judge the political fallout. Manu Raju, live on Hill, appreciate it. Let's bring the conversation in the room. With me to share their reporting and their insights, Joan Biskupic is still with us, along with CNN's Kasie Hunt, CNN's Eva McKend and Laura Barron-Lopez of the PBS NewsHour.

Let me just go around the table, to great reporters at a table. I'll start with you, Kasie, in the sense of, you know, we knew this was coming, or we anticipated since May. But what are you hearing and learning? What's the most interesting thing since the shockwave of a couple hours ago? KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR & CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, a couple things, John. First of all, I don't think we really have a good sense yet of how this is going to impact the midterm elections. We just simply don't have enough information yet. But one thing I do think, we need to pay close attention to, and you've been talking about it already, is the places where the laws that are going to go on the books are more extreme than vast majorities of the country. Right?

So, we've seen in the past that, yes, abortion is obviously an emotional and hugely divisive issue, people on either side of it have extraordinarily strong feelings. But when you start asking questions about, should a young girl who was raped perhaps by her father, be allowed to have an abortion, people start to answer those questions differently. And a number of these laws that are going to be on the books are going to do away with some of those exceptions. So that's one area.

Another area where I've seen people scrambling, and it's a new frontier is reproductive technology, IVF. People are actually trying to have babies, where you create embryos, and suddenly these laws in the states, some of which are not terribly precisely written, right, could potentially have very, very far-reaching impacts on families, LGBTQ families in particular, that we're only just beginning to understand.

KING: That's one of the many, I mean, we could spend hours on it. And one of the big factors is we have 36 governor's races this year. I think we can show a map of them. The blue states have Democratic incumbents at the moment, the red states have Republican incumbents, but this is now a state-by-state issue.

We know 13 states have trigger laws other states are going to debate this. But to Kasie's point, do you criminalize a woman who leaves - tries to leave the state? Do you criminalize someone who gives her a ride or someone who donates money? Can you do online medication orders in the life like that? This is a whole new frontier.

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: It is John. And these are all open questions. And I think that is why we've seen Democrats seize on this. The committee's out today announcing that they have a coordinated campaign to respond to all this, that includes a national volunteer strategy. That means they're going to have folks out on the doors, imploring Democrats to come out and vote just on this issue alone.

Another thing that I have seen is that Democrats are eager to characterize Republicans as the party of extremists. In the statement today from Congresswoman Jayapal, who leads the progressive caucus says, this is the decades long project of the extreme right wing.

So that is something that I think that they are foreshadowing ahead of November and trying to distinguish themselves in this way. When abortion rights are on the ballot, Republicans are the party of extreme, although we have many issues in our party support us because we are the only, I guess safeguard from these extreme tactics.


KING: It will be interesting to see if Democrats can make that case. I'm just going to read a little bit, Laura, from a statement from Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who for many years. He's an anti- abortion conservative. He's been there for a long time. He says the issue will now be debated in 50 states. He urges people in the pro- life movement, as he would call it, to make it about love and compassion, to try to have this debate civilly. Can we have any debate, especially something as emotional as this in a civil way in this country right now?

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, PBS NEWSHOUR: I don't think so. Given what we've seen over the past few years, you know, it started under the Obama administration, it's only become more divisive. And, you know, one thing that I think is important to bring up here is also the fact that Democrats, particularly Biden himself, which I know we're going to hear from soon, is looking at executive orders to potentially protect abortion rights or access to abortion medication.

You know, there's other executive orders that he could look into. A lot of people want him to just full force come out, declare a national emergency, which could free up resources. They also want him to potentially go so far, a number of Democrats have said this, to go so far as to make safe havens at federal properties, whether it's federal buildings, or also military bases, and potentially be able to provide abortions there.

But one of the biggest things that they think he could do is just make it easier to get abortion medication for more and more people. Now, we haven't heard from the White House, where they're leaning exactly yet on any of these executive orders. And I'd be surprised if the president today announces any of them.

HUNT: John, I mean, to the point we were talking about in the break, I think that there could potentially be a disconnect between what some of the people who are asking for these things of the administration want and what the president in the White House are willing to do. I mean, this is a very emotional issue. The president has a much different history on this issue than many of the progressives who are leading the charge on this issue today.

MCKEND: And here is a segment of Democrats who feel as though the president has not done enough that he hasn't been bold enough in talking about the issue of abortion. So, he is going to be feeling immense pressure in the weeks ahead.

KING: A very quickly. In this, as all these issues now get litigated in the states, whether it's can I order online, across state lines? Do you criminalize someone who offers a ride or fundraiser to someone who has to drive from Nebraska to Illinois, or something like that? Does this help us? Or are we just going to go through a whole new set of legal challenge?

BISKUPIC: It's going to encouraged challenges that are in the details like though, but it's also going to encourage big challenges. Clarence Thomas, and his concurrence of this says, go after the big things, go after things like same sex marriage, go after contraception, contraceptives, not just IVF.

HUNT: So, I'm absolutely hearing that already from especially, people who are advocates in the LGBTQ community, they're very concerned about Obergefell and the right to gay marriage. But the one thing that I will say from a political perspective, I think that the people on the anti-abortion side, they know that there is a lot of risk in going out political risk and going after contraceptives, and it's just completely different grounds.

KING: You'll watch it play out, but even within every moment, within every movement, you have extremes as well and people who want to make a name for themselves and make a point. We will see soon for us. President Biden will speak today on today's historic ruling from the White House. We back after a quick break.