Guests: Alicia Menendez, Julian Epstein, Tom Goldstein, Karen Finney, Sam Stein, Joy Reid
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: The crazy governor of Arizona was crazy
enough to get in a fight with President Obama and Eric Holder`s Justice
Department. And today, the Obama/Holder team crushed her in the United
States Supreme Court.
CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS: The excruciating waiting game may almost be
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: Today`s decision by the Supreme Court --
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The Supreme Court --
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC HOST: The Supreme Court --
JANSING: The Supreme Court --
WAGNER: -- on Arizona`s immigration law --
MATTHEWS: Declaring part of it unconstitutional.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three quarters of it was struck down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a huge victory for the Obama administration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The heart and soul of the Arizona statute has been
GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: The heart of Senate Bill 1070 has been
proven to be constitutional.
MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC HOST: Did I miss something?
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: I want whatever she`s having.
BREWER: Vindicated by the highest court in the land.
WALSH: This is not a victory for Arizona.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They just repeat over
and over and over again. It doesn`t matter if it`s true.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Perhaps she only read Scalia`s dissent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Justice Scalia today singling out President
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just shows you political Scalia can be.
WAGNER: How does this decision play out with Latino voters?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What document? There is no national ID.
TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: How does Arizona ensure that this does not
fall into racial profiling?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s almost a warning to the state.
MITCHELL: There`s going to be a lot more litigation, particularly on
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: This is probably the worst of all outcomes if
you`re Mitt Romney.
WAGNER: Why is Governor Romney in Arizona?
TODD: Mitt Romney, by happenstance --
BASHIR: He`s in Arizona --
TODD: Holding a fund-raiser today in Phoenix, Arizona.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a reminder to Latinos who has their back
and who doesn`t.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think you see a model here
in Arizona -- in Arizona -- in Arizona.
I`m not familiar, precisely, with what I said, but I stand by what I
said, whatever it was.
O`DONNELL: Today, the crazy anti-constitutional thinking of Arizona
Governor Jan Brewer got smacked down by the United States Supreme Court.
Two Republican-appointed justices, including the chief justice, joined
Clinton and Obama appointees on the Supreme Court to throw out three out of
four provisions of an Arizona law, and left the fourth provision hanging by
a legal thread that they will surely cut as soon as a case on the
enforcement of that provision makes its way back up to the Supreme Court.
Much of what you`re about to hear may be in contradiction with much of
what you may have heard about this case today. There have been many
headlines and comments today saying that the Supreme Court upheld the most
controversial element of the law.
It did not.
There have been many headlines and comments indicating that this
Supreme Court upheld the papers, please provision of the law.
It did not.
The court struck down that provision.
There have been many headlines and comments today that agree with this
false statement by the Arizona governor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BREWER: The heart of the bill was upheld.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: FOX News legal authorities don`t think so.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The heart and soul of the Arizona statute has been
struck down by the Supreme Court.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Arizona`s illegal immigrants must be thrilled
that the majority of justices on the Supreme Court are empathizing with
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Democratic Governor Chuck Schumer got it right, saying,
"This is as strong a repudiation of the Arizona law as one could expect,
given that the law has not been implemented yet. Three linchpins of the
Arizona law were struck down by a convincing majority of the court as
clearly violating federal law and a fourth is on thin legal ice."
The provision that is on thin legal ice is not the so-called "show me
your papers" provision. It is the show me your papers after you get
arrested or detained provision. And the Supreme Court said that they could
not rule on that provision until Arizona law enforcement actually arrested
or detained someone under that provision, which they have not yet done.
The Supreme Court was very clear on how that provision cannot be used.
The Supreme Court said that Arizona police officials, quote, may not
consider race, color, or national origin, quote, "as a reason to check the
immigration status of an arrestee or a detainee."
The Supreme Court did not issue any guidelines to Arizona law
enforcement officials as to what they would -- what the court would accept
as legitimate to justify a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration
status of any person stopped. No guidance for the Arizona police in this
decision at all -- none.
In practice, it will prove, then, impossible for Arizona law
enforcement officials to find a constitutional way to thread the needle
that the Supreme Court has left for them. The most egregious of the
provisions, the "show me your papers" provision was, indeed, struck down
completely by the Supreme Court today. That provision said that Arizona
police, quote, "without warrant may arrest a person if the person has
probable -- if the police have probable cause to believe that that person
is in the country illegally."
That provision meant that any Arizona law enforcement official could
stop any person at any time without any other legal provocation, like going
through a stop sign or speeding or jaywalking, just stop that person at any
time -- while that person was behaving legally, stop that person and demand
to see proof of that person`s legal right to be in this country.
That egregious, un-American, unconstitutional provision was wiped out
today by the Supreme Court.
President Obama is not confused about who won today. In a written
statement, the president said, "I am pleased that the Supreme Court has
struck down key provisions of Arizona`s immigration law. What this
decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on
comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a
solution to our broken immigration system -- it`s part of the problem."
Mitt Romney issued a written statement today in which, in classic
Romney style, he tried to use words that actually didn`t say anything.
Like, does he agree or disagree with what the Supreme Court decision
Romney said, in his statement, "Today`s decision underscores the need
for a president who will lead on this critical issue and work in a
bipartisan fashion to pursue a national immigration strategy. I believe
that each state has the duty and the right to secure our borders and
preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has
failed to meet its responsibilities."
Then later at a fund-raiser in, of all places, Scottsdale, Arizona
Romney essentially admitted who really won today. Saying, "Now, you
probably heard today there was a Supreme Court decision relating to
immigration, and, you know, given the failure of the immigration policy in
this country, I would have preferred to see the Supreme Court give more
latitude to the states, not less. And there are states now under this
decision that have less authority, less latitude to enforce immigration
Joining me now are: Krystal Ball, a Democratic strategist, and co-host
of MSNBC`s new 3:00 p.m. show that premiered today, "THE CYCLE"; Alicia
Menendez, "Huff Post Live" host and political commentator; and Julian
Epstein, Democratic strategist and former Democratic chief counsel to the
House Judiciary Committee.
Julian, I want to start with you, because this stuff used to be under
your jurisdiction in the House Committee on Immigration. Chuck Schumer
says this was a very big win for President Obama and the Justice
Department, that the court went pretty much as far as it reasonably could
in throwing out everything in the law, except for this one provision,
waiting to see if there is a constitutional way to enforce that one
And then it seems to me, Julian, when I read the opinion, for poised
to get rid of that position too.
JULIAN EPSTEIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, Larry, that`s absolutely
correct. And congratulations, your opening is the best description of what
the Supreme Court did that I`ve heard on any newscast the entire day.
It`s important -- it`s very important to understand that this was not
a split decision. This was an old-fashioned slap-down by a conservative
court against the Arizona law and the conservative movement on immigration.
The Arizona law did three essential things. It, one, it made it a
crime for an immigrant not to be able to show and produce papers on their
documentation. Secondly, it made it a crime for an undocumented worker to
try to get a job. Third, it gave the police really unfettered authority
for warrantless searches and for indefinite detention.
The Supreme Court threw all that out. What it left in place was a
provision that says that Arizona law enforcement may during the course of
normal law enforcement activities inquire as to the immigration status of
an individual, and if there`s some question about it, to simply report that
to the federal authorities.
It gives them no ability for indefinite detention, no ability to
prosecute any state law. This was, as I say, an old-fashioned slap-down.
And even as you point out, Lawrence, that third provision that is
simply really nothing more than a reporting provision, even that is subject
to further challenge on things like racial profiling and equal protection.
So this was a huge victory for Obama administration today.
O`DONNELL: And, Julian, I have never seen a tinier eye of a needle
left by the Supreme Court in a decision. I mean, it`s not just that they
can`t do racial profiling. The Supreme Court will consider no grounds on
which they will consider it to be reasonable to check the immigration
background of a detainee or an arrestee.
And then say very specifically in there, if you detain these people an
extra amount of time or keep them under custody for an extra amount of
time, just to check their immigration status, we will probably throw that
out. And they don`t even give a sense of time, like, if we keep them five
minutes extra, is that unconstitutional? If we keep them, you know, a half
an hour extra, is that unconstitutional?
Just in that time frame that the Supreme Court indicates there, you
must not extend their time in any form of police custody or detention by
doing this background check. It seems very specific that the Supreme Court
is ready to cut this thing off as soon as they see any kind of uses of it
that they actually are anticipating in this decision.
EPSTEIN: Yes, you know, Larry, your reporting is really excellent on
this. That`s exactly right.
That third provision, which is essentially nothing more than a
reporting provision during the course of normal law enforcement, the court
says, you may do this, except if we find evidence and if someone makes a
claim of evidence that there`s racial profiling, in a way that offends the
Fifth or 14th Amendment, we will strike that down too. It also says,
except if you hold anybody for any unreasonable period of time, any kind of
indefinite detention, we will strike that down under the Constitution as
So, even that little provision that is left over is subject to further
constitutional challenge. There`s just no way other than to describe this
as a huge victory for Eric Holder or the Obama administration or for
anybody who cares about sensible immigration policy in this country.
O`DONNELL: Yes, there`s just landmines left in here for Arizona
police. I just want to read one sentence and move on to the politics of
The Supreme Court says, "Detaining individuals solely to verify their
immigration status would raise constitutional concerns." And that means,
after you`ve processed them for the arrest or the detaining, whatever
you`re questioning them about, you cannot keep them -- as far as I read
this -- for another minute on this immigration status.
Krystal Ball, this decision was greeted, I think, with a lot of
confusion in the media today. It makes me wonder what Thursday`s going to
be like when the really big one comes down.
But Mitt Romney showed two faces on this thing. He did one of those
great Romney statements publicly where he says nothing, and then at the
fund-raiser, it sounds to me like he came very close to the truth with that
Arizona audience saying, yes, you know, you have a lot less power today
than your law was trying to give you.
KRYSTAL BALL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, it is interesting how sort
of the news war over the day, because as you pointed out, Jan Brewer
declared victory, right? They upheld the heart and soul of the law, which,
by the way, I think in your quote there from the Supreme Court, you very
accurately identified the heart and soul of this law, which, in fact, was
not upheld, which was struck down.
But yes, that first statement was such classic Romney. That should be
filed away in the history books. It`s exactly how he`s run his entire
campaign, trying to say as little as he possibly can about anything.
And then when he gets in the room with the people he feels most
comfortable with, his donors, that`s where he shows his hand a little bit,
and says, in fact, this is a blow to the Republicans. And I might add,
this isn`t just a blow to the Republican Party -- this law, as many of the
anti-immigrant laws across the country, which were essentially drafted by
the private prison industry, who benefits financially from having more
So that`s another sort of undercurrent of this that I find very
disturbing. In Arizona on this SB-1070 bill, 30 of the 36 co-sponsors have
received donations from lobbyists for the private prison industry. So,
this is also a blow to them, and in that way, it`s encouraging as well that
the decision went in the president`s favor.
O`DONNELL: Alicia, President Obama was pretty clear about this. He
did talk about objecting to the provision that remains, and some other
Democrats actually kind of emphasized the provision that remains and I
think exaggerated the impact of the provision that remains, possibly
because they don`t want the Latino vote to relax now, with what the Supreme
Court did today.
ALICIA MENENDEZ, HUFFINGTON POST: I don`t think there`s any way that
that Latino vote relaxes. You saw polling from Latino decisions going into
this. Sixty percent of Hispanics saying, I`m really nervous that if this
is all upheld, we create an environment across the country that is
aggressive towards immigrants, is anti-immigrant, is anti-Hispanic.
And very often we say, oh, immigration isn`t a top three issue for
Hispanics. It`s not, necessarily, but it`s an enthusiasm issue, and it`s a
proxy conversation for who belongs in this country and who doesn`t, which
party is welcoming to the ever-growing Hispanic community, and which party
So I`m not even necessarily sure Democrats were using it to make sure
that they could rile up Latinos. I don`t think it`s that complicated. I
think there`s the fact that this one provision does remain, and in an ideal
world, we would have wanted to see the entire thing struck down.
And it is yet another reminder -- as the president said in his
statement -- that now is the time for comprehensive immigration reform.
Every state can`t start legislating this issue by themselves. We need one
framework for the entire nation.
BALL: Well, and Alicia makes a phenomenal point there. Immigration
is not the number one issue for Latinos. The economy is, as it is for
But everyone -- I mean, on both sides, people are saying, we want to
help the economy. So, it`s not as though you have Mitt Romney saying I
want to create jobs and help the economy, and the president saying, he
You know, the nation is roughly evenly split about how they feel which
candidate would handle that better. So, yes, I think it is a motivator.
And the other piece of this is, will it encourage more people to register
to vote? I think that`s really the critical piece here as well.
EPSTEIN: And, Lawrence, one more piece on the law if I could.
Imagine if the Supreme Court went the opposite way on this. Imagine what
this country would look like.
EPSTEIN: In a number of states across the South, police officers
would be able to stop, the would be able to search, they would be able to
detain people of color for the most flimsiest of rationales and pretexts,
and it would have created a very, very -- it would have thrown back civil
rights in this country, I think 30 years.
O`DONNELL: And the Alabama law was, in effect thrown out today, when
it makes its way up there. It doesn`t have a chance after this.
O`DONNELL: We`re going to have to move on. Thanks, everyone.
Krystal Ball, the co-host of MSNBC`s new show, "THE CYCLE" -- great
premiere episode today, which I watched, Krystal.
BALL: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Alicia Menendez and Julian Epstein, thank you very much
for bringing some judiciary committee expertise to this.
EPSTEIN: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you all very much for joining me tonight.
BALL: Have a good one.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Justice Scalia is losing it. He really is.
And he proved that today in an unbelievably crazy dissenting opinion that
he wrote. Justices don`t get this crazy in Supreme Court decisions,
And Arizona Governor Jan Brewer picked the wrong guy to wave a finger
at. Jan Brewer and her now-dead immigration law are in tonight`s
O`DONNELL: And once again, it`s time for that question, how long is
too long on the United States Supreme Court? It is a lifetime appointment,
so you can stay there as long as you want, but should you?
In fact, should Justice Scalia, who is really losing it. He wrote
something really crazy today, an opinion he`s very proud of, and that Rush
Limbaugh likes and every legal scholar thinks is very embarrassing.
And in that opinion -- in the other Supreme Court opinion, the one
that carried the day, Governor Jan Brewer, who waved her finger at the
wrong president, lost very, very badly. Jan Brewer and the losers are in
the "Rewrite" tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of a judge will you appoint to the
ROMNEY: You know, there`s some justices I think we all like pretty
well. Justice Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia, that`s the kind of judge I
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Seventy-six-year-old Justice Antonin Scalia has spent a
third of his life on the United States Supreme Court. The job is
apparently starting to get to him. He confessed today in writing, in a
strange, even-for-him opinion that his mind is -- and this is his word --
The most peculiar thing about Justice Scalia`s dissent today is that
he reached far beyond the record of the case, far beyond the Arizona
statute, and cited material that was never considered in the case. It
seems Scalia is very upset with President Obama recent announcement
restricting deportations of people under 30 who may be in this country
Scalia alone, among the justices, snuck that little bit into his
thinking about the case.
"The president said at a news conference that the new program is the
right thing to do in light of Congress` failure to pass the
administration`s proposed revision of the immigration act. Perhaps it is,
though Arizona may not think so. But to say, as the court does, that
Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing applications of the
immigration act that the president declines to enforce boggles the mind."
Of course, Scalia could not be more wrong. The Arizona law, even if
left standing, does not under any circumstances allow Arizona officials to
deport anyone. They can`t enforce a federal law. They have no power to
For a Supreme Court justice to use an official written opinion to
write, in name, legal fiction is, to put it mildly, unusual. It is the
kind of thing that should destroy respect for Scalia among legal scholars
and make it much easier for Scalia to get his own radio talk show when he
leaves the court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Scalia is so right on the money
on this, it boggles the mind. All Arizona did was right law that mirrors
federal law that Obama was not enforcing. And the court told him today
they can`t do that. It is. It`s disheartening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is attorney Tom Goldstein, the publisher of
SCOTUSBlog.com. He`s argued 25 cases before the United States Supreme
And, Tom, just for audience`s perspective, over 99 percent of the
American lawyers never get the chance to argue one case before the United
States Supreme Court.
But to Justice Scalia`s very peculiar dissent today, I`ve never read
anything like it. He is pretending that it boggles the mind that local law
enforcement don`t have the same legal authorities as federal law
TOM GOLDSTEIN, SCOTUSBLOG.COM: Well, Justice Scalia`s opinion kind of
spoke for itself in the sense that one else wanted to join him. He has an
incredibly strong view about immigration. He made it clear in the oral
arguments for the case that he thinks that sovereignty for a state means
the ability to defend its borders. And the rest of the court obviously has
a very different view about this. It says, you know, you joined a Union
and this is the responsibility of the federal government.
The other thing that was unusual, the most strident parts of the
opinion you were reading from weren`t in the written opinion that was
issued. His discussion of the new administration policy on deportations
was in his bench statement. So it was a little strange to have him make
such important points to him that aren`t actually in the opinion that he
O`DONNELL: Now, he`s saying that if the federal government isn`t
enforcing a law to the satisfaction of a state, he believes the state can
then go enforce it. So if -- say the state of Massachusetts believed that
we were not doing a very good job enforcing federal tax law, income tax
law, that the state authorities could just go grab people`s federal tax
returns and start investigating them.
He, Scalia, you would never support that, would he?
GOLDSTEIN: No, there`s no way.
I think what the majority said here is that if it`s truly cooperative,
if this is what Congress has invited the states to do, then it`s consistent
with federal immigration law. But what Arizona was trying to do here was
to take and add on penalties, put people in jail that the federal
government and Congress never imagined. And it was that kind of over-the-
top, extreme reaction to a federal policy that a pretty broad majority of
the Supreme Court thought was unconstitutional, because it was preempted by
O`DONNELL: And then he used the strangest phrase about sovereign
states since the civil war. He said, "If securing its territory in this
fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it
as a sovereign state."
That concept of sovereign state is what the Confederacy was thinking
as sovereign state.
GOLDSTEIN: Well, there are a lot of things the states gave up the
power to do, they can`t print money, they don`t have foreign relations --
O`DONNELL: They can`t have wars with Canada. Minnesota can`t get in
a war with Canada. We don`t like that.
GOLDSTEIN: No, that was really part of the point. But -- and Justice
Scalia is our most vocal Supreme Court justice. He has very strong views.
And there`s actually, in the end, I don`t think anything wrong with
that. It creates a very serious debate and you actually understand the law
much better knowing that Justice Scalia had this very strong view and the
rest or the Supreme Court didn`t agree with it. That gives you a real
sense of where the Supreme Court actually is at.
O`DONNELL: Tom Goldstein of "SCOTUS Blog," the most important blog in
America this week -- thank you very much for joining me tonight.
GOLDESTEIN: Thanks so much for having me, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Mitt Romney isn`t running the way a lot of
Republicans think he should be running.
And the Supreme Court`s decision about Arizona`s immigration law is
not open for interpretation, but some people are interpreting it in
absolutely crazy ways. The craziest, no surprise, Jan Brewer. That`s in
O`DONNELL: A lot of Republicans are worried about Mitt Romney. And
more are worried after this weekend, after Mitt Romney tried to explain the
difference between offshoring jobs and outsourcing jobs. Karen Finney is
here. She will no doubt be thanking Mitt Romney for trying to help
President Obama with that little explanation. Sam Stein will also join me.
And Jan Brewer is in tonight`s Rewrite, along with all the other
people who got it wrong today, misinterpreting, to put it mildly, the
Supreme Court decision, which was a huge win for President Obama and a
virtual complete defeat for the madness of Jan Brewer.
And later, the Veep stakes. There`s a new name moving up quickly on
the list of possibilities for the almost vice presidential nomination. I`m
not going to give you that name. We`re going to talk about it later. I
will give you one hint. Her first name is Condoleezza. It`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: In the Spotlight tonight, Mitt Romney has 134 days left in
his campaign to win the presidency without answering specific questions
like, do you agree with the Supreme Court`s ruling today? If you think
that`s frustrating for Democrats, it might be even more frustrating for
Romney supporters, many of whom are starting to worry that Romney`s evasive
strategy is probably a losing strategy.
Yesterday, Rupert Murdoch asked his 257,473 Twitter followers, which
includes me, "when is Romney going to look like a challenger? Seems to
play everything safe, make no news, except burn off Hispanics." And then
he also Tweeted, "easy for Romney to spell out restoration of the American
dream and bash incompetent administration, but not a word."
Rupert Murdoch isn`t the only one questioning Romney`s evasive
campaign tactics. Republican columnist Peggy Noonan writes, "the Romney
strategy the past eight weeks has been in a small way shrewd. Have the
candidate out there talking in candidate-like manner, but not let him say
anything so interesting that it will take the cameras off Mr. Obama. It`s
working, but won`t for long. People want meaning, a higher and declared
Joining me now are Karen Finney, former DNC communications director
and MSNBC political analyst, and Sam Stein, "Huffington Post" political
editor and reporter.
Karen, this is an odd night for us. It is usually, at this stage of
the campaign -- for that matter, at any stage of the campaign, professional
Democrats who are publicly worrying about the Democratic campaign and why
the Democratic candidate is doing everything wrong, and if the Democratic
candidate would just listen to these professional pundit Democrats,
everything would be OK. But here, it`s happening to Mitt Romney. How did
we get here?
KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Indeed. But don`t worry,
Lawrence, there`s plenty of time for Democrats to do that. Don`t worry.
O`DONNELL: Yes, they will.
FINNEY: Look, we got here because there are a number of Republicans
who recognize that a strategy of trying to do no harm, right, as your
campaign strategy, is not going to work at a point. Because, particularly
when you`re running against an incumbent -- because, you know, you`re
essentially asking people to switch horses, to use a metaphor, in the
middle of a race.
It takes more than just to say, I`m not that guy. You`ve got to
actually give, particularly those independent voters, those swing voters,
something to vote for, not just something to vote against. And to Rupert -
- I can`t believe I`m going to agree with Rupert Murdoch, but OK. To his
point, at the same time that you are also, you know, decreasing size of the
base of your vote by, you know, frustrating Hispanics and not appealing to
sort of other sectors of the country, you`re in real trouble.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the ad that Priorities USA, the super PAC
supporting President Obama, has put out today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Out of the blue one day, we were told to build a
30-foot stage. Gathered the guys and we built that 30-foot stage, not
knowing what it was for. Just days later, all three shifts were told to
assemble in the warehouse. A group of people walked out on that stage and
told us that the plant is now closed and all of you are fired.
I looked both ways. I looked at the crowd. And we all just lost our
jobs. We don`t have an income. Mitt Romney made over 100 million dollars
by shutting down our plant and devastated our lives. Turns out that when
we built that stage, it was like building my own coffin. And it just made
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Priority USA Action is responsible for the content
of this advertising.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Sam Stein, in to the vacuum that is Mitt Romney,
Priorities USA is right to provide that definition of him and what he will
mean to the American worker. Is there a Romney response that can work
SAM STEIN, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": Well, the one they`ve tried worked
briefly when you had people like Cory Booker and Deval Patrick, and to an
extent Bill Clinton and Ed Rendell crying foul over Democrats using private
equity as a political attack. And the response, of course, is you can`t
attack the idea of getting successful in this country. It`s an American
belief that you can get successful in this country.
But what`s telling is that the Bain attacks have come back. And in no
small part because of investigative journalism from "the Boston Globe" and
other outlets. They`ve come pack and they don`t seem to be going anywhere.
That`s in part because the Obama campaign has very clear designs about what
they want to do. They want to show Bain and they want to show the
principles that Mitt Romney learned from them.
And then they want to ask the question, will he apply those principles
to being president? And they used his time as governor as a Rubik to see
if he did it then. This is all part of a very calculated plan that the
Obama campaign was never going to deviate from just because a few northeast
Democrats said they were uncomfortable with the attacks.
O`DONNELL: The Romney campaign has stumbled into trying to explain
the difference between outsourcing and offshoring, which delights President
Obama. Let`s hear what he had to say about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So yesterday his
advisers were asked about this and they tried to clear this up by telling
us there`s actually a difference between outsourcing and offshoring.
OBAMA: That`s what they said. You cannot make this stuff up. What
Governor Romney`s advisers don`t seem to understand is this: if you`re a
worker whose job went overseas, you don`t need somebody trying to explain
to you the difference between outsourcing and offshoring. You need
somebody who`s going to wake up every single day and fight for American
jobs and investment here in the United States. That`s what you need.
That`s why I`m running.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Karen Finney, you can see why Romney supporters are very
worried at that kind of stumble.
FINNEY: Yeah. When you`re trying to explain a difference between
outsourcing and offshoring, you really are losing. So it was not -- it was
only a matter of time before supporters would get frustrated. Look, the
other point of this, though, with Romney, to what Sam was talking about in
that ad, is that people will look at these ads and say, that could be me,
that could be my neighbor, that could be my community.
And that`s why these ads are so devastating. And Mitt Romney, as he
said to us last week, he understands about outsourcing and offshoring in a
way that President Obama doesn`t.
STEIN: Let me just quickly add, the most effective attack that
Democrats had in 2010 was that the Paul Ryan promoted outsourcing. It is
something that they couldn`t use much then, but they can use it now because
of this piece on Bain Capital and Romney.
O`DONNELL: We`re going to be hearing more of it now. Karen Finney
and Sam Stein, thank you both for joining me tonight.
STEIN: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer got smacked down by
the United States Supreme Court today, but her day will actually end when
she appears next in the Rewrite.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: The key components of our efforts to
protect the citizens of Arizona, to take up the fight against illegal
immigration in a balanced and constitutional way has unanimously been
vindicated by the highest court in the land.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Arizona Governor Jan Brewer rewriting what the
Supreme Court said today. The heart of the Arizona bill has not proven to
be constitutional, as she put it today. Just ask Fox News` favorite judge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The heart and soul of the Arizona
statute has been struck down by the Supreme Court, consistent with previous
Supreme Court opinions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Not everyone at Fox News got Judge Napolitano`s memo. The
Fox Nation website proclaimed, "U.S. Supreme Court upholds part of tough
Arizona immigration law in defeat for Obama." "The Wall Street Journal"
gave its readers what they wanted to hear, "Supreme Court upholds key part
of Arizona law."
"The Huffington Post" got it right, "Arizona immigration law gutted."
And "the New York Times," trying to play it straight, got it wrong,
"blocking parts of Arizona law, justices allow its centerpiece."
Section 2-B of the Arizona law, the surviving piece of the law, is not
its centerpiece. Section six was its centerpiece. Section six was its
heart and soul. Section six was the most unconstitutional and un-American
provision of the law. It made every law enforcement official in Arizona
an, in effect, deputized federal agent empowered to enforce federal law.
Section six was ripped up and thrown away by the court because it
empowered Arizona cops to stop anyone they chose at any time to check their
legal status in this country. People could be stopped without any legal
provocation. Just stopped walking down the street, sitting in church, at
the mall, going to school. Stopped at any time, anywhere by local law
enforcement agents and forced to prove their legal right to be in this
That was the most shocking and most egregious part of the law. And
that part of the law is gone. But someone needs to tell that to Harry
Reid`s staff. The Senate Democratic leader issued a press release that
says the Supreme Court decision, quote, "gives Arizona officials free rein
to detain anyone they suspect of being in the state without documentation."
As I said, that is one of the parts of the law that was thrown out.
Chuck Schumer, who is the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on
Immigration, who completely understands these issues, got it completely
right in his statement, saying, quote, "this is as strong a repudiation of
the Arizona law as one could expect, given that the law has not been
implemented yet. Three linchpins of the Arizona law were struck down by a
convincing majority of the court as clearly violating federal law, and a
fourth is on thin legal ice. The court is sending a stern warning to
Arizona that the provision allowing local law enforcement to check people`s
immigration documents cannot be implemented in a discriminatory or
Draconian way or it will be thrown out like the rest of the law."
And that provision of the law can only be used when Arizona police
have stopped, detained, or arrested someone for a legal reason having
nothing to do with immigration. The Supreme Court decision told Arizona
police very clearly that they cannot, quote, "consider race, color, or
national origin as a reason for conducting an immigration status check on
people they arrest or detain."
The court deliberately did not tell Arizona police what they can use
as a reason to conduct an immigration check. Arizona police are now left
to guess, just guess, what reason they can use that will be constitutional
to conduct one of these immigration checks. And as soon as they do run an
immigration check under this provision of the law, under section 2-B, an
army of lawyers is now ready to take that case back to the Supreme Court,
where it is now hard to imagine how that court would be able to justify the
constitutionality of that provision once it is formally challenged, after
throwing out all the rest of that law today.
The truth is that what is left of the Arizona law is virtually
nothing. It changes nothing in practical terms for this country. Every
local law enforcement official already has the right to check the
immigration status of virtually anyone they want that they have detained or
arrested. But they are not allowed to detain those people simply to check
their immigration status. And nothing that the Supreme Court did today
Citing a pre-existing law, the Supreme Court pointed out today that
Congress, quote, "has encouraged the sharing of information about
immigration violations, end quote. In 1996, President Clinton signed a law
passed by a Republican House and a Republican Senate that says, "no state
or local government entity may be prohibited or in any way restricted from
sending to or receiving from the Immigration Service information regarding
the immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of an alien in the United
That law was passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority vote,
including the votes of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. The Supreme Court
cited that law today as the one leg, the only leg that -- what is left of
the Arizona law is now standing on. Without that Bill Clinton-signed law,
the Arizona law probably would have been completely wiped out today.
But the Constitutional challenge that the court has now given Arizona
police officers, without any guidance about how to complete that
Constitutional challenge, in what is now left of that Arizona law -- that
Constitutional challenge to Arizona police is so narrow, so precise, that
the rest of the law will surely be thrown out when they try to enforce that
If this relatively simple and clear decision by the United States
Supreme Court today produced this much confusion, imagine where we will be
by this time Thursday night when the U.S. Supreme Court issues its most
important decision of the 21st century on the Constitutionality of the
Affordable Care Act.
O`DONNELL: One of the names on our big board of Republican VP
possibilities that has gotten very little attention made a big move this
weekend. According to the Romney supporters and fund-raisers who attended
his Utah strategy retreat this weekend, Condoleezza Rice`s speech stole the
show, receiving a standing ovation. One unnamed donor told "the Washington
Post" that she, quote, "hit it out of the park."
Joining me now, Joy Reid, managing editor of TheGrio.com and an MSNBC
contributor. Joy, other than Condoleezza Rice having said supportive
things about Roe versus Wade, any other reason why she shouldn`t be moving
up on this list?
JOY REID, THEGRIO.COM: You know, Lawrence, there are candidates that
you actually pick. And there are candidates that you talk about picking
because it makes your base feel good. I think Condoleezza Rice is the
latter. The reality is she would not bring women. She would not bring
African-Americans. She doesn`t have the standing even that let`s say Colin
Powell does. And she`s a reminder of the Bush administration.
She`s on the wrong side when it comes to the life issue for most base
Republicans. I think she`s more of a feel-good, let`s talk about picking
her sort of person.
O`DONNELL: In a poll in April, Joy, Condoleezza Rice topped the poll
of Republican voters -- this is a poll of Republican voters, who do you
want to see as the VP? There`s Rice with a comfortable lead at the top of
REID: Three words for you, Lawrence, 9-9-9. Base Republicans like
talking about African-American Republicans. It`s a feel-good move. I
don`t see her being picked.
And you know what, one quick thing; the current governor of Florida
picked an African-American woman as his running mate, got three percent of
the African-American vote. And that is exactly the percentage of black
people in Florida who are Republicans. I don`t think they`re going to go
O`DONNELL: What about a governor who needs foreign policy
REID: I know you`re a T-Paw fan. I know you`re a fan on the idea of
T-Paw. And he`s right on a couple of levels. He`s a southern. He`s a
Baptist. He`s the right sort of religion that Romney sort of needs to add.
But he was a terrible governor, so he doesn`t help Romney, because Romney`s
not using his own governorship. I personally think the smart pick for
Romney is Paul Ryan.
Paul Ryan has got the ideological base that Mitt doesn`t have. I
think he would be sort of a better pick in some swing states. So I`m going
O`DONNELL: There is a case against Ryan, but we`ve already made that
here on other nights. And we`re running out of time tonight. Joy Reid,
managing editor of TheGrio.com, thank you for joining us tonight.
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