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Transcript: The ReidOut, 6/24/22

Guests: Janai Nelson, Elie Mystal, Cori Bush, Alexis McGill Johnson, Jim Obergefell, Amy Klobuchar


Republican-appointed justices on the Supreme Court overturn Roe vs. Wade. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Congresswoman Cori Bush discuss the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the landmark same-sex marriage case, discusses whether other rights are now at threat from the Supreme Court. What does the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade mean for women across America?




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, with Roe gone, let`s be very clear. The health and life of women in this nation are now at risk.

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Millions of women in America will go to bed tonight without access to the health care and reproductive care that they had this morning.


REID: Across the country, protests continue tonight, after the extreme right justices on the Supreme Court stripped away a half-century of abortion rights.

And Justice Clarence Thomas is making it clear he wants other rights revoked as well.

Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the landmark same-sex marriage case, joins me tonight.

We begin tonight with a theme that by now may be familiar to viewers of this show: Repeal the 20th century, the notion that, for many on the far right, the good old days start with 17 and 18, as in hundreds.

The era when men were men and women were property, and that the 20th century, the American century, was literally the ruin of this country as a Christian nation, with the onset of workers` rights and the social safety net and income taxes and voting rights for women and black people and liberalized immigration acceptance -- liberalized immigration and acceptance of LGBTQ people and dangerous cultural things like jazz, hip- hop, you know, and rock `n` roll, and legalized contraception and abortion.

Believe it or not, there are people and well-funded groups in this country who have dedicated their lives to repealing it all. But, right now, I hate to say it, they`re kind of winning. Conservative organizations like the Heritage Foundation have invested decades and many, many millions of dollars building a Supreme Court that could wipe out all the uncomfortable modernism and keep the right men firmly on top.

And in 2016, they got a president in the very un-Christian Donald Trump and a Senate leader in the very ruthless Mitch McConnell who made it possible. Elections have consequences.

And so just one day after we learned how hard the former president pushed to corrupt the Justice Department to help him pull off a literal coup, his three justices, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Barrett, join Samuel Alito, an O.G. misogynist and insurrection hubby Clarence Thomas -- Chief John Roberts pointedly told them you`re on your own with this whole striking down Roe thing.

But since he has no power anymore, the 18th century crew made those investments in right-wing Christian fidelity to single-issue voting pay off big time by making 50 years of abortion rights for American women, poof, disappear.

Mike Pence, the guy the MAGA insurrectionist wanted to hang, boasted that American abortion is now on the ash heap of history, and that Republicans` next big act should be to jam through a national ban.

And let`s just be clear. What Alito, Thomas and the Trump gang did today was not about some high-minded judicial philosophy. And their originalism is as sketchy as it is revelatory, since, in the 18th century, abortion was legal for white women and physical or mental distress up to the quickening, meaning actual movement in the womb, but it was illegal for enslaved women because it was a property crime.

What these justices handed down today was purely about politics. They stuck down abortion rights simply because they could, they had the numbers, and it`s what they wanted. They are religious zealots, and this is what they want. It`s why they lied about stare decisis and precedent to get past gullible senators like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski to get on the court in the first place.

Women became second-class citizens today, full stop. And this court majority, oh, they`re not done. Clarence Thomas, in his concurring opinion, sent out a duck call to his fellow Christianists to send daddy cases that will allow him and his five fanatic wrecking crew friends to wipe out legal same-sex marriage and legal same-sex relations and even access to birth control.

So, buckle up, kids. They have only gotten started. Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that the only viable option left for the majority of Americans who support the now-defunct right of women to control our own bodies is to take out your vengeance at the polls.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): This is deadly serious, but we are not going to let this pass.

A woman`s right to choose, reproductive freedom is on the ballot in November. We cannot allow them to take charge, so that they can institute their goal, which is to criminalize reproductive freedom.


REID: Joining me now is Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

And, Senator, thank you so much for being here.


REID: And I have watched you on TV all day. And so I know how you`re feeling about out this and how a lot of women are feeling about it.


But the lady you just saw, I trust that lady to go ahead and get through a bill that could codify Roe vs. Wade. She can handle that. Speaker Pelosi could do that. The problem is your body where you work, the Senate.

Let me read you just a little bit of what some of your colleagues have said today.

Joe Manchin: "I`m deeply disappointed that Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. It`s been law of the land for nearly 50 years," yadda, yadda, yadda. Voted for Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.

Let`s go to Susan Collins. She`s always concerned: "The Supreme Court has abandoned a 50-year precedent at a time that the country is desperate for stability. This ill-considered action will further divide the country in a moment when more than -- in modern times, we need a court to show both consistency and restraint," yadda, yadda, yadda. Voted for Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.

And then we have Lisa Murkowski, also supposedly pro-choice: "Today, the Supreme Court went against 50 years of precedent in choosing to overturn Roe v. Wade. In the wake of this ruling, it`s up to Congress to respond. Legislation to accomplish abortion protections must be a priority."

OK, she voted for Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.

Two questions for you, Senator. Have any of those three people who are outraged today and somehow weirdly surprised that the people who literally are on the court for the purposes of overturning Roe did it, have they expressed to you a commitment, a firm commitment that they will do whatever it takes to either get the 60 votes it would take to pass a codification of Roe or to adjust the filibuster to do so?

KLOBUCHAR: We haven`t heard that from them.

We do know that, over the years, they have voted on the side of choice. But here`s the issue. This isn`t a drill. You know that, Joy. This is the real thing. And when it`s the real thing, I would listen to what Speaker Pelosi just said.

This is about November, because if you really want to guarantee women their rights, instead of having this patchwork, where Minnesota women will have different rights than women in Texas, where you literally are on the verge of sending women to prison or doctors to prison over this, when states and governors on the Republican side are racing to their state capitols to take away women`s rights, so that my daughter will have less rights than I had or that her grandma had, what do you do?

You go big time in November to win. And that means, if we could take back two Senate seats, in addition to winning the ones where we`re already ahead, Joy, then we`re at the golden number of 52. Then we would have the numbers, in my mind, to get this done. But without that, I don`t see this path right now, no matter how horrific this is.

We just voted on the Women`s Protection Act about a month ago, and it failed. And so I do see a path for the women of America. I do see a path for the women in these states where they have already -- 13 states, trigger law already going into effect, a number of others that literally have bills.

And you were so ahead of time, your time on this, Joy. This isn`t just about the 1950s. This is about the 1850s. Alito literally cited 12th century law in the opinion. He literally talked about how the word abortion isn`t the Constitution.

Well, you`re not in the Constitution, Joy.

REID: Yes.

KLOBUCHAR: Women aren`t in the Constitution. The word she is not in the Constitution. Contraception is not in the Constitution.

And instead of going with what justices tended to do in the past, which are narrow opinions, they went with a sweeping opinion. And then, to add to that, you have got that road map put out there by Clarence Thomas, who literally took the invitation to say, guess what else we could do to you? We could get rid of your right to contraception. We could get rid of gay marriage right there in writing.

So, I don`t know. People thought the leaked opinion, that somehow it was going to be moderated. In my mind, this got worse.

REID: Indeed.

And the thing is, what`s frustrating a little bit is that I was telling the crew here that I feel like I told like 100 different people in 2017, you`re not voting to, like, become Hillary Clinton`s roommate. You know what I mean?


REID: You`re voting to choose who`s going to control the FBI, CIA, NSA, and pick the Supreme Court, right?


REID: I mean, it`s -- but there are a lot of people who were very casual about it.


REID: It is not the sexy answer to say voting is the answer. But can you, as somebody with the power of a United States senator, is there any other answer other than what you said? Sheldon Whitehouse said the same thing on this show.

You need 52 senators as insurance against the ones who are not reliable on changing the filibuster. Is there any other answer, besides give you all 52 reliable Democrats?

KLOBUCHAR: I do think it is the answer. You do see the president and the vice president standing out there and saying, we will make sure the Justice Department protects women`s right to travel. That`s really important.

REID: Yes.

KLOBUCHAR: Some states have put forward laws that would impinge on that. And we will do what we can to protect medication abortions.


But let`s just look at the states, what they are. There is, of course, the voters key, in Georgia, with Raphael Warnock getting reelected, and in New Hampshire with Maggie Hassan, Nevada with Catherine Cortez Masto, and in Arizona with Mark Kelly.

Then let`s expand the map. You have got to make sure we win in Colorado with Michael Bennet and Patty Murray in Washington state. Then let`s expand the map. Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Missouri, all of these states are right there in the middle of this.

And the majority of Americans, vast majority, 75 percent of Americans, Joy, of course, favor codifying Roe v. Wade. They favor Roe v. Wade. They want to see women`s rights protected, and they don`t want to go back to the 1850s.

REID: Yes.

KLOBUCHAR: They believe and trust a woman to make her own health care decisions, instead of the government, instead of politicians, and instead of Ted Cruz.

REID: Amen, or Rand Paul. You want to really make Mitch McConnell unhappy? Take away Rand Paul and give him Charles Booker in Kentucky. You really want revenge, that`s how you would make him really upset.

KLOBUCHAR: Kentucky. Thank you for bringing up...

REID: Listen, don`t leave out Kentucky.

KLOBUCHAR: OK, I thought I covered the map.

REID: Yes, you did.

KLOBUCHAR: Kentucky. Thank you.

REID: Leave Kentucky on that map too. Amen.

Any -- anyone can win if you vote for them.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you very much. Really appreciate you.

Let`s bring in Representative Cori Bush of Missouri.

And, Representative, I have been watching you all day too. I know your emotion. This is personal for you. On this list of states that have these trigger laws that are kicking in instantaneously is your state as well, Missouri, has already changed its laws. You have 26 additional states that are fixing to ban abortion as soon as they can get the chance.

We`re talking about creating two kinds of states, free states for women and states where women are state property. What are your thoughts and feelings at this point, having lived with this decision all day?

REP. CORI BUSH (D-MO): You know, I`m here in my district, standing here with the people of St. Louis, folks that have said, you know what, you might be able to take the right from me, but you can`t take my voice from me. You might be able to -- you might be able to strike down the right but you can`t strike down -- you can`t strike down my fight. And that is -- that`s what we`re talking about today. Missouri decided along with the Supreme Court that we -- that we wouldn`t have the right to bodily autonomy, that we shouldn`t be able to make the decisions for our own bodies; 1.6 million people in this state have just been affected by that.

We are talking to people all across the state, letting them know, hey, if you are coming to St. Louis, which was the sole -- which we had the sole abortion provider in the state, if you were coming here because you had an appointment, and you were getting services, you can no longer get services as of today.

And we`re telling people to go to Illinois, which we know Illinois has already taken in so many patients. And they`re already overwhelmed. But we`re telling people to go there. Illinois is saying, send them. And we`re saying, go.

REID: Yes.

BUSH: I am disturbed. I`m disturbed, Joy, because we`re talking about -- we`re also talking about folks that are disproportionately affected and impacted in so many ways already.

We`re talking about black folks and brown folks, our LGBTQIA folks. We`re talking about our disabled community members. We`re talking about folks that are low income that are being directly impacted by this. And it`s for political reasons.

We got to make sure that it`s known this is political. This is not about babies. This is about that control. And it`s about who can out-Trump, who can out-true conservative who. That`s what this is about.

And it`s shameful. But you know what? We won`t stop. Look at the people behind me.

REID: Yes. Amen.

I mean, listen, Samuel Alito, as Senator Klobuchar mentioned, when he says originalism, he really means it. Like, he really wants to set the country back. He and this -- his fellow 18th century acolytes here, they do want to set the country back to the way it was in the 19th century, when women had no voice, no say at all. It was all men.

And it is striking to me that it is men, by and large, other than Amy Coney Barrett, who are handing this down. Your attorney general, his name is Eric Schmitt, issued an opinion within minutes of this decision to the Missouri revisor of states that triggers parts of that 2019 law, ending abortion in that state, in your state.

And here are the consequences of that. Health care providers who violate the law can be found guilty of a Class B felony, which can result in five to 15 years in prison. Health care providers will have their medical licenses suspended or revoked.

That is the law that has been triggered. Under this law, they don`t -- I don`t read any exceptions here. You yourself in this situation you have talked about on this show would be forced to give birth. This is pure forced birth in the state of Missouri.

Other than -- if you can`t afford to leave the state, what are people supposed to do?


BUSH: Right now -- first of all, all of that is horrendous.

And, as far as our attorney general, our attorney general, our governor and our Republicans in this state, you know what?

I hope that, when they -- I hope that when they -- the still of the night hits them, and when they sit, and they have to think about all that they have done for political points and political gain, I hope that they -- that their conscience starts to beat them up, because they -- I hope that they get the reminder or the thought of that little 12-year-old girl that was raped by a family member that can`t -- that became pregnant and can`t get an abortion, and how that will affect her life or affect that person`s life moving forward.

I hope that it tears them up that they have no grace, that they don`t walk in grace, and that they don`t have mercy. I hope it tears them up bit by bit, but also, also, we`re telling people, you still have care. Secretary Becerra of the Department of -- the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services was right here at this location, at this Planned Parenthood today.

We were together with advocates and health -- and abortion providers when that decision was announced. And what we -- what he said was, care is care. What we`re saying is, make sure we let people know that you can still access services.

So whether it`s by mail-in, so -- if we have to mail you the abortion pill, if we have to get it to you, if you have to have telehealth appointments, you still have the ability to have care. So don`t let anybody tell you can`t get care. We want to make sure that however we can -- because providers still need to provide care as well.

REID: Yes.

BUSH: It`s not just on the people calling, providers as well. So we`re going to make sure. Call. Call your local reproductive health clinic. Call your local abortion clinic. Call our office. Call your congress member`s office, especially if they`re a Democrat.

Call. You can call my office. We will steer you in the right place to go, because you deserve health care.

REID: I think what we have learned today, having two women who are advocates for their constituents on the show to start the show, I`m glad we did it. Elect people who give a damn about you. Elect people who actually care about you.

Don`t elect people because they have a party label that you like or you think that they are governing out of the Bible, because, trust me, as a little former -- as a church girl, that ain`t the Bible that they`re using. They are using the book of power. Govern -- be governed by people who give a damn about you, like the lady who`s sitting right here on the screen with me right now.

BUSH: That`s right.

REID: Congresswoman Cori Bush, thank you. Thank you for the fight. Appreciate you.

Coming up next on THE REIDOUT: what the court`s ruling on abortion means for women in red states and how abortion rights supporters can fight back.

The REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: Now, as I mentioned there are 13 states that have so-called abortion ban trigger laws in place that with today`s ruling will now go into effect.

But, beyond those, there are 26 states that are now certain or likely to ban abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Just look at that map. For millions of women in these states, this map means they will have to drive an average of four hours to receive care in a bordering state. That`s if they even have a car and the financial means to make the trip.

And in the Deep South, you could be looking at an even longer-distance drive, with some in Louisiana needing to travel more than 600 miles to get to the nearest clinic, the farthest in the entire country.

Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, will be joining me in a minute

But let`s bring in Joyce Vance, professor at the University of Alabama School of Law and a former U.S. attorney.

Thank you so much for being here, my friend.

Let`s talk about this just for a moment, because you said something earlier today that I think is -- it spooked me, but I think it`s important for people to get this reality.

Let`s just say that the women of -- that women in Louisiana form a class and decide to file a lawsuit saying, making us drive 600 miles to get to the nearest clinic is an undue burden, is somehow discriminatory under the 14th Amendment, no equal protection under the law. And let`s say they took that suit. They would 100 percent loose with this Supreme Court.

Or let`s say that a state decided to pass a law -- or the country, that the Senate decided to pass a law signed, sealed and delivered codifying Roe v. Wade. This court would overturn it.


REID: So, given the fact that we have a court that is committed on a religious basis to ending abortion rights, is there anything people can do? And is there any point in trying to use the courts?

JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: So there`s always a path forward.

We just have to be smarter and persistent and willing maybe perhaps to fumble around a little bit to get to the right solutions. We have to remember that progress isn`t always linear, because, Joy, I say that. We`re living in a difficult moment.

And the most important thing we cannot do in the next few days and weeks is give up. We have to keep going forward.

REID: Yes.

VANCE: But you`re absolutely right.

I have a concern that this is a court -- I have a concern. We all have a concern. It`s apparent on the pages of the opinion in Dobbs that this is a court that is not friendly to women`s access to reproductive care, to basic fundamental medical care, and that this court will continue in a very result-oriented way to find a path to striking down any effort to protect women, because that`s what they have done.

Texas comes up with this utterly insane provision that permits vigilante lawsuits designed to keep women from exercising their rights when Roe was still the law in this country, a statute that no Supreme Court would have approved, that was just nuts. And, of course, this Supreme Court threw his hands up in the air and said, well, we just don`t know what to do in the face of this unusual vigilante mechanism. We will have to let it go forward.

So I`m confident that they will find a way to let anything, no matter how crazy, go forward. But there are other paths. We can focus on state legislatures. We can focus on ways to make sure that it remains legal for women to travel from one state it to another. We can find lawful mechanisms for funding that travel, whether that means we support businesses that continue to believe that their employees are entitled to exercise equal rights and opportunities, or whether that means we find some sort of collective mechanism for sponsoring that.


But we have a lot of work to do. Some of it will undoubtedly involve the courts, and other parts of it will involve protest and peaceful activism.

REID: But let me show -- you mentioned businesses. Here`s just a partial list of some of the businesses, because businesses have stepped forward in a really big way, Citibank, Amazon,, lots of -- Dick`s Sporting Goods was out there real early, J.P. Morgan Chase, Zillow, et cetera.

If you are in a red state right now, and you work for one of these companies, at least you have the opportunity to get a travel benefit. That`s something really -- you really need to understand, that these companies will support you financially in having to travel out of state if you need to do that for the purposes of getting this kind of health care. So that`s important.

But that`s only going to be fine until a Ron DeSantis decides to try to punish them and destroy them for doing that.

Let`s bring in Alexis McGill Johnson, because I wanted the two of you to come together to comment on this. President Biden talked about -- the worst-case scenarios are what we have to now start thinking about. The worst-case scenarios are all here.

Here`s President Biden talking about what some extremist governors -- and we can think of a few right now -- could be up to next.


BIDEN: But extremist governors and state legislators who are looking to block the mail, or search a person`s medicine cabinet, or control a woman`s actions by tracking data on her app she uses are wrong and extreme and out of touch with the majority of Americans.


REID: And I want to ask each of you this.

And Joyce can handle the legality of whether that could be done.

But I want, Alexis, if you could start with that. Is there now a concern in the women`s rights, abortion rights community that governors, like your DeSantis types, the governors of places like Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, will then begin using the tracker that people use to track their periods to track whether or not women miss a period to prove that somebody left the state to end a pregnancy?

Are we -- are you concerned that we`re now at risk of technology being used against women in order to prosecute them or the Uber driver that takes them out of town or whoever else these governors want to prosecute?

ALEXIS MCGILL JOHNSON, PRESIDENT AND CEO, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Look, Joy, I mean, we are absolutely concerned. We have seen the increase in criminalization and surveillance after Texas` law went into effect.

And, look, we have history with the state of Missouri. The state health commissioner was tracking Planned Parenthood patient periods...

REID: Yes.

MCGILL JOHNSON: ... in a spreadsheet to try to determine whether or not they were carrying pregnancies to term.

So we know that this authoritarianism that is living in so many lawmakers` brains, so many of them who want to control, use their power to control our bodies will stop at nothing to think about how to control our bodies even further.

So we have to be concerned. Missouri already also introduced a law around crossing state boundaries, right? These are things that are atrocious and unacceptable in this country.

REID: Are they legal, Joyce Vance?

I mean, if you are using one of these trackers on your phone, can your state use that data, obtain that data in order to prosecute either you or your doctor if you decide to leave the state or use a medication in order to end a pregnancy?

VANCE: The devil is always in the detail on these issues, but I think it`s not alarmist to contemplate these sort of worst-case scenarios.

For instance, if it`s a crime to get an abortion in your state, there`s no reason that an aggressive district attorney couldn`t try to get a search warrant to get your phone to search for evidence, believing that that search would reveal evidence of a crime that was committed. So that`s entirely within the realm of possibility.

And, as we begin to talk about protecting interstate travel, so people can go out of state, one can envision a state legislature that might pass a law that made it a crime to enter into a conspiracy to terminate a pregnancy. And that would mean that if you and your husband talked about driving across state lines to get an abortion, even though it was legal in that other state, your crime would be fully committed inside of your own state.

You would make the agreement there. You would intend to carry out the agreement to get an abortion. And so you could technically be prosecuted. These issues will have to, of course, be litigated and evaluated. But we saw states` attorneys general go to court today almost immediately after Dobbs was passed...

REID: Yes.

VANCE: ... seeking to lift stays on old laws, seeking to bring these prohibitions into effect immediately.

There`s no reason to believe that they won`t continue to be aggressive.

REID: There are so many issues we can talk about.

Whether or not if a woman is impregnated by virtue of rape, does the rapist then have any rights over the child, rights to visitation? Do they have to pay child support? Does this woman then have to interact with somebody who raped them or a victim that was impregnated by a family member?


There are just so many crazy possibilities.

But Claire McCaskill did talk about one of them. You talk about worst-case scenarios. Claire McCaskill talked about one today, and that was very personal to her. Take a look.


CLAIRE MCCASKILL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: One of my daughters had a miscarriage not very long ago.

Right now in Missouri, it would be perfectly within reason for a law enforcement agency to request a search warrant to search her home, to search the doctor`s office to see if, in fact, the medication she was taking, was it for a self-managed abortion, or was it to manage the consequences of a miscarriage?

Think about that for a minute. That`s what the law is in my state right now.


REID: Alexis, is Planned Parenthood preparing the women to whom it provides services for all of these legal consequences?

And is there some plan in order to get women legal protection to cover the costs of maybe having to defend themselves if they`re accused because they have a miscarriage, or an ectopic pregnancy and need an abortion?

MCGILL JOHNSON: Look, I mean, I think these are the right questions, right?

How are -- how are they going to enforce these laws, these bans in their states? What is it going to look like when they -- are they going to investigate every single miscarriage? Are they going to arrest the patient? Are they going to arrest everyone who has a conversation about abortion in their state?

Yes, we are absolutely in -- supporting, educating patients and communities around not just what`s at stake, but also where the legal concerns and risks are. Obviously, as Joyce said, the devil is in the details in understanding how these laws are going to be applied and how they`re going to be enforced.

But the only safeguard here at this point, the only safeguard here is to make sure that we are standing up and fighting and mobilizing and voting these people out.

REID: Yes, I was just going to say, the only safeguard, make like the Tea Party and take over these state legislatures.

MCGILL JOHNSON: That`s right.

REID: If you and people who care about women control these state legislatures, they won`t legislate away your rights. You let these Republicans hang onto the state legislatures, it`s a jump ball. They can do whatever they want to you, because you`re state property if you`re in a red state.

Before I let these ladies go, I want to put up a list of where you can donate to abortion funds and support groups. We`re just going to put that up. Those are some of the organizations. You can quickly write those down or take a picture of your screen, so you can see those, of course, Planned Parenthood as well.

Planned Parenthood president Alexis McGill Johnson, Joyce Vance, thank you both very much.

Up next: With reproductive rights rolled back, conservatives are turning their attention to attacking other progressive advances that we take for granted, like contraception, access to same-sex marriage too.

That is next.




BIDEN: The right to use birth control, a married couple in the privacy of their bedroom, for God`s sake, the right to marry the person you love.

Now, Justice Thomas said as much today. He explicitly called to reconsider the right of marriage equality, the right of couples to make their choices on contraception.

This is an extreme and dangerous path the court is now taking us on.


REID: The president isn`t wrong.

In his concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas said the right to an abortion isn`t the only established right under the 14th Amendment that could be overturned.

Thomas writes -- quote -- "In future cases, we should reconsider all of this court`s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell."

Joining me now is Jim Obergefell, lead plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case Obergefell vs. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage. He`s currently a candidate for the Ohio House of Representatives.

Thank you for being here, sir.

And, interestingly enough, two of the three rulings that Justice Thomas said we should reconsider -- it was like a duck call, saying, hey, send me cases on this -- are the case involving gay marriage, same-sex marriage that you were the plaintiff in, and also the case that people may not remember that has to do with same-sex relationships period, which were illegal up until 20 -- you could be arrested for up until 2003.

But there are a bunch of other cases that also kind of fall under that same sort of thing, Griswold, which gives you the right to have contraceptives, Brown v. Board, Gideon vs. Wainwright. There`s a bunch of other cases.

Are you now concerned -- interesting he didn`t put Loving vs. Virginia on his list, because that would affect him personally.

What do you make of Clarence Thomas expanding the prism on what rights should fall under -- in his view?

JIM OBERGEFELL (R), OHIO STATE CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Well, thank you for having me on this evening.

And I am very concerned about this decision and the fact that Justice Thomas has put a target on the back of hundreds -- hundreds of...

REID: Oh, I can hear -- we can hear you.

OBERGEFELL: OK. I`m sorry. I was interrupted by a producer. Sorry about that.

REID: That`s OK.

OBERGEFELL: So, I`m just concerned that hundreds of thousands of marriages across this nation are at risk, and the ability of people across this nation to marry the person they love is at risk.

And for Justice Thomas to completely omit Loving vs. Virginia, in my mind, is quite telling. As you put it, that affects him personally. But he doesn`t care about the LGBTQ+ community. He is opposed to our equality. He`s opposed to our ability to actually be part of we, the people.


So, this concurring opinion, to me, is just a road map for opponents of LGBTQ+ equality to come after those decisions and to make sure that we know they believe we are second-class citizens not worthy of protection, not worthy of equality.

REID: It is definitely a message that I think should tell all Americans that all of our rights are intertwined.

And the rights that we establish and expand to people of color, to black folks, to women apply to everyone and that, if one falls, it`s like a domino.

I want to bring in Janai Nelson, president and director counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

And I do want to bring you in on this conversation, because there are a lot of people who are saying, you know what, let them try to enforce it, right, trying to take away the right to -- of women to control their own bodies. But Clarence Thomas was putting a lot of stuff on the table.

He`s saying that he`s not done, and that he would also like to see cases that would allow him to take down the rights of LGBTQ people and even the right to get birth control. Is the legal community prepared for a fight that`s that broad?

JANAI NELSON, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATIONAL FUND: Yes. The answer is, yes, we are prepared for it. Whether this court is the proper forum for us to win is a real question, in light of today`s decision and even yesterday`s decision in the gun control case.

Justice Thomas is acting in very extreme and radical ways when he puts well-founded rights, well-reasoned decisions on the chopping block and suggest that they somehow violate the Constitution.

That is very dangerous language to include in a decision. And I think that we should all be deeply alarmed by what he is forecasting that this court may be poised to do. Justice Kavanaugh tried to cabinet it some, tried to sort of rein it in a bit.

But I know that, based on what I have been seeing in this court, based on their absolute dismissal of stare decisis in so many cases, and the hypocrisy that this court has shown in suggesting that it wants to protect life, and just a few weeks ago issued a decision in Shinn v. Ramirez, when someone who`s sentenced to death can barely find an opportunity for reform, even if their lawyer failed them at trial, just tells you that this court is very outcome-driven.

It is seeking a particular agenda to fulfill. And, really, we should all be very concerned about the trajectory of this country.

REID: Oh, 100 percent.

Let`s look at this. So, there`s this new abortion focus on the right, which is who they serve, who this court serves. Axios reports that abortion pills are now the thing that they`re zeroing in on. Abortion travel bans are now the next frontier for the people who are, from a religious point of view, wanting to have the country governed the way they want.

Here`s one for you, Janai, that is, to me -- this takes the cake, honestly. Jamison Foser retweeted this article.

And I went through and read the whole article, including two articles that this gentleman wrote, that says that the next thing that people should do: "A state can ban -- can, of course, impose criminal penalties on abortion providers, including lengthened prison sentences, but some states will not stop there. Perhaps, in the wake of today`s decision, a state law will criminalize the women`s conduct too."

And the idea for this conservative is to put women in mental hospitals, to lock women in mental hospitals who get illegal abortions to treat them as if they attempted a suicide.

So we`re -- this is somebody who wrote not once, but twice, articles saying that the way to be compassionate toward women is not to incarcerate them in prison, but to incarcerate them in a mental hospital.

Is that where we`re headed, Janai?

NELSON: Listen, Joy, we are right now in the precursor to "The Handmaid`s Tale." This is real. This is not a show. This is not entertainment. This is actually happening to women across this country.

We are being threatened in ways that we haven`t seen in over two generations. And, yes, I don`t put it past any one of these extremists to propose such a possibility for women. Women are already being criminalized. People who have conversations with women about their reproductive health may be criminalized.

REID: Yes.

NELSON: This is what we`re dealing with.

But, fortunately, we already have seen 82 prosecutors sign a letter saying they would not prosecute women who run afoul of what I believe are patently unlawful laws.

REID: Yes.

NELSON: So we need to encourage more district attorneys, more prosecutors to step forward and stand up for women and women`s reproductive rights.

REID: And, Jim Obergefell, is this going -- are we looking at a broad coalition now? Because these are now group rights. We are now facing -- women, LGBT folks, we`re all now in the same skillet.


Can you foresee a movement that brings all of us together in order to fight what really is religious zealotry being acted out through the Supreme Court?

OBERGEFELL: I certainly hope so, Joy.

And that`s exactly what we need to do. We need to fight together, because, when one right that we have enjoyed, one right we have come to rely on is taken away by this court, all rights are at risk.

And we have to fight together. We have to stand together and say, we all are Americans. We all are human beings. We all deserve certain basic rights. And we cannot allow this court, this extreme right-wing court and extreme right-wing legislators across the country to take us backward in time.

REID: Indeed.

OBERGEFELL: That`s what this court is doing.

REID: For now, we have separation of church and state. You better defend it, because they`re coming for that too.

Jim Obergefell, Janai Nelson, thank you both.

Up next: the conservative Supreme Court`s fixation on imposing their own right-wing religious ideology on all of us.

We will be right back.



REID: The Supreme Court`s decisions this week tell a very clear story about the right-wing majority`s priorities.

Beyond just ripping away 50 years of protected rights for half of America`s population, in fact, they have gone scorched earth, imposing their Christian theocratic agenda on all of us.

The court ruled that public money can go to religious schools, in an erosion of the separation of church and state and an assault on public education. The court went after your civil rights, chipping away at your Miranda protections. You still have the right to remain silent, but you can`t sue a police officer who doesn`t inform you of that.

But the most egregious hypocrisy, just 24 hours before they ruled that your right to obtain an abortion should be left to the states, the court ruled that you do have a right to obtain a concealed-carry permit in any state, even those with stricter rules than the federal government, striking down in New York law limiting concealed carry, because gun regulations apparently cannot be left to the states.

You see how that works? Women`s bodies, yes. Guns, no.

Let`s bring in Elie Mystal, justice correspondent for "The Nation."

You talk, because you read through this decision. I only had to read like the first line. I was like, yes, OK, it`s the same thing as the other leak.

I mean, we knew this was happening, but can you talk about the bigger construct of what they`re doing in general to fuse Christianist church and state? Because it ain`t all religions.


So, look, at the -- at a basic level, if you want rights in this country, under this conservative Supreme Court, you better be a cis hetero white man or an uzi, because those are the two things that this court believes have rights.

Let`s start at the beginning, right, which is...

REID: Or a corporation. Or a corporation. Big corporation.

MYSTAL: Or -- sorry. Or you can incorporate yourself as an uzi, and perhaps then get some rights.

REID: Yes.


REID: Yes.

MYSTAL: All right?

But let`s start at the beginning. Let`s start at conception. And let`s remember that the idea that a life begins at conception is a Christian fundamentalist idea. We live in a pluralistic society with people of many religions. Many religious beliefs do not hold that life begins at conception.

Many people who don`t have faith don`t hold that life begins at conception. And many secularists say, I don`t care what Jesus thinks, what your version of Jesus thinks life begins. We live in a secular society that should be prosecuted along secular laws, right?

So you really have to go back to where the legal heart of Alito`s opinion is. And it`s in this originalist interpretation of the 14th Amendment and the founding fathers that says, if the original white male slavers and colonists who wrote the Constitution didn`t think you should have a right, then guess what? You don`t get that right.

But they never interrogate why those original slavers and colonists said that couldn`t have -- didn`t officially say that you have a right to your own bodily autonomy. And when you interrogate that question, the answer is pretty obvious. Those people didn`t think that women had a right to finish their sentences in public.

REID: Right.

MYSTAL: All right? They didn`t think that marital rape was a thing that could happen.

They thought their daughters could be sold for cash and prizes to the highest bidder. And that`s how the people who wrote the Constitution treated the women they liked. That was for white women.

For black women, we know they could be raped with impunity. And, in fact, as you pointed out at the beginning of your show, they were the women who could not get abortions at the founding...

REID: Correct.

MYSTAL: ... because the state -- the white men who wrote the Constitution viewed the black women as incubators for the next generation of profit centers.

And it is that logic that Sam Alito resurrects from the 18th century and brings it into the 21st century in his opinion, and all the conservatives went along.


REID: And the...

MYSTAL: Sorry. Go ahead.

REID: No, no, no, I was just going to say that it is -- we are -- I doubt, right -- there is a case that a rabbi is bringing in Florida who says, hold on a second. In Judaism, life doesn`t begin at conception, and we believe abortion should be legal.

Don`t you agree that, if that case were ever to get to the Supreme Court, suddenly, there would be a total separation of church and state? This ain`t about religion. It`s just this one version of Christianity. That guy, if he gets all the way to the Supreme Court, will lose. There is no -- there`s no firm, like, legal theory here.

It`s just, we`re Christian right people and we want that to govern America.

MYSTAL: As Gandalf might say, arguments are of no more use here.


The Supreme Court does not care about its own hypocrisy, because they have the votes, and they have the willpower to do what they want to do. So, yes, I think that we should bring that lawsuit from -- from those people. I think that we should pass congressional legislation codifying Roe v. Wade.

But there`s a there`s a line between hope and foolishness. And we have to be realistic about what this Supreme Court is willing to do. If you pass those laws, if you bring those cases, this Supreme Court will strike them down before breakfast.

And so I say again the only actual solution -- it might sound hard, it might sound radical -- the only actual solution is to expand the court with people who believe in secular government...

REID: Amen.

MYSTAL: ... as opposed to religious theocracy.

REID: And the only way to do that -- and I`m going to sound like a broken record -- you need 54 senators, you all. You got at least like eight good races.

Focus on getting 54 senators. It`s the only way you`re going to ever expand the court.

Elie Mystal, thank you very much.

We will be right back.


REID: That`s tonight`s REIDOUT.