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Lou Dobbs Tonight

California Court Blocks Initiative to Penalize Employers of Illegal Aliens; Turkey Massing Troops Along Border With Iraq

Aired October 10, 2007 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, outrage after a judge in California blocks a federal government initiative to penalize illegal employers of illegal aliens. We will have that special report.
Also tonight, a showdown in the Supreme Court over the fate of a criminal illegal alien on death row who brutally murdered two teenage girls in Texas. That hearing could determine the outcome of a fight over states' rights, the jurisdiction of international courts and the sovereignty of the United States as well.

And a tentative agreement appears to have been reached after a strike, a short strike by union members at Chrysler. We will tell you what the agreement could mean for middle-class working Americans across the entire country.

All of that, all the day's news and much more straight ahead here tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT: news, debate, and opinion for Wednesday, October 10.

Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

Turkey tonight appears to be on the verge of launching a military offensive against Kurdish separatists in Iraq. The Turkish air force today bombed separatist positions just inside the border with Iraq. Turkish tanks are massing near the frontier and, meanwhile, the Turkish president blasting U.S. congressmen who support a resolution declaring the World War I killing of Armenians to be a genocide.

Earlier, President Bush appealed to Congress to reject that resolution.

Jamie McIntyre has our report from the Pentagon -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Lou, tonight, the border between Turkey and northern Iraq is as tense as the relations between the U.S. and its NATO ally.

Turkey says it has had enough of cross-border attacks from Kurdish PKK rebels operating from Iraq. And it is preparing to launch an operation into the Kurdish region in the north. The Turkish parliament is now debating that authorization. And while the U.S. is urging restraint, Congress is passing a resolution that the White House says will only make things worse.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee, by a vote of 27-21, labeled the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks 90 years ago as genocide. That has infuriated the Turkish government. And President Bush says the timing could not be worse.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This resolution is not the right response to these historic mass killings. And its passage would do great harm to our relations with a key ally in NATO.

MCINTYRE (voice-over): The Pentagon argues the resolution would anger Turkey and hamper the war effort in Iraq; 70 percent of air cargo, including armored MRAP vehicles, as well as 30 percent of fuel fly by way of the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.

ROBERT GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Access to airfields and to the roads and so on in Turkey would be very much put at risk if this resolution passes and the Turks react as strongly as we believe they will.

MCINTYRE: Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos framed the debate as a sobering choice between condemning genocide and supporting U.S. troops.

REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: We cannot provide genocide denial as one of the perks of friendship with the United States.

REP. DAN BURTON (R), INDIANA: We're in the middle of two wars and we have got troops out over there that are at risk. And we're talking about kicking the one ally that's helping us over there in the face right now. It just doesn't make any sense to me.


MCINTYRE: The U.S. is still hoping Turkey will hold its fire, even though it pounded Kurdish targets in Iraq today with warplanes and helicopters. And while Turkey does have a real problem with attacks by Kurdish rebels, the fear here at the Pentagon is that a counteroffensive could open a whole new front in what, up to now, has been the most stable part of Iraq -- Lou.

DOBBS: The most stable part of Iraq. In fact, this administration has made it clear that this is a possibility. They have reacted without concern in the months in which we have seen Turkey moving toward what appears to be the possibility, an imminent possibility, in fact, of an incursion into Iraq.

Why has the administration not been more declarative and definitive in its position in the weeks and months preceding today?

MCINTYRE: Well, it's been trying to finesse the situation, both with its Turkish allies, which, of course, is a NATO ally, and with probably the best allies the U.S. has in Iraq, the Kurds in the north. It's trying to finesse that situation while recognizing that Turkey has a real problem, pressuring both sides to try to come to some sort of resolution.

But what we have seen is, the U.S. doesn't exert much control over those Kurdish rebels. And that has Turkey about ready to launch a major military operation.

DOBBS: Well, finesse is not exactly the strong suit of this administration in any capacity, in any part of this administration.

But the idiocy of a United States Congress taking on an issue that is almost a century old, when we have so many crucial, critical issues facing the United States, both globally and domestically, what in the world is motivating a discussion of World War I at this particular time by what is passing for a United States Congress?

MCINTYRE: Well, I have to say, I saw one general walking down the hall today, and he was just shaking his head.

You know, not that people don't agree with the sentiment here...

DOBBS: Absolutely.

MCINTYRE: ... but he just said, gee, could they do this at a worse time? Could they just make this any more difficult? That's the question people are asking themselves.

DOBBS: Jamie, thank you very much -- Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon.

Turkey has more than half-a-million troops, as Jamie McIntyre has just reported, more troops than any other NATO nation, with the exception of the United States. The Turkish military is equipped mostly with U.S. equipment, including tanks built largely in the 1950s and '60s.

But Turkey recently placed major defense contracts with both Europe and South Korea, which include a new suggestion that Turkey's relations in the United States are in point of fact weakening.

The U.S. military today launched new strikes against suspected al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq. The U.S. military said an airstrike killed 13 terrorists west of Baghdad; 12 other terrorists were captured in Baquba north of Baghdad. Military officials say American troops also killed or captured more than 60 terrorists in Diyala Province.

And over recent days, two more of our troops were killed in Iraq. The military reporting that both soldiers died of non-battle-related causes; 13 of our troops have been killed in Iraq so far this month, 3,821 of our troops killed since the beginning of the war, 28,171 of our troops wounded, 12,622 of them seriously.

The Pentagon today said the military recruited 180,000 new troops over the past year. But military officials acknowledge that incentives have risen and standards for new recruits have dropped. The Army reporting the number of recruits who required waivers because of minor criminal offenses also rose. The undersecretary of defense, David Chu, trying to explain recruiters' handling of potential recruits who had drug convictions.


DAVID CHU, UNDERSECRETARY OF DEFENSE: One of the questions they ask about is, did you ever use marijuana?

If I remember correctly -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- in the Marine Corps, if you answer yes about one use, about one use, requires a waiver. It's a pretty tough standard. Not to be cheeky about this, if we applied that standard to our legislative overseers, a significant fraction would need waivers to join the United States military.


DOBBS: That's an undersecretary talking. And you heard him correctly. He said many members of Congress would require a waiver for youthful drug use to serve in our military, as if that has some relationship to what's going on with recruiting efforts and goals by the U.S. military.

President Bush today focusing on the battle with Congress over warrantless wiretaps. President Bush declaring he will not sign a new wiretaps bill that, in his view, fails to protect the United States. But Democrats accuse the president of playing the fear card.

Jessica Yellin has our report from Capitol Hill.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush is warning House Democrats not to send him a wiretap bill he says will damage America's intelligence gathering tools.

BUSH: My administration has serious concerns about some of its provisions. And I am hopeful that the deficiencies in the bill can be fixed.

YELLIN: And his allies in the House agree.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The Democrats are taking a big step backward and are putting the handcuffs back on our intelligence officials.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this is one of the worst pieces of legislation that I have ever had the misfortune to see.

YELLIN: Republicans claim it would slow down intelligence gathering. They're pushing for a bill that would allow eavesdropping on people overseas without court approval, that would give immunity to telecommunication firms that cooperated in past surveillance and guarantee that NSA wiretapping can continue permanently. Republicans say, without those measures, the legislation won't get their support.

REP. LAMAR SMITH (R), TEXAS: You're going to see a solid vote against this FISA bill. YELLIN: But House Democrats insist the current law gives the intelligence community too much unchecked power. They say they can pass a new bill without Republican backing.

REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: The bill before us gives the administration everything it says it needs in terms of the actual tools to collect intelligence.

YELLIN: But this fight is a political balancing act for Democrats.

STUART ROTHENBERG, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, "THE ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT": The Democratic base, the liberal wing of the party, wants to stress constitutional issues and individual rights issues, but many Democrats on Capitol Hill want to protect themselves on the issue of the war against terror.

So, this is an issue that they're kind of forced to take on, but that is uncomfortable for them.


YELLIN: Uncomfortable, Lou, but one Democrats say they can win, as long as they cast this as a fight to protect Americans from government intrusion in their lives -- Lou.

DOBBS: Jessica, this fight, obviously, was initiated in August when this Democratically-led Congress had the same precise opportunities to deal with these very same issues. They're taking them up now. It appears that the Democratic leadership is fighting with itself over these issues.

YELLIN: Well, Lou, not surprisingly, they maintain that they have full support of their party on this measure this time and they think that they can make a home run with it.

DOBBS: A home run. All right, well, it's perhaps even a slam dunk.

Jessica, thank you very much -- Jessica Yellin from Capitol Hill.

Coming up next, a showdown, a new showdown over the enforcement of our immigration laws.

Casey Wian will have our report -- Casey.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the Department of Homeland Security is trying to crack down on businesses that hire illegal aliens with phony Social Security numbers, but a federal judge won't let that happen. We will try to explain why -- Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you, Casey. We look forward to that.

Also, a tentative after a short strike by Chrysler workers fighting for their job security, wages and health benefits. And we will hazard a guess about the potential impact on American working people across the country. We will have the very latest.

And the world's biggest toy brand, Mattel, facing charges the company failed to protect American consumers from dangerous imports from communist China, but certainly took care of itself, or at least the stock portfolio of its top executives.

Stay with us. We will have that story and a great deal more. We're coming right back.


DOBBS: A federal judge today blocked a federal government plan that would crack down on illegal employers of illegal aliens. The court decision temporarily forbids federal government agencies from sending so-called no-match letters to businesses hiring those illegal aliens.

As Casey Wian now reports, those letters warn employers about the consequences of knowingly hiring illegal aliens.


WIAN (voice-over): The Department of Homeland Security is prepared to send letters warning 140,000 American businesses that they must correct discrepancies in their workers' Social Security numbers and fire those without work authorization or face civil, even criminal penalties.

An overwhelming majority of the eight million employees with mismatched Social Security numbers are believed to be illegal aliens, but some are legitimate workers with innocent mistakes. In issuing a temporary injunction, California federal Judge Charles Breyer sided with the AFL-CIO, the ACLU, businesses and immigrant rights groups. They're suing to block the Bush administration's efforts to crack down on employers of illegal aliens.

JUAN JOSE GUTIERREZ, LATINO MOVEMENT USA: The system is full of discrepancies. Sending out no-match letters will lead to unfair firings of legal workers, wrongful detention and a chaotic churning of workers across the country.

WIAN: About a third of the targeted businesses are in California and Texas; 600,000 affected workers are AFL-CIO members. Labor unions and businesses persuaded the judge they would be irreparably harmed if the no-match warnings go out. The ACLU calls the ruling -- quote -- "a major rebuke" to the Bush administration and accuses the administration of a callous disregard for legal workers and citizens under the guise of so-called immigration enforcement.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I'm disappointed. Obviously, it's an interim ruling. We are going to continue to pursue the case and, if necessary, obviously we have appeals we can take. I want to come back, though, to what I still think is a really simple, commonsense proposition. This is about enforcing a law that has been on the books for years, which is you cannot hire illegal aliens. WIAN: Judge Breyer ruled the government would not be significantly harmed by a preliminary injunction, in part because the Homeland Security Department delayed implementing the new rule for a year, presumably hoping Congress would enact so-called comprehensive immigration reform.

All along, Homeland Security has said it would only use the no- match letters to prosecute employers that knowingly hire illegal aliens, not those with clerical or other innocent mistakes.


WIAN: Nearly a page-and-a-half of the judge's ruling was dedicated to a discussion of the meaning of the word knowing, as in what constitutes an employer knowingly hiring an illegal alien.

On that point, the ACLU and the unions claimed a no-match letter does not reasonably inform an employer that a worker is likely to be unauthorized. The judge, however, Lou, rejected that argument.

DOBBS: Well, the judge rejected just about everything that would be reasonable or in any way empirical or rational.

This fine judge has to be a complete -- I mean, he has to be a moron not to assume an understanding of knowing. This is bizarre, the lengths to which some of these district court judges, particularly in the state of California, will go to defeat reason and appropriate rule of law.

WIAN: It certainly seems like this judge came down on the side of cheap labor over the issue of national security.

But I have to point out, Lou, that the Department of Homeland Security and the Bush administration, in the judge's mind, bear some responsibility for this. These regulations were ready to go for a year. The DHS did not put them into effect while they waited for so- called comprehensive immigration reform to pass.


DOBBS: Casey, let me go a little farther than that.


DOBBS: This administration for six years has refused to secure our borders, our ports and to enforce immigration law.

And they deserve a special place in hell that's reserved for those who will not serve this nation and serve responsibly the people who elect them to office and who count upon them, rely upon them for our nation's security and for the well-being of our populace. I mean, it is -- it is disgusting beyond belief.

The next step here?

WIAN: The next step, as Secretary Chertoff said, they have got appeals. This lawsuit will continue to go forward. The administration says it's going to fight it vigorously.

They still think they're going it win on the merits. They still think they have the right to use these no-match letters as evidence that an employer may be hiring an illegal alien -- Lou.

DOBBS: Yes. Well, and somebody needs to do I think an investigation of why the AFL-CIO has so many no-match numbers amongst its members.

It's shocking that the AFL-CIO, wanting to preserve the rights of the American worker, is selling out on the issue of illegal immigration. I think we need to see a real serious examination of that. And I think the leadership of the AFL-CIO owes its membership a very strong explanation and a full, transparent explanation and a full accounting as well.

Casey, thank you very much -- Casey Wian from Los Angeles.

That brings us to the subject of our poll question tonight: Do you believe no-match letters are, as the American Civil Liberties Union insists, part of a -- quote -- "callous disregard" for legal workers and citizens? Yes or no. Cast your vote at We will have the results here later in the broadcast.

Let's turn now to a developing story. The strike at Chrysler is over, just over seven hours ago; 31,000 Chrysler workers, members of the United Auto Workers union, manned the picket lines, demanding higher wages and better job security, that after a breakdown in reaching an agreement by the 11:00 a.m. Eastern time deadline.

Union workers did reach a tentative settlement with the new owners at the money-losing carmaker.

Bill Tucker is here now and has the latest for us, this just developing over the last short while -- Bill.

BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, this strike barely got started and at the end of it, the union and the company aren't saying much, except that the strike is over.

The UAW releasing a statement that says in part -- quote -- "Once again, teamwork in the leadership and solidarity in the ranks has produced an agreement that protects our jobs and our communities."

DOBBS: Blah, blah, blah, blah.

OK. What happened here? What's the deal?


TUCKER: We don't know.

We know that company came out and said that they are -- they reached an agreement to protect the retiree benefits of retiree health care benefits.

DOBBS: Right.


TUCKER: So, we can presume they have got some kind of...


DOBBS: Meanwhile, Chrysler has no better competitive position against foreign carmakers, and General Motors has no better competitive position against foreign carmakers, particularly the transplants, which are in the state without the necessity of providing for those legacy health care costs.

TUCKER: Right.

DOBBS: And the fact of the matter is, both of those companies, their management, their leadership has demonstrated no ability to be aggressive and effective in attracting consumers with attractive automobiles that will succeed in the marketplace.

TUCKER: Oh, and that's very evident in Chrysler's case, Lou. They are no longer a big three. They're a lowly fourth, because Toyota kicked them out of that earlier this year. And it's GM, Toyota, Ford, and Chrysler.


DOBBS: ... big three, at least, because they do have American ownership. We have got that much -- they have got that much going for them.


TUCKER: Private equity at work, Lou. That's true.

DOBBS: Now we will decide whether or not it's good to be in that standing, but at least a step forward.

And it's very important to workers across this country. No one wants to discuss this in this country, it seems, today.

TUCKER: Right.

DOBBS: But the unions -- I just mentioned the AFL-CIO -- they're basically screwing the American worker and many of those that they represent with their attention on illegal aliens, who are, frankly, driving labor down, particularly in poor industries, construction, leisure, hospitality, landscaping.

But this is a situation in which those unions have built the strength of the American worker in terms of conditions and guarantees of workplace safety. The implications here are critically important for all workers in this country, particularly in manufacturing, dwindling as it may be, but critically important for the well-being of American manufacturing workers. TUCKER: Absolutely. And even the workers who aren't unionized, Lou, owe their benefits, their health care and all of the things they get today to positions that the union has taken over the years.

DOBBS: It's obvious we're headed in a very new direction and one that is leading us into unchartered territory. Hopefully, that failure to have a chartered territory will mean that it will lead us into an area that means resolution for these difficult issues that are facing all of us in this country right now.

Bill Tucker, thank you very much.

TUCKER: You're welcome.

DOBBS: Time now for some of your thoughts.

Many of you writing in about my now upcoming debate with former Mexican President Vicente Fox, who challenged me.

Robert in Arizona wrote in to say: "You should debate Vicente Fox and President Bush at the same time. They both represent the same country after all, and it sure isn't the United States."

That's an intriguing thought. Perhaps we will extend that offer. See if President Bush would like to join President Fox and myself down in San Cristobal of Chiapas, Mexico. We are going to give him home field advantage, it looks like.

And Sherry in Arizona: "Lou, debate Fox, hell yes. Go get him."

We will do our best.

And Eddie in Texas: "George Walker Bush, the best president Mexico ever had."

Well, Vicente Fox might argue with you.

We will have more of your thoughts here later in the broadcast.

Still ahead here tonight, Texas telling the Bush administration to stop interfering with the execution of a Mexican illegal alien rapist and murderer.

And buyer beware, shocking allegations Mattel lied to consumers, customers, and government regulators about product defects and dangers to consumers. We will have that report, a great deal more, coming right up.

We're coming right back. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Tonight, Mattel, the world's largest toy brand, as it likes to style itself, faces a lawsuit filed by its shareholders. Mattel already has recalled more than 20 million of the Chinese-made toys that it has offshored for manufacture this year. Now a group of shareholders says Mattel postponed telling regulators about those product defects, and with a purpose.

As Christine Romans now reports, the lawsuit alleges Mattel profited from the strategy at the expense of children and consumer safety.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Its brand is already battered after recalls of millions of potentially dangerous toys. Now Mattel faces a shareholder lawsuit filed today in a Delaware court.

Shareholder attorney Jay Eisenhofer says Mattel misled investors.

JAY EISENHOFER, ATTORNEY: Mattel has got a history of these types of problems, and there should be policies and procedures in place to make sure that these types of things are not happening. How do you have lead in your toys that is 180 times the legal limit?

ROMANS: The suit also alleges Mattel for 10 years has delayed reporting faulty products to the government, repeatedly violating federal law. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating the timing of Mattel's tainted toy disclosures. By law, defects must be reported within 24 hours. Mattel would not comment.

Mattel's Fisher-Price brand was fined $975,000 for failing for months to report a defect on a popular farm toy. Mattel first learned of the problem in September 2002. Three months later, a baby underwent lung surgery after inhaling a piece of the toy. Mattel did not report the flaw to the government until March 2003.

Six years ago, Mattel was fined a record $1.1 million for waiting months to report that its Fisher-Price Power Wheels toys caused 116 fires, $300,000 in property damage, and at least nine minor burns in children. Then, CPSC chairman Ann Brown blasted the company -- quote -- "Fisher-Price knew about hundreds of problems with its Power Wheels, yet did nothing for years. Failing to report product defects will not be tolerated."

Fisher-price paid the fine, but denied the allegations.

In this more recent safety scandal, Mattel has apologized to Congress...

ROBERT ECKERT, CHAIRMAN & CEO, MATTEL: We were let down and we let you down.

ROMANS: ... and to the Chinese, saying Mattel's own design flaws had damaged China's reputation.


ROMANS: Now, today's lawsuit claims investors have also suffered. They have lost 20 percent of their stock value since the scandals broke. According to the suit, in the months leading up to Mattel's recalls, insiders sold $33 million worth of Mattel stock. The Securities and Exchange Commission, Lou, when we asked them about it, said they do not comment on investigations or on litigation. But this is the kind of thing that usually gets the attention of regulators.

DOBBS: Well, I would that Mattel right now would have attracted the attention of just about everybody in this -- well, assuming that this administration had the capacity to run a functional federal government, but consumer -- Consumer Product Safety, the Fair Trade Commission.

I mean, my gosh, on nearly every level, this Mattel operation is -- is failing the American consuming public.

ROMANS: And these two incidents that we told you about where they were actually fined by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. It was clear they waited months after their own internal investigations were ongoing, where they thought that there was a problem, before they recalled the toys.

And that really angered the then chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, as you can see.

DOBBS: Well, and that anger, for whatever -- whatever degree it resides now at the commission, of course, with the cutbacks in staffing, cutbacks in the budget and, basically, almost neutering that agency, that anger can't be expressed in full force on behalf of the American consumer.

Thank you very much, Christine Romans.

Coming up next, a provocative new book by our very own Jack Cafferty. He challenges conventional wisdom, orthodoxy, elected officials and just about everybody else.

And look at that. He put the word "ugly" on a jacket with his own face on there. For guys like Cafferty and Dobbs, that's a dangerous thing to do. But he's going to join us. We're going to have a discussion. And we're going to flog his book mercilessly.

The confrontation in New York over the governor's plan to give drivers' licenses to illegal aliens escalating. A leading congressman from New York, Congressman Pete King, joins us here tonight.

Then we'll have a showdown with the Supreme Court over a state's right to execute a criminal illegal alien who brutally murdered two teenagers. But President Bush doesn't like that. The compassionate conservative darling president. And what in the world is he thinking now? You won't believe it.

Stay with us; we're coming right back.


DOBBS: The U.S. Supreme Court today heard arguments over the death penalty conviction of an illegal alien from Mexico in the brutal rape and murder of two teenage girls in Texas.

The highly unusual case involves President Bush. The president now wants to stop the execution of the Mexican citizen, even though President Bush presided over more than 150 executions while he was governor of the state of Texas.

Lisa Sylvester reports on why this case is very important for all Americans.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fourteen-year- old Jennifer Ertman and 16-year-old Elizabeth Pena were gang-raped and strangled in 1993 in Texas.

Jose Medellin, a Mexican national, was convicted of taking part in the attack and was sentenced to death. The case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

RICHARD SAMP, ATTORNEY FOR ERTMAN FAMILY: We've been going on this process for 14 years. Enough is enough.

SYLVESTER: Medellin's lawyers claim he was not told of his right under the Vienna Convention to contact the Mexican consulate upon arrest. Mexico sued the United States in the International Court of Justice, which sided with Mexico.

Then, President Bush stepped in, in 2005, ordering Texas courts to grant new hearings for Medellin and other Mexicans on Death Row. Now at issue, state's rights versus federal authority and international ruling versus domestic law.

NICHOLAS QUINN ROSENKRANZ, GEORGETOWN LAW PROFESSOR: Can the International Court of Justice opinion or the president's memo force Texas to open its state courthouse doors in a way that they wouldn't otherwise be open?

SYLVESTER: Texas says, no, arguing an international court ruling does not supersede U.S. domestic law and U.S. courts.

TED CRUZ, TEXAS SOLICITOR GENERAL: If the world court has the ability to trump the Supreme Court of the United States, that will gravely undermine the sovereignty of the American people.

SYLVESTER: The White House and lawyers for Medellin argue that the United States must live up to its treaty obligations to protect Americans detained or arrested overseas.

DONALD DONOVAN, ATTORNEY FOR JOSE MEDELLIN: When the United States deals with the world, it deals as one nation, as one voice. And when it entered into the ISJ protocol and the U.N. Charter and the Vienna Convention, it spoke as a nation. It didn't speak on the basis of individual states.

SYLVESTER: The high court divided along ideological lines, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg arguing, quote, the United States gave its promise to fulfill treaty obligations.

Chief Justice John Roberts saying the government's position, quote, "seems to leave no role for this court in interpreting treaties as a matter of federal law."


SYLVESTER: The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling some time before next June. Though this case impacts not only Jose Medellin but 50 other Mexican citizens currently on Death Row in the United States -- Lou.

DOBBS: Lisa, thank you very much. Lisa Sylvester.

What happened to the other four convicted gang members in this rape and murder? Medellin's 14-year-old brother at the time, Benny (ph), was sentenced to 40 years. Two others received life sentences. One now awaits execution. The other gang member was executed last July.

Many lawmakers vigorously oppose the world court meddling in this vicious Texas rape and murder case and resent President Bush and his administration's intrusion.

Two lawmakers from the state of Texas join us tonight, Republican Congressman Michael McCaull and Republican Congressman Ted Poe, and he knew the families of both the rape and murder victims.

We thank you, both, for being here.


DOBBS: Let me turn first to the idea, and this is your president in every way. He is a Republican. He is a Texan. You served with him in the state of Texas, and you serve with him in the federal government today.

He is saying basically -- and interfering in this case, is he not -- that the sovereignty of the United States needs to be, in fact, diminished, that the federal government's role needs to be established as primary over that of the state. Tell us -- tell us your thinking.

REP. TED POE (R), TEXAS: Well, Lou, it seems it me that under the separation of powers, the president hasn't -- does not have any authority over any court to tell them what to do.

And the highest court in Texas recently ruled, in all respect to the president, that he has no jurisdiction in this matter at all. And that's why this case is before the Supreme Court.

And certainly, the U.S. Constitution takes precedent over international law and especially in this specific case, and the case should, obviously, be upheld by the Supreme Court.

DOBBS: Congressman McCaull, your thoughts? MCCAULL: Well, you know, basically you have the president who does not make the laws. The Congress makes the law of the United States.

And if the idea of a federal or, I'm sorry, a foreign tribunal interfering in the argument that somehow they can preempt U.S. or state law in the United States is a direct attack on our sovereignty in this nation. And I believe that the high court will prevail in our way of thinking in the end.

DOBBS: Let me ask you both. Both of you attorneys, judges, prosecutors, as a former Texas attorney general, Texas Supreme Court justice, Senator John Cornyn today. He gave us this statement on this case, and I want to hear your reaction to it.

This is what he said: "The president's attempt to interfere with state law exceeds the constitution's limits on his power and, if allowed, would set a dangerous precedent."

We are watching, in your expressions as two Republican congressmen from the state of Texas, Senator Cornyn from the state of Texas. What is this president, in your judgment, giving him at the outside, very best interpretation -- what in the world could he be thinking?

POE: Well, I think that he believes that the world court was correct and so he took it upon his own initiative to order the state of Texas it review this case, to retry him, maybe.

And of course, in my opinion, he doesn't have that authority. If the president has the authority to go into a state court and tell them what to do, that gives the president unlimited power, not just this president, but any president after him.

So, I think that's where the separation of powers issues comes in. This is a judicial decision, and the defendant never asked for a consulate. And so I think this will be resolved by the Supreme Court.

DOBBS: Let me ask you this, Congressman McCaull, your best judgment. Is there in the Constitution, with the rights of treaty, which go to the Senate and with a -- with a lesser role, in point of fact, for the Congress of the United States and with the signature of the president, is there any interpretation within the Constitution that would permit any president, any Congress, any Senate or, for that matter, any court to abridge the sovereignty of the United States through any treaty of any kind?

MCCAULL: I don't believe there is that justification. If you look at Article VI that discusses the laws of the United States and treaties.

However, when this treaty was ratified in the Senate, it was done so with the express condition that it would not usurp United States law or state law. In fact, if you look at the legislative history intent, they were to come back to the Congress if there was any ruled court opinion that was to the contrary. So, the Congress never gave up its authority to pass laws on this, and I think the president, with the separation of powers, is quite frankly out of line on this one.

DOBBS: And I would say to you, Congressmen, that I think he's out of line on a great deal. But let me ask you, more importantly in the state of Texas, what did the citizens of the state of Texas, how are they reacting? How are your constituents reacting in this?

MCCAULL: They see a Mexican national that's come into our state, violating our state laws, brutally raped and brutally killed two girls. And then they use this counselor notification loophole, if you will, to get a federal -- a foreign tribunal, again, to intervene and get them off Death Row. I think our constituents are outraged about this case.

POE: Let me follow up on that, Lou. I was a judge when this occurred. I've met the families of the victims. And even under Texas standards, which has a lot of notorious killings, this is one of the worst.

This defendant, his guilt is overwhelming. He confessed. He bragged about killing these two girls. And he never once complained about this counselor issue for ten years. And now he wants to avoid the fate of the death penalty, and it's very, very unfortunate.

People are very irritated about the position the president has taken in this case.

MCCAULL: If I can, Lou, I oversaw Death Row appeals in the state of Texas. This argument has been raised numerous times and repeatedly rejected by the courts, and that's why I feel confident that the Supreme Court will reject this argument.

DOBBS: Well, we will certainly know that by most -- by most expectations from the knowledge of all on the high court this spring, a decision is expected by the Supreme Court.

We thank you very much, gentlemen. Congressman Poe, Congressman McCall, we appreciate you being here tonight.

POE: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: Up next, rising opposition to New York's governor, Eliot Spitzer. His proposal to just simply hand out drivers' licenses to illegal aliens. He and George Bush right on track with one another.

Jack Cafferty, he's mad as hell. He joins me next. We'll be talking about his new book, "It's Getting Ugly Out There". Isn't that amazing, his word ugly with a pretty face like that? We'll be talking about it. We'll be flogging that book. And a lot more coming right up. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Opposition to New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's proposal to give illegal aliens drivers' licenses is escalating. New York -- New York's congressman, Peter King, is among the most severe critics of the governor's proposal, and Congressman King joins us from Capitol Hill.

Congressman, good to have you here.

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Lou, good to be with you.

DOBBS: What -- what in the world is Eliot Spitzer thinking about?

KING: Lou, I have no idea. I don't think Governor Spitzer had any idea of the firestorm that he was creating by this, but this is being opposed across the board politically.

I tell you the response from rank and file people, not Democrats, Republicans, necessarily, just ordinary Americans. Ordinary New Yorkers is, you know, really almost unprecedented.

This is, I think, one of the worst single decisions a governor has ever made. It absolutely flies in the face of homeland security, flies in the face of common sense, flies in the face of border security. It's just wrong from any way you look at it.

DOBBS: Does it -- as you -- I don't know if you've talked with the governor or his people or his staff recently, but the very idea -- I mean, we have the county clerks, 13 of them at last count, that said no matter what this governor does, it isn't going to happen. They're not getting drivers' licenses.

We have seen the, for example, Senator Golden -- State Senator Golden was on this broadcast last night, introducing legislation to block the effort. Calls for the federal government to intervene against the governor. What is going to be, in your judgment, the outcome?

KING: I think he's going to have to back down, even though he's a pretty stubborn guy. I know it's going to overwhelmingly pass the Senate, overriding his action. What the Democrats do in the assembly, that's going to be the tough call.

Many prominent Democrats like former mayor, Ed Koch, Suffolk County executive Steve Levy, even Democratic state senator on Long Island, has now come out strongly against it.

You mentioned, Marty Gold. He's a tough fighter. He will keep us going, and he will keep the pressure on. So really, it depends upon the Democrats in the assembly, but ultimately, it depends upon the voters of New York. They have to -- they have to let their state assemblymen know how they feel.

DOBBS: Let me -- Governor Spitzer isn't backing down, as you would guess. And he's, in fact -- this is a comment he made last week in response to criticism of his outrageous proposal. I love this. This is what Spitzer said.


GOV. ELIOT SPITZER (D) NEW YORK: There has already been very significant pushback as you've seen the nature of the rhetoric and anti-immigrant emotions that have been fanned and preyed upon.


DOBBS: You know, we've asked the governor almost daily to come join us on this broadcast. Anti-immigrant emotions? You know, this is just sleazy nonsense. And this governor is too smart for it. He thinks he's being cute, politically.

What's going to be -- how are you going it react to a governor who talks like that?

KING: First of all, you're right. That is too cute. It's cheap, tawdry. It totally misses the point. He knows what he's doing. He's a smart guy, and he's trying to be a wise guy right now. Not a smart guy but a wise guy. And it's going to blow up in his face.

He cannot win this fight. One way or the other he's going to lose it. The question whether he surrenders now or somehow he allows himself to back out of it later on. But he's going to lose this fight. This is -- he is against all the people on this one.

DOBBS: Presuming that there is any interest whatsoever in preserving the rights of citizens, whether New York state citizens or American citizens, in this issue. Thank you very much, Congressman Pete King.

KING: Thank you. Good to be with you.

DOBBS: Up next, he's outspoken. He's opinionated. He's controversial. He's a friend of mine. He's Jack Cafferty. We'll -- we'll be back, and we're going to find out why he put ugly and his own face on the same book cover.



DOBBS: CNN's Jack Cafferty is opinionated, outspoken. Some even say controversial. I don't buy that. He hosts the "Cafferty File" on "THE SITUATION ROOM", both before, after and -- who knows -- all throughout this broadcast.

His first book and "New York Times" best-selling first book, is called "It's Getting Ugly Out There: The Frauds, Bunglers, Liars and Losers Who are Hurting America".

Jack joins us here.

Jack, first of all, congratulations on the book. It's a best seller. That's outstanding.

CAFFERTY: It's doing all right.

DOBBS: It's a terrific book. And I think we're going it give it away for some e-mails. Can we do that?

CAFFERTY: Absolutely.

DOBBS: We're going to flog this book. Now, why in the world is it getting so ugly out there in your opinion?

CAFFERTY: These are all people you know, of course. You're intimately acquainted with on this program. These are the people who want to give drivers' licenses to illegal aliens who won't secure the borders, who are spending $720 million a day on the war in Iraq, who have just completed the largest embassy in the world in Baghdad at the cost of $750 million; $144 million cost overrun.

The place is uninhabitable. It was supposed to open a month ago. They don't know when it's going to be open. The fire codes haven't been met. The electrical codes haven't been met.

DOBBS: There's something about the fire codes in a nation in which there are so many IEDs exploding that -- the war in Iraq is, perhaps, the most difficult issue to face this country and, certainly since Vietnam, in your perspective, whether you consider it a quagmire or not.

But what's fascinating is you read the e-mails from the viewers on "THE SITUATION ROOM". The outrage and the anger is palpable.

CAFFERTY: Well, it is palpable. Seventy percent of the population thinks the country is going in the wrong direction. The primary reason they feel that way is the war in Iraq.

And one of the reasons that they don't support the war in Iraq is that we were -- they ran a game on us. They lied to us, and they got us committed. Powell was right.

DOBBS: I have to say one thing. They lied to us, the precious darlings. Can you believe that? The American people, we have been lied to, and we have been betrayed. We've had our butts kicked.


DOBBS: And that's only by the people we've elected to office to represent us. The idea that this government -- and you and I have been in journalism and television journalism for a very long time. We won't -- we won't add up all the years.

CAFFERTY: No, it's a long time.

DOBBS: But it is truly a situation in which I -- and I have to ask you. I have never seen more dysfunctional government.


DOBBS: I've never seen less qualified leaders, so-called. And, frankly, less interest on the part of the people to change what is a dire situation.

CAFFERTY: That's the most troubling part. The Congress has an 11 percent approval rating in one of the national polls. Eleven percent.

DOBBS: Makes you want to meet those 11 percent.

CAFFERTY: Yes, who are these people? It might be a little high, actually.

But why aren't the people that watch this program and "THE SITUATION ROOM", and just the citizens, more actively involved in trying to change it. And my guess is that maybe they feel it's beyond their ability to change.

The Democrats and the Republicans, you can't tell them apart except on the wedge issues of flag burning and gay marriage and the Shiloh case and stuff like that.

DOBBS: I have a question, on this broadcast and in my entreaties to everyone who watches this broadcast or reads anything I write, I beg people to register as independents. Get away from it.


DOBBS: Because the fact of the matter is, Republicans and Democrats, they're the -- it's the same game. They're opposite wings of the same bird. And people will get all involved -- I love it -- the wedge issues.

We're going to get all excited about gun control.


DOBBS: And we're going to get all exited about...

CAFFERTY: Gay marriage.

DOBBS: ... gay marriage or abortion.

CAFFERTY: Flag burning.

DOBBS: And meanwhile, there's not a presidential candidate with a hoot of influence over any of those issues.

CAFFERTY: No, and those issues at the end of the day matter, I think, a lot less than the fact that we're approaching $10 trillion in debt in this country.

The current administration has accumulated more debt than all of the previous presidents combined. Unfunded liabilities for things like Social Security and Medicare are equal to the entire net worth of the United States of America. Tens of trillions of dollars that's not being addressed. It's going to be left for your kids, my kids, our grandchildren. The standard of living in this country is going to start down for the first time, maybe since our Founding Fathers put this thing together.

DOBBS: Yes. And -- and one of the most chilling comments that you make in your book, if we could put this up. Jack wrote, "I have never been scared before, but I am scared now. Scared that we're losing our way, not because somebody is taking it away, because -- but because we're giving it away."

You think the 2008 election could change it?



CAFFERTY: Not one iota.

DOBBS: Are you pretty excited about any one of the candidates?


DOBBS: We've got -- what do we have? Eighteen, about 18 of them out there.

CAFFERTY: I mean, there's one or two that have interesting ideas, but they don't have the money. They don't get the press coverage. They don't have the political machines. They don't have the access to the -- to the big bucks, the corporate bucks.

DOBBS: You don't sound like a Hillary and Giuliani fan?

CAFFERTY: Not today.

DOBBS: Jack Cafferty. The book is "It's Getting Ugly Out There". And as I said earlier, guys like Cafferty, I mean, we've got to be careful when we put "ugly" on the cover with our own picture.

CAFFERTY: We have the picture to underline the title. I know.

DOBBS: Terrific book, all the best. Congratulations.

CAFFERTY: Thanks, Lou, very much.

DOBBS: There will be a lot more of Jack, of course, in "THE SITUATION ROOM", coming up here in just a few moments, and he'll be assisted ably by Wolf Blitzer.

CAFFERTY: Wolf Blitzer.

DOBBS: Wolf Blitzer. Up next, the results of our polls. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Ninety-one percent of you say those no-match letters aren't, as the ACLU insists, part of a callous disregard for legal workers and citizens. Good for you.

Thanks for being with us tonight.

"THE SITUATION ROOM" now with Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Lou.