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Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 06/27/15

Guests: Kelly Brown Douglas, Julian Zelizer, Kai Wright, Lonnie Randolph,Ari Berman, Matthew Fogg, Kenji Yoshino, Susan Sommer, Jennifer Pozner,Salamishah Tillet, Keija Minor, Jamie Kilstein

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR: This morning, my question -- how will Gracely Boggs celebrate her 100th birthday? Plus, weddings! Now everybody is planning them. And President Obama`s big win at the Supreme Court. But first, "Amazing Grace in Charleston, South Carolina. Good morning. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. And we have a lot of stories to get to today. But first, an update on the fugitives on the run in upstate New York. 21 days after escaping from New York`s Clinton`s correctional facility, inmate Richard Matt was shot dead by federal agents Friday afternoon. The whereabouts of Matt`s co-escapee, David Sweat are unknown at this hour. Matt was shot just more than 30 miles away from the maximum security prison near the town of Malone. Joining me now from Malone, New York, is NBC News correspondent Chris Palone. Chris, what`s the latest? CHRIS PALONE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Melissa. In just the last few minutes, I saw a search team checking a house and its property just beyond the checkpoint you see behind me here on the banks of the Salmon River, south of Malone, New York. Police say they have surrounded a 22-square- mile area where they are actively searching for David Sweat. And over - ever since the sun has come up, we`ve seen many, many state police cars, forestry cars, border patrol, going in and out of this search perimeter as well as crews on foot, also a helicopter circling overhead as authorities try to track down that last remaining escapee, David Sweat. Authorities believe that Sweat and Matt were traveling together. As of last Saturday they discovered both of their DNA in a hunting cabin in this general area. Yesterday afternoon a driver coming through this area heard a noise, thought he might have gotten a flat in the camper he was driving. He stopped the little ways down the road and discovered a bullet hole in that camper. He called police. Police responded to the area where he thought he got that gunshot into the camper, and they found a hunting cabin that apparently had been broken into. They smelled the fresh gunpowder, as if a gun had gone off and, moments later, they say that they spotted Richard Matt. They ordered him to put his hands up. When he refused, they say that`s when police shot him. He was discovered with a .20-gauge shotgun. Now, police say they believe the pair was traveling together, but they have no evidence of that. Nobody has seen David Sweat to confirm that they were traveling together. But police are pretty sure that they have not split up, and that`s why they are still in this area. The words that law enforcement are using to NBC News, hot on the trail, things of that nature. So 22 days after this prison escape some 20 to 30 miles away from here, police believe that they are bringing this to a close, but David Sweat continues - yeah, David Sweat continues to elude police at this time. Melissa. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to NBC`s Chris Palone in Malone, New York. We turn now to news this week in South Carolina. This week began the first of a long line of home going services for the nine members of Charleston`s Emanuel AME church who are murdered in a massacre last week during a Wednesday night bible study. On Thursday the family, friends, and fellow parishioners of 72-year old Ethel Lance and 45-year old Sharonda Coleman- Singleton were joined by political leaders and their remembrance of these women as devoted to family and dedicated to the church they loved. And yesterday Emanuel`s congregation came together once again with more than 5,500 mourners at Charleston`s T.D. arena to honor and bid farewell to their beloved pastor and South Carolina state senator Reverend Clementa Pinckney. Grieving alongside them was President Obama who traveled to Charleston along with first lady Obama, Vice President Biden, and Dr. Jill Biden to deliver the eulogy for Reverend Pinckney. In a rousing remembrance, but at times had him sounding as much as a pastor as a president, President Obama talked of Pinckney`s devotion to the dual callings of his public life in the church and an elected office. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Clem was often asked why he chose to be a pastor and a public server. But the person who asked probably didn`t know the history of the AME church, as our brothers and sisters in the AME Church know, we don`t make those distinctions. Our calling, Clem once said, is not just within the walls of the congregation, but the life and community, in which our congregation resides. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: President Obama uses opportunity to give a lesson on the institution of the black church as a safe haven for those who have often only been able to find freedom within its sphere. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Over the course of centuries, black churches served as hush harbors where slaves could worship in safety. Praise houses where their free descendants could gather and shout hallelujah. They have been and continue to be community centers where we organize for jobs and justice ... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s right. OBAMA: Places of scholarship and network, places where children are loved and fed and kept out of harm`s way. And told that they are beautiful and smart ... (APPLAUSE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes! OBAMA: ... and taught that they matter. (APPLAUSE) OBAMA: That`s what happens in church. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: And reflecting upon the response to the horror that happened at Emanuel AME last week, the president noted the remarkable moments of grace borne of this tragedy. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: This whole week I`ve been reflecting on this idea of grace. The grace of the families who lost loved ones. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. OBAMA: The grace that Reverend Pinckney would preach about in the sermons. The nation out of this terrible tragedy, God has visited grace upon us. For he has allowed us to see where we`ve been blind. (APPLAUSE) OBAMA: He has given us the chance where we`ve been lost to find our best selves. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: And in a speech that echoed the twin passions of Reverend Pinckney`s own life in politics and the pulpit, President Obama knit together his role as both commander and eulogizer in chief by invoking our moral obligation to a policy response worthy of God`s grace. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Perhaps it softens hearts towards those lost young men, tens and tens of thousands caught up in the criminal justice system and lead us to make sure that that system is not affected with bias, that we embrace changes in how we train and equip our police so that the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve make us all safer and more secure. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: And as I listened to the president talk about the meaning we have made from the deaths of the fallen, I also pause to consider the ways in which each of those precious black lives mattered. Simply because they lived. And I was reminded of another moment of lyrically rendered "Amazing Grace" in one of the most powerful moments from her Pulitzer Prize winning novel "Beloved." Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison brings us Baby Suggs Halle sermon in the clearing. Gathering together, the black community in an open space among the tree, she preaches to them these words, urging them to find salvation not in their deaths after their deaths in the kingdom of heaven, but here and now in their very own black skin. She tells them, in this here place, we flesh, flesh that weeps, flesh that lasts. Flesh that dances on bare feet and grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder, they flay it. And oh, my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty. Love your hands. Love them. Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them. Pat them together. Stroke them on your face because they don`t love that either. You`ve got to love it. You. And so even as we bear witness to the transformative grace we have found after the deaths of Mother Emanuel`s sons and daughters I don`t want us to miss the Baby Sugg Halle teaches her congregation that to be beloved of black life is still in and of itself a radical act. Joining me now is Robert Traynham, MSNBC contributor and Vice President of Communications for the Bipartisan Equality Center. Kelly Brown Douglas, professor of religion at Goucher College and author of "Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God." Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and author of "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson and Congress and the Battle for the Great Society." And Kai Wright, feature editor for "The Nation." Kelly, I wanted to start with you because I felt the president was doing a lot of this work around redemption, but also black lives matter, which is an awful lot of what your text is doing. KELLY BROWN DOUGLAS, PROFESSOR, GOUCHER COLLEGE: That`s right, he was. President Obama showed a deep appreciation and understanding for the black faith tradition and the black church tradition. Of course, these are his roots. And in so doing, he revealed that the black church has indeed always been a place as you have said where black people knew that they were free. And they knew this in several ways. One, because the black church provided a free space. It was a sanctuary. It was a respite from a world that always contested their freedom. The black church also provided services that were typically denied black people in the wider world, but it also affirmed the fact that black people were, indeed, sacred beings created to be free. So, that they were created in the image of a god that was free and so it affirmed the freedom of God and in so doing it affirmed the freedom of black people. And so, the black faith tradition has always been in tradition that has affirmed that black lives matter. HARRIS-PERRY: And in that I just want to take -- there was this one moment that the Internet quickly began to say was the blackest moment in American history. And that is simply this moment of President Obama beginning to sing "Amazing Grace" and allowing everyone to join along. Let`s just remind ourselves of that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (singing): Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: And here comes the organ behind it. In something so familiar and yet Kai, I`m thinking what this president did in this moment was to give not only 5,500 people in that room, but all Americans an opportunity to sing "Amazing Grace" with their president. That is quite an extraordinary healing gift in that moment. KAI WRIGHT, FEATURES EDITOR, THE NATION: You can kind of see the organist off camera running to get in place. HARRIS-PERRY: Yeah. WRIGHT: Wait a minute, wait a minute. You know, I think what`s been interesting this week, too, is watching how we as black people have wrestled with the black church and its history in our lives. HARRIS-PERRY: Because it has its problems, too. WRIGHT: Wright. And so, we`ve seen a lot of debate and some really powerful discussion about grace and forgiveness and what role it does and doesn`t play for folks and I have wrestled with that myself in the course of the week. And I have to say, one of the things that was powerful about the president`s speech for me is it helped me land in the right place by reminding me of my own black church roots and particularly that line about this is where you go to be told that you are smart and beautiful and that your life matters. And it is hard for me to imagine arriving where I am today as an adult having not been raised in the black church. HARRIS-PERRY: And I wanted to also -- for me there was an LBJ-like moment as one aspect of this and that just - that invitation to "Amazing Grace" felt not unlike President Johnson`s "We Shall Overcome." That it`s somewhat different, because Johnson is standing in a position of whiteness and using the language of the civil rights movement, but for President Obama to use "Amazing Grace" in that way also felt like an invitation to the collective movement in a way that felt not unlike the "We Shall Overcome" moment. WRIGHT: I think that`s a good point. I mean that was in the voting rights speech in 1965. He comes to Congress. He says we need this bill and he ends it by saying we shall overcome. And he ended the barrier separating Washington from the movement. And here what the president was doing was connecting the church to himself, to everyone watching how we get through this moment, and the speech did have policy in there. And I think that`s important. He`s talking about criminal justice reform, he`s talking about inequality in there, and that`s been the theme of the week from the podcast where he started through that speech, where we have to get to these policy issues if we`re going to deal with the root causes of racism. HARRIS-PERRY: And not an easy thing to do, to both sort of affirm this theological point that Kelly is making, but also a very clear policy point where he`s like, look, we`re going to have to have some voting rights and we`re going to have to address in a very clear way gun control and all the other policies. ROBERT TRAYNHAM, FMR. BUSH-CHENEY SR. ADVISOR: Absolutely. What`s very interesting about this, Melissa is, oftentimes presidential speeches are scripted. There`s a teleprompter, there`s a presidential seal. You know when the president is going to give a policy moment. What we saw yesterday was a president that was president, but also that was black and the blackness was first and foremost -- he was speaking unscripted, if you will. HARRIS-PERRY: I mean really know - I mean, apparently the black president we have been waiting for was showing up the last year. TRAYNHAM: Well, that`s (INAUDIBLE) because I don`t think Barack Obama could have done that in 2010 or 2011. And what you see here, and I`ll probably get in trouble for saying this, but I do believe this, is that the president can be black now. He can be himself, authentically himself. And I`m not sure running for re-election going up to 2012 you would have seen Barack Obama do that. He`s very comfortable with who he is now. HARRIS-PERRY: It`s an interesting question, we talk about the freedom constituted in the space of the black church. There is also a freedom experienced in this moment by this president for a whole many reasons, which we will continue to talk about, because much more on this and on what is happening today in South Carolina. There is news and video about a Confederate flag coming down this morning in South Carolina, and that`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Removing the flag from this state`s capitol would not be an act of political correctness. It would not be an insult to the valor of confederate soldiers. It would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought, the cause of slavery, was wrong. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: That was President Obama delivering the eulogy for Reverend Clementa Pinckney and calling for the removal of the Confederate flag. And just the simple statement that the cause of slavery was wrong. This morning, the flag did come down briefly at the South Carolina state house in Columbia. Joining me now from Charleston, South Carolina, is NBC News correspondent Sarah Dallof. Sarah, can you tell us about the removal of the flag and who removed it? SARAH DALLOF, NBC NEWS: Yes, of course, Melissa. Now, earlier today, the Department of Public Safety noticed a woman going up the flagpole. When they walked over, she was in climbing gear. They asked her to stop. But instead she continued to the top of the flagpole and removed that Confederate flag. She`s been identified as Brittany Newsom (ph). She was arrested by authorities. A man who had gone inside the fence surrounding the base of the flagpole, James Tyson, he was also taken into custody. Both have been charged with defacing monuments. I had the opportunity to speak to Reverend Jesse Jackson, get his reaction to the developments this morning. He says not only was he not surprised this happened, he was actually delighted and said that activists have a way of pushing the envelope. HARRIS-PERRY: Indeed. That is a nonviolent direct action of a very clear kind. Extraordinary video there of the activists doing that work. Sarah, I also want to just check in, because in the midst of the activism, there is also still mourning. There are more funerals scheduled today. What can we expect? DALLOF: We have two more funerals scheduled for three people today. The first begins in just under an hour. It is for Cynthia Lund (sic), she was the manager of one of the busiest library branches here in Charleston County. All of the branches will be shut down today, so her colleagues can attend her funeral. In fact, they`re going to name the library branch where she worked after her. After that, later this afternoon we will have the funerals for 87-year-old Susie Jackson and her nephew, Tywanza Sanders. He was a recent graduate of Allen College. And according to witnesses, Sanders tried to talk to the gunman, to reason with him. When he realized that was not going to happen, he tried to shield the body of his aunt with his own body. Back to you. HARRIS-PERRY: One of the most poignant stories to come out of this tragedy. Thanks to NBC`s Sarah Dallof in Charleston, South Carolina. There is still to come this morning the historic week of rulings from the Supreme Court. But first President Obama`s call for justice is next. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: For too long, we`ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present. (APPLAUSE) Perhaps we see that now. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: For too long we were blind to the pain that the Confederate flag stirred in too many of our citizens. By taking down that flag, we express God`s grace. But I don`t think God wants us to stop there. For too long we`ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present. (APPLAUSE) Perhaps we see that now. Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: That was, of course, President Obama yesterday eulogizing the Reverend Pinckney in Charleston, South Carolina. Joining us now from Charleston is Dr. Ronnie Randolph, president of the South Carolina Conference of the NAACP. Dr. Randolph, you and I were together yesterday there in Charleston. What do you hope that South Carolina political leaders see now if their eyes are, in fact, open as the president says? LONNIE RANDOLPH, S.C. STATE CONFERENCE PRESIDENT, NAACP: Well, first of all, good morning to you and your listeners. And I thought the president gave on yesterday one of his best speeches in the past six years, not because it was about race but because it was about truth, justice and equality of all people. I give him very high -- I give him very high marks for his comments on yesterday, but we`re beyond the commentary now. Let`s get to some action. Again, I mentioned to one of the reporters on yesterday, for 239 years we`ve been celebrating Fourth of July, Frederick Douglass addressed that issue. What does Fourth of July mean to me? That`s been the attitude I`ve had for the last 65 years with Fourth of July. It`s time for us now to move from the verbiage and move to some work. We have educational issues in South Carolina that have not been addressed. We have a plethora of issues that we need to address, education, the criminal injustice system that is improving, but we still need to put it on a fast track and overdrive, and health care disparities. I want to thank the Supreme Court for moving away from their conservative views to a more humane view on this past week in helping citizens to know that there is some help on way. HARRIS-PERRY: Dr. Randolph, stick with us. But let me come to exactly this topic around policy and even around the court. We saw this week another important decision on disparate impact. The court let stand the disparate impact standard. I just wanted to listen to what I swear was President Obama referencing that in the eulogy yesterday. Let`s take a moment. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Maybe we now realize the way racial bias can infect us even when we don`t realize it. So that we`re guarding against not just racial slurs, but we`re also guarding against the subtle impulse to call Johnny back for a job interview but not Jamal. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: It`s not about these murders, because this wasn`t an implicit bias. He was name checking something else. ZELIZER: The fair housing decision, which was a huge one, overshadowed by the other two. The court argued that it`s not simply about intent. It`s about effect. And so that opens up a whole host of issues about racial policy that I think are quite important. He`s clearly referring to that, and it even goes beyond, I think, in some ways how the law was originally envisioned. So if implemented, it could be very effective and powerful. We`ll see what happens. It`s about implementation. WRIGHT: And it speaks to the core debate about race and policy over my lifetime of this difference between whether we are concerned about intent or impact. And a conversation and a policy making frame that switches us to we`re concerned about the impact would be a radical change for how we deal with race and public policy. TRAYNHAM: Besides policy geeks reading the Supreme Court and legal rulings, what the president did yesterday was break it down in layman`s terms, that Johnny is going to get the call-back after the job interview, but Jamal probably is not. And Jamal probably is going to get the job interview, but he won`t get the job. So in other words, people that look like you and I probably have a steeper hill to climb. And again, this goes back to a president that feels liberated to help connect these dots and say, look, America, look inside the mirror here. What type of country do we want to be and are we on the road to that more perfect union? I think we are. But we`re not there yet. HARRIS-PERRY: Dr. Randolph, I want to come back to you for just a moment, because you also said to me yesterday as we were talking about these big policies, you said to me, yes, all of these important big policies, but also it is important to take down that confederate battle flag. What you said to me yesterday is I want to be respected as a citizen. Is that what`s at stake with that flag? RANDOLPH: That`s the issue. At the end of the day, at the end of the day, all of the citizens of the state regardless of their ethnic background, their religious philosophy, they want to be respected as human beings, and, unfortunately -- unfortunately -- in most circumstances and most situations, the laws passed in this state thus far have been more confederate oriented laws than we`ve adopted. Our love for the confederacy we`ve seen in every aspect of government in this state. And it`s time for that to end. And I`m sorry that it had to take the loss of nine lives, but also it took pointing the finger at this state from all over the world. Everybody on planet earth now knows about South Carolina and that South Carolina has some work to do. We don`t want -- we want South Carolina to be a part of the union. We want South Carolina to disengage itself from that secessionist mentality that it`s held since 1860. HARRIS-PERRY: Dr. Lonnie Randolph in Charleston, South Carolina. Up next we come back, I`ll do a little theological work with one of my guests on exactly this idea about the position of death as a way of calling us to attention when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: God continues to shed his grace on the United States of America. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: That was President Obama yesterday wrapping up his eulogy in Charleston, South Carolina. And Kelly, I want to come to you on this. He emphasizes very specifically the United States of America. And I just -- my little theological moment here. From a Christian tradition, we think of that most important moment in the story of Jesus, who is the Christ, that is the death and resurrection. We get very focused on the idea of bloody sacrifice. But part of what President Obama did was to call us back to an African-American tradition that has said, yes, that matters critically, but the other part of it was the life of Jesus of Nazareth, which was about taking sides with the poor and sitting with the dispossessed, and being an actual in life policy maker that affected and changed people in the moment of life. And I just thought there was something important theologically about that move that he does. DOUGLAS: That`s exactly right. First of all, the black faith tradition of course affirms and what`s central is the crucifix and the resurrection. And so what President Obama was doing was suggesting that the meaning of what`s going on here is not simply found in the crucifying deaths of these people. That`s not going to define them. It`s not going to define who they are and who we should be as a nation. The meaning is found in the resurrected realities of new life, a new life in this nation that points us away from the crucifying realities of injustice, to the resurrecting realities of justice and equality, et cetera. I think one of the things that President Obama was doing in this eulogy is stepping into the legacy of President Lincoln`s second inaugural address, John F. Kennedy`s civil rights speech on June 11, 1963, and calling the nation to a point of where it has to make a decision. Is the nation going to be a slave nation or is it going to be a free nation? And so that`s what President Obama is doing. And theologically if I`m going to follow through on your train of thought, then theologically President Obama is saying, are we going to be stuck in the crucifying realities of injustice, or are we going to move forward in the resurrecting realities? HARRIS-PERRY: Are we staying on Friday or are we going to Sunday morning? DOUGLAS: Exactly right. HARRIS-PERRY: Part of what feels important to me as we do that is to remember and to affirm like the relevance of living black people in that process, that it`s not our only contribution to this isn`t to die a horrible death, right? That there`s actual value in the work we`re doing in our existences. DOUGLAS: And he continued to point to the work of the people, of Reverend Pinckney and all of the others, and he suggested that we have to find meaning in the work they did. ZELIZER: I mean, but the other lesson from Kennedy is he couldn`t do it. So Kennedy did get a civil rights plan. HARRIS-PERRY: It was in fact his death that finally did it. ZELIZER: It was, but the deaths in the civil rights era struggle were turned by a movement into an incredible push for legislation, and I think that`s a lesson today that`s important. HARRIS-PERRY: And we see that happening, right? We see these deaths and then we see free Bree scaling the flagpole and bringing it down. At the same time, we also see some proactive bringing it down. You end up with some interesting allies and bedfellows. TRAYNHAM: Robert Bentley, who is a Republican in Alabama of all places, who proactively said this has to come down. You have Nikki Haley, who was out in front, even before people started to call for it, she proactively said this has to come down. HARRIS-PERRY: But it`s because that flag is bad for business, right? I think it`s both saying but it`s also like, when Walmart is like, all right, we ain`t selling it, then the governor of South Carolina, says, well, I can`t really have Walmart pissed at us. TRAYNHAM: Yes, there is a business aspect to this, but there`s also a moral aspect. (CROSSTALK) WRIGHT: All of that is true, but it is also because we have spent the past year with a movement that changed this debate. On Saturday morning somebody was going to climb that pole and take that flag down. HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. And somebody was going to get it on video and we were going to be able to then -- connect it. (CROSSTALK) WRIGHT: That is what is changing and what is important. I think we need to keep -- (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: The movement matters in the context. Up next President Obama calls for an end to the unique mayhem of America`s gun violence. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: For too long we`ve been blind to the unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts upon this nation. Sporadically our eyes are opened. When eight of our brothers and sisters are cut down in a church basement, 12 in a movie theater, 26 in an elementary school. But I hope we also see the 30 precious lives cut short by gun violence in this country every single day. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: That was President Obama yesterday making a familiar plea that we as a country must do something to limit access to guns and stop this unique mayhem of violence. Just so you know, that number that he was talking about, that 30, is about the murders, but I also don`t want us to miss 55 daily suicides by firearms, 55 daily suicides in this country by firearms, two accidents, one by police intervention, and often where one we don`t often know what it is. 89. Nearly 90 deaths a day in this country by guns. Is there any possibility this might be part of the policy conversation going forward? TRAYNHAM: I think the president`s on record as saying there`s no policy avenue for this number to go down. The Congress says -- there`s no appetite for the Congress to bring this up. The Congress has no -- the natural constituency of the Congress, when I say the Congress I mean the Republican majority, there`s no pressure from their constituency to put this up on Capitol Hill. What you saw is the vast silence of the members of Congress in terms of issuing statements and so forth after the gun violence, and what we also saw from presidential candidates, the silence as well. HARRIS-PERRY: Everybody could denounce the racism, but people were not prepared to denounce -- ZELIZER: It`s not the pressure for, it`s the pressure against. In this podcast with Marc Maron early in the week, he talked about this in a visceral moment, where the comedian asked him what`s going to happen. And he says nothing, because the NRA has control over many members. The actuality is that gun sales will probably spike now. TRAYNHAM: They often do. ZELIZER: No, no, he says that. He`s aware-- HARRIS-PERRY: People are thinking to themselves if I`d been in that Bible study armed, then I could have been -- (CROSSTALK) ZELIZER: As the NRA will say. He`s aware of a kind of a broader change needed if there`s ever going to be a policy response to this. WRIGHT: The NRA continues to hold enough threat against you as an elected official where even if this isn`t your core issue -- ZELIZER: In both parties. WRIGHT: It`s not worth -- it`s just not worth the price you`re going to have to pay to fight them, and that`s a tragedy and a shame. And they are literally holding our country hostage. HARRIS-PERRY: But maybe this, more than any other moment then, is the "Amazing Grace" moment for our president. He knows that. He has eulogized these moments. And yet he was still like, all right, one more time, in a week when the ACA stands, in a week when marriage equality becomes the law of the land, I`m not just going to throw up my hands and say it can`t happen. I`m going to say not only in this moment but every single day nearly 90 Americans dying from these -- more than half of them at their own hands. WRIGHT: Now as I have said, how weak and powerless our president is, is a thing I do struggle with. That said, if he would bring the kind of energy he brought on TPP, for instance, on the Trans Pacific Partnership, to gun violence, perhaps we would see some openings. TRAYNHAM: It`s interesting. One can make the argument that the president -- not just President Obama -- HARRIS-PERRY: A president. TRAYNHAM: Have not led on this issue. In other words, get out in front of this issue and use the bully pulpit to educate the American people. Look, the NRA has a strong hold around your member of Congress, but there`s something you can do about this. Let`s have a national conversation. (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: Do you know whose job that is right now, though? Let me just say whose job that is right now, is the candidates. If this is going to be a national conversation, then it would be a national conversation in the context of an election. And so maybe if you had a Democratic candidate or a Republican candidate who wanted to run on this, then that could happen. I want to say thank you to Kelly Brown Douglas for coming in and doing a little work with me this morning. The rest of the panel is sticking around. Up next, one way to honor the work of Reverend Pinckney, protect voting rights. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: The mass shooting at Emanuel AME church in Charleston has reignited the debate over whether to remove the Confederate flag from public buildings. That is a critically important but also in many ways a largely symbolic gesture. But as Ari Berman wrote in "The Nation" this week, so much of the political discussion following the massacre in Charleston is focusing on the hateful symbol of the Confederate flag, but racism and race-based efforts to control the political process go much deeper than symbolism. Take, for example, voter suppression. Even after passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, many African-Americans were still unable to vote, because states and local municipalities continued to use tactics, such as poll taxes, literacy tests, and intimidation to stop people from casting their ballots. And the Voting Rights Act of 1965 signed by President Lyndon Johnson put an end to those discriminatory practices and appointed federal examiners to oversee voter registration in areas where voting rights were endangered. It was a law that many died for and fought for and marched for. A crown jewel of the civil rights legacy that President Obama mentioned yesterday in his eulogy in Charleston, South Carolina. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: He was the progeny of a long line of the faithful. A family of preachers who spread God`s word, a family of protesters who so changed to expand voting rights and desegregate the South. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: In 2013, part of that civil rights legacy was put at risk when the Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the VRA. In a 5-4 ruling the court invalidated a section of the act that required certain jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination to submit any changes to their election systems to the Department of Justice for preclearance. This Wednesday congressional Democrats introduced legislation to restore what was lost in that 2013 ruling. It`s called the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015. Joining me now is Ari Berman, contributing writer for "The Nation" magazine and author of "Give us the Ballot: the modern struggle for voting rights in America." Talk to me about it, Ari. ARI BERMAN, THE NATION: Hey, Melissa, thank you for having me and thank you for blurbing my book. HARRIS-PERRY: It`s a great book. BERMAN: Now it`s official. The bill this week is very significant, because it does two major things. Number one, it forces those states with a history of voting discrimination over the last 25 years to approve their voting changes with the federal government to prevent future discrimination, so that includes 13 states, not just the states of the Deep South but also places like New York and California, where there`s more recent voting discrimination. The second thing it does is it looks at those practices that lead to voter suppression or voter dilution nationwide, and it says if you have a new voter ID law or a new proof of citizenship law or a redistricting or an annexation or a moving of a polling place, that affects minority voters, you have to get federal approval for that, too. So it`s doing two very interesting things. Number one, it`s using the historic protections of the Voting Rights Act to stop discrimination, and it is using a more innovative way, looking at the new forms of discrimination and trying to prevent that, too. So those two parts of the bill I think if it passes - and that`s a huge if -- would be very powerful. HARRIS-PERRY: This is my favorite part of the local color yesterday was when they stepped off Air Force One, John Boehner was holding an envelope that usually people have when they`ve ridden on Air Force One or flown on Air Force One for the first time under a given president, suggesting that maybe this was the first time Boehner flew Air Force One with the president. And I`m just wondering if, in fact, in this moment we might finally get to a point where, for example, a new VRA section 4 is possible because this tragedy brought together two people that apparently hadn`t been together before. ZELIZER: It might. But the Boehner/Obama alliance on free trade is much different than asking for an alliance on voting rights, where the Republican Party has been dug in against this kind of legislation. You`ve had the court go after the bill. That`s where it started. Then you`ve had in the states as Ari has written, a real reversal, an effort to impose new restrictions on voting rights. So I think it will take a big haul. It will take more than a little schmooze on Air Force One to get the Republicans onboard with this very important bill. HARRIS-PERRY: So we`re talking about if gun control is going to become an issue, it`s got to be the next election, but this election will be the first time under a full lack of section 4, section 5 provisions, protections. How much might that actually impact 2016? BERMAN: I think it will have a huge impact. You`re talking about states like Texas and North Carolina, where thousands of voters have already been turned away from the polls in midterm elections. The turnout will be much higher in 2016. There will be many battleground states in the South and elsewhere. And voters really need that protection. I think it`s time for the Republican Party to step up. Robert and I were in Selma together. We were with all these Republicans who went to Selma. It was a very powerful moment to see them there. I think we have to give them a lot of credit for recognizing the history. But we also have to tell them, the fight is not over. It didn`t end in 1965. The fight is still ongoing today, and if you want to honor Selma, if you want to honor Charleston, you have to honor the work for voting rights today, and that is protecting the Voting Rights Act and protecting voting rights writ large. TRAYNHAM: The bill Ari just mentioned a few moments ago, that`s kind of in limbo, if you will, that is not the bill that will pass the Congress. I do think a bill is going to pass. It`s probably going to be watered down. HARRIS-PERRY: It`s not going to be that aggressive. TRAYNHAM: It will be a watered down version. And the reason why is, based on the previous segment, Republicans are feeling the heat right now politically but also emotionally. You can`t live in this political reality without passing some type of a bill. But I don`t think it will be as tough or as stringent as what you said, Ari. It`s not. BERMAN: No, it`s not. But the thing is, the reason they introduced this new bill is because the last bill wasn`t going anywhere, either. Senator Leahy told me -- HARRIS-PERRY: Can they name it after Pinckney? Could you name that-- BERMAN: I don`t think you want to do that. Yes, you can, legislatively. I don`t think Republicans would feel comfortable with that, but I think behind the scenes, they`ll say look, we watch television, too, we`ve seen Ferguson, we`ve seen Charleston, we`ve seen Baltimore. And so thus in the process, let`s not politicize this by putting a name on it. Let`s just say what it is. This is a voting rights advancement act for all Americans. And again, I think by putting a name on it, unfortunately, I think a lot of Republicans will probably shy away from that. Because again, just philosophically, by politicizing this, if you will, I just think that`s not a good strategy for President Obama or for the White House. ZELIZER: You can politicize it with self-interest. There were many Republicans in `65 who understood that if they didn`t come out for this, it wasn`t simply a moral issue. They were going to lose support and the Democrats would rack up a lot of votes for doing this. That could work, partisan competition can work in the favor -- (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: The fight here is for white voters. It`s not just about where black voters are going to go or where Latino voters are going to go. It`s a question of whether those white Americans who walked in the thousands yesterday into that arena, who are feeling in this moment, do they want to be a part of a party that would stand in the way of voting rights. WRIGHT: But the problem is that structurally, in state by state, and Ari can speak to this, this is working. The voter suppression is a successful electoral strategy for the Republican Party, thus far, and there`s not a lot of reason to fix what works. (CROSSTALK) TRAYNHAM: I know you have to go, really quickly, I think voting rights is probably the wrong terminology to use from a PR standpoint. I would take my cues from the LGBT movement. Voting equality is probably something that rhetorically sounds better, and that`s a process that probably would get much more support. HARRIS-PERRY: (inaudible) not only doing political strategy here, but also moving us into the next hour. Thank you to Ari Berman. The rest of my panel will be back in the next hour. In fact, we have much more to come this morning. The latest in the manhunt in upstate New York and the historic week that was at the U.S. Supreme Court. There were some wins this week. Maybe that`s how we`ll get this one (ph). Also the American revolutionary celebrating her 100TH birthday today. There is so much more Nerdland at the top of the hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris- Perry. We begin this hour with the latest on the manhunt for a prison escapee in New York. Twenty-one days after escaping from Upstate New York`s Clinton correctional facility inmate Richard Matt was shot dead by federal agents on Friday afternoon. The other escaped killer, David Sweat, is still on the run. Matt was shot dead just more than 30 miles away from the maximum security prison near the town of Malone. Joining me now from Malone, New York, is NBC News correspondent Chris Pollone. Chris, what`s the latest on the church? CHRIS POLLONE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Melissa, much the same as in the last hour. We continue to see groups of state troopers and other federal and state agents moving along this area alongside the Salmon River just south of Malone, New York. They`ve set up this perimeter around 22 square miles of forest land bordering this river that blockades started last night after Richard Matt was shot and killed by a federal agent. What led police to this scene, they were searching in the area when a driver who had a camper reported that his camper had been shot. It had a bullet hole in it. Police came to the area where he thought that he got that gunshot into the camper. They found a cabin that had been broken into. There was evidence that the prisoners might have been in that area recently. When they went outside they heard a noise and they saw Richard Matt. They ordered him to stop, put his hands in the air. They said he wouldn`t comply. And that`s when they shot and killed him. They recovered a .20-gauge shotgun from him. Police believe Matt and Sweat were traveling together. Their DNA was found in a hunting cabin near here about a week ago, although police admit they have not seen Sweat with their own eyes. They have to assume he`s in this 22-square-mile area, but they do not have proof of that just yet. The search continues, Melissa. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to NBC`s Chris Pollone in Malone, New York. I want to bring in my next guest, from Washington, D.C., Matthew Fogg, retired chief deputy for the U.S. Marshal Service. Help me to understand, do you think that Matt and Sweat were still together or had separated before the one suspect was shot? MATTHEW FOGG, FORMER U.S. MARSHAL SERVICE CHIEF DEPUTY: Melissa, it`s been my theory all along that I thought they had separated early on. Maybe when they got to the cabin when they first got out that was their contingency plan to get there, to hunker down for a while, I believe they separated. HARRIS-PERRY: So, help me understand, this is very close to the Canadian border. I actually was quite surprised to discover they were still -- that at least Matt was still in New York. Is there any reason to think that Sweat could have crossed that border into Canada? FOGG: We just don`t know. I mean, that`s a possibility because of the fact that right now if you think about the shoot-out that they had and the police were able to move into that area and actually kill Matt -- I mean, the bottom line is the other guy would have been nearby, close by, the dogs would have picked up his scent. They would have to me, it seems they would have had more evidence that they were together. They don`t have that right now. They`ve got some footprints that they can`t even be sure of those. I would say that there`s a possibility he could have made it to the border. HARRIS-PERRY: There`s kind of a breathlessness in our reporting. We`re being told from people they`re hot on the trail, and yet it`s stunning how long this has gone on. Based on your experience where do you think they ought to be looking for Sweat right now? Well, I mean, they`re in the right spot, but I think they just going to have to pan out even broader. But right now, what they`re doing is they`re saying with all the information, they have right now we have one of them here. We just have to believe that maybe the other one is in this location or somewhere in this brush. But, again, they`re sort of like they have their planes up, you know, the radar, the infrared going at nighttime but they just don`t have anything else. So, I would say having done so many of these things and been on the hunt, I would say you have to pan out at some point, start widening your perimeter, but in the meantime, continue to crunch until you cover every area of that location where Matt was killed. HARRIS-PERRY: Matthew Fogg in Washington, D.C., thank you for joining us and wearing a tie that matches the set. FOGG: Thank you. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you. Friday morning, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry. The state specifically require the court to address a state`s rights ban same sex marriage and whether a state must recognize marriages made legal in another state. By ruling 5-4 that states cannot ban and must recognize those unions, the court made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, delivering a huge victory in the hard fought battle for equal rights. Writing the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy said this of same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses, "Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilizations oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. There was celebration in front of the Supreme Court as the news of the ruling spread. And President Obama, who publicly endorsed same sex marriage in 2012 spoke from the White House Rose Garden. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What an extraordinary achievement, what a vindication of the belief that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. They should be very proud. America should be very proud. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Before Friday, 37 states and the District of Columbia had already made same-sex marriage legal. And an April 2015 poll shows more than 60 percent of the nation supports same-sex marriage. And while the court decision does not align with popular opinion, the justices -- does align with popular opinion, the justices did split 5-4, showing that division still exists. One probate judge in Alabama even stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether since the state legalized same-sex marriage. Responding to the Supreme Court ruling, Judge Wes Allen said, "My office discontinued in February and I have no plans to put Pike County back into the marriage business. The policy of my office regarding marriage is no different today than it was yesterday." So, while Friday`s ruling represents a meaningful victory, it`s clear the struggle continues. Joining me now, Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren professor of constitutional law at NYU School of Law, and author of "Speak Now: Marriage Equality on Trial." Man, I`m glad you took time off and finished that book before this extraordinary moment. (LAUGHTER) HARRIS-PERRY: Tell me a little bit about Justice Kennedy`s decision. What did you read there? KENJI YOSHINO, NYU SCHOOL OF LAW: I really read Loving versus Virginia redux, so I think he tipped his hand when he said an oral argument which I attended in April 28 that this case of Obergefell, they are the same relationship (INAUDIBLE) with Brown v. Board of the gay rights movement which struck down sodomy statute, as Loving did to Brown. So, he explicitly compared this case before us today to Loving versus Virginia, the 1967 case, the right to engage in an interracial marriage which was legal across the land, you know, I think 16 states at the time when it was decided. So, very, very analogous in terms of the numbers to what happened today. But I think more importantly, Melissa, like you said, this is not only about liberty. It`s also about equality and the two things interlocked and the key thing about Chief Justice Warren`s opinion in Loving was that he said this is not only about the freedom to marry, it`s not only the right of equality for African-Americans, it`s about all minorities, it`s everybody. He made the two things come together. And I think that this opinion wasn`t as explicitly patterned on Loving versus Virginia as other opinions have been, but it really had that kind of soaring rhetoric in it. HARRIS-PERRY: It feels sometimes like the universe is purposely trying to keep us from being too reductive in our analysis that arc of history moving towards justice, the idea that we were burying in Charleston, South Carolina, the victim of a racial hate crime, at the same time that we have this enormous and meaningful decision occurring in the courts, and I am wondering about the ways in which not only the courts but sort of the movement sits at that intersection of successes and failures all at the same time. YOSHINO: Yes. So I love your line which I know comes from your dad about how the struggle continues. I mean, Kevin Cathcart of Lambda Legal was once said there have been many civil rights movements that have begun but no civil rights movement has ever ended, right? And as Mike Signorelli said in his great new book, it`s not over. There`s a lot of running room or progress that still needs to be made in the gay rights realm itself right? So, I actually think this will still continue with regard to the 29 states that still have -- still lack employment discrimination protections for gay rights. We were talking about whether you could eat at Chick-fil- A. HARRIS-PERRY: I did. I said, I really want my waffle fries back. And you`re like, no, sorry. YOSHINO: Or that Religious Liberties Act. So, the 200 nations around the world that still lack marriage equality, the 17 nations that still ban sodomy, the eight of those countries make that sodomy punishable by death. So, it`s a really long road there as well. HARRIS-PERRY: Is there anything in the decision that might give some idea of what the successes of those continuing struggles within the question of rights for gay, lesbians and transgender people might look like as the movement moves in that direction? YOSHINO: Yes, that`s a wonderful question. Thank you for asking it. So, a couple of things. One is that with regard to the religious liberties defenses, Chief Justice Roberts in his dissent pointed out that Justice Kennedy didn`t leave much running room for people of religious objections to same-sex marriages. So, I think that`s a really important protection for gay rights, although there`s no religious right to discriminate point. Second, you noted that the strategy of like closing the swimming pool rather than integrating it, so like I`m not going to grant marriages to anybody because I don`t want to grant them to gay people, that strategy, I think, was defeated by a very clever move in Justice Kennedy`s opinion where he talks about liberty rather equality, because if you`re just talking about equality, let`s think about this for a second. HARRIS-PERRY: No public pools for anybody, no marriage. YOSHINO: Exactly. You can level down as well as level up. But once you say there`s a fundamental right, you can`t level down anymore. So, there`s no fundamental right to use a public pool. This is actually, as you know, your viewers may not know, an actual case where Jackson, Mississippi, said we`d rather close our public swimming pools and to integrate them. That was upheld by the United States Supreme Court, as totally come porting with the equal protection clause because they`re treating everybody equality. But there`s no right to use a public recreational facility but there is a right to marry for same-sex couples. You can`t level down the way that Alabama County is seeking to do. HARRIS-PERRY: It`s a big win. Kenji, stay with us. We`re going to add more voices because there is more to talk on this and so much more when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JIM OBERGEFELL, PLAINTIFF, SAME SEX MARRIAGE CASE: Today`s ruling from the Supreme Court affirms what millions across this country already know to be true in our hearts. Our love is equal. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Both the lead plaintiff in the landmark same-sex marriage case that the Supreme Court ruled on yesterday. Kenji Yoshino is still with us. And joining this table now, Robert Traynham, MSNBC contributor and former Bush/Cheney advisor and vice president of communications for the Bipartisan Policy Center. Susan Sommer, director of constitutional litigation at Lambda Legal, and Kai Wright, features editor for "The Nation." So, I want to come to you on what happens next. I don`t know that people always understand precisely how. So, here the court has made a decision and now what. Having lived in Louisiana for many years, I was not surprised to see the Louisiana AG, attorney general, writes there`s not yet a legal requirement for officials to issue marriage licenses or perform marriages for same sex couples in Louisiana. The attorney general`s office will be watching for the court to issue a mandate or order to making today`s decision final and effectively. So, you still can`t get married in New Orleans just yet. SUSAN SOMMER, DIR. OF CONSTITUTIONAL LITIGATION, LAMBDA LEGAL: Marriages are starting in lots of places all around the country. Lots of government officials are not waiting for the last "I" to be dotted and the last "T" to be crossed. It is absolutely within the rights of every government around this country to be issuing those marriage licenses and we expect it`s just a matter of very short matter of time before everybody can marry anywhere they want in the United States and delay would start to incur personal liability on the part of recalcitrant officials and people should not be forgetting. HARRIS-PERRY: What do you mean by delay might incur these kinds of - - SOMMER: The Supreme Court has spoken very clearly with the law of the land requires. So, refusing to issue marriage licenses is going to mean that you are in violation of the U.S. Constitution and you know it because the Supreme Court has told you so. So, if there is undue delay beyond what is, you know, a few days what is reasonable just to get -- gear up your administrative processes, that could run the risk of personal liability. HARRIS-PERRY: Robert, there was tons of enthusiasm about this. There was also dissent, there`s dissent even within the court. Chief Justice Roberts dissenting, "Many people will rejoice but I begrudge none of the celebrations. But for those who believe in the government of laws, not of men, the majority approach is deeply disheartening." And Scalia writing for us, whoever thought that intimacy and spirituality, whatever that means, were freedoms. Intimacy is one would think freedom is a bridge rather than expanded by marriage ask the nearest hippy. So, there were other words being spoken yesterday. ROBERT TRAYNHAM, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I mean, look, I don`t know what that means. HARRIS-PERRY: I don`t even know where the nearest hippy is. I would ask them if I could find them. TRAYNHAM: It doesn`t matter. I think what matters here, the true justice here, the Supreme Court justice, is Justice Kennedy. He clearly was the one who was the swing vote on this but actually fairly predictable here. I mean, he`s been fairly libertarian when it comes to privacy, when it comes to the Second Amendment here. It was also very interesting is that because he was -- had the seniority, he actually chose himself to write the majority opinion here which is very, very important. He wanted to control the narrative here. There`s a reason he did this, we think, from what I read, why he did this on a Friday because this is the anniversary of two other Supreme Court cases on gay rights, Windsor in 2013 and also another one in 1988. So, this was a very deliberate attempt for the majority to send a message to the country. HARRIS-PERRY: Kenji, is there anything in this decision that we should -- or in the dissent that we should see as kind of a crux, you know, basis for -- I guess for me what does marriage mean? I mean, we`re going to continue to talk about this. What does marriage mean in terms of establishing some set of citizen-based rights, if that makes sense? YOSHINO: Yes, I mean, Susan can help me out here, too, but I think that Kennedy`s opinion really lays out in the beginning of the opinion the four different rights that go under the bucket of rights, of the freedom to marry. So, first, you said it was the right to make decisions about one`s intimate life. Second, he says it`s about the right to engage in a couple relationship. Third, the rights of the children, something that he`s really hammered again and again in oral argument and his writings on the marriage issue. And finally says it`s a responsibility right. It bears responsibility to the state. I think that`s why this appeals to the conservatives that it appeals to and rightly should appeal to that the this is not just free to do whatever I want. When I marry, I actually incur obligations as well as exercising freedom. HARRIS-PERRY: And, in fact, Kai, I wonder if that is the only little kind of small not so happy lining of the whole thing, is part of what political movements gave was to all of American politics was a pushing back against convention and I am thrilled by this and this feels like the right decision for freedom and equality and all of that. But I also wonder if we lose a little something about how valuable queer political movements have been to say the way we order society is not the only way we can order it. KAI WRIGHT, THE NATION: Yes, we don`t lose that in yesterday`s opinion. We lost that over the course of 20 years of politics around this. I would urge all of us to use the word and more and I think this is a perfect example. And I think it is both true that as a queer movement, as my own politics, that we want to be in a place we`re challenging society to think about the ways we arrange ourselves differently and it is also true that if we are going to bestow a certain set of rights based on being married, everybody ought to have access to those rights. Both things can be true. And I hope we have a movement that is robust and big enough to hold both of these concepts at the same time. HARRIS-PERRY: Right, because I want marriage to be a right but also not a requirement, right, that one can cover one`s beloved under one`s health insurance without marriage being the one and only relationship that we think of as valuable. WRIGHT: Exactly. And that we understand gay politics and queer politics as more than a question about how we put together sexuality in this society in general. How we protect transpeople as human people. TRAYNHAM: Right, dignity under the law that is guaranteed under the Constitution. That`s critical. HARRIS-PERRY: Let me say thank you to Susan Sommer who I didn`t realize was leaving. I would have come back. Who knew? But thank you, Susan Sommer, you have to come back again. Please, the rest of the panel is sticking around. Up next, it was a week of wins for President Obama but this may have been the biggest. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: The day before the Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land, the high court helped solidify health care in America by rejecting a challenge to the Affordable Care Act that would have up-ended the health care law and jeopardize coverage for millions of Americans. In a 6-3 decision the court ruled that consumers qualify for a subsidy that lowers the cost of premiums regardless of whether they buy through federal or state exchanges. Plaintiffs in King v. Burwell had argued that because the law technically says exchanges must be established by the state, that 6.4 million people who bought insurance on federal exchanges should not receive subsidies. The court`s ruling was the second time in three years that the justices had upheld the president`s signature legislation but this time, the ruling was more robust. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the court`s majority opinion, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets not to destroy them. After the ruling was announced, the president celebrated the historic win. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Five years ago, after nearly a century of talk, decades of trying, a year of bipartisan debate, we finally declared that in America, health care is not a privilege for a few but a right for all. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: But some 2016 presidential hopefuls spoke out against the decision, seemingly in agreement with Justice Scalia who in his dissent called the court`s opinion interpretive jiggery pokery. Presidential candidate, Senator Rand Paul, responded to the ruling saying, quote, "This decision turns both the rule of law and common sense on its head. Obamacare raises taxes, harms patients and doctors and is the wrong fit for America`s health care system." And Texas Senator Ted Cruz offered this. SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: For the second time in a few years, a handful of unelected judges has rewritten the text of Obamacare. In order to impose that failed law upon millions of Americans. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: So, while the Supreme Court`s decision virtually insures that the Affordable Care Act will survive after President Obama leaves office, it`s also clear the political battle over the law will continue. Back with me now, Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and fellow at the New America Foundation. And when I said the president celebrated, he celebrated. I mean, there was like chest bumping and elbow bumping and all kinds of enthusiasm and excitement. Yes, we won. I sort of thought, and this at least helps to re-establish this for me, Julian, that once you establish a bureaucracy that provides people with the good, you just really can`t take it back. Like that`s kind of part of how our history works, isn`t it? JULIAN ZELIZER, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Usually. I mean, usually once a program of this size is in place, it`s not dismantled. There are examples, there are big ones like reconstruction. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, right, that one. Yes. ZELIZER: And small ones, smaller ones like the Medicare catastrophic program which was repealed. But, generally, it does become harder and now the court has given it a kind of legitimacy with this ruling that will make it very difficult for Republicans to make a compelling case. They will do it. I think a lot of it now is purely symbolic. It`s purely an effort to attack what the Democrats are about. But as more people are gaining these benefits, even if they say in polls I don`t love it, I think they`re going to want it. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes? WRIGHT: They`re saying they don`t love it because they don`t understand it, and because it has problems. HARRIS-PERRY: Sure. WRIGHT: What I am thrilled about is that we arrive at a moment we can stop debating the existence of the Affordable Care Act and stop making it work out. HARRIS-PERRY: Right. Making it even better. I mean, critic from the left probably as opposed from the right. WRIGHT: And that`s been one of the tragedies of the last five years. There`s plenty of stuff we need to be focused on how this law is implemented to make it fair and equitable and an effective reform and we have not had an opportunity to talk about any of that. HARRIS-PERRY: Because we`re just holding the line on its existence. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it`s time to turn that page. TRAYNHAM: But moving on the 2016, though, this will be a rallying call for the Republicans. (CROSSTALK) TRAYNHAM: But here is why. This is in the same category as Roe versus Wade. What you hear over and over again, leading up to a presidential election on Republican election or Republican sectors, elect me and I`ll get conservatives, I`ll appoint Supreme Court justices that`s going to overturn Roe versus Wade. We know it`s not going to happen. But what does happen is contributions go up, the rallying call goes up. And the applause gets even louder. So, when you hear is a lot of Republicans on the campaign trail who say elect me and I`ll appoint some conservatives. Remember, we have three Supreme Court justices that are towards the end of their life, and so then the question becomes -- HARRIS-PERRY: I hope you`re not counting Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I`m sure she has another 25, 30 years, sir. TRAYNHAM: They had more yesterdays than tomorrows, OK? And so, therefore, there`s a very good -- HARRIS-PERRY: Except for Ruth. TRAYNHAM: -- there`s a very good likelihood that the next Republican or Democratic president will probably appoint up to three Supreme Court justices. HARRIS-PERRY: But that said the Supreme Court stands even if there are new justices. Is there any realistic reason to believe that even new justices would undo this ruling? YOSHINO: No. I think the difference between this and Roe versus Wade it`s statutory interpretation. The important thing, also, about this ruling which I think has flown under some radars, they also did something known as Chevron deference and they said we`re not going to defer to interpretations of the statute according to a 1984 landmark decision called Chevron. Instead, we are going to interpret this ourselves because this is sufficient political and economic import and the IRS doesn`t have particular expertise in the area. That means that its interpretation will not only stand but it will be preserved from subsequent administrations. So, if the Republicans win and they want the IRS to issue new rulings, they`re not going to be able to reinterpret the statue. HARRIS-PERRY: That`s critical but weakens Chevron deference in and of itself, right? It just says that there`s a separate -- YOSHINO: It may. I mean, I think one of the things about both of the decisions, the gay marriage decision and this decision is that they both strengthen the power of the judiciary vis-a-vis the states -- HARRIS-PERRY: That helps me understand how this Alice down the rabbit hole even happened this week. Thank you to Kenji Yoshino and to Robert Traynham also to Julian Zelizer and to Kai Wright. Still to come this morning, now that everybody can get married, how much money is there to be made? We`re talking about weddings when we come back. It`s June, what do you want? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Friday`s Supreme Court decision guaranteeing the right to same-sex marriage was not only a victory for the LBGTQ community, but also for the wedding industry. Yes, it seems policies can offer economic advantages. It all boils down to this, weddings tend to cost a lot. And according to the 2014 American wedding study conducted by "Brides" magazine, the average wedding costs, a little more than $28,000. Not a multi-platform wedding resource, also raises spending habits in terms of real weddings in the U.S. They`re figures are higher, $31,000 is the average wedding. Of course, that figure can more than double depending on the setting ones nuptial. The big apple costs more than $75,000 and that amounts to well more than a year`s salary for basically everybody, and a year in housing or the cost of college tuition. So, what high price tags, and what compels us to pay? Some point to the so-called wedding industrial complex, a $51 billion industry, comprise of dress makers, venues, caterers, a lot of other things. At this, to the influence of TV, more than $2 billion people tune in to watch the which wedding of Britain`s Prince William to Kate Middleton. Back in 2011, Kim Kardashian`s wedding to Kris Humphries ran to a two-part special called Kim`s fairy tale wedding. And later, when she married Kanye West, their wedding photo broke Instagram. Television has shaped and magnify our idea of the big day, since Prince Charles wed Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. The wedding industry keeps cashing in. Now, it is about to cash in even more. In the first three years of nationwide marriage equality, spending on same sex weddings could add almost $200 million in tax revenue and 13,000 jobs to state economies according to a report from the UCLA`s School of Law Williams Institute. In 2012, one year after New York state legalized marriage equality, same sex marriage generated an extra $259 million in spending within New York City alone. But the question remains for all the couples, why do we invest so much in one big day? Joining me now, Jennifer Pozner, executive director of Women in Media News, Salamishah Tillet, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Jamie Kilstein, co-host of Citizen Ray Radio, and Keija Minor, editor in chief of "Brides" magazine. OK, can I just say, I have loved weddings since 1981, when I woke up early to watch Lady Di and Princess Charles. I am a little obsessed with them in the sense that I really like -- I get why they are this fun -- I like all the different ones, I like the Las Vegas weddings, I like the big, fancy ones, and I wonder why? What is it about them that is so compelling to so many of us? KEIJA MINOR, EDITOR IN CHIEF, BRIDES: I think it`s one of the few times in life you really know that you`re starting a new chapter, it`s such a milestone and it`s really a celebration of two people who have found each other and decided they`re going to spend the rest of their lives together, build a life, and they want to spend it and celebrate it with all their friends and family who arguably probably had a lot to do with getting them where they are and in shaping who they are. It`s always been a celebration to some extent and it`s always been a cornerstone of our society. HARRIS-PERRY: There`s a part of me that thinks, yes, yes, yes. Two people I really love, yes, and the ones I have gone to where I`m like, yo, this is creepy town. There is this much debt being accumulated for folks who are still at an early part of their lives and struggling to find themselves financially. SALAMISHA TILLET, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: I guess one of the things that we can learn from yesterday`s decision is that there`s a difference between the legal institution of marriage and the public performance of a wedding, right? So, what is it we`re investing in the public -- I didn`t grow up with the same sense. I mean, weddings are wonderful and beautiful to attend, I didn`t grow up thinking that was the ultimate goal or even that was something I need. So, I have a different take on it, I suppose. I do think both the financial debt that people get into and the big issue of the fairy tale romance is embedded -- particularly for girls -- that`s why weddings for the most part has been seen as the bride`s decisions, the bride`s day. I think that gender imbalance that`s part of a wedding performance. It would be interesting to see how it changes as, you know, gay couples and lesbian couples can get married, whether it`s the same spectacle or not. But I do think it`s deeply embedded in a patriarchal understanding of romance. HARRIS-PERRY: So, my understanding is that you came here from your brother`s wedding? JAMIE KILSTEIN, CITIZEN RADIO: I came here from my brother`s wedding. My brother got married yesterday. HARRIS-PERRY: Congratulations. KILSTEIN: Yes. HARRIS-PERRY: Had a wedding. Had a public performance. KILSTEIN: Yes, but then as a progressive, it`s not a gay wedding today. (LAUGHTER) KILSTEIN: And according to Rick Santorum, he`s probably going to get divorced and marry a dog in the upcoming weeks. It was cool to hang out with friends and family. There definitely is that kind of archaic, creepy, father hands the bride over to the groom, but then I`m also there`s free food, so that`s cool. HARRIS-PERRY: And I get it. I get why that ritual can be archaic and creepy. I also get there was a certain thing about my parents, both my mother and my father, standing there to witness when I married James, right? So, here is my family of origin standing there, hey, me and James, there we are. And there`s my kid, Parker, who you can see was highly enthusiastic about this moment. KILSTEIN: So cool. Our family has been through so much. I like it as a celebration of sort of like all of us, coming together to get them where they were. But like you were saying, I was just reading a great passage she was talking about, Rebecca, the author was talking about how Republicans are so afraid of same-sex marriage because the institution of heterosexual marriage is also very like this is the role of the woman -- HARRIS-PERRY: So, Jen, jump in. JENNIFER POZNER, WOMEN IN MEDIA NEWS: First of all, so fantastic that the Supreme Court did the right thing and everybody who wants to can get married now. Marriage can be wonderful. The weddings themselves, the performative nature as Salamishah was saying, are incredibly hyper consumptive right now. And the idea that we spent as of, when I was writing "Reality Bites Back", I did research and found that as of 2010, we were spending $80 billion annually on the wedding industrial complex, everything from registering furniture to destination weddings to rings and dresses and all of this. You can spend $100,000 to get married in the Cinderella princess pavilion at Disneyworld and also rent dancing princesses and princes and getting a wedding dress that`s a Jasmine wedding dress or an Ariel wedding dress or another Disney Princess wedding dress. HARRIS-PERRY: Right. So, stick on that because I want to come back to that. Particular the Ariel and the princess, and particularly the idea of the kind of virginal adolescent girl as bride. Also have some resonances for other questions. All of that when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: There`s one part of the entertainment industry in particular that feeds and feeds off of our obsession with weddings, reality TV. A successful example is the "Bachelor"/"Bachelorette" franchise that promises a proposal and a walk off into the sunset to boot. So, between all of the impossibly romantic dates, declarations of love and talk of forever, where does sex fit in? According to the formula of the show, it`s in the final (ph) episode when sex is sanctioned, though rarely explicitly discuss in the specifically designed fantasy suite. But current "Bachelorette" Kaitlyn Bristowe isn`t playing by the rules. The most recent episode she deemed herself a make out bandit and slept with one of the contestants a few weeks ahead of schedule. A lot of people had a lot to say about it. Many in the Twitter-verse were quick to call her a whore or gross, embarrassing, while others praise Bristowe`s modern approach to relationships. After being confronted, by one of the contestants for her make out banditry, but she gave her perspective. (BEGIN VIDEO CLI) KAITLYN BRISTOWE, BACHELORETTE: To me, intimacy is an important part of a relationship and I`m not afraid to say that. I don`t care what people say or think. Like, to me, that`s important. It may not be that important to other people, but this is forever and this is a marriage and part of that is intimacy. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: She isn`t the first woman to be shamed for her sexuality. She surely won`t be the last. In this day and age, why are we still attached to the myth behind the big white dress? Jen? POZNER: Well, I sadly have had to transcribe and watch every episode of the "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" from 2002 to 2010 and I watched this season, too. So, I can tell you, this is not actually the first time that this franchise has slut shamed women, not only on "The Bachelor", but has slut shamed its star from the first season of "The Bachelorette", they literally had Chris Harrison sit down and have Trista explained to the audience why she`s not a whore, I`m sorry, I just need people to know that I`m not a tramp just because I kissed a lot of guys who I may marry every season. It`s structurally built into the show to -- while on "The Bachelor", the implicit and sometimes explicit encouragement is that they should bone as many bachelorettes as they can. HARRIS-PERRY: I`m actually all for spend what you can afford to do whatever you want to do. I`ve been spending a lot on my garden in my backyard, lately, right? So, I don`t have any spending shaming for people on their weddings. But I do worry about the ways that there is this kind of, like, presumptive -- not just being a princess but the virginal princess which is the requirement for having not just the big wedding with the big wide dress, but ultimately for having this happy marriage. TILLET: Yes. I guess it`s ironic and full of illusions at this point so the fact had a she had sex with one of the men on the show as part of her courting is basically how so many of us have probably engaged in many relationships. It`s so normal and natural at this point so the fact that it`s still part of a discourse of slut shaming or she has to justify it in any way, in this week in particular where we`re having such important definitions of what gender roles can be I think is ludicrous and offensive to women across -- POZNER: And it`s part of the regressive nature of what reality TV tells us that romance is and what gender roles are supposed to be. HARRIS-PERRY: So, can we have weddings? My mother was married in an orange mohair dress at the hitching post. I think of it as a really lovely, romantic story. It is like high-fiving at the courthouse. But I do worry about the way -- my daughter is 13 and she really loves your magazine. She looks at the pictures and, you know -- I try to encourage her to think about it as an industry not a personal industry. If you love weddings, go work in it rather than think about how you can get married. But I do worry about what that might be doing to her little baby fledgling feminist brain. I both want her to be able to enjoy and love all the beauty and love and excitement and romance but also to have a critique. Is there a way to hold them together? MINOR: Yes. I think it`s important to remember that long gone are the days where the bride`s parents paid for the whole wedding or passing their daughter from their house to their husband`s house. It`s much different now. More than 40 percent of couples pay for their wedding themselves and it`s really about two people coming together and deciding that they want to spend the rest of their lives together. I also think when we talk about it as this industry, it is not a faceless corporation out there. Nine times out of ten when you`re dealing with someone in the wedding industry, and we`re talking 800,000 people who work in this industry in this country, a lot of jobs, and most of those people are sole proprietors, they`re small business owners. They`re entrepreneurs. HARRIS-PERRY: If I go to a florist and say I need a dozen roses, they won`t charge me if I say I need it for my wedding. Like that`s one of the things we`ve demonstrated that key word wedding will jack up a little bit of the price. MINOR: It does trigger something with some vendors. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, not every single one, obviously. MINOR: There`s a lot more that goes into it. It`s a celebration and they are dealing with a client, with a bride and groom for months, it`s not that they`re just buying for Valentine`s Day and you`ll never see them again. You`re going to be dealing with them for a long time and there`s a cost with that. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, I want to say thank you, we have only just begun this conversation. I could go on all day. I have so many feelings about this. One of my favorite books, "White Wedding", thinking about race, gender, all that, but anyway, it`s June. It`s wedding season. That to be said, thanks to Jen Pozner and to Salamishah Tillet, Jamie Kilstein and Keija Minor. Lots to think about here. But up next, the American revolutionary born on this day 100 years ago. Amazing grace, indeed. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: On this day in 1915, a revolutionary was born. For seven decades, Grace Lee Boggs, philosopher, writer and activist has been engaged with some of the most impactful U.S. social movements of the last century -- workers rights, civil rights, black power, women`s right, environmental justice. Where there is inequality, where there are people struggling to have their voices heard, you will find Grace Lee Boggs. The daughter of Chinese immigrants earned a PhD in philosophy in 1940 and made defining our common humanity her life`s work. One of her earliest influences was labor leader A. Philip Randolph who in 1941 helped win hiring practices for African-American workers at defense plans as the U.S. is preparing to enter World War II. In 1953, after marrying black power advocate and labor activist James Boggs, Grace moved to Detroit, the city she called home for more than 50 years and the place where she continues to have the biggest impact. She and her husband helped to secure rights for African-American autoworkers during the turbulent 1960s, prompting some critics to accuse them of instigating the 1967 riot in Detroit. When crime ravaged the city in the 1980s and 1990s, Grace organized rallies against drug dealers. She`s written books, been the subject of documentaries like the film "American Revolutionary" and inspired generations of activists. Along the way, she keeps pushing us all to rethink what we mean by "revolution." Just as she did when she visited here in Nerdland in 2013. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GRACE LEE BOGGS, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: People think of revolution only in terms of 1917 and taking power and all that hostility and it isn`t. It`s a very healing solutionary process. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Now, age may have slowed her down just a bit, but grace is still very much a revolutionary at work. Today in her honor, the Grace Lee Boggs Center is taking part in an anti-violence march in Detroit and the organizers are urging those who can`t make it to Detroit to donate 100 minutes plus one to community building. A fitting 100th birthday present for the eternal activist, the amazing grace, born on this day, June 27, 1915. And that`s our show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching. I`m going to see you tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END