IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 5/3/22

Guests: Mini Timmaraju, Amy Hagstrom Miller, Pramila Jayapal, Janai Nelson


Leaked draft obtained by "Politico" shows Supreme Court set to overturn Roe v. Wade. Interview with Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: That is "ALL IN" on this Tuesday night. MSNBC PRIME starts right now with Ali Velshi.

Good evening, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Chris, thanks very much and we`ll see you tomorrow.

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

You heard Chris say MSNBC PRIME. As you know, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW now airs weekly on Monday. So I want to welcome you to MSNBC PRIME. This show will air in this hour Tuesday through Friday. It will still be produced by Rachel`s crack team and I will be hosting all this week.

And what a week it`s turning out to be. Let me show you the scene outside the United States Supreme Court right now.

And this was New York City this evening. And Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Knoxville, Tennessee, Boston, Massachusetts, Wilmington, Delaware, Reno, Nevada, St. Paul, Minnesota, Kansas City, Missouri, Austin, Texas.

Americans turning out in city after city across the country, many of them kind of in shock. The country`s digesting the bombshell news that broke just over hours ago, that a majority on the Supreme Court appears poised to revoke the constitutional right to abortion in the United States.

Today, the Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed that a draft majority opinion published last night by is authentic. In that draft opinion, Justice Samuel Alito eviscerates both Roe versus Wade and Planned Parenthood versus Casey, the foundational Supreme Court precedents that have guaranteed the right to an adoption in this country for decades.

If the court does ultimately rule that way, if the justices take away a right that Americans have been guaranteed for nearly 50 years, the ramifications will be immediate, widespread, severe and in some ways unpredictable. But one thing that is predictable is the practical effects of this potential ruling. We don`t have to speculate on this one.

To see what it`ll look like in state after state, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, you need to look no further than Texas where abortion has all but been banned since a draconian new law took effect a few months ago. As part of the attempt to block that new law, Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas submitted stories to the Supreme Court of what Texas women have faced under that law.

This was just one of those stories, about a Texas woman who is, quote, 20 years old and works hours a week as a manager at a fast food restaurant in north Texas. She took a home pregnancy test a week after she missed her period and it was positive, even though she was using condoms and had also taken Plan B.

Quote, she was in shock. She said it was overwhelming. I did catch it early. I watched the signs for my body. I did take Plan B. I started crying.

She decided to travel out of state. She woke up at 4:00 a.m. to drive the four hours to Oklahoma. She said for the abortion plus travel costs. In the end, it`s going to cost a thousand to fifteen hundred dollars. She noted she just moved and is still missing furniture in and that the check engine light on her car is now on.

I`m going back recounting money to make sure I can get by, I grew up knowing that I have an option and it was taken away from me at age 20. We`re going back instead of progressing. You learn about Roe v. Wade in school. Why would you take that away?

So to imagine what things would look like in a world where the Supreme Court gutted Roe v. Wade, just take what`s happening in Texas and imagine it happening in over half the country, because there are 26 states across the country where it`s not only likely, but almost certain that abortion would be heavily restricted or outright banned if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade.

These are the states labeled in orange, this map, is according to data from the Reproductive Rights Research Organization, the Guttmacher Institute. Texas has already given us a kind of a morbid case study of what that could look like since the state passed a draconian abortion ban a few months ago. Stories of women concocting dangerous home remedies for foregoing furniture to buy gas to get them across state lines, people spinning themselves into financial instability to obtain out-of-state abortion care.

Late last year, the Guttmacher Institute released what was essentially a forecast for what other states are in for if Roe were to fall. So let`s start for example with Louisiana. Louisiana is one of those states that has basically done everything to prepare to ban abortion if Roe is overturned by the Supreme Court. Right now, there are 1.1 million women of reproductive age living in Louisiana.

Now with abortion still legal in Louisiana, women living there drive an average of 37 miles one way to obtain care right now. But if Roe is overturned, abortion would immediately be banned in Louisiana.

Now, according to this analysis by Guttmacher, a woman living in Louisiana will have to drive an average of 666 miles to obtain an abortion, 666 miles one way, because look at the states surrounding Louisiana. They`re all states that are also likely to ban abortion. A woman will have to cross multiple state lines to obtain care that she used to be able to get within a 40-mile radius.

Take a look at Arizona. There are more than a million and a half women of child-bearing age in Arizona. Right now, with Roe protecting the right to abortion in that state, women only have to drive an average of 11 miles one way to obtain abortion care. But if Roe falls, abortion will be illegal in Arizona and women would have to drive an average of 251 miles one way to obtain an abortion.

Let`s do one more of these. Let`s look at Florida, 4.6 million women of child bearing age live in Florida. Right now, the average woman can obtain an abortion in Florida by driving just eight miles one way. But if Florida were to ban abortion, the average one-way distance to an abortion clinic will be 575 miles.

Based on their analysis, Guttmacher estimates that 36 million women will be forced to travel extraordinary oftentimes in possible distances to obtain the very common constitutionally protected care that they used to be able to get after a drive of just a dozen or so miles from their homes. And that`s assuming that they will be able to obtain that care once they make that long journey.

What if the states that do protect abortion find themselves unable to cope with the sudden influx of people from states that have banned it? The practical logistical implications for millions and millions of women in this country if Roe versus Wade is overturned is seismic. And it`s not just limited to people living in states hostile to abortion, it`s Americans everywhere in every state, which may be why today as the news of this draft ruling sunk in, the response from Democratic leaders was unusually raw and emotional.

Here was the Democratic leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): If we had to pick a word that our caucus feels, it`s infuriated -- infuriated by the alleged decision, infuriated by the lies these justices told us when they said they`d respect precedent, infuriated by our Republican colleagues who don`t tell the truth.

I am just -- I cannot tell you the outrage I feel at this decision and the outrage I feel that Republicans who did it won`t own up to it and duck it. It`s despicable.


VELSHI: And here was Vice President Kamala Harris this evening speaking to the pro-choice organization Emily`s List.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Those Republican leaders who are trying to weaponize the use of the law against women, will we say how dare they? How dare they tell a woman what she can do and cannot do with her own body? How dare they?

How dare they try to stop her from determining her own future? How dare they try to deny women their rights and their freedoms?


VELSHI: We`ll be talking in just a few minutes with the chair of the House Progressive Caucus about the road ahead at the federal level for defenders of abortion rights.

But all eyes are also on the states right now where the immediate future of access to abortion will be decided. California`s Democratic leaders are preparing a state constitutional amendment that would explicitly protect the right to abortion in that state.

Connecticut`s legislature has passed a law that the governor says he`ll sign to make the state a, quote, safe haven for patients who need to travel from states with abortion bans in order to access abortion care.

And today, the governor of New York state said her state will welcome anyone who needs care, quote, with open arms, end quote.

But even as some states move to protect abortion rights in the face of this looming Supreme Court decision, other states are pushing ahead with more restrictions. Even just today, a grinning Oklahoma Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed into law a new anti-abortion measure, even though he already signed a near total abortion ban last month. I guess now that the Supreme Court looks poised to let any and all abortion ban stand, why not stack them up?

So there are questions tonight about what will happen in Congress, what will happen in the states and what will happen of course at the Supreme Court, which may not issue its final decision for another couple of months?

And throughout the day, activists, lawmakers and citizens converged on the Supreme Court building and those gatherings continue. Right now, you`re looking at live pictures, as all Americans try to come to grips with what it would mean to live in a country without a right to abortion.

Joining us now is Mini Timmaraju, president of NARAL Pro-choice America. She was one of the speakers at the rally on the steps outside of the Supreme Court today.

Ms. Timmaraju, thank you for being with us tonight.

I just want to start by asking you this has been quite a 24 hours. The news itself is not unexpected. It was unexpected now. What`s going through your mind today?

MINI TIMMARAJU, PRESIDENT, NARAL PRO-CHOICE AMERICA: So I was actually, in addition to being the Supreme Court, Ali, I was here at Emily`s List with -- hearing secretary -- sorry, Vice President Harris, I don`t have a lot of sleep.

The room was electric, advocates, activists, elected officials, folks are fired up, energized. Look, we are devastated by the -- what we`ve learned from the court, the leak. It`s important to note and I know your other guests will also note this, that abortion is still legal in this country. Roe is still the law of the land. This was a leaked opinion.

But we`ve faced a believability gap for a few months now, for about six months, right? Since the oral arguments, a lot of us have been out there shouting, it`s very clear what`s coming, the court didn`t intervene in Texas, as you noted, embolden states like Oklahoma, Idaho, Arizona, Florida to take on additional bans. And a lot of Americans, to their credit, couldn`t believe that the court would reverse such a fundamental protected right.

So what happened yesterday has really as you as you told the story so beautifully really been a clarion call, a wake-up call to folks who deeply care about these fundamental freedoms and it might be the thing we need to really fight back.

VELSHI: Let`s talk about this believability gap, because it`s obvious and it`s widespread. There are reasonable people who just have not been around long enough to understand what it was like for women who couldn`t get abortions, who looked for alternatives -- in many cases alternatives that were either unsafe or unaffordable.

And now that it is upon us, what does this clarion call say? What are people who are now coming to terms with the fact that this may be very real in a matter of months, Roe v. Wade could be gone, abortion protections could be gone, they could fall very quickly in 26 states and possibly more as time goes on, what does the clarion call say? What is one to do?

TIMMARAJU: You know, I think it`s -- the courts have made it really clear, the Supreme Court has made it really clear we can`t rely on the courts to protect our constitutional rights. So the clarion call is we have to hold our elected officials accountable. We have to fight back and push back about the encroaching -- the encroaching uh extremism from the GOP, the rise of authoritarianism. It`s deeply connected with the fight around voting rights and democracy reform.

Eight out of ten Americans in this country support a constitutional right to abortion, yet we have a court that is poised to overturn that right, we have a majority being ruled by a minority, a religious extremist minority. So I think the wake-up call is to fight back, and that we have to hold elected officials accountable up and down the ballot. That`s Congress. That`s state houses. That`s governors. That`s attorneys general.

And we need in this midterm election for our base to be energized like they`ve never been before and we`re hoping this will be the opportunity to really raise that awareness.

VELSHI: In just a few moments, I`m going to speak with Pramila Jayapal who is tried to move this forward in Congress. There`s obviously been a lot of discussion about doing that. In your opinion, what does codifying abortion rights look like? Is that something that is done at the federal level? Is it done at the state level? Is it both?

What does success look like in codifying legal protection for abortion rights?

TIMMARAJU: So, Pramila Jayapal and Nancy Pelosi and the team in the House have already passed the Women`s Health Protection Act. Chuck Schumer has tried, we had an unsuccessful effort. We are -- he`s bringing it back next week, so we`re really excited to support him there.

But look, it`s both. It`s all of the above. It`s state legislative efforts. It`s efforts like Gov -- like Governor Gavin Newsom. It`s efforts like Gretchen Whitmer fighting back with you know litigation. It`s ballot initiatives in places like Kansas and Michigan, as well as federal legislation.

And there`s also talk and I think there needs to be really -- we need to be really big and bold in how we imagine the future of reproductive freedom in this country, we need to be thinking about constitutional amendments. We need to be thinking about the ERA, we need to be thinking about an equality amendment, all cards have to be on the table.

We have to fundamentally reimagine how we want to protect this right in the future, but we have a lot of options. But it all comes down to the access to the ballot box and voting. So, the fact that we have an extremist GOP that has really aggressively attacked our fundamental freedom to vote is hand in glove with these attacks on abortion rights, the attacks on trans kids, the attacks on LGBTQ communities. It`s all connected and we really need to wake up as organizations across the progressive ecosystem.

And I know Pramila is really leading the charge here and understand how intertwined these fights are and how intertwined these attacks are.

VELSHI: Mini Timmaraju, it has been a long 24 hours for you and unfortunately, it doesn`t look like it`s going to get any easier in the near term, but I do hope you get some sleep. Thanks for spending time with us this evening. Mini Timmaraju is the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. We appreciate your time tonight.

Well, last September, a draconian new anti-abortion law went into effect in Texas. It`s a law that banned abortion at about six weeks of pregnancy which again is before most women even know they`re pregnant. And now with the end of Roe versus Wade looming, more states are looking at Texas as a model, including in neighboring Oklahoma where a copycat law was signed into effect today. It takes effect immediately.

Joining us now is Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder and CEO of the Whole Women`s Health which is still providing abortions in Texas in the limited circumstances in which they are allowed to.

Ms. Miller, thank you for being with us tonight.

I want to get your opinion as well or your reaction to the draft opinion that was leaked.

AMY HAGSTROM MILLER, FOUNDER & CEO, WHOLE WOMAN`S HEALTH: You know, thank you for having me, Ali, it`s an honor to be between Mini and Kamala, two people I really look up to.

And my reaction is has a couple of layers. The first, Mini was right I want to point out that abortion is still legal. We`ve been hearing from our patients all day today and I want people all over the country to know that your appointments are still valid. Our clinics are open all over the country, providers are here to provide care to you and all states abortion is still legal.

This leaked decision didn`t surprise us unfortunately. It is very difficult to read. It`s remarkably disrespectful uh of our experience as women and families in this country and while I say it`s not surprising, it`s still very difficult to read and we have been preparing for this not just since SBA was passed and not just since the Dobbs v. Jackson case was heard, but really back in 2020 when the June medical case was taken up by the Supreme Court, many of us independent providers and Planned Parenthood all over the country started to prepare for what this era could look like, trying to preserve access in these states, these 26 states we described, and then also trying to build networks with our abortion fund allies and with our clinic allies to help as many people as we can get to the 24 states where abortion is secured, and it`s really been a multi-pronged approach.

And it`s been a really difficult time to have multiple contingency plans and multiple strategies while at the base of everything we do are the people we`re here to serve. We`ve been listening to the stories of people denied abortion care for months now, and trying to help people overcome these barriers whether it`s supporting people who may have tried to self-manage their abortion whether it`s helping people travel out of the state or whether it`s helping families cope with being forced to carry a pregnancy that they didn`t feel ready for beyond the limit of the abortion and being forced to give birth in Texas at this time.

And so, it`s been it`s been rough and you`re right, it is preparing us in many ways for what the country`s going to face in the coming months.

VELSHI: And in fact, that`s one reality what the country will face with the overturning of Roe and Casey, but many people are concerned that that decision will not stop there and it can extend to possibly things like emergency contraception or even birth control. Do you do you share that view?

MILLER: You know, I agree with what Mini was talking about. I think it`s important for us to frame this as religious extremism and Christian extremism and this is this is born and bred in this country and it does not reflect the majority of people in this country. It does not reflect the feelings and beliefs of the people that I serve and the people that all of us know across this country.

The vast majority of people here want to see abortion legal, they want to see abortion safe and available in our communities. All of us know somebody and love somebody who`s needed an abortion at some point in their life. Abortion has benefited men, it`s benefited women, it`s benefited Republicans and Democrats.

Our country has been able to count on safe abortion for decades and it`s raised the status of women and made families healthier in our communities across the country. And I`m glad to see such outrage today. It is important for us to stand up and talk about the value that access to safe abortion has brought to our communities over these decades.

VELSHI: Amy, thank you for joining us tonight. Amy Hagstrom Miller is the founder of Whole Woman`s Health. We appreciate your time.

Coming up next, as I`ve been telling you, how progressives are hoping to fight back could the court overturning Roe actually help Democrats keep control of Congress. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal joins us live after this.



VELSHI: All right. You`re looking at live video people tonight protesting in Sacramento California in response to the news that the Supreme Court has drafted a majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, which effectively ends or would end the federal right to a safe and legal abortion in this country.

As people across the country have begun to take to the streets in protest, Congress is preparing for its biggest political battle in generations. Republicans are now on the verge of achieving one of the central policy objectives that their base has been pushing for, for nearly half a century, but despite that fact, Republican leaders spent the day avoiding the topic of Roe entirely. When they mentioned it at all, it was in the context of feigning outrage over the fact that the draft opinion had leaked. There was zero talk about where they stood on the decision itself.

It was a dynamic that Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer made clear to note during his own press conference today. At that press conference, Schumer informed skeptical reporters that Democrats would do everything that they could to fight the upcoming decision, including by holding a vote on federal legislation to codify the protections of Roe into law.


REPORTER: The dynamics that led you to not be able to codify Roe previously remain you still don`t have the votes to nuke the filibuster. You still don`t have the votes to pass that bill. What are you going to do once that bill goes down yet again?

SCHUMER: Look, it`s a different world now. The tectonic plates of our politics on women`s choice and on rights in general are changing. Every senator now under the real glare of Roe v. Wade being repealed by the courts is going to have to show which side they`re on and we will find the best way to go forward after that.


VELSHI: Well, the world today is certainly different than the one in which we were living before the news of this draft opinion broke last night right before Rachel`s show began. But the fight to codify roe remains an uphill battle.

Over the past two year, Washington Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal has earned a reputation as a leader in this fight, as the head of the congressional progressive caucus, she`s been key to mobilizing nearly 100 members on key issues of social and economic justice. She`s been an outspoken leader in the fight for reproductive rights.

Just a few months ago, Congresswoman Jayapal was one of three members of Congress who stepped up to bravely tell the story of her own abortion.


REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): I speak to you as one of the one in four women in America who have had an abortion. I knew I was not ready to have another child so I religiously took my daily contraceptive pill. Despite that, I became pregnant. I consulted with my doctors who told me that any future pregnancy would likely also be high risk to me and the child. After discussions with my partner who was completely supportive of whatever choice I made, I decided to have an abortion.

Whether the choice to have an abortion is easy or hard, whether there are traumatic situations of or not, none of that should be the issue. It is simply nobody`s business what choices we as pregnant people make about our own bodies.


VELSHI: Now, tonight, Congresswoman Jayapal is one of the Democratic leaders tasked with coming up with a strategy for Democrats nationwide.

Joining us now is the Washington Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.

Congresswoman, thank you for being with us. We appreciate your time as always.

You know, this is personal to you but I think it doesn`t need to be. In other words, I -- for most people looking at this tonight, they need to look behind beyond whether or not they know someone who`s had an abortion, know someone who might have an abortion and see this in the context of a right that is being eroded.

JAYAPAL: That`s right, Ali, and I think it is -- the personal stories are important because I think that there are Republicans across the country who are trying to say that somehow this doesn`t matter very much or it`s not important to us or it doesn`t mean anything for our futures. And I think these stories really showcase how complicated this is, how varied it is for people across the country, very different situations.

And ultimately, this freedom is a critical freedom that we`ve already had 50 years of people growing up with the belief that they could make choices about their own body, that it was a constitutionally protected settled law question. And today, this five majority Supreme Court -- which, by the way, Ali, these five justices were appointed by Republican presidents who actually did not get the majority of the popular vote. And these five justices are trying to say -- if this actually is you know is the opinion we think it is -- trying to say that this is not a fundamental right.

And it is a terrifying thing because people need to understand not only what it means for our economic freedom, for families across this country who are trying to plan their pregnancies, but also for every other issue. Think about everything from Brown v. Board of Education, you know, marriage equality, you name it, Loving, I mean, anything that we have considered subtle law could really be taken away.

And if you look at the language of the opinion, it`s very scary and dangerous because it seems to be saying that if something isn`t specifically named as a right in the Constitution from 200 years ago that somehow that does not qualify as a right.

VELSHI: So, one of the options and this is one that you have been pursuing is to codify this, to make this law passed by Congress. What is the path for that right now? How --how do -- it`s really the Senate where this problem lies, but you heard Chuck Schumer talking about the fact that it`s a different world now. The tectonic plates have shifted.

Do you believe that to be true? And does that mean that there`s a likelihood that the efforts that you and the House have gone through to codify abortion protections can be passed in the Senate?

JAYAPAL: Well, I certainly um hope so. The House has passed the women`s health protection act which codifies Roe. We can pass it again.

The Senate -- I think it`s very important for the Republican senators who voted for these justices but said that they cared about abortion as a fundamental right and actually one who even said that she got an assurance from one of those justices that this was settled law -- I think it`s very important for those senators in particular to be on the right side of history in ensuring that we protect this right, because they confirmed these justices and now these justices are making a mockery of precedent, they`re making a mockery of women`s freedoms, and really of women overall, pregnant people overall.

So the path is that I think the Senate majority leader has said they`re going to bring this to the floor. It would need to get votes in the Senate to pass unless there is a carve out for the filibuster.

And let`s be clear, Ali, they had a carve out for the debt ceiling. It seems to me that we can have a carve out for the filibuster and if we got those two women senators who, you know, said that they supported a woman`s right to choose, to side with Democrats that would be sufficient to codify Roe v. Wade.

VELSHI: Congresswoman, we appreciate your time tonight. We appreciate you telling your personal stories too to make them real for a lot of people who would otherwise deny how important this freedom is.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is the chair of the Progressive Caucus -- we appreciate your time. Thank you.

JAYAPAL: Thank you, Ali.

VELSHI: Much more ahead tonight and it is primary night in Ohio. We`re going to check in with Steve Kornacki, big news out of Ohio right after the break.



VELSHI: Today`s primary day in Ohio and Indiana. Polls closed nearly two hours ago in Ohio. NBC projects that Congressman Tim Ryan will be the Democratic Party`s Senate candidate in November.

Of course, the most anticipated race of the night is Republican -- the Republican Senate primary where Donald Trump`s control over the Republican Party faced its first major primary test. Trump forgot the name of his preferred candidate JD Vance over the weekend, but just in the past few moments, NBC has projected that JD Vance will win the Republican primary.

Joining us now is MSNBC`s national political correspondent, the great Steve Kornacki.

Steve, it is good to see you my friend. You have big news out of Ohio right now. Those numbers are coming in fast and furious.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Ali, and there it is you see the check mark, JD Vance, we`re declaring, has won the Republican primary to -- he will face off against Tim Ryan, the Democrat, in the fall.

Basically what`s been happening here if you`ve been watching these returns on our air tonight when we first came on the air, when about the first 10 percent or 15 percent of the vote was reported out, Vance was running at about 24 percent and 25 percent, what that was is the way they report the vote out in Ohio is every county puts out the early vote and the vote by mail first. And in a Republican primary, that`s a pretty small share of the overall vote.

Most Republicans remember this dynamic from the election prefer to vote in person on election day and the people that voted in person on election day today have broken sharply for JD Vance. And county after county, we`ve seen him measurably improving in how he did today versus how he did in the early vote.

A couple things could explain that but one of them is that it was in the middle of the early voting period on April 15th, that Donald Trump threw his support behind JD Vance. And so, it could be one of the reasons Vance is doing so much better today than he did in the early vote.

Also worth noting, Josh Mandel here who is running second also ran very hard trying to get the Donald Trump endorsement, went very hard after Trump`s voters. He`s actually doing quite well as well when you look at the same day vote, not as well as Vance, but he`s doing quite well. It really does I think, Ali, it`s hard to put an exact number on it but it`s impossible to deny that Donald Trump`s endorsement of JD Vance in the middle of April changed this race in a way that probably has put JD Vance over the top here.

You could absolutely have seen Mandel winning this primary without JD Vance doing as well as he`s doing with this same day vote today.

And you can see, I`ll give you an example of it right here, Cuyahoga County, this is actually Matt Dolan. He`s the one candidate Trump said he did not want winning this primary. This is Dolan`s base, and again, Dolan`s leading here, but when we were looking at numbers out of Cuyahoga County about an hour ago, we were just looking at the early vote, Dolan was crushing Vance, margin was about 20 points.

Now you can see as the same day vote has come in, Vance has moved that into single digits. That`s great for JD Vance to be in Dolan`s backyard and doing that well.

You take a look in the suburbs, just north of Columbus, Ohio, bedrock Republican suburbs here -- again this is the kind of place the Dolan campaign very much wanted to win, one to get big numbers. Instead, Vance looks like he`s on his way to actually outright winning Delaware County, Hamilton County, Cincinnati, Vance`s family advanced grew up in the area here. You can see he`s actually leading in Hamilton County, Cincinnati right now.

So, actually geographically, a pretty expansive victory here for Vance and again the numbers sitting at about 31 percent, more than 70 percent in. I wouldn`t be surprised if it ticked up a little bit more that Vance number before the night`s over.

Also if Mandel ends up running second ahead of Dolan, wouldn`t be surprised by that either. But bottom line, JD Vance wins the primary and Donald Trump we said this was a test of his clout with Republican primary voters. I think he`d be fair to say Donald Trump was critical in delivering this victory to JD Vance.

VELSHI: A big uptick in Vance`s support since the endorsement by Donald Trump.

Steve, great to see you my friend. Thank you as always, MSNBC national political correspondent, the great Steve Kornacki.

Up next, the bracing new reality that the end of Roe could mean that other rights like the right to obtain contraception, the right to same-sex marriage could now be in the crosshairs of the court`s conservative majority




BRETT KAVANAUGH, THEN-SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: It is an important precedent of the Supreme Court. By it, I mean Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood versus Casey been reaffirmed many times. Casey is precedent on precedent, which itself is an important factor to remember.

NEIL GORSUCH, THEN-SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: Well, Senator Casey is settled law, in the sense that it`s a decision of the United States Supreme Court, and you also have Obergefell and Lawrence. Those are all precedents the United States Supreme Court entitled the weight precedent which is quite considerable.


VELSHI: During their Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 2017 and 2018, Trump appointees justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh both told the Senate judiciary committee that they understood Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey were the established laws of the land and that they carried the, quote, weight of precedent, end quote, or that they were, quote, precedent on precedent, end quote.

But according to this draft Supreme Court opinion published by "Politico" last night, those cases are likely precedent on precedent for just about another month. While Justice Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the document today, of course, it is still a draft, the language and the justice`s votes could still change. But for now, this is what all of those justices I just listed voted for.

Quote: We must hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision including the one on which defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely, the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. The provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, end quote.

Now, there are several rights that fall into this category, rights like same-sex marriage, the right to birth control. Justice Alito basically wrote a how-to guide to dismantling those rights too, which is probably why he also peppered in this tepid assurance. Quote, we emphasize that our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right. Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubts on precedent that do not concern abortion, end quote.


That`s good. Should we take him at his word? Like some senators took Gorsuch and Kavanaugh at their word?

Tonight, the Vice President Harris warned that Roe might not be the only target for Republicans.


HARRIS: You know, some Republican leaders, they want to take us back to a time before Roe v. Wade, back to a time before Obergefell v. Hodges, back to a time before Griswold v. Connecticut. But we`re not going back. We are not going back.


VELSHI: The president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund also offered this thought, quote: The leaked opinion suggests SCOTUS has abandoned all respect for precedent and a woman`s right to choose. If this is true, we can only imagine what`s next and what this will mean for respect for the court itself going forward.

Joining us now is Janai Nelson, president and director counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Ms. Nelson, thank you for being with us tonight. I appreciate your time, and you`re an expert to whom we often turn.

As a non-lawyer, I was confused by the fact that Justice Alito says the Supreme Court can only protect rights that are in his words deeply rooted in the nation`s history. So how far does that logic go when it comes to peeling back previously established rights like same-sex marriage for instance that are not enumerated in the Constitution? Constitution doesn`t say anything about same-sex marriage.

JANAI NELSON, PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR COUNSEL, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND: Yeah, it`s deeply concerning that Justice Alito would try to manipulate what is essentially our Due Process Clause and the 14th Amendment in that way. What he`s referring to is the fact that not all rights that we enjoy and that we are absolutely entitled to are specified by name in the Constitution.

Instead, our Constitution has broad principles. It has the principle of due process, the principle of equal protection under the law. And under those big umbrellas lie important and critical rights that are essential to our freedoms as Americans -- our freedom to choose to decide who we`d like to marry, whether that be someone of the same sex or someone of a different race, our right to privacy, our right to determine our reproductive future, and our access to opportunity as a result.

And what Justice Alito laid out in that extremely disturbing draft opinion is a completely different conception of how this country has evolved over time and treated rights under the Constitution. He talks about rights not being rooted in our history or being part of our view of ordered liberty, without recognizing that the court itself has made those determinations not more than years ago as part of an evolving progressive and more inclusive society.

So what he did in this draft opinion is attempt to bring us backwards in a way that is not consistent with how we view rights today. It`s not consistent with contemporary readings of the Constitution. It`s rooted in originalism, which locks us into a period of time in which almost a super majority of this country had no rights, including most people of color and women and many other groups.

So this is really a call for our country to decide what type of constitutional democracy we want to be.

VELSHI: Yeah, I mean, you make a good point the right for people of color to vote was not enshrined in the Constitution. The right of women to vote was not enshrined in the Constitution. There are all sorts of rights that that have come to be and in this particular case for almost 50 years.

So, what is the basis of the argument that it`s not enshrined in our history, let alone the Constitution? What does 50 years of abortion protections mean if it doesn`t carry any weight with Justice Alito and the majority on the Supreme Court?

NELSON: What it means frankly and it`s very difficult for me to say this as someone who leads an organization that put the first African-American Supreme Court justice on the court and that has won seminal cases like Brown versus Board of Education, using the court to advance society to help perfect our constitutional democracy, it disturbs me to say that the court has become deeply politicized and this opinion underscores that fact and makes it at this point beyond doubt, that the court has been co-opted through political whim and political pressure and power.


And I think your opening where we saw justices claim that this was precedent on precedent, that this was part of their duty to recognize stare decisis to recognize that when there is subtle precedent, that justices on the Supreme Court are bound to respect it, unless there is good reason to depart from that precedent. And Justice Alito`s opinion, despite the 67-page length plus an appendix, does not provide adequate justification for departing from precedent in this way this is really an outlandish decision.

VELSHI: Janai Nelson, we always appreciate your time. Thank you for being with us on this important night. Janai Nelson is the president and director counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.

All right. Up next, Steve Kornacki joins us -- we`re actually going to take a break. We already talked to Steve Kornacki, and we know that JD Vance is now the Republican nominee for Senate in Ohio.

We`ll be right back with some important information. Stay with us.


VELSHI: All right. One quick note of business, if you recorded the show on your DVR, if you record "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" every night at 9:00 Eastern, that`s great, keep doing it. Please add the show MSNBC PRIME to your DVR recording schedule. MSNBC PRIME is now with this call -- show is called from Tuesday to Friday.

The reason we need both those recordings under DVR is that Rachel is going to be here on Mondays, even though her whole team is still producing the show every night at 9:00 Eastern. So you need to set your DVR to record every night at 9:00, which means setting into record both "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" and starting now, MSNBC PRIME.

That does it for us tonight. We`ll see again tomorrow.

It`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL", which on the purposes of your DVR remains "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".

And we are glad of that, and we are glad for your depth and experience on weeks like this, Lawrence, because these tectonic shifts, these are seismic shifts. Even though we knew this is what the Supreme Court was going to do, the reality of the fact that it is happening has got everybody in this country thinking about what`s next and what freedom actually looks like.