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SAT Adversity Change: Score Me Dubious; SAT To Give Students "Adversity Score" To Factor In Hardships; College Board CEO Explains New "Adversity Score"; Is Warren Right To Boycott Fox News?; Biden's First Rally: Can He Sustain Front-Runner Status? Can Any December Break Through In Upcoming Debates?; Join The Crowd: Bill Deblasio Announces Presidential Bid; Will SCOTUS Take On Roe V. Wade Showdown?; Alabama Law Puts Abortion Rights Back Into Spotlight; More Illegal Immigration Does Not Lead To More Crime. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired May 18, 2019 - 09:00   ET



MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, SMERCONISH: I'm Michael Smerconish, not in Philadelphia, but in Hudson Yards, New York City. The College Board, the folks who administer the SAT, the Scholastic Aptitude Test, have just announced that there will be what's being referred to as an adversity score in addition to a numerical valuation of math and verbal skills. College Board Chief Executive David Coleman will join me in a moment to talk about what he refers to as context data.

Here are some of the concerns that I'm eager to raise with him and allow him to respond of course. The range will be between one and 100. We know that consideration will be given to 15 factors including the quality of the student's high school and the poverty level of the student's neighborhood. Race will not be considered. Students will not get to see the score.

While I think that the intent to level the playing field is noble, I have questions as to the approach. Even before this news, I've explained that I think that way too much consideration is given to this one exam. With regard to adversity, my view is that a college application should convey a variety of background information about the upbringing of an applicant, but to elevate a numerical value of circumstance alongside achievement in math and verbal scores is not the appropriate way that I think we should be doing it.

I worry that it will have undue influence upon those more objective scores. If the common app (ph) wishes to include questions of circumstance, that'd be fine, but for that role to be assumed by the administrator of the test itself, that's what strikes me as overreach.

Second, I worry that any broad assessment of one's neighborhood makes assumptions about what's going on in particular homes that might not be accurate. I'm fond of the island saying, "You don't know if the roof leaks until you live inside." What about families whose upscale appearance disguises the hardship indoors?

And third, I worry that this punishes a student in an advantaged neighborhood, maybe a white middle-class student, who still gains admission the old-fashioned way, by working hard.

Look, as a parent, I just went through the college application process for the fourth and final time, each with good result. This is far from sour grapes. Each of our children is more intelligent than I, but if I had it to do over again, I'd have to consider early on having them skip the SAT and ACT altogether.

Instead of the expensive test prep, the time-consuming independent study, the angst that is produced by each Saturday morning exam, I'd rather see that commitment directed toward something of lasting value like learning to be proficient in a musical instrument or painting or community service.

There's a reason why, according to FairTest, the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, that as of today, 1,025 accredited bachelor degree granting colleges and universities don't require the ACT or SAT scores and they include great schools like Bowdoin, the University of Chicago, Wake Forest, Brandeis, American, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and George Washington.

On this I think we can all agree, the status quo of college admissions, it's just not acceptable. Everybody thinks that the situation is unfair. Asians think that their number is capped, other minorities think it's a game of white privilege and those who are white and privileged think minorities and athletes are reducing slots for their kids. I say better that we keep the focus on grades earned over years instead of performance on a single Saturday.

I want to know what you think. Go to my website at Answer this question. Should the SAT include an adversity score?

Joining me now is David Coleman. He's the CEO of the College Board, the not-for-profit organization that develops and administers standardized tests like the SAT. Mr. Coleman, thanks so much for being here. Where am I wrong?

DAVID COLEMAN, CEO, COLLEGE BOARD: Good morning. What's been misreported so far is we're not offering an adversity score alongside the SAT that's personal to a student. We're offering general background information, which you've made some points about, but let's just say what we're doing.

The only individual thing is the SAT score. It does not change, but what we offer alongside of it to universities is some general information about a student's school and about a student's neighborhood, but that would be the same for all students in that school or all students in that neighborhood. It's how their neighborhood and school stack up and what it does, it tries to say -- just as you say, an SAT score only shows so much, but when you put it together with the context in which someone has emerged, you can identify -- you have more chance to see students who have scored remarkably well in very demanding circumstances.

[09:05:07] To give you one example, Michael, and then we can talk more broadly. There's a young woman in Mississippi. A partner school just admitted her where her SAT scores roughly averaged to the other students, but when they looked at her SAT score in the context of other students in that high school, they saw she scored 400 points higher than any other student there, they saw through the Context Dashboard that she lives in a community rife with poverty and a school that lacks a lot of advanced learning opportunities and they saw that she was extraordinary, that she had accomplished so much with less, that she was so resourceful.

We're only providing general context information that is not about student specific data in order to allow admissions officers to more readily see students who defy the odds. To be very clear, I loved your statement about all the things that general information cannot see and that's why an application ought to, as you say, have an interview, have an essay. I really want to be clear. We're not displacing those things. That would be crazy.

SMERCONISH: Is it the role, though, of the College Board to be involved in this issue? Don't the applications already afford opportunity ...


SMERCONISH: ... for students to tell their story? See, my real problem is that in the end, and I recognize it might not be student specific ...


SMERCONISH: ... but it's still a numerical value that will be looked at in the context of their verbal and math score.

COLEMAN: What's cool is the application process that you care about remains intact. So there'll be that general background, there'll be all that the student provides which is not being changed about their individual situation that you care about, but let's talk about why we might do that, why it might be decent to do that.

Right now, as you may know, colleges get school profiles from schools. So they try to get a sense of the school that the students coming from, but admissions officers can only visit so many schools and those school profiles are of very uneven quality and their sense of the neighborhoods kids grew up in is very uneven, as you might guess. So all this is offering is some general background in which to look at the student's specific application.


COLEMAN: If we don't do this in candor, students from disadvantaged backgrounds are at a huge disadvantage because the school may not know anything about their school or their neighborhood.

SMERCONISH: How about my observation that it -- and I'll rephrase.


SMERCONISH: It paints with a broad brush per neighborhood.


SMERCONISH: You know, let's call it out because I've paid close attention to the roll-out of this and some of the criticism ...

COLEMAN: Yes. I can tell.

SMERCONISH: ... and you know -- you know that a criticism you'll often hear is what about the white student ...


SMERCONISH: ... from a working-class family ...


SMERCONISH: ... whose parent might be opioid-addicted, whose parent might be an alcoholic?


SMERCONISH: You know, the broad brush look at the neighborhood might not reveal what's going on behind that individual closed door.

COLEMAN: You know, Michael, I got to say, one reason I'm moved to be here and feel moved to keep talking to you and discuss these arguments is I think that's exactly the kind of kid who will finally be seen.

If you look at the broad change here, moving beyond a narrow definition, let's say, of race to a broader definition of students who face demand and adversity in rural America, which is what you're -- where that kind of life is concentrated today, where the opioid crisis is most intense, the Environmental Context Dashboard is going to bring to light far more rural students, many of whom are white, but who are in high schools without advanced learning opportunities.

They can't show as many AP scores, they don't have a situation with as much resource at home or in the neighborhood and they're often overlooked because admissions officers are not as familiar with these places.

And admissions officers admitting that ask the College Board, hey, give us some general background information so that when we look at a student's personal application specific individuality we can then combine them both, as you say must be done.

I just want to be super clear. This is something fairly humble. Nothing should replace the individual testimony of a student as to their life circumstance ...


COLEMAN: ... but we can't utterly rely on that to explain where the school's from (ph).

SMERCONISH: I'm still -- I'm still caught up ...

COLEMAN: Please.

SMERCONISH: I'm still caught up on the question of why is this the role of the College Board who administer the test? And so here's my final question.


SMERCONISH: Is this -- is this born of concern that there will soon be a ban on affirmative action and you're trying to get ahead of that curve? You get the final word.

COLEMAN: No. You've made thoughtful arguments, to be clear, and I think the reason why we've taken this on is that we have the relationships with admissions officers so they trust us to provide general, reliable information rather than the scatter of information they receive today.

And in candor, we felt that there are so many remarkable young people that the College Board could not look aside and just offer the SAT score without this general context because the SAT score alone might mislead you. It might blind you to the remarkable resourcefulness of a student who may not score as high, but has shown remarkable power.

If there's another group that can do this beautifully, I'm all for it. It's a free tool. We gain nothing from it. Just to be clear, we're not selling this. It's used -- it can be used for SAT or ACT. We're really doing this to try to open up and see new talent.

SMERCONISH: David, when you get back to the office, do not open my file.

[09:10:02] COLEMAN: I never have opened a file, but great to see you.

SMERCONISH: What are your thoughts? Tweet me @Smerconish. Go to my Facebook page. I will read some responses throughout the course of the program. Bill says, "No adversity score. The SATs prove nothing about the intellect of an individual."

Look, Bill, I have a bias. I performed below the Mendoza line, as I've revealed here on CNN in the past. I've just -- I'm just concerned about this new development, but historically about all the emphasis that we put on this one test. If it weren't the SAT or the ACT, it'd probably be something else. Shouldn't the achievement over, you know, four or five years of work in class be paramount? That's what I worry about the most.

Make sure that you're going to my website at, answering the survey question this hour. Should the SAT test include an adversity score? Cannot wait to see the result later in the hour.

Up ahead, Elizabeth Warren took a stand against "Fox News" turning down their offer of a town hall. Is she making a big political mistake by not doing outreach across the remote control divide?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL MAHER, HBO HOST, REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER: You have to get inside the bubble. You call yourself the resistance? Then fight behind enemy lines. That's what a resistance does. That's the difference between blowing up a tank and tweeting about it. Get out of your echo chamber and infiltrate theirs.





SMERCONISH: So I recently ate a meal in the iconic 90-year-old Atlanta hot dog joint called The Varsity. My God. Look at that plate. I needed paddles after the meal. So The Varsity has several dining rooms and when I took a seat, I discovered they set the TVs in each room to one specific channel. I had accidentally sat in the "Fox News" room and a sign requested, "Please do not change the channels."

Well, I was thinking about that room and the folks in it when I read about Elizabeth Warren taking a hard pass, as she puts it, on "Fox News" town halls. It grabbed a lot of headlines. Here's the question is it politically wise and will others follow her lead? Warren conveyed her feelings on Tuesday via Twitter. She said this, "I love town halls. I've done more than 70 since January. I'm glad to have a television audience be a part of them. 'Fox News' has invited me to do a town hall, but I'm turning them down and here's why.

'Fox News' is a hate for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists. It's designed to turn us against each other, risking life and death consequences to provide cover for the corruption that's rotting our government and hollowing out our middle- class. Hate-for-profit works only if there's profit. So 'Fox News' balances a mix of bigotry, racism and outright lies with enough legit journalism to make the claim to advertisers that it's a reputable news outlet. It's all about dragging in ad money, big ad money."

And then she went on to say that she didn't want to give sponsors cover to make them feel like it's OK to buy ads on "Fox" or give the network the bump of her valuable audience. This is clearly an implied challenge to her rivals, many of whom have been happy to reach across the aisle to "Fox News". Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, they've already done "Fox News" town hall. In fact, Sanders was seen by 2.5 million viewers which is the most for a 2020 townhall so far.

Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, they've got them scheduled. Julian Castro is in talks with the network and reports say that Beto O'Rourke, Cory Booker are open to the idea. Eric Swalwell has complained that he's offered, meaning to do a town hall, but he's been turned down. John Delaney tweeted to Warren, "If you're not using your town hall, I will."

Beside town halls, Swalwell, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang, they've all made appearances on "Fox" or "Fox Business." The only candidate who's seeming to lean to Warren's position, Kamala Harris who's a spokesperson told "CNN" they've reached out, but we haven't entertained it.

So here's the political upside, it gives her the opportunity to distinguish herself from her Democratic competitors, it puts pressure on them as they contemplate if they're going to participate with "Fox News." It also underscores this issue where, by going on "Fox News," the Democrats do give cover to advertisers who otherwise might not be inclined to spend any money there.

So for those reasons and more, there is something to be said for the strategy. The downside of Warren's freezing out "Fox" for her is this. If she never goes on the network, its viewers will never hear what she's got to say and if she's successful and she's able to break away from the pack and win the nomination, well, in order to actually be elected president, she's going to need some of those diners who are eating hot dogs in The Varsity "Fox News" room, who it turns out are actually open to several of her proposals.

That was the upshot of a recent focus group done of swing voters by Engagious in Sioux City, Iowa. These were folks who voted for Obama and then for Trump. Though they didn't care for the current crop of Democrats, generally they expressed support for many of Elizabeth Warren's proposals such as reducing student debt and taxing corporations to pay for infrastructure. If she doesn't tout these ideas on "Fox," those voters may never hear them.

So short-term, my answer is yes, OK, I get the strategy. Long-term, maybe not so much. Perhaps her thinking is I'll worry about that in the general election if only I could win the nomination.

Still to come, today, candidate Joe Biden gives his first big rally speech in Philadelphia. The first debate just a month away. Now that he has to actually campaign, will he be able to hold on to front- runner status?

Plus, several states are enacting tough anti-abortion laws, trying to get them considered by the newly conservative Supreme Court. Will they achieve their goal of upending Roe V. Wade?

And there are now so many Democrats vying for the presidency they could field two football teams, but why are so many of them entering who, it would seem, don't have a ghost of a chance?


JIMMY KIMMEL, ABC HOST, JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!; Announcing you're running for president is like announcing you're running a 5k -- good for you. no one cares. Don't post pictures.

[09:20:00] There are now 23 Democrats in the race and unless one of these guys has a dragon we don't know about, I don't know how any of them come out of this alive.



SMERCONISH: So far, all Joe Biden has had to do to take a commanding lead in the polls is enter the race. Today, he embarks on a riskier phase. He'll now deliver his first major rally speech 1:00 P.M. Eastern in Philadelphia and will shortly begin rolling out policy proposals. Will he be able to sustain his front-runner status? That's the question.

Joining me now to discuss is David Wasserman, the House Editor of "The Cook Political Report," and Republican strategist Liz Mair, a former Online Communications Director for the RNC. She wrote this piece for "The New York Times" recently, "Who Speaks for the Mountain West? The Rust Belt gets the attention. But the center of American politics might soon be shifting west."

Hey, gang. Let's look at the data. We'll start with all Democrats according to "Fox" and you'll see that Joe Biden now has a pretty commanding lead, 18 points over his nearest competitor, that would be Bernie Sanders, then Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Pete, Kamala Harris. If you drill down on Pennsylvania and you look at a Biden-Trump match-up, he's got a commanding 8 point lead over the president.

Liz, here's the question. Historically speaking, is it likely that someone can enter the race, be the front-runner in a huge field and maintain that lead all the way to winning the nomination?

LIZ MAIR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Historically it's not likely, but I think in 2016, we saw historical patterns completely become ruptured and so the question is whether what we saw in 2016 has become the new normal or whether, in this cycle, we're going to revert to what we typically see which is that you see candidates crest and fall.

[09:25:00] And the key is getting your candidate to crest right as you're heading into the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and then that will carry them through. Personally, I think that we may be in a position where Joe Biden may be able to run this sort of stretch to stretch and from the front to the end, as you would say sort of in horse racing.

SMERCONISH: David, a tweet from you recently summed up your thinking as to what explains the former veep's success thus far. There are the three things. You say Bernie and Warren are both in. They're splitting the left. Neither Harris or Booker is catching fire with African- Americans, especially in the South. Dem's perception moderate mainstream nominee equals best bet versus Trump. If any of these change, then the race will change. Amplify that please.

DAVID WASSERMAN, HOUSE EDITOR & POLITICAL ANALYST, COOK POLITICAL REPORT: Yes. Look, I think Joe Biden's numbers will probably come back down to earth as other candidates get better known, but the fact is his opposition is deeply split. Right now, the Democratic primary electorate is basically like going into a mall with a very large food court where they have, you know 25, choices and you have your Cinnabon and you have your smoothie shop and your Panda Express, but at the end of the day, Democrats have to pick one and not everyone is going to leave happy. In fact, a lot are going to leave with some regrets and right now Joe Biden is benefiting from the Democratic primary electorate's perception that he's the most electable candidate and the safest choice. But I got to tell you, spending a lot of time on a college campus here in Chicago this spring, there is deep skepticism towards his candidacy from young voters and that could be a problem for Democrats if he is the nominee and they're counting on young people, particularly of color, to bring three people to -- three friends to the polls to vote with them.

SMERCONISH: Liz, some of my radio listeners at "Sirius XM" say, well, just wait until the debates start. Well, the debates will begin in a month. "CNN" will have the month thereafter to host the debate, but what's the likelihood that anyone can break out when there are nine other candidates on the stage with you at any one time?

MAIR: I mean, that's a real problem because cumulatively you may be looking at a position where your candidate gets, if they're lucky, maybe like 10 minutes of speaking time. It's really hard to make an impression in those 10 minutes and at the end of the day, Joe Biden is known, he has handled himself in debates before, he's done it in a very strange fashion much as the same as Donald Trump did in 2016. If you go back and look at his debate against Paul Ryan, that seemed completely nuts at the time, but it totally worked.

And at the end of the day, Joe Biden is a very likable guy. Whatever you may think about him policy-wise, people don't really vote on policy. The data shows that voters actually kind of pick a political avatar and then conform their policy positions to that person and this is a guy who fundamentally is engaged in, like, massive, like, you know, water pistol fights with, like, the press cool kids (ph). He gets super excited about ice cream. He does do gaffes, but they're kind of funny gaffes and everybody has a relatively higher tolerance for that in the era of Trump.

So I just think he's going to be quite tough to displace in practice and also younger college voters oftentimes don't vote. So I don't really know how they factor into all of this.

SMERCONISH: David, the size of that debate stage indicative of how many? I think it's 23 now. Let's call it two dozen. What's going on? I mean, I don't want to single any one of them out, but there's a particular big city mayor that I'm thinking of that I look at and I say like what is the path for success that he could possibly see? Why are so many getting into it and continuing to get into it?

WASSERMAN: Michael, no one likes their day job anymore and, look, this has -- this has really become the "CNN" primary. You get into the race, you get free town hall, you get to raise your publicity for whatever future purpose you'd like.

Now, I happen to think Democrats', you know, most ideal candidate or Trump's worst nightmare would be, you know, a young, charismatic woman with some national security experience and not much of a D.C. resume. And, you know, there are a lot of Democratic freshmen in the House who fit that description. They aren't the members of the House who are running fruitless campaigns for president.

And, look, Joe Biden does have enormous advantages in this primary in the sense that Liz is right, the primary electorate is going to be older, it's going to be more diverse than you'd guess from social media. It's also going to be more moderate than a lot of people think the Democratic Party is today because you have so many suburban Republicans whom Trump has converted to Democrats who will be voting in these primaries.

My concern for Biden is in the general election. Can he get casual voters, particularly younger ones, to the polls in the fall?

SMERCONISH: Liz, take my final 60 seconds on this particular issue. I ask you because you you formerly played an important role for the RNC. All this abortion talk, is this not, politically speaking, a net loser for the GOP in 2020?

MAIR: I think probably it could be in one very specific case. There's been a lot of focus on the fact that Doug Jones supposedly can't get himself reelected in Alabama.


I think if you look at what's going on in Alabama and where that could piss off suburban women who typically are straight Republican voters. And you also look at the fact that Roy Moore currently is pulling at the head of the pack on the Republican primary side to run against Jones again in 2020, I think it could be very, very bad for Republicans in Alabama 2020.

But we'll see --

SMERCONISH: Well, not just -- not just Alabama. I mean, look, Joe's in my neck of the woods today. You know all the importance being placed on Pennsylvania.

The suburban women around Philadelphia they're not -- they're not thrilled to hear what's coming outside of Missouri or Alabama or Louisiana. The list --

MAIR: Yes.

SMERCONISH: So I'm saying, it transcends those state lines.

MAIR: I -- yes. I think we'll see what the coverage is. And we'll see how this continues to play out. Things can change very quickly.

But I think the Alabama law clearly does go too far even in the minds of many pro-lifers. I think you have Pat Robertson who said that it's gone too far. That probably is not a good indicator as to how that law in particular is going to be perceived.

But I do really think what's interesting about it is what's going to happen with regard to the Senate and that particular Senate race because I think Republicans may have miscalculated with regard to that and that's an important seat. SMERCONISH: Thank you, Liz. Thank you David.


SMERCONISH: As always appreciate your both being here. Thank you very much.

Let's check in on your tweets --

WASSERMAN: Thanks a lot.

SMERCONISH: -- and Facebook comments.

Dan Lipson says, why do so many Dems keep joining the field so late?

You know, Dan, I don't know, book deal? T.V. show eventually? Raise the profile. What's the downside. Are you going to be embarrassed more so than another of the dozen who are already in?

I hope you're answering the survey question at this hour.

Should the SAT test include an adversity score? Results in about 25 minutes' time.

Still to come, about the abortion issue, several states have recently ratcheted up restrictions as I was just mentioning. Trying to get the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe versus Wade.

Will the tactic work? Pat Robertson, by the way, Yale law school graduate had this to say.


PAT ROBERTSON, HOST, "THE 700 CLUB": They want to challenge Roe versus Wade, but my humble view, is that this not the case we want to bring to the Supreme Court because I think this one will lose.




SMERCONISH: The abortion debate, again, front and center, thanks to a new controversial set of state laws. The governor of Alabama signed a bill banning abortion completely except in medical emergencies. In Missouri, another one that severely restricts abortion currently sitting on the governor's desk awaiting a signature.

This is the latest on a widespread effort to eliminate abortions at the state level. So will this battle really head to the Supreme Court?

Joining me now the president and CEO of the National Constitution Center. Jeffrey Rosen. Jeffrey, are there four votes in the Supreme Court, because that's what it takes for them to hear the Alabama case, assuming it winds its way in that direction?

JEFFREY ROSEN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NATIONAL CONSTITUTION CENTER: Not necessarily. We know that Chief Justice Roberts voted with the liberals to block the Louisiana law that imposed admitting requirements for doctors, suggesting that he may be inclined to uphold that law, given the fact that the Supreme Court, or, rather, to strike it down, given the fact that the Supreme Court did that just in 2016.

And the bottom line is that Chief Justice Roberts appears not to want to overturn Roe V. Wade right now. And if the four conservatives who are skeptical of it are not true that they're going to get his vote they don't want to hear these most extreme cases right now. Either they're more likely to do it, what they could do as early as next week to hear challenges to doctor admitting privileges laws or in Indiana fetal remain disposal laws. Or laws requiring ultra sounds after, and waiting periods and things like that.

This Supreme Court with this composition will not want to confront the core of Roe with laws like Alabama or Missouri which Pat Robertson rightly said are absolutely not the right way to challenge Roe. It is more likely that the court might chip away at it by a holding these lesser restrictions like waiting periods or fetal remain laws. But at least until there's another conservative justice on this court I think most people do not think that this Roberts' court is ready to overturn Roe v. Wade right now.

SMERCONISH: In other words, Roe versus Wade -- am I right in hearing you that Roe versus Wade as we know it now is more threatened by accessibility issues like the Louisiana law, than the Alabama law which probably it runs -- Alabama runs so afoul of Roe versus Wade, that I believe will be adjudged unconstitutional throughout the appellate -- the federal appellate process. And the Supreme Court will simply deny an opportunity to get involved.

But meanwhile, these other issues that you're raising they may effectively strike Roe versus Wade through other means?

ROSEN: You're absolutely right, Michael. And these restrictions on access will have the greatest access on poor women. Right now, abortions are not meaningful available in the states that are passing these laws. Louisiana and Alabama and so forth. And by requiring additional requirements for doctor admitting privileges clinics will close and it will just be harder for poor women to get abortion.

The less women of means can already go to other states in those areas. But the slow chipping away at Roe will have serious implications for reproductive rights and access. But the core right in Roe, mainly to choose abortion before fetal viability at least for now will remain intact.

SMERCONISH: Thirteen years ago for "The Atlantic" you wrote about a post Roe world -- put up on the screen what Jeffrey said in part, "The results might not be what you expect. The day after Roe fell, of course, abortion would be neither legal nor illegal throughout the United States. Instead, the states and Congress would be free to ban, protect or regulate abortion as they saw fit. But in many of the 50 states and ultimately in Congress, the overturning of Roe would probably ignite one of the most explosive political battles since the civil-rights movement, if not the Civil War."

A decade plus later is that still your view?

ROSEN: It is still my view.


And it's also my view that -- you were right when you said that when the dust settled and that could be many years of powerful battles, state by state, in the Congress and in the courts, ultimately, the loser would be the GOP. Because all of those suburban women who are willing to be Republican, as long as the core-righted Roe is protected might jump ship and flee to the other side.

The other -- what's changed since 2006's abortion politics have become so much more polarized that even though there's not very much support even in the most conservative states for total bans on abortion, such as in Alabama, often -- 30 percent support even in those states, legislatures are even more polarized. And because the national GOP is polarized as well you could see both state legislatures and ultimately GOP people in Congress embracing really draconian abortion bans that the majority of Republicans don't support either. So that's what's changed since 2006 and that's why overturning Roe would be good news for the Democrats.

SMERCONISH: Jeffrey Rosen, thank you.

ROSEN: Thank you.

SMERCONISH: Let's check in on your tweets and Facebook comments.

From Facebook, Dan Lipson. What about all the conservative justices 45 has nominated? Didn't that welcome the anti-abortion movement?

Well, I think that it did, but Jeffrey makes a really good point and back in 2006 he made this point in "The Atlantic" which is conservatives perhaps should not be taking John Roberts' vote for granted on this matter.

Katherine (ph), do we have Rush Limbaugh going after Brett Kavanaugh? Because this -- OK. Play that, this also makes the point.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: People getting nervous about Brett Kavanaugh. Brett Kavanaugh has been siding with the leftists on the Supreme Court. He's been siding with the liberal majority.


SMERCONISH: So, the point is, you can't take for granted the votes that we think are lined and are going to be part of a 5-4 decision one way or the other. There's some doubt about Roberts, keep the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare in mind when you assess the Supreme Court and what will happen on abortion.

I say that it's a net loser for Republicans as we head into 2020 to be supportive of a law that's going nowhere.

Still to come, it's a wildly held perception that undocumented immigration leads to more crime. Is that true? Let's have an evidentiary conversation in just a moment.



SMERCONISH: We've all heard the charge that undocumented immigrants commit a disproportionate amount of crime. What does the data show?

Joining me now is Anna Flagg, the senior data reporter for the Marshall Project. She wrote this piece for "The New York Times" asking that very question. Anna, so a year ago it was Marshall and the upshot looked at any causal link between immigration and crime. And critics said, well, you didn't isolate unauthorized or illegal immigrants.

Now you have. What did you find?

ANNA FLAGG, SENIOR DATA REPORTER, THE MARSHALL PROJECT: Right. So there's been relatively less research done on undocumented immigrants in particular because this is a group that's a little more difficult to collect data on.

So when a couple weeks ago, the Pew Research Center released estimates of undocumented population across the U.S. starting in 2007, that was an opportunity to really get into this question of, OK, in areas where undocumented immigration populations increased, did they experience increase in crimes? And in places where undocumented immigrants less, did they experience reduction in crime?

So, that's what they looked at and what we found is that -- no, there appears to be no connection between undocumented populations and crime.

SMERCONISH: I could put on the screen the finding. The analysis found that crime went down at similar rates regardless of whether the undocumented population rose or fell. Areas with more unauthorized migration appeared to have larger drops in crime, although the difference was small and uncertain.

Did you look at all categories of crime?

FLAGG: Yes, we did. We looked at violent crime and property crime. And then we looked at their components of assault, robbery, murder, burglary, and larceny.

And we found a similar result for everything. There was no relationship to undocumented populations.

SMERCONISH: OK. Are you an outlier? When I say you I mean the folks at Marshall. Is this a one-off or does it comport with other data that's out there?

FLAGG: No, these results are very consistent with the existing research. There are studies by the Cato Institute and there's an article in criminology. And all of the existing research that we have demonstrates that undocumented immigrants are similar to immigrants overall and that they do not increase crime rates. And if anything, they're associated with reduction in crime.

SMERCONISH: By the way, I get an email from you folks every day that I pay attention to. You don't have an ax to grind in the immigration battle, right? I mean, it's a law enforcement-kind of Web site that looks like data pertaining to law enforcement issues, am I wrong in that?

FLAGG: The Marshall project is a nonprofit news organization covering criminal justice and immigration in the United States. We didn't go into this with an opinion either way, we just wanted to look at the data and kind of use some evidence in this ongoing discussion about whether or not undocumented immigrants are connected to crime.

SMERCONISH: OK. Final question then, why if the data says that there's not a higher incidence of those coming here illegally in terms of committing crime does this myth persist that it's otherwise?

FLAGG: Well, in Trump speeches, we often hear him discuss criminal immigrants, particularly undocumented immigrants. And we also see the administration proposing a lot of policy changes targeted at immigrants. But what the data shows is that undocumented immigrants and immigrants overall are not connected to crime.

And so crime reduction strategies that are -- if we want crime reduction to be successful it needs to be evidence based and fact based. And cracking down on immigration is not going to improve crime rates.

SMERCONISH: Here's a question I would like more politicians to ask on a variety of issues.


What does the data show? And you've just answered it in this regard. So thank you for being here.

FLAGG: Thanks for having me.

SMERCONISH: Still to come your best and worst tweets and Facebook comments. And here is your last chance to vote on the survey question at

Should the SAT test include an adversity score?



SMERCONISH: Nine a.m. The question is whether I'll get to deliver it.



SMERCONISH: With a power outage in Philly today. Thank God I was able to race up the Jersey Turnpike and make I here to Hudson Yards.

By the way as one of my grandmothers who's no longer here who have said, fancy-schmancy, this Hudson Yard is really the bomb.

How did you vote on the survey question at

Should the SAT test include an adversity score? 7,056 cast. Yes, 32 percent. The nos win with 68 percent.

Wow. I must say I'm surprised because on the radio when I did this I'm a no vote, but on the radio the overwhelming number of callers said they liked the intent and purpose.

Here's some more of the social media reaction. What do we have?

Smerconish, in Canada we don't have the SAT. Students are admitted on the basis of their marks in school and the strength of their entrance essay. I don't believe one test should carry so much weight.

Jennifer, you are preaching to the choir that has long been my view. And I'm worried that this latest move is a step in the wrong direction.

What else has come in?

Yes, 100 percent because every undocumented immigrant is criminal just by being here undocumented.


OK, so this is interesting. This is the question of do those who came here illegally lead to a higher incidence of crime, and that person's response is to say, well, yes, because by their very nature their coming here illegally.

The data from the Marshall Project and from the upshot of "The Times" I think puts the lie to the argument that those who are coming here are involved in a higher incidence of crime. But it's hard to get people to focus on the data because it's such a good sound bite to say Mexico is sending us its rapist.

One more. Is Elizabeth Warren skipping the FOX town hall meeting like Hillary skipping Wisconsin -- whoa -- or one of the blue wall states in the 2016 election. History rhymes.

It's a really good observation. I get it. She's using it as a means of distinguishing herself from the pack. By the way she does make a really good argument, that when you go on that network then the advertiser that's hamstrung as to whether to spend the money says, oh, why not, Elizabeth Warren was there, Bernie was there, Buttigieg was there, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

It's short-term a smart strategy for her. Long-term should she capture the nomination she'll have to rethink that.

Please join me for my American Life In Columns tour Washington D.C. June 3rd. Denver, Parker, Colorado on the 23rd of June. on the 23rd of June. Sunnyvale, California on October 1.

You can catch up with us anytime on CNN Go and On Demand. I'll see you next week from Philly.