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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 03/08/13

Guests: John Morse, Jon Lowy, Nancy Northup

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Have a great weekend, my friend. ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: I will do that. You, too. MADDOW: Thanks to you at home for being with us this hour. Happy Friday to you. Lots to get to tonight. Today`s news started with happy economic noises on unemployment falling to its lowest rate in four years, and unexpectedly high number of jobs being created, which is great. And we`ll have to see how that holds up in the face of the sequester which will try its best to screw that up. And, yes, the sequester still exists. Today, the new director of the CIA, John Brennan, was sworn into office using an original draft of the U.S. Constitution. That was what he got sworn in on. Today, the new secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel, took a surprise trip to Afghanistan to visit the troops there, to talk about how that war ends. Today, the president`s nominees to run the Energy Department and the EPA got a new framing for their reason to exist when a new study in the "Journal Science" came out, showing that the global warming news is really, really bad news. Like global temperatures highest in 4,000 years bad news. But we start tonight just east of Denver, Colorado. The town of Aurora, Colorado, which, of course, was the scene of a mass shooting in a movie theater this past July. 12 people were killed, 58 people were injured by a gunman whose many weapons included an assault-style rifle that was loaded with a magazine that looked like this. It`s called a drum magazine because it holds its rounds in a spiral instead of a stack, like they`re used to in a normal magazine. This drum magazine can hold 100 rounds. When that mass killing unfolded in Aurora last year in 2012, one of the underappreciated things about it at the time, I think, was that it was not the first time that that specific town in Colorado had had a mass shooting. December 1993, a 19-year-old young man went on a shooting rampage at a pizza parlor where he had previously been employed. It was a Chuck E. Cheese. He killed four people. He himself survived. He`s on death row now. The Supreme Court just turned down his execution appeal. He only left one person alive in the building after that rampage that night and that may have been only because the lone survivor played dead. When the next mass shooting happened in Aurora, years later, this past summer, that lone survivor of the previous mass shooting in Aurora ended up back in the news talking about what it meant to be a survivor of a mass shooting like that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BOBBY STEPHENS, 1993 SHOOOTING SURVIVOR: I remember playing dead and more or less waiting for him to finish me off. Running through an area and seeing bodies and everything else, those are images that you`ll never, never lose. Those will stay with you no matter what. Why am I still here? Why didn`t I do things differently? Why couldn`t I have been more help? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Mass shooting that he survived in Aurora, Colorado, was in 1993. The other mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, which killed 12 people, happened 19 years later. In the intervening years, Colorado also saw, of course, the mass shooting in Littleton, Colorado, at Columbine High School, which left 15 people dead, including the two gunmen. Now, there`s no reason to think that Colorado is a magnet for this kind of violence, that it is any more prone to gun massacres or gun violence in general than any other state in the country. But for whatever reason, Colorado just in this past generation has had a couple of the most high-profile massacres in the country. And after Columbine and after Aurora, there was not just national attention to those outrages, but there was a wave of national outrage -- national attention, national outrage, national outpouring of grief. And, ultimately, no change in public policy. Colorado has, meanwhile, become this very illuminating lens through which to view what is going on in our country now on this subject because Colorado will always be the home of Columbine. And Colorado will always be the home of Aurora. But Columbine and Aurora were not enough to change anything in Colorado when it comes to policy. Nothing happened. And that seemed to prove that nothing could happen, even in the face of the worst kind of gun violence. But today in Colorado something began to happen in a big way. And I think it reflects two changes. The first change, of course, that it reflects is Newtown. Each horrible gun massacre we go through as a country feels like it`s going to be the one that we go through as a country that will galvanize us to finally demand some kind of change. It`s always impossible to imagine that anything could be worse. And with Newtown, maybe this actually is going to be the one that we cannot imagine anything worse. And it really does change us. Newtown has happened since. But also, a much more pedestrian change has happened since in Colorado, one that may have profoundly changed the realm of what is possible in Colorado. It`s what happened in the last election. Colorado`s governor, John Hickenlooper, he`s a Democrat. Colorado`s Senate had been Democratic controlled before. But in the November election, Colorado`s House also went Democratic. So Colorado now is all blue. Not by huge margins. Not by overwhelming numbers, but it`s blue -- in the legislature and the governor`s house. That meant when Newtown happened, after Aurora and after Columbine -- I mean, after Aurora, before that, after all the other experience that Colorado has had with gun violence, today Colorado decided to change some things. After all these previous things, nothing had changed. But today, something started to change. Today has been a very dramatic day. Seven pieces of gun-related legislation moving one after the other through the state legislature today. The first one was about domestic violence. It already says in federal law if you have a domestic violence conviction if you have a domestic violence protection order against you, under federal law you are not supposed to be able to have a gun. Colorado did not have in place a mechanism at the state level to enforce that. So what passed this morning, the first bill that advanced this morning in Colorado would create that mechanism at the state level to keep people who have been convicted of domestic violence related offenses or have domestic violence protection orders against them from having guns. Second, there was a loophole that said you have to apply and get a license and get checked out to see if you`re OK to give you a concealed carry permit. But none of that had to happen in person. You could do the whole thing online, from your padded cell or wherever. Nobody ever had to look at you face to face. Well, under the second bill that moved today, now that loophole will be closed in Colorado. You cannot do it just online. Another bill that passed today would close the loophole that says not everybody has to have a background check before they buy a gun. Buying a gun at a gun show should not be a way to evade having a background check anymore. And they are still working. I mean, this evening they advanced a bill make you pay 10 bucks to cover the cost of that background check. There`s also another bill to limit the size of ammunition magazines. There`s a bill to try to get around the federally imposed immunity for gunmakers so they cannot be sued for the way their products are used. Nobody seems to believe that all of these bills are going to pass, but nobody seems to believe that none of these bills are going to pass either. They have been in session. They have been debating this stuff in Colorado today. They`ve been fighting it out for 10 hours today and still counting. They plan, I hear, to stay until they vote on the last of the seven bills however long that takes. This is happening right this second. The fight in Colorado has already seen charges filed against one angry opponent of the proposed reforms for allegedly threatening one of the state representatives who sponsored some of the legislation. She`s a representative who already lost her son to gun violence. The man who`s being charged in this case allegedly threatened to kill both her and her daughter who he named in very racially explicit messages. His defense so far is that those messages may have been vile but were not intended to be threatening. The problem of gun violence in our country is so widespread that almost any state could claim to be ground zero for change on this issue, could claim to be the place where change should start. Well, today, with its specific history in Colorado, they are not only making decisions for their state. They seem to be making those decisions knowing that the eyes of the nation, to a certain degree, are upon them. It has helped that Gabby Giffords` husband Mark Kelly was among those who testified. He testified in favor of the universal background checks bill. Vice President Biden personally contacted legislators in Colorado to talk to them about the national importance of these bills that they are considering. Right now, it is still going on in Colorado. It is likely to continue into the wee hours, if not into tomorrow. We are joined live right now from just outside the senate chamber by Colorado Senate President John Morse, Democrat of Colorado Springs. Senator Morse, thank you so much for being here. It`s really nice to have you here. STATE SEN. JOHN MORSE (D), COLORADO SENATE PRESIDENT: You`re welcome. My pleasure. MADDOW: I understand this has been a trying day, a long day, and that in that work is still under way. By the end of the night tonight, or by the time you guys stop, what do you think will have happened today in the senate? Do you think you`ll get to all seven bills? MORSE: I do think we`ll get to all seven bills. And I think we`ll pass most of them. I think by the end of today, we will have passed a comprehensive package that in the long run will make Colorado safer and will blaze a path for the whole country to follow. MADDOW: Colorado is home, of course, to Littleton, Colorado, where the Columbine mass shooting happened. Home to Aurora where we`ve had two mass shootings in Aurora, the one most recently this past summer. But it was Newtown that happened in Connecticut that seems to have changed the national discussion around this issue. Did what happened in Newtown change what was possible in Colorado, or do you think you might be doing this without that having happened? MORSE: I think that Aurora had a big impact, and this is the first legislative session that we`ve had. We started January 9th. Since the Aurora shooting had. But I agree with you that Newtown really seared the consciousness of this country and that includes Colorado. And so I think that has made it possible to do the things that we`re doing now that might not have been possible even in November after the Aurora shooting. I think some of this we would have tried, but it`s great to have a comprehensive package and actually have a shot at getting it done. MADDOW: The other thing practically that is making this all possible, we know that Democrats have control in the state senate and Democrats have control in the state house and there`s a Democrat in the governorship in Colorado. And that`s a political reality. But I wonder if you can think about this and sort of meta terms. Not just in terms of what`s possible but what ought to be. I mean, it doesn`t seem like you`re getting Republican support for this package. It seems like you were able to do this because you`ve got Democrats in the numbers that you need to have them. Does that surprise you that this has ended up being so crisply partisan, that there isn`t more crossing over? MORSE: Yes, it has surprised me. I think it is important to make the distinction. There are Republicans that support this in the state of Colorado. There just aren`t any that are elected and here under the gold dome. I do think Republicans support what we`re doing in large numbers. I think there are NRA members who support what we`re doing in large numbers. But there aren`t elected Republicans, and that is frustrating. MADDOW: In terms of understanding why that is true and whether that might ever change, can you describe a little bit about the atmosphere around this debate? I mean, we`ve seen -- I`ve been following the "Denver Post" and some of the other Colorado media, the coverage of this one man who has been charged now with threatening two state representatives, and I know that there`s been some real intensity rising to that potentially criminal level. But has there been a lot of -- has the pressure been intense? MORSE: The pressure has been amazingly intense. And there`s actually a better example, I think, than what you are talking about with e-mails that are threatening and rise to the level of criminality. There`s actually one of my senators that lives in a town that still has a newspaper, a pretty good sized newspaper that like 85 percent of the folks in her district read. And the general manager of that newspaper sent her an email that said, I`m the general manager of this newspaper. I`m the one that controls the newsroom. I control which stories get done and how those stories get done. And I don`t like these bills. So he threatened her with how he`s going to cover her. And then followed through, really, she was in the paper and on the front page for a week, practically a week straight and including with pictures that weren`t very flattering, almost deliberately. So the level of intensity here is really profound, both with respect to e-mails, some of which like you say rise to the level of criminality, some that are just mean and nasty. I personally have gotten some that have words in them that rhyme with fire truck. But we`ve also seen lots of threats but mostly to either women or people of color. I haven`t personally gotten any threats in my e-mails, but the level of intensity is profound on so many different levels. MADDOW: Given that, do you -- what advice do you give to your senators in terms of coping with that? And as the rest of the country watches Colorado go through this, do you have any advice or anything you`ve learned about this process about how to get through it? MORSE: Well, and the biggest piece of advice I give is the piece of advice that I got from Abraham Lincoln. And he didn`t read the papers because he didn`t want to be mad at people. He wanted to just be able to do what he needed to do. And he still tapped into public opinion but didn`t worry about what the papers were writing about him and what was going on in the opinion pages. And that`s what I tell my senators as well, even though at this point when you are getting thousands of e-mails, you can`t read all of them physically anyway. But it`s -- we just have to stay away from some of this toxicity. We got the point that some of these folks think their Second Amendment rights are being abridged. Even though we know darn well that`s not true, it`s not worth getting into that argument with them. And so, just move along and don`t read any more of these than you absolutely have to because it will wear on your psyche. And it has weared on my psyche. But I`m very proud of my caucus and the way they`ve stood up and gotten this done. MADDOW: John Morse, Colorado Senate president -- I have a feeling it`s going to be a late night yet. Thank you for taking time to speak with us. Stay in touch. MORSE: Thank you for having me. MADDOW: Thanks very much. All right. Lots to come on this fine Friday night, including the political importance of keeping mummies around under glass. That`s coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: In the fall of 2002 in the Washington, D.C., area, there were the sniper attacks, right? This was just a year after 9/11. The country was still unusually terrorized because of that anyway. And in the D.C. area, that fall, the two D.C. snipers killed 10 people and wounded another three. They used a semiautomatic assault rifle called the Bushmaster XM-15. The two men were eventually caught, tried and convicted on multiple charges including the illegal use of a firearm. But that was not the end of the legal rope. The families of some of the victims sued the company that made the product that they used to commit their crimes. They sued Bushmaster and the gun store that sold the Bushmaster. They called selling those men that gun, quote, "gross negligence." The lawsuit alleging that records from the -- the lawsuit alleged that records from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives showed that over a few years, hundreds of guns had disappeared from that store with no paper trail. Hundreds of guns completely unaccounted for, in terms of any record keeping at all, including the gun that the snipers used to kill all those people. Bushmaster and the gun store ended up settling with the victims` families. They paid out $2.5 million for that negligence. Around the same period of time, the late 1990s and the early 2000s, there were a lot of things like this, from the victims of gun violence and their families, from municipalities, from states, even from some public housing authorities. People were taking gun manufacturers to court to try to hold them responsible. New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, Gary, Indiana, New Orleans, Miami, Bridgeport, Connecticut, more than two dozen other cities sued more than 20 gun manufacturers. They argued in many of these cases the gun industry had built up a distribution system for its product that allowed and even encouraged illegal sales -- sales to people who should not have been able to buy guns legally. When warned that certain distributors are responsible for big proportions of the guns that ended up in the hands of criminals, the manufacturers just kept their distribution systems in place. No change. We don`t care. We hope you are paying cash. The lawsuits holding gun manufacturers accountable for those decisions were exactly what the gun industry did not want to have to deal with. And so, the gun industry made them go away. When New Orleans sued the gun industry, the gun industry got the state of Louisiana to pass a law giving the industry immunity from lawsuits, retroactively. When Atlanta sued the gun industry, the gun industry got the state of Georgia to give the industry immunity as well. In 1995, they got the big kahuna. The gun industry had its fake populist front group, the NRA, lobby hard in Congress for a federal grant of immunity from lawsuits. Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the NRA, said about the immunity bill, quote, "It is a historic piece of legislation." And he`s right. I mean, no other industry has blanket immunity from lawsuits. But the gun industry does. When it passed, "The New York Times" noted that the gun liability bill has, for years, been the number one legislative priority of the National Rifle Association. It`s not really the way the NRA advertises itself, but it`s kind of telling, right? The number one legislative priority of the National Rifle Association was not protecting hunters and sportsmen, sticking up for the rights and conveniences of America`s law-abiding gun owners. The number one legislative priority of the National Rifle Association was giving blanket immunity from lawsuits to the companies that make guns and sell them for a profit. Joining us now is Jon Lowy. He`s director of the Legal Action Project at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Mr. Lowy, thanks very much for being with us. I appreciate your time. JON LOWY, BRADY CENTER TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE: My pleasure. MADDOW: Am I overstating it to say that in the United States of America, gun manufacturers have immunity from liability that no other industries have? LOWY: You`re right. I mean, there`s a basic principle of civil justice which governs everyone in society that we all have to act reasonably. And if we don`t, we are deemed negligent. We can be deemed liable. The only people that that rule does not apply to are licensed gun dealers, manufacturers and distributors. MADDOW: Does the industry behave in ways that they otherwise would not behave if they weren`t immune from prosecution in your view? LOWY: There`s no question about it. I mean, we have cases where gun dealers supply criminals profit from those sales. And then they come up with defenses such as, I put a gun on the counter. I turned my back. What do you know, the criminal took the gun, left money on the counter for me and I didn`t know that he was going to do that. That, as implausible as it sounds, is a compelling defense under this federal law that can get them off the hook. MADDOW: What sort of lobbying effort did the gun manufacturers and the NRA put into passing this tailor-made immunity bill for their own industry? LOWY: Well, they misrepresented it. I mean, they would say that the bill was about preventing gun companies from being held liable when they did nothing wrong, but their gun was used in a criminal shooting. And the fact is these lawsuits were not seeking to impose liability for those cases. It was simply saying that if a gun company acted unreasonably, if they profited off criminals and they could have easily prevented it, or if they could have put a safety device on a gun that -- which would have prevented a kid from getting killed. These are the sort of principles that govern every other industry in America, including BB gun manufacturers. And that`s what these cases were about. MADDOW: Wait, wait, wait. These kinds of -- that kind of protection you are talking about wouldn`t apply to a BB gun manufacturer, but it does to a gun-gun manufacturer? LOWY: You can sue a BB gun manufacturer for not putting in a certain safety device. And that case will be heard by court. In fact, also the Consumer Product Safety Commission can require BB gun manufacturers to put safety devices into guns as it can do for any other product. Guns get the double whammy. One, they get this special exemption from civil justice law, from products liability law. They also get exempt from Consumer Product Safety Commission. So the federal government can`t force them to put in safety devices. As a result, there are safety devices which are literally over 100 years old. They cost less than $1. They would save the lives of children. There`s no question about it, and yet, they are not the industry standard in -- for guns in America. MADDOW: One of the reasons we`ve been trying to focus on the gun manufacturers and their relationship with the NRA, is because I find it to be politically important that the manufacturers are able to essentially stay out of the spotlight politically altogether. They largely fund the NRA. The NRA maintains itself publicly as if it is mostly a membership organization. It seems to me they are mostly doing what the industry wants. And part of what the industry wants is for the NRA to be out there taking all the criticism so they don`t have to. It seems to me that a manifestation of that is that the whole country isn`t up in arms about the gun industry having liability that -- liability protection that no other industry has. What are the chances that this might get undone? It was only imposed in 2005 or 2006. LOWY: Well, Representative Adam Schiff has introduced legislation which would undo the worst of this law. And it basically would say that negligence law, product liability law, these basic principles, will apply to gun companies. And that gun violence victims will have a right to their day in court, but to simply prove their case and say they`re entitled to win their case. But victims of Newtown for example have a right to bring a case just like anyone else. So, that`s very promising. It`s very modest legislation and I`m hopeful about it. I mean, it`s got to get through the Congress, obviously, but I am hopeful. MADDOW: Talk about a special interest piece of legislation. Your industry gets immunity from liability and nobody else does. It`s just -- it`s incredible this exists. Jon Lowy, director of the Brady Center`s Legal Action Project -- thanks for helping us understand this. Appreciate your time. LOWY: Thanks, Rachel. MADDOW: All right. It`s Friday. I promised mummies and mummies you shall have. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: University College of London is a fancy, very good public university in London, in England. Most people call it UCL. And UCL has the advantage of being right in the heart of London. It is in the historic Bloomsbury District in central London. It`s a big school. It has undergraduate programs and graduate programs, really good medical school. And UCL, the University College of London also has this. His name is Jeremy Bentham and he lives in a cupboard at the school. UCL is very proud they have Jeremy Bentham preserved in a cupboard, which you can tell in part because they made this amazing Web site showing him up close. And if you mouse over Jeremy Bentham you can swing him around and check him out by all angles. And if you so desire, if you are that kind of person, you can also click on the link on the left there that takes you to Jeremy Bentham`s preserved head. I know deciding if and where to go to school is a hard choice, but how many schools can offer you the philosopher`s preserved head as part of your undergraduate experience? This question informed some rather jarring developments in today`s news. And, no, I do not mean that anybody is being put in a jar, but it`s close. That`s coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STATE SEN. JASON RAPERT (R), ARKANSAS: I wonder sometimes when they invited all the Muslims to come into the White House and have a little Ramadan supper, when our president could not take the time to go attend a National Prayer Breakfast. I wonder what he stands for. You know what? They told me that what you say speaks so loudly that - - excuse me, what you do speaks so loudly that what you say, I cannot hear you. I hear you loud and clear, Barack Obama. You don`t represent the country that I grew up with and your values is not going to save us. We`re going to try and take this country back for the Lord. We`re going to try to take this country back for conservativism. And we`re not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over what you people believe in. (CHEERS) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: We`re not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over what you people believe in. That`s a Republican state senator from Arkansas who really does not want people to keep playing that tape of that speech he made at that Tea Party rally in Little Rock, Arkansas in 2011. He`s come up with a whole series of arguments to explain what exactly he was saying there. How he didn`t mean minorities, minorities when he said he`s not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over what you people believe in. He didn`t mean it like that. He also is explaining how even though President Obama did attend the National Prayer Breakfast every year of his presidency, there is apparently something else prayer breakfast-related of which Senator Rapert is critical. So even though he is lying about the president and the prayer breakfast in that speech, Senator Rapert would like everyone to stop reporting it that way anyway. The reason that State Senator Jason Rapert of Arkansas he`s gone from a person who was perfectly comfortable talking about minorities running roughshod over what you people believe in at public rallies in Arkansas just two years ago to somebody who wants to try to maybe have that forgotten, somebody who wants to try to put that genie back in the bottle, try to manage his public image is because Jason Rapert believes he is going big time. He thinks he`s going big time because now at least his ideas are becoming law. In 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled that states cannot make abortion illegal. The right to privately make your own decisions about your health and your body and your pregnancy cannot be overridden by a state government that wants to decide it instead of you. You can`t ban abortion. You can`t make it impossible to get an abortion. That`s illegal in America. States just do not have that option. That said, Republicans in the states, particularly since the 2010 elections have been on a rampage to test that to try to make access to abortion as impossible as they can. Ninety-two restrictions on abortion access passed in the year 2011. Another 43 passed past year. This year close to 300 provisions restricting access to abortion have already been introduced in the states. But good old Jason Rapert in Arkansas has dragged his state further over the cliff than any other state now. In the newly Republican controlled legislature in Arkansas, Jason Rapert`s bill flat out bans abortion in the state after 12 weeks. And that is very, very obviously illegal in the United States of America. It is flatly illegal under the Constitution. There`s no ambiguity about it. Nevertheless, his illegal bill passed the legislature. The Democratic governor of Arkansas vetoed it, saying in his veto letter, this blatantly contradicts the United States Constitution and is, therefore, likely to be very costly to the state once someone decides to sue over it. The legislature responded by overriding that veto. Essentially saying, we do not care that it is blatantly unconstitutional. We do not care that it is illegal. We are doing it anyway. Strike us down. Joining us now for the interview is the woman who will in all likelihood, strike them down. Nancy Northup is the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which along with the ACLU, has promised to sue the state of Arkansas over this blatantly unconstitutional new abortion ban. Nancy, thank you for being here. NANCY NORTHUP, CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: Thank you for having me. MADDOW: The abortion ban in Arkansas set to go into effect 90 days I guess after the legislature wraps up. Am I right in saying that this is the sort of thing about where there`s a bright line, there isn`t any legal ambiguity? NORTHUP: Absolutely. You`re right. The governor was right. The Constitution is clear. The Supreme Court has been clear. This is far outside the range of what you can do in restricting abortion. It`s just a new form of extreme. Usually when you`re seeing this chipping away, what you`re seeing is they are trying to push the envelope within the constitutional standard. What Arkansas has done has said we don`t care about the constitutional standard. We want to try to get a whole new standard that would limit abortion quite early in pregnancy. MADDOW: So, you are presumably going to get this blocked in court before it even goes into effect? NORTHUP: Oh, we`re going to find this in court before it goes into effect. Absolutely. MADDOW: Now in terms of their strategy, in part, I give you credit for acknowledging that they have a strategy. In part, this sort of seems to me just like a tantrum. It seems the people who think strategically about these have decided not to pursue it this way in the past because it`s not a very good plan to have something sent up that will get smacked down so easily. Do you think that there is any reasonableness -- forgive the phrasing -- to the idea that they might be able to bust open the constitutional constraints on this issue by putting forward something that is this radical? NORTHUP: Well, it`s certainly not reasonable whatsoever. It harms women and that`s the place that we really want to start. MADDOW: Legally, is it reasonable strategy that they could win with this? NORTHUP: I don`t think it`s reasonable strategy. What I think it is, is actually that these folks in Arkansas have shown the hand of what is actually the objective of the anti-choice movement, which is to ban abortion, criminalize abortion. So, yes, they have tactical decisions within the anti-choice movement about how to go about it. The reality is, they`re all up to the same end game, which is to ban abortion. And they are pushing it faster in Arkansas, but that`s what they want. And they`ve always been clear. They want the Supreme Court to change its standard. MADDOW: Most of the new abortion restrictions we see cropping up in the states as incremental, restrictions that chip away at access to abortion. Is there a -- I guess a front end assault on Roe that is coming that we should see Arkansas as a sort of sign of? Is there a new approach coming, a second prong of the movement? NORTHUP: Oh, yes. I mean, this isn`t chipping away. This is taking a sledgehammer to Roe. And the only way it could stand is if they get to the Supreme Court and they convince the court that they ought to throw Roe out the window, 40 years of precedent out the window, and establish some kind of new incredible regime in which women can`t make these choices with their doctors. And in which women in a state like Arkansas have completely different rights from women in New York. I mean, that`s part of what is so horrific about what`s going around in the nation now is that whether you are in Mississippi with one clinic standing, or North Dakota with five bills pending currently, or right now in Arkansas, we`re making second class citizens of women in some of our states. And we need one standard for the nation. Roe versus Wade should be that standard. It`s been that standard. And we can`t have second class citizens in Arkansas and, you know, full rights elsewhere in the nation. MADDOW: Looking at this Supreme Court right now and they are thinking on this and related issues, if a case like that did get to the Supreme Court, your confident they`d uphold Roe. NORTHUP: Well, right now in the Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy is the swing vote. Justice Kennedy voted with the majority in Planned Parenthood versus Casey, which is a case 20 years ago that reaffirmed Roe that said you can`t ban abortions at 12 weeks, that women have to have the ability to make this choice through the time of viability. So this court shouldn`t look at this for two seconds. MADDOW: In terms of the 20-week bans that have been passed in a number of states. There was a ruling in Idaho related to the Idaho ban that was a bit of a surprise, I think. Nobody really knew that the court ruling in that case was going to strike down the Idaho ban. Does that mean that any of the other states are now in jeopardy, legally? NORTHUP: Well, actually, the reality is that everywhere it`s been tested in court right now, those 20-week bans are enjoined. So, they are enjoined in Idaho and in Arizona and currently in Georgia. Some of those are just temporarily enjoined as the case goes on. But the Idaho judge did the right thing. He looked at it and he said it contravenes the constitutional standard and blocked it. MADDOW: This is -- this is a fight that is so hard to keep track of on a day-to-day basis because there`s so much happening on a day-to-day basis that we have a whole separate stream of news input on this show to try to keep track of these things. You guys are doing so much more intensively than us because you are combatants in the field. But thanks for helping us understand this. NORTHUP: Thanks for continuing to coverage the story. MADDOW: Thanks. It`s hard. It`s getting harder. Nancy Northup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which along with the ACLU, has promised to sue the state of Arkansas over Jason Rapert`s pet bill. All right. We`ve got a story about Senator John McCain coming up. And we`ve got a story about mummies coming up. And they are two different stories. I swear. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: OK. Map time. Map of Lower Manhattan, please. This is about 60 blocks south of where I sit right now, over on the left side of the screen. You can see the World Trade Center site. Twenty years ago last week, this is what it looked like at that site. This was the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. A truck bomb detonated in the parking garage beneath the North Tower of the World Trade Center killing six and injuring more than 1,000. Almost two years to the day after that bombing, U.S. officials tracked down the mastermind of that attack, a man named Ramzi Yousef. Authorities captured him in Islamabad in Pakistan. They extradited him to the United States to face trial. The place where Ramzi Yousef was tried is about 10 blocks from where he committed the crime for which he was arrested. He was tried at the U.S. district courthouse in Lower Manhattan which is right there. It`s right in the shadow of the World Trade Center. Ramzi Yousef was convicted in that courthouse. He was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole and is now known as inmate 03911 at the federal super max prison in Florence, Colorado. While that prosecution of Ramzi Yousef was under way, that same courthouse was the scene of another federal prosecution. An Egyptian-born cleric known as the "blind sheikh" was being brought up on terrorism charges related to his plans to blow up a whole slew of New York City landmarks. Like Ramzi Yousef, the "blind sheikh" was convicted by federal prosecutors. He was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole and now he goes by the name of inmate number 34892-054 at the federal super max prison in Butner, North Carolina. That courthouse in Lower Manhattan is sort of prolific in terms of prosecuting terrorism. The cases that end up there are serious cases and the prosecutors are good at getting convictions. Basically in that courthouse, international terror suspect goes in, life sentence comes out. And this morning that courthouse was abuzz with activity again. This is one of Osama bin Laden`s sons-in-law. This guy was sort of a mainstay in al Qaeda propaganda videos for years after 9/11. He was a spokesman for al Qaeda. He was said to have been personally close with bin Laden. In January, he was captured in Turkey. He was eventually handed over to Jordan and then Jordan handed him over to American authorities. Because we as a country have a long history of dealing with terrorism suspects, guess where his next stop was shortly after he got off the plane from the Middle East? If you guessed that U.S. district court in Lower Manhattan, you would be correct. Just blocks away from the World Trade Center site. That courthouse has been sending international terrorism suspects away for going on three decades now. Osama bin Laden`s son-in-law appeared at the federal courthouse this morning. He was officially charged with a conspiracy to kill Americans. It is a crime that carries a potential life sentence. That development, the capture and appearance in federal court of a high-ranking al-Qaeda figure, that was greeted today with delight? Congratulations? No, it was greeted with outrage today by Republican members of the United States Congress. One after the other came forward to denounce the Obama administration for having the audacity to mount this terrorism prosecution for federal court, which we have done for decades. John Cornyn, Kelly Ayotte, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, they all came out and said it was an outrage. They say the right decision of course would be to ship the guy to Guantanamo. Their argument is that Guantanamo is so much better. They say that now that he`s in federal custody, of course he will not talk. He`ll clam up. The Obama administration blew it. I should also mention now that along with charging the federal suspect in court today, the prosecutors also submitted as evidence 22 pages of statements that bin Laden`s son-in-law has made to federal law enforcement officials since he was arrested. But still, everybody freak out. Double Guantanamo. Maybe that will help you get re-elected if you ever have to go back in a time machine to run for office again in 2004. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: If you happen to visit Arizona`s capitol museum in Phoenix, you may find yourself face to face with that state`s very first governor, George W. P. Hunt, still seated at his desk, even though Governor Hunt has been dead for almost 80 years. But freaky as it is, it is not really Governor Hunt. It is a life- sized wax figure of him. He is actually interred in a white pyramid that sits on top of the hill in Papago Park, also in Phoenix. Why not make an afternoon of it and visit both places? Here in the pyramid, actual dead politician but you cannot see him. Here in the capitol museum, fake wax politician but you get to look right at him, including his spiffy white shoes underneath the desk. But what if you could do both at the same time? What if you wanted to do both at the same time? You wanted to see the dead guy up close and have it be the real dead guy. Well, the world has just offered up an opportunity to do that. The nation of Venezuela held its state funeral today for its beloved president, Hugo Chavez, who died on Tuesday. But that doesn`t mean that they buried Hugo Chavez. All week long, people have been waiting in line to pay their respects to Chavez`s casket. They were still doing it today, even as the funeral was getting under way. But this is not a last chance, see him now or the opportunity will be lost forever kind of lineup. What we have learned is that President Chavez will be embalmed and placed in a glass box on permanent display. Venezuela`s vice president, who tonight became the new president, explained that this way that "the people can have him forever." Once he is under glass, Mr. Chavez joins a selective group of people who have been put on perpetual display in our world. There is Lenin`s tomb in Moscow`s Red Square, want to see him from a different angle? Got that, yes. North Korea`s Kim Jong-il is on display at a palace in Pyongyang, as his pops, his dad, Kim Il-sung. So, it`s kind of a family thing. In China, the body of Chairman Mao can be found at a mausoleum in Beijing`s Tiananmen Square. All of these people belonging to the real famous world leader category of entombment and perpetual exhibition. My favorite however is also the preserved skeleton of British philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, who came up with the panopticon of utilitarianism. Here he is, dressed in his own clothes, sitting in a wooden cabinet, more of a closet or armoire really at the University College of London. Hello, Jeremy Bentham. The only thing that is wax inside the box is Benthams`s head. Bentham`s own actual mummified head used to seat at his feet inside that glass box before it was taken away for more tasteful storage elsewhere. But you know what? If Jeremy Bentham were sitting with me tonight, I would make him a drink called a corpse reviver, just to see what would happen. Actually, it`s a corpse reviver number two and it`s delicious. Are you ready for a cocktail moment? We haven`t done one of these in a long time, but, boy howdy, do I need one? All right, corpse reviver number two -- I have no idea what corpse reviver number one is, but number two is a good one. It`s equal parts, which is actually true of a surprising number of really good drinks. Three quarters of an ounce of good gin, we`re using this Death`s Door Gin from Wisconsin because it`s delicious and ignores it annoys Wisconsin`s Governor Scott Walker for me to use a Wisconsin product. This is quantreau, which is one of the orange flavored liquors. It`s a clear one, if you use grand marnier, it will taste sort of the same, except grand marnier isn`t clear and it`s better if it`s clear. This is Lillet like fancy French thunderbird, a vermouthy, fortified wine thing that is surprisingly delicious on ice with an orange twist, and it`s good cocktail ingredient as well. My sister-in-law loves Lillet this, perhaps too much. And -- just kidding. And, very special ingredient, fresh lemon juice, it must be from a fruit. I know this is disappointing to you, if you have something that`s called lemon juice that you bought from a store, and they didn`t spend lemon with all the vowels but it needs to come -- there we go. Three quarters and add some lemon juice. Now, the really difficult thing about the corpse reviver, is that -- it is really easy, right? It`s all equal parts, three quarters of an ounce of gin, Cointreau, Lillet, and lemon juice, you don`t even need to write it down. But then, here`s the hard part, two drops, what, two drops of absinthe. It`s impossible to get two drops of anything unless you`re the kind of person who has an eyedropper around. And if you are the kind that has an eyedropper around, you`re probably not watching cable TV for your cocktail recipes. So see what you can do to get two drops. I use a paring knife. Shake it. For more than you think you need to, until your hands feel really cold. And -- the corpse will be revived. Or as they say in the serious drinking business, if you have one too many of these, the corpse will become un-revived. Happy Friday. Thanks for being with us. The recipe is at Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD". Have a really good weekend. Good night. See you later. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END