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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, February 16th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Monday show

Date: February 16, 2015
Guest: Phyllis Bennis, Jill Filipovic, James Traub, Asra Nomani, Irin
Carmon, Jill Filipovic, Dianna Hunt

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, rumor has it that you are
Chris Matthews` official pincher during State of the Union addresses.


O`DONNELL: Any truth to that? You want to --

RACHEL MADDOW, "TRMS" HOST: Not during the State of the Union but
other times.



O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Well, today, the Egyptian military struck back against
Islamic State. And it was day four on the American sniper trial. Irin
Carmon will join me later with her exclusive interview with Justice Ruth
Bader Ginsburg. And Lorne Michaels will talk about the 40 amazing years of
"Saturday Night Live".


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A dramatic escalation of Egypt`s role in the
battle against ISIS.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first time it`s taken military action
against the militant group.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It follows the release of a video showing ISIS
terrorists executing nearly two dozen Egyptian Christians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Denmark tonight, two men are under arrest,
suspected of aiding the gunmen in a pair of deadly terror shootings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Danish nation is strong, and we will not
accept any attempt to threaten or intimidate our liberties.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This latest terror attack comes as our Department
of Homeland Security runs out of money in just 12 days.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We cannot cut funding for the
Department of Homeland Security.

House has done its job under the Constitution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what if the Department of Homeland Security
funding runs out?

BOEHNER: Well, then, Senate Democrats should be to blame, very

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you`re prepared to let that happen?

BOEHNER: Certainly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A disaster unfolding right now in snow-bound West

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A single CSX train car went off the tracks causing
a massive explosion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jurors watched a videotaped confession from the
man accused of killing American sniper Chris Kyle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Routh has pleaded not guilty by reason of

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Punishing snow, brutal wind and dangerous ice
brought much of the South to a stand still today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re in South Boston. You see the mound behind
me, 100 feet high. The excavators and the backhoes are pushing the snow

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Haven`t been the best for business, but the kids
have fun, and everybody gets to take a break.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, yes, yes! We got it, baby! We got it!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forty years of comedy and pop culture packed into
a three and a half hour show.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And today, everyone is sharing their favorite

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A dramatic escalation of Egypt`s role in the
battle against ISIS.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Punishing snow, brutal wind and dangerous ice
brought much of the South to a standstill today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what if the Department of Homeland Security
funding runs out?

BOEHNER: Well, then Senate Democrats should be to blame.


O`DONNELL: After the Islamic state in Libya released a video last
night, showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians, tonight, a Libyan
newspaper is reporting that some 35 Egyptian farm workers have been
kidnapped by the Islamic State in Libya. Earlier today, the Egyptian
military launched air strikes against Islamic State in Libya in retaliation
for the beheadings.

In Denmark, police continued to investigate Saturday`s terrorist
attack. In Copenhagen, earlier today, Danish police said they arrested two
men suspected of helping the 22-year-old Muslim gunman who attacked a
meeting on free speech, killing a filmmaker and then later attacked a
synagogue, killing a Jewish guard before he was killed by police.

Tonight, President Obama spoke to the Danish prime minister who said
today that there was, quote, "no indication that the gunman in Saturday`s
attack was affiliated with a terrorist cell or the Islamic State.

Here`s more from the prime minister today.


underline that this is not a conflict between Islam and the West. This is
not a conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims. This is a conflict between
the core values of our society and violent extremists.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy
Studies in Washington, Jill Phillipovich.


O`DONNELL: Filipovic. You`d think we rehearsed this. Jill
Filipovic, senior political writer for James Traub,
weekly columnist for "Foreign Policy" magazine. And Asra Nomani, and
journalist and author of "Standing Alone: An American Woman`s Struggle for
the Soul of Islam."

Asra, your reaction to the events in Denmark this weekend?

ASRA NOMANI, JOURNALIST: Well, I watched a video of the sad burning
of the Jordanian pilot earlier this month. And last night, I watched the
video, every second of it, of the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic

And while people may say that these are actions and the actions in
Copenhagen are part of a network, there is a network of ideology that is
fueling this kind of violence. It`s very clear that these men who are
acting in the name of Islam are using the theology of the Koran and the
Hadith, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.

But something else, Lawrence, is happening. If viewers think they`re
in the twilight zone, it does feel a little like that.

These folks are literally chasing the apocalypse. They are chasing
their vision of eschatology or the belief of what end times should look
like. The video of the Coptic Christians beheading was just filled with so
many symbols and signals from Islamic theology, from the return of Jesus
praying behind the Muslim messiah, to so many other accounts, that we have
to be very clear that the danger we have before us is very real and of a
kind that we have to take very seriously.

O`DONNELL: James Traub, your article on "Foreign Policy" is entitled
"The World War Inside Islam", and you say this is a war inside a non-
Western civilization that has overtaken and consumed the West.

JAMES TRAUB, FOREIGN POLICY: Well, yes. And I think when you think
about the Danes, you know, or any of the countries where this has happened
in the West, you ask yourself, what can they do? And you think about what
Asra said, this is an apocalyptic theology. And so, the idea that the West
can, in some say, cure that, in the way that in the Cold War, we were able
to project positive images of capitalism and win an ideological war.

This is an ideological war also, but it`s inside Islam. And so,
there`s a great deal that Denmark is going to have to do, and France is
going to have to do, and the United States is now doing. Those are
defensive actions they have to perform. But I think the only way this is
going to end is by some sort of change, either in Islamic regimes or in
Islam itself. And that`s not going to happen any time soon.

O`DONNELL: Phyllis, your reaction?

is an ideological and religious basis to this crisis. But I think it`s
important that we understand that many of the people who are followers here
are not theologians. They`re not theologically experienced in this.

I would imagine that this 22-year-old kid in Copenhagen who is
apparently responsible for the shootings knows nothing about the
eschatology, about the ideological differences between what are the
standards of ISIS versus al Qaeda. He was in prison until very, very
recently. He was radicalized very quickly by some preacher who had access
to the prison.

This is not someone who is reflecting a different reading of the Koran
than he learned earlier. This is somebody going after the violence.

So, I think when we talk about what can we do, we have to get away
from the idea that we can somehow bomb extremism out of existence. You
can`t do that. You can bomb extremists, you can kill people, but that
creates more. And instead, I think what we have to do is deal with the
circumstances that lead other people to think that this sort of atrocity is
somehow not such a bad idea. That`s something that can be done.

TRAUB: I think that`s a very important point. The thing that
European countries -- it hasn`t happened in the U.S. so much, it may -- I
mean, we can talk about why it hasn`t so far. But France and Denmark and
other countries are going to have to do is how do we distinguish between
the kind of police and maybe even in some cases that military actions
against that very small number of extremists from doing something about the
toxic brew of alienation and anger and embitterment that you find for
example in Paris when people go in there.

A famous French anthropologist who spent years in Sandini (ph), which
is the place near Paris, and the level of embitterment he finds towards
Paris, towards France, towards the republican idea, towards the West,
towards Jews, is really, really deep among people who are not going to kill
somebody. But they are going to be the support mechanism. What do you do
about that?

BENNIS: Well, one thing, if I could just answer that question, what
do you about that? I think we start in places like Iraq where what we do
is, for example, stop the Iraqi government, which the U.S. funds, has
created arms, stop them from doing things like bombing Sunni communities,
which they are still doing, even with the new prime minister who talks the
better talk about includivity and that sort of thing.

They`re still attacking Sunni communities. There still is a Shia
government, not a national government in power that the U.S. is maintaining
and arming and perpetuating. As long as that goes forward, the idea that
we can somehow both bomb ISIS and expect Sunnis to break with ISIS is
simply never going to happen.

O`DONNELL: Jill, to Phyllis`s point, there`s been a long discussion,
certainly since the Iraq war and since the discovery of no weapons of mass
destruction and so forth, that American military actions in the region
actually have had a hand in fomenting a lot of this. And there was no
Islamic State before this kind of military action.

And it`s hard to see where in the Washington policy-making discussions
there is any reaction to that possibility. The menu options always seem to
be the same.

JILL FILIPOVIC, COSMOPOLITAN.COM: Right. Well, no U.S. politician
wants to get up and say we`re not popular.

O`DONNELL: I know, you can`t come up publicly and say it. But if you
stare at the policy choices that they end up advancing and selecting, it`s
hard to detect that there`s any conversation going on behind closed doors
about that possibility.

FILIPOVIC: Right. I mean, one certainly hopes that there is and that
conversation is certainly happening in media. But strategically having the
U.S. go in and drop more bombs and create more acts of violence, I mean,
that`s about the best recruiting mechanism we could offer ISIS right now.

That`s why it`s important to have the Arab states leading this right
now. And they realized it`s very important, too. It`s not as if ISIS is
particularly regionally popular. I think the U.S. taking a back seat on
this and offering aid where we can, but really letting folks who frankly
have the most at stake and the most to lose lead the effort is probably the
smartest thing we can do right now.

O`DONNELL: I want to get some of the details of what happened. I
want to listen to Lars Vilks who was actually the target when this gunman
came in to kill. Let`s listen to his description of what happened.


LARS VILKS, SWEDISH ARTIST: What happened that day was we were
surprised. I mean, it was unbelievable. When things happen, it takes you
a few moments before you understand, this is real. This is real. People
are shooting. I mean, that`s a strange experience.

But this was an occasion which took the police surprise because they,
this guy was better equipped than the police. So, he had an advantage. So
when he starts shooting there, the police had really nothing to go back
with, because they were shooting through glass. And these handguns police
had was not very efficient in that firing.


O`DONNELL: Asra, there has been an expectation that there could be
some sort of copycat action somewhere in Europe about ha happened at
"Charlie Hebdo" when the cartoonists were assassinated. This seems to have
elements of that.

NOMANI: Yes, and I`ve been listening very intently to the others, and
I have to say that, sure, American foreign policy is littered with all
sorts of mistakes and aggression, all, justifiable or not, from Central
America to Latin America to Africa, to Japan. You can justify it. You

But I will say that the one remarkable threat that we are seeing here
is that copycat action or the act of the Islamic State, there is an
ideology that is very much at play here. And what I still see us doing is
tap dancing around that very fact.

You know last time I came, I brought the Koran. And this time I bring
these various copies of the Hadith, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.
These aren`t just actions occurring because of bombing actions of the U.S.,
they are occurring because of an ideology that`s happening and spreading
through our world.

Over the next few days, the Obama administration is going to have the
summit on countering violent extremism. It`s dancing around this idea of
Islamic ideology.

You know, the leader of Denmark is right. We are not at a war with
Islam but we are at a war with an interpretation of Islam that wants to
destroy us. In that way, we better pay attention, otherwise, we`re really
going to end up with troubles here at home also. And I don`t try to put
fear into people, but this is a very true reality that we face today.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to take a break right there. We`re going to
come back on that point. We`ll be back with more on this subject.

And also, later, the trial of the real -- the killer of the real
American sniper in Texas today. The jury heard the defendant`s confession,
his video confession in court. That`s coming up.



O`DONNELL: That was the dramatic scene in West Virginia after a train
carrying more than 100 tankers of crude oil derailed today about three
miles south of the state capital of Charleston. And at least 14 tankers
caught fire, and a few hundred people have been forced to evacuate.

At least one of the tankers went into the Kanawha River, upstream from
a water treatment plant that provides water for about 2,000 people. That
plant had to shut down.

The tanker cars were loaded with crude oil from North Dakota. One car
plowed into a house which triggered an explosion. So far, only one person
has been injured, treated for smoke inhalation.

We`ll be right back.


O`DONNELL: We`re back with Phyllis Bennis, Jill Filipovic, James
Traub and Asra Nomani.

Asra, I just want to go back to you on that. You`ve cited the Koran
on this program and also you just talking about various things that
Muhammad has said, and you approach those things critically, and yet, you
are a Muslim woman.

How do you balance your faith and your religion with these criticisms
you have of these elements of it?

NOMANI: Well, I, you know, find kindred spirit in folks like
feminists in the Catholic Church and feminists in Mormonism, who challenge
the traditional doctrine as I am doing in my own faith.

What I ultimately believe is that Islam was brought into the seventh
century as a progressive faith. And we need to return to that spirit of
progress and basically remove hundreds of years of antiquated
interpretations of religion mostly by men, and ones that really are not
compatible with the 21st century.

So, I am a liberal Muslim. I believe in a school of Islam that we
call Islamic feminism, one in which women do not have to cover their hair
with a scarf, where women can marry outside of the faith, where you can
interact with peace and prosperity, with others of other faiths. And, you
know, women can drive cars.

I mean, there`s just so many interpretations of Islam that we`ve now
inherited into the 21st century that are basically the work of men who want
to use religion to suppress women and others. And the Islamic State, is,
to me, enemy number one in -- among Muslims like myself who want to have a
progressive feminist interpretation of Islam in the world, because we also
are their enemy, and, you know, they would as quickly want to remove us
from this earth as they would a Coptic Christian or a Jordanian air force

I mean, this is truly a battle within Islam. And the place that
others outside of the faith can help us is by having honesty and being very
real about the issues. Not giving Islam a pass in the way they wouldn`t
their own faiths.

O`DONNELL: James, I want to go to what happened with the attack on
these Egyptians, and now capture of more Egyptians. This looks like a
dynamic that`s going to continue.

TRAUB: Right. Here`s my concern. So, Jill rightly said that it`s
important that regional powers be part of this, including the military
aspect of it. But I actually think that they`re acting even less
strategically than the United States.

So, you have the Egyptians as well as the Emiratis who decide that
there`s a battle between the good guys and the bad guys. The bad guys are
called Islamists, the good guys call themselves secular, and the Egyptians
and Emiratis have been basically helping the so-called good guys.

You know, you`re not going to solve the problem until there`s some
kind of political solution where these two sides, neither of whom are going
to conquer the other, in some way, get together. And if the local states
are going to be giving tremendous military aid to one side, it`s going to
keep that conflict bubbling forever.

There is a U.N. negotiator whose trying to bring these two sides
together. It`s unlikely, it`s not impossible. To me, that`s the big game
in Libya right now.

BENNIS: I think this is exactly the kind of conversation that needs
to be going on in the United States. This is what needs to be happening in
Syria. You know, the idea that there were two negotiating processes in
Syria that failed. OK. We recognize that. You don`t stop and say well, I
guess we can`t do negotiations, we`re just going to start bombing again.
Except now we`re not bombing to get Assad out of power, because Assad`s on
our side. We`re bombing these guys because they`re the worst ever.

A year from now, we`re going to seeing one else, the Khorasan Group.
Remember, they were about three days, the Khorasan Group, was we were told,
worst than ISIS, and they sort of disappeared, not because they were bombed
out of existence, it`s because they weren`t need for the propaganda value.

So, we have to get back to saying, what is going to end the war in
Syria. That means there has got to be negotiations, there`s got to be
diplomacy, and we have to stop using military force that doesn`t work.

TRAUB: Do you think the U.S. should actually agree that Assad is
going to stay there and work with him?

BENNIS: I don`t think it`s up to the U.S. to decide whether Assad
goes or stays. That`s up to Syrians. What the U.S. needs to do is to be
doing is pushing all of its regional allies and its regional opponents, and
its global opponents and allies to start new negotiations over what are the
terms of a cease-fire, first local, then national, and then an arms embargo
to make it real.

O`DONNELL: And we`re out of time on this for tonight. That will have

Phyllis Bennis, James Traub, Asra Nomani, thank you very much for
joining me tonight.

BENNIS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Irin Carmon will join me with more of from her exclusive
interview with Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


O`DONNELL: On the day before Valentine`s Day, Supreme Court Justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg told Irin Carmon how to keep romance alive.


married, today would be considered -- rather on the young side, I was 21,
Marty was 22. And Marty was an extraordinary person. Of all the boys I
had dated, he was the only one who really cared that I had a brain. And he
was always -- well, making me feel that I was better than I thought I was.

So, we went to law school. And he told everybody, all of his friends,
and he-- he was one year ahead of me. His wife was going to be on the Law

And people looked at me and said, "She doesn`t look like the type
that`s going to be on the Law Review," whatever that type was.

And -- but in the -- in the course of a marriage, one accommodates the
other. So, for example, when Marty was intent on becoming a partner in a
New York law firm in five years, during that time, I was the major
caretaker of our home and -- and then -- a child. But when I was -- when I
started up the ACLU Women`s Rights Project, Marty realized how important
that work was. The kitchen is another story.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is MSNBC national reporter Irin Carmon.
Back with me is political writer for "Cosmopolitan", Jill Filipovic, and
co-host of MSNBC`s "THE CYCLE", the man who needs no introduction here, Ari

Irin, congratulations on the big get. And we learned among other
things that from this interview that Justice Ginsburg has not cooked dinner
since 1980.

personal is political here. She`s been up to a lot since 1980. So, one of
the things that she told me was that her daughter says we need to save
mommy out of the kitchen.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and they`ve done that.

CARMON: But, you know, behind every great person, you know, is a team
of people and, potentially, a partnership that makes it possible for them
to devote so much to their work.

And I think, you know, even Justice Ginsburg`s personal life speaks to
the fact that she was able to sort of achieve everything that she did in
the feminist movement.


It was a team effort. It involved what is, yes, even still a very
egalitarian marriage by today`s standards.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what she said about the big question of
just exactly how tipsy was she at the State of the Union Address.


CARMON: Everybody`s talking about the State of the Union.


CARMON: They`re saying, you said yesterday that you were not a
hundred percent sober.



What I meant was that I had a glass of wine with dinner. And that, on
top of having stayed up all night writing something. And --

CARMON: So, you`re a little bit of a lightweight, as we call it.

GINSBURG: I said, I thought to myself, "Don`t stay up all night."
But then, my pen was hot, and so I couldn`t stop what I was doing.

And then I said, "Just drink sparkling water, no wine." But the
dinner was so good.


And it needed to be complemented.

(END VIDEO CLIP)O`DONNELL: Ari Melber has never been a hundred
percent sober, so he gets that.


He gets that completely. But, Jill, what is this she`s pulling all
nighters. I mean, what is this -- over 80. And this is -- this is nuts.

she`s a phenomenal woman. And she`s an icon for a reason.

And I don`t think any one of us were sober during the State of the
Union, so I appreciate --


-- her disclosure. But, I mean, you know, like Irin was touching on,
here is this woman who has had a phenomenal career, who has had this whole
team of people behind her, --


-- including a husband, including, you know, a daughter who, you know,
pulled her out of the kitchen. You know, she`s now hitting this point
where it seems like she`s really -- she`s looking back, she`s realizing,
you know, she`s not going to retire before she`s ready.

But she does have an opportunity here, as she`s aging, to really start
kind of spelling out what she wants her own legacy to look like.

And it seems like that`s kind of what this interview was about. It
seems like it`s been what several of her other recent interviews have been
about when, for years, she was, you know, sort of still quiet about what
she was doing on the Court.

So, it`s really interesting and, I think, pretty inspiring to see a
woman who`s had a career like hers saying, you know, even at 80, "I`m going
to go ahead and take control of," you know, "the narrative, of the history
of my life."

O`DONNELL: Ari, she said she doesn`t expect Roe versus Wade to be


ARI MELBER, MSNBC ANALYST: Yes, she said that. And I thought what
was very interesting in her discussion with Irin was her emphasis on the
fact that these are not just gender issues, although they come from a
history of sexism in her view and something she`s fought on.

But they also are class issues. And so, she said that, in situations
where women`s rights and women`s health decisions are being encroached
upon, often by Republican State legislatures, wealthy women can still
travel, leave or arrange some other type of private alternative.

And she said this is a class issue, at this point, in our history as
much as it is a gender issue.


O`DONNELL: And, Irin, I was a little Surprised at her, what seemed
like confidence, about Roe versus Wade not being overturned.

CARMON: Right. I wonder if, in some ways, she`s kind of exhorting
her colleagues, --


CARMON: -- she`s kind of playing a long game here and saying, "They
would never do something so radical."


CARMON: The truth is though, that Roe v. Wade will not have to be
overturned to make abortion accessible. There`s an incremental strategy
that`s happening right now.

And the Court is likely to rule on one of these cases that`s coming,
so we`re challenging state level restrictions that make abortion
inaccessible in a practical sense without making it actually illegal.

So, the Court is likely to hear a Texas case.


And, I think, the probably the Justice just doesn`t want to say too
much about it. But it really looks like --


-- they could overrule Roe in all but name.

O`DONNELL: Does she -- is it your feeling that she kind of gets what
sort of celebrity she is. I mean, you showed her the tattoos --

CARMON: Uh-hmm.

O`DONNELL: -- and she kind of knew about that and talked about it,
she felt sorry --


-- for the people who were tattooing themselves.


CARMON: That`s when she`d get a little Jewish --

O`DONNELL: Yes, yes. Talk about that.

CARMON: You know, she is definitely really amused by all of the
adulation. But, more importantly, she`s really interested in having a
dialogue with young women and encouraging them to take out with energy the
same causes that she`s devoted her life to.

So, I think she sees this as an opportunity to speak with young women.
I wonder whether it`s one reason that she agreed to speak with me because
it`s something that I both cover and that, you know, I exemplify in my

In fact, I`m working on a notorious RBG book. Might I mention, it`s
available for pre-order on Amazon.

O`DONNELL: Uh-hmm.

CARMON: And so, I think that this is a point where she can say, the
Court is so cloistered, you know, because we see so little about what
happens outside of the opinions and maybe/or argument.


And there aren`t any cameras allowed in there. But here`s an
opportunity to talk to people about what can be done in the court and how
she is fighting for people who are poor, who are left out of the original
Constitution and figuring out how to enlarge our society to make room for
other people.

O`DONNELL: All right. We`re going to take a break right there and
come back with more of this.



CARMON: So, as you know, I met with your trainer. I interviewed him.

GINSBURG: Yes, yes.

CARMON: Lovely gentleman.

GINSBURG: He said you wouldn`t try out my routine.


CARMON: Someday. I mean, I can`t keep up with you, Justice Ginsburg,
because I heard you can do 20 push-ups.

GINSBURG: Yes, but will do 10 at a time.


And then I -- and then I breathe for a bit and do the second set.


O`DONNELL: OK, well, I guess, she`s 20 push-ups ahead of me today.


CARMON: Yes. To all the people who are saying she`s frail and she
should retire, --


CARMON: -- see if you can beat that.

O`DONNELL: Yes. That`s one of the important things about this
interview -- a lot of talk about her health, specific talk about her health
-- her problems with cancer, where she is now.

And that has been, you know, to put it mildly, grumbling -- loud
grumbling in Washington about why doesn`t she get out of the way, so Barack
Obama can put --


-- someone in, you know. And this is a pretty strong answer to that.

CARMON: She has no intention of stepping out of the way.

O`DONNELL: Yes, yes.

CARMON: I mean, none of us can predict what will happen.

O`DONNELL: In fact, all that -- all that talk has stopped. I think
she has convinced people, Ari, --

CARMON: Uh-hmm.

O`DONNELL: -- she`s not kidding. She`s staying, so you can stop
talking about this.

MELBER: Yes. I think she wanted to answer that directly. I think
what she said, and I know she spoke to Irin about it, is the fact that she,
very openly doesn`t think, in the political climate today, --


-- where this is a criticism of the President or the way the Senate
works, that someone like her, an ACLU feminist, would be the likely pick of
any Democratic president.

She thinks there`s a regression. And I think there`s stats to back
that up in terms of how you define what`s an --


-- acceptable liberal nominee for the Court.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what she said about how things have
changed for her in their deliberations on the Court. And there`s a little
bit of sexist stuff there when she started.


CARMON: In 2009, you said that, sometimes, you`re in a room with your
fellow justices, and you something and no one listens. And then you say it
again. Do you still experience sexism.

GINSBURG: Yes, less than I wanted to. Once, it happened all the time
that I would say something and there was no response.

And then a man would say the same thing and people would say, "Good


That happens much -- much less today.


O`DONNELL: And, Jill, I`ve got to think she`s speaking for millions
of women out there.


FILIPOVIC: Yes. I think a lot of us have experienced that. And I
was actually really impressed that she went on record and said that.

You know, I, like Irin, talk to a lot of people about sexism they
experience. And, I think, a lot of women are really hesitant to say, "I
experience sexism in my job now," especially in a venue where their
coworkers and their bosses might see it.

So, I guess, that`s, you know, one -- one to think about --

O`DONNELL: And we all know --


FILIPOVIC: -- a lifetime appointment.


O`DONNELL: -- we all know the names of her coworkers, --

CARMON: Right.


O`DONNELL: -- you know. I mean, this is just not -- it`s not some
anonymous group she`s talking about.

CARMON: I know, she`ll do like initial --


-- M.E.K. Yes. I mean, I think it`s so fascinating because when she
was first appointed by Bill Clinton, he actually said she`s going to be --


-- neither liberal nor conservative, blah, blah, blah. You heard this
a lot. But she actually had a very moderate voting record on the D.C.

And her first few years on the Court, she was not a liberal firebrand.
She`s really come out of her shell.


She`s become the leader of the liberal wing of the Court. And she`s
enjoying now really, like making her voice heard in the way of the ACLU
feminist that she was before this.

She`s kind of kept that light under a bushel. And, now, she`s saying,
"You know what, I`m going to talk about this life I`ve experienced and I`m
going to talk about the things that really animate me and that matter to

O`DONNELL: And, Ari, that kind of evolution on the bench is such a
common story in the history of the Court among justices.

MELBER: You see that a lot. And what you see now is the Court has
become a highly professionalized technocratic Court.

These are all people who have been judges used to that. It used to be
that we had politicians, governors, other types of individuals who, at
least, as one positive, would have had a very clear idea of what they`re
willing to fight for.

That`s something that politicians have to do. I think, judges have a
lot of tools if they want to lay back or be careful. John Roberts, highly
careful before he got out of the Supreme Court.

FILIPOVIC: Elena Kagan, highly careful.

MELBER: Exactly. So, I think she is someone who has used the time,
though, in power to speak very clearly.

And even when she`s lost some recent cases on civil rights, voting
rights, reading her dissents strongly from the bench, trying to speak not
only to the American public but, I think, to law students around the
country, looking forward to where these cases may go.

O`DONNELL: A very special thanks to Irin Carmon for this interview
and joining us tonight. Jill Filipovic, thank you. Ari Melber, thank you.

MELBER: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the murder of the --


-- the confession of murder by the man who killed the real "American
Sniper," Chris Kyle.



A Texas jury heard the confession today of Eddie Ray Routh, a former
Marine accused of murdering the real "American Sniper," Chris Kyle and Chad

During the testimony of Texas Ranger Danny Briley, prosecutors
introduced the nearly hour-long video of Eddie Ray Routh`s confession the
night he was apprehended.

The judge has refused to make the audio of the video available to the
news media. Before Eddie Ray Routh confesses, he tells Texas Ranger Danny
Briley, --


-- "I Keep talking to Chris, you know. There are a few dozen Chrises
in the world. I talked to another man named Chris who gets sent to another
man named Chris."

"I was thinking about talking to the Wolf, you know, the one in the
sky. The ones in the sky are the ones that fly, you know what I mean, the
pigs in the world."


When he finally admits to killing Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield,
Eddie Ray Routh says, --


-- "I told my sister I had to kill men today. It wasn`t a want to.
It was a need. I had to, get out of that situation today. If I didn`t, I
was going to be the next one up there getting my head chopped."


Joining me now is Dianna Hunt, who was inside the courtroom today,
covering the trial for the "Dallas Morning News." Dianna, one of the
points raised about the confession is, does it show that this person is
insane, was insane at the time of this incident.

How was that evidence delivered today.

quite a contradictory set of comments from him. He clearly told the ranger
he knew that what he had done was wrong.

He clearly was exhibiting signs of rather severe mental illness at the


The question is going to be whether the jury believes he was so
mentally ill at the time of the killings that he didn`t know what he was
doing was wrong. He went back and forth.

A couple of times he said, "Yes, I know I was wrong. I know I was
wrong." And then, a couple of times, he said, "Well, if I had stayed
there, would that have been the right thing to do."

So, he clearly was confused about it. We`ll just have to see what the
jury thinks."


O`DONNELL: And, Dianna, this is the first time that the jury is
hearing his voice, isn`t it.

HUNT: Yes, it is the first time that they`re hearing his voice. He
had kind of a low, gravelly -- he was kind of speaking off the cuff, kind
of tossing lots of really random, --


-- nonsensical stuff. It sounded like complete sentences but it
didn`t make any sense.

O`DONNELL: A sample of it is, from his confession, --


-- him saying, "I can`t just keep eating my soul up about this, you
know. You can`t just let people keep eating up your soul for free, --


-- you know. It`s not what it`s about. It`s about having the soul
that`s in you, for yourself. I`ve got tons of people eating on my soul
right now. Look, I haven`t been able to sleep because I keep waiting for
them to come back and take my soul."

That`s just one --


-- example, Dianna, of what you heard as all over that confession. I
assume, both sides, prosecution and defense, think there are benefits to
them in that confession.

HUNT: Clearly, they do. The investigator, Danny Briley, the Texas
Ranger, said, clearly, he knew what he was doing was wrong.


He confessed to the killing. He wanted to apologize to the family.
He said, "If I could talk to the family, I would tell them I`m sorry for
what I`ve done," that, "if I could do it over, I could do -- I would do it

But, then again, he also went -- said they were stealing and that he
had to kill them before they killed him. It was a very contradictory tape.

I think it probably offered help to both the prosecution and the

O`DONNELL: Dianna Hunt, thanks for joining me again tonight.

HUNT: Thank you.


O`DONNELL: Coming up, Lorne Michaels, the man who everyone thanked
last night for 40 years "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE," tells Matt Lauer how he does



A new poll shows presidential hopeful, Chris Christie`s approval
numbers in his home state of New Jersey are at a record low.


A new Rutgers Eagleton poll has Governor Christie`s job approval among
New Jersey voters at 42 percent approve and 52 percent disapprove. And
only 37 have a favorable opinion of Governor Christie, and 53 percent have
an unfavorable opinion of the governor.


Lorne Michaels, in his own words, next.



MIKE MYERS, ACTOR: Number two, Lorne Michaels.


What can be said about Lorne Michaels that he himself has not already
said --


-- about himself.


I mean, the man is a genius. For 40 years, --




He would say things like, "OK, we`re going to lick all the laugh. But
did it get the right laugh."



O`DONNELL: The "SATUDAY NIGHT LIVE" 40th Anniversary Special was seen
by more than 23 million people, making it NBC`s highest primetime
entertainment special in 10 years.

Matt Lauer talked to Lorne Michaels, Creator and Executive Producer of


MATT LAUER, NBC HOST: You oversee this show literally and

Yes, totally, yes.

LAUER: Figuratively but, literally, your office --


-- is right up there.

MICHAELS: Yes, well, the first --


three days, Monday to --


-- Wednesday, we`re up on the 17th floor.


That`s where the writing is done and, mostly, early production. And
then, we move down here on Thursday, and then it gets fairly intense Friday
night late because you`re locking in the show and changes are still coming

And then the host, very often, is filming until 5:00 in the morning,
and might have started at 6:00 in the morning that day, filming something


It`s always sort of coming together.

LAUER: I`ve worked in this building for 22 years, not as long as you,
but a long time. So, I`ve heard a lot of Lorne Michaels story.

MICHAELS: I bet, yes.


LAUER: OK. And I`ve heard a lot of words associated with you. I`m
going to throw a couple of them at you.


LAUER: Give me a yes or no, --

MICHAELS: All right.

LAUER: -- OK. Youthful, --


-- handsome, youthful.

MICHAELS: Yes. I`ve heard those.

LAUER: Creative.

MICHAELS: Yes, yes. Creative, yes, yes, sure.

LAUER: Powerful.

MICHAELS: Inevitably, now, yes. Yes.

LAUER: Controlling.

MICHAELS: Controlling, you know, sort of has a negative context. I`d
say in-charge. I think people have to know who`s in charge because -- and
everyone has to have a direct route to you.

You know, pretty much, I talk to everyone. And that`s -- and then I
listen, I absorb it. But, at some point, you make a decision and then you
move on.

LAUER: Unflappable.

MICHAELS: Calm, yes.



LAUER: The other word that I hear a lot --


LAUER: -- used with you that surprises me --


LAUER: -- is serious.

MICHAELS: I`m a serious guy, yes, but I`m also -- nothing makes me
happier -- Steve Martin and I -- he called yesterday and he was going over
the jokes, the monologue, and I was so happy laughing because you get --
you can get lost in detail.

And then you go, "Oh, right, that`s the reason we`re all here," is
we`re going to make people laugh. And that generally starts with you
laughing yourself. And that`s joy.


CHEVY CHASE, ACTOR: Live from New York, it`s "SATURDAY NIGHT."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE-OVER: Joy that began 40 years ago with a cast
that reads like a who`s who of comedy, Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan
Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Lorraine Newman and Garrett Morris.


LAUER: I always think that when you plant that seed and those roots
take hold --


LAUER: -- from that first season, that that`s the foundation. Was
that first group of people that you put together the reason we`re sitting
here 40 years later.

MICHAELS: Oh, no question. The show stands on their --


-- shoulders. They were, them and the designers, the -- you know, the
musicians, every aspect of the taste of the show came from really, --


-- you know, seriously creative people.

LAUER: It`s hard to gather and get your arms around those egos. How
did you manage it.

MICHAELS: I think that there was a sort of pseudo-egalitarian aspect
to the show, which was, part of that was the `70s. And part of it was, --


-- you need the others. Everyone, we were all working together. It
wasn`t fair. Sometimes, you cut someone`s piece, and they`d -- they`d
think there`s a bias or they`d --


-- but, mostly, everybody understood that I was just trying to go for
the best show possible each week.


LAUER: It`s well-documented that a couple of the brightest stars of
this show, in the past, --


LAUER: -- flamed out --


LAUER: -- tragically.


LAUER: When they did, did you take it personally.


MICHAELS: No, because, you know, the weirdest part about this show is
you`re just here. And you don`t much leave the building except to go home.

So, when people go away or people go to Hollywood or leave the show,
you stay in touch. But, mostly, they come back. And you see them or --
but they were in a different world then, so --


-- when John died, he was -- he had gone three years, you know, so
it`s a different --


-- power structure out there. Here, it`s a very clear thing of we
have a job to do, we have to get it done.

LAUER: So, do you think, in some ways, leaving that structure, that
power structure here was the biggest problem?

MICHAELS: Yes, and I think structure is incredibly important to
creative people. I think boundaries and structure have to exist.

LAUER: Does it ever bug you when people take a nostalgic view of the
show. In other words, --


-- you hear people say a lot, --


LAUER: -- "Oh, the cast today is not like --

MICHAELS: Oh, yes, yes.

LAUER: -- the cast it was when I was in college."


LAUER: Or, "when I graduated from college."


LAUER: We all have kind of a sweet spot --


LAUER: -- where we view the show. Does it bug you.


MICHAELS: No, not at all. I think that, generally, when people talk
about the best cast, I think, well, that`s when they were high school.

Because, in high school, you have the least amount of power you`re
ever going to have. You don`t get to drive, you don`t have any money.

Staying up with friends late on a Saturday is great. And people
attach to a cast.


LAUER: Do you worry about your legacy. Do you --

MICHAELS: No. I think the thing about -- the moment you begin to,
first of all, talk about yourselves in the third person or begin to think
about where you are or worry about where your museum is going to go, you
know, I think it`s just a major art of the game.

And I love the game too much. And why would you want to leave the
game if you`re good at it. When you`re no longer good at it, then you
disagree for a while and then, --


-- gradually, you will leave.

LAUER: So, you`d segue perfectly into the last question, which is,
you`re here on the 40th Anniversary, --


LAUER: -- will you be here on the 45th Anniversary.

MICHAELS: Yes. I would expect so, yes.

LAUER: So, we end with the best headline we could have. You`ll be
here for the 45th.



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