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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 12/20/13

Guests: Kenji Yoshino, Sarah Clements

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thanks to you at home as well for staying with us for the next hour. In June, a man named Dmitry Isakov stood on a street corner in his hometown and he held up a sign. A sign said this, it said, "Being gay and loving gays is normal. Beating gays and killing gays is criminal. That is all the sign said. The sign did not look like we`re showing on the screen though. In real life, it looked more like this. Aha, because Dmitri is Russian. And the place where he held up the sign was a street corner in the central Russian city of Kazan, which is about 500 miles east of Moscow. Well, yesterday, a Russian court convicted Mr. Isakov for holding up that sign, because of what the sign said, because in Russia now, it is illegal to express that particular sentiment. It is illegal to simply say out loud, or right on the sign, that being gay is an OK thing and that liking gay people is a normal and OK thing. Saying that is now illegal propaganda and so, Dmitry Isakov was convicted of that yesterday. Two other Russians were convicted and sentenced for doing something similar two weeks ago. MADDOW: Yesterday in Uganda, the central African nation of Uganda that`s been a pretty close ally of United States, we have particularly close military ties with Uganda, yesterday in Uganda, the parliament there after years of on and off debate and years of on and off controversy and years of off and off international attention, yesterday in Uganda, they finally decided to pass their "kill the gays" bill. You may remember that we had the sponsor of that bill, the guy who wrote it, on this show for a very, very uncomfortable interview, one of the times that he was bringing it up in parliament, but now his bill has finally passed. The last time it looked like it was going to pass was in 2010. President Obama called that law odious. The U.S. State Department, other U.S. officials weighed in, in no uncertain terms, essentially telling Uganda, don`t go there, don`t do this, do not do this to your own people. This will change your standing among nations if you do it. But they just did it and now that the parliament has passed the "kills the gays" law, Uganda`s president has to decide whether or not he is going to sign. In both Uganda and Russia, it is obviously domestic politics and homegrown prejudice that is mostly from here, from here in the United States, we should note that in both of these instances, in both the case of Russian so-called propaganda law, and Uganda`s "kill the gays" bill, in both of those cases, it was American evangelical anti-gay activists who visited both those countries and met with members of parliament in both those countries in official capacities to encourage them and advise them that they ought to pass these laws. So, it`s an interesting dynamic in terms of our relationship with other countries that are doing stuff like this, right? Because on the one hand, I mean, there`s Hillary Clinton in 2011 giving her blockbuster speech on gay rights as human rights, giving that speech not just as Hillary Clinton, but as the American secretary of state defining officially a country`s treatment of its own gay citizens as one of the factors that the United States of America will consider in our relations with other nations around the globe. There`s President Obama not being shy at all about weighing in against what Russia is doing, against what Uganda has now done. And on the other hand, at the same time, our country is the source of virulent antigay internationalist lobbyists essentially, of virulent anti- gay internationalist lobby that travels around the world, meeting with parliamentarians in other countries, and leaders in other countries, trying to get those other countries to pass super antigay laws. So, when you are, say, Mitt Romney, and you donate money to this group called the National Organization for Marriage because, say, maybe you want to support their fight against gay people in California or whatever -- don`t be fooled by the word "national" being in the name National Organization for Marriage. They really are international now. If you are donating money to the National Organization for Marriage, you are also supporting their fight to get guys on the street in Russia arrested because of a sign they`re holding that says gay people are OK. That is what the National Organization for Marriage has been spending its American donation doing. That is what their paid staffers spend their money on, lobbying parliamentarians in Russia to pass laws that get guys like that arrested. And as this is happening around the world, right in the middle of this very complicated relationship we have with the rest of the world on these issues, here at home, we are also undergoing some very rapid change of our own. It was 10 years ago, 2003, when Supreme Court struck down laws that made it essentially criminal to be gay in this country, the anti-sodomy law decision in Lawrence v. Texas. Conservative justice Antonin Scalia dissented from that decision, meaning he wanted the sodomy laws kept in place, but in his dissent, he very famously predicted that that decision, the Lawrence v. Texas decision would lead to future Supreme Court decisions that would OK equal marriage rights for gay people, too. And indeed, this summer in two landmark cases, his prediction came true. The Supreme Court upheld same-sex rights specifically in the state of California and on the same day, struck down the Clinton era, federal anti-gay marriage law known as the Defense of Marriage act. Those twin decisions this summer were basically an earthquake that have since shaken all the remaining antigay laws in this country right to their foundations. And the remaining antigay laws and policies in this country, ever since those rulings, have been falling, one by one. First, it was New Jersey. The state`s Supreme Court there ruling in favor of same-sex marriage rights in late October. Day days later, New Jersey`s conservative Governor Chris Christie withdrew the state`s appeal of the matter. That allowed same-sex couples in New Jersey to get married just after midnight, in the wee hours in the morning, the very next day. Then it was Hawaii, where a marriage equality bill passed the state legislature, signed by the governor last month, people started getting married in Hawaii earlier this month. Then, it was Illinois, when Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill passed by the legislature after much debate that legalized same-sex marriage in the state of Illinois as well. Then yesterday, New Mexico`s Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, making New Mexico the 17th state in the nation to legalize same- sex marriage. But then came today. And I don`t know why this one feels different. But this one feels different. Today, a federal judge in Utah -- yes, that Utah -- struck down the state`s ban on same-sex marriage. This was the very first federal ruling since the Supreme Court`s landmark rulings this summer. The very first federal judge finding that a state`s law prohibiting equal marriage rights was unconstitutional and violated the rights of the people of Utah. In his ruling today, which was less than two and a half weeks after he first heard arguments in the case, the judge in this case has set himself a self-imposed deadline that he would rule, that he would make a decision by January 7th. It`s nowhere near January 7th and he surprised everyone when he just went ahead and ruled today in a sweeping ruling. He thought apparently that there was not only no rational reason to uphold Utah`s gay marriage ban, but that, frankly, there was no reason to wait. And so, the ruling came down, surprising everyone at 2:00 local time in Utah and by 3:00 local time in Utah, people were getting married in that state. People who probably thought they would never, ever, ever in their entire lives ever be able to get married in Utah let alone today. Does this Utah decision today just feel like it`s a bigger deal than all the others because forgive me, it`s freaking Utah? Or is the fact that this is a federal court ruling and that the reasoning of the ruling, does that mean this is more than just the next step? That this could be a harbinger that antigay laws around the country really are more done than we thought they were? Are they all going to be done very soon? Joining us now is Kenji Yoshino. He`s the Chief Justice Earl Warren professor of constitutional at NYU Law School. Professor Yoshino, thank you for being here tonight. KENJI YOSHINO, NYU LAW SCHOOL: So happy to be with you, Rachel. MADDOW: Am I just having an emotional reaction to the word, Utah? Or did something qualitatively different happen with this ruling today? YOSHINO: I think something qualitatively different happened tonight. In two regards, so one is that is if you look at the polling with these back to which states favor same-sex marriage, Utah`s always on the bottom five. So, same sex marriage advocates never thought they would get Utah in the next decade. So, for it to have it happened today is extraordinary. The other thing goes to what you said, I remember sitting here in this studio on June 26th of 2013. We were sitting in adjacent chairs waiting for the Supreme Court to hand down the Windsor case, and this is the first case to apply the Supreme Court`s ruling in the Windsor case, which was admittedly somewhat ambiguous, what it would mean for state bans on same- sex marriage, and this is the first time a judge has clarified that, you know, you can debate whether Windsor was a state`s rights decision or gay rights decision. But he says a logic of this inexorably leads me to think of this as a gay rights. MADDOW: Let me explain the way I understand the -- what`s qualitatively important about this today compared to other states, or at least how it lets us think about what`s going to happen to the rest of the states. And you tell me how it got wrong, so I`m sure it will. It seems to me that when we`ve had previous rulings, it`s been state Supreme Courts. It`s been state courts ruling on state laws, ruling on the tenants of their own state Constitutions. Or like in New Mexico`s case, the sort of awkward situation where some courts, some clerks are going ahead, but there`s no state law that defines it either way. It seems to me like we all thought that those types of rulings were going to run out pretty quickly, because in more than 30 states across the country, there`s always a constitutional ban that written into the state constitution that says marriage does not include gay people. And so, I did not know that the Windsor ruling was going to mean that those states, those more than 30 states who got in their constitution would also see those bans vulnerable because their constitutions are being evaluated according to the U.S. Constitution. YOSHINO: So that is amazing. Can I just start by saying I`m really sad here because I think you`d make a lot better of a law professor than I would make media anchor. So, let me just start there. You were great. That was amazing. And just to recap, you know, the bullets there, is exactly this notion if we were running out, you know, same-sex rights, marriage advocates are running out, because if it`s in a statutory level, then Supreme Court can actually strike it down under state Constitution. State Supreme Courts will be ultimate arbiters of state law, so that plays keep away from the United States Supreme Court, which we don`t think is ready yet. So, in so far as these were statutes, it could be struck down under state constitutional provisions, but if they`re baked in to the state Constitution themselves, there`s no way that a court could actually use a state constitution to strike down a state constitutional provision. MADDOW: So, all of those state constitutional amendments that were passed like in 2004 when everybody thought it was a big Republican get out the vote effort, and all those things, that was the consequence of that. There can never be a state court ruling that gives gay people equal rights. YOSHINO: Exactly. So what you need in those close to 30 states was state constitutional amendment is the nuclear option of bringing a federal constitutional claim. Where federal law clashes with state law, the federal law wins, but the danger is if you litigate on federal constitutional grounds. That can go up to the United States Supreme Court. MADDOW: Is that what`s going to happen here? YOSHINO: Possibly. I mean, there are so many after Windsor and after Hollingsworth, the cases from last term, there have been dozens literally of federal challenges that have filed. So, I don`t think this case could change at calculus, you know, Ted Olsen and David Boise have already joined a case in Virginia, so they`re betting that case will get to the Supreme Court before certainly this one does or others will. You know, the big deal about this case is they`ve used a nuclear option and said we`re going to bring a federal constitutional challenge to this. But also, we`re going to use Windsor, we`re going to use that Windsor case and if you remember, Windsor was not about a state ban on same-sex marriage. It was say if you were married in New York under state law, will the federal government recognize that. And Justice Kennedy and the majority of the court said, we`re going strike that down, right? MADDOW: Yes. YOSHINO: But that was ambiguous because on the one hand, it was like did he do that because marriage has traditionally been a problem for the states or so it was the state`s rights decision, or do you that because he believes in the equal dignity of gay people. What the judge today in Utah said was this is just the inexorable logic of Kennedy`s opinion, is this is about the dignity of gay people. So, it doesn`t matter whether it was a federal actor or the state actor that is trenching on the merits of gay couples. MADDOW: And states can infringe that no matter what their state constitution. YOSHINO: Exactly right, and I can`t resist saying that Justice Scalia helped us out again, because in his dissent in Windsor, he said, as he did in this dissent in Lawrence, right? You know, this is going to lead to marriage being struck down in all 50 states. MADDOW: Yes. And he said it like it was a bad thing. He`s making that case and you see what the slippery slope is, this means there`s going to be same-sex marriage in Utah and Utah`s going, yep. YOSHINO: You`ve got to love him. He`s like the truth teller of the court, right. In the court asked Justice Scalia do I look fat in this dress, he`ll say, yes. But if the court says, you know, did we just legalize same-sex marriage under the logical of our decision in all 50 states, he will say yes. MADDOW: He will say yes and he ends up being an unlikely gay -- well, a gay rights anti-hero in this case. YOSHINO: Right. He`s laying out the roadmap. MADDOW: Professor Kenji Yoshino, NYU Law School, thank you so much for being here, Kenji. We always need you to explain these additional steps happen. But today was a big one. Thanks. YOSHINO: Thank you. MADDOW: Those pictures today of Salt Lake City City Hall full of tearful couples who raced down there in their hoodies and whatever it was they were wearing so they could get married real quick before Utah appeals, which they did -- it`s just the kind of thing you don`t ever think you`re going to see. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: May 1st, 1998, a bombshell story broke in the press and it seemed at first like it might implicate the president of the United States and the first lady in something that was maybe criminal. The story that broke that day involved a once close associate of Bill and Hillary Clinton. His name is Webster Hubbell. He was a lawyer who worked at the same law firm as Hillary Clinton in Arkansas. He severed time in prison from embezzling money from that law firm. And on May 1st, 1998, the story broke that Webster Hubbell could be heard in taped phone calls that he made from prison, sort of, kind of, maybe implicating the Clintons, especially Hillary Clinton, in bad things, maybe even criminal bad things. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) REPORTER: Web Hubbell, under indictment, and now on tape, phone calls from prison. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re on a recorded phone. REPORTER: Did he say anything damaging about his friends, the Clintons? REPORTER: In one tape released by congressional investigators, the issue is protecting the first lady. Hubbell`s wife says he can`t sue his old law firm over a billing dispute because that might expose Hillary, his former law partner. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By suing, it only makes it look like you really don`t give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) and that you`re opening Hillary up to all of this. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would not do that. I won`t raise those allegations that might open it up to Hillary and you know that. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: Congressional investigators, specifically the chair of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, Republican Congressman Dan Burton, had acquired 54 tapes of Web Hubbell`s phone calls from prison and from the very carefully edited portions of those phones conversations that Congressman Burton released to the public, it really did seem like something fishy was going on. That Hubbell was maybe secretly trying to protect Hillary Clinton from getting in trouble for some thing. Some bad seeming maybe even criminal thing, and that maybe Hillary Clinton had bought off her former close friend to keep him quiet about her misdeeds even as he went to prison. The tapes that Congressman Dan Burton released made it seem like there was just a bombshell about the first lady. But then two days later, this happened. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) LUKE RUSSERT: As you know, your office released 27 pages of transcripts and went through them very carefully. We have obtained the full transcript and full audio tape and there`s a major portion left out involving Hillary Clinton. Mr. Burton, that is rather exculpatory for Hillary Clinton and you left it out when you released that document. This was such a critical tape and the language and Hillary came very next in line and your transcript just ended right there because it seemed to be favorable towards Hillary Clinton. THEN-REP. DAN BURTON (R), INDIANA: Well, I know what you`re getting at and you`re trying to make it look like we`re trying to audit the tapes or change the tapes to make it look worse than it possibly is. RUSSERT: Tom, the 27 pages in transcript of the 54 phone conversations left out Web Hubbell saying he was not being bought. He left out the fact that Hillary Clinton had no idea what was going on with her law firm`s finances. Those were two important points. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: Congressman Dan Burton, head of the House Oversight Committee, got caught. Got caught. Got caught on tape by Tim Russert, releasing partial transcripts, transcripts that had been edited to make it seem like Webster Hubbell was making incriminating comments about the first lady. But those comments were not incriminating. They were taken out of context. They were not at all what Congressman Burton made them out to be. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Stung by charges that Hubbell`s prison phone calls were edited to make the first lady look bad, Chairman Burton vows to release all 54 conversations in their entirety beginning today. The move came after NBC`s "Meet the Press" obtained an excerpt not previously released in which Hubbell says Hillary Clinton was not part of any wrongdoing at their former law firm. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So, the whole secret prison tape story was a scandal. But not because of anything Hillary Clinton had done, but because it was a fraud. It was a totally debunked snow job. And when it was revealed that Congressman Dan Burton`s office had edited those phone calls deceptively and had released those partial transcripts and partial tapes to the public, the congressman ultimately had to admit that quote, "mistakes and omissions were made." Dan Burton did not lose his job. He did not resign from his powerful as head of the oversight committee. He did not get fired. But one of Dan Burton`s employees, his top investigator, a man by the name of David Bossie, did get fired. Congressman Burton blamed the whole thing on David Bossie and fired him. If the name David Bossie sounds familiar to you, interesting side note, David Bossie ends up returning to prominence years later as the head of Citizens United, which led a lot of rich guys waste a lot of their own personal money on the last election when it got rid of most of the country`s meaningful campaign finance laws on the way toward clearing the way for David Bossie to air his "I still hate Hillary Clinton" fake documentary during the 2008 election. Things worked out fine for David Bossie and his Supreme Court decision. His legacy, though, it turns out lives on in the different way besides just the Supreme Court. Because the partial transcript trick he pioneered under Dan Burton in the 1990s, it`s now happening again. It`s now happening again in this Congress. Just this week on Tuesday night, we did a report on this show on the legacy of Dan Burton and the guy who inherited his job as chairman of the oversight committee in the Republican controlled House. A report you might remember was titled putting the civ back in civil servant, which sounds better than it looks. It`s more of a homophone joke. But, anyway. The idea was that the new chair of the oversight committee, the new guy who has that job now, has the power to subpoena documents, so he can get his hands on all sorts of private stuff that nobody else can get access. And I`m sure it`s very exciting to have that power if you are a member of Congress. But it has national consequences for us as a country. If the guy who has that power in Congress to get all of those private and sensitive documents also leaks everything he gets his hands on as soon as he gets his hands on it and Darrell Issa really is a human sieve. We`re at the point where executive agencies and the federal government are refusing to give him documents that he otherwise would be entitled to get on his committee, because the stuff he wants the stuff that for security reasons really shouldn`t ever be publicly leaked. And they pretty much can guarantee that Darrell Issa will leak everything that he gets his hands on because that`s how he has behaved since he has been chairman. That was the report on Tuesday. Darrell Issa, human sieve, he leaks everything. Two days later, ding, ding, ding. He leaks something else. Last night, it turns out there was a private transcribed interview before Darrell Issa`s committee and somehow, somehow, ABC News exclusively obtained that testimony, which was supposed to be private and just for the committee, but it was Darrell Issa`s committee, and so now, of course, it`s on the news. But the way that it`s on the news is like Webster Hubbell all over again, because Darrell Issa likes to leak stuff to the press. He likes to make this stuff, this private stuff go public. But his favorite way to do it is with partial transcripts, just like Web Hubbell. So last night, he told ABC News and ABC News just published it, he told ABC News last night that the federal government admits they know, they told him that has huge security vulnerabilities. Really? Can we see the full transcript of that? No? Just the parts you want us to see? OK. Should we publish this? Democrats on the committee say if you could see the whole transcript, you could see the whole testimony instead of just the parts he has excerpted, if you could see the whole thing, you could see what the testimony actually was, was that security vulnerabilities had been identified early in the development process of, but they had been fixed. The whole transcript would show that. But, of course, Darrell Issa won`t release the whole transcript. It`s just the carefully leaked partial transcripts. Same goes with his partial transcript leak a couple of weeks ago on another issue related to health reform, where the subject of the leak himself, the guy who Darrell Issa was supposedly quoting in his bombshell leaked partial transcripts said himself that those partial transcripts were not an accurate characterization of his remarks. But in that case, it was CBS news that ran with it any way, because Darrell Issa fed it to them and they swallowed it whole. Darrell Issa did the same in June on the IRS issue. Again, partial transcripts, which he says show political bombshell testimony, but he won`t release the whole transcripts to the testimony, so it`s impossible to know whether the Darrell Issa version is what we should believe or whether he has leaked it selectively to specific journalists, because he has a narrative to tell and he doesn`t care whether or not the partial transcripts actually reflect what the witness said. I mean, the easy way to check these things is to look at the full transcript of what the IRS witnesses said, right, CNN? But Darrell Issa wouldn`t release the full transcript. He said it would be reckless to do that. He just likes to leak little pieces out of context that tell the story he wants to be told. And you can`t get these transcripts from anybody from him. And without the full transcripts, you can`t check to see if the excerpts are true or if they make sense in context. That`s why he leaks it that way and CNN fell for it on the IRS story in June and CBS fell for it on the first health reform story two weeks ago, and then ABC fell for it last night with a new health reform story. With every one of them, it`s the same trick. It`s the Webster Hubbell trick. And they all read it as oh, exclusive access, a scoop. Why do you think he`s giving you the scoop? If Darrell Issa was leaking the transcript to the Gettysburg address, it would be a bombshell about how four men and conceived and gave birth. And now, the world shall perish. True, those words are excerpts from the text, Darrell Issa. But shame on anyone who takes your word for it, not after all these times. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: You know, I`ll be honest. There`s been a lot of news today, especially for Friday in December. We have changed the show at least half a dozen times already because of the changing news today, but throughout the day, one thing in the show has remained steadfast. The one project we have begun and reviewed and screwed up and started over and fixed and then I think finally perfected is how to transform a super boring arrow like this one into an exciting, alluring arrow with an eerie pulsing yellow glow. It turns out this is very important for understanding today` news. I personally think we nailed it. It took all day and I`ll show it to you in action in just a moment. Hold on. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: My nominee for the strangest politics story we covered all year in 2013 was the story we did last month about Idaho. In Idaho, in southwest Boise last year, the voters of district 15 elected a new state representative. It was Ron Paul guy in Idaho, staunch conservative. He had the endorsement of the high profile Tea Party Republican Congressman Raul Labrador. But soon after Mark Patterson was elected, things seemed off kilter. It turns out he had said in his campaign materials that he had gone to the University of Southern California. He went to USC. In reality, he never went to USC. His campaign materials also said he was a petroleum engineer. He was not actually an engineer at all, petroleum or otherwise. His campaign material said he had been a professional bicyclist, but the local press in Boise soon figured out that he had never had a professional cycling license. He does own a loom company. He did get elected last year. This picture shows him having some sugary snacks. There are a number of verifiable things that have been verified, but there was a lot about him also that just seems made up. And then came the part about the rape charges. Turns out that Republican State Rep Mark Patterson in Idaho had twice been arrested and charged with forcible rape. The second time was in Ohio and he was acquitted of those charges. But the first time in Florida, he pled guilty. He was initially charged with forcible rape. He pled guilty for assault and intent to commit rape. And he did sometime in jail and sometime on prohibition. Years later, after moving to Idaho, Mark Patterson, before he run for state rep, applied for a concealed carry permit for a handgun. Now, under Idaho law and pretty much everywhere, you cannot get a permit to carry a gun if you have committed a violent felony, like say assault with intent to commit rape, to which this guy pled guilty, but he did not admit that on his application for his gun permit, which means he lied on his gun permit application. And when the sheriff to whom he had applied for the permit found out about the lie, the sheriff revoked the guy`s permit. And then, then, then comes the part of the story that makes it the single strangest politics story we covered all year long. I mean, it is one thing for the citizens of Boise to know they just elected this guy with a violent felony conviction related to rape and, OK, he lied on his permit application about it, and OK, he got his gun permit revoked because of it. The amazing part of the story is that actually, once the "Idaho Statesman" put this all together and reported this bombshell story last month, the bottom line of the story was that the guy didn`t actually get his gun permit revoked. The guy got his gun back, because the laws that say you can`t have a gun if you`re a violent felon or a rapist, those laws don`t apply to you in Idaho if you are also an elected official in Idaho. Dude got his gun back because he is a state legislator, and the laws about who gets gun permits and who doesn`t in Idaho don`t apply to elected officials. So, thank you, Idaho, you`re like a self-esteem boost for all the other states, because other states may have ridiculous stuff on the books. But as far as I know, nobody else has a special law on the books just to make sure that their elected officials who are rapists can have all the guns they want. With that, you guys make all the other states feel normal. So, now, this story has a new choose your own adventure ending for Idaho because now, finally this week, Representative Mark Patterson has decided to resign from the state legislature. Southwest Boise will have to choose his replacement. And that means he will no longer be an elected official in Idaho, which means at least technically, that he should lose his gun permit now. The sheriff wanted the revoke it for his felony and lying on his application. He was protected from that because he was a state legislator. But now he`s quitting, the legislature, will Idaho take away his guns? Idaho has a decision to make on that. Idaho also has to make a decision about whether it wants to keep on the books, its law that says if you`re an elected official, laws don`t apply to you anymore like they do everyone else in this state. More ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GRAYSON ROBINSON, ARAPAHOE COUNTY, CO SHERIFF: The threat was the result of a -- what I believe to be an appropriate disciplinary action related to the debate team. Again, the shooter was not removed from the debate team and the teacher that was responsible for that disciplinary action was his, was the shooter`s main target. We still have to visit with a variety of people to determine what the outcome or interaction relative to the threat was. REPORTER: Sheriff, are you prepared to release the suspect`s date of birth? ROBINSON: We will release the date of birth within the next day or so. I will tell you that he`s 18 years old. He was 18 years old. But I will also tell you and this is a bit of an editorial comment on my part. This is my personal perspective followed by my professional responsibility. I will share his date of birth, but I will tell you that I am no longer inclined nor will I speak his name in public. He is someone who victimized an innocent young lady by an act of evil and in my opinion, deserves no notoriety and certainly no celebrity. He deserves no recognition. The issue here is the victimization of Claire Davis, and the victimization of this community and this school. So, it is my professional and my personal perspective that although I realize your responsibilities, I also understand my perspective on life and I choose never to use his name again in public. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was Arapahoe County, Colorado, Sheriff Grayson Robinson, briefing the media the morning after the Arapahoe high school shooting, which took place in Colorado last week on the eve of the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The focus in Arapahoe since the shooting there last week, the focus has deliberately been on the victim of that shooting, who was grievously wounded. The sheriff`s commitment as you just heard that, to not deliver notoriety or recognition to the gunman who perpetrated the crime and then killed himself, the sheriff`s refusal to speak the gunman`s name, that turns out to be catching on. In "The New York Times" today, some survivors of mass shootings and victim`s family members are advancing the argument that gunmen in this incidents should as much as possible just be written out of the coverage of these crimes. David Cullen, who`s been a guest on this show before, he`s done some of the definitive long-term reporting on what happened at Columbine, he says that from his research, he feels like disappearing the perpetrators from the news coverage, it may be helpful. It may take away the whole point of the crime for the perpetrator who`s looking for recognition. He`s essentially committing the crime as a public performance, so he will be seen. So maybe never mentioning the perpetrator or anything about them are showing their picture could be deterrents. Maybe changing the way we cover shootings and respond to them is a good idea. It`s a small idea, but maybe it`s an important one and one that`s a little bit outside the box. And little outside the box ideas like that that may be important ideas, they are being advanced around the country now, especially in the past year since Newtown and they`re being led in many cases, by mass shooting survivors and their families and by victim`s families. At Sandy Hook last December, the two classrooms where the 20 kids were killed where first grade classrooms. When the shooting started, a second grade teacher at the school thought that the pop, pop, pop she was hearing were some folding chairs stuck in the hall falling over, she looked down the hallway and saw that wasn`t what it was. She saw the janitor sprinting toward the front of the building and then she realized that what she was hearing was gunfire. Now, in addition to the janitor, there were also two kids in the hallway, because they were walking the attendants down to the main office. I used to try to get that job when I was in elementary school, too. When she saw those kids in the hallway and realized they were in danger, she pulled them into her classroom to hide them and save them. Locked the door, read them stories and sang Christmas carols to muffle the sound and to try to keep everyone couple. That teacher`s name, Abbey Clements. Her daughter Sarah is now part of Newtown Action Alliance. Her outside the box thinking has led her to try to start a whole new wing of the gun reform anti-gun violence movement. It`s the junior NNA, the junior Newtown Action Alliance. The first major gun prevention group in the U.S. to start its own student branch. The mother of one of those two kids with Sarah`s mom pulled into that classroom at Sandy Hook is the group`s adult adviser. Think about what this might mean. How would the reform movement change? How much power and talent and infrastructure would it build for the long run if there were student chapters of that organization and others like it in high schools across the country? If kids everywhere, if kids in high school, kids in college, could join it just like you join 4-H or Boy Scouts or the junior NRA. Joining us now is Sarah Clements. She`s a senior at Newtown High School. She`s Founder of the Junior Newtown Action Alliance. Sarah, thank very much for being here. SARAH CLEMENTS, JUNIOR NEWTOWN ACTION ALLIANCE: Thank you so much for having me. MADDOW: Why did you want to form a junior version, a student version of the group? CLEMENTS: So, right after we founded Newtown Action Alliance, about two months after what happened in our town, I was the youngest member of Newtown Action Alliance and I saw over the a few weeks that my peers and my neighbors, especially in the high school and in the middle school, also wanted to do something right after it happen, we got millions and millions of donations, whether monetary or whether you know, hundreds of thousands of teddy bears. But that didn`t exempt people in Newtown. We also had to do something. MADDOW: Yes. CLEMENTS: So I founded the junior branch not knowing that like you said, it was the first major gun prevention group with a student branch. It was just to give students a voice because I found that the best thing for me right after the tragedy was just to tell my story. Right after about two or three months after, we had -- Newtown Action Alliance hosted sort of panel discussion to discuss sort of what`s next in terms of gun violence prevention. And one of the panelists is now my good friend Cullen Goddard who survived Virginia Tech, and afterwards he told me something that I will never forget and that really changed the course of -- the rest of the year for me. Which is, don`t let anybody tell you that your story doesn`t matter, because your story is what makes you unique. And it might sound cliche in a way but it really is not to us because, you know, anybody can look up these facts. Anybody can read statistics and reports but what makes this a real issue is students voices and adults` voices and moms and dads, and faith leaders who have had to go to hundreds and hundreds of funerals for their, you know, congregation members in just the span of a year because of gun violence. You know, those are the voices that we have been projecting for the last year and those are the voices that are really going to change this movement. MADDOW: One of the things that I have heard people, especially from the community of Newtown say, in a way that sort of feels more grounded and solid than when I`ve heard other people say it is that the kind of change that we need as a country to lessen gun violence, especially the kind that results in these crazy, mass shootings, is the kind of change that will take longer than any of our lives, than any of our activist careers, than any individual legislator`s time in office and that we need to be thinking long run about big-term change. You are much younger than me and younger than the people who I have heard articulate that. Do you feel that way, too, or do you feel a sense of urgency that`s maybe different than adults who are sort of settling for the long haul? CLEMENTS: I think it`s both. I`m absolutely in this for the long run. I feel like -- you know, it`s not -- the tragedy doesn`t define who I am but it`s part of my story now and part of the last year for me has been moving forward and trying to honor those that we lost with action. But I think there also is a sense of urgency, especially in the youth community. You know, one of the big initiatives that junior Newtown Action Alliance has been working on, especially in the coming months that we`re really excited about is bringing together urban students and suburban students. We -- you know, sometimes I kick myself when I`m doing this work because I realize that all of these incidents happened, whether it was in the town next to me that experiences urban gun violence or whether it was the Aurora shooting that happened five months before. I remember those shootings happening. I remember hearing about them but I didn`t do anything and I think, you know, now that my eyes have been opened and now that we are trying to open other students` eyes, we`re starting to see that if we can bring together young people with different background and, like I said, when I was talking about our stories, with different stories, we still want the same things to come from our tragedies. We experience different types of gun violence, but that doesn`t mean that we don`t want common sense legislation passed in order of those that we lost. It doesn`t mean that we don`t want to continue to share our stories and teach compassion and understanding in nonviolent ways in high school, maybe even implement after school programs that teach those things. That`s one project that we are working on. So, I think, you know, like going back to your question, there`s an urgency all around the country, we teach workshops to students, mostly high school students just sort of the gun violence prevention 101 and how students can go back to their schools and communities and work on it, and no matter if we`re in the South, if we`re in Florida, we`ve taught it there, we`ve taught it in Hartford where those students` stories are much different than those students` stories in Florida, it doesn`t matter. They always say the same thing. One, they are tired of seeing their friends lost to gun violence. They are tired of hearing those stories and carrying that burden on their shoulders. Two, they want to hear different things coming out of both sides, really, of the argument. You know, they are tired of the redundant rhetoric. And then, three, they want their voices to be heard. They want to be at the forefront of the debate, because really my generation is the most proportionate of the gun violence. The average age of a gun violence victim 31 years old, which is sort of the tip of the millennial generation. So, that means more than half of gun violence victims in the U.S. are young people. So, I think you`ll start to see, especially in 2014, sort of this bridge connecting students all around the country so that we can come together for this one goal, which is, you know, our opponents always talk about our agenda and really our agenda is to make the community safer, so we don`t have to fear crossing gang lines to go to school or just attending school in a place called Newtown, Connecticut. MADDOW: Sarah Clements, founder of the Junior Newtown Action Alliance, you make me feel both expectant and kind of hopeful for the prospects of this movement that you are both part of and building. You`re a very impressive person. Thank you for being here. CLEMENTS: Thank you so much. MADDOW: Thanks. It probably helps to be the daughter of a superhero. CLEMENTS: Absolutely. MADDOW: We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: We now have got the final numbers on what actually happened in Washington this year. House went home, Senate went home and now, we`ve got the final numbers and it is astonishing. It is gasp out loud astonishing. If you are drinking a beverage right now, put it down, because it is going to end up on your couch via nose. All right. Chart imitates life, ready? Here we have the number of bills passed by Congress starting with the infamous do-nothing Congress of 1947 and 1948. You see the red arrow there? The do-nothing Congress got its name for passing what at the time seemed like an embarrassingly number of bills. And here, this next era, that`s where we have the Gingrich era, when they have the rolling government shutdowns and the Republican radicalism. The last full Congress, the first Congress under John Boehner was officially the least productive Congress in recent history. But look at this, put down your drink and look at this. Look. Now, we have only had half of this current Congress -- look at the last line. They`ve got all of next year to get their numbers up, right, but that is as poor of a start as visible to the naked eye. Their progress what they have done is almost invisible to the naked eye. And so, as a service, we now introduce tonight the debut of the official RACHEL MADDOW SHOW that sparkles or blinks or does some kind phase thing, because otherwise how could you see it? Otherwise, the work accomplished by this cross could not be shown on TV. How would you know to look there? They`ve passed 58 bills. They could triple their output next year and still set a new record low for utter futility by a complete U.S. Congress. We had to invent a new thing to show you how bad they are. We posted a link to the miracle arrow and posted a blog along with the chart that doesn`t have the blinky version, which is suitable for printing out and taking home for the holidays and tacking up in the refrigerator and then arguing about with your uncle. That does it for us tonight. We will see you again on Monday. Have an excellent weekend, except it has to start with you going to prison. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END