Return to Transcripts main page
Supreme Court Refuses to Block Texas Abortion Ban; Transit Shut Down Across Northeast; Flooding Paralyzes New York City and New Jersey; Louisiana Still Without Power. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired September 02, 2021 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kaitlan Collins, live in Times Square.
We are going to get back to the breaking news here in the northeast where the remnants of Hurricane Ida have pummeled the area leading to catastrophic flooding.
But we do first want to get to some other news that broke overnight. And this is huge.
The Supreme Court has now broken its silence and is declining to block that incredibly restrictive abortion law in Texas that restricts abortions after about six weeks, before most women even know that they are pregnant. This is something that people have been waiting all day yesterday for the Supreme Court to weigh in, and they did just before midnight.
So, for now, I want to bring in CNN's Laura Jarrett and Iran Carmen, who is the co-author of "Notorious RBG" and a senior correspondent for "New York Magazine."
Laura, first to you.
What can you tell us about the Supreme Court finally breaking its silence after so many people were waiting to hear for them throughout the day yesterday?
LAURA JARRETT, CNN CO-ANCHOR: Yes, Kaitlan, this was sort of the moment everyone was waiting for after they had essentially refused to act the day before. They finally break their silence and they do it in a very short order. Just a short paragraph, an unsigned opinion from the courts more conservative wing here essentially saying you can come back later, but, for now, this Texas law stands.
And why? It's all because of who's supposed to enforce it. These private plaintiffs are the ones who are allowed to have essentially the police power of the state, if you will, behind them. The ability to sue private abortion providers in Texas. And because of that, the courts says we -- essentially, we don't have any game here because it isn't a federal official who's actually the one in charge of enforcing it. It's these private plaintiffs. We don't have anything to pick up here.
And so essentially the court is saying, you can come back another day but, for now, this law stands, which is essentially incredible doing an end run around Roe in less than a page.
COLLINS: And, Laura, can you just remind our viewers what this law -- how restrictive this is and why it was so stunning and also why it's so difficult for people to challenge in court?
JARRETT: It's incredibly restrictive. It's the most restrictive in the country, certainly the most restrictive that's ever been allowed to stand. People have tried before to sort of get around what you call pre-viability, right? So, if you think about it in terms of trimesters, they've tried this before and it hasn't worked, but this time it does.
Essentially, in Texas, as soon as a doctor detects a fetal heartbeat, you can no longer get an abortion. And, obviously, that can happen as early as six weeks. It can happen before many women even know they're pregnant. So, you -- say you go in for an appointment at eight weeks, you get the heartbeat, then you can no longer get an abortion in Texas.
And the real issue here is that it has a chilling effect on the providers. This is -- this is really a way to make sure that the providers are scared out of providing coverage because they know if they do they face financial ruin. They can be sued for up to $10,000 plus attorney fees. And, again, it's by private parties. Anyone who wants to sue can do now -- in Texas can do it.
COLLINS: And, Irin, what is your take on this dramatic move? Because we have been waiting for so long to hear what the Supreme Court is going to say. And a lot of people were wondering why they had not said anything as of yesterday morning when this had gone into effect at midnight the night before.
IRIN CARMON, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, "NEW YORK MAGAZINE": The L: Kaitlan, this is Donald Trump's legacy. Roe v. Wade is dead. Laura laid it out beautifully, the fact that this was predicated on a technicality. They only took a few paragraphs to do it. But, practically speaking, even Chief Justice John Roberts, a Republican appointee, said that what the court did was unprecedented. Not just unusual, but unprecedented.
He dissented. So I think what you're seeing with the court is that usually they act really, really quickly in these kinds of emergency petitions. They're known as the shadow docket, if they think the issue is important. Here, they dallied, they kept us waiting for 24 hours. In the meantime, people in Texas are not able to vindicate (ph) their constitutional rights, not really knowing what the law is.
Finally, at midnight, when Justice Alito writes, he says, while this is so confusing and so technical, let's just let the law go into place, as opposed to what the Supreme Court normally does, which is to have a full briefing and to have oral argument, and that they write long opinions if they are going to overturn almost 50 years of precedent, which is what they did last night.
So you have Chief Justice Roberts writing a dissent saying that this is unprecedented. And while he doesn't want to talk about the constitutionality of the law yet, he says that we shouldn't be banning abortion at six weeks just this way through the process in the middle of the night. We should hear it properly and allow people to make arguments.
And then you have additional dissents from Justices Kagan, Breyer -- excuse me, Justice Breyer wrote one that Justice Kagan joined, Justice Sotomayor, also that the two Democrat appointees joined. And Justice Sotomayor said that this was stunning. She said that the court had failed to respect the constitutionality -- the constitutional rights of women and she also said that the court was not respecting its own precedent or its own process.
So really an extraordinary night that will have reverberations not just in Texas but in the entire country as many other conservative- controlled states are very likely to follow the example of Texas in setting up this kind of intricate trap that allows the court to ban abortion, again, 85 percent of abortions, without even really having a full hearing about it.
COLLINS: And you say this is Donald Trump's legacy, Irin. Obviously, you're referring to the former president putting three justices on the Supreme Court. Of course, I think that reminds almost everyone about Senator Susan Collins and what she had said about Roe versus Wade.
But let's remember what Susan Collins has said about what she thought the future of it was going to be.
CARMON: That's absolutely --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): I do not believe that Brett Kavanaugh will overturn Roe V. Wade.
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: His precedents were overturned.
COLLINS: He noted that Roe had been reaffirmed 19 years later by Planned Parenthood versus Casey and that it was precedent on precedent. He said it should be extremely rare that it be overturned. And it should be an example --
BASH: So you have obviously full confidence?
COLLINS: I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: So, Irin, she said that she believed it was settled law. Is Susan Collins wrong?
CARMON: Everybody knew that it was false at the time. And we know that it's false today. Justice Kavanaugh was among the justices, all of the Trump justices voted last night, again, just in a couple of paragraphs to ban abortion after six weeks. Again, Row v. Wade and all of the precedent that had built on it has said for almost 50 years that a woman or a pregnant person has a right to end their pregnancy before viability.
Last night the Supreme Court, in a kind of dashed off, past its deadline order, not even really explaining its reasoning but just kind of finding this procedural, technical excuse, undermined that and made abortion illegal starting in Texas at six weeks.
And many providers are now going to either shut their doors or offer very limited service because they cannot risk the kind of bounty hunters, vigilante justice. So, no, when -- when Justice Kennedy retired, when Donald Trump won and he promised to appoint justices who he said would automatically overturn Roe v. Wade, everybody knew that this would be the end game.
JARRETT: And can I just add, Kaitlan, you know, part of what's so stunning about this, as Irin's pointing out, this doesn't preserve the status quo at all, right? You've seen other laws that get passed like this, you get something called an injunction that tries to put a pause on it, and that's what the abortion providers had tried to do here.
They had tried to say, hey, wait a minute, let's actually get this briefed, let's actually hear argument on this. And, instead, the court is allowing it to go into effect. But by doing that, it does not preserve the status quo at all. The damage is done. The harm is done. These abortion clinics right now on their websites are saying, you cannot come in and get an abortion if you get a fetal heartbeat. So, in effect, there is -- there is no more status quo. The status quo in Texas is that Roe is done.
COLLINS: And President Biden said yesterday that he believed this law violated constitutional rights. And so I imagine we will hear more from him on this today.
Laura and Irin, thank you very much for joining us.
I'm Kaitlan Collins in New York. We will have more live coverage of the catastrophic flooding that has rocked the northeast overnight, up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's always been shocking when you literally see the streets of New York looking like, you know, the river is flowing and people just in shock of what's going on, especially the images of what's happening in the subways. So these are dangerous situations. Want to make sure people stay away from them. Right now we're in a very dire situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: That's the governor of New York there talking about the catastrophic flooding that has happened overnight after New York City has been sent essentially into a state of emergency with these floods, with record rainfall happening within just hours while people were essentially trapped in their cars on subway stations. You see the city really be essentially stunned by the record of rainfall that they saw happening overnight.
Officials knew there was going to be rain. I don't think they were expecting this much rain.
We have reporters all throughout New York and New Jersey. There are -- both states are under states of emergency.
But I want to go to Evan McMorris-Santoro, who is in lower Manhattan, outside of a subway station where they were filled with water overnight and people have been stranded in these stations for hours because they are unable to get where they are trying to go. Only several lines with working. The lines that are working are experiencing severe delays.
So, Evan, what are you seeing from where you are?
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kaitlan, we've been out here since very early this morning. And the city's still waking up from, as you mentioned, that historic rainfall last night.
Officials are saying, don't take the subway. Don't take the bus. Don't take the train right now. Things are not working.
And I'll explain to you why because I'm here at the 28th Street station for the 1 train, which right now, look, you see these green lights, don't let them fool you, this train is not running. Nothing is happening on this train right now.
Let me show you why. Here's some video of what it looked like in this station last night.
You see that torrential just -- yes, that pouring of that waterfall in the subway station. And this morning those stations are still closed. If you go down into the station, you'll see police tape blocking off the, you know, the turnstiles. You can't go in. You can't go on. Officials are still saying that they can put this thing back together, but they're in the process of doing it and it's taking a very long time. And that rain last night, it really socked -- it really knocked out
this transportation system. Just earlier on our air we heard from the head of the MTA saying 15 to 20 trains were stranded last night by that train -- by that rain. Officials had to go down there, take a couple hours to go and rescue people off of those train cars.
So, right now, officials are saying, this system is not yet ready for people to come back on. It's been a hard message for people to hear. We've seen a few people try to come on and walk down the subway, see it's closed and come back up, try to figure out something else to get to work. What they're saying in New York right now is, don't go to work right now. Try to stay home. Leave the streets free. Leave the system free for crews to get down, try to clean it out, try to fix it up and get things moving again.
But, as you mentioned, this historic rain really caught everyone by surprise and really knocked out the life blood of New York, that underground transportation system, the subway.
COLLINS: Right. That's the main way people get around. It's the main artery through the city. And, of course, now it is experiencing these severe delays.
Evan, we'll get back to you.
But I want to bring in Kim Cobb, who is a climate scientist.
And, Kim, what we saw yesterday broke records, 3.1 inches of rain recorded in Central Park, breaking a record that was set just last week, of course, when there was a lot of rainfall there before that.
So, what does this tell you? Because we heard from the Queensboro president, Donovan Richards, just a few moments ago who was saying, this sets in motion a serious conversation about climate change.
KIM COBB, PROFESSOR OF EARTH AND ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, GEORGIA TECH: Well, one of the things that we know about rising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is that they are, of course, warming the planet, which is something we've known for a very long time.
A new United Nations report just out last month, that I was lead author on, indicates new and stronger links between the heating of the atmosphere and the occurrence of extreme rainfall such as this type of event. That is because the atmosphere can hold more moisture in a warming world and we've already seen direct links to warming and, for example, the event that occurred in Germany this last summer that killed over 180 people.
COLLINS: And, of course, the big question that people have had is also about the infrastructure in New York. A lot of that changed we know after Sandy in 2012. But do you think the city is prepared to see weather events like this happen on a potentially regular basis? COBB: I mean, I don't think that -- that what we're seeing today is
emblematic of a climate-ready city in New York. But, obviously, we have this story coming out from cities across the world, from communities out west grappling with wildfires that are clinked to climate change. We're just coming out of Ida's devastation across the southeastern U.S., Louisiana and Mississippi infrastructure that is not ready for our climate of now, let alone the climate of tomorrow.
These kinds of climate impacts are going to worsen with each additional increment of warming. Obviously reducing that risk means enacting a kind of deep, sustained reductions in emissions that will reduce the risk and keep these -- keep these impacts to a minimum by this century when we'll see tangible, potential benefits of those reductions.
COLLINS: Yes, of course. And, Kim, there are big questions, not just about what is happening here in New York, but also how all this got started in Louisiana.
Thank you for joining us this morning. We will check back in with you on what this means for the -- prompting the bigger conversation about climate change.
We will also go to Louisiana after this, of course. That is where Hurricane Ida started here in the United States. They are still dealing with the aftereffects of it here as the remnants are hitting the Northeast.
We'll be right back.
COLLINS: And we're back in New York City live where catastrophic flooding overnight has stranded people in cars, in subway stations, on trains. We are going to continue monitoring the developments here in the city as a lot of people are just waking up, some of them haven't slept throughout the night given the flooding that has happened and stranded them throughout the city.
But, first, I do want to go to Louisiana, where CNN's Ryan Young is. Of course, that is where Hurricane Ida first hit the United States. We're seeing the remnants here now in New York.
Ryan, what is happening on the ground in Louisiana? And do people have power more so than they did yesterday where, of course, we know a lot of people still were functioning without it?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a lot of people are still functioning without that power. You feel for those people in New York because you understand what they're going through at this point, Kaitlan, the fact of not having power, dealing with flood waters. That's what they're dealing with in the situation here in terms of not having power. It has been so extremely hot over the last few days. The number one
commodities, of course, are ice and people are looking for water and food because that's becoming pretty scare now because people's food is starting to spoil and they're going out looking for food. So we've seen a lot of efforts to make sure that people get something to eat.
If you look behind me, you can see some of the remnants of the damage behind us. This road was actually blocked yesterday, so we've seen crews be able to get into certain areas and be able to cut the trees out of the streets and get that done so people can start moving through the city.
On top of that, we've heard small reports of looting and they have police officers on the street to make sure that that doesn't happen in the overnight hours because you understand there are some people who are getting desperate.
Add on top of that, there are people who have been running generators in their house and more than 30 people have been -- had to be rushed to the hospital to deal with that sort of gas that's been in the house because of them running the generators.
All this with people starting to look toward the power companies, trying to figure out exactly when the power is going to come on. We know this storm has really critically damaged the power infrastructure in this area. People are hoping, and I do mean they are hoping, for something to sort of change here because during the day, as you know, especially during the summertime, this southern heat is unrelenting. And it's really hard to get comfortable. We've heard complaints over and over from the people, they just want to get started again to see something happen.
Now, the good news when it comes to this storm is the fact that the levies held. But at the same time, three, four days later, people are hoping to see some sort of action when it comes to getting their power on.
At the hospitals here, the National Guard have been starting to deliver fuel to make sure those backup generators are on to make sure the hospitals can keep their power on.
And we've seen a 195 percent increase in calls to the emergency line. So when you put all that together, you can see critically where we are in this place where people are just really need some sort of break and hopefully the power starts getting turned on in some location today.
COLLINS: Yes, Ryan, we're hope that happens, sooner rather than later.
We know President Biden is going to speak on Hurricane Ida later today after getting a briefing. He's going to come and visit Louisiana tomorrow according to the White House.
Ryan Young, thank you.
And NEW DAY continues right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
COLLINS: Good morning and welcome to NEW DAY. It is Thursday, September 2nd. I'm Kaitlan Collins, live in Times Square. John Berman is live in Upper Manhattan. And right now we are covering the breaking news after night after there was catastrophic flooding that hit the Northeast with those remnants of what we just saw with Ryan's report in Louisiana with the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
Millions of people in the Northeast are feeling the effects of it this morning and the remnants after it slammed the region with historic rainfall and catastrophic flooding. At least eight people have died as a result of these storms and what has happened overnight. And the torrential rain has also flooded subway stations and trapped people underground. The MTA says people from nearly two dozen subway trains had to be rescued overnight.
And the National Weather Service for the first time ever has declared a flash flood emergency in New York City.
Not a warning, an emergency.
More than three inches of rain fell in just one hour, which is a new record that broke a new record from last week.