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'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Sunday, June 23d, 2013

Read the transcript to the Sunday show

June 23, 2013
Guests: Christina Bellantoni, Raul Reyes, Hakeem Jeffries, Robert Costa,
Theodore Shaw, Ana Marie Cox, Garance Franke-Ruta, Chris Geidner

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: A breakthrough in the Senate for immigration
reform puts John Boehner in the hot seat.

We like to say that members of Congress who devote their consciences but if
you want real immigration reform to pass Congress this year, that`s a
cliche you might want to abandon. There are still a ton of obstacles
between where we stand now and a signing ceremony at the White House, but
the path cleared in a big way this week, leaving one very basic question
looming above the rest. What do Republicans in the House secretly want?
I`ll explain that more in a minute. But first, the big breakthrough in the
Senate this week. It came on Thursday when two Republicans, Tennessee`s
Bob Corker and North Dakota`s John Hoeven announced they had struck a deal
on an amendment dealing with border security.


SEN. JOE HOEVEN, (R) NORTH DAKOTA: We must do more to secure the border in
this legislation. That`s exactly what we`re offering here today. It is a
very straightforward way to secure our border and to do so before allowing
a pathway to legal permanent residency for those who came here illegally.


KORNACKI: OK. Let`s be clear. What Hoeven and Corker are proposing, is
in the words of one immigration reform advocate, excessive and wasteful.
It would double the number of border agents to 40,000 at a cost of $30
billion. That mean one agent for every 1,000 feet of the border. But it
would also add 700 miles of new fencing. It would mandate that the
Department of Homeland Security follow specific instructions from Congress
on exactly how to go about securing the border and it would require that
all of this happen before any of the 11 million undocumented immigrants now
in the country start on a path to citizenship. But it`s still a big

Why? Because it helped kill off a different border security amendment. A
poison pill amendment that was offered by Texas Republican John Cornyn,
Cornyn`s plan would have required DHS to certify an apprehension rate of 90
percent of all the illegal border crossings before a path to citizenship
was triggered. In other words, under Cornyn`s plan if a future
administration, say a future Republican administration, decided it`s not
crazy about adding a few million new citizens, it would have been able to
say, sorry, we`re not meeting the apprehension threshold, no path to
citizenship. And that would be that. T

hat`s why Democrats called Cornyn`s amendment a poison pill and on
Thursday, that poison pill it was rejected by the Senate in a 54 to 43
vote. And that rejection was made possible in part because of the border
security plan that Corker and Hoeven came up with. That excessive, over
the top, wasteful border security plan. It`s important because it gives
Republican senators who actually want real reform, but who also feel
pressure from their base to show that they`re tough on border security, it
gives them a way to support the overall bill even without Cornyn`s poison
pill amendment.

And that`s what we`re seeing. Two more Republican senators, Nevada`s Dean
Heller and Illinois` Mark Kirk announced their support for reform on
Thursday, and more, perhaps many more, could soon follow.


SEN. BOB CORKER (R ), TENNESSEE: If this amendment passes, which I hope
that it will, I don`t know how anybody could argue that the reason they`re
not supporting this legislation is because we haven`t addressed securing
the border. We have addressed that. We`ve addressed that in spades in
this legislation.


KORNACKI: Again, there are still a lot of hurdles. But the upshot of what
happened in the Senate this week is this. The dream of immigration reform
supporters getting a bill through the Senate with a big bipartisan
majority, like 70 votes or more, that dream is very much alive. And that
brings us back to John Boehner`s House of Representatives because the whole
idea of getting a huge bipartisan majority in the Senate is to isolate the
Republican House. To create so much pressure that Boehner and Republican
leaders there decide to put the bill on the floor for a vote.

Even though most Republicans will vote against it. If Boehner does that,
the bill would then probably pass mainly on the strength of Democratic
votes. But that would also mean violating the so-called Hastert Rule, the
idea that the Republican speaker can`t put anything on the floor unless a
majority of all Republicans in the House support it. Boehner this week
seemed to promise Republicans that he would follow the Hastert Rule on


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: I don`t see any way of bringing
the immigration bill to the floor that doesn`t have the majority support of


KORNACKI: But this is where things get really tricky. We already know
that most House Republicans won`t vote for a bill with a path to
citizenship. Their base thinks it`s amnesty, and many of them do, too.
And even those who don`t think it`s amnesty don`t want to anger that base
and lose in the primary next year. But how many of them also think that
it`s in the best interest of their party; that it`s in the vital interest
of the future of their party to get the issue of immigration addressed and
off the table? How many of them secretly want a real reform bill to come
to the floor and to pass even if they`ll speak out against it and vote
against it on the floor?

If most House Republicans deep down inside want the Senate bill to pass the
House, even if they can`t vote for it personally, then would Boehner really
be violating the Hastert Rule if he put it up for a vote? In a way, this
is a really depressing commentary on how Washington works or doesn`t work
right now. But it`s also the best hope for immigration reform at this
moment, and that hope is more alive now than it was a week ago.

We want to bring in Robert Costa, Washington editor of "The National
Review" magazine, Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York,
Christina Bellantoni, politics editor for the PBS Newshour, and Raul Reyes,
contributor to NBC Latino and an attorney. So, I want to talk about the
house a little bit more in a minute, and we have a member of the House, the
perfect person to do it with.

But I want to start on the Senate side this week. And Christina, I`m
curious what you make of - we talked about the Hoeven and Corker agreement.
It looks like that`s now going to get rolled into a bigger amendment that
Pat Leahy, Democrat from Vermont, is offering and that`s going to get a
vote this coming Monday in the Senate. And this vote basically could tell
us, you know, is that big bipartisan majority we`re talking about, is it
going to be there?

CHRISTINA BELLANTONI, PBS. NEWSHOUR: And it looks like it will be there.
And that`s where the Gang of Eight worked very hard to make sure that they
can get people in both parties on board for this, and to put that number of
- the number of people that are going to vote for final passage will be
very similar to what this amendment is. And the higher that number is, the
more pressure you`re putting, again, on the House side.

KORNACKI: Do you have a sense what that number, you know, could be? I
mean 70 is what we`ve always been using?

BELLANTONI: I mean (inaudible). Actually, I was talking to somebody
yesterday who said well, it could be as high as 80. I think that that`s
unlikely. I think that you`ll probably going to see upper 60s at this
point. A lot of Republicans aren`t necessarily going to come out and
announce their support like Senator Heller and like Senator Kirk, they`ll
just vote for it in the end. But the big question here is the cost because
that gives the conservative Republicans that are already against what they
are calling amnesty a big window out. And we just can`t spend this much
money given our fiscal crisis.

KORNACKI: So that`s interesting. It goes from border security being sort
of the big demand on the right and now maybe they could be talking about
cost, which I think $30 billion. You know, Robert, I mean you cover this -
you`re talking to Republicans on Capitol Hill all the time. What are you
hearing from Republicans on the Senate side about this?

ROBERT COSTA, NATIONAL REVIEW: That`s a great question. And as much as
the Gang of Eight has made a lot of advances in reaching out to the
conservatives in the Senate and trying to woo those who are skeptical about
the bill with border security, at the end of the day, even as they make
those advances and they win some of those votes, they still have a
resistance with - among some (inaudible) conservatives and House
Republicans that this bill in its entirety represents amnesty, as you said
in the opener. And because of that fact, because they reject path to
legalization, even if it comes over with 70 votes to the House, I still am
skeptical as someone who covers the House Republicans they`re going to feel
pressure. That`s been this narrative that`s been building.

But the pressure is really not there. The pressure really is on John
Boehner, does he allow an open vote; does he tinker with the Hastert Rule,
as you say? That is a process question, but it`s an important one, because
as much as there`s some momentum now in the House, there`s still a lot of
resistance and John Boehner has to make key decisions as this thing moves

KORNACKI: And the fight from Republicans in the Senate still, you know,
very much alive, at least from some Republicans. I want to play, this was
Jeff Sessions from Alabama on the floor after this Corker/Hoeven deal was
announced. This is what he had to say.


SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, (R ) ALABAMA: They said they didn`t believe in a
fence. They said -- senators said it was stupid to have a fence. And now
all of a sudden we got 700 miles of fence. They said Senator Cornyn, he
was overreaching, he wanted 5,000 new border agents. Now the bill gets in
trouble. They come in with 20,000 border agents. I think there was a
political response to a failing piece of legislation, a dramatic, desperate
attempt to pass a dramatic piece of amendment so they can say, it does
everything you want and more.


KORNACKI: So, Jeff Sessions was, you know, six - seven years ago the last
time immigration, you know, came to the Senate, came to Capitol Hill, Jeff
Sessions was arguing as vociferously against it. Raul, do you think things
feel different right now than they did the last time immigration came up
and failed?

RAUL REYES, NBC LATINO CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I do think the calculus this time
around is different because this time we have certain groups supporting
immigration reform that were not on board the last time, such as the
evangelical movement, labor leaders, the high-tech sector. All - they were
not as on board back then as they are now. And also, there is definitely
more pressure momentum to keep it going. But I will say one of the things
that Jeff Sessions is half correct in some of this, what he`s saying here
is that this compromise, it is totally driven by politics because if you
look at it just in terms of the policy, it`s not a good policy. It`s -
we`re practically militarizing the border.

You know, it`s very safe already. We`re putting a tremendous amount of
money and resources there. A tremendous -- there`s the potential for a
great deal of government overreach to all the people who live along that
area. And those things, you know, the cost, the government overreach, the
money we`re spending, those are generally things that conservatives are
against. And yet that`s what is necessary, in this case to get on board,
so it`s purely driven by the political necessity.

KORNACKI: Hakeem, what do you make of this, because this was the sort of
the compromise. You know, Chuck Schumer is sort of leading the charge for
Democrats in the Senate on this, and he has said publicly he wants 70
votes, he wants as many votes as possible. And so he was -- and other
Democrats were eager or happy to go along with this deal, this border surge
they`re calling it, a $30 billion border surge because the key thing that
it didn`t do was tie that apprehension rate of illegal border crossings to
the path to citizenship. As long as that, you know, Cornyn language isn`t
in there, they`re OK with even if it`s wasteful, even if it`s excessive,
they`re OK with putting in there, in the name of getting more Republican
votes and making this more palatable to the House. What do you make of
that calculation?

REP. HAKEEN JEFFRIES, (D) NEW YORK: Well, I think if this is going to
happen during the 113th Congress, it is going to have to pass the Senate
with a very robust, bipartisan level of support, which means you`re going
to have to have every single Democrat supporting it and a substantial
number of Republican senators. They laid out essentially three concerns
that could be an obstacle toward passage.

First, we`ve got border security. It appears that as a result of this
amendment, which is a very strong amendment in the context of what is the
reality of the border being pretty secure, and the debate on this issue has
advanced significantly over the last several years. If you look at 2005,
for instance, on the border security issue, there were a few different
benchmarks that were put forth at that point. It was said that we need
20,000 customs and border patrol agents. Right now we`ve got 21,400. This
would give us 40,000. It was said that if you were going to deal with the
fence issue, it was most important to have about 652 miles in the first
phase. We`ve got 651 at this point. It was said back then that you need
about 105 video surveillance assets, radar, cameras things, electronically
along the border to provide security. We`ve got over 250 at this point.

So, the border security question in many ways is a moving target because
we`ve already exceeded the objectives that were put into place the last
time we confronted comprehensive immigration reform and now the goalpost is
being moved even further but it is a political necessity in order to get a
robust vote coming out of the United States Senate.

KORNACKI: I also (inaudible) is talking about, you can`t get stimulus
through Congress anymore. Hiring 20,000 new people.


KORNACKI: Maybe that`s stimulus. We`re going to continue this discussion
in a second. First, though, I do want to have an update on Edward Snowden,
that`s the former NSA contractor who`s taking credit for leaking
information about the agency`s secret surveillance programs. The
government of Hong Kong announced overnight that Snowden has left the city.
And according to reports, he left on a flight to Moscow and may travel to
another destination, though that has not been confirmed yet by NBC News.
Snowden is wanted in the U.S. on three criminal counts. And in the
statement from Wikileaks just in the past ten minutes, the anti-secrecy
group said Snowden is seeking asylum in an unnamed country. We`ll pick up
our discussion on immigration after this.


KORNACKI: So, I want to get into the prospects of immigration reform in
the House, if as we`re saying in the first block there, the Senate bill
with this new border security language does get through the Senate, then
the question is, does it have a chance in the House and what is the House
going to do? And the big issue there being will John Boehner actually put
this on the floor and allow a vote on it, even if most Republicans are
going to vote against it.

Dana Rohrabacher, who is a long-time conservative congressman from
California, I think - when he first ran in 1988, he was one of the few
Republicans who asked Oliver North to come campaign for him, this was right
after Iran Contra. That`s a little bit where Dana Rohrabacher is coming
from anyway. He was asked about that prospect of Boehner putting the
Senate bill on the floor this week. This is what he had to say on a
Worldnetdaily radio.


REP. DANA ROHRABACHER: If Speaker Boehner moves forward and permits this
to come to a vote, even though the majority of Republicans in the House,
and that`s if they do, oppose whatever it is that`s coming to a vote, he
should be removed as speaker.


KORNACKI: And then Speaker Boehner was asked about that comment or threat,
whatever you to want call it and this was how he replied.


LUKE RUSSERT: Representative Rohrabacher said that if you bring
immigration reform to the floor, that was (inaudible) you will lose your
job. Do you think that`s accurate?




KORNACKI: I guess he handled that one pretty well.


KORNACKI: But again, Robert, I mean you know the House, I`m trying to
figure out sort of the psychology of Boehner and the psychology of the
House. How do you think they look at the Senate bill right now?

COSTA: We`re going to look at the big picture. And that wit right there
from John Boehner really reflects where he is right now with his
conference. Back in January `12 Republicans defected on their speaker vote
on the House floor, and never since then he`s really struggled to corral
his conference with his initiatives. I think John Boehner right now with
his wait and see approach on immigration is really trying to let his
conference move forward, let the Dana Rohrabachers of the House GOP speak
up, Bob Goodlatte, Judiciary Committee work through the bill, it should
have come over from the Senate, but you don`t see Boehner being publicly
opposed to immigration reform or working against it.

Rather he`s just being cagey about how he says he is going to move forward.
And I think that`s an important distinction because John Boehner, Cantor,
Kevin McCarthy, you don`t hear them out there, really railing against this
bill, rather they are just being cautious knowing how fragile the House
Republican conference is, that they need to be careful about, if they want
this to pass, how they move ahead.

KORNACKI: Well, it looks like, you know, we talk about will they just vote
in the Senate, though. The Republicans officially are talking about having
their own bill coming out of the House. And you`ve got Goodlatte, he is
the chairman of the judiciary committee that has (inaudible) a piecemeal
approach. But I think the key to that, Christina, is, anything that the
Republicans sort of propose in the House side, is not going to have the
path to citizenship in it.

BELLANTONI: That`s right. And so, officially how Congress makes a law,
right, is that maybe the House passes something, and the Senate passes
something, they come together and they work out their differences. Well,
it doesn`t always work all that smoothly. And how do you come to an
agreement or some sort of compromise in what was known as a conference
report, if they`re so dramatically different. So, the thing I`m really
watching for is this group of bipartisan lawmakers in the House that had
been working for years on a comprehensive immigration reform plan.

You know, this deal that fell apart both in 2006 and 2007, a lot of people
have really wanted to see something happen. And they`ve got the advocacy
community on their side. I`ve talked to a lot of different people over the
last few days who are saying, this Senate bill isn`t perfect. And they
don`t love all the border enforcement, that, you know, for the reasons that
Raul is talking about, but they`re willing to let it happen because they
want to just see something. So, if that bipartisan group can come to the
table and start to compromise, you might actually start to see some

And then, with all this talk about pressure and whether it`s on Boehner or
on the rest of the House Republican caucus who mostly are in safe seats,
right, they`re not having to worry necessarily about the Latino votes in
their own district, you know what else alleviates pressure is time. And
there is nothing that says John Boehner has to put a bill on the floor any
point soon. The Senate could pass this as early as Thursday next week.
But the House does not have to put a bill forward. We could be talking
about the fall before we actually see something. I don`t know that that`s
going to happen but the more time you get away from the 2012 election and
the more time you get away from the Senate vote, it helps the House
Republicans who don`t want to vote for it.

REYES: But speaking to the time factor, the closer we get to the midterms
that`s also something that in the House that they`re going to be thinking
about, whether or not -- how their vote may be used against them. And I
think one thing that we also have to keep in mind when we`re looking at the
House of Representatives when we talk about the pressure that they`ll feel,
say, with some momentum coming out of the Senate, that`s looking at it from
a very traditional sense. And this is not, as you mention, this is not a
traditional House of Representatives.

There`s that certain caucus, they will not feel that pressure at all. They
are anti-establishment. They are -- they`re not necessarily inclined to
compromise. They are not -- they certainly don`t want to be corralled or
wrangled by their speaker. And what they`re very passionate about is
opposing the path to citizenship, what they call amnesty. So, they`re a
wild card. Because they, as we`re seeing with the speaker so far, they`re
not a group that`s going to be managed or pushed into a certain slot.
That`s not how they -- that`s a new - that`s a new factor.

KORNACKI: And the other issue, we say as 2014 approaches and you look at
their incentives, if they feel pressure, to me when I look at the
Republicans in the House, they said that the electoral pressure they`ll
feel in 2014, most House Republicans is the primary. I don`t want to lose
the primary. I`m not running a district with a heavy Latino population.
I`m running in a, you know, a fairly white conservative district. And
that`s where I`m worried about being, you know, the amnesty congressman.
But I want to bring Hakeem in because I want to ask about this idea of
bipartisanship in the House and whether he senses any of that is brewing.
We`ll talk about it after this.


KORNACKI: So, we have Congressman Hakeem Jeffries here. I want to ask
you. Are you having conversations, you know, are you having or are you
witnessing across the aisle bipartisan conversations, with your colleagues
in the House, do you have a sense of Republicans who are sort of telling
you, hey, this is our dilemma on this, I want to vote for this but? Do you
have a read on them at all just for being down there?

JEFFRIES: Well, there are two things that are going on in the House of
Representatives right now. John Boehner is allowing the judiciary
committee and the chairman Goodlatte to work its will, take a piecemeal
approach toward immigration reform. We worked on two bills in the previous
week, one of them related to agricultural workers, the other related to
interior and border security. Both bills that many immigration advocates
and Democrats wouldn`t find tenable, but it is at least a step toward
immigration reform through the context of regular order in the judiciary
committee process. Next week I`m told we`re going to confront two
additional piecemeal bills.

One will be on e-verification system that would require employers to verify
immigration status of individual workers before they`re hired. And the
other on stem workers to deal with the absence of high-tech employment
opportunities or the need to fill those opportunities possibly with highly
skilled immigrants. But then you also have a parallel phenomenon as taking
place where you had the Senate Gang of Eight. We originally had the House
gang of eight, four Democrats, four Republicans, working on a comprehensive
immigration reform bill. That in all likelihood would include a pathway
toward citizenship. That House gang of eight has now become the
magnificent seven, apparently, because Congressman Raul Labrador has
dropped out as it relates to a dispute on health care access for
individuals on that pathway.

But that said, we`re expecting to see a pretty tough, but fair bill
unveiled within the next few days by the magnificent seven. And so, that
will set up a very interesting dynamic. If you couple that with the fact
that if we get a strong bipartisan vote out of the Senate, the American
people clearly support comprehensive immigration reform. The president
still has a great deal of popularity and the bully pulpit to push this
issue. There will be significant pressure on the House of Representatives
to do something meaningful, perhaps with (ph) the minority of the majority
of the Republican conference, and that ultimately will be Speaker john
Boehner`s dilemma.

KORNACKI: Well, and that`s what I kind of wonder about. Because I look at
the farm bill, you know, debacle you can call in the House floor on
Thursday where this thing failed when nobody thought it was going to fail.
And you look at the cuts that were in that - in that farm bill. We talked
about this a little bit yesterday. But the $20 billion of cuts in food
stamps which drove - you know, it drove the left crazy to see this. It was
a huge concession in the eyes of left, to the Republicans and the
Conservatives, and yet you had five dozen Republican members reject a
personal plea from John Boehner to vote for this because they still didn`t
think it was conservative enough. So I hear you talk about like the
magnificent seven, I like that phrase .


KORNACKI: . but if the magnificent seven comes up with a proposal that
includes a pathway to citizenship, I could see how that gets sold to
Republicans on the Senate side. I think we`re watching that happen. But I
look at what happened on Thursday in the House, and I say, could you ever
sell meaningful numbers of Republicans on this, or would you be facing a

JEFFRIES: Well, it was phenomenal, actually, to watch what took place on
Thursday. I, of course, voted against the farm bill because of the $20
billion cut, but you had as you pointed out more than 60 Republicans
largely vote against it because $20 billion wasn`t sufficient enough. It
wasn`t extreme enough. So, that does speak to the dynamics in the House.
But what`s important to note is that on three different occasions during
this calendar year, John Boehner has brought meaningful legislation to the
floor, on the fiscal cliff agreement, then the Superstorm Sandy aid relief
package and then the morrow bust violence against women`s act that included
protections for immigrant community, LGBT community, and the Native
American community that passed with only a fraction of Republicans
supporting it.

And so, the question is does this fall into that pattern of legislative
activity where, for the fourth time, John Boehner can find the will and the
ability to bring a bill to the floor that it`s in the interest of the
Republican Party to pass even though a majority of the House conference .

KORNACKI: And this is where that whole idea of a secrecy, like what do
they secretly want comes into as I was talking about? I feel like those
passed, because Republicans at a certain level said, for our party we need
to do, you know, we need to get the fiscal cliff thing resolved, we need to
do Sandy aid, but I in my overwhelmingly Republican district, where I have
to worry about a Republican challenger, cannot vote for it but let`s do it.
So, maybe it wasn`t a violation of the Hastert Rule in that sense? But you
know, Robert, what - I mean - what do you think would happen if Boehner
puts something like the Senate bill, something with a path to citizenship
if he put that on the floor of the House? What do you think would happen
to him?

COSTA: I think Boehner would be perhaps in political trouble. What he is
trying to do now is playing a chess game with the Senate. He`s trying to
get to a point where if the House immigration group that the congressman
mentioned comes up with its own legislation, and it has a path to
legalization, but also has a border security, his play maybe to pass
something like that in the House, maybe hope for a conference committee to
meld with the Senate bill, maybe it gets - maybe it favors the House
conservatives more than the Senate legislation, but if that doesn`t happen,
let`s see he does bring the Senate Gang of Eight bill to the floor, he is
thinking perhaps about retirement in the next few years and he says, this
may be part of my legacy. I take the risk.

And even if the Steve Kings and Dana Rohrabachers go on talk radio, and say
they are going to usurp me as speaker, I have to take the political risk
for the national party. And that`s going to alienate a lot of his base and
may even have the speakership at risk. I don`t see him being really
challenged, though, because of Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, or Paul Ryan, I
don`t see them willing to challenge Boehner for the gavel over this issue.

KORNACKI: And Raul, (inaudible) right after this.


KORNACKI: All right, Raul, you wanted to say?

REYES: I`m picking up on Robert`s point, I think he made a great point
that Speaker Boehner is very much concerned with his legacy. And this
might be the moment, where even to go so far that he might be willing to
make a tradeoff between his legacy, doing something -- part of something
historic, tremendous, certainly something that his immigration reform that
his party needs to attract Hispanic voters. Meanwhile, putting his
speakership at risk. And I think, you know, everyone`s criticizing him and
trying to second guess what he`s doing. I think so far, just from the
purely strategic political standpoint, I think he`s playing his cards well.

He`s not giving away too much. He`s trying to hang onto the leverage that
he has. And even though he takes a lot of criticism for not being able to
control his House, if someone else were speaker, I don`t think it would be
any different. That`s the group he has. So I think he might be leaning
towards a legacy. Something on the side of legacy.

KORNACKI: The bigger picture.

BELLANTONI: It`s so interesting to take a look at Nancy Pelosi, too,
right? Like does she want to help him or does she want to sit back and
say, good luck with that.

REYES: You own it.

BELLANTONI: So when you talk about legacies, I mean she`s probably much
more likely to retire than he is in the next few years, and so what does
she want to do to sort of bring this along? Could this be her final grand

KORNACKI: Well, she seemed to say right after the farm bill failed, and
she gave an interview to "The Washington Post" where she basically said,
hey, you`ve got to work with us now. You know, John Boehner, if you want
to have anything done, you`ve got to work with us.

JEFFRIES: Hey, and leader Pelosi has made clear that comprehensive
immigration reform is a higher priority. And the Democratic conference
will stand unified, but ready to work cooperatively with the Republicans to
get something done for the good of the country. This is clearly an issue
that needs to be addressed. The American people have demanded it. The
Senate is working its bipartisan will. It will land in the House of
Representatives and hopefully we can make some progress in the fall or at
some point short of the midterm elections. And the electoral dynamic is
such that while there are House Republicans who will be concerned about a
primary and, therefore, may not support a bill that has a pathway toward
citizenship, overall there are about 65 Republican-held seats that are
competitive elections where immigration reform could make a difference.
And so, there is an institutional interest, I believe, in getting something

KORNACKI: And there was a somewhat surprising endorsement of immigration
reform and the path to citizenship this week. Let`s play that right now.


BILL O`REILLY, FOX ANCHOR: The Republican Party has a lot to lose here.
If it doesn`t compromise, many Hispanic voters will reject the GOP
entirely, pretty much doing the party in the future. That`s reality. It
is time for the USA to pass immigration reform. For years I`ve called for
a more secure southern border. You know that. And now it looks like the
secure border is in reach. At least somewhat. So I hope this bill does
become law.


KORNACKI: You know, what strikes me about that is Paul Kahne who covers
Congress in "Washington Post" had a really good story this weekend and he
talked about how the average sort of conservative Republican member of
Congress doesn`t feel any pressure to answer to leadership. They answer to
external voices. External voices like Bill O`Reilly, like Sean Hannity,
that the conservative masses listen to them. And so, that seems to me
maybe a big difference between now and 2007. Hannity endorsed immigration
reform the day of the election, now we have Bill O`Reilly. The two top Fox

BELLANTONI: And Senator Marco Rubio, a member of that Gang of Eight,
Florida Republican, has been very critical on this. He`s done a very
strategic outreach to conservative talk radio, conservative television to
sell this plan. And every time there`s any critique of it, he goes back
and rebuts it. And so, if that ends up happening, where you have that sort
of grassroots support for it, from the conservative side, he has a lot to
do with that.

KORNACKI: Robert, I`m just curious, how many left - and has Rubio hurt
himself? I know this has been a very delicate act for him where he goes on
a talk radio, but ultimately he is supporting some of it, part of the base
thinks is amnesty. Has he hurt himself looking ahead in the national
Republican Party?

COSTA: It`s a complicated question. Because to be a national leader, it`s
in historical terms you also need to take political risk. And so, Rubio
comes in as a Tea Party senator in 2010 and with this bill, he`s taking
political risks. He got landed on the cover of "Time" magazine. People
respected him as someone who is wanting to do something against grain. But
at the same time, if he has to go to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina
in 2015 and 2016 running for president and they still think this is
amnesty, he has damaged himself, if you look at this purely through the
prism of primary politics.

KORNACKI: And if he ever wins a primary, this will probably help him in
the general election. That basic dynamic. Again, anyway, I want to thank
Christina Bellantoni of PBS Newshour, NBC Latino contributor Raul Reyes. A
Republican Senate seat just might turn into a pickup opportunity for
Democrats - that`s next.


KORNACKI: You probably know that next year`s midterm election aren`t
supposed to go that well for Democrats. We`ve talked about why before on
this show. There`s a new turnout pattern that`s emerged in the last decade
or so. That`s where you have Republican voters who are older, whiter
voters, generally. They tend to vote in every election. And you`ve got a
Democratic coalition, which is younger and more diverse. That coalition
right now is only coming out in droves for presidential elections. Maybe
that will start to change next year. We`ll see. But right now, Democrats
look like they`re going to be running uphill in 2014. And their challenge
is even more pronounced when you focus on the Senate. Right now Democrats
have 54 seats there to 46 for the Republicans. That margin will almost
definitely grow to 55-45 this fall. That`s when New Jersey is going to
hold its special election that completely unnecessary extra $24 million
special election that Chris Christie decided to hold.

Remember that Christie appointed a Republican to fill the seat of Frank
Lautenberg for a few months while that campaign plays out, but that
Republican appointee Jeff Chiesa is not running in the special election and
Cory Booker is. No one expects the Democrats to lose that one. But 2014
is a different story. Democrats will have more seats to defend, 21 of
them, and Republicans, who only have 13 seats up. And there are just not
that many pickup opportunities on the board for Democrats. Only one
Republican seat that`s up is in a state that President Obama carried. That
would be Susan Collins of Maine. And she`s widely expected to win again.

But there are seven Democratic seats up next year in states that Mitt
Romney carried in 2012. So, yeah, if you put the turnout problem and that
map together, there`s a real chance Republicans could take back the Senate
next year. But there`s also a real chance they`ll blow it and that things
won`t be that bad for Democrats after all. There are actually two reasons
for this. And to understand those reasons, all you have to do is look at
one state. Georgia. That state`s - the seat is up in Georgia next year,
it`s held by Republican Saxby Chambliss.

He`s retiring now and so it`s an open seat and Georgia is a heavily
Republican state. So, not surprisingly, there are a lot of ambitious
Republican politicians angling to succeed him. If you are a Republican who
want to succeed Saxby Chambliss, you first have to win the Republican
primary, the Republican primary in Georgia, where the Republican electorate
is extra conservative, especially on cultural issues. Which explains what
happens this week.

One of the Republicans running for is Chambliss` seat is Congressman Paul
Broun. The same Congressman Paul Broun who a week after President Obama
was elected in 2008 compared him to Hitler and suggested Obama would try to
create a Marxist dictatorship. That`s the Paul Broun who this week
actually voted against a Republican bill in the House to ban abortions
after 20 weeks. Broun had been a co-sponsor, but when the bill was amended
to include exceptions for rape and incest, he took to the House floor to
demand that his name be taken off it. That was Monday. On Tuesday, a day
later, another Georgia Senate candidate, who is also a member of the House,
Republican Congressman Phil Gingrey put on a show of his own on the House
floor. His message, we should be teaching traditional gender roles in


REP. PHIL GINGREY, (R ) GEORGIA: Maybe part of the problem is, we need to
go back into the schools at a very early age, maybe at the grade school
level, and have a class for the young girls and have a class for the young
boys and say, you know, this is what`s important, you know. This is what a
father does that is - maybe a little different, maybe a little bit better
than the talents that a mom has in a certain area and the same thing for
the young girls that, you know, this is what a mom does. And this is what
is important from the standpoint of that union, which we call marriage.


KORNACKI: That could very well help Gingrey in Georgia`s Republican
primary, and Paul Broun`s antics could very well help him in that primary,
too. But the war (ph) in upmanship they`re engaged in is part of a big
problem for the Republicans. If this is the stuff that the Republican base
is going to demand and to reward, it`s going to produce candidates who will
invariably say and do things that frighten general election voters and that
cost Republicans races they should not lose. It happened with Todd Akin
and Richard Mourdock last year. It happened in a number of states in 2010
and it could happen in Georgia next year. Which brings us to the second
reason to keep an eye on Georgia. Changing demographics. Georgia is a
state -- is a Republican state, as you know, but it did stand with Jimmy
Carter, its favorite son in 1976 and 1980 and it did go for Bill Clinton in

Other than that, though, it hasn`t voted for a Democratic presidential
candidate since 1960. But the water is starting to get warmer for
Democrats. A lot warmer. African-Americans have been moving back to the
state in big numbers. There are nearly half a million more African-
Americans in the Atlanta area now than there were ten years ago. Barely
half of Georgians under the age of 18 are white. President Obama only lost
the state by eight points last year. He actually got 47 percent back in
2008. In that same election in 2008, the Democratic Senate candidate, Jim
Martin, came within a few points of knocking off Saxby Chambliss. This is
the story of the future, evolving demographics creating opportunities for
Democrats in states they`ve been writing off until now. Numbers aren`t
quite there in Georgia yet, but they may not need to be in 2014 if
Republicans end up nominating the Georgia equivalent of Todd Akin.

The Supreme Court`s big ruling on the Voting Rights Act could come any day
now. That`s next.


KORNACKI: Any day now, possibly tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hand down
its ruling on an Alabama County`s challenge to Section 5 of the landmark
Voting Rights Act. The Section 5 is the clause that put extra scrutiny on
states in localities with histories of voter suppression or discrimination,
requiring them to seek preclearance from the Justice Department before they
can enact redistricting schemes or any other changes to election processes.
The law covers nine states completely, almost all of them in the Deep
South, plus specific counties and cities in six other states across the

There`s already a provision in the Voting Rights Act that allows coverage
jurisdictions to petition the courts to bail out of the preclearance
requirement. It`s risky to try to predict what the Supreme Court is going
to do. You can remember how everyone knew, I mean just knew last year that
the court was going to toss out the individual mandate in the Affordable
Care Act. That didn`t actually happen. But right now, the prevailing
expectation among court watchers is that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act
will be overturned. During oral arguments back in February Justice Anthony
Kennedy seemed to suggest to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli that Section
5 formulas that use state laws on voter registration data from the 1960s
and early `70s to determine what states and localities will be put under
scrutiny have become a relic.


SOLICITOR GENERAL DONALD VERRILLI: The formula was rational and effective
in 1965. The court upheld it then. It upheld it three more times after

JUSTICE ANTHONY KENNEDY: Well, the Marshall Plan was very good, too, the
Morrill Act, the Northwest Ordinance, but times change.


KORNACKI: So, we`re not predicting it`s going to happen, but we should be
prepared for the possibility that this long-standing part of the Voting
Rights Act could soon be no more. We want to bring in Ana Marie Cox,
senior political columnist of "The Guardian," and Theodore Shaw, formally
president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a trial attorney in the Justice
Department civil rights division now professor at professional practice at
Columbia University Law School. He`s argued before the Supreme Court and
testified before Congress on the extension of the Voting Rights Act.

And Ted, so, I`ll start with you. I said the prevailing wisdom, that I can
- from what I can tell, is people expect this to be tossed. Do you agree
with that? And if it does, what does it mean?

with it. You know, during the oral argument in the - what we call the MUD
case in Northwest, municipal district - Austin, municipal district case a
few years ago, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court indicated a lot of
hostility and suggested that in the opinion that came out of that case that
Congress changed the statute. That didn`t happen. So, this is a case very
hostile to race-conscience measures, particularly those that are not
involving so-called reverse discrimination claims. And, you know, most of
us expect that Section 5 is not going to merge intact.

What it means is that African-Americans, Latinos, people of color are going
to be more vulnerable to the machinations of political jurisdiction that
are interested in trying to fence them out of the voting process, whether
we`re talking about moving polling stations, whether we are talking about
voter I.D. laws, whether we are talking about all the kind of things we saw
happen in Florida a few years back. I think that they`re not going - and
we know that if Section 5 is struck down, we`re not going to have the kind
of protections that we`ve had since 1965.

One other thing very important is that we`re not talking about a formula
that wasn`t revisited. Congress had extensive hearings, and there are
thousands, tens of thousands of pages of testimony and evidence that
supported the recent extension of Section 5. And so, I just want to get
that off the table.

KORNACKI: Yeah, it was - the reauthorization took place, the most recent
one in 2006, the vote in the Senate was 98 to nothing. The vote in the
House was 390 to 33. But Ana Marie, I mean you hear this argument, it came
up in oral arguments all the time from sort of skeptical justices, that,
you know, hey, this is a law from the 1960s. Do times change? Why is this
out being singled .

ANA MARIE COX, THE GUARDIAN: Time has changed but, you know, the legacy of
discrimination in the south is still very apparent, if you look at the
voting patterns there. Who they elect and who votes in those elections.
And you know, this is interesting, in 2006 you see how the political will
has changed. In 2006 Boehner and Issa both voted in favor of this law.

Republicans right now are trying to kind of distance themselves from this
case in particular but it`s very clear that the political will seems to be
indicating that Republicans believe that they can get rid of Section 5.
That it`s possible to do that. And in 2006 you had Republicans moderate
and some conservative Republicans like almost laughing out of hand attempts
to change the voting rights law in the ways that the conservative justices
seem to be suggesting that we do, which is to get rid of some the formulas
for coverage. And as a matter of fact, the formulas for coverage, to be
quite honest, and I think the lower court found this, have always been a
little bit of jerry-rigged in order to affect those - in order to cover
those very areas of the country that have the strongest, most powerful
legacies of discrimination.

And so, to get those out of there would be kind of -- it was as actually
Sensenbrenner said when he was arguing for the reauthorization of it, he
said it would make a mockery of the Voting Rights Act if we tried to re-
engineer this (inaudible) formula to effect some kind of modern practices.
It would simply allow some of the practices that we`ve defied are
discriminatory to continue and allow jurisdictions that want to, you know,
kind of tinker with the access to go back and use some things that they
were tried before but had the court had turned away -- or the Justice
Department had turned away.

KORNACKI: Another thing, we think of this as only affecting, or primarily
affecting the South, but I mean there are like areas in New York that are
covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

JEFFRIES: Absolutely. It`s important to point out that, you know,
Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan are covered jurisdictions under Section 5
of the Voting Rights Act. It`s also important to point out, I think,
despite the fact that there will be this issue related to the coverage
formula that as you mentioned, Steve, in your opening, there is a bailout
provision that does permit jurisdictions to be exempt from the preclearance
requirements to the extent that they demonstrate hostility no longer exists
as it relates to the change in implementation in law. And in fact, I
believe 196 jurisdictions since the passage of the Voting Rights Act have
been excluded and exempt. So, there is flexibility built into the law to
make adjustments as things change.

KORNACKI: Right. There`s a provision for if you can establish that for
ten years you haven`t had issues, that you can get out of it. There`s a
lot more on this we want to pick up on right after this.


KORNACKI: We`re talking about the Voting Rights Act. A critical component
of its section 5 is in jeopardy, and its fate will be decided by the
Supreme Court any day now. We`re here with Ana Marie Cox of "The
Guardian," former NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Ted Shaw, Robert Costa
of National Review, and Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York.

So we were mentioning a little bit in that last section about 2006, 2006
was the last time that Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act. The
total vote, there were 390 to 33 in favor. Actually, I was covering
Congress for "Roll Call," and I remember covering this debate. It was
really interesting to me because all the no votes, basically all those no
votes came from Southern Republicans. So, when you had the floor debate,
you had a band of Southern Republicans who were strenuously arguing against
this, saying section 5 unfairly singles us out. And you had a conservative
Republican from Wisconsin, Jim Sensenbrenner, who was leading the floor
debate for the reauthorization. And it`s fascinating to watch this sort of
Republican-on-Republican argument. This is what Jim Sensenbrenner said,
this is just seven years ago, about reauthorizing all of the Voting Rights


REP. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, R-WISCONSIN: Based upon the committee`s records,
and let me put the books of the hearings of this committee`s records on the
table. One of the most extensive considerations of any piece of
legislation that the United States Congress has dealt with in the 27 1/2
years that I have been honored to serve as a member of this body. All of
this are a part of the record that the Committee on the Constitution,
headed by Mr. Chabot (ph) of Ohio has assembled to show the need for the
reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act.


KORNACKI: And then in that same debate, you had Lynn Westmoreland, who is
a conservative Republican from Georgia, he was one of the 33 who voted
against it, and he made this case.


REP. LYNN WESTMORELAND, R-GEORGIA: By passing this rewriting of the Voting
Rights Act, Congress is just declaring from on high that states with voting
problems 40 years ago can simply never be forgiven. That Georgians must
eternally wear the scarlet letter because of the actions of their
grandparents and great grandparents. We have repented and we have
reformed, and now, as Fanny Lou Hamer famously said, I`m sick and tired of
being sick and tired.


KORNACKI: Now, I guess I bring this up because again, the final vote was
390-33. So a position that was so marginalized in the House. We`re now
talking about in all likelihood is going to be the majority position of the
Supreme Court. But the other reason I bring it up is, if the court does
strike down section 5, it is possible it will give an opening to Congress
to go back and rectify it somehow, for Congress to go back and make some
kind of a fix. And when I look at Sensenbrenner and I look at all the
Republicans in 2006 who voted for reauthorization, Robert, I wonder, do you
think there might be an appetite among Republicans in Congress if this is
struck down to revisit this and try to come up with some kind of a rework
that would meet the court`s standards?

COSTA: I think watching those two clips reflects the tension not only that
year, but the tension that remains within the House GOP, the congressional
Republicans right now. In that there is a real concern about the Voting
Rights Act if it is struck down, if that section is struck down. We just
talked about immigration in the first hour. Republicans want to reach out
to minority voters. They know they have a real problem. But there is a
new strain in the party since those videos were made, that`s the Ted Cruz
wing of the party, that`s really about federal overreach, and it`s a
constitutional Tea Party type argument that is now being made on the right.
So if this is struck down, this section, it is another test for the
Republicans in the House. How are they going to rebuild, rewrite the
Voting Rights Act? Will they take a political risk? Will they go against
that bloc of 33 or whatever the number is this year?

COX: For one thing, Sensenbrenner has committed himself to doing something
if it`s struck down. He says he continues to be in favor of some sort of
section 5 to exist and has actually been rather eloquent and moving in his
defense of it. He has been the whole, in the entire Congress, one of the
strongest advocates for it.

KORNACKI: Let me read exactly what he says. Congress has the obligation
to fix it. That`s what he said.

COX: That`s right. He does. And he also says that getting there is half
the battle. He said, he`s going to enjoy the fight when it comes.

I just want to say, the idea that there`s some kind of a new Tea Party
argument in favor for gutting section 5, that`s just rebranding. It`s
always been the same arguments for getting rid of section 5 as before, it`s
just now Ted Cruz has kind of a fancy, showy way to talk about it. I do
think that the idea the South doesn`t deserve special consideration in this
area, it`s a little bit -- when you look at what`s actually happened, when
you look at what the DOJ has said that they cannot do, those arguments have
mainly been from the South. Those moves to change voting rights access, to
change polling places, those things have come from the South. I mean, if
the South has really recovered, then how come these jurisdictions under
section 5, how come they`re still bringing so many things to be looked at?

JEFFRIES: It`s another point to continue to emphasize that while a lot of
the coverage is based in the South and the deep South and there`s a legacy
of slavery, a legacy of discrimination, and while Jim Crow may be dead he
still got some nieces and nephews that are alive and well in the Deep South
and in other parts of the country, but you have got Arizona that`s covered,
you`ve got Alaska that`s covered, you`ve got parts of New York that`s
covered, you`ve got parts of California. And there`s a reality post-2010
that we saw in this country. In 41 states, 180 voter suppression laws were
introduced in the 2011-2012 legislative session. It was an extraordinary
moment, collective action, related to trying to suppress the rights --

KORNACKI: We have a map here that actually shows. These are states that
have passed voter ID laws in the past couple of years that are not covered
by section 5. So we talk about section 5 being sort of a backstop against,
you know, voter suppression laws. These are states that are not covered.
And they managed to go out and do this in the last few years. And there`s
nothing to stop other states that aren`t covered from doing the same.

That idea, though, of all of the -- of sort of how lopsided the Republican
support was in 2006 for the reauthorization, I think when I was listening
to a bit of the oral arguments before the court back in March, I think that
Scalia was basically addressing it. He was basically grappling with why so
many Republicans had voted for reauthorization and why he thought, maybe
they didn`t really mean it. This is a famous clip from Scalia. Let`s play
it and we can talk about it.


adopts racial entitlements, it`s very difficult to get out of them through
the normal political processes. I don`t think there`s anything to be
gained by any senator to vote against continuation of this act. And I am
fairly confident it will be reenacted in perpetuity unless a court can say
it does not comport with the Constitution.


KORNACKI: When I hear that, he seems to be saying, look, Republicans are
scared of being called racist, so I`m going to get rid of it for them.

SHAW: First, that statement is not famous but infamous. The notion that
these protections for the right to vote, that they amount to racial
entitlements. That`s an outrageous statement. It was incredible to hear a
member of the Supreme Court in this day and age make that kind of

But having said, the other thing about Justice Scalia is he`s well known
for being absolutely hostile to legislative history. So, you know, one
would think if he was consistent with what he has written and said in many
of his opinions, that he would take the Voting Rights Act and say, look,
face value, I have to take what Congress said. I don`t look behind it.
But that`s not what he`s doing here. There`s an inconsistency.

But the other thing I want to point out is this. It is true that there
were members of the House and the Senate who voted for the Voting Rights
Act, but who were throwing -- or planting, I should say, land mines. And
they were looking for the litigation. They knew that this was going to be
challenged in court. So that`s true. But Congress should have to live
with what it does. And it overwhelmingly, as we have talked about, enacted
the Voting Rights Act. And for Justice Scalia to say that it`s the court`s
role to set aside what the elected representatives do - that is a
fundamental problem with respect to the way we understand that democracy
operates. And it`s the hallmark of this court, that it by now (inaudible)
has been hostile to legislative enactments by Congress.

KORNACKI: Another, there`s something else that section 5 has been critical
for. There is section 2 and there`s section 5, it gets a little
complicated. Section 2 is not actually going to be part of this ruling.
Section 2 is when we push the burden on, basically push the burden on the
individual to pursue the action. Section 5 says the government is going to
sort of proactively look at changes to election laws.

SHAW: And Section 2, rather, is permanent. It doesn`t have to be

KORNACKI: Right. One thing that section 5 has done, as we talk about the
creation of majority-minority congressional districts, which have resulted
in -- you had basically nonexistent representation maybe two generations
ago basically in Congress. It`s brought those numbers up significantly.
It`s had some other interesting complications that I think -- that
complicate the discussion. I just want to bring that up after this.


KORNACKI: I did want to talk about one other aspect of the Voting Rights
Act, a huge impact it`s had on the makeup of Congress. And then really on
sort of -on American politics as a whole, and that is that the Voting
Rights Act, it`s a bit of a complicated story but in 1982 the Voting Rights
Act was changed in a bit to encourage the creation of minority/majority
congressional districts and it took until the 1990 census where there could
actually be applied to the maps. And what you saw that it was an
explosion, basically in the 1992 elections, the first time after `90
census, there is significant jump in the number of African-Americans and
Hispanics in Congress.

And those numbers if you think about 1994, which was a bad year for
Democrats nationally, it was also a year, in which African-Americans
reached the highest level ever in the House that year. And somebody went
and actually looked at -- this is a little tough to explain. But if you
look at -- if you did the electoral votes by congressional district instead
of by state. So you got an electoral vote for every congressional district
that you won, OK, if you look, in the 1980s, this is before we had the
explosion of minority and majority districts, in the 1980s, the Democrats
would outperform significantly how they did in the electoral college in the
actual election, if you broke it down by congressional district.

In 1992 it switches and a new pattern emerges and Republicans begin to
enjoy an advantage sort of at the congressional district level. And what
it speaks to is, you know, there`s been the incentive to get more African-
American, more Hispanic representation in Congress, but Republicans in many
states have seized on this, too, because they`ve seen an opportunity to
pack in Democratic voters into a small, you know, sort of geographically
compact areas, leaving much more Republican-friendly areas in the rest of
the state.

And that`s one of the stories I think we have right now about why we talk
about Republicans having a likely - having majority in the House, you know,
for the next decade or so. We say it`s gerrymandering but it`s also that
the population of Democratic voters gets so crunched in, and it leaves all
these other Republican districts across the state. It`s a complicated
thing. Remember, when in 1990 when they first begin creating these
majority - black, majority Hispanic districts, it was the Bush White House,
the Bush senior White House that was part of the push for that.

SHAW: Well, actually, the creation of districts that allowed African-
American voters to elect representatives of their choice, and I use that
language because that`s the language that the courts talk about, and I use
that language intentionally and carefully, because it didn`t necessarily
mean that they would elect African-American representatives. But in many
instances they did. That started much earlier than the 1990s. What
happened in the 1990s was a follow-up to the Reagan administration.

When while the Reagan White House was very much opposed to the traditional
civil rights policies that Democratic administrations and Republican
administrations before it had pursued, the one area that they didn`t change
was voting rights. And that was because they did recognize that they could
create what they considered to be -- they didn`t use this language -- an
unholy alliance. The more majority black districts you created, the whiter
the surrounding areas, as you pointed out. And some people have pointed to
African-American representatives as the reason that Democrats have lost. I
think that`s an unfair charge for a lot of reasons that we could discuss.

But you did have this interaction. What happened in the 1990s was that
there was a series of suits after these majority of black districts had
been created, challenging these districts. And there was a case Shaw v.
Reno, a lot of (inaudible) that said that creating these districts, it was
brought by white voters in the instance of the North Carolina, the Shaw
case, no relation to me, by the way, that there was discrimination against
white voters putting them in these majority black districts. And it kept
challenging these cases. And you had Justice O`Connor writing an opinion,
in which she described a 53 percent, 47 percent district majority black in
North Carolina as, quote, political apartheid, which was problematic.

And so, it`s a complicated conversation, a complicated discussion. At the
end of the day what I said, was why should African-Americans be the ballast
of the - for the Democratic Party in the sense that they could - they would
have to forego electing representatives in their community in order to have
Democrats take the majority in the House, for example.

KORNACKI: Well, and what it`s meant is, you know, you look at the - there
have been long serving African American members from district - you know,
Charlie Rangel comes to mind, you know, who was able to get a gavel in the
Ways and Means Committee, gavel because of longevity in the House. Jim
Clyburn from South Carolina has climbed up into the leadership there.

One thing I know as covering politics, in states - I wonder Hakeem, how you
think about this, but one thing I know is covering, you know, state
politics in state that have VRA districts, is the sort of state political
establishment, the state Democratic establishment in these states, often
looks at candidates, members of Congress who come from those districts, and
they almost stigmatize them and they almost say, you`re from the majority
black district, we can`t market you across the state. It`s probably
totally unfair, but I definitely picked up on those attitudes talking to
Democratic Party leaders.

JEFFRIES: Well, that has existed in the past. I think that`s begun to
change, obviously with the elevation of Barack Obama to the presidency.
He`s indicated tremendous crossover appeal, Cory Booker, I think, we`ll see
win an election in New Jersey. But you`re absolutely right. That there is
a tendency among some, I`ve heard the expression used, to ghetto-wise
African-American leaders from majority of black districts. But there`s a
broader issue here that`s at stake. One, I think it is important that we
have seen an explosion of representatives from the African-American, Latino
community in Congress. In fact, this Democratic conference is the most
diverse in the history of the republic. For the first time majority are
women, people of color and members of the LGBT community. But the paradox,
of course, is that we`re also in the minority. And part of the issue is
that I think the Republicans across the country have used redistricting,
instead of creating an opportunity to elect district where the African-
American community, a Latino community, has a meaningful opportunity to
elect a representative of its choice, they`ve chosen instead to create
these super majority districts, pack voters into isolated, narrowly drawn
congressional districts, and then spread Republicans out throughout the
state. And that is really what has created the problem that needs to be

KORNACKI: All right. I want to thank Theodore Shaw, former president of
the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New

Five ways the Supreme Court could allow gay marriage, that`s after this.


KORNACKI: We`re just days or maybe even hours away from two major Supreme
Court decisions on marriage equality. One involves the 1996 Defense of
Marriage Act which bars the federal government from recognizing the unions
of same-sex couples from states where gay marriage is legal. Lower court
threw that provision out and in oral arguments before that Supreme Court
back in March, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg questioned the logic behind


RUTH BADER GINSUBRG: You are really diminishing what the state has said is
marriage. You`re saying, no, state did two kinds of marriages. The full
marriage and then this sort of skim milk marriage.


KORNACKI: The other major case involves California`s Proposition 8, the
anti-gay marriage referendum, passed by the voters there in 2008,
invalidated in earlier state`s supreme court ruling that legalized gay
marriage, but in 2010 Prop 8 was overturned by a federal judge. That`s
what brought it to the Supreme Court. On Tuesday one of the two lawyers
who argued the case against Prop 8 before the Supreme Court, David Boies
laid out five decisions the Justices could possibly make option.

One, strike down Prop 8 as the violation of equal protection and due
process. This option would effectively legalize gay marriage across the

Option two, make a narrow ruling that strikes down Prop 8 in California,
but doesn`t affect any other state.

Option three, rule that it`s discriminatory for states to grant civil
unions but not call them gay marriages, this is known as the eight state
solution since it would make gay marriages legal in eight states.

Option four is to simply declare that Prop 8 supporters who argued before
the court don`t have standing because they`re not official representatives
of the state of California, whose governor Jerry brown has declined to
defend the law. That would mean that the lower court`s ruling to toss out
Prop 8 would stand and gay marriage would be legal in California. And then
there is option five, the least likely by far, by which the court would
just say that it shouldn`t have heard the case at all. Which would also
mean that lower court`s ruling would stand. Of course, there is also
option six, it`s possible that the court would rule that Prop 8 is
perfectly constitutional, although the Boies doesn`t think that would
happen after his appearance before the court.


DAVID BOIES: Each one of these ways sounded from the question at the time
of the argument in the Supreme Court as if there was one or more justices
that were seriously considering each of these approaches.


KORNACKI: We want to bring in Chris Geidner, senior political and legal
reporter for and Garance Franke-Ruta, a senior editor of
covering national politics at "The Atlantic." So, we`ve got DOMA, we`ve
got Prop 8. I guess we`ll take a moderate time. I want to start with DOMA
and it seems a little weird to me because the U.S. government is not
defending this thing. The president who signed it originally, Bill Clinton
signed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 has repudiated it, the lower
courts have ruled against it. We`ve got a strong impression, based on the
oral arguments - that the court - at least Anthony Kennedy, the swing vote,
isn`t wild about it. So, is there really much suspense on this one?

CHRIS GEIDNER, BUZZFEED.COM: There is because it`s the Supreme Court.
That`s the bottom line. The Supreme Court does what they want. We still
don`t have any of the major decisions you`ve already been talking about
today. But when the justices considered the argument, there are so many
ways that DOMA can be found unconstitutional. This section 3 that defines
the federal marriage law that it could be struck down as a violation of
equal protection. It could be struck down as a violation of due process
because of the guarantees the court has given to marriage law. It also
could be struck down on federalism grounds because of the fact that the
federal government has not traditionally been involved in this sort of

KORNACKI: There`s a lot of it could be struck downs there. And I guess
I`m kind of interested in the roots of DOMA. This - as you say, it was
1996, it was 17 years ago, it was the height of an election season, Bill
Clinton was running for re-election against Bob Dole. Somehow he was
scared that Bob Dole was going to beat him.


KORNACKI: It was - crazy thing to think, but 1994 had been a rough year
for Democrats. Clinton was probably right to be a little nervous. But
when I see you`ve written about this sort of the roots of DOMA, the
language in the bill. It can take us a little bit back to that time and
where this really came from.

GARANCE FRANKE-RUTA, "THE ATLANTIC": You know, you know, one of the things
that Justice Kennedy brought up in the questioning was there is this House
Judiciary Committee report to Congress when the bill passed out of
committee talking about the rationale for the bill. And they said
specifically that civil laws that permit only heterosexual marriage reflect
an honor of collective moral judgment about human sexuality. And this
judgment entails both moral disapproval of homosexuality and moral
conviction that heterosexuality better comports with traditional morality.
And so, that is basically the underlying philosophy of DOMA, it is a moral
judgment about human sexuality.


KORNACKI: And that was - and it was - and it was, I say, it was signed by
Bill Clinton. There was a moment in the 1996 campaign when Bill Clinton
didn`t just sign it, he ran ads on Christian radio stations saying, hey, I
signed this bill.

COX: Interesting sort of contrast to the Voting Rights Act, right, where
the political will is and can be between two points in history of an issue.
I mean here we`re saying that Congress enacted this because, yes, this is
how people feel so we`re going to legislate something that people already
feel. We`re not going to legislate morality change it, we are going to
legislate morality to enshrine it and then the Voting Rights Act, which
people seem to argue, but we don`t need anymore, because the morality has
changed and we`re good now.

But it does seem like this is going to get struck down. I want to point
out that the Voting Rights Act gets struck down, we don`t know what`s going
to happen with Congress in the future. And so, some of these gains that we
made seem so obvious now. Like I want to point out that these things can
be put in jeopardy. We think of the political will as moving in one
direction a lot of the time, but it can move in various different
directions. I think, again, if you compare this to the Voting Rights Act,
you`ll see that as well.

FRANKE-RUTA: You know, and I think that the one thing that we can probably
be fairly confident of in the upcoming rulings is Scalia`s position.


FRANKE-RUTA: You know, he is such of the North Carolina bar association
that he doesn`t think that the justices should be moral arbiters and that
there`s a series of cases before them, in which they`re being called upon
to be moral arbiters of sexuality issues and so on. And I think he would
very much avoid trying to do anything that suggested he was doing that.

GEIDNER: Well, I do think it`s important to note that it`s not just the
Democratic side. I mean, it`s also Bob Barr, who was the lawmaker who
wrote DOMA in the House, has also repeated ...

KORNACKI: The Republican Congressman from Georgia .

GEIDNER: From Georgia.

KORNACKI: . libertarian candidate for president.

GEIDNER: Different than Rep Gingrey, who you showed earlier. But - I mean
this issue unlike the Voting Rights Act, or sort of maybe very similar in a
way that Scalia talked about, this issue has changed so much that you do
have even the Republican leaders -- you have very few people willing to
speak out who were involved in DOMA about defending it still to this day.

FRANKE-RUTA: And I want to point out .

COSTA: Well, I`m not so sure about that. Because it`s fun to look back at
the politics of 1996 and look at the legal considerations ahead of the
court. But let`s look at the day after this decision comes down. I think
there are a lot of people on the right, let`s say if it`s struck down, who
will be animated. I think this could reignite the culture wars ad at 2014.
And let`s say the court keeps it in place. I think the left, those who
support same-sex marriage, this will animate them ahead of 2014. So I
think the politics of this are very heated and we need to be aware of that
beyond the legal .

KORNACKI: But I wonder -- because when the Republicans did their autopsy,
right, their post-2012 autopsy, I think one of the things they talked about
there was the gay marriage, gay rights being a gateway issue for young
voters. Like if we are on this side, as long as we are on this side of it,
we just can`t reach, you know, the average 20-30 year old. Do you think
this - if the ruling goes to throwing out DOMA and there`s an instinct on a
part of a lot of people in the party to make this another cultural war, is
there somebody putting the brakes on that? Saying, look, read the report.
We can`t do this.

COSTA: Right. I mean and when you look at the beltway Republicans, they
are moving in that direction, and you saw them like Senator Rob Portman of
Ohio, he`s now supporting same-sex marriage. But there is very much an
element of the party that rejects the Republican National Committee`s
autopsy. And the legal case is fascinated here. I think the culture war
is very much alive. I was just at the Faith and Freedom Conference in
Washington, D.C. The Republicans who are running in the -- trying to run,
perhaps in the 2016 presidential election are very much pro-traditional
marriage or whatever you want to call, it pro-life. And this is still the
bloc of the Republican Party that animates a lot of the decision.

COX: Do you think, I want to say, that pro-life and pro-gay marriage are
not necessarily like at opposite. There are people who are pro-life and
who are also for marriage equality. I mean I think that`s an important
distinction in the new Republican Party. And I also want to say that the
cultural wars may be alive, but they were alive within the Republican Party
and maybe between sort of progressives and conservatives. But again, there
are many conservatives making arguments for marriage equality. And the
other point I want to make, is that the culture war may be alive, but most
Americans don`t care about it. If you look at the polling on marriage
equality, people are more and more drifting toward favoring it. And not in
a really like, oh, I`m going to go march in the gay pride parade way, but
in a way like in my home state, new home state of Minnesota where people
are like, you know, let`s let people do what they want.

KORNACKI: There`s a -- there`s a real interesting poll finding that we
found - we found this poll this week. I want to show it to you after this.


KORNACKI: So, the poll finding that we found this week was from March.
And this was from the - like the Public Religion Research Institute. They
asked 18 to 34-year-old white evangelicals, so this is, you know, these are
the children of the most conservative component and the most probably
dominant component of the Republican Party, gay marriage 51 percent favor,
43 percent oppose. And I mean that just jumps out at me because I`ve been
trying to figure out -- we have just about every Democratic senator right
now has come out for gay marriage, maybe everyone.

I`ve lost count. I think there are three Republicans, with Lisa Murkowski
this week who`ve done it. I`ve been trying to figure out when this becomes
sort of a safe issue for Republicans, and when I see a number like that,
and I say it`s - you know, it`s almost -- it`s attrition, isn`t it? Are
we, you know, a generation away?

GEIDNER: I mean, I think we are. And I think one of the questions that I
have for Bob is the idea that we didn`t hear Republicans defending DOMA
when it was before the Supreme Court. That was their golden moment. I
mean, that was the moment where we had, like, a dozen senators come out for
marriage equality in that week. Where were -- if the culture war is on
this issue are still alive, where were those people that week?

COSTA: C0an I quickly respond? I think Chris brings up a great point.
Because the House Republicans, congressional Republicans are the petitioner
when it comes to DOMA. And he`s right. They`re not taking a very public
role in battling for their own argument. At the same time, though, I
think, there is a divide between the conservative movement and Republican
Party leaders. And I think the conservative movement, the interest groups
will be activated on this issue even if the party, perhaps, is moving more
towards same-sex marriage support.

FRANKE-RUTA: But it also puts a very strong libertarian strain right now
in the Republican Party. And I think that`s what you saw with Murkowski.
And she cited, you know, personal liberty and limited government as her
rationale per supporting marriage equality, and just recognizing that times
are changing and that the people now think differently.

KORNACKI: That was her - I just want to play it for a second. Because the
way she addressed her transformation on this is interesting. Let`s play
Lisa Murkowski this week.


SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI, (R ), ALASKA: I think it`s important that we
acknowledge that as time passes and as attitudes and perspectives change,
it`s important for us to pay attention to what we`re saying. You speak
with particularly many young people here in this state, here around the
country, and you ask them about the issue of marriage equality and where
they come down on it. And it`s almost -- it`s almost a discussion where
they say, we`re not even sure why you`re deliberating and debating over it.


GEIDNER: Yeah, I mean, this is actually a very similar argument to the
case made by her fellow senator -- Democrat Senator Begich, when he issued
a statement the week of the oral arguments talking about it, they talk
about the same things that Senator McCaskill talked about, Senator Hagan,
when these more moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans are talking
about these issues, they talk about them in terms of limited government, in
terms of the proper role of government in people`s lives. And it really
gets into -- the reason why I think that what Ana was talking about, the
distinctions between this issue and abortion rights, the idea that this
issue is moving forward so quickly and that politicians can`t even keep up
with it.

COX: I just want to speak up to how this issue is moving forward. I mean
it is moving forward. We shouldn`t take it for granted, though, because
the way that this will sort of become a part of just a nonissue is through
these court decisions, but also through the representation of gays and
lesbians in the political sphere, which is something that we`ve also seen
happening just amazingly fast. I mean thank god that it is. I mean
secretary of the Air Force, right?

GEIDNER: The acting secretary of the Air Force as of Friday.

COX: . is gay.

KORNACKI: And then there were two Obama-appointed - two ambassadors this
week to .

GEIDNER: . and two last week, actually.

KORNACKI: Spain was one and .

GEIDNER: Denmark, Spain, Australia ..

KORNACKI: Australia.

GEIDNER: And the Dominican Republic.

KORNACKI: There you go. Violated the .


KORNACKI: I do -- we did a little on DOMA. I do want to get into the Prop
8 because it`s very complicated possibilities on Prop 8. And we`re going
to that after this.


KORNACKI: The Prop 8 is the other big decision coming down from the
Supreme Court. And I want to play an exchange from that. This involves
Ted Olson, he is a Republican, you know, a very well connected Republican
lawyer who teamed up with David Boies, a Democrat, to argue against Prop 8.
And this is a clip of the oral argument so with, who else, Scalia. Take a


JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA: I`m curious. When did it become unconstitutional
to exclude homosexual couples from marriage? 1791? 1868 when the 14th
amendment was adopted? Sometime - sometime after Baker where we said it
didn`t even raise a substantial federal question? When did the law become

THEODORE B. OLSON: When did it become unconstitutional to prohibit
interracial marriages? When did it become unconstitutional to assign
children to separate schools?

SCALIA: Easy question, I think, for that one. At the time that -- that
the equal protection clause was adopted. That`s absolutely true. But
don`t give me a question to my question.


KORNACKI: So, I`m putting Scalia down as a maybe on this.


KORNACKI: I can`t quite read where he`s coming from. But, Chris, no, what
do you make of - you`ve listened to the oral arguments. What do you make
of where this is heading?

GEIDNER: I mean I think that as skeptical as the justices were of the role
of Congress in passing DOMA, they were just as skeptical of reaching the
broad decision that would apply to all 50 states that Ted Olson has been
urging. I think that the justices just didn`t see it. And you got concern
even from justices like Sotomayor and Ginsburg. I think that where the
issue is in the country is that people are seeing -- and a recent - I think
it was Pew poll showed this, that on this issue of if couples are legally
married by a state, should they be recognized by the federal government?

Those numbers are getting up into the, like, 60s and 70s. And the number
of, if you think it should be legal, period, is just a little above 50.
And I think that you`re going to see that reflected. And that`s the reason
why Ted -- why David Boies had to give five different options. And I think
there`s actually some other ones, too.

KORNACKI: I wonder -- we talk about Ted Olson`s role in this. And I think
it`s Ted Olson, I think of the 2000 election, the guy who really helped
George W. Bush become president, and now here he is with David Boies teamed
up, you know, advocating for gay marriage. Ted Olson, given his importance
in the Republican world what has this done to him sort of in Republican

COSTA: You know, it would be easier to say that he`s been cast out of the
conservative movement or something like that, but that`s not really the
case. There`s a serious debate going on right now within the conservative
movement and the Republican Party, but just what is the future on this
issue if you`re a Republican or if you`re a conservative? I think Ted
Olson has done a good job in a sense of encouraging many conservatives to
reconsider their position. And he`s made an articulate argument before the
court. But I think the way you presented this today has been smart.
Because these are totally separate issues, Prop 8 and DOMA. So, there may
be some success for same sex marriage supporters on when it comes to DOMA,
but there is still a state rights concern for conservatives and Republicans
on Prop 8 type issues versus there are more openness to be -- getting rid
of a federal definition of marriage.

FRANKE-RUTA: Right. And the interesting thing about the Prop 8 decision
is that many of those options would lead to an outcome where it changes
things for people who are seeking same-sex marriages in the state of
California and not nationwide. And that`s the majority of the options,
where it would just change things in California. It will be a California-
based ruling rather than a national one.

KORNACKI: Which brings us back to - you know, we`ve shown this map before,
but if you have sort of a gay marriage map in this country right now, where
is it legal, where is it, you know, barred by the Constitution, it really
starts to look like the red state/blue state map. And if it`s not going to
be a national solution imposed by the Supreme Court, then we could be in
for -- you know, you could see a lot of states, a lot of blue states, very
blue states where, you know, pretty quickly, this becomes legal. You could
look down at - you know, think of Mississippi, you know, think of Alabama,
think of the most conservative states in the country, the states with the
highest sort of -- where sort of conservatism evangelicals predominate,
could be a much longer slog there. We saw that- the poll of 18 to 29-year-
olds. It will be a while before they - they get a majority down there.
Anyway, what should we know today? My answers are after this.


KORNACKI: So, what should we know today? Or should know that ten years
ago today Howard Dean announced he was running for president. Based on
comments he made this week, he might be running again. On Thursday the
former Democratic governor from Vermont and DNC chair told CNN that he will
not rule out a run for president in 2016. Dean said, quote, I`m not trying
to hedge. It`s a hard job running. It`s really tough. I`m doing a lot of
things I really enjoy. But you should never say never in this business.

You should know that after Republicans railroading of Susan Rice
effectively led to the confirmation of John Kerry as secretary of state,
continued Republican obstruction has helped land another Kerry in the
cabinet. Until the Senate confirms President Obama`s commerce secretary,
John Kerry will be working alongside the new acting commerce secretary who
is Cameron Kerry, his younger brother. Before taking the post, Cameron or
Cam, I guess, was serving as general counselor at the Commerce Department.
And as "The Boston Globe: noted this is the first time in American history
that siblings will be serving in a presidential cabinet at the same time.

We should know that if Republicans continue to obstruct Gina McCarthy`s
nomination to head the EPA, we probably shouldn`t be surprised if John
Kerry`s wife Teresa steps into that role. We should know that on Friday
Mitch McConnell spoke at the American Enterprise Institute about the First
Amendment. In the Q&A that followed, McConnell used his right of free
speech to go after none other than Norman Ornstein. Ornstein, who is a
scholar at AEI and who has appeared on this program stirred up to ask
McConnell a question, but before he could, McConnell had something to say.


NORM ORNSTEIN: Senator Norm Ornstein at the AEI.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNEL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I`ve enjoyed dueling you,
Norm, over the years. You`ve been consistently wrong on almost everything.


MCCONNEL: And I`ve always wondered, you know, who eats lunch with you over
here in this organization.

ORNSTEIN: I`ve got more friends than you think here, senator. And .

MCCONNEL: Actually some of the worst things have been said about me over
the years have been said about Norm Ornstein.


MCCONNEL: And you`ve been entirely wrong on virtually every occasion. I`m
glad to see you. What`s on your mind?



KORNACKI: Well, after McConnell got that off his chest Ornstein asked the
senator about comments he made in 2000 in support of political disclosure.
McConnell criticized the premise of the question, but he answered Ornstein
in slightly gentler terms.


MCCONNEL: Make no mistake about it, Norm is a good old-fashioned far left
guy. I like him. He`s fine. He`s been wrong for as long as I can
remember. And it`s great to see you here. I`ve been wanting to spar with
you for years.



KORNACKI: We should also note that Norm has got some friends here even if
he doesn`t have them in Harry Reid`s office.

And finally, we should know that the longest serving member in Congress
Representative John Dingell tried out the most anticipated piece of new
technology, Google Glass, months before any of us got to. Dingell sat with
the Google representative and used glass to find a place to eat.


REP. JOHN DINGELL: Direction to a good Chinese restaurant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tap one more time and once more after that. Tap once
more, I`m sorry. Then tap one more time. It will give you the whole
route. So (inaudible), getting there, 28 miles away, 4 minutes. A little
traffic. That`s why you see those yellow lines. You`re getting there by
car right now.

DINGELL: This is quite a machine.


KORNACKI: According to Dingell`s spokesperson, the representative had a
quote, "grand old time" using the technology. No word yet on the food.
Want to find out what my guests thinks we should know. Starting with you,
Ana Marie.

COX: (inaudible) overreach, I want to start with the world`s ugliest dog
contest, which found a dog named Wally to be the ugliest dog. There was an
outcry because Wally is actually really adorable. And I just want to say
that it`s an injustice that there is a world`s ugliest dog contest, because
all dogs are beautiful. We love them because they love us.


GEIDNER: It`s not all marriage. There`s also this issue of the Employment
Nondiscrimination Act that would ban employment discrimination against LGBT
people. Senator Harkin told me that he`s planning on moving that
legislation in his committee after the Fourth of July holiday. So be
looking for him to be posting news of that hearing.

KORNACKI: All right, Robert.

COSTA: Three years ago in January 2010, I went up to Boston and spent
about a month covering Scott Brown`s Senate race. And you really felt the
momentum when you were on the ground then. But three years later, this
Tuesday you have a special election to fill John Kerry`s case. Gabriel
Gomez versus Ed Markey. I don`t see Gomez really surging at the last
minute. I think Markey, a long-time Democratic congressman, is going to
win that Senate seat. Markey`s margin, though, whether he can get maybe to
45, 47, is going to be important to watch to see if the Republicans have
any kind of future in that deep blue state.

FRANKE-RUTA: I think we are going to be getting back to playing where in
the world is Edward Snowden this week. He is on a plane to Moscow. And
from there we don`t know. Reports saying he might be going to Cuba and
then to Venezuela. I think we`re going to be having a real conversation
about him and his motivations again instead of his revelations.

KORNACKI: And I think apparently during the show he has landed in Moscow,
and now the question is where is he going to go from there. I`ve heard
Cuba, I`ve heard Venezuela, I`ve heard every country in the world at this
point. So who knows. But yes, that`s something we`ll all be following
today and maybe the next few days.

I want to thank Ana Marie Cox of the Guardian, Chris Geidner of, Robert Costa of the National Review and Garance Franke-Ruta
of the Atlantic magazine. Thanks for getting UP and thank you for joining
us. We`ll be back next weekend, Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 a.m. Eastern
time. Our guest will include former congresswoman and presidential
candidate, Pat Schroeder. Coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY." On
today`s MHP, the claim that societal rules, norms, and practices have
created a permanent underclass in African-American men, that a legacy from
slavery to Jim Crow to our current incarceration nation has put black men
in such a position of disadvantage that we`re in need of a systematic,
wholesale overhaul. Conversation not to be missed on "MELISSA HARRIS-
PERRY." She`s coming up next. We`ll see you next week here on "UP."


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