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PoliticsNation, Monday, July 2, 2012

Read the transcript from the Monday show

Guests: Neera Tanden; Ryan Grim; Bob Shrum; Jerrold Nadler, Lee Saunders, Catherine Crier, Lisa Bloom

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation." I`m
Al Sharpton.

Tonight`s lead, for millions of Americans fighting for survival
without health insurance, Republicans have one message. You`re not the

This weekend Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell exposed the plan.
If you`re not able to afford coverage. Too bad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: I just want to ask, what specific are you
going to do to provide universal coverage to the 30 million people who are

The question is, how can you go step by step to improve the American health
care system? It is already the finest health care system in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: But you don`t think --

MCCONNELL: What our president --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: You don`t think 30 million people uninsured
is not an issue?

MCCONNELL: Let me tell what we are not going to do. We are not going
to turn the health care system into a western European health care system.


SHARPTON: What country is minority leader McConnell living in? I
mean, what planet even? Over 30 million Americans living without insurance
is not the issue?

In this country, the richest country in the world, a person dies every
o 20 minutes from lack of health insurance. That`s not an issue? We see
thousands of our fellow citizens waiting in line for free coverage simply
because they have no other option. And yet that`s not an issue.

And we have more millionaires than any country in the world. Yet we
rank 50th in life expectancy. That`s not an issue? You see repealing
progress is the only issue the Republicans are worried about. But what
will they replace it with? Speaker Boehner?


there`s a better way to make sure they have affordable access to quality
health insurance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: So, when you repeal this, what are you
going to replace it with?

BOEHNER: I just start pointing out we`re going to take a common sense
step by step approach. This has to be ripped out by their roots.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: So, all those people who have pre-
existing conditions, you say we are going to get rid of this and then at
some time deal with it.

BOEHNER: Listen. I have already outlined. We believe there`s a
better way.


SHARPTON: That`s easy for you to say. You have insurance. What
about Congressman Ryan? He`s supposed to be a serious guy with serious
solutions. What`d he have to say about this?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: To be specific, the provisions that are
already in place now like closing the dawn or covering under the age of 26,
not placing lifetime limits on care, those are all going to in the house
vote. You`re not going to vote to replace them?

repeal the entire law then we are going to advance patient center reforms
which address these kinds of issues.


SHARPTON: Again, no solution.

In the states, Republican governor may turn away $250 billion in
funding leaving more than nine million people without insurance. Turning
away money instead of helping their constituents. I thought public
officials were elected to serve their constituents. I guess for them
that`s not an issue.

Joining me now is Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Democrat from New York
and Bob Shrum, Democratic strategist and professor at NYU.

Thank you both, for being here this evening.


SHARPTON: Congressman Nadler, let me start with you. It`s estimated
the affordable care act will provide insurance to one million New Yorkers
who currently don`t have it. What`s your reaction to Republicans who say
this is not an issue?

REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: Well, I`m not surprised, because
they have never cared. Their calculation has been from the very beginning
of this debate that most Americans have insurance and they don`t care about
those who don`t. Thirty million Americans is about 10 percent. And
they`re assuming that 90 percent of Americans don`t care about the 10
percent of Americans. Let them die. Let them die.

Forty two thousand Americans die from lack of health insurance every year.
Now, the truth is I don`t think people are that callous, number one. And
number two, there`s a second issue which they don`t want to talk about.
And that is that 55 percent of all middle class people go bankrupt in this
country. Go bankrupt because of the unanticipated sickness. And 75
percent of them, have health insurance. But when they get an expensive
illness like cancer or heart disease, it doesn`t pay enough, this bill stop
that because --

SHARPTON: That`s 55 percent.

NADLER: Fifty five percent - I`m sorry, 75 percent of the 55 percent
of personal bankruptcy had insurance, but it didn`t stop them from going
bankrupt from medical bills. This bill will say or the affordable care act
says that starting 2014 nobody can be -- no family can be forced to pay
more than a certain amount of money out of pocket in any year no matter how
expensive the illness is. No more lifetime. No more annual limits on

SHARPTON: Bob Shrum, it`s interesting , we talk about New York with
Congressman Nadler. But when you deal with the local situation going
around the country -- let`s go to Louisiana for a minute.

Governor Bobby Jindal said the health care law isn`t good for every
state. But look at the weird justification he used in trying to explain
what he meant.


GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: Look, states are different.
Founding fathers intended each state to be a laboratory of experimentation.
The Mardi Gras is great for Louisiana. May not work as well in Vermont or
other states. The reality is, what works in Massachusetts may not be
appropriate to another state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: You`re comparing Mardi Gras to universal

JINDAL: What I`m saying is, every state is different.


SHARPTON: Mardi Gras health insurance - I mean, but aside from the
weirdness, the fact is that Republican governors including Jindal have said
that they may opt out implementing the law Medicare expansion. It would
have a devastating effect on the uninsured. No state GOP governors may
turn down $258 billion in federal money leaving 9.2 million Americans

Bob, that could be devastating.

SHRUM: Yes. It could be. I think in the end in most places it won`t
happen. Federal government pays 100 percent the first three years. Pays
90 percent after that of this cost. And you know, you have governors like
Jindal or take Rick Scott in Florida who`s the most unpopular governor in
the history of the state says he`s going to turn down the money.

He`s already in terrible trouble family room 2014. In fact if he goes
ahead with this, it`s going to be a big issue in that election. He could
very well lose. There`s a Republican candidate for governor in Washington
State right now. And that election is this year in a maybe harbinger where
these guys are going to have to go.

But, it was one of the attorneys general who joined in the Supreme
Court suit who says look, this is now over. It`s time to move on. It`s
time to make the program work. When you watch Jindal, you watch Boehner,
you watch McConnell, you understand these people are sputtering.

They have nothing to say. They thought the bill was going to get
overturned by a politically packed Supreme Court. It didn`t happen. And
now they`re exposed nakedly in terms of what they really want. They want
health care cuts for the many and tax cuts for the few.

SHARPTON: Now Congressman, let`s talk about the politics of this for
a minute. There`s already been a huge jump and support for the bill. In
the last week alone, it went up five points, five percent. A pretty
significant increase. And even before the Supreme Court decision. A lot
of support, 85 percent supported covering those with pre-existing
conditions, 77 percent support reduced drug costs, 68 percent support
adults under 26 staying on their parent`s plan.

So, their significant support of the American populous. What do you
say about the politics of this in 2012? Because Republicans want to fight,
but the public seems to be on the other side of this.

SHRUM: Well, every poll has shown that the public, if you ask them do
you like this bill, they say no. But if you ask about every specific point
in the bill they say, yes. And I think that for the last couple years,
huge amounts of money that spent on advertising by corporations and others
in the right wing like Koch brothers lying about the bill.

And now that a lot of free publicity is come by people describing
what`s in the bill, people saying, hey wait a minute. It`s not a bad bill.
And I think as the campaign debate goes on this, if president reminds
people that if you are a middle class, you can keep the insurance you have
and if you get expensively sick, you`re out of pocket expenses will be
limited for the first time.

We`ll now, we are going to say to the insurance companies, you can`t
raise your premiums without getting government approval which you could
before. We`re not going to say you have to spend at least 80 or 85 percent
of every premium dollar for paying for services rather than pocketing it.
I think people are going to like it when they realize the benefits

SHARPTON: Bob, the GOP has a new slogan that they are using and
you`re the strategist here. They`re talking about a phrase call patient
centered approach. Listen to this.


BOEHNER: The kinds of policies that will make our health insurance
system more what I`ll call patient centered and lower cost.

RYAN: It will be a decentralized market based system that`s patient

that`s premised on patient center care.


SHARPTON: Now, David Weigel reports that this phrase came from
Republican post, Frank Lance, who wrote the 2209 memo entitle "the language
of health care."

I mean, what does this mean? Are we just dealing with some slow
veneering that will try to seduce the public? What does this mean, Bob?

SHRUM: I don`t think the sloganeering can answer the kinds of things
that Congressman Nadler was just talking about. I think people are coming
to understand what`s in the bill.

And frankly, what`s patient centered is telling people that their kids
they can stay on their policies until they`re 26 years old. What`s
patience center is not repealing this bill, telling some woman who`s in the
middle of chemotherapy for cancer that she`s going to get a call from her
insurance company and they`re going to say sorry, stop the chemotherapy.
We`re not going to pay for it anymore. I`d love to have a debate about
whose patient centered here. Because the Republicans have no solution no
answer no way toward on this. They just come up with empty phrases. And
you know what, empty phrases never prevented or cured a disease.

SHARPTON: Congressman Nadler and Bob Shrum thank you for your time

NADLER: Thank you.

SHRUM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Mitt Romney has a huge problem when it comes to
health care. And it`s called Mitt Romney. He`s caught on the wrong side
of the latest GOP talking point.

Plus we`ll look at how President Obama plans to take on the right
wing`s big money machine. Winning his owned re-election is just the first

And the Hollywood ending. Major questions tonight in the Tom Cruise-
Katie Holmes breakup. Their legal questions, their fairness questions and
there are questions that impact the little girl. Two of the best lawyers
in the country are here.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Republicans are desperately trying to come up with a new
message an health care but Mitt Romney is having lots of trouble with it.
We will talk about that, next.


SHARPTON: In the days since the Supreme Court`s ruling on health
care, Republicans have been trying to make lemonade out of lemons by
dreaming up new talking points. The law`s individual mandate is a tax.
This is the message they`re going to try and run with through November.

There`s one very big problem though. Their presidential candidate
can`t sell that message. Mitt Romney`s spokesman was on TV earlier in the
day agreeing with President Obama who says the mandate is a penalty.


that what we put in place in Massachusetts was a penalty and he disagrees
with the court`s ruling that the mandate was a tax. But again, --

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: So, he agrees with the president --
but he agrees with the president that it is not and he believes that you
shouldn`t call the tax penalty is tax. You should call it a penalty or a
fee or a fine?

FEHRNSTROM: That`s correct.


SHARPTON: Of course the Romney campaign has to say this. Because his
health care law in Massachusetts included the same kind of mandate
President Obama had in the affordable care act. So now Republicans are
trying to criticize the president and avoid criticizing Romney.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: If the Obama mandate is a tax on the middle
class, isn`t the Romney mandate a tax on the middle class?

MCCONNELL: Well, I think governor Romney will have to speak for
himself about what was done in Massachusetts.


SHARPTON: And Senator Marco Rubio even tried to say the mandate was
somehow OK when Romney did it, but not OK when the president did it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: This is a guy who supported an individual
mandate back in Massachusetts. Isn`t that going to be an issue?

RUBIO: But what a big difference? He supported it in a state level
which means that if he didn`t like it in Massachusetts, you could move to
another state.


SHARPTON: Now, the truth is President Obama`s policy is right for
America. And the GOP `s new talking point is very bad politics for Mitt

Joining me now is Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American
Progress and Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief of "the Huffington Post."

Thanks to both of you for being here.

having me.

with you.

SHARPTON: All right. Let me start with you, Neera.

Republicans have cooked up a new talking point on health care. But
the nominee is uniquely unqualified to run with it. Doesn`t this kind a
undercut their whole agenda?

TANDEN: You know, I think that for several years now we`ve seen that
the Republicans have a big problem when it comes to Mitt Romney. Mitt
Romney was the architect of the Massachusetts health care plan which was
the framework after which President Obama used to deliver health care to
the nation. It`s actually something Mitt Romney should be proud of. He`s
had to spend the last two years running from his record trying to act like
he`s in line with all these conservatives. And it`s been a failed

The first thing to happen on Thursday was Republicans wanted to use
the Supreme Court to attack the president, call it a tax. And you know,
the Democrats were able to argue soon afterwards if there was a tax, the
only person who`s implemented a tax so far is Mitt Romney. And that`s why
Fehrnstrom said what he said today.

SHARPTON: Now, Ryan, if you look at the fact that Mr. Romney in 2006
and 2008 really dealt with this issue himself in terms of being a penalty
tax. Let me show you what he said.


ROMNEY: For those that have higher incomes, we expect them to have
health insurance. If they don`t, we`ll withhold their tax refund or put in
place other penalties to assure that everybody comes in the system.


ROMNEY: If people can afford to buy it, either buy the insurance or
pay your own way. Don`t be free riders.


SHARPTON: So Ryan, the point is he himself embraced it, talking about
withholding tax refunds on me. How can he sell the talking point given his
own background and the videos I have shown that he took the opposite
decision to the new Republican Party talking point.

GRIM: When Rick Santorum said during the primary that Mitt Romney was
uniquely the worst Republican they could nominate to run this year, that`s
what he was referring to.

You know, Bobby Jindal famously slipped a couple days ago and
accidentally called it Obom-ney care.

GRIM: And so, you know, he keeps confronting this fundamental
problem. And here, you know, I kind a sympathize with Fehrnstrom because
you are sort of just parsing words. Is it a tax? Is it a penalty?

Well actually it`s a tax penalty. And you know, we`re quite familiar
with these types of things. If you sell stock in less than a year, then
there`s a slight capital gains penalty on that rather than keeping it
longer than a year. If you withdraw from your 401(k) you pay a penalty on

So, you know, in a lot of ways, taxes like these are penalties. If
this was the only way John Roberts could find himself in the same bench
with four liberals, then I guess that`s what we`ll go with.

SHARPTON: Now, let me move to another subject when I have you, Neera.

The right wing seems to have really gone over the weekend since the
vote after the Supreme Court justice John Roberts would have vengeance. I
mean, when you look at the excerpts from the chief Roberts` decision, look
at the a CBS News report. Let me show you this full screen.

Chief justice John Roberts initially sided with the Supreme Court for
conservative justices but later change his position and formed an alliance
with liberals to uphold the bulk of the law.

Now, is this part of the whole trying to defame the Supreme Court
justice for voting another way and try to act like there`s something going
on here? I mean, what is the point of this kind of report as well as the
attacks we`re seeing now on John Roberts from the right?

TANDEN: You know, I think this is really damaging on two levels.

First, you know, it is really outside the mainstream, extraordinary
for conservatives, justices or their clerks to be leaking internal
deliberations to a conservative media person. I mean, Jan Crawford has
very good relationship with a conservative. She wrote a book on Justice
Thomas. And now, she comes out with reports on where justices are trying
to malign chief justice Roberts.

I think this actually quite outrageous. And I`m very surprised. I
mean, if liberal judges started leaking out this information, there would
be held to pay on the conservative side. I actually think what is
happening here is conservative, justices or their clerks or the apparatus
they didn`t like the decision. And we`re willing to run out one of the
essential norms of the court which is that where there s discretion in this

To feline the chief justice Roberts, and I find it particularly
outrageous that someone has observed the court for several years.

SHARPTON: But Ryan, it seems that everything goes out the window.
There`s nothing sacred when it comes to their ideology whether it is the
core or the court or the chief justice himself, it`s like ideology rules.
There is nothing has to be respected or regarded if it`s in the way of the
ideological beliefs.

GRIM: Well, it`s fascinating to see the kind of GOP wing of the court
operating the exact same as the GOP wing in congress. And it hurt them
both times.

You know, if the Republicans hadn`t taken such a hard line against the
Obama from day one, (INAUDIBLE) probably never would have switch sides.
And then Democrats wouldn`t have had the 60 votes that they needed to get
heath care through before they resorted to reconciliation.

And here you have these four, you know, my way or the highway
Republicans in the Supreme Court who probably could have gotten Roberts to
throw out the mandate if they would have been willing to leave other parts
of the law in place.

But, it is clear that they were in transient on that, that they wanted
the entire law front to back. Just deleted. And so he couldn`t go that
far. So he opposed basically the entire law.

You know, it`s amazing to see these tragedies keep back firing on
them. They`re basically putting all of their eggs in the defeat Obama
basket this November. And if they don`t, you know, it`s hard to see much
success coming from this.

SHARPTON: Neera is this thing going to stand? You`re hearing rumbles
of other lawsuits, you are hearing the ramblings of the law suits, you are
hearing from governors in states. I mean, tell me your feeling on this, is
this going to stand as a law?

TANDEN: Let me say this. If Republican governors turn down the
Medicaid expansion, what they would be saying is even though it saves them
money because the federal government is providing them a lot of money to
cover this population more than they get now for the current population.

They`re going to get a 90 percent match. And if the year`s 100
percent match today. What these Republican governors would be saying is
because of my ideology, because I don`t like President Obama or I don`t
want to work with Democrats, I`m willing to make the people of my state
suffer. They`re not going to get health insurance because of my ideology.

I think that`s wrong. I think they will come in a few days to
recognize how that is a failed strategy. That their owned people will
reject it. Their surrounding states will get health care and they won`t
take it. I think you will see -- and I hope that people will finally put
partisanship aside and serve the interest of their people and the American
people and move forward with itself.

SHARPTON: Neera Tanden and in Ryan Grim. Thanks to both of you for
your time tonight.

GRIM: Thank you.

TANDEN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Republicans are still talking a big game about
appeal. But can they really do it? They`re banking on corporate cash.
But AFSCME president, Lee Saunders, has a few things to say about that.

Also the GOP attacks on broccoli have hit a dangerous new level.
What`s next, Asparagus?

Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Folks, the right wing has launched every possible attack on
President Obama`s health care law. They call it a government takeover.
They call it socialist. They even call it European. But when Republican
starts bushing tofu to make their points, that`s when I draw the line.

Last week, Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal said quote, "it really
raises the question, what`s next? Taxes on people who refuse to eat tofu
or refuse to drive a Chevy Volt? Tofu?

Governor Jindal, what`s wrong with tofu? It`s healthy. It`s
delicious. It`s an all American crop raised by soy farmers in the bread
basket of our nation. I`m outraged that Republicans are attacking this new
staple of the American farmer. But then again, the GOP has been
criticizing the produce section for awhile now.


decide that we`re going to tax you if you don`t eat broccoli on Tuesday.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Well, the Obama administration believes the federal
government can force Americans to purchase broccoli.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I love broccoli and eat a lot of it, but it`s not
the federal government`s business to mandate that I eat broccoli or anybody
else for that matter.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Can they make by two-year old and four-year-old eat
the broccoli?


SHARPTON: Republicans have some funny ideas about vegetables. Awhile
back, House Republicans led a fight to make sure pizza sauce could count as
a vegetable in school lunches. I guess for them, this meat lovers pizza
counts as a salad. Of course, no argument about the health care laws is
ridiculous. Republicans can`t argue about the merits of the law. So, they
just throw red meat to the base. And if the right can`t live with the law,
they`ve got this guy to deal with.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We might as well do it now.
Pull off the Band-Aid. Eat our peas.


SHARPTON: Good advice, Republicans. Do you think we wouldn`t supply
your daily recommended dose of reality? Nice try. But we got you.


SHARPTON: We`re back on POLITICS NATION with the right wing still
reeling from that historic Supreme Court decision. They`re vowing to get
rid of President Obama`s health care law starting next week. With a vote
scheduled on July 11th to repeal it.

Meanwhile, Tea Party groups are planning July fourth rallies and are
going back to the old playbook of seeking out members of Congress and
pressuring them to overturn the law. The GOP is worried this election
could be the last chance to defeat the law.

If President Obama wins re-election and Democrats keep their majority
in the Senate or even take over the House, game over. But the money
they`re pouring in will be unlike anything we`ve ever seen. They`ll do
anything they can to repeal it. But they`ll have to go through our next

Joining me now is Lee Saunders, the man who will stand up to the
Republicans` plan to block excess to health care insurance to more than 30
million Americans. Last month, he was elected the first African-American
president of the American Federation of State Country and Municipal
Employees. He also has a new book called the "Main Street Moment" released
in June.

Lee, thank you for being here. And congratulations.


SHARPTON: Let`s start with this. What are the chances the GOP can
repeal this law?

SAUNDERS: I think it`s zero. Enough is enough. I mean, the law was
passed by Congress. It was signed by the President. It was upheld by the
Supreme Court. It`s over. What we`ve got to start talking about now are
jobs, rebuilding our economy, supporting working families and supporting
the middle class all over this country. Those are the issues that folks
care about all over the country. And that`s what we`ve got to get back to.

SHARPTON: Now, when you hear the language of repeal and I hear you
saying, it`s over, but they still have the rhetoric. I just want the
people to understand in order for them to successfully repeal this law,
they`d have to win the White House, maintain control of the House of
Representatives and gain at least three Senate seats. Now, they`re going
to throw a lot of money. We`re going to see money unlike we`ve ever seen
before. But you`ve said as the new international president of AFSCME and
others, that you`ll going to be out there with strong ground game and
resources. They`re not going to have a pushover when it comes to a lot of
these Congressional in Senate seas, and the White House fight.

SAUNDERS: Well, we`ll never be able to match the amount of money
that`s going to be thrown into this race by the ultimate conservatives and
the right wing. But we would be able to match up well. As a matter of
fact, surpass their ability to organize in our communities. Organize our
union members, organize our progressive allies. Organize our base. And
that`s exactly what we`ve got to do. We`ve got to mobilize our folks,
organize our people and educate them about the importance of this election.

This election is a big deal. It means a lot to working families and
to the middle class across this country. And we`ve got to be involved like
never before. Not matching the dollars and we`ll raise some money and
we`ll spend some money. But making sure that our communities and our
members understand the importance of this election and get out the vote in
November. And that`s exactly what we`re going to do. We`re going to
mobilize our base and we`re going to get out the vote.

SHARPTON: Now, the importance of it, the cook political report Senate
map shows that Republicans could pick up those three seats. With three
more Senate seats, Republicans could use a procedural move to call
reconciliation to eliminate key parts of the law. So, every vote in these
critical state really counts.

SAUNDERS: Well, we`ve got to make sure Al that we keep the Senate and
we`ve got to work hard in those targeted areas to keep the Senate. We`ve
got to do everything possible to target those House racist, so we can
possibly flip the House. But just as important, we`ve got to re-elect
Barack Obama. He is standing up for working families. He stood up for the
middle class. He`s fighting like never before and we`ve got to stand
shoulder to shoulder with him and fight with him and make sure that he`s
re-elected in November.

SHARPTON: Because of the card rulings, we`re going to see money like
we never have seen before. Maybe $2 billion spent by them. And we have
the report out today how the President is saying that we need to raise
money. I need to raise money. The Daily Beast got an audio of President
Obama on Friday urging top donors to give more quote -- I`m quoting what he
said to them on this audio.

"I`m asking you to meet and exceed what you did in 2008 because we`re
going to have to deal with these Super PACs in a serious way. And if we
don`t, frankly I think the political scene is going to be changed
permanently. The special interests that are financing my opponent`s
campaign are going to consolidate themselves. They`re going to run
Congress and the White House." That`s a little scary, Mr. Saunders.

SAUNDERS: Yes, it is. We`ve got to ask our allies and our friends to
dig deep and into their pockets and provide the necessary resources, so
Barack Obama can win. But we`ve also got to do something else and not only
at the national state but at the state local government level, Al. We`ve
got to work like never before to make sure that we elect friendly and
worker family friendly legislatures, state legislators.

We`ve got to re-elect or elect governor who is are worker friendly.
In Michigan, we`ve got a huge fight which is coming up in November, where
we`re challenging the law passed that was passed by the Michigan
legislature and by the governor where they can actually displace.


SAUNDERS: Displace politicians, displace elected officials and put
dictators in to run government all over that state.

SHARPTON: Yes, the Americans --

SAUNDERS: We`re challenging that. We`re challenging that in Michigan
and we`re going to win that.

SHARPTON: All right. Lee Saunders, thank you for your time tonight.
And again, congratulations on winning the presidency of AFSCME.

SAUNDERS: Thank you very much, Al.

SHARPTON: Coming up, 48 years ago today, the civil rights act became
the law of the land. We`ve come a long way, but the fight continues today.

And some major legal questions developing in Tom Cruise`s divorce.
What role will scientology play? Is it valid in court? And what does it
mean for the 6-year-old daughter they have? We`ve got it all covered,


SHARPTON: I want to take a moment to thank BET for the honor and
privilege of receiving their humanitarian award at the BET Awards last
night. Receiving this award gave the opportunity to talk about the
struggles we`re fighting against today.


SHARPTON: We want to protect the vote. There`s all kinds of schemes,
voter ID to try and stop us from voting. I support a lot the President.
But whatever you do, vote. Because this election is not just about Obama.
This is about your momma.


And we better vote or they going to take all of that from us.


SHARPTON: It was a great night and I was proud to be part of it.
Thank you to BET for this honor.


SHARPTON: It`s a Hollywood breakup story that raises serious legal
questions. After five and a half years of marriage, Tom Cruise and Katie
Holmes are divorcing. A source told E Entertainment, Katie was having
problems with his commitment to scientology. Katie is asking for sole
custody of their 6-year-old daughter Suri. And the role religion may play
might impact the outcome.

A New York paper headline reads "Kat Trap: Katie New York prisoner of
Tom`s Scientology." And another reads, "Creep Show." Scientology spy crew
telling Katie`s every move. But the Church of Scientology responded quote,
saying quote, "There is no truth whatsoever to reports that the Church of
Scientology has sent anyone to follow or surveil Katie Holmes."

Those stories are fueling speculations and questions. What`s fair?
And what role will religion play in the custody of their child?

Joining me to help answer those questions, Catherine Crier, a former
judge, prosecutor, journalist, and author of "Patriot Acts: What Americans
Must Do to Save the Republic." And in Los Angeles, Lisa Bloom, legal
analyst and She`s a legal analyst for She`s also author
of "Swagger: Ten Urgent Rules for Raising Boys in an Era of Failing
Schools." Thank you for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Catherine, let me start with you. Legally, legally, what
role might religion play in this divorce?

CRIER: Well, religion is interesting. Because you wouldn`t expect it
to play much of a role except when a judge has to decide what is in the
best interest of the child. And this is when a lot of the -- you know, the
story about Scientology would come into play. Because if Suri was expected
to go off to this sort of bizarre boot camp, the Sea Organization Boot
Camp, or to get indoctrinated, the judge should, has a duty to determine
whether or not that would have some role. The issue here --

SHARPTON: But does that infringe our freedom of religion? I mean,
because I know a lot of denominations, a lot of groups that people could
consider to be wrong or considered to be something or not within the
mainstream but they have the right to practice that religion.

CRIER: But again, if you break it down and say this isn`t a question
of faith. And the IRS only made a legal ruling about Scientology as a
religion in 1993. This is no long standing, you know, L. Ron Hubbard said
it was a strategic business decision in the `50s. We don`t need to have to
go there.


CRIER: But as the judge says, all right, what is in the best interest
of the child? What is the environment? What would she be expected to do
if it was a joint custody situation where she was spending a lot of time
with Tom and this particular organization? So, forget whether it was a
religion. Maybe he was wanting to take her to a summer camp but it`s a
summer camp that has her parachuting out of airplanes at age seven. The
judge should say, is this an appropriate safe environment, is it in the
best interest of the child?

So, we can talk about it under the premature of religion. But in
fact, the judge isn`t going to say, well, is this religion good or bad but
is the environment in the best interest for the child?

SHARPTON: It`s going to be interesting the way they can deal with it.
Because look at this, Lisa Bloom. Rupert Murdoch tweeted about this
yesterday. His tweet says, watch Katie Holmes and Scientology story
develop. Something creepy maybe even evil about these people. I know you
probably a tweeter follower group at Murdoch but I mean, creepy and maybe
even evil about these people. So, how did these proceedings Lisa go
forward without it looking like the judges in some way judging whether or
not Scientologists are evil people?

BLOOM: Well, I don`t follow Rupert Murdoch on twitter. He might want
to follow me because I have some pretty good tweet from time to time. But
Catherine is absolutely right. What the judge has to do here is hold two
kind of competing ideologists in his or her head at the same time. One is,
we`re Americans, we don`t take sides on religion. You can practice
whatever religion you want and we`re not going to tell you, your child
should be raise in one religion or another. OK? That would be un-

On the other hand, we always want to look out for the best interest of
the child, and the family -- court judges role is to make sure that a child
is not being abused or neglected. And so, if the religion crosses that
line, if the child is not being properly clothed or feed or educated. If
the child is in unsafe environment, then the judges going to step in and
religion is not going to be a shield for that kind of behavior.

SHARPTON: Now, but Catherine, suppose something that is the practice
of that religion, it could be argued though to be borderline dangerous.
But it is a practice of that religion. Isn`t that a hard thing for a judge
to have to try and come between?

CRIER: Well, that`s when you come down to the sole versus joint
custody. And, you know, we hear that`s why he wants to get it to L.A. and
she California.

SHARPTON: Yes. She wants to do New York.

CRIER: Yes. But -- I mean.

SHARPTON: Because she had a better opportunity here of being the sole

CRIER: Well, but unless they agree on joint custody even out in
California, Lisa`s got California down, not me. But it`s my understanding
unless they agree while they is sort of a presumption, then if they`re
disputing this, particularly it`s contentious as the whole Scientology
issue is. I would be very surprised if a court gave legal or physical
custody to a joint relationship. Because it is inviting dispute between
these two.

This is an issue in which there is no agreement. So the court would
be inviting trouble to give joint custody. And I would expect in this
situation and no one could really challenge the decision if a judge says,
all right Katie, this is a seven-year-old. You`re going to run the show,
six, seven-year-old. In which case, she`s going to have those decisions
about religion. Now, in visitation unless it`s dangerous, the judge
wouldn`t stop Tom from taking her to a Scientology event.

SHARPTON: Lisa, you`re in California. What do you have to say about
that? And let me raise the same question to you about the judge in
religion. Where is the line drawn? I grew up in Pentecostal, we went to
church five days a week.


SHARPTON: Someone could have argued, that was too much for a child
and that was over the top. I mean, where do you draw the line?

BLOOM: Well, you have the right to raise your child Pentecostal or
Jewish or Scientologist, or anything else in this country. Take them to
church everyday if you want as long as it does not harm the child. As long
as it`s not mental, physical, or sexual abuse of the child. And so, the
judge is going to look at all of the factors and making that kind of a

Now, I am licensed to practice law and I do practice law here in
California and also in New York. And I think Katie Holmes was very smart
in trying to file in New York. If she can establish residency there
because she`s more likely to get sole custody there but, let`s not care
itself because sole custody means she would physically have Suri most of
the time. But Tom Cruise would of course still have liberal visitation.
Every judge in the country wants a father to have a lot of continuing
contact with the child, unless he`s abusive or neglectful and there`s
nothing here to suggest that.

CRIER: But with sole custody, wherever she is, and I wouldn`t be
surprised if she didn`t get it in California. He could necessarily ship
her off to some camp or do the kinds of things that he might if he had
legal joint custody. Not just physical joint custody. But legal joint
custody where he has more of a role in those decisions. He might be able
to do more of that. I would be very surprised even in California if he
ended up with joint custody.

BLOOM: Of course, the big question was, you know, Tom Cruise has been
a Scientologist for many years.

SHARPTON: Yes, that`s true.

BLOOM: She knew that when she married him.

SHARPTON: She knew that when she married him.

BLOOM: What have happened in the last few years that has changed her
views on that?

CRIER: She got through the five year data list, so you and I both.

SHARPTON: That`s it for now. We don`t deal with gossip on this show.
We deal with the politics of the gospel. Catherine Crier.

CRIER: Thank you, Al.

SHARPTON: .and Lisa Bloom, thank you both for your time tonight.

BLOOM: Thanks Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Ahead, 48 years ago today, the civil rights act forever
changed the country. The dream and the fight for that dream lives on.
That`s next.



American to join in this effort to bring justice and hope to all our people
and to bring peace to our land.


SHARPTON: That was President Lyndon Johnson 48 years ago today, right
before he signed the landmark civil rights act of 1964 into law. It
outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or
national origin. It desegregated schools and businesses and helped protect
the right to vote. But it wasn`t an easy road. The bill passed only after
southern Democrats launched a 57-day filibuster on the Senate floor to
prevent its passage.

The bill reaffirmed the American belief in equality for all. But 48
years later, the fight for these rights continues. Just today the Justice
Department shot down South Carolina voter ID law for the second time
saying, the law would make it harder for tens of thousands of minorities to
vote. But last week, House Republicans voted to hold Attorney General Eric
Holder in contempt in part because they objected to his protecting voting


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: You won`t corporate with the legitimate
Congressional investigation and you won`t hold anyone including yourself
accountable. Your department blocked states from implementing attempts to
combat voter fraud. You leave me no alternative but to join those that
call upon you to resign your office.


SHARPTON: It is easy to get discouraged when you see things like the
Attorney General being held in contempt. Many of us feel unfair when you
see the continued fights around voter ID state to state. But then I
remember days like this, 48 years ago. A southern president from Texas
signed a civil rights act that makes me know good can come if we don`t
surrender to bad.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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