All In With Chris Hayes, Thursday, June 25th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: June 25, 2015
Guest: Josh Earnest, Neera Tanden, Bernie Sanders, Charles Boustany,
Sherilynn Ifill, Paul Butler
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the second time, the president has walked back
from the cliff here on his health care law.
HAYES: The Obamacare wars are over and the president has won.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Affordable Care Act
is here to stay.
HAYES: What today`s Supreme Court decision means for America and the
Plus, the Republican meltdown over Justice Roberts, Justice Scalia`s
colorful dissent, and today`s most shocking Supreme Court decision that had
nothing to do with Obamacare.
Then, the ongoing fight about the South`s Confederate legacy.
CALLER: I certainly honor my ancestors.
PROF. PAUL BUTLER: I have no respect for your ancestors. As far as
your ancestors are concerned, I should be a slave.
HAYES: And as Donald Trump skyrockets in the polls --
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They`re bringing drugs,
they`re bringing crime, they`re rapists, and some, I assume, are good
HAYES: Tonight, he`s answering for those remarks with our own Jose
JOSE DIAZ BALART, MSNBC: Is there anything you want to say to the
people that feel slighted by your comments?
HAYES: ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
In a landmark decision that preserves health care coverage for
millions of Americans and cements President Obama`s signature legislative
achievement, the Supreme Court today, by a 6-3 margin, rejected a
conservative attempt to deliver a critical blow to the Affordable Care Act,
instead, vindicating the president in his fight to transform health care in
America for generations to come.
The case, King versus Burwell, turned on the meaning of four words in
the 900-page law, "established by the state". Under the Affordable Care
Act, states could either set up exchanges where people could buy health
insurance on their own, or have the federal government step in and run
their exchange for them. More than 30 states opted to have the federal
government run their exchange for them.
The plaintiffs argued that in those states, it was illegal for people
to get federal subsidies to help pay for their coverage, because that one
line in the law says subsidies are available to Americans who got health
care through an exchange, quote, "established by the state".
They were, effectively, arguing that that phrase invalidated the
central thrust of the entire health care law, which was, of course, built
around the idea that people who couldn`t afford health care coverage could
get subsidies to help pay for it.
Chief Justice John Roberts, the George W. Bush appointee, who wrote
the majority opinion, and who to the great dismay of conservatives, has now
saved Obamacare on two separate occasions, Roberts rejected that argument
whole cloth. Writing, "Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve
health insurance markets, not to destroy them."
In a scathing dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia argued that under the
Roberts ruling, quote, "words no longer have meaning." We`ll have more on
Scalia`s blistering opinion later in the show.
Conservatives were apoplectic over the Supreme Court decision, with
some suggesting that Roberts had been blackmailed into siding with the
president. Ted Cruz hammered what he called a nakedly political decision
by a handful of unelected judges. While his presidential rival Mike
Huckabee deemed the ruling an out of control act of judicial tyranny.
House Speaker John Boehner vowed the fight against the law is not
over, although recent polls now showing that more Americans approve than
disapprove of the health care law. And with the law now providing health
care for millions of people and growing, never has the chance of repeal
looked more remote.
Supporters of the law were jubilant when the decision came down.
Celebrations breaking out outside the Supreme Court, with some placing
stickers, reading, "still covered" over signs that would have otherwise
been used to protest an adverse decision.
At the White House, there was both jubilation and relief, as the law
survived what looks like the last major threat to its existence.
In the Rose Garden, the president lauded the survival of what he said
has been woven into the fabric of America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Today, after more than 50 votes in Congress to repeal or
weaken this law, after a presidential election based in part on preserving
or repealing this law, after multiple challenges to this law before the
Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Earlier today, I spoke with White House Press Secretary Josh
Earnest and asked him about the president`s reaction when he first heard
about the Supreme Court decision.
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, Chris, this morning
the president was receiving the presidential daily briefing in the Oval
Office at 10:00 a.m. And shortly after the top of the hour, a handful of
the president`s aides, including the president`s lawyer, came in the room
and informed him that the Supreme Court had announced their decision on
King v. Burwell and that they had ruled in the favor of the United States
government 6-3. And so, the president was very pleased to learn of the
HAYES: Now, I know that the official position of the president and
the White House is, the Supreme Court never should have taken the case and
we were confident that we would -- that the correct decision would be
But you guys had to be sweating it. I mean, there had to have been
meetings happening about what you were going to do, day one, if the
subsidies were struck down. I mean, there must have been a certain amount
of stress and actual labor being done to prepare for the other outcome.
EARNEST: Well, Chris, I`ll tell you that we believe strongly in the
power of the legal arguments that we made before the Supreme Court. So,
there was a sense of confidence around here, but at the same time, there
was a concern that if there had been an adverse ruling from the Supreme
Court, that it would have thrown the entire health care system into chaos.
And that would have had a really negative impact on millions of Americans
across the country in a really tangible way.
So, there was a concern that something bad could really happen, but I
think in general, there was some confidence that our legal arguments would
prevail and we were pleased to see today that they did.
HAYES: OK. After the first case, before the court, no one thought we
were going to see another one. Now we have two. Is there a sense there
it`s over? Or is it, well, we`ll see what comes next?
EARNEST: Well, Chris, I think it is mostly over. You know, I don`t
see another court case on the horizon. The only one that`s out there that
the people talk about is actually one that House Republicans, using
taxpayer dollars, have filed. Considering that two of these cases have
made their way to the Supreme Court and they`ve been turned aside by the
Supreme Court, I think, you know, the American people will have to judge if
that`s a good use of taxpayer dollars. I`m not sure if I think it is.
But there`s not a lot of concern right here at the White House about
the power of that legal argument, either.
HAYES: I`ve never heard someone sneak more editorializing into the
enunciation of "taxpayer dollars" than you just did now.
Josh Earnest, thank you so much.
HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC senior political analyst and former
senior adviser for President Obama, David Axelrod. And Neera Tanden,
president of the Center for American Progress, was formerly a senior
adviser for health reform in the Obama administration.
All right. Well, David, were you sweating this? And how is someone
who was in the bunker during the long, contentious, legendarily toxic
debate around this bill, now law, how did you react to today`s decision?
DAVID AXELROD, MSNBC SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all,
let me say, I think Josh really does think it`s not a good use of tax
AXELROD: Listen, I -- I wept the night the health care act passed. I
wept because I, as a young man, had a sick child and almost went bankrupt
because of expenses that insurance wouldn`t cover. And I couldn`t change
it, because she had a pre-existing condition.
I wept again, today, because of all the people who have come up to me
in the last few years, including a kid just this week, a young man who had
Hodgkin`s disease, who told me that it was discovered after he had -- he
got coverage through the Affordable Care Act and was able to get treatment.
He said he thought he was alive today, because of the Affordable Care Act.
I wept today, when that decision came down, because I thought of all
those people whose -- for whom the uncertainty had been removed and who
will know now that they have health care, into the future.
HAYES: Neera, I`ve always been struck by the sheer, sort of cynical
bad faith of this entire King/Burwell exercise. I got to say. It`s a
little gob smacking to me that it got --
NEERA TANDEN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: You and me both.
HAYES: Yes. But to the extent that there`s a substantive core to it,
which I will try, charitably, to extract, it`s that the -- that this was --
this existed, this screw-up, existed in the law because the entire
mechanism was so complex, such a Rube Goldberg machine, to get coverage to
people, it was only natural that there would be screw-ups and misdirection
What`s your reaction to that and to the ruling today?
TANDEN: Well, I mean, I actually think that there was a relatively
plain explanation for this all along. You know, the Congress was
distinguishing between states and regional and national, federal exchanges.
So -- but, you know, what I thought was really heartening about this
case is that you have two justices appointed by Republicans, not Democrats,
Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Kennedy, who not only articulated a strong
argument really -- but really tried to forestall future litigation. I
mean, I think they had an option of using what we call the Chevron defense,
which was essentially a way to punt it to the next president, that a
different president could interpret this differently.
They chose not to do that. They -- the chief justice wrote an opinion
with five other justices, that said very clearly, this is what the law was
intended to do. They rejected this Kofta-esque argument that, essentially,
we passed a health care bill in order to not cover people, which is
ludicrous. And they looked at that and they looked at the statute and
recognized that it was actually intended to cover people and that`s what
So, you know, I think it was actually heartening that justices,
conservative, and liberal justices found so clearly that this relatively
short opinion, 21 pages, and found in favor of the 6 million people who
have health insurance today, because of the Affordable Care Act, through
the federal exchanges.
HAYES: David, there was always a theory of the case about passing
health care, that was going to be hard, but ultimately both substantively
good, for all the reasons you two have enunciated, but also politically
good. There`s this famous Bill Kristol memo back from the Clinton wars,
who says defeating President Clinton`s health care proposal, and he writes
about how important is it for a Republican future to not allow Democrats to
have this. David Frum on March 2010 entitled his piece about passing
What do you think about the politics? Because in the short term, it
has -- the contentiousness has lasted longer than I think some people
expected. Is there a corner about to be turned?
AXELROD: I think so. I think the more Americans who are
participating in these exchanges, the more Americans who have insurance and
realize they no longer have lifetime caps and are realizing some of the
benefits that they have in their insurance, I think it will become more
But, look, the challenge has always been that the focus has been on
the uninsured. Eighty-five percent of Americans had insurance. And so, it
was viewed by those 85 percent, even though they were the recipients of
enormously valuable new benefits under the Affordable Care Act, their view
is this was a program for someone else.
And that, you know, that is what has held down the popularity of this
program. It was more like a social welfare program for someone else.
When, in fact, it gives greater security to every American with health
insurance. I think as people realize that, it`s going to become more
But I`ll tell you one thing, as I said before, the people who have
experienced health care, who didn`t have it before, there`s no debate in
their mind about the value of this program.
HAYES: And, Neera, what does this do for the president`s legacy as we
approach the last two years of his term?
TANDEN: Look, I think that many presidents, we all know, many
presidents have tried and failed to deliver health care. President Obama
was able to do it. It was, obviously, a tough slog, but he kept through
it. And I would say, you know, he kept through it when it wasn`t popular.
I don`t think he thought it was going to be super popular when he -- when
everyone worked so hard to pass it.
So, but I do think, you know, for all the issues we`re concerned about
-- coverage, and other issues -- the Affordable Care Act really is the way
we address issues like rising inequality and fairness in the economy.
That`s one significant lever that the president has used and I think people
in history will remember him for it.
HAYES: All right. David Axelrod and Neera Tanden, thank you both for
AXELROD: Good to be with you, Chris.
TANDEN: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. Joining me now, 2016 Democratic presidential
candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
And, Senator, I know you were on the health committee as it was
crafting the Senate version of the -- of what became the Affordable Care
Act. Your reaction to today`s decision?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it was a
very common sense decision. I was on the committee. I went to 8 zillion
meetings to discuss the issue, and to write the legislation. Nobody -- but
nobody distinguished between federal exchanges and state exchanges. That
was a nonissue, which some white-wing guys picked up on, hoping to overturn
the Affordable Care Act.
I think clearly the president is right. The Affordable Care Act is
now here to stay. It has provided insurance for some 16 million Americans.
That is a good thing. It`s a heck of a lot better than throwing another 6
million people off of health insurance, if their decision had been
But I think, Chris, what we also have to understand, despite the gains
of the Affordable Care Act, and I played an important role in trying to
expand a federally qualified community health centers, the truth is, and we
have to accept this, we are the only major country on earth that doesn`t
guarantee health care to all of our people.
Thirty-five million people, despite the ACA, still have no health
insurance. Many more are underinsured, with high deductibles and high co-
payments. Our health care outcomes are not particularly good in terms of
life expectancy, infant mortality rates. And yet with all of that stuff,
we spend almost twice as much per capita on, as do other countries.
So, I think, yes, I think the ACA is a step forward. But I think we
have got to move over a period of time, to a Medicare for all, single-payer
system, guaranteed health care to all people, in a much more cost effective
HAYES: I mean, given the amount of political resistance, massive
resistance to this, quite sort of center-right, market-based approach to
universal insurance -- I mean, look, even if substantively I agree with
you, which I do, it`s a better system, substantively, doesn`t it give you
pause? The notion that we could move to Medicare for all, having watched
what they did to the Affordable Care Act, doesn`t that seem like you`re
talking from Mars?
SANDERS: Chris -- no, I`m not talking from Mars. Let me give you an
If a couple of years ago, someone had gone on your show, I had gone on
your show and said, Chris, you know, I think we`ve got to raise the minimum
wage to 15 bucks an hour over a period of a few years, you would have said,
that`s crazy. That`s too ambitious.
A "Wall Street Journal" poll came out a few days ago. The majority of
the American people think we should raise the minimum wage to 15 bucks an
hour. If I said to you that instead of doing what the Republicans want to
cut Social Security, we should expand Social Security benefits by lifting
the cap, you would have said, wow, that`s really ambitious. I don`t know
that you could do it politically.
A huge majority of the American people now support that concept. The
point being is that we need to grow a strong grassroots political movement
in this country, which fights for working people and one of the key parts
of that agenda must be a national health care program, Medicare for all
through a single payer. It is the cost effective way to provide health
care to all people.
HAYES: Speaking of growing a grassroots movement, a new poll out
today from CNN/WMUR in New Hampshire has you eight points behind Hillary
Clinton, 45 to 35.
Are you feeling the Bernie-mentum, that the Democratic primary voters
seem to be feeling?
SANDERS: Well, you know, there are good polls and not-so-good polls.
I`m not going to stay up nights worrying about polls.
But this is what I can tell you -- we have, you know, in many parts of
the country. I was in Denver a few days ago, we have over 5,000 people
coming out. The turnouts we`re seeing in New Hampshire and Iowa for our
meetings are very, very large.
Look, at the end of the day, what people are saying, there is
something fundamentally wrong about the way we are moving as a country,
when billionaires are able to buy elections as a result of Citizens United.
There`s something fundamentally wrong when 99 percent of all new income
goes to the top 1 percent.
Establishment politics is not working. People want to see some real
changes in the way we do business in Washington, so that our government --
I know radicalism may seem actually represents working families and the
vast majority of our people, rather than the billionaire class.
HAYES: There is no more radical concept in democracy, Senator Bernie
Sanders. Always a pleasure. Thank you.
All right. Next, the bitter, sarcastic dissenting opinion from
Justice Antonin Scalia and how the Supreme Court case leaves the
congressional Republicans tilting at windmills.
Plus, the other big Supreme Court case today that upheld the heart of
a law that few were expecting from a conservative court.
And a new national poll places Donald Trump in second place among
Republican voters. Wee! And he sits down for an interview with MSNBC`s
Jose Diaz Balart.
HAYES: It`s the nature of cable news that we do a lot of clipping and
quoting of other broadcasts and outlets, sometimes to make a narrative
point, sometimes to make a political one, and sometimes just to make a
joke. The cardinal rule of this practice is to make sure when you clip
someone else or quote them, you do it in proper context.
And we failed to do that in a segment I attributed to Bill O`Reilly
the other night. In the segment on the Confederate flag, I said that Bill
O`Reilly said it represents the bravery of Confederates who fought in the
civil war. And while it`s true, O`Reilly literally uttered the words, "It
stands for bravery" while talking about the flag, it`s also quite clear
from the context of the discussion he was having, he was not giving his own
views, but talking about how some other people view or understand the flag.
We should not have attributed that view to him. Fair is fair, we got
it wrong. And I apologize.
HAYES: If you thought conservatives were enraged the last time the
Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, welcome to round two.
Today`s withering dissent came from Judge Antonin Scalia who blasted the
majority opinion. "Today`s interpretation is not merely unnatural, it is
Scalia, joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, said the
decision shows the court favors some laws over others, even calling parts
of that decision interpretive jiggery-pokery and pure applesauce.
The Affordable Care Act states that in order to qualify for health
care subsidies, beneficiaries need to be enrolled through an exchange
established by the state.
The decision from the Roberts` court implied that state could refer to
either individual state exchanges, or exchanges set up by the federal
government or the state.
But Justice Scalia took issue with that. "Who would ever have dreamt
that exchange established by the state means exchange established by the
state or federal government." Noting, "Words no longer have meaning if an
exchange that is not established by the state is established by the state,"
concluding, "we should start calling this wrong SCOTUScare."
A right wing backlash to the Roberts court decision was predictably
swift. A headline from the Cato Institute blog, blasting, "Supreme Court
validates Obama`s power grab." One conservative commentator calling the
chief justice the water boy for the welfare state. While Republican
presidential candidates all rush to issue statements blasting the decision.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz calling the majority, quote, "Rogue Houdinis".
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush noting the law is fatally flawed. While
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky claimed this decision turns both the rule of
law and common sense on its head.
In the meantime, Speaker of the House John Boehner vowing to continue
Republican efforts to repeal the law.
But despite that pledge, there`s a good reason to believe that
internally, Republican members of Congress are actually pretty happy about
today`s decision, because that means they don`t have to fix Obamacare. In
fact, they may have just dodged a bullet.
Joining me now, Republican Congressman Charles Boustany of Louisiana.
And, Congressman, my thought about people in your caucus today was --
you`re a little like college students who just found out from the professor
that your term paper is not due tomorrow. Were you breathing a sigh of
Looks like we may not have the congressman, who appears to have audio
All right. We`ll take a break and come right back with the
HAYES: All right. Joining me now, Republican Congressman Charles
Boustany of Louisiana.
And, Congressman, my thought went out to the Republican caucus today
that you guys were like the college student who got a reprieve on a term
paper from the professor. You don`t have to deliver any kind of tangible
REP. CHARLES BOUSTANY (R), LOUISIANA: Well, we`ve seen a 6-3
decision, which frankly I`m kind of stunned by it. I didn`t expect that
kind of overwhelming decision in this case.
You know, the literal interpretation of the law seemed to have created
separation between the federal exchanges and state exchanges. And as I
harken back to the debate in `09 and 2010, I know there were Democratic
senators who really did not want to make an easy pathway for a default to
federal exchanges. So I`m, frankly, kind of stunned by the decision.
But that doesn`t hide the fact that we`ve got a law that I believe is
deeply flawed. If you look at it, you have a situation where, for
instance, with the mandates, the employer mandate, the administration is
now three years overdue. They can`t implement it. It`s too complicated.
HAYES: So, if it`s complicated, here is what strikes me as the issue.
You have millions of people who have gotten health insurance. You`ve got
the uninsured rate plunging to the lowest level in recent memory, 81
percent of people according to a recent poll actually have Obamacare plans
say they are satisfied with it. The cost projections are $142 billion less
than the cost projections.
The Republicans, if you`re going to repeal -- you`ve got to come up
with an alternative, and people have been waiting, and waiting and looking
and it just hasn`t been delivered.
BOUSTANY: Well, look, I think that`s a fair criticism. And I think
we were preparing in the event that the court ruled adversely with regard
to ACA, we were prepared to create a transition that would help
individuals, help the states that were going to be caught in this trap.
We also believe that if you loosen these mandates and create a more
flexible system, people will be able to buy what`s appropriate for them.
And I could tell you, I have deep concerns about what`s happening
right now. We`re seeing consolidation in the insurance market place with
more monopolistic behavior. Premiums are going up, for the most part, for
most people. And the problem is, I think, even with the coverage
expansion, we`re seeing our emergency rooms being flooded because the
coverage oftentimes is not leading to a meaningful doctor/patient
After 30 years of experience in medicine, I`m really concerned about
HAYES: There are some obviously, there are some issues here that have
to do with the networks, they have to do with people that are still
uninsured. Premiums have gone up. Of course, premiums have been going up
for 20 years, and in fact, health care costs are increasing at their lowest
level in 50 years.
But it still strikes me to be the case that if Republicans want to run
in 2016 on repeal, you can`t go out around the country and tell 10 million,
15 million people we`re going to take your health insurance away with no
actual concrete, definitive and detailed account of what`s going to go in
its place, and that`s still not materialized.
BOUSTANY: Well, what we have worked on in preparation for this was a
HAYES: I know that, but I`m not mistaken, right, congressman? There
is no plan. There is no architecture. There is no bill language. There
is nothing out there that says, this is what we are going to do as a
Republican Party. We`re going to repeal Obamacare. We don`t like it. We
think it`s bad, and we`re going to replace it with this thing. That does
not exist, correct?
BOUSTANY: Well, keep in mind that back in 2009, when we debated this
in the House, Republicans...
HAYES: I`m sorry, congressman. But I just want to make sure I`m
this right. That does not exist, correct?
BOUSTANY: No, there is a plan. We had a plan in 2009. It did not
get much coverage, but it actually lowered costs, it lowered premium cost
as well. It didn`t quite do as well on the coverage expansion, but the
coverage expansion was
meaningful. And the key is to get the right kind of plan that expands
coverage but keeps the cost down and really promotes quality and a high-
HAYES: The devil is in the details.
BOUSTANY: And that`s what`s missing with this today. I think we`re
going in the wrong direction in that regard.
HAYES: Congressman Charles Boustany, Thank you so much for joining
me tonight and sorry for the audio problems.
BOUSTANY: Oh, no. Thank you. Great to be with you.
HAYES: At Emanuel AME church in Charleston tonight, the wake for
Reverend and State Senator Clementa Pinckney is still ongoing. This is a
Pinkcney was one of the nine people murdered in the church by a white
supremacist just over a week ago. Earlier today, the first funeral held
for the two of those victims, Ethel Lance, age 70 who worked for 30 years
as a custodian at Emanuel AME, and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45, a high
school speech therapist and
track and field coach.
Tomorrow, President Obama will deliver the eulogy at Reverend
Pinkcney`s funeral which will be open to the public at the College of
But even as the community mourns the victims of last week`s massacre,
the flag embraced by their confessed killer still flies above the grounds
of the South
Carolina statehouse, where a horse-drawn carriage bearing Reverend
Pinkcney`s casket passed right in front of it yesterday taking his body to
lie in state at the capitol.
Elsewhere in the country, however, the movement to banish the battle
flag from public life continues to advance. The National Park Service
announced today it`s pulling all confederate flag merchandise from
bookstores and gift shops nationwide, while Apple is now banning all games
and apps featuring the flag from the iTunes App Store, though it`s now
restoring the ones that used it for historical or educational purposes.
And over the last week, as the politics around the battle flag have
shifted with lightning speed, the country finally seems to be having a
debate, 150 years
overdue, to be plain about it, about the painful, contentious legacy of the
On one side of it, you have got the arguments made by South Carolina`s
Jeff O`Cain to NBC News correspondent, Ron Allen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF O`CAIN, FRM. SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS CMDR: A quarter of the
men in South Carolina died to protect this state and its families. That`s
what it`s about. That flag is because the north invaded the south to say,
no, no, no, you`re not going nowhere. That flag never had anything to do
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: On the other side, you`ve got Georgetown law professor, Paul
Butler, who had this response to a caller on NPR who descended from
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CALLER: I think we need to focus on gun control and not be
sidetracked by this. I`m not somebody who thinks the battle flag should
stay there, but I certainly honor my ancestors.
PAUL BUTLER, GEORGETOWN LAW PROFESSOR: I have no respect for your
ancestors. As far as your ancestors are concerned, I shouldn`t be a law
professor at Georgetown, I should be a slave. That`s why they fought that
I don`t understand what it means to be proud of a legacy of terrorism
and violence. Last week at this time, I was in Israel. The idea that a
German would say, you know, that thing we did called the holocaust, that
was wrong, but I respect the courage of my Nazi ancestors, that wouldn`t
The reason people can say what you said in the United States is
because, again, black life just doesn`t matter to a lot of people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And joining me now is Paul Butler, Georgetown professor of law
at Georgetown University.
And Paul, I was really struck by the kind of frank honesty of that
response, but it gets to the heart of the matter. Do you think we are now
having the conversation we should be, or is this sort of move against the
flag happening with such rapidity that it`s actually papering over the
actual substance of the issue?
BUTLER: It`s a necessary conversation, Chris. But it`s kind of
surreal that it`s necessary. I really was expected to provide a list of
reasons about why I don`t respect people who thought my ancestors were
property. That`s bizarre. Just like it`s bizarre that there has to be a
special convening of the legislature in
South Carolina to debate whether to take down a racist flag.
The fact that we have to have that debate, again, is evidence that
black lives just don`t matter that much.
You know, some people agree with me on the merits, but they said it
was rude to say that I don`t respect that woman`s ancestors. So let me get
A white person says to a black person, I honor the people who wanted
your ancestors to be slaves. That`s fine. A black person says, I don`t
honor those people, that`s rude. Again, that`s white privilege all over
And it goes to a larger issue that when black people talk to white
people about white supremacy, we`re supposed to be loving and forgiving.
The problem is, love and forgiveness are not productive in American
politics. That`s not how social change is achieved. You know, you could
do it through organizing, you could do it through electoral politics, you
could take it to the streets, but being nice in the face of white supremacy
does not advance racial justice.
HAYES: It sounds -- have you been getting a lot of blowback from this
particular moment? Because I saw, it really did blow up, but I think,
because of the sort of frank honesty of it.
Have you been targeted for it?
BUTLER: A tremendous amount of support, and again, a lot of people
who thought that I wasn`t respectful enough to this white woman who really
was an ally. She gets it. In a part you didn`t play, she said that she
thought that the flag should come down.
And, Chris, that made me think of all these people who are doing the
right thing, well intentioned white folks in Charleston who are marching
with the protesters to take down the flag. But, get this, the terrorist
chose Charleston because it used to be the center of African-American life
in South Carolina.
In 1980, the city was 50 percent black. Today, it`s two-thirds white.
Black people got pushed out of the city, they got pushed out of
So I think a lot of the good, white people who think that the flag
should come down don`t understand their relationship with white supremacy.
They don`t get out they benefit from gentrification, from denying
opportunities to black people.
HAYES: There are so many taboos and niceties around all of this, and
it struck me, the emphasis on civility. I think there`s some real value in
maybe being less concerned about civility.
BUTLER: And Chris, where I really learned that was in Israel, because
we all know, they`ve got lots of problems. I went to dinner with a
Palestinian law professor and an orthodox Jewish law professor, and they
went at it. You know, their disorder was out in the open. They didn`t try
to -- yeah, they didn`t try to make nice like we do in the United States.
And again, I think in order to have that conversation, it`s going to
be raw. Feelings are going to get hurt. But, look, African-Americans,
more than our feelings have been getting hurt for 400 years. So this is
HAYES: All right. Paul Butler, thank you. It`s always great to have
BUTLER: Great to be here.
HAYES: Ahead, the other major supreme court decision handed down
today. But next, the Donald Trump interview you do not want to miss.
HAYES: America, your dreams have been answered. It looks more and
more likely that Donald Trump will be on stage when the Fox News GOP
presidential debate in August. Candidates polling in the top ten
nationally, ahead of the debate, will be allowed to participate and a new
poll from Fox itself has Trump in, drumroll, second place among all GOP
contenders, trailing only Jeb Bush and just ahead of Ben
Carson. Second place.
Another new poll has Trump in second in New Hampshire, prompting
Trump`s campaign today to hail his status as a, quote, top-tier
Now, seeing as Trump has, according to 538.com, a net favorability
rating of negative 32 percentage points, it`s safe to say there`s a ceiling
to The Donald`s appeal.
Meanwhile today, Univision says it was dropping the Miss USA pageant
over what it called competition about what it calls Trump`s insulting
Mexican immigrants. Trump owns the pageant in partnership with NBC
Universal, our parent company, which also objected to the comments.
In his presidential announcement speech, Trump said Mexicans entering
the U.S. are, quote, bringing drugs, they`re bringing crime, they`re
rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.
Today, Jose Diaz-Balart asked Trump to explain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSE DIAZ BALART, UNIVISION: Is this what you think of the Latino
community in the United States, many who have come across the border to
participate in this country, that have American dreams, and that
participate in the economy of the United States?
TRUMP: Not at all. But many bad people are coming in. And I`m not
talking Mexico, I`m talking about from all over the world when I say that.
They`re coming from all over. Many bad people are coming in. You`re going
to have terrorists
coming through the southern border, there`s no question about it.
We have no security from the United States standpoint. You have
guards, you have border guards standing there and people are walking by
them, waving. We have no idea who these people are, where they come from,
and we`re having tremendous crime waves in that area, and then they`re
being sent all over the United States.
DIAZ-BALART: As you know, not one case of a terrorist crossing the
border from Mexico to the United States that has participated in a
terrorist act. The ones that did so on 9/11, as you know, came from the
Middle East and flew in here, many with visas.
TRUMP: But you don`t know that.
DIAZ-BALART: But back to the issue, sir...
TRUMP: I said, you don`t know that. You don`t know that. You can`t
tell me that. If terrorists come, nobody knows. We don`t even know where
these people are all coming from. They`re coming from all over. They`re
coming from South America. They`re probably coming from all over the
So when you say, we don`t have terrorists, you don`t know that.
Thousands of people are coming through the border, hundreds of thousands,
and they`re unchecked. So you can`t tell me there are no terrorists.
DIAZ-BALARRT: Acts of terrorism...
TRUMP: You may find out tomorrow that you are wrong.
DIAZ-BALART: ...have not occurred by Mexicans or other Latin
Americans that have crossed the border.
TRUMP: See what happens tomorrow. See what happens in two weeks from
now. You can`t say the terrorists -- and I`m not even talking about
terrorists from this region. I`m talking about from the Middle East, they
can come in.
The border is totally open. Anybody can come in. It`s very easy and
it shouldn`t be that way. And the problem the that Univision has with me
I`m honest about trade and I`m honest about the border, and so therefore,
they violated a contract and they defaulted on a contract. It`s a total
default. What they did, Jose, is a total default. They signed a five-year
contract with no outs and they said, oh, well.
And by the way, Univision called me and they apologized for what
they`re doing, because they felt so stupid and so guilty.
DIAZ-BALART: What do you mean, they came and they called you to
apologized, because they felt stupid. Essentially, what they`re saying is
that they will not show either Miss USA or Miss Universe, essentially what
they`re saying to Donald Trump is you`re fired!
TRUMP: No, they`re not saying that at all. What they`re doing --
they called me today and they apologized for what they`re doing.
They`re not allowed to do this. They have an ironclad -- you know,
I`m pretty good with contracts, Jose, I assume you know that. They have an
ironclad contract to broadcast Miss USA and Miss Universe. They have an
ironclad -- they
can`t just do this.
So they did it, and they called me this morning, like a little -- like
a little lamb.
DIAZ-BALART: You said recently that you hated that you`re number two
against Jeb Bush. How would you describe this and why are you upset about
up to number two.
TRUMP: Well, I`m number two out of like 20 candidates and I just
don`t think that Jeb Bush can do the job. I`m not a big fan of Jeb Bush.
Frankly, he`s there because the name Bush has been around, but the
name Bush -- the last thing we need in this country is another bush. And I
think I`ll supersede Jeb Bush in the not too distant future.
Don`t forget, after I announced, I went through like a rocket. Nobody
went up like me. And I`m in second place, out of 20 or 22 people, I`m in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There`s some chatter, some analysis percolate act this, quote,
liberal term of the conservative Roberts` court. There`s this graph of The
York Times, red representing conservative decisions, blue representing
liberal decisions. And at the far right, you can see the Roberts` court
shifting just a bit, a bit more in the liberal direction over the past few
years, including this term.
Now one of those huge cases that the Supreme Court decided today,
that, we`ll talk about that ahead.
HAYES: So, on a big news day, arguably the most shocking news out of
the Supreme Court today was not the ruling on the Affordable Care Act, it
was a case that many court watchers widely anticipated would completely
take the teeth out of
the Fair Housing Act.
That law, signed into a law a week after the assassination of the
Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., amidst riots and uprisings and unrest
across the country,
the goal of the Fair Housing Act was to try to fix decades of housing
segregation in this country.
Because housing is basically the linchpin of racial equality. It
affects everything else: opportunities for employment, education, wealth
and health care.
Now, today`s ruling came on the case of the Texas Department of
Housing and Community Affairs versus the Inclusive Communities Project.
And the question was, in order to establish a claim of discrimination under
the Fair Housing Act, do you have to show that there was biased intent or
do you just have to show a biased affect?
It`s a really important distinction, because intent is, well, a whole
lot harder to prove. Say a decision to place a lot of low-income housing
in a black
neighborhood. To prove that it`s intentionally discriminatory, that`s a
higher bar than proving, simply, that the impact of that decision results
in racial disparities.
Now, because the Roberts court has been quite skeptical of the
enduring necessity of civil rights legislation, many civil rights activists
were not expecting a victory today. But in a surprising 5-4 decision, the
affirmed a lower court ruling, in which the plaintiff argued that the Texas
Department of Housing had contributed to, quote, segregated housing
patterns by allocating too many tax credits to housing in predominantly
black inner-city areas and too few in predominantly white suburban
In other words, the Roberts court ruled today that the Texas
Department of Housing was guilty of housing discrimination whether or not
it was intentional.
Joining me now is Sherrilynn Ifill, president and director counsel of
the NAACP legal defense fund. Sherrilynn, first of all, congratulations.
I know you
worked on this case. Big victory.
I know you`re supposed to say, we were confident we were going to win,
because we had the better arguments. But everyone I talked to in the run-
up to this was real, real nervous in the whole civil rights community.
SHERRILYNN IFILL, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND: Well, Chris, I always try
to be honest, and I will not say to you that I was confident we were going
to win. The case was really litigated by two terrific lawyers from Texas,
Betsy Julian (ph) and Mike Daniel (ph).
And we supported them with amicus briefs and really trying to press
people to understand the significance of this case and to really present
the Supreme Court
with an array of amicus briefs that would help them understand what was
really at stake here.
And I think we did that.
We didn`t think we would win, Chris, because this is the third time
that the Supreme Court has decided to hear a case challenging this
disparate impact standard under the Fair Housing Act. Clearly, somebody on
the court, at least four members, were gunning for this. And so we were
But today was an amazing day. We were sitting in the courtroom as
Justice Kennedy announced the decision, and we breathed a huge sigh of
relief and hope that people will understand, really, what this means for
HAYES: Yeah, explain what the stakes are here. I mean, the question
was, can you assess violations of the Fair Housing Act based solely on the
disparate impact that a given policy might have, as opposed to reading some
kind of racially biased intent, right?
And they upheld that you could just look at the -- it doesn`t matter
what the intent is, you could look at the impact and find the violation.
Why is that so important?
IFILL: So, it`s not actually quite that simple. So, I should explain
it a little bit. You know, the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968, the
week that Martin Luther King was killed. Cities were burning all over the
country. And responsible leaders recognized that housing segregation
really had to fall, that we were turning into these two societies, one
black, one white, separate and unequal
for the -- that the Kerner Commission talked about.
And in fact Justice Kennedy cited that language from the Kerner
Commission in his majority opinion today.
We all know the housing discrimination of the sort that Donald
Sterling engaged in, right, a developer or an owner who refuses to rent
to African-Americans or to Mexican-Americans or to people of a different
national origin. That`s intentional discrimination. And the Fair Housing
Act allows you to bring claims looking at that.
But the disparate impact standard is a different one. That allows you
to look at what Justice Kennedy called today disguised animus, or
unconscious prejudices, policy decisions that appear neutral on their face,
but have a discriminatory affect.
That doesn`t end the inquiry just because the policy has a
discriminatory effect, it opens the opportunity to then ask the developer,
or in this case, the Texas Housing Authority, you know, what`s the reason
for this decision that you made? Why are you putting all of these low-
income tax credit, affordable housing units in African-American communities
and none in the white community?
And then they have to come forward with a business necessity, a reason
for why they`re doing this. And then the question is, is there another
alternative way we can get at whatever is your legitimate interest, without
producing the discriminatory effect.
So, it actually opens up a really important and useful and helpful
conversation with those making decisions about housing, so that we can make
better decisions that do not promote segregation, but that instead promote
The whole idea is to drop the wall of segregation, but also to
provide, you know, for economic support, for African-American communities
still are a major
source of economic support all over this country, not just for African-
Americans, is through home ownership and through housing stock in your
Segregation perpetuates a weak African-American housing stock. And
that`s been documented throughout the country.
So, now we have, again, some assurances that we can use this tool
going forward. We`ve used this for 45 years in an unbroken line. Every
federal appellate court that`s looked at this has said, this is the
standard that you
And yet it`s been challenged three times. And finally, the court
today ended that set of challenges.
Now it`s up to us to robustly use the Fair Housing Act, especially at
this time, Chris, when our country is so fractured and to return to what I
really see as the unfinished business of the Fair Housing Act and of civil
rights, and that`s getting at this entrenched housing segregation that so
characterizes our country.
HAYES: I`m so struck by this study out of Stanford, that typical
middle income black family lives in a neighborhood with a lower incomes
than the typical low income white family. There are huge ramifications for
that. Continues to be one of the kind of defining features of how American
race functions today. And a big victory at the court today to keep waging
Sherrilynn Ifill thank you so much.
IFILL: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show
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