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'The Ed Show' for Tuesday, May 26

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

Guests: Valerie Jarrett, Mark Halperin, Scott Wheeler, Kim Gandy, Bill Press, Tom Tancredo, Mike Allen, Sen. Amy Klobuchar


ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  I‘m Ed Schultz.  This is THE ED SHOW.


SCHULTZ:  Good evening, Americans. 

Live from 30 Rock in New York City, it‘s THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.

President Obama makes his first Supreme Court pick, and she is a winner.  Why did he choose Sonia Sotomayor?  And I‘ll ask his top adviser tonight, Valerie Jarrett, coming up in just a moment.

The party of “no” responds.  How far will the GOP go to attack this historic nominee?

And North Korea sets off a massive nuclear test bomb, and it‘s a critical new test for President Obama. 

Plus, “Psycho Talk.”

All that and a lot more coming up with a great panel. 

But first, tonight‘s “OpEd.”

Well, it‘s the old saying, elections have consequences.  And this is a big one. 

President Obama made history today announcing his Supreme Court nominee, the first Hispanic in history picked to sit on the Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

How does it play out?  I think it‘s a brilliant pick, brilliant selection.

Judge Sotomayor has credentials as long as your arm.  She‘s a tough New Yorker with a great American story, and a brilliant judge with an impeccable resume and credentials.  The first Hispanic, a woman, appointed to the federal bench by a Republican president, Bush 41. 

She‘s a self-made woman.  Her father was a factory worker who didn‘t speak English.  She grew up in public housing in the Bronx and was raised by a single mom.  It‘s a great American story. 

After her father died, she won a scholarship to Princeton, where she was top in her class.  She went on to Yale Law, where she edited the law journal.  She became a public prosecutor in New York.

And today, President Obama spent a lot of time talking about her life story, how she started in poverty and she wound up at the steps of the highest court in the land.  He says what she learned on that journey is something that just can‘t be taught in law school.


BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  It is experience that can give a person a common touch and a sense of compassion, an understanding of how the world works and how ordinary people live.  And that is why it is a necessary ingredient in the kind of justice we need on the Supreme Court.  What Sonia will bring to the court, then, is not only the knowledge and experience acquired over a course of a brilliant legal career, but the wisdom accumulated from an aspiring life‘s journey. 


SCHULTZ:  Judge Sotomayor may have gone to Yale, but she never forgot the people she knew when she was a kid growing up by Yankee Stadium. 


JUDGE SONIA SOTOMAYOR, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE:  This wealth of experiences, personal and professional, have helped me appreciate the variety of perspectives that present themselves in every case that I hear.  I strive never to forget the real world consequences of my decisions of my decisions individuals, businesses, and government. 


SCHULTZ:  Real world consequences. 

Now, this is what the Republicans don‘t get: court decisions aren‘t intellectual exercises.  They decide people‘s lives.  That‘s not judicial activism, it‘s human, and that‘s where America is right now, a real story. 

It‘s going to be interesting to see how the GOP will oppose the president‘s choice.  The labeling is already out there.  They are tossing it out—she‘s too liberal, she‘s from the far left. 

Actually, I love it. 

How about a little balance, boys? 

I wanted a liberal for balance.

Now, this is going to bring a broader discussion behind closed doors, which America needs.  It also represents the fastest growing demographic in America. 

President Obama campaigned on the word “change.”  Folks, this is change. 

So how will the GOP attack an Hispanic woman without offending the Latino community?  They are already saying that she‘s not smart enough.  They are already saying that she‘s got a temper.  Her temperament has come into question.  But I think this is what Americans love. 

This is someone who met adversity, this is a person who had goals, and survived and achieved.  This is what Americans relate to.  They love a first.  She‘s a first, and it‘s a gutsy move by the president, and I think a brilliant move, at that. 

Joining me now is Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser and long-time confidante of President Obama. 

Valerie, thanks for joining us tonight on THE ED SHOW.

All of these accolades coming from, I think, centrals and liberals, is this going to be an easy confirmation?  What do you think?

VALERIE JARRETT, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, first of all, Ed, thank you for inviting me on.  It‘s a very important day here in the White House.  We‘re just so excited by President Obama‘s selection of Judge Sotomayor. 

You know, we can‘t predict what the outcome of the process will be, but I can tell you one thing, she‘s prepared for it.  You know she‘s been through two Senate confirmations before.  She received by partisan support each time.

She was appointed the first time by a Republican president, George Bush, the second time by a Democrat, Bill Clinton.  So we are very confident that she‘s going to work hard, and she‘s looking forward to this process, and we‘re confident about the outcome. 

SCHULTZ:  Now, Valerie, I have to ask you—and this is what Americans are asking out there in talk radio land—is the vetting process, has it been intense?  We‘re not going to have any tax problems or there‘s not anything in the closet that‘s going to come up that‘s going to derail this thing, is it? 

JARRETT:  No.  Listen, the vetting process has been very thorough.  And look, she‘s been on the bench for a long time.  She‘s had a stellar career. 

You recited her background very well in the introduction to the show.  Between her extraordinary credentials, both in college, at Princeton, and at Yale, being on the Yale Journal Review, having had this broad perspective; a prosecutor; then involved in complex, international corporate law from the private sector; being on the district court—we don‘t have a current Supreme Court justice who‘s been on the district court, where you have a chance to see the facts as they touch everyday people.  And then on the appellate court.

She has received great accolades from her peers, from all of her colleagues, from the general public.  We‘ve had an outpouring of support here at the White House today, people who are thrilled by this selection. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Now, is that support coming from any conservatives?  Looking back on her record, when she was appointed to the Appeals Court back in ‘98, she did have, I think, five Republican senators that did go along with her and didn‘t stand in the way of her confirmation. 

JARRETT:  Yes, she‘s had strong support and anticipates having it again.  Her record is stellar.  Her background is incredible.  Her life story, which she spent a few minutes on as well, is the American story. 

This is somebody who pulled herself up by her bootstraps.  She had a mom who loved her dearly, who sacrificed and worked two jobs so that she could receive the best education. 

And what has she done?  She‘s given back, she‘s dedicated her career really to public service for the vast majority of her career.  And she‘s well qualified, extremely well qualified for this position, and she has the president‘s full support and backing. 

SCHULTZ:  Would the White House label her a liberal, a progressive? 

And will she satisfy the base of the Democratic Party? 

JARRETT:  Well, you know, Ed, we‘re not much on labels, as you know from the campaign.  What we can say is that she‘s an extraordinary jurist.  She takes her responsibility seriously. 

She applies rigor and intellectual tenacity to every case that has come before her.  She has worked well with her colleagues, both those who were appointed by Democrats, as well as those who were appointed by Republicans.  And she will serve us well in that capacity. 

I wouldn‘t label her.  I would say that what we would want from our Supreme Court is somebody who understands the law, respects the Constitution, and comes to the position with the kind of life experiences that the president described today so that she appreciates—that she fully appreciates the decisions that are made by the Supreme Court affect the lives of Americans.  And she takes that responsibility seriously. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, Jeff Sessions had this comment about her.  He‘s the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee.  He says, “We must make determine if Ms. Sotomayor understands that the proper role of a judge is a to act as a neutral umpire of the law, calling balls and strikes fairly without regard to one‘s personal preferences or political views.”

Is the president convinced that she is going to be able to satisfy conservatives to the point where they won‘t filibuster?  Is she going to have 60 votes?

JARRETT:  I think that she‘ll satisfy them hands down.  That‘s what she‘s done over the course of her career.  That‘s why they supported her when she moved from the district court to the appeals court.  And I have every confidence that if she is given a fair and open hearing—and we‘re sure that she will—then Republicans and Democrats alike will galvanize behind her and support her, understanding that she will bring her extraordinary skill to the most important court of the land, the Supreme Court. 

She really, again, reflects the American story. 

SCHULTZ:  No doubt. 

JARRETT:  And to have somebody on the court who is diverse, who might represent a different perspective, this is a court that is collaborative.  The judges talk issues through with one another, with their clerks.  She has a great reputation for being collegial.  Her peers on both of the courts that she served on have respected her for that.

So, she‘ll make a wonderful contribution to the court.  And we‘re confident that the process should work fairly. 

SCHULTZ:  Thank you, Valerie Jarrett.  Appreciate your time tonight on


JARRETT:  My pleasure, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet.

So, will President Obama‘s first Supreme Court pick face a confirmation fight? 

Let me turn now to Mark Halperin, senior political analyst and editor-at-large for “TIME” magazine. 

You reported on TIME‘s Web site today that Sotomayor is headed for an easy confirmation?  I didn‘t know those were possible anymore, Mark. 

MARK HALPERIN, SR. POLITICAL ANALYST, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, “TIME”:  Well, it certainly would break the mold of the last couple of decades, where we‘ve seen big fights.  But Ed, I think Republicans would be crazy to go after her, assuming they‘ve done their job, they‘ve vetted her background, that nothing comes out that‘s controversial, either professionally or personally.  I assume they‘ve done that.

I think Republicans would be making a huge mistake.  They don‘t have the votes to stop her.  There are huge political implications for going after her. 

And one thing that I don‘t think has been discussed enough, the one thing—you talked about Senator Sessions—the one thing Republicans are going after her on right now, tentatively, is as though she‘s got a view of legislating from the bench.  It‘s an issue Republicans have talked about forever.  It‘s got some political support, but I think the tide has turned a little bit on that.

First of all, the Obama view of the judiciary prevails.  He won the election easily.  Look what happened in Iowa.  The Iowa State Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage.  There‘s no outcry.

Things have changed.  People, I think, are going to find her view of how to be a judicial voice in Washington to be positive, not negative. 

SCHULTZ:  Mark, she‘s got, what, 17, 18 years on the federal bench?  So there‘s got to be plenty of material there.  Who‘s doing the digging?  I mean, is this going to be the big fight behind the scene? 

HALPERIN:  The only way this is going to be a political benefit for Republicans is if they do totally great research, if they are organized, and if they have a voice—probably not a white male voice—that presents this to the country.  I can‘t see them pulling that together.  Great research, great presentation to do damage to the notion of Obama‘s judicial picks, I just don‘t see them doing it. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, you mentioned it‘s a big play politically.  I mean, you have got the fastest growing demographic in America. 

How are the Republicans going to go through all of this rebranding and go after an Hispanic woman? 

HALPERIN:  That‘s why I think, in the end, not only will they not stop her from being confirmed, I think a lot of them will end up voting for her.  They‘ll say we disagree with her, but to vote against the first Hispanic woman with, as you‘ve laid out, impeccable credentials, someone who the White House is using their full machinery to unveil in a positive way, I think would be politically dumb. 

SCHULTZ:  So, experience is not the issue, and obviously there‘s political ramifications if the GOP pushes back.  So what do you think they‘re going to look for?

HALPERIN:  They‘re going to try to make this argument—kind of the inverse of what Democrats did against Judge Bork.  They‘re going to say, look, America, you prefer justices and judges who don‘t legislate from the bench, who don‘t make things up, who simply rule based on the merits and the constitutionality.

Again, I don‘t believe that‘s a slam dunk the way it used to be for conservatives.  That‘s the only thing they have.  And again, I think if they go down that path, unless they executed it flawlessly, they won‘t do any damage to her, they‘ll do damage to themselves.

SCHULTZ:  Mark, can we say this is change?  I mean, President Obama has got to be behind closed doors tonight high-fiving the team, saying first Hispanic woman.  You know, I mean, this is really change.  And it also, I think, is a bold move.  She‘s got credentials, but it is diversity. 

HALPERIN:  It‘s diversity, it‘s politically smart, and it‘s excellence.  Again, people can take issue with aspects of her record or her judicial philosophy, but her resume is excellent. 

Compare that to when President Bush was desperate to put a woman on the court, desperate, and he found Harriet Miers, the only one he could find, had to withdraw her after complaints from the right.  This is someone of excellence, and you‘ll find that.  When Barack Obama does something politically smart, he usually also follows what he thinks is right, and that‘s a twofer. 

SCHULTZ:  And can we count on those five Republican senators to jump on board early on here? 

HALPERIN:  I think you‘re going to see in the end, I think, more than five Republicans vote for her.  It‘s a very tough position they find themselves in, and they are weak, they are too weak right now to execute something difficult.  Opposing her, difficult. 

SCHULTZ:  I‘ll remember, you called it an easy confirmation.  Thanks, Mark. 

HALPERIN:  Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Mark Halperin, “TIME” magazine, with us here tonight.

Up next, North Korea‘s dictator is just flat-out hell bent on nuclear weapons.  Can the Obama administration stop what no one has been able to stop before? 

That‘s next on THE ED SHOW.

Stay with us. 



OBAMA:  North Korea will not find respect through threats and illegal weapons.  And we will work with our friends and allies to stand up to this behavior and we will redouble our efforts toward a more robust, international nonproliferation regime that all countries have responsibilities to meet. 


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

In case you missed it, that was President Obama yesterday, after North Korea detonated an underground bomb with Hiroshima-sized power. 

Today, North Korea test-fired two more short-range missiles.  North Korea—let‘s put it on the table—they have lied, they‘ve cheated, they‘ve head-faked the United States for decades.  And they are hell bent on getting the capability to put a nuke on a warhead.

Now, according to the CIA, they may already have that capability.  Even scarier, they may soon have the capability to manufacturer weapons and sell them to terror groups on the black market. 

President Obama says he wants to rid the world of nukes.  We‘re facing a 3:00 a.m. moment here, folks. 

Joining me now is Leon Sigal.  He is the director of Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project and author of “Disarming Strangers: Nuclear Diplomacy With North Korea.”

Leon, good to have you here with us tonight. 


SCHULTZ:  The big play here is China, and I‘ll get to that in a moment.  But the overall strategy, what options does President Obama have on the table right now? 

SIGAL:  Well, if he wants to stop the nuclear and missile programs in North Korea, he‘s got to negotiate with them.  Sanctions aren‘t going to get us anywhere.  They never have, never will. 

SCHULTZ:  Can you negotiate with North Korea?

SIGAL:  Yes.  We‘ve succeeded in the past when we‘ve done two things -

negotiated, which means giving things to get things and, second, kept our agreements.  Unfortunately, we got into trouble because we haven‘t always kept our agreements.  It‘s not just the North Koreans that cheat here.

SCHULTZ:  Where have we gone wrong? 

SIGAL:  Well, we didn‘t live up to the agreed framework back in 1994 after that was done.  And the North Koreans turned around and began toying with enrichment and helping the Syrians and tested a missile. 

Then, ,when we turned around and started negotiating, we had a test moratorium on missiles, started to move toward a real negotiation on getting rid of their missile program.  Then George Bush came along and he wanted to confront him. 

That blew everything away.  They started playing with enrichment again.  Then he challenged them on that and what did we get?  We got a plutonium program with a lot of bombs worth of plutonium.

SCHULTZ:  Is China a big player here?  They have 800 miles of border.  They are given them resources, fuel, food.  In fact, if it weren‘t for the Chinese, I don‘t know if North Korea would be able to survive as a country, this regime the way it is right now. 

How should we approach them?  How should Secretary Clinton approach them? 

SIGAL:  Well, the Chinese will be willing to do certain things.  They may even vote for resolution at the U.N.  They don‘t want to be blamed for blocking a resolution.

But, in the end, the Chinese know what we should have learned, which is the only way to deal here is to negotiate.  And they will push us toward negotiation. 

They are not likely to do very serious sanctions for good reason.  They can‘t afford the collapse of North Korea.  That‘s a very bad scene for them.  That‘s a lot of refugees coming across their border.  That‘s all kinds of uncertainty about the nukes. 

SCHULTZ:  What is their capability right now?  Could they hit the United States?

SIGAL:  Could the North Koreans? 


SIGAL:  Absolutely not. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  So you say negotiate, you say full diplomatic effort. 

Can we trust them? 

SIGAL:  The answer is, you don‘t build an agreement on trust.  You structure it so that you have reciprocal steps by the two sides.  And, most important in all, you only renege if and only if they do. 

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Sigal, good to have you on tonight.

SIGAL:  Good to be here.

SCHULTZ:  Thanks so much.

Next up on THE ED SHOW, “Psycho Talk.”  College dropout Karl Rove is concerned about the judge not being smart enough to be on the Supreme Court?  His Supreme Court trash talk is up next in “Psycho Talk.”  

Stay with us. 


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Have you heard some of the crazy things that are being said by conservatives?

It‘s time for “Psycho Talk.”  

And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, it‘s our old friend Karl Rove.  Why? 

For questioning the intellect of Judge Sotomayor? 



KARL ROVE, FOX CONTRIBUTOR:  I‘m not really certain how intellectually strong she will be.  She has not been very strong on the 2nd Circuit.  She‘s not liked by her colleagues, she‘s not particularly respected by her colleagues.  There‘s been a lot of chatter about it over the years.  I suspect she‘ll carry that forward on the Supreme Court. 


SCHULTZ:  Not respected.  There‘s a bullet point for you.  Now, this is a guy who thought Harriet Miers would have been a great pick. 

Look, you‘ve heard the list of credentials that this judge brings to the table—long and impressive.  Today, President Obama spoke about Sotomayor‘s rigorous intellect and the mastery of the law.  The SCOTUS blog points out women and minorities are often painted not as smart.

By contrast, we have to point this out tonight, that Chief Justice John Roberts was described as brilliant.  Sam Alito was considered exceptionally smart.  And if you‘ll remember, Sam Alito is also a Princeton and Yale graduate who served on an appeals court.  His intellect didn‘t seem to be questioned then. 

If confirmed to the high court, Sotomayor would be the third woman elected to the Supreme Court and the first Hispanic. 

To Karl Rove and the rest of the GOP who are trying to suggest that this judge is not smart enough, with this whisper campaign, that‘s “Psycho Talk.”  


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Today our historic president helped break another barrier, nominating the first Hispanic to the Supreme Court.  Sonia Sotomayor graduated top of her class from Princeton and Yale Law School.  She had a distinguished career as a public prosecutor and was nominated to the federal bench by a Republican president, Bush 41. 

But today, conservatives are describing her as troubling, radical, even saying she‘s a reversed racist.  That one came from constitutional scholar “The Drugster.” 

So what‘s the deal here?  Are conservatives really going to try to KO the president‘s nominee? 

Joining me now is Scott Wheeler.  Mr. Wheeler is the executive director of the National Republican Trust PAC.

Mr. Wheeler, good to have you with us tonight. 

Would you describe the judge as radical?  Would you go that far? 

SCOTT WHEELER, WWW.GOPTRUST.COM:  Well, I‘d say she‘s already declared that she believes it‘s her job to decide what the law should be, not what it is.  And so that‘s terribly troubling. 

What‘s even more bothersome is that Obama had a chance to nominate a moderate, someone that would appeal to both sides, someone that could have sailed through confirmation.  And, instead, he chose to nominate someone who is on the fringe. 

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Wheeler, what ruling has she made from the bench that would classify her or categorize her as radical? 

WHEELER:  Well, I think you just look at what her peers have said,

including, since you guys like to use the race label constantly, what her -

one of her Latino peers said she didn‘t have any clue. 

SCHULTZ:  Do you got a name of who said that? 

WHEELER:  Yes.  He‘s on the record if you go back and look at the Connecticut case.  He really lit into her. 

SCHULTZ:  You don‘t know who she is.  It‘s on the record.  You‘re saying that there‘s someone in the judicial system who has labeled—

WHEELER:  It‘s been in the newspapers.  So, yes, one of her colleagues. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, apparently you don‘t read newspaper, because you can‘t tell me who it is? 

WHEELER:  Look—look, I realize that you guys are used to using race-baiting tactics and smear and innuendo.  We‘re going to deal with the facts.  The facts are that her own colleagues have criticized her opinions, her own colleagues. 

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Wheeler, I‘m just asking you to give us a name of who is calling her radical.  If you can‘t do it, that‘s fine. 

WHEELER:  A fellow judge on the court of appeals that she currently sits on. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Whatever the name is.  We‘ll have to look it up. 

WHEELER:  It‘s in the Connecticut decision.  So it won‘t be hard to find. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  That‘s one person.  But that‘s a broad brushing opinion out there, correct? 

WHEELER:  I think what she has said herself disqualifies her.  She herself has said that it‘s her job to make policy.  Judges don‘t make policy.  We have a legislature that does that, and a Congress that does that.  We have elected officials that do that. 

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Wheeler, what do you say to those Republicans who voted to confirm her back on the appeals court in 1998, when Bill Clinton nominated here.  There were five Republican senators that went along with it.  And just I heard earlier tonight, Mark Halperin reporting of “Time,” that he thinks there will be more Republican senators.  How do you feel about that? 

WHEELER:  Well, I think Republicans need to stop listening to Democrats on the left and taking their advice.  But secondly, I think that now she has a longer trail of decisions that can be examined, too.  And I think that at the time in ‘98 when she was confirmed, I don‘t believe that Duke Law School tape was available.  And now it is.  And we know that she has declared herself essentially as an appointed legislature, something that should trouble Republicans and Democrats. 

And I think there‘s a lot—I think there may be Democrats who are troubled when they see this tape. 

SCHULTZ:  For the record, she says that she doesn‘t promote it or advocate it.  But—

WHEELER:  Well, everybody who saw the tape knows that she was joking when she said that.  She said, I know we‘re not supposed to say that, so I really didn‘t mean that.  Of course, you could tell the obvious—how hard she was laughing at the very phrase that she was just trying to denounce. 

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Wheeler, what senator can we point to tonight that is going to adamantly oppose this nominee? 

WHEELER:  Well, I hope they all do. 

SCHULTZ:  Give me one. 

WHEELER:  If they believe in the Constitution, then they all should. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Will your group target those who vote for her confirmation? 

WHEELER:  I think we will make sure that their constituents know the way they voted.  And we will inform and educate people all over the country.  You know, if we just had a—if the president had just nominated a moderate, then we wouldn‘t have this problem.  Instead, we‘ve got—

SCHULTZ:  So who would be a moderate?  Who would have been an acceptable choice? 

WHEELER:  There‘s a long list of them.  But you could start with—how about Joe Lieberman or Mario Cuomo?  Those both would have had very little trouble getting confirmed. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  And finally tonight, Mr. Wheeler, can you give me the name of one senator on the right that is going to adamantly oppose her nomination? 

WHEELER:  Well, I think they want to look at the evidence and examine her record.  And I realize you guys are trying to start a war here. 

SCHULTZ:  No, I‘m just looking for a name.  I mean, I can tell you where Chuck Schumer is going to come down. 

WHEELER:  I can tell you, I speak for Americans and I can tell you there are a whole lot of Americans who are going to oppose her.  And if those senators, including Democrats, think that they are going to pull the wool over the American people‘s eyes this time, I think they better realize that people have woken up and they are not going to roll over anymore. 

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Wheeler, good to have you with us tonight. 

WHEELER:  My pleasure. 

SCHULTZ:  Scott Wheeler.  Now let‘s get the other side.  Let‘s turn to Kim Gandy, who is the president of the National Organization for Women.  Kim, good to have you with us tonight here on THE ED SHOW.  Do you want to respond to some of his comments there?  Do you think—obviously you don‘t think she‘s a radical.  Is this judge liberal enough for you? 

KIM GANDY, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN:  Well, I think she‘s a very progressive judge.  And, frankly, I was pleased that he was as respectful as he was.  At least he didn‘t do like Glenn Beck and say, hey, Hispanic chick lady when he referred to her. 

She is being treated, I think, in an appalling manner by many on the right, in a way that, frankly, if she were not a woman of color, I don‘t think that they would be talking about her in the way that they are.  It‘s very disrespectful. 

SCHULTZ:  Is there any ruling that she has made from the bench that worries you? 

GANDY:  All of the rulings that we‘ve looked at so far—and we‘ve read quite a number of them—are very much by the book.  They are pretty much right down the line following precedent, very much hoeing to the preexisting law, which I think is consistent with President Obama‘s desire to have a judge that will apply the law appropriately, and set precedent, but also bring her own experiences to it.  I believe she will do that. 

SCHULTZ:  Do you think this will be an easy confirmation or do you think it will be as tough as some of the others that we‘ve seen in the past? 

GANDY:  You know, I really don‘t know.  So many of the currently sitting Republican senators have already voted for her. 

SCHULTZ:  How active will the National Organization for Women be in supporting her?  How active will your organization be out there battling back?  You went after Glenn beck just a moment ago.  Are you going to be on the forefront going after people that talk her down? 

GANDY:  Absolutely, as we do with any woman who is talked down.  Look at this woman, questioning her IQ.  She went to Princeton.  She was Suma Cum Laude at Princeton.  Yale Law School, editor of the Yale Law Review.  And they question her intelligence?  It‘s an outrage. 

SCHULTZ:  Kim, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much, Kim Gandy. 

For more on all of this, let‘s turn to our political panel, Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show hosts, Mike Allen, chief White House reporter for “Politico,” and Tom Tancredo, former Republican Congressman from Colorado. 

Well, Tom, I‘ll give you the first shot at it tonight.  Is this judge radical, in your opinion?   

TOM TANCREDO, FMR. CONGRESSMAN:  Oh, yes, I think you could say that.  You know, I really have no idea what her IQ is, nor do I really care in this case, because that—when you start looking at the actual things that she has said so far—I don‘t know anything about the cases that she‘s held.  I‘m not an attorney.  The cases that she‘s reviewed and or—

SCHULTZ:  So you really don‘t know if she‘s radical or not?  But when you say—


TANCREDO:  Well, let me ask you this.  If you say—if I were to say, hey, if I were to say something like, this: I think only a white man could judge the law really well, could interpret the law—I think a white man could interpret it better than a brown woman; would that not disqualify me?  I would think so.  I would hope so. 

If she says, however—which she apparently did—that a brown woman is better than a white man in interpreting the law, why would that not make you think that she‘s a radical?  Why would it not disqualify her?  Why would it not disqualify her? 

MIKE ALLEN, “POLITICO”:  Ed, we‘re getting a preview here of a lot of phony outrage, theatrics, posturing. 

TANCREDO:  Phony?  Oh, my god. 

ALLEN:  Republicans‘ hearts are not in this.  Republicans will tell you this was a smart pick.  They gave them very little to work with.  They are going to go out there and they are going to have to raise money and make these comments.  But you mentioned her earlier confirmation.  When she was confirmed as a federal appeals court judge, among the senators voting for her were Senator Bill Frist and Senator Rick Santorum.  Tell me that isn‘t pretty good insurance for the White House. 

SCHULTZ:  Bill Press, I want to ask you about the political take on this. 


SCHULTZ:  I mean, how is this rebranding of the GOP going to go?  How are they going to go after a Hispanic woman and say that she‘s not qualified?  I‘d like to see this one.

PRESS:  Let‘s be honest here.  Here‘s the truth: the Republican senators across the street don‘t want this fight.  This fight is only being waged by extreme groups like that guy that you just had on here, Scott Wheeler in GOP Trust.  They know across the street, if they take her on—she, by the way, is the most moderate all of the candidates that President Obama considered.


PRESS:  If they take her on they know, right, they know cross the street they are just going to further alienate women, further alienate Latinas.  And they will get two percent of the Latino vote the next time around.  This women is going to be the next justice of the Supreme Court.

Ed, she‘ll get 75 votes.  And 25 senators, if they were smart, they would just say, let‘s just confirm her by acclimation.  But they are dumb.  They will oppose her, and they will lose. 

SCHULTZ:  Mike, did I hear you say she‘s not liberal?  That she‘s pretty moderate? 

ALLEN:  No.  But I would say, yes, of the four finalists, she‘s the more liberal.  But we‘re talking a pretty narrow range here.  And this is not in any way an out of the mainstream pick, not the sort of pick that would give either the left their counterpart to Souter.  And it‘s nothing that would give the right anything that they really could raise questions about mainstream that in America, people would say, yes, that‘s probably right. 

SCHULTZ:  And Tom Tancredo, is a filibuster out of the question?  How aggressive do you want Republicans to be on the Judiciary Committee? 

TANCREDO:  I think there‘s plenty of stuff that they could use and should.  They should do to her what the Democrats did to Bork. 

PRESS:  Like what?  What can they use. 

TANCREDO:  And turn around, it‘s fair play.  I would continually bring up this quote of hers.  I‘d like her to explain that.  It is incredible to me.  There is no one else I can think of who could possibly have said the kinds of things she said—if they are reported accurately—about the benefits of being a brown woman as opposed to a white man in interpreting the law.  And nobody can look at that and say that that‘s not a racist, sexist statement that would disqualify anybody else. 

But because of what you just said, she‘s a Hispanic woman.  Therefore, we can‘t say things like this. 


PRESS:  Tom, we‘ve heard it nine times.  First of all, 17 years on the bench and Tom has one little quote that he‘s hanging the whole case on. 


SCHULTZ:  We‘re coming back.  We‘ve got a lot more coming up.  This is, as Mike Allen said, just a flavor of what is to come.  Coming up, they fight our wars and help keep our country safe.  So why are we giving the troops the shaft when they come home?  I think it‘s an outrage.  We have to do more.  We‘ve got to do better, America, to our veterans.  That‘s next in our playbook.  Stay with us.



OBAMA:  Our fighting men and women and the military families who love them embody what is best in America.  And we have a responsibility to serve all of them as well as they have served us.  And yet all too often, in recent years and decades, we as a nation have failed to live up to that responsibility.  We‘ve failed to give them the support they need, or pay them the respect they deserve. 


SCHULTZ:  That was President Obama speaking about our veterans this Memorial Day Weekend.  We have failed to give the vets the support they need, powerful statement. 

In my playbook tonight, I want to look at the numbers that support what the president said.  Center for American Progress did a by the numbers analysis.  They conclude veterans are, quote, still in need of services to approve their quality of life before, during, and after deployment. 

Almost one in five veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan are experiencing symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  That‘s about, folks, 338,000 Americans suffering from PTSD.  And only half of them see a doctor or get any help at all.  Folks, that simply is not enough.

The economic crisis is already hitting military families especially hard.  They are having a tough time finding jobs and paying their mortgages.  And there are some more frightening statistics out there;

300,000 veterans were homeless at some point during the last year.  One-third of the homeless Americans are vets, one-third. 

Foreclosure rates in military towns were increasing at four times the national average in the last year.  These are staggering numbers.  This is a residual of a bad foreign policy that we have allowed to be created because we didn‘t ask the tough questions.  Now we have to make a real commitment to our veterans and do them right the way they did us. 

Up next, how far will the party of no go to attack President Obama‘s Supreme Court pick?  I‘ll ask Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.



SOTOMAYOR:  I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences.  Today is one of those experiences. 


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  That was Judge Sonia Sotomayor, accepting the president‘s nomination to the Supreme Court.  So what unique qualities and experience will she bring to the bench?  Joining me now from the Judiciary Committee is Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, a member, as I said, of the Judiciary Committee. 

Senator, why do we need a woman on the Supreme Court?  What rulings have been out there in the past that have dealt with gender that makes this such an important pick, in your opinion? 

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA:  Ed, first of all, you just have this unique person.  She is someone that just doesn‘t know the law and the Constitution, she also knows America.  In her own words, she comes from modest and challenging circumstances.  Her mom—her dad dies; her mom saving money to buy her Encyclopedia Britannica.  I can relate to this.  That was a big deal in our family, those Encyclopedia Britannicas when I was growing up.

And then she goes on to be a tough prosecutor, called fearless by her boss, and a judge.  I think it was George Bush, the first George Bush, that appointed her judge.  She is someone of unique experience and a background that I think America wants to see.  Someone who doesn‘t just see the law as some dusty book in your grandma‘s basement, but someone who sees the law and how it affects people in their every day lives. 

That‘s why I think she‘s such a unique nominee.  I look forward to talking with her and asking questions and making a decision.  But I‘m very impressed by her background. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, there have been Republicans in the past who voted for her to get on the appeals court.  Do you anticipate that a lot of Republicans supporting her?  Or is this going to be a dogfight?  Is this really going to be a real battle?  Listen to some of the things that Karl Rove has said, saying that she‘s not very smart. 

KLOBUCHAR:  You know, Ed, I‘ve got to step in here.  I couldn‘t believe that.  She‘s valedictorian of her high school class.  She‘s one of the top people in her college at Princeton.  Come on.  You can‘t make up those things. 

That‘s just outrageous to say those kind of things.  I hope that doesn‘t reflect how the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee and in the Senate will react here.  I am hoping this is going to be a civil hearing.  This is the president‘s first nominee.  This is a woman of great experience, someone of great dignity, that deserves dignity from this country and from the Judiciary Committee.  So I think it is too early to tell.  You‘re going to hear—see mud fling.   You‘re going to hear bad words from outside groups.  But that doesn‘t mean that is how the hearing will be conducted.

SCHULTZ:  Senator, you on the Judiciary Committee, what do you want to know about this judge?  What would be a red flag for you?

KLOBUCHAR:  First of all, as a former prosecutor, I‘m very interested in her prosecutorial background.  She‘s made some tough calls, actually, in favor of law enforcement, understanding that law enforcement, when they‘re trying to in good faith, enforce the laws, that you‘ve got to give them some latitude to do that.  So I would like to ask her about that. 

I also would like to see her respect for the law and precedent.  That‘s important for me.  You‘re not going to agree with every decision a judge makes.  Everyone is going to find a decision they don‘t like, like.  Hey, she brought back baseball to America.  She stepped in and got that strike.  I think that‘s something America will want to hear about. 

There‘s a lot of good things and also questions of executive power and other things we want to know about. 

SCHULTZ:  Executive power, that‘s a big one.  Senator Klobuchar, appreciate your time tonight on the program.  Thanks so much. 

KLOBUCHAR:  Well, I‘m out here in the muddy, muddy hills of North Dakota and Minnesota.  We miss you.  This is your own stomping ground. 

SCHULTZ:  I know you‘re fighting for those flood folks up there, for sure.  Thanks so much, senator.  Appreciate it. 

KLOBUCHAR:  OK.  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  So what‘s the GOP play book to stop this confirmation?  Are they prepared to block the first Latino and fourth woman to be nominated to the court?  Time to bring back our political panel tonight.  Bill Press, what is the play tonight, do you think, for conservatives to fight back on this?  Where are they going to come from? 

PRESS:  I think the play—we‘ve already seen a little bit of it tonight—is going to be—there‘s a cottage industry in Washington, Ed, that has already been gearing up to oppose this.  Why?  So they can raise money and stir up the base.  That is what they will do.  They know they can‘t win this.  They will use this an attempt to satisfy the base; we‘re fighting for you, extreme right wingers, even though we can‘t stop this nomination. 

SCHULTZ:  Mike Allen, I want to ask you about Jon Kyl talking about the nominee.  “While Sam Alito was first nominated on October 31st, 2005, the minority was afforded 93 days before he received a confirmation vote.  I would expect the Senate Democrats will afford the minority the same courtesy.” 

What‘s your take on that, Mike?

ALLEN:  They‘re playing for time, Ed.  They‘re leaving themselves options.  They are going to see if there is anything in this record that they don‘t about.  But if there are not unknown unknowns out there—and the White House went through this record very carefully.  And the few sort of stray cats and dogs quotes are sort of the universe of what is available to opponents—Republicans think that this is going to be done fairly quickly.  There‘s no percentage for Senate Republicans to drag it out. 

But they are keeping their powder dry today.  They are going to see if there‘s anything.  I‘m told specifically they‘re going to look at some possible Second Amendment issues to push.  But there‘s not a lot.  As you know, there‘s no clear abortion cases even. 

SCHULTZ:  You know, Tom Tancredo, if there‘s no red flag out there, no glaring issue, wouldn‘t it be political suicide to challenge an Hispanic woman, which is also part of the fastest growing demographic politically in the country?  What would be your strategy to make sure that she doesn‘t get on the court? 

TANCREDO:  If, in fact, there was nothing to challenge her on, I would suggest that they don‘t challenge her on anything.  Unfortunately for her and fortunately for us, there are plenty of things that we even talked about here already that you keep ignoring.  I‘m telling you, she appears to be a racist.  She said things that are racist.  In any other context, that‘s exactly how we would have portrayed it.  And there‘s no one that would get on the Supreme Court saying a thing like that, except for an Hispanic woman.  And you‘re saying it doesn‘t matter. 

Man, where are you coming from?  How can you possibly say that? 

SCHULTZ:  Bill Press—


TANCREDO:  There‘s plenty of stuff. 

SCHULTZ:  Bill, I‘ve got to ask you, is she going to get special protection in the public arena because she‘s a woman, an Hispanic?  What about that?  

PRESS:  No, she‘s not going to get special protection.  She‘s going to be examined as the candidate for the Supreme Court.  I think one thing we‘ve got to lay on the table, which Tom seems to ignore, is all the years as a district attorney, as a corporate attorney, as a trial judge, and then as an appellate court judge.  She brings to the court, listen to this, more judicial experience than any member of the court now sitting on the Supreme Court had when they were nominated. 

I mean, she‘s extremely well qualified.  That‘s number one.  That‘s number one.  

ALLEN:  You can be a racist and have all of that stuff in your background. 

SCHULTZ:  Mike Allen, as a journalist, quickly, would you check out and see if she had racist comments? 

ALLEN:  No. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  That pretty much says it. 

TANCREDO:  You won‘t do it?  You won‘t check it out? 

ALLEN:  No. 

PRESS:  She‘s not a racist. 


SCHULTZ:  Gentlemen, thank you so much.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to, or check out and get your text alerts for the show.  Just text the word Ed to 622639.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now on the place for politics, MSNBC.



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