The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 06/26/13
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: It`s amazing. Thank you, Chris, great show
Thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.
“This law,” he said, “tells same sex couples in all the world that
their otherwise valid marriages are unworthy of federal recognition. This
places same sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second tier
marriage. This differentiation demeans the couple whose moral and sexual
choices the Constitution protects and it humiliates tens of thousands of
children now being raised by same sex couples. This law interferes with
the equal dignity of same sex marriages. By treating those persons as if
they are living in marriages less respected than others, this federal
statute, this law is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.”
When the rulings come out like this in stacks of paper this deep, in
small print and there`s a bunch of dissents and the rulings are long and
the rulings are long and they all come out all at once, it can take a
little time to comb through and find the best stuff. I mean, yes, to find
the bottom line of the rulings, the thumbs up or thumbs down, but also to
find the best quotes. The process of figuring out what the Supreme Court
has just done starts with this, starts with sprinting. The physical
printed copies of the ruling are made available inside the court. And
sometimes reporters themselves, but often interns for news agencies make
sure they`re wearing their fast shoes and grab the physical printed out
copy of the ruling and they sprinted out to folks like NBC`s Pete Williams.
Who knows what part of the ruling to flip to right away, to get to the
bottom line, who wrote the argument, and who dissented and to start looking
for the best quotes.
This may be a digital world, but in Supreme Court, the first word we
all get about what just happened in the Supreme Court happens thanks to
interns sprinting with paper, that is hot off the non-metaphorical presses.
This was the BuzzFeed.com map today showing the route at which the
interns have to sprint at the Supreme Court, to get the ruling from the
court building to where the network TV reporter stand outside ready to
broadcast the news once they get it from the interns. For today`s ruling,
though, the sprinting was not just in Washington, D.C.
Today, the same ruling was also printed out as soon as it was posted
online. It was handed to an intern here – no, wrong clip, here in an
office near the corner of VZ and Broadway. And then the intern, who`s name
is Gabe, with the ruling in hand, sprinted out on to the street and ran
these five blocks up Broadway in Lower Manhattan and ran up the steps of
the building into federal immigration court of New York City and handed
over the ruling while it was still hot from the printer he had taken it off
five blocks south.
And in so doing, by being that fast and making it there in time with
the ruling in hand, Gabe the intern handed over that ruling and in so
doing, he stopped the man you see on the right side of your screen here
from being deported. His name is Steven. He`s legally married to the man
you see on the left side of your screen, his husband Sean.
When Steven ran into a visa snafu of some kind, the fact that he was
married to a U.S. citizen should have been enough for him to not have to
worry about being deported while he sorted out the visa problem. But until
Gabe the intern sprinted into that courtroom today in Lower Manhattan with
news of what had just happened at the Supreme Court in Washington, that
immigration judge in New York was not allowed to consider Steven to be a
married man. His marriage was invisible to the court.
And so, Steven was going to be deported until Gabe the intern arrived
with this in hand and Steven`s marriage with the delivery of this ruling
became legally visible and his deportation was stopped.
The DOMA project was helping Steven and Sean fight their case.
That`s the place where Gabe interns, Sean and Steven`s case is not at all
over it`s not won and settled, but the proceedings to deport Steven stopped
today at 10:30 a.m.
Want to see Gabe the intern who`s the hero here? Look. God bless
him. There`s Gabe. And God bless the sneakers that he wore to work today.
There are not that many cases in a lifetime where a court ruling
instantly changes the circumstances of thousands of people`s lives, that
very day, that very morning it happened, within 30 minutes. But that
There are about 25,000 couples in analogous circumstances to Steven
and Sean, where one member of the couple is an American citizen and other
one isn`t. Those couples prospects and circumstances in terms of
immigration changed dramatically today. Their lives changed radically
For American couples where one spouse is a member of the military,
basic questions like whether you can live on base, whether you can have
health insurance, where you can get the child care for your kids that other
married get on base. Those prospects and circumstances changed
dramatically today. In any case where the things you get because you`re
married redound to you by the federal government, those material facts of
life just changed.
And some of it is going to be instant like stopping Steven from
getting deported today, because Gabe the intern was fast enough. Some of
it is going to take a while to figure out. There were some discussions
today that the Social Security Administration may have a byzantine path to
figuring out how to treat all married couples the same now in terms of
But overall, because of what happened in the Supreme Court today, it
is a matter of how a not if. The if is settled. It`s going to happen.
The federal law signed by Bill Clinton that bans the federal
government from recognizing the marriages of same sex couples, that law is
dead, it is unconstitutional, and now the federal government in its many
iterations will recognize those marriages just like everybody else, it is
as clear as day. It`s right there on page 26. By treating those persons
as if they are living in marriages less respected than others, this federal
statute, this law is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.
Here`s the rub, look at the very next line of the ruling. This
opinion and its holdings are confined to those lawful marriages, those
lawful marriages that already exist. So that means that every same sex
couple who is married or who will be married in the dozen states that allow
that now, they just had their lives changes dramatically, you now will have
all the rights straight couples get federally. That means Social Security
and the military and all that. All federal issues will now redound to you
just as they do in to every other married couple in the country.
That said, if you live in a state that does not allow same sex
marriage, even after these rulings today, you still cannot get married.
This ruling does nothing for you, yet.
Today, during MSNBC`s coverage of these rulings, Chad Griffin from
the Human Rights Campaign was asked, what he plans to do next, now that
these cases have been won in Washington. The DOMA case and the California
Prop 8 case.
Griffin said he was going to go to California to celebrate in
California, but then tomorrow he was going somewhere else to get back to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHAD GRIFFIN, HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN: It also says to that young
person in Hope, Arkansas or Altoona, Pennsylvania, that marriage equality
is coming to them very soon. This entire team is on our way to California
to celebrate tonight and tomorrow morning I wake up and fly to Salt Lake
City Utah, to a red state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: To salt lake city? To Utah. Utah, where same sex marriage
is most assuredly not legal.
The reason you go there next, though, is because here`s what`s going
to happen. Some happy couple looks like Sean and Steven, maybe, right?
Some happy couple who`s married in New York or married in Iowa is going to
get transferred to Utah for work, and that couple with their kids, pay
their taxes, own property together, whose lives are totally interwoven,
thanks to all the normal boring stuff that interweaves our lives. That
couple is going to move to Utah, maybe they want to move to Utah and maybe
they got to, it`s a work transfer or whatever.
But then what happens when they get there, what? Utah unmarries
them? Not here, it doesn`t apply? You`re married nationally, but you`re
not married in the state? How does that work?
That does not work.
And then this hypothetical couple arriving in Utah and realizing this
ridiculous situation, they will sue, they`ll say, hey, we`re not looking
for a fight here, this does not make sense. We cannot be legally married
and not legally married at the same time. It can`t be the federal
government and the state we came from and the state we got married say that
we`re legally married but now that we`re here, it doesn`t count, it doesn`t
So they will sue. And you know what? They will win because of what
happened today. It was 10 years ago today the same justice who write
today`s opinion striking down DOMA wrote the decision in a case that
declared sodomy laws to be unconstitutional. But the conservative justice,
Antonia Scalia, was having none of it. His side lost the argument, but
Antonin Scalia wrote a dissent in the Lawrence case that day, that has
become legendary over time from the sheer level of rage.
Aside from the sheer joy, though, of seeing Justice Scalia ripped
through page after page of bigamy, incest, adultery, fornication,
bestiality, deviant sexual intercourse, obscenity, masturbation, aside from
the sheer pleasure of seeing Justice Scalia exclamation point himself
through that very angry dissent, that very angry dissent ten years ago, did
get one thing really, really right. Right there on page 15 of the angriest
dissent of all time, he nailed it.
This was from 10 years ago, and Justice Scalia was furious about
this. He said the Texas statute undeniably seeks to further the belief of
its citizens that certain forms of sexual behavior are immoral and
unacceptable. The Bowers decision held that this was a legitimate state
interest the court today reaches the opposite conclusion, the Texas statute
it says furthers no legitimate interest.
If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is no legitimate state
interest, then what justification could there possibly be for denying the
benefits of marriage to homosexual couples? Right. I think I feel
differently about that than you do. But right.
Justice Scalia raised this point in horror 10 years ago, 10 years ago
today. On the last big gay rights case that had its majority opinion
written by Justice Kennedy. He was saying, you realize this ruling means
gay people are going to be able to get married, right? You realize that?
Yes, Justice Scalia, we realize that, and indeed Justice Kennedy
today cited that 10-year-old ruling twice, when he wrote today that the
federal government has to recognize all marriages that are recognized in
the states, even if some of tm have the gay.
But on this specific issue of Utah, what happens now in states that
do not recognize all marriages? Everybody`s been saying all day today that
the court is essentially silent on Utah. The court doesn`t say anything
about states where same sex marriage isn`t legal.
It`s not really true. Once again, just like he did 10 years ago,
Justice Scalia is pounding his chest and raging into the night angrily that
his battle against gay rights is over, it`s over, because of this latest
ruling. When that hypothetical couple that moves to Utah sues to try to
even make Utah recognize that their marriage – that is recognized by the
federal government should be recognized by Utah too. When that happens,
Justice Scalia says that today`s ruling is going to give them everything
they need to win that case and make Utah recognize same sex marriages as
He said in his dissent today, the view that this court will take
about state prohibition of same sex marriage is indicated beyond mistaking
in today`s opinion. He quotes all the court`s reasoning why the federal
government has to recognize same sex marriages and then he says this, how
easy it is, indeed, how inevitable to reach the same conclusion with regard
to state laws denying same sex couples marital status.
He says it is only a pretense that today`s prohibition of laws
excluding same sex marriage is confined to the federal government. He says
the other shoe will drop about state laws banning same sex marriage, quote,
“later, maybe next term.”
Do you think he`s right? He was right 10 years ago today. He was
right the last time.
If today`s rulings mean not just that marriage equality will be true
again in California, and that 100 million Americans will live in states
that afford not just skim-milk second class marriages but full class
marriages even if you`re gay, if it doesn`t mean just that, but it also
means beyond even those things, by the way, this also paves the way for all
50 states to recognize marriages equally, fully equally, much to Antonin
Scalia`s evident horror? Well, then, today is a bigger day than it seemed
Kris Perry and Sandy Stier were two of the named plaintiffs in the
California case, in the Prop 8 case that was decided today alongside DOMA.
Watch how they put it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRIS PERRY, PROP 8 PLAINTIFF: We believed from the very beginning
that the importance of this case was to send a message to the children of
this country, that you are just as good as everybody else, no matter who
you love, no matter who your parents love. And today, we can go back to
California and say to our own children, all four of our boys, your family
is just as good as everybody else`s family. We love you as much as anybody
else`s parents love their kids and we` going to be equal.
SANDY STIER, PROP 8 PLAINTIFF: We thank the justices for letting us
get married in California, but that`s not enough. It`s got to go
nationwide and we can`t wait for that day. It`s not just about us, it`s
about kids in the South, it`s about kids in Texas, and it`s about kids
everywhere. And we really, really want to take this fight all the way and
get equality for everyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Everyone in this entire country. It`s about kids in the
south, kids in Texas. Not just theoretically in the future, that`s what
this ruling today is about as well. This went way further than everyone`s
giving it credit for.
Kris Perry and Sandy Stier join us next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TIM HUELSKAMP (R), KANSAS: With this decision, the courts have
allowed the desires of the adults to trump the needs of children. Every
child deserves a mommy and a daddy, and with this decision they undercut
the needs of our children.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Republican congressmen trying to make it seem like bad news
drowned out by the screams of approval and claps for the plaintiffs in the
case coming down the front steps of the Supreme Court.
Joining us now are Chris Perry and Sandy Stier. They are two of the
plaintiffs who challenged and helped defeat Prop 8 in the Supreme Court
today. For their sake they say, and their own four kids, and the sake for
kids everywhere, they already made it back to the West Coast with the
celebration of what they accomplished, in West Hollywood.
Ms. Stier, Ms. Perry, congratulations. Thank you so much for being
STIER: Thank you, Rachel.
PERRY: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: I`m kind of amazed you can hear me. Can you tell me what`s
going on there in West Hollywood?
PERRY: There`s a lot of celebrating here in West Hollywood, from
what we understand, it`s happening all over California. We just got back
from Washington, D.C., and the Supreme Court, and to tell you the truth,
we`ve just seen something here that has made us feel happier and prouder
than anything we ever could. So, yes, we`re really, really happy to be
MADDOW: I guess my sort of inappropriate question to you was going
to be if you are totally fried about this experience or if you are capable
of being newly happy about what happened today?
STIER: We`re really happy about today. I mean, today, we had a
double win. We had marriage equality in California and the federal
recognition for every American for same sex marriage in those states where
it`s legal. And so, we feel really victorious this evening, it`s a
tremendous day for us, for our families, it`s a tremendous day for our
country and certainly for California.
MADDOW: Sandy, am I right you are originally from Iowa?
STIER: I am.
MADDOW: Iowa started – Iowa started to recognize same sex marriage
four years ago. So, you got the fight in Iowa, which you have (INAUDIBLE),
you have the fight in California, which you are very much part of, this two
very different states, two different parts of the country, does that give
you any feeling or insight as to what the rest of this fight is going to be
like for the rest of the country?
STIER: Well, I have to say being a native Iowa and a person who
loves the Midwest certainly, I can`t help but notice when I go back to
Iowa, people seem fine with same sex marriage there. Iowa`s going along
I think Iowa is a great example of how people who are fairly
conservative in nature and very pragmatic can really see that the most
important thing about marriage equality is the key word, equality. Iowans
believe in equality, and Californians have equality, too. I certainly hope
this important thing can be rolled out to the rest of the country as soon
MADDOW: Kris, I know you two first got married in 2004, when San
Francisco first started giving licenses to same sex couples. How did it
change your life and your life with your boys for you two to be married?
And does that change again now just as much now with the DOMA case, meaning
you will have federal rights as well?
PERRY: It changed everything, Rachel. Someone who came out when
they were 18 years old and have been out for 30 years, I never really
understood how powerful that would be to me personally or to Sandy and I or
to our kids. But after having been married in 2004, and now, I`m on the
cusp of being married again legally in California, I feel like it does
something for us that no other institution can do. It delivers more
benefits, more security, more permanence and more protection than any other
institution in the United States.
And it`s why we fought so hard, not for ourselves as much as for our
own children and everybody else`s children who made themselves be gay or
have gay parents, or just know someone that is, and they can treat other
people with dignity and respect because frankly when the country comes
together around something that we agree on, we do great things. And I
really feel like what happened today, the Supreme Court helped California
come together again after having been divided for a long time.
MADDOW: Sandy Stier and Kris Perry, plaintiffs who helped defeat
Prop 8 today and who made a big personal sacrifice deciding to fight this
rather than just hope for it. Thank you for your activism and
congratulations – savor it, enjoy it.
PERRY: Thank you.
STIER: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. So, there was this moment on MSNBC today where
the president called – President Obama called the two women who we just
spoke with, called Sandy and Kris and the other plaintiffs from Prop 8,
they called them on someone`s iPhone outside the Supreme Court. And they
took President Obama`s call live on TV, during Thomas Roberts` show. It
But did you hear what happened when President Obama called the other
plaintiff in the other case today? She is 84 years old. Did you hear what
she said to him when he called her? Hold on, that`s coming.
MADDOW: So, they were apparently at the apartment of Roberta Kaplan,
Robbie Kaplan, who had been Edie Windsor`s lawyer. And her case
challenging the federal law that banned recognition of Edie`s 44 year
marriage to Thea Spyer. They were waiting to hear what the ruling in the
case was going to be, this case of an 84-year-old woman suing the
government because they socked her with a huge tax when Thea died as if
Thea and Edie had been strangers to each other instead of a married couple.
And then they heard they won the case. And President Obama called to
say congratulations and Edie got on the phone and said, “Hello, who am I
talking to?” “Oh, Barack Obama I want to thank you, I think your coming
out for us made such a difference throughout the country.”
And then, later, they went down to the LGBT community center and they
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: If Thea were here, (INAUDIBLE) what do you think she`s
thinking right now?
EDIE WINDSOR, DOMA PLAINTIFF: You did it, honey.
REPORTER: Are you sure you`d win when you were waiting for the
WINDSOR: Now, when we were waiting for the ruling, no, no. I
prepared three speeches. I didn`t allow myself to assume we`d win, OK?
That`s an intriguing – I thought we had every right to win, I thought our
arguments were sound and everyone else`s were insane. I lucked out when
Robbie Kaplan, litigation partner, Paul Weiss, walked into my life.
At the time when the gay organizations that I approached responded
with wrong time for the movement, Robbie Kaplan said as Martin Luther King
before her, there is no wrong time to seek justice, and we won all the way.
So, thank you from the bottom of my heart, Robbie Kaplan and your
partners at Paul Weiss, for making this all possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us now is Robbie Kaplan, litigating partner at the
legal firm Paul Weiss.
Ms. Kaplan, thank you very much for being here.
ROBBIE KAPLAN, LITIGATING PARTNER, PAUL WEISS: It`s a pleasure.
MADDOW: I`m going to ask you the same question I asked Sandy and
Kris a moment ago, are you too fried to have human emotions at this point?
Are you actually psyched? Or can you note fell anything?
KAPLAN: I think the answer is I`m not yet too fried. I`m about as
psyched as I could possibly be right now.
MADDOW: Let me ask you about the point Edie made today, when you guy
held your press conference, saying that you took this case at a time when
strategically a lot of other people thought she was not the right case,
this was not the right vehicle.
Why did you know to take it?
KAPLAN: I think there`s so much about this case that tells a story
about what was so wrong – and I`m so glad to say this, what was so wrong
with section three of DOMA. The idea that someone would have to pay a huge
tax simply because they were gay, which is what the estate tax was here,
every American understands what it`s like to have to pay a tax that`s
unjust. This was a tax on being gay.
Edie`s age, the 44 years of their relationship together, the fact
that Edie nursed Thea through multiple sclerosis, by the time they got
married, Thea could only lift a finger because of the paralysis of the
disease, any one of us would be so lucky, young or old, gay or straight, to
have a spouse like Edie Windsor and I think all Americans today fully
understand and appreciate that.
MADDOW: Strategically, thinking about what the court might have done
today, there was a discussion that they could rule against gay rights, if
they were going to have a positive pro gay rights ruling, it was thought
that they might do it on equal protection grounds, saying that you
shouldn`t discriminate against gay people because they`re gay, or it might
happen on a states rights grounds.
There was reference to states rights, to federalism, that this ought
to be something that the federal government doesn`t do and the states do
it. That was referenced in the ruling, but it seems like it wasn`t the
main thrust of the ruling, is that right?
KAPLAN: I agree. I mean, Justice Kennedy did exactly what we asked
him to do. And one of the things that we said that was so pernicious about
DOMA was – and showed what was really at stake, it was a statute solely
about denigrating gay people, is the fact that it was the first time ever,
in our country`s history, where the federal government failed to respect
the marriage laws of the states. And that that fact showed what was really
going on here, which it wasn`t about anything other than treating gay
couples differently solely because they were gay. And thank God the court
MADDOW: Justice Scalia in this dissent today responded to that point
by saying, well, if you can`t say that – you can`t have laws just because
you don`t like gay people, then we`re really in trouble, and this means the
states are not going to be allowed to decide that marriage equality doesn`t
apply in their state.
This means that it`s going to be struck down in Utah and in Alabama.
He, of course, was horrified by this prospect. I`m less horrified by the
prospect, but I think he might be right, do you agree with him?
KAPLAN: And I am less horrified by that prospect, Rachel. And he
was right about Lawrence, in the Lawrence case you pointed out earlier, in
predicting what happened today. And let`s all hope he`s right today in
predicting with what happened with marriage nationwide.
MADDOW: Do you think he is? I mean, if – hypothetical case, you`ve
got a couple married in New York, moves to Utah, has federal recognition
and no longer state recognition and they sue. The ground that was laid
today in this ruling seems to me to lay a fertile ground for their case
striking down a ban on same sex marriage.
KAPLAN: I agree. Justice Kennedy talked about the dignity of gay
people, the dignity of their marriages and the constitutional right of gay
people just like any other Americans to have their marriages respected
under the law. And I agree with you that the same logic and same
principles should apply.
MADDOW: In terms of what happens next, those fights are not going to
happen both in litigation and political fights. In every state of the
country where there is a gay marriage ban, there`s at least a teeny, tiny
grassroots program trying to overturn it.
Do you, as a litigator, feel like the political momentum and the
legal momentum intersect, that we end up in a different place politically
because of legal cases like we won today?
KAPLAN: Absolutely. I think even if you look at our case, it was
air combination of both the law and the courts winning the case. But
remember when we filed our case, New York had not yet passed its statute
allowing gay couples to marry. That`s why (INAUDIBLE) had to go all the
way to Toronto to get married because New York didn`t have the law.
That law was passed while we filed our case. When I argued in the
Supreme Court, nine states permitted gay couples to marry, today 12 states
plus California plus the District of Columbia.
MADDOW: What are you going to do next? How are you going to
KAPLAN: Edie is the grand marshal of the gay pride parade on Sunday
here in New York, and it`s going to be one city-wide celebration.
MADDOW: That`s amazing.
Roberta Kaplan, the lawyer who represented Edie Windsor, before
Supreme Court, not a Supreme Court litigator before this time, but Edie`s
personal lawyer who took this all the way – thank you for being here.
KAPLAN: Thank you. It was a pleasure.
MADDOW: All right.
To capture people`s attention and imagination in the middle of this
news cycle with these back-to-back whoppers of the Supreme Court and
everything else going on, to be the news with all this other stuff going
on, you pretty much have to stand for 13 hours straight and make your case
without stopping, in front of hundreds of cheering people not letting
anybody else get a word edge-wise.
That incredible story and amazing tape is next.
MADDOW: So, I`ve been on TV all day today, since the Supreme Court
ruling at 10:00 this morning. But if I`m seemed punchy, it`s not because
of that. It`s because before all of that, I was up all night long watching
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MADDOW: That incredible story is coming up. Stay with us.
MADDOWE: When Texans stormed their statehouse last Thursday to stage
a citizens filibuster of the new Texas abortion ban, it was a struggle to
report on it well on the national level. The video we have was a raw feed
provided by the legislature itself and, frankly, it was just a terrible
Even on Sunday when the sponsor started going off about rape being no
problem because a rape kit can clean her out, even with that amazingness on
tape, still the tape itself is terrible. It`s hard to make a state story
into a national story unless you have a good visual way to tell it. With
this Texas story, that was not case, until the “Texas Tribune”, all hail
the “Texas Tribune”, we were covering the story for days but with
difficulty, until the Texas tribune set up a crystal clear live stream of
the proceedings in the Texas legislature, gavel to gavel, come what may.
And, by now, most people who would be concerned if 80 percent of the
Texas abortion clinics were closed, or abortion were banned after 20 weeks
in Texas, most of those people anywhere in the country now are now aware of
the action, and the news and the drama that the “Texas Tribune” helped to
show the world with that camera and their reporting.
Senate Democrat Wendy Davis announced she was going to filibuster the
abortion ban. According to the rules, that meant she would alone have to
talk only about the abortion bill, by herself, without stopping, without
sitting, without leaving for a second, without a bathroom break, without
eating, without drinking, without leaning on anything, or leaning on
anyone, without violating any of the arcane rules of the Texas state Senate
and she set out to do it for 13 hours. She did it for hours and hours and
hours, live streaming on the video feed of the “Texas Tribune.” Wendy
Davis alone, sort of.
There were thousands of supporters streaming into the capitol all day
long in Texas. They fill the Senate gallery and the rotunda. There were
long lines to get in to see her at work. And for the first several hours
starting at 11:00 a.m., things went pretty smoothly, until about 5:30 p.m.
in Austin, about half way through her 13-hour planned filibuster, Senator
Wendy Davis was challenged by one of her Republican (AUDIO GAP). He
accused her of going off topic.
The anti-abortion crusading Republican lieutenant governor who was
presiding over the chamber at that time agreed with the Republican senator
and Wendy Davis had strike one against her. An hour later, they did it
again. When a fellow Democrat asked for some of Wendy Davis` testimony to
be repeated, Senator Davis took the opportunity to put on a back brace to
help her keep standing for all hours. A colleague her a hand fastening the
back brace, and boom, Republicans objected to that, inappropriately
touching the filibustering senator.
So, that was strike two, she can only have three of these things go
against her before it kills her filibuster. She already had two strikes of
the three she`s allotted with five more hours still to go. So, it`s
basically zero margin for error under a microscope of a room full of
adversaries, looking for errors, everybody was watching, everybody was
watching. Even the president of the United States was watching according
And then, at about 10:00 p.m. in Austin, there was strike three.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. GOV. DAVID DEWHURST (R), TEXAS: Senator Campbell, your point of
order is well taken and is sustained. The chair –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Republican senator jumped out of her seat to accuse Wendy
Davis of going off topic when she talked about the financial effects of a
previous anti-abortion bill in Texas. Cue the freak out in response, in
the gallery, in the rotunda and all over the Internet.
The spectators in gallery shouting, “Shame on you, shame on you, let
her speak.” They know this is strike three, right? They know this could
stop the whole thing. From the rotunda, people started yelling “Wendy,
Wendy”. All heard loud and clear in the Senate chamber.
But it was three strikes. Three strikes against her and Wendy Davis
and the Democrats seemed like they were out on a technicality, two hours
short of the time they needed to run out in order to kill the bill.
Except, how do you defeat a technicality? With another technicality.
Parliamentary inquiries. Democrats started lining up and asking
parliamentary questions of the presiding officer. One Democrat who had
been absent from the Senate, while she was planning her father`s funeral,
she asked, what happened while I was gone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE SEN. LETICIA VAN DE PUTTE (D), TEXAS: Mr. President,
parliamentary inquiry. Since I was not able to be here on the floor, since
I was at my father`s funeral, I ask that you please let me know, what were
the three motions, or what were the three points of order so that I may
understand. I was not here, and I do not know and I was not looking online
because I was at my father`s funeral. Would the chair please advise me?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I was dealing with the fact that my father was just killed
in a car crash, could you please fill me in as to what happened.
Meanwhile, the throngs of Democratic supporters remained riveted, staying
very vocal, as Democrats strung the proceedings out toward midnight, for
two more hours, the Democrats successfully stalled, with questions about
procedure, until 11:45 p.m. local time. At that point, they are 15 minutes
away from the finish line, with everything on the line, and tension running
very high, and the same Democratic Senator Leticia Van De Putte, who had
been absent for her father`s funeral, she rose to make what would be the
final parliamentary inquiry.
And with time winding down, this proved to be the game changer,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN DE PUTTE: Mr. President, parliamentary inquiry.
DEWHURST: State your inquiry.
VAN DE PUTTE: At what point must a female senator raise her hand or
her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The cheers started, they did not stop. From that moment
forward, it was sort of pandemonium, the gallery in a steady roar that did
not stop, ultimately cheering and clapping, and chanting, and making just
auditory chaos. And the Republicans tried and failed to restore order for
the next 14 minutes as the clock wound down toward the midnight deadline.
In minutes, the session was going to be over and the anti-abortion
bill would be blocked. But it was not over yet. Presiding Republicans
amid this tied of noise and protest and energy tried to call a final vote
on the passage of the bill anyway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The secretary will call the roll.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brown, Campbell, Corona, Davis, Dual (ph),
Duncan, Ellis, (INAUDIBLE), Frazier (ph), Garcia, (INAUDIBLE) –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Members, we are in the middle of a vote. The
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Taylor, (INAUDIBLE) –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We call order in the chamber, so members can
properly cast their vote.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: West –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The cheering continued all the way to midnight and,
therefore, into the new day and past the deadline. The cheering crowd and
the Democrats had run out the clock in the end by bamboozling the
The special session was done, it was over.
Now, Republicans who had held Wendy Davis to the individual pixels of
the letters of the law about her filibuster, down to the point where they
would not allow anyone help her fasten her back brace, those Republicans
surely would not break the rules by passing a bill into law after the
deadline, after the official midnight end to the legislative session?
Would they do that?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED SENATOR: It`s 12:00. It`s 12:00.
SECRETARY: Ester, Fraser, Paxton, Rodriguez, Rodriguez.
UNIDENTIFIED SENATOR: Mr. President, what time does the session end?
Midnight. You can`t take a vote after midnight. There`s no session.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The clock has struck midnight. Thanks to the cheers and
jeers of the people at the capitol and the Republicans not knowing how to
respond, the yelling in the room and the chaos with the Republicans not
being able to get it together, it did prevent the Republicans from killing
the filibuster effort. So, the Democrats won.
Except the electronic record for the vote that happened after
midnight that happened in the earliest morning moments of June 26th, the
record suddenly flipped to show that the vote had happened on June 25th.
So, it was reported that despite the marathon effort of Wendy Davis and the
chaotic assistance of her supporters in the gallery, the Republicans had
won and the Democrats had lost, but that was not true. And not only was
that not true, not only had Wendy Davis won, but everybody had seen it
either in person or somewhere on an electronic device elsewhere in America.
Thank you, “Texas Tribune”.
And so the record was corrected and at 3:00 in the morning, the
lieutenant governor of the state of Texas who had resisted Wendy Davis
closed this chapter of political history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEWHURST: Members, regrettably, the constitutional time for the
first called session of the 83rd legislature has expired. Senate bill 5
cannot be signed in the presence of the Senate at this time. And therefore
cannot be in enrolled.
It`s been fun, but see you soon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Sixteen hours after it began, the Democrats` filibuster
worked. And the loud support of the people, the hundreds of Texans in that
gallery worked. Republicans set out to use the special rules of the
special Senate section to try and pass this abortion ban. And Democrats
responded with rules, too, and the Democrats won. And Wendy Davis is a
household name now.
And then a few hours ago, Governor Rick Perry announced he would just
call another session, another 30-day special session so the Republicans can
try again to pass this abortion bill, starting all over from scratch. It
starts Monday all over again. But this time, the looming power of Texas`
demographically inevitable Democratic progressive future is suddenly way
less theoretical than it has ever been.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CECILE RICHARDS, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Hold your applause. First, I
love you guys. OK?
We love you too, Wendy.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
RICHARDS: So the lieutenant governor has agreed that SB-5 is dead.
RICHARDS: The official vote, which was recorded at 12:03.
This has got to continue, because we have started something here that
they can`t stop. We have more fights ahead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was Cecile Richards, the national president of Planned
Parenthood, standing at the center of the Texas Senate gallery rotunda
early this morning g announcing to the crowd earlier that they had won
their fight. I should tell you Cecile Richards is the daughter of
legendary Governor Ann Richards. There`s her portrait there.
And Cecile Richards gave credit not only to state senator Wendy
Davis, who filibustered all day and all night, but also to that assembled
mass of people, look at that, who gathered at the state capitol last night
in order to make that filibuster bill stick.
Joining us now here in New York is a very tired Cecile Richards.
Cecile Richards, thank you very much for being here. Have you slept
RICHARDS: No, but that`s OK. I am running on adrenalin.
MADDOW: Yes. Well, first of all, looking at all recap of it, is
that what it felt like?
RICHARDS: Absolutely. There were folks obviously there on the
Senate floor, but thousands of people outside in the rotunda filling the
capitol. And it was amazing. It was absolutely amazing, I have never seen
anything like it in my history of organizing or as a Texan.
MADDOW: Are you more excited, more surprised to see it happening in
Texas or in other states? Or is Texas due for this?
RICHARDS: I think actually in it was due, I think finally the pot
boiled over, after all the attacks at this legislature, and Governor Perry
have had on women, shutting down Planned Parenthood, ending women`s access
to birth control and other services.
You know, Rick Perry vetoing the Equal Pay Act, I think it was
finally the last straw for folks. And we literally saw people come out in
droves, men, women, of all ages from all parts of the state. And then of
course, the added thing which you covered earlier is more than 175,000
people were watching live stream at midnight.
MADDOW: Yes. All over the country.
RICHARDS: It was amazing.
MADDOW: You know, the vote is not close on these things. When the
votes finally do happen both in the Senate and assembly, the Republican
side of these things win handily, because the partisan base there in the
state legislature is very heavily Republican.
But seeing that happen, and thousands of people and seeing all the
national support for this, Texas Democrats taking a stand it is hard to see
how the pressure doesn`t ultimately have to reach down to eventually
Democratic gains in the state, is there a reason this doesn`t happen?
RICHARDS: No, absolutely you`re right. I mean, I think a couple of
things. One is, of course, redistricting has been so gerrymandering, that
the Democrats don`t have a fair shot in a lot of these districts.
MADDOW: And that`s going to get worse with the Voting Rights Act –
RICHARDS: Absolutely. I mean, Wendy Davis has be their number one
target and obviously for a good reason. She is an extraordinary senator.
So I think that that is one piece of it. But the other is, Texas is
trending a different way. I mean, you look at young people, Latinos,
women, they do not support the agenda of Rick Perry and his legislature.
And I think when we saw this kind of activity and the enthusiasm of folks
and their activism, all this did is put accelerant on the process that`s
already going in Texas.
MADDOW: That is what it seems like looking in on it. Seeing just
the changes of happening inside the Texas Democratic Party, seeing the big
organizing effort that`s happening there, specifically on this abortion
ban, on this bill in Texas, obviously, it would have a huge effect on
millions of American women.
Texas Governor Rick Perry has called for a second session. Do you
think it will be possible to stop in yet another second session?
RICHARDS: We`ll see. I mean, look, this bill is so extreme they
couldn`t pass it in the regular session, right?
RICHARDS: So then he had to call a second session, where as you saw
in your report, they gerry-rigged every rule they could, they change the
rules even on the floor of the Senate last night. They still could not get
Now, he is calling them to another special session just for the
political position of trying to pass the bill that isn`t supported by the
people of Texas.
So, I don`t know what will happen ultimately, but I can tell you
every person who was there last night will be back with 10 more people.
MADDOW: It`s going to be the same strategy.
MADDOW: Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood president, here, just
jetting in from Texas after a very long night. Just a remarkable scene
there in the rotunda. This is a huge organizing coup for you. Thanks for
helping us understand it.
RICHARDS: Hey, absolutely. Thanks for covering it.
MADDOW: I appreciate it.
All right, Cecile Richards is Planned Parenthood national president.
All right. That does it for us tonight. I got to tell you, days
like this in the news are energizing, but I`m not sure how many I can take
in a row. So, here is hope for a real boring day tomorrow.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Have a good one.
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