'The Melissa Harris-Perry Show' for Sunday, October 12th, 2014
Read the transcript to the Sunday show
Show: MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY
Date: October 12, 2014
Guest: Hillary Mann Leverett, Corey Hebert, Caroline Fredrikson, Ilya
Somin, Akhil Reed Amar, Judith Browne Dianis, Eugene O`Donnell, Valarie
Kaur, Khalil Gibran Muhammad
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR: This morning, my question, what
happens to a nation when the police make us feel afraid?
Plus this week in voter expression suppression, Supreme Court edition.
And a doctor says living to 75 is all he wants.
But first there is breaking news on Ebola in the United States.
Good morning, I`m Melissa Harris-Perry and we begin with breaking news.
The second case of Ebola diagnosed here in the United States. This time a
healthcare worker in Dallas, Texas has tested positive for the virus. The
Texas health Presbyterian hospital worker reported a fever late Friday and
was diagnosed with the preliminary test. If those test results are
confirmed that CDC headquarters in Atlanta, it will be the first time Ebola
has been transmitted person to person in the United States.
We know this infected person cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person
to die of Ebola here in this country. Hospital officials say this worker
had been under the CDC`s self-monitoring regime due to Duncan`s involvement
in his care.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The entire process from the patient`s self-monitoring
to admission to isolation took less than 90 minutes. The patient`s
condition is stable. A close contact has also been proactively placed in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Thomas Duncan died Wednesday after he was readmitted for
treatment. We know he was initially sent home despite having a 103-degree
We go now to Sarah Dallof in Dallas. Sarah, do we know when this infected
hospital worker came into contact with Mr. Duncan?
SARAH DALLOF, NBC NEWS REPORTER: Well, we just learned a little bit more
about that time line, Melissa, during a press conference officials held.
This was during the second visit that this contact occurred, that is to say
September 28th, not September 26th when Duncan was initially sent home but
rather when he returned via ambulance is when this hospital worker had some
type of contact with him.
Now, officials do say that this worker was not considered in the high risk
pool and that they were wearing full protective gear whenever they treated
Mr. Duncan. Now, this healthcare worker`s fever was initially reported on
Friday during that self-monitoring procedure and the preliminary test
results came back from Austin late Saturday night. Workers have been going
all through the night to try to figure out where this contact occurred and
decontaminate this person`s apartment.
Officials are also working to identify contacts, anyone that this person
may have exposed potentially to the virus. Officials, of course, stressing
today that the only type of person that actually is contagious is somebody
who is actively showing symptoms, that is to say you can`t catch Ebola,
they say, from someone who is not actively displaying their symptoms.
So this person was wearing full protective gear when they were treating
Thomas Eric Duncan when he returned here on September 28th. Meanwhile, the
hospital has stopped admitting patients to the ER as they focus on the
second case of Ebola here in Dallas.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you so much, Sarah. Obviously, all eyes now on
Dallas, Texas. NBC News Sarah Dallof in Dallas, Texas.
Now, there is some good news we can bring you this morning regarding the
condition of another patient with Ebola. The father of NBC News freelance
cameraman, Ashoka Mukpo, reports his son has been steadily improving over
the weekend and is currently symptom-free. Mukpo is now asking for food,
well on his way to a full recovery at a Nebraska hospital.
Now, even as we welcome that good news, it doesn`t mitigate the ongoing
epidemic ravaging West Africa and sparking concern over the globe.
Saturday morning, Kennedy airport in New York became the first one of five
American airports to enact strict new measures to screen passengers for
Ebola. Passengers from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone will have their
temperature taken. And customs and border protection officers can single
out travelers for further evaluation via CDC quarantine officer.
About 150 people enter the U.S. every day from those three countries, most
of them coming through JFK and four other airports which will begin these
enhanced screenings later this week. Now, the U.S. has a long history
dating back to 1878 of using government authority to isolate individuals in
order to control the spread of infectious disease. When severe acute
respiratory syndrome, commonly known as SARS, caused significant anxiety in
2003, Congress and the CDC tightened their quarantine procedures. And even
though Ebola cannot be transmitted through the air like SARS, it has not
stopped state and local politicians from pushing for stronger border
In a debate last week with a North Carolina senator Kay Hagan, Republican
candidate Thom Tillis said we should seal the border because of bad actors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOM TILLIS (R), NORTH CAROLINA SENATE CANDIDATE: When I saw this threat
emerging, I called for a ban. I think it takes courage to say, folks,
we`ve got to get this situation under control until the CDC can convince us
that people are not going to come to this nation and threaten our safety
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal, and Kentucky senator Rand
Paul, among others have either called for or suggested travel restrictions.
The secretary of state John Kerry has emphasized keeping the borders open
is the only way to fight the outbreak with any success, a sentiment echoed
by CDC director Tom Frieden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. TOM FRIEDEN, CDC DIRECTOR: As long as the outbreak smolders in Africa,
as long as it`s in Africa, we`re potentially at risk because even if we
tried to close the border, it wouldn`t work. People have a right to
return. People transiting through could come in, and it would backfire.
Because by isolating these countries, it will make it harder to help them,
it will spread more there and we`ll be more likely to be exposed here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: This emphasis on securing America`s borders as a response to
a global crisis is echoed in the way many are framing the fight against
As we approach midterms, protecting the border from terrorists has become a
talking point on the Republican campaign trail. This week, Arkansas
Congressman and senate candidate Tom Cotton discuss border security at a
town hall suggesting ISIS fighters were collaborating with drug cartels in
Mexico. Saying quote "they can infiltrate our defenseless border and
attack us right here in places like Arkansas."
Also this week, two other Republican congressmen claimed suspected ISIS
fighters actually did cross into the U.S. from our southern border with
Mexico, a claim homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson immediately shot
down, categorically false, his department says.
And watch this portion of a campaign ad for Georgia Senate candidate David
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Terrorism experts say our border breakdown could
provide an entry for groups like ISIS.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If a country can`t protect its borders, what can it
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: A secure border is essential to national security, but the
focus on keeping the bad guys out can distract us from solutions that
address the root causes of these global crises. Even in the haze of war
fatigue, even when resources for managing domestic concerns are limited.
Even then, a serious global leader must do more than build moats and walls
and hope that we can hide safely behind them. Securing our border may
require reinforcing public health systems in nations across an ocean and it
may require voices at the table even more than boots on the ground.
Joining me now, from Washington D.C., Hillary Mann Leverett, professor on
American University. She served on the National Security Council in both
the Clinton and Bush administrations, as well as in embassies throughout
the Middle East. She is also author of "Going to Tehran, why America must
accept the Islamic Republic of Iran."
Nice to see you this morning.
HILLARY MANN LEVERETT, PROFESSOR ON AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: Thank you for
HARRIS-PERRY: So let`s just start with the simplest question. Is it
possible to secure our borders against a global crisis?
LEVERETT: I don`t think it is. And unfortunately, I think it`s
potentially dangerously delusional. Because the more that we think that we
can, the less we`re going to focus on what needs to be done in terms of
Ebola stemming the epidemic, stopping the epidemic in Africa. It`s not
just a question of any particular person from Liberia or Guinea or any
place else in Africa getting on a plane and maybe getting off, you know,
here at Dulles airport and in the Washington area or in Dallas.
It`s about global supply chains, the possibility, the probability that this
disease may spread even throughout Africa to countries like Angola that are
critical for oil, Congo, critical for strategic metal. Even (INAUDIBLE)
which is important for coco. These international supply chains will be
disrupted by even the disease just spreading in Africa.
And in terms of ISIS, our focus on border security and bombing even more
Muslim targets in the Middle East is a tried and true recipe to increase
the threat from jihadi terrorists both here in the United States and
towards Americans in the Middle East.
HARRIS-PERRY: This point that you`re making, Hillary, it feels so crucial
-- I mean, obviously, Ebola and ISIS are two very different kinds of global
problems but that feeling that somehow we can sort of, you know, either
build a wall that will keep the bad things out or we can just attack. How
then do we -- particularly, when a community is in fear, when a nation is
afraid of terrorism, afraid of infectious disease, how do we convince folks
that actually staying open rather than closing off is the more reasonable
LEVERETT: It is certainly a tough one. But we could have more coverage
for example on what Cuba is doing, a country that we have long demonized.
But Cuba has sent hundreds of doctors to Sierra Leone, to Liberia to try to
stem this crisis.
If you look at the footage you can see Cuban doctors getting off the planes
themselves carrying crates of medicine and medical equipment to take into
the inflicted zone. That`s what`s needed inside Africa and Liberia and
Guinea and Sierra Leone are doctors.
If Cuba, a country that has less than five percent of our population, GDP
is $6,000 per year per person, if they can send hundreds of doctors, why
are we saying that there`s not much we can do but secure or borders. It is
dangerously delusional for us. We can do more. We need to do more to
protect ourselves. And we can look at countries like Cuba that we
otherwise demonize because of our domestic politics and see something
that`s going on there that is -- that is very constructive.
HARRIS-PERRY: And yet I suspect that the Obama administration might argue
that we are doing more than anyone else. I want to pause for a moment and
listen here to Susan Rice basically saying hey, we`re doing a lot. We are
going to need some more folks. Let`s listen to her on "Meet the Press."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN RICE, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: This is going to take all
hands on deck because the goal has to be to contain this epidemic in the
three countries that we`ve seen in West Africa to try to prevent spread and
provide the appropriate care to those that need it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: So, is it possible that the real issue here is simply the
rest of the world is not doing enough both in the context of Ebola but also
potentially on the question of containing ISIS?
LEVERETT: Certainly, the world is not doing enough but neither are we.
Our focus as typical is on the military and building facilities. Well,
facilities aren`t going to cut it if they don`t have doctors, if they don`t
have nurses. That`s what the chronic need is. We can`t just send our
military in to solve this problem as we`ve tried to do in the Middle East
where it also hasn`t worked. We actually need people on the ground,
doctors, nurses and we need to lead a global effort in that regard as we do
in the Middle East. It`s not something where as John Stewart says we can
wave a magic bomb.
We actually need conflict resolution, diplomats on the ground working with
communities that can contain the threat there of ISIS. We can`t just put a
military solution or pretend that we live in fortress America. That`s not
going to cut it in a globalized economy and a globalized world.
HARRIS-PERRY: Hillary Mann Leverett in Washington D.C., it`s always a
pleasure to speak with you and I look forward to having you back here at
LEVERETT: Thank you so much.
HARRIS-PERRY: Still to come this morning, everything from voting rights to
reproductive rights to the question of housing discrimination in the hands
of the Supreme Court.
But up next, I`m going to bring in a medical doctor to help us understand
what is happening with Ebola in the U.S. Stay with us.
HARRIS-PERRY: We have more now on this morning`s breaking news. A
healthcare worker in Dallas is the second person in the U.S. to test
positive for Ebola. The person helped care for Thomas Eric Duncan who on
Wednesday became the first Ebola patient to die in the United States. The
healthcare worker who is not being identified at this time is listed in
stable condition and is now in isolation. If confirmed, this would be the
first case of Ebola contracted or transmitted here in the United States.
Joining me now from New Orleans, Dr. Corey Hebert, assistant professor at
LSU Health Sciences Center and Tulane University medical center as well as
CEO of community health TV.
So Dr. Hebert, thank you for coming back again. Yesterday you had talked
me down a little bit from my anxiety about the question of transmission and
then we wake up this morning to this news. Does this change anything that
you told us yesterday about the likelihood of transmission and spreading
here in the U.S.?
DR. COREY HEBERT, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, LSU HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER: Well,
actually what it does is augment what I said and the reason why is because
what did I say? We said the only way that this could spread is a breakdown
of communication or not following the protocols.
We know that this hospital, quite you know, unceremoniously, is notorious
for not following protocols because that`s how we got in this situation in
the first place. You know, looking at the press release from the hospital
this morning, very specifically, they said this person was taking care of
this patient when they came back to the hospital the second time. When he
came back to the hospital the second time, they still didn`t know he had
Ebola, you know. They didn`t.
And let`s just be very clear about this. You know, when you have on the
gown, the mask, the gloves, the suit, I mean, everything face shields, you
can get nothing. Now, what we probably think has happened is that when you
"take off!" that outfit, when you take off that gown you have to be even
more careful to not touch it and then touch your eyes and then touch
And what they did say is that this person was not directly related with the
care of that patient. So she may have been haphazard in taking this thing
off when she didn`t follow the protocol of the buddy system to have someone
watch her take it off.
HARRIS-PERRY: Right. So I will say since we don`t know yet know the
identity of the healthcare worker, we may be presuming given what we know
about the structure of the healthcare system that this is likely a woman,
but we don`t actually know yet he identity of this healthcare worker.
That said, I want to play just for a moment some sound from the press
conference that you`re talking about this morning and then I`ve got a
question for you. So if I am this morning a registered nurse or a PA, sort
of I might be thinking about this. But let`s assume for a moment that Dr.
Daniel Varga in the press conference out of Dallas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DANIEL VARGA, TEXAS HEALTH RESOURCES: This individual was following
full CDC precautions which are (INAUDIBLE), so gown, glove, mask and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: So, if I hear Dr. Vargas say that and I am a PA who has to,
you know, report to work this morning, should I have reason to believe that
the CDC guidelines are insufficient?
HEBERT: Well, I think we would have reason to believe is that maybe there
was a hole in the gun. And the reason why I say that, we have the best
people in the world working on this, the Ebola epidemic -- the group
doctors without borders. If there was a breakdown in the CDC protocol,
then, we would have an epidemic of doctors without borders, doctors having
the Ebola virus, as well, and we don`t. Because when you follow it
appropriately and you don`t make a mistake, then you don`t get Ebola.
Now, I have to be very clear about this because, you know, to err is human.
I mean, people make mistakes. And if we`re not used to doing something
every day in a very systematic way, then you have, you know, errors in how
you handle that. And so, I feel very comfortable still saying that if you
have the appropriate attire on, the appropriate gear, then the odds of you
catching any of this are pretty much zero, unless you take it off in the
way that you`re not supposed to take it off and re-contaminate yourself or
contaminate others. And you know, it`s not outside of the realm of reality
to understand that if you don`t do this every day, then you can make a
mistake. We all make them. It`s just that this is not a dress rehearsal.
This is real life and we can no longer afford to make any more mistakes
when it comes to this virus.
HARRIS-PERRY: Dr. Corey Hebert in New Orleans, Louisiana, thank you for
joining us this morning.
HEBERT: Good morning.
HARRIS-PERRY: Coming up, the right to vote, the right to fair housing, the
right to reproductive health, all of that is in the hands of the Supreme
Court, the John Roberts Supreme Court.
HARRIS-PERRY: Ladies and gentlemen, the Supreme Court is back in session.
Now, you think that the justices might take it easy this term after
granting corporations religious freedom last term and gutting the voting
rights act the term before that and debilitating the affordable care act`s
Medicaid expansion the term before that, but the justices have given
themselves a full plate and starting with voting rights.
At Election Day, less than a month away, the Supreme Court has already
issued orders that could change the game in three states. In Ohio, the
court handed down an order that eliminated an entire week of early voting
during which voters could register and vote at the same time. The order
also eliminated additional evening hours for early voting.
According to the ACLU in 2012 157,000 people voted during the times that
have now been cut, score one for voter oppression, sorry, suppression.
Then on Wednesday the Supreme Court ordered North Carolina`s voter
restrictions to go into effect for the midterms, the court blocked a lower
court order that would have allowed voters in North Carolina to register at
the same time they vote this year. The court also blocked North Carolina
from counting the ballets of those who vote in the wrong precinct.
In 2010, more than 20,000 North Carolina voters took advantage of same day
registration. Six thousand wrong precinct ballots were counted. Score two
for voter suppression.
Then on Thursday the Supreme Court turned its attention to Wisconsin and
the strict voter identification requirement there. So the rights group
estimates that the law could disenfranchise up to 300,000 registered voters
who lack the proper I.D. And the governor`s race, there is all tied up.
So every vote counts frankly at this point. I`ve resigned myself to the
court making it a three-peat in allowing the I.D. law to take hold. But
the Supreme Court can sometimes surprise us. And on Thursday the court
blocked the voter I.D. law temporarily, effectively stopping it from going
into effect this year. So, on the boards, one for voter rights.
But this fight is far from over. None of these orders were decisions on
the merits of voter restrictions. The court did not articulate a reason
for allowing early voter cuts but disallowing voter I.D. These are just
emergency orders blocking or allowing these voter laws for now. And the
Supreme Court can still get a chance to decide whether yet another voter
restriction is in effect this year the voter law in Taxes.
So what does all of this mean for the future of voting and for the midterm
elections this month? Joining me now, Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of
the Advancement Project, Ilya Somin, who is professor of law at the George
Mason University school of law and a blogger for the Volokh conspiracy blog
at the "Washington Post," Akhil Reed Amar who is professor of law and
political science at Yale University and a visiting professor at Columbia
law school and Caroline Fredrikson, president of the American Society for
law and policy.
So nice to have you all here.
So Akhil, start by just helping us understand how this is different from
the court having ruled on these questions.
AKHIL REED AMAR, PROFESSOR, YALE UNIVERSITY: So the court is basically
telling the appellate courts to chill. And basically, there are two
interpretations. So in all three, they basically blocked what a court of
appeals was doing without telling us quite why in two different theories.
One, voter I.D. laws are particularly heinous and dangerous and so maybe
that`s what they think. And if that`s the theory, then maybe actually in
Texas they will take the case and affirm perhaps what the lower court said,
which is that these voter I.D. bans are really problematic.
The alternative is just they`re telling the courts don`t get involved at
the last minute and change all the rules right before an election. That`s
going to be confusing to people.
HARRIS-PERRY: So it could be about a relationship of the courts or on the
So let me go to the one piece that you said there about voter I.D. laws
being particularly heinous. Judith, I want to come you on this because we
saw GAO reports, not the sexiest thing in the world, but they are meant to
be a nonpartisan government report that suggests that there could be a 24th
amendment question here. In other words, that the cost of voter I.D. is
basically constitute a poll tax. Again, the GAO didn`t make that case but
they did make a case about how disenfranchising they could be. So
according to this GAO report in case of voter I.D.s, the cost of a voter
I.D. includes a driver`s license that could be $14.50 to $58.50 to get and
even in the place of free I.D. in order to get a birth certificate it could
cost $7 to $25. So, there is an actual cost.
JUDITH BROWNE DIANIS, CO-DIRECTOR, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: So, I mean, it`s
so nice to have the GAO tell us what we`ve always said, it is a great
organization, and that we argued in -- and that is the project in
Wisconsin. We argued that. And in fact, we have in the Texas case that
just came down, the court actually saying that it is a poll tax. In fact,
also in the dissent in our Wisconsin case Judge Posner said the same thing.
And so, I think we`re going to see voter I.D. back in the Supreme Court,
that what we`re going to have is a better record than what we had in the
Indiana case that said that it was OK. But also, because those cases, the
cases that we`ve brought like Wisconsin and Texas which the NAACP legal
defense fund is involved in, are also about the voting rights act, right,
which we didn`t see before.
And so, we have a better record. We actually have Judge Posner saying that
actually the fraud that Wisconsin put forward was a little goofy and
paranoid. So there are questions being raised about voter I.D. that are
going to change what happened in the Supreme Court.
HARRIS-PERRY: You just brought up the -- when we had the section five,
right, so basically when we had clearance, and so I guess part of what I
want to ask about, particularly given if it feels right if the -- if what
the court is saying is don`t make changes this close to an election, you
courts don`t make changes this close to an election over and above a
legislative body. But had they not removed the formula that allowed for
preclearance, then wouldn`t these laws have never been allowed, at least in
some of the states, at least in North Carolina.
CAROLINE FREDRIKSON, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR LAW AND POLICY: At
least in North Carolina. Unfortunately, the other laws, at least in
Wisconsin, would have gone forward. But happily because of the work that
the Advancement Project did with the other groups that were involved, they
put together an amazing case. And they gathered the data.
But you have to use section two now. So instead of having the preclearance
formula, the model where you could actually block laws in advance and
therefore not have to deal with voters not being able to vote, now it`s an
exposed situation. And so, not only are you coming late to the game to try
to desperately to stop the changes before an election happens so that
people who want to vote can actually exercise that right, but it`s very
costly and very data intensive.
And I know that, you know, Judge Edelman in Wisconsin wrote a very, very
thorough decision based on the data that he got because the litigation and
the trial put all this evidence in front of him that made it very clear
that the photo identification requirement was so strict that it was going
to be cost prohibitive for a significant percentage of voters.
HARRIS-PERRY: And with a clear partisan bias which one -- it`s not just a
random draw from the box.
It feels to me then like, again, because the court isn`t articulating
something yet, I mean, they quite likely will, but we are stuck in this
question of whether or not we ought to error on the side of ensuring
greater access or error on the side of protecting against fraud, right? So
presuming there`s some friction in the system, right, and yet there`s so
little evidence of fraud and so much evidence that these are suppressive
efforts that it is hard for me to imagine how the court thinks -- would
thinks that fraud would be the thing on which we should err.
ILYA SOMIN, PROFESSOR, GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW: I agree with
part of what you said there. I think the evidence of in person voter fraud
is extremely weak, at least in modern America. Maybe 100 years ago it may
be a different story. I think the concern that many Republicans put
forward, and we have to use to prevent fraud, I think at the very least
it`s hugely overblown.
On the other hand, I think there`s also somewhat of an overblown concern
sometimes on the other side in that there`s large variation in these lies
and many of them it isn`t that hard to get the I.D. that is required. The
Wisconsin case may be different. I think it is somewhat of (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And Pennsylvania.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, I hear -- and I hear that sometimes from folks, it`s not
that hard, but I guess I`m wondering sort of why any -- that shouldn`t a
democracy where sort of the question of our institutions having value and
being the voice of the people rest primarily on the capacity of those
people to hold those institutions accountable through elections. Why would
we want to make it at all hard?
SOMIN: So if you`re asking me would I vote for these laws if I was in the
state legislature, I probably wouldn`t.
HARRIS-PERRY: No. I`m not asking for -- legal reasoning why wouldn`t you
want to make (INAUDIBLE).
SOMIN: Yes. So I don`t think there`s a good policy reason for most of
these laws. The question, though, is should a court strike them down. And
I think whether a court should strike them down or not depends on how
onerous it is and also what the motivation is behind the laws.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have five constitutional amendments --
HARRIS-PERRY: OK. All right, hold. This is great because you just
brought us to I think a fundamental question that people have around the
role of legislative versus judicial branch. So hold with me. We are just
getting started here with our panel of constitutional law experts.
Up next, the Roberts court and housing fairness. But first as we go out,
comedian Louis Black really sums up at least some of our feelings on voter
suppression in the new video for the ACLU.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOUIS BLACK, COMEDIAN: Look. People marched and fought and died for the
right to vote and they want to legislate the way that sacrifice to stay in
power, not on my watch, baby.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I can --
BLACK: Take the picture!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: This term the Supreme Court will consider a case that could
determine the future of the Fair Housing Act, the landmark civil rights air
legislation that prohibits racial discrimination in housing.
In this case, housing advocates in Dallas claim that the state of Texas is
using tax credits to concentrate low income housing in minority
neighborhoods. They argue that this leaves entire areas of the city,
mostly white areas, unaffordable for low income people who are
disproportionately Black and Latino.
Therefore the state of Texas is quote "perpetuating residential
segregation." That`s precisely what the Fair Housing Act was meant to
combat. The question the Supreme Court will consider is, is that enough to
So we are going to get to the housing and desperate (ph) impact in a
But Akhil, I wanted to let you finish your thought around the voting issue
AMAR: So there are five different constitutional amendments that speak
explicitly of the right to vote, the 14th amendment section two, the 15th
amendment, the 19th amendment, the 24th, the 26th.
So if courts should be doing anything, it is enforcing this. The Fair
Housing Act that you just mentioned came out of the `60s so did the anti-
poll tax amendment. And if you have to pay a cent for your I.D. or for
your birth certificate or your driver`s license, the poll tax that were
prohibited in some states were $1.50. But it`s a principle that everyone
has a right to vote.
And if you want to have photo I.D., here is a thought. Let them take a
picture of me when I show up. You know, they got their iphones, you know,
just liked -- and you should see in the streets people taking pictures of
cops. They can take a picture of me. I can sign my name. I can say
here`s where I live and then that should be a provisional ballot that will
count unless they prove I`m not who I said.
DIANIS: That`s actually the point that actually why they passed these laws
in the first place.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, it is a presumption. So, all right, so what you just
said, though, actually in an interesting way brings us into that housing
question. Because what you said -- but the reason they passed them, right?
So a presumption about an underlying sort of a political motivation or
choices for the purposes of passing policy, and this is really, I think, at
the core of this desperate impact argument, right? So what we currently
know is that the basic stand right now is a desperate impact, all you have
to show is that there is in fact a differential and discriminatory impact
even if there is no discretionary intense.
What happens if the court rules in a way that says not just desperate
impact, but you have to show discriminatory intent when it comes to a
housing policy in order to strike it down?
FREDRIKSON: Well, I mean, I think it makes the burden so extremely high
that the Fair Housing Act is basically rendered useless as you said. I
mean, it was designed for and meant to combat discrimination in housing.
And it`s very, very rare that an elected official sends an email, although
apparently in Texas they did this with the issues of redistributing, where
they send an email saying, hi. We want to make sure that no Blacks and
Latinos live in this neighborhood and let`s make sure that the vouchers
only go into neighborhoods where they already live.
That evidence doesn`t exist or is very hard to come by. And it makes it so
difficult to make the case that you will never be able to or very rarely be
able to demonstrate that you have the requisite intentional discrimination
to win the case.
DIANIS: And it is very important, just of the impact, it is important,
especially in cases like the mortgage lending cases. I did a mortgage
lending back in the 1990s where it was important to be able to look at the
policies across the board, see what the outcomes were, and then the bank
had an opportunity to say, you know what, there was no less discriminatory
alternative. This is our policy, et cetera. But that`s why this is
important for us to be able to prove discrimination without the smoking
gun, without that --.
HARRIS-PERRY: I mean, certainly, I mean, we were looking at the sort of
this 2008 crises, bank of America has paid a $335 million settlement.
Countrywide case on alleged Wells Fargo, $175 million. On subprime loans,
PNC, $35 million. So this is meant meaningful remuneration from banks
around these questions.
Yes. So I think two points on this. One is with respect to proving intent
when we`re talking about a large organization like a legislature or big
corporation or the like, if they have an intent of, you know, it`s racial
or ethnic in nature, it`s not going to be that easy to hide an organization
that large. And there are many cases where, you know, it can be found.
SOMIN: Secondly, if we are going to adopt this rule that`s being advocated
by the side at once, in this current impact approach, in a highly diverse
society it`s not just black and white. It`s Latino, Asian-American and
many other groups, almost any housing policy you adopt, whether public or
private, is going to have a differential effect on some groups as opposed
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you`re about equal opportunity, then why would you
put in place policies that have an adverse impact on particular groups?
That`s why we have it.
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I was going to say, I mean, I think the point that you
make here is an important that it`s not just about black and white,
absolutely. It`s also just not about housing, right? So this is about
LGBT questions, this is about people with disabilities, this is about
mothers, you know who are single moms with children. All of that is
covered, at least and LGBT under some aspects of the Fair Housing Act.
But in that case, part -- I mean, as you say, it`s now the policy and
there`s now the chevron difference which was suggested given that this is
now policy should, in fact the court --
FREDRIKSON: Melissa, actually, the courts that have ruled on this have
been uniform in agreeing that desperate impact applies for years. So to
suggest that this is a change --
AMAR: And it`s not just housing because if you have integrated
neighborhoods you`re more likely to have integrated schools. Let`s go back
to voting. When people actually are segregated in housing, then you can
have some voting districts with really long lines and other voting
districts with really short lines and actually facilitating voting
HARRIS-PERRY: Housing is everything. Housing is voting. Housing is
environment. Housing is education.
Up next, we have more on the Supreme Court but not this Supreme Court, a
case from 70 years ago to this day.
HARRIS-PERRY: On this day in 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments
in Korematsu versus the United States, a landmark case involving a shameful
chapter in American history.
Shortly after the bombing of the Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt
signed an executive order mandating that anyone of Japanese descent be
moved from the west coast. More than 110,000 people were forced into
internment camps. But some refused, including a young man named Fred
Korematsu, an American born citizen of Japanese descent who was arrested in
California and convicted of violating military orders.
At the urging of the ACLU, he became the test case to challenge the
constitutionality of the internment camps. But in a 6-3 vote the Supreme
Court justices upheld Korematsu`s conviction. Writing for the majority,
Justice Hugo Black argued that although legal restriction on the single
racial group are suspects pressing public necessity may sometimes justify
the existence of such restrictions.
Nearly 40 years later after documents were uncovered proving that
intelligent agencies knew Japanese-Americans were not a threat during World
War II, Korematsu`s court convictions was finally overturned.
Even after his long sought victory, he continued to advocate on behalf of
others, helping to secure on official apology from the U.S. government and
reparations of the survivors of internment camps. In 1998 President
Clinton presented Korematsu with the nation`s highest civilian honor, the
presidential medal of freedom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the long history
of our country`s constant search for justice, some names of ordinary
citizens stand for millions of souls -- Plessy, Brown, Parks. So that
distinguished list today we add the name of Fred Korematsu.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: One of the extraordinary honors for a man whose plays in
history was first solidified before the Supreme Court on this day, October
More on today`s Supreme Court when we come back.
HARRIS-PERRY: Last Monday, the Supreme Court did something on same sex
marriage that almost no one expected, nothing. The Supreme Court announced
that it would not review any of the seven same sex marriage cases before
it. By doing nothing, the court ended seven challenges to marriage
equality and set off a wave of celebrations. In the six days since, same
sex marriage has become newly legal in ten states -- Idaho, North Carolina,
Colorado, Nevada, West Virginia, Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma,
Utah. Is it finally over? Are we simply a marriage equality nation? Is
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think so.
HARRIS-PERRY: I`m sorry, I`m very excited.
FREDRIKSON: I have to say, I don`t see how the Supreme Court can overturn
this at this point. Millions and millions of people are going to be
married. And all of a sudden those marriages are going to be declared
AMAR: Some of the audience will remember that amazing moment when the wall
came down, you know. There was a time T1 (ph) in which people are trapped
and then all of a sudden -- and it was not quite predicted or anticipated
freedom. Women suffrage, in 1909 only two percent of Americans women voted
equally, 1920, 100 percent. Black, only two percent of America`s blacks
vote equally in 1860. Everyone is 1870.
There are these revolutions and we are witnessing one before our eyes.
HARRIS-PERRY: You know, revolution I think about the moment in the
Montgomery bus where Dr. King is going to meet with the city leaders and
that is the day when they desegregate the buses and he`s, you know, going
and try to think about what are we going to do and then it`s just over.
And then after a year of the fight, it is just over and I, you know --
DIANIS: Go figure. I think we have to understand that the court follows
the people and the context and the time.
HARRIS-PERRY: Does it really?
DIANIS: And our culture.
DIANIS: I think it catches up. I think there are times when it has to,
OK? The civil rights movement created that change. It wasn`t just like
the court decided, yes, we`re going to do the right thing. It was because
there was a movement that was pushing. And I think that what the LGBT
community has done has created an opening and we can`t turn back.
SOMIN: So I agree certainly this has been a very rapid change, more rapid
than I expected. I said about a year ago that within five or ten years
maybe we`ll have the Supreme Court make a decision on this and have it
nationwide in marriage equality. Now, I think it will be probably be
At the same time, in many of these states, the courts have made a
difference because many of these states would have taken a lot longer to
get there on their own than with judicial intervention. I think also there
is still the big remaining question if you believe as I think I do that in
the next few years we get a Supreme Court decision striking down laws
banning same sex marriage. There`s about five different ways that the
Supreme Court could rationalize that decision in which way it chooses could
make a big difference with respect to other issues in the future.
HARRIS-PERRY: So why then -- so because if they provide a rationale,
right, then all of a sudden that changes a set of precedence for a number
of cases that might be, at this moment, unrelated or even unforeseeable for
us. So why do you think then they choose to just --
FREDRIKSON: Well, I mean, I think there could be any number of reasons. I
think Ruth Bader Ginsburg, you know, is sort of On the Record of suggesting
that moving slow is better, letting things play out. And I think there
were probably four justices who really didn`t want to see the Supreme Court
put their blessing on these marriages going forward.
But I was going to say, I think this is a very interesting sort of
connection back to the fair housing discussion because one of the things
that I think is very different about the gay and lesbian community is that
they`re disbursed. They are -- everyone has friends, family, they`re
everywhere. And so I think as the world becomes more free and people start
recognizing that maybe their brother is gay and they have an aunt or
cousins or their neighbors. I think, you know, you don`t have the issue of
segregation that happens among other communities.
And so, I think people are much more open because if your son comes out and
is like John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, who all of a sudden is fine with
same sex marriage because his son is gay. Well, your son doesn`t turn out
to be black all of a sudden. And so, I think issues of race are treated
very differently by people because they don`t have exposure. It sorts of
different from them.
HARRIS-PERRY: And I will just say, that was Portman, not Kasich, just so
that we`re On the Record.
Judith will be back with us on the next hour. Thank you to Ilya Simon, to
Akhil Reed and to Caroline Fredikson.
Let me also just say that in terms of our friends and family, if Valerie
and Hillary want to get married at the House now that it`s legal in North
Carolina, you are welcome, come on. We would love to do it.
Up next, another week and another video gone viral showing excessive force
on the part of the police.
There is more MHP show at the top of this hour.
HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. And we begin this
hour with breaking news. We`re standing by for a live news conference from
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on the latest
case of Ebola in the United States. A healthcare worker in Dallas, Texas
has tested positive for Ebola. The person worked at Texas Health
Presbyterian Hospital and helped care for Thomas Eric Duncan who, on
Wednesday, became the first person to die of Ebola in the United States.
The healthcare worker is now listed in stable condition and is in
isolation. Texas health officials say the hospital worker was wearing
protective gear and following all CDC precautions while helping to care for
Duncan. If the latest diagnosis of Ebola is confirmed, it would be the
first person-to-person transmission of the virus in the United States.
Now, I want to bring in NBC News correspondent Sarah Dallof in Dallas.
Sarah, I`m sorry. I guess maybe, we don`t -- there she is. Hi, Sarah.
What`s being done here to monitor those who may have had contact with this
DALLOF: Well, Melissa, step one is identifying these people and officials
say that it is much easier this time around because of procedures they
already had in place. Now, this was somebody who was self-monitoring, that
is, they were taking their own temperature and it was their responsibility
to report any signs or symptoms of Ebola which they did on Friday evening
when they came down with a fever. That test came back positive on Saturday
and since then officials have been working to identify anyone that this
person came into contact with, anybody who was potentially exposed, and to
notify them as well.
HARRIS-PERRY: Sarah, hold on for one moment. I see that the news
conference is beginning and we want to get there live right now.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Our first speaker today is CDC Director Dr. Tom
DR. TOM FRIEDEN, CDC DIRECTOR: Good morning, everyone, and thank you for
joining us. We`re deeply concerned by the news that a healthcare worker in
Texas has tested preliminarily positive for infection with Ebola virus.
Confirmatory testing is under way at CDC and will be completed later today.
We don`t know what occurred in the care of the index patient, the original
patient in Dallas, but at some point there was a breach in protocol, and
that breach in protocol resulted in this infection. The healthcare worker
developed symptoms on Friday. They were assessed last night and this
morning, or last night I should say. Today is Sunday. They were assessed
Friday and tested yesterday, and the laboratory response network laboratory
in Austin, Texas testing their result preliminarily positive. That result
came in late last night, about exactly 12 hours ago.
And I will outline the steps that we have been taking before, since, and in
the future to address this. The individual was self-monitoring, and
immediately on developing symptoms, as appropriate, she contacted the
healthcare system, and when she came in she was promptly isolated. The
level of her symptoms and indications from the test itself suggest that the
level of virus that she had was low. There are four things that we`re
doing at this point. First, to make sure that we do everything possible to
care safely and effectively for this individual. Second, assessing her
possible contacts from the moment she developed symptoms, and the CDC team
lead for the Dallas investigation has interviewed her and it appears at
this time that there is only one contact who may have had contact with her
while she may have been infectious. That individual is under active
monitoring. Third, we are evaluating other potential healthcare worker
exposures, because if this individual was exposed, which they were, it is
possible that other individuals were exposed. We know that this individual
did provide care to the index patient on multiple occasions, and that care
included extensive contact. Fourth, we will undertake a complete
investigation of how this may have occurred. That`s so important, so we
can understand it better and intervene to prevent this from happening in
I want to go into little bit more detail first on what we are doing to
promote safe and effective care and then on the investigation. In terms of
safe and effective care, we had already begun several days ago to ramp up
the education and training of healthcare workers at this facility. The
care of Ebola can be done safely, but it`s hard to do it safely. It
requires meticulous and scrupulous attention to infection control and even
a single inadvertent innocent slip can result in contamination. Second, we
are recommending to the facility that the number of workers who care for
anyone with suspected Ebola be kept to an absolute minimum. Third, we
recommend that the procedures that are undertaken to support the care of
that individual be limited solely to essential procedures. Fourth, we`re
looking at personal protective equipment, understanding that there is a
balance and putting more on isn`t always safer. It may make it harder to
provide effective care. So all aspects of personal protective equipment.
And fifth, we`re recommending that there be a full-time individual who`s
responsible only for the oversight supervision and monitoring of effective
infection control while any patient with suspected or confirmed Ebola is
being cared for.
CDC has sent additional staff to Texas to assist with this response, and we
will continue to work closely with them. In the investigation itself we
look at three different phases. What happens before someone goes in to an
area where someone with suspected or confirmed Ebola is being cared for,
what happens in that space, and what happens when they leave. The two
areas where we will be looking particularly closely is the performance of
kidney dialysis and respiratory intubation. Both of those procedures may
spread contaminated materials and are considered high risk procedures.
They were undertaken on the index patient as a desperate measure to try to
save his life. In taking off respiratory protective equipment, we identify
this as a major potential area for risk. When you have gone into and
potentially soiled or contaminated gloves, or masks, or other things, to
remove those without any risk of any contaminated material touching you and
being then on your clothes or face or skin and leading to an infection is
critically important and not easy to do right.
So these are areas that the investigation will look at, but we don`t know
what it will find. We`ll be doing that over the coming days. Before I
turn it over to Dr. Lakey, the commissioner of the Texas Department of
State Health Services, I do want to make two final points. The first is
that unfortunately, it is possible in the coming days that we will see
additional cases of Ebola. This is because the healthcare workers who
cared for this individual may have had a breach of the same nature of the
individual who appears now to have a preliminary positive test. That risk
is in the 48 people who are being monitored, all of whom have been tested
daily, none of whom so far have developed symptoms or fever, and in any
other healthcare workers who may have been exposed to this index patient
while he was being cared for. We`re still determining how many healthcare
workers that will be. That is an intensive investigation. It takes many
hours of tracing steps.
We`ll always cast the net wider. There, though, is no risk to people
outside of that circle of the healthcare workers who cared for the
individual patient and the initial 48 patients or contacts who had definite
or possible contact with the index patient who we`ve already identified.
The second point I want to make is that what we do to stop Ebola is to
break the links of transmission, to break the chains of transmission. And
we do that by making sure that every person with Ebola is promptly
diagnosed, that they`re promptly isolated, that we identify their contacts,
and that we actively monitor their contacts every day for 21 days, and they
develop symptoms or fever, we do the same process again. That`s how we
have stopped every Ebola outbreak in history, except the one currently in
West Africa. That`s how we stopped it in Lagos, Nigeria, that`s how we
will stop it in Dallas. So breaking the links and the chain of
transmission is the key to preventing further spread. I`d like to turn it
over to Dr. Lakey.
DR. DAVID LAKEY, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES COMMISSIONER:
Thank you, Dr. Frieden. This is David Lakey, the commissioner of Health in
the State of Texas. And I appreciate all the support from the CDC that the
CDC have given us, not only over the night but over the last several weeks
as we`ve been working through this unprecedented event. Our staff have
been working throughout the night trying to gather more information and as
we get more information, as appropriate, we will provide that information.
But as Dr. Frieden noted, we do have one healthcare worker. The healthcare
worker that had extensive contact with our initial patient who did what was
appropriate with early symptoms, came in to be checked. And we facilitated
getting the blood tests done. That test came back at 9:30 last night, and
as Dr. Frieden noted, was positive. The controls were appropriate. The
amount of virus in her blood was less than what was there when the first
index test came back, but it`s a positive test.
So our hearts really do go out to this individual and the family. A
healthcare worker who is willing to compassionately care for Mr. Duncan,
and again, our thoughts and prayers are with them. We have been preparing
for events such as this, put in contingency plans. Again, we`re refining
those plans and a lot of work is taking place right now. As Dr. Frieden
noted, the 48 original contacts continue to be monitored and they continued
to do well. And we have this one healthcare worker that now needs our
care. And so as Dr. Frieden noted, we have been and will continue to
monitor healthcare workers, stepping that up to make sure that any
healthcare worker that has any fever or any other symptoms will be quickly
identified, as was this individual, continue to work to make sure the
infection control practices that are being performed at the hospital are at
the highest standards, and fully evaluating what is under way and figure
out exactly what happened that allowed this individual to be infected. And
we brought in more public health officials, public health staff,
epidemiologists to make sure that we have the individuals we need to fully
evaluate the situation. And again, appreciate the work from the CDC and
their support for Texas right now as we work through this situation. Thank
FRIEDEN: We will now take questions. We`ll start in the room and then go
to the phone.
STEVE GEHLBACH, WSB-TV REPORTER: Steve Gehlbach from WSB-TV in Atlanta.
This healthcare worker has had multiple contacts with the original patient.
In your interviews with her, has she been specifically isolate a chance
where this may have occurred with this breach you say in those interviews
with her talking about while your specifically investigating where she`s
taking off the equipment or anything, why you`re focusing on that part in
FRIEDEN: We have spoken with the healthcare worker and that individual has
not been able to identify a specific breach. The way we do investigations
like this is we look at every single interaction, what was the nature of
that interaction, we look at any other information we can gather. I was
not mentioning the taking on or off PPE or the procedures related to the
investigation, but as a general rule these are the two areas where we see
the greatest risk.
GEHLBACH: And if all, is this going to change the way healthcare workers
anywhere, whether Atlanta or Dallas, interact with these potential patients
wearing more gear, what`s going to change now?
FRIEDEN: I think it is certainly very concerning and it tells us that
there is a need to enhance the training and the protocols to make sure that
the protocols are followed. The protocols work. We have decades of
experience caring for patients with Ebola, but we know that even a single
lapse or breach inadvertent can result in infection. So figuring out how
all of the things that we can do to minimize that risk such as those I
went through, reducing the number of healthcare workers, reducing
procedures to essential procedures, having a site monitor there, these are
all the things that we`ll be looking at closely. We`ll go to the phone for
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Thank you. We`ll begin the question and answer
session. If you would like to ask a question, please press star one and
say your name clearly and I`d introduce you by name. Our first question
comes from Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News. You may ask the question.
DR. RICHARD BESSER, ABC NEWS: Hi, Dr. Frieden, you were saying how
difficult it is to implement proper infection control and how one slip can
be so dangerous. Is there any consideration of moving to a system where
you would move patients to these specialized units where they actually are
trained instead of treating them in hospitals where they really don`t have
FRIEDEN: We`re going to look at all opportunities to improve the level of
safety and to minimize risk, but we can`t let any hospital let its guard
down because a patient, an American returning or somebody else coming into
this country who had exposure and maybe didn`t even have an awareness of
that exposure may become ill. So we do want hospitals to have the ability
to rapidly consider, isolate, and diagnose people who may have Ebola.
Again, anyone who has been in Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone in the past
21 days and has a fever or other symptoms should be immediately isolated
and evaluated for Ebola. So I would distinguish that the diagnosis needs
to be done anywhere, then thinking about what`s the safest way to provide
that care. That`s something we`ll absolutely be looking at.
BESSER: Thanks very much.
FRIEDEN: On the phone, next question?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Thank you. We have Michelle -- with ABC News.
Michelle? Please check your mute button. Let`s go to the next question.
Caleb Hellerman, CNN, the line is open.
CALEB HELLERMAN, CNN MEDICAL PRODUCER: Thank you. I was wondering if you
could, Dr. Frieden, if you could or Dr. Lakey, if you could say anything
more about the kind of extensive contact, and what was the role of this
person who has become infected and also if you could just clarify the
monitoring process. You said she was self-monitoring. Are some of the
other contacts getting in-person visits or just what exactly is the process
for taking your temperature or reporting in. At least you could qualify
that. Thank you.
FRIEDEN: So, I`ll turn that over to Commissioner Lakey and I do want to
really thank the Texas and Dallas health authorities who have been working
around the clock since the diagnosis of the first patient and have
monitored every one of those 48 patients and taken their temperature and
have now intensively surged to address this latest development. Dr. Lakey.
LAKEY: Thank you, Dr. Frieden.
HARRIS-PERRY: That was CDC Director Thomas Frieden briefing on Ebola here
in the United States. Right now I want to bring in Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel,
he`s an MSNBC contributor and the chair of Medical Ethics and Health Policy
as well as vice provost of Global Initiatives at the University of
All right. Dr. Emanuel, based on what you heard during this press
conference, what are your initial reactions?
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, this is a serious concern,
as Dr. Frieden said, there has been a breach in protocol and a breach
somehow that bodily fluids got exchanged. It does remind you that this is
very infectious once the bodily fluids mix. From my experience certainly
in the early days of the AIDS epidemic where we just began with the gloves
and the mask and eye protective gear, removing these protective items is
usually where something can go wrong, the glove snaps off or a flap on the
gown hits your face. And that would be my biggest concern. And it sounded
like it was Dr. Frieden`s biggest concern also. I would also note that
their efforts now to reduce the number of people who are taking care of an
Ebola patient and increase the amount of time that they go with them, you
know, you`re balancing two problems. Yes, reducing the number of people
exposed is a good thing. You can monitor them more easily, reduce the
contacts that they have. On the other hand, it also dramatically increases
their exposure time and increases the risk. And so this is a very
difficult balancing act to handle.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, I have two questions, one is about healthcare workers as
a population and the other is about the general public. So, I want to
start with healthcare workers.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, on the one hand, that CDC regulations rules seem to be
highly effective but also and I`ve heard Frieden say this repeatedly even
the smallest human error which is likely to happen in circumstances,
particularly where people don`t have a lot of experience, can lead to
exposure very easily. Is there any reason to think that this can cause
healthcare workers to make decisions to choose not to treat patients?
EMANUEL: There`s always -- look, I think almost all healthcare workers in
this country recognize that they have an obligation to treat sick people no
matter who they are. We also recognize that that obligation which goes
well beyond the obligation of any individual in the public sphere has
limits. You can`t expect people to risk their lives at very high risk.
And so that will be something that`s going to be debated, how risky
exposure minimizes or reduces or aviates that duty. But I think in general
healthcare workers in America, you know, we had this big debate in the late
`80s about do we have an obligation to treat HIV patients and I think
overwhelmingly, the answer was absolutely, they`re just like every other
patient and part of the obligation with the system is to put in the best
protections we have and as I think Dr. Frieden said, and appropriately so,
we need to review every step so that we can minimize the risk.
And I think that`s actually what we`re going to learn here. There are
probably some steps and things we`re doing that are probably too risky and
we shouldn`t be doing them. One issue that I would raise is, you know, if
a patient is on the brink of dying, is it really right to intubate them
which has a lot of fluids flying around where, you know, this isn`t really
going to bring this patient back, where you`ve gone over the edge. That
may be a place where you`re really increasing the risk with really no
benefit to the patient. So, I think they`re going to probably be very,
very careful scrutiny of every step and what are standard operating
procedures and we should expect those to change. And I think this issue of
educating everyone, not just at Emory or Nebraska but everyone who could
come in contact like a community hospital like Texas health is going to be
absolutely necessary and I think very appropriate to this country.
HARRIS-PERRY: Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, thank you for weighing in here. I`m
going to speak with you a little bit later on the program on another topic.
But thank you for being here to help us.
EMANUEL: My pleasure.
HARRIS-PERRY: We`re going to take a quick break and then when we come
back, we`ll talk about the police, the people and all cameras.
HARRIS-PERRY: Over the last few months it seems as though barely a week
has gone by without the release online of video showing violence or
aggressive interactions between citizens and the police. And although the
circumstances of those interactions have varied, the consistent commonality
is the racialized nature of these encounters in which unarmed African-
Americans are subject to threatened or realized violence from the police.
In July we watched Eric Garner die from what the New York City medical
examiner ruled a homicide by chokehold after he was restrained by police
during an arrest. A month later, a camera from a police cruiser showed us
this Texas mother, who, having done nothing to warrant a stop, was pulled
over and handcuffed while her four young children were in the car. One of
those children putting his hands up as he was ordered by the police to get
out of the vehicle while they had drawn their guns.
Then just last month, we all finally were able to see what John Crawford`s
family had already seen on surveillance video weeks before, the final
moments of John Crawford`s life when he was shot and killed by police while
shopping at an Ohio Walmart. In September we also watched this dash cam
video of a South Carolina man shot by a state trooper as he was trying to
reach into his vehicle to get his I.D. And now this week there is this, a
traffic stop for an unworn seatbelt that turned into a horrifying ordeal
for one Indiana family. On the cell phone video captured by a 14-year-old
sitting in the back seat, you`re going to hear his mother Lisa Mahone on
the phone with 911 saying she fears for her life. She has called the
police on the police. Mahone narrates events as she sees them happening to
the operator, starting with the reason she`s in a hurry to be on her way.
Now, I want to warn you, some of this video may be difficult for some
viewers to watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LISA MAHONE, PULLED OVER BY POLICE: Just gave me a ticket so I can go to
the hospital because the doctor called me to tell me to come in because my
mom is about to pass away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: The officers order Mahone`s boyfriend, Jamaal Jones, who is
seated in the passenger seat to produce identification and get out of the
vehicle. Here`s what Mahone tells the operator next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAHONE: He`s looking for his information in his book bag. When he digs
into his book bag, they pulled the gun out. What was the purpose of a gun?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: As Jones continues to refuse the officer`s commands to get
out of the vehicle, Mahone tells the 911 operator the reason for their
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAHONE: Why do you say somebody is not going to hurt you? People are
getting shot by the police.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Then only seconds later this moment. The officer smashing
the window. Jones screaming and the sounds of his body reacting as he is
tasered and pulled by the police from the car and arrested. And after
that, the very last sounds we hear are the ones that have stuck with me
since I first watched the video are this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAHONE: That was crazy. That was horrible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: The fourth occupant of the car, Mahone`s seven-year-old
daughter terrified and crying after witnessing everything. Now, it may be
attempting as we watch each of these videos to become the subject of his
own sensational coverage to view them as extreme, suggesting some more
along the margins of what is normal routine. But then there is this,
another video which went viral after it was posted last week to Facebook,
showing another stop, this was in Sandusky, Ohio, with strikingly similar
circumstances to the one that we just witnessed. In this video, we see
another couple in a car with their two-month-old baby in the back seat.
They were pulled over by Officer Christopher Denny who says he believed
Andre Stockett, the man in the passenger seat was a wanted felon. But
according to the Sandusky register, a later internal investigation
conducted by this Sandusky police chief appears to reveal Denny clearly
knew Stockett was not the wanted man. Stockett also clearly knows he is
not the wanted man and he explains to Officer Denny while recording the
encounter on his cell phone. Catherine said, who`s Stockette`s girlfriend
had given the officer all of the information that was requested of her but
Stockett refused and this is what happened when Stockett asked why he was
being commanded to produce ID.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER DENNY, SANDUSKY POLICE OFFICER: You look exactly like a person
that has warrants, OK.
ANDRE STOCKETT, PULLED OVER BY POLICE: But that`s not me.
DENNY: OK. Then you can I.D. yourself.
STOCKETT: No, I don`t have to I.D. myself. I do not have to I.D. myself.
I`m not answering none of your questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: After the officer then brings a K-9 unit to inspect the car.
Stockett poses this question to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STOCKETT: How is that probable cause? That`s not probable cause, sir.
DENNY: Her nervousness --
STOCKETT: Her nervousness? She`s not being nervous.
STOCKETT: She`s not being nervous.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I`m upset.
STOCKETT: I got a 2-week-old son back here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: The encounter finally comes to an end when -- gets out after
officer Denny makes this threat.
DENNY: Then your children will go to children`s services.
STOCKETT: For what?
DENNY: Because everything right now is legal. You were driving without
lights on --
STOCKETT: Are you serious, man, when?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: I need to pause right here. On this nightmare scenario of a
traffic stop ending with the threat of having your child taken away.
Because the questions Stockett asks as he tries to make sense of what is
happening. How is that probable cause? As old as the early stage of our
nation, he is invoking the very same language enshrined in one of the
constitutional amendments that most directly came from the experience of
colonial Americans resisting the occupying military forces of the British.
It was that experience that led the founders to lay out this fundamental
right in the Fourth Amendment, the right of the people to be secure in
their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches
and procedures shall not be violated and no warrants shall issue but upon
probable cause. But when we see repeated examples in which probable cause
will not protect you, when producing papers will not protect you, when
complying with officer`s orders will not protect you, when the presence of
a child will not protect you or them, when putting up your hands will not
protect you, it all begs the question, what will?
HARRIS-PERRY: Yesterday thousands of people demonstrated peacefully in St.
Louis as part of a weekend of organized protest over the police shooting of
Michael Brown and police brutality across the country. Last night in
Ferguson, the protest included the Ferguson Police Department where more
than 200 peaceful demonstrators stood face-to-face with police officers
outside of the station. At a separate protest last night in St. Louis,
demonstrators staged a march at a quick trip gas station on the south side
of the city. More than 200 people participated in the march including some
who staged a sit-in at the gas station. After some of the protests
reportedly attacked the police car, riot police arrived to the sight and
used pepper spray and tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Joining me now, Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of Advancement Project.
Eugene O`Donnell, professor of Law and Police Studies at John Jay College
of Criminal Justice and a former NYPD officer. Valarie Kaur, who is a
fellow at Stanford Law School. And Khalil Gibran Muhammad, who is Director
of The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and author of "The
Condemnation of Blackness." Also, from St. Louis Missouri is MSNBC
reporter Amanda Sakuma.
I just want to start with you on last night. Can you help us to understand
a little bit clearly, St. Louis and Ferguson are very near to one another
but this do seem to be to, it`s hard to tell, to separate sets of protests
and organizers or whether or not there are intersections, connections, help
us to understand that a little bit?
AMANDA SAKUMA, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Melissa. As is the
theme with many of the days here, the day will start out with very peaceful
demonstrations, in this case bringing thousands of protestors together.
And then at night it takes a turn with tense clashes with the police. Now,
there were two separate types of protests last night. We saw Michael
Brown`s family, including his mother, leading a prayer at the site of where
he was killed. And from there, they marched up to where the Ferguson
Police Department is in order to stage a protest in front of their
headquarters there. Now, the neighborhood where the second shooting where
another young black man was killed by police is in a different
neighborhood, the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis. And in many ways those
spontaneous protests have not been linked to this weekend of resistance
that we`ve been seeing, this four-day event. It`s been more spontaneous
and brought together by not the typical organizers who gather in Ferguson
HARRIS-PERRY: All right. Hold on for us. Don`t leave. I want to come to
the table here for a second. Because I want to ask, you kind of going back
to some of the video that I just walked us through, I think part of the
challenge is, it is tough to tell whether or not what is happening and what
we`re seeing is common or uncommon and whether it is legal or illegal. It
seems horrifying, but horrifying doesn`t mean that it`s not legal. Can you
help us to see that in terms of police action here?
EUGENE O`DONNELL, FORMER NYPD OFFICER: Legal is actually a low standard.
Because in most places of the country, the police have very broad authority
to use their power. The real issue is to go beyond what the law allows.
Because the law recognizes these situations as volatile and unpredictable.
Departments, agencies themselves have to have policies, supervision, have
to have training, have to really reinforce this and there has to be
political will in the communities to make that happen. The law generally
gives the police scary power and we have so many laws now and so much
enforcement that just saying, well, what does the law allow is not enough.
The bottom-line is the police should be using force only as a last resort
because they must, not because they can.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. That seems to be part of what`s horrifying about those
stops, in particular. There is an argument to be made. I`m not sure that
I would agree but there`s an argument to be made that in some of the
shooting cases, it is instantaneous decision-making by officers who feel
that their lives are threatened. That`s not the same thing going on when
you have stopped the car and there are children in the back, right?
O`DONNELL: And people get this. Some police are wearing out their welcome
because this community gets it, people understand it, they give the police
this power. It`s up to the police as an institution, and they`ve done it
in a lot of places. They have to reign this in and they have to make sure
that they`re perceived as being fair and also again, force as a last resort
and de-escalation and being a peace officer that has to be emphasized.
Otherwise people are going to lose faith. And having a debating issue
which some police chiefs want to have sort of win by technical points. You
know, it loses the community when you`re doing that.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. So, Khalil, that issue of losing the community and
people losing faith, I feel like, well, amen I am there. Like, at this
point I feel much more terror every time I see blue lights than when I
think about Ebola or ISIS. Like it feels to me -- and not blue lights
coming from me but just anywhere on the street. I feel like, OK, please,
God, don`t make me have to interact here. Because these videos make it
feel like there is nothing that makes you safe.
KHALIL GIBRAN MUHAMMAD, THE SCHOMBURG CENTER: Well, I think the point
about the community is really the most important debate we`re having right
now. Whose community counts, how do we define community, what is the
nature of citizenship. If you are outside the bounds of the social
contract, if your community is subject to repression and occupation, if
your citizenship is optional, then the police are not your friend. They
are reinforcing existing hierarchies of privilege and power and inequality.
They are not counter-insurgent. They are not bottom up. They express all
the disadvantages that are heaped on particular communities in our nation.
And we have to redefine that. I mean, I think in terms of historical
context, what this moment teaches us is that this is the unfinished work of
the civil rights revolution. This is the work that the NAACP was not able
to do and was ambivalent about. This is the work that ultimately the urban
rebellions of the late 1960s spoke to directly which was already tied back
to a series of confrontations going back to the -- century. And so we are
now facing in raw, unvarnished truth what policing has been after the civil
rights movement in terms of reinforcing inequality in America.
HARRIS-PERRY: Stick with me. I promised I have much, much more on this.
I`ll bring everybody else`s voices in. Amanda Sakuma in St. Louis,
Missouri, thank you so much for your continued reporting there. Stay safe.
SAKUMA: Thank you, Melissa.
HARRIS-PERRY: We`ll be back, more on the question of policing and
community and what it means to be American when we come back.
HARRIS-PERRY: We`re back and continuing to talk about the issue of police
and policing. I wanted to let you in on this, Valarie.
VALARIE KAUR, LAWYER, FILMMAKER AND ORGANIZER: Well, I think this is a
movement moment, that we`re not just reeling in the aftermath of Ferguson.
We are confronting race indifference in the United States. I was just in
St. Louis on the one-month memorial of Mike Brown`s shooting and young
people get. Young people get that this is not just about police
accountability but it`s about the larger stereotypes that lead to bad
policing, stereotypes that cast African-Americans as criminals, Latinos as
illegals, transgendered as deviant and Muslims and sick Americans as
potential terrorists. And so, it`s promising that we see young people in
this movement moment really expand the field, so that we have people of all
different backgrounds fighting and marching for how we see one another in
HARRIS-PERRY: And yet, it does feel important to me to mark the space that
is different between unconscious bias which is a lot of how kind of the
policing problems have been discussed and which could be a lot of it,
versus what feels like old-fashioned racism, which is what it looks like to
me when there`s a seven-year-old in the back and you`re continuing to push.
DIANIS: Right. And the thing is that probable cause now is being black.
You know, it is just, that is --
HARRIS-PERRY: Fits the description.
DIANIS: I mean, how many times have black folks been stopped and said you
fit the description and that description means black. And so I think that
this movement that`s going on is all about people understanding that we
have to lift up our blackness. Our blackness should not equal fear for
you. It shouldn`t offend you. It shouldn`t lead to the death of someone.
HARRIS-PERRY: But at the moment it does, and so I keep -- like my
challenges on the one hand, wanting to have a movement moment -- and also,
so I was walking home last night in New York and I see two young officers,
both men of color sitting in the like, you know, fast-food restaurant
checking on their phones. They looked like young men to me and I really
wanted to go in and sit-down with them and say, hey, can we talk about this
because this seems like a lot. But what keeps shocking me Judith is that
in so many of these cases, it`s not one officer, there`s two, there`s
three, there`s four, there`s six standing there. Is it possible to
actually penetrate what`s going on with officers? Is there a space to get
in there and have a real conversation about this?
O`DONNELL: Well, the police see these things differently. They see them
individually. And I understand the community doesn`t necessarily see them
as a group but the idea here is that, they are sort of different
situations. It`s not just a traffic stop to the police when people don`t
cooperate and I think it`s a matter of a law, it`s a matter of traffic stop
either where there`s children in the car. I mean, and this is not about
Hammond but we do know there are situations in Cleveland, Jeffrey Dahmer
where the cops weren`t aggressive enough, this is not anyway to defend
this, but these are all kind of unique. I mean, in Cleveland the police
would have pushed a little harder and may have saved people.
KAUR: But then people are scared. You are scared for your life.
HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. And we tend to say that police officers being
scared for their life is a legitimate basis for them shooting. But right
now civilians feel afraid for their lives.
MUHAMMAD: But this is also a kind of Ebola-zation (ph) of policing. Where
you talk about Jeffrey Dahmer but the idea that you could have one person
in a state produce discriminatory behavior across an entire region so you
can`t go to a restaurant if you happen to be black or have a West African
MUHAMMAD: So, that we cannot govern ourselves predicated on notion that
the worst thing can possibly happen.
HARRIS-PERRY: And we certainly can`t police ourselves. So, lost a lot of
time today. I promise we will be returning to this issue over and over
again. I do want to thank my guests for spending some time with us this
morning. Thank you to Judith Brown Dianis, Eugene O`Donnell, Valarie Kaur
and to Khalil Gibran Muhammad just for scratching the surface.
Up next, the man who made my mom who is 71 very angry.
HARRIS-PERRY: How much life is too much and how much is just enough? Dr.
Zeke Emanuel thinks he knows the answer. Dr. Emanuel, one of President
Obama`s strongest proponents for the Affordable Care Act touched off a
national debate when the Atlantic Magazine published his thoughtful essay
on why getting old might be overrated. It`s entitled, why I hope to die at
75. And the headlines tell the story as critics fired back accusing
Emmanuel of being everything from an ageist to office rocker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So after, I guess, going to stop all the doctors and let
nature take its course, which, frankly, is not only narcissistic, but it`s
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: His defense. His brother Rahm is the mayor of Chicago.
So, they probably don`t know anyone who`s ever made it to the age of 75.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Maybe I`m turning into some kind of crazy radical, but I
would agree with them. Only, I would go a lot further.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He doesn`t himself want to live beyond 75. He doesn`t
believe that people beyond 75 are worthy of anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Joining me now to set the record straight is Dr. Zeke
Emanuel, an MSNBC contributor and chair of the medical ethics and health
policy as well as vice provost Global Initiatives at the University of
Pennsylvania. So are you suggesting that a life that is marked by pain and
struggle and lack of creative contribution is a life not worth living?
EMANUEL: No, that`s not what the article says at all. It`s funny to see
what people tell me what I think. And it appears that they didn`t actually
read the article at all. No, I mean, I do think that what I`m asking
people is what is meaningful to you? What would be a quality of life to
you? And how is that related to living as long as possible? It`s the sort
of obsession with quantity. We have to live as long as possible. That I`m
questioning and asking people to focus, what`s meaningful to you? And I
say in the article, again it`s a very personal article about what`s
meaningful to me. My fear about being functionally limited, having
dementia, losing creativity and productivity. And not wanting to leave my
kids with a memory that somehow of me frail and dependent. And I want them
to remember me as vigorous. And you know, that`s my view. I`ve had
extensive discussions with my daughters, my brothers and everyone. But I
agree, it might not be for everyone. What I wanted to do was to provoke
people to think about this issue and not the sort of thoughtlessly, or
habitually just live, live and sort of embrace, you know, we got to do all
this stuff to live as long as possible. Most people, that`s not what
really is meaningful.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, on the one hand, it is a very personal article. But on
the other hand, it has important social and policy and medical practice
implications. And it does seem to me that when we look at medical resource
spending and we look at the percentage of resource spending that goes to
HARRIS-PERRY: So we spend the bulk of our money on interventions for
people who have the shortest likely life span left. Is that the wrong way
for us to spend social resources?
EMANUEL: Well, this article is not about that. And I say it`s not about
rationing. I don`t think we spend more than enough on health care. We
don`t need to ration now. And it`s really not a policy piece. It is a
personal piece about what is meaningful to you in your life. And, again, I
think for most people, just living on and on and on, that`s not the goal in
life. The goal is, you know, to accomplish something to have a complete
life to give your kids, your community, the country, the benefits of your
having lived here. And that, I think, for many people, you know, 75 is
about -- for other people it might be 80. But I think a lot of it does
depend upon how functional you are, how engaged you are. And not just
racking up the days on and on.
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, my mom who is 71 read the article, came over to my
kitchen and screamed for about an hour. So, I just want you to know.
Seventy five is --
EMANUEL: Well, maybe I should see -- getting her to think about it and
engage you in a discussion.
HARRIS-PERRY: It was good. We did, in fact, have a great conversation.
So thank you to --
EMANUEL: All right. That was the point.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to Dr. Zeke Emanuel. That is our show for today.
Thanks to you at home for watching. I`m going to see you next Saturday at
10:00 a.m. Eastern. But right now it`s time for a preview of "WEEKENDS
WITH ALEX WITT." Hi, Alex.
ALEX WITT, MSNBC HOST, "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT": All right. Thank you so
much. Great discussion there. Everybody, we`re going to bring you more on
the big breaking news. In fact, I`m going to be speaking with the former
U.S. surgeon general and ask, how could a breach in protocol lead to this
new case of Ebola?
In Detroit, the strange ups and downs of the housing market. How could one
man sell his house for an iPhone? Really? And why would he do that? And
the parents of an American held hostage by ISIS. They`re talking and we`re
going to hear how ISIS captures its victims. So, stay with us. We`ll be
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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