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

Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 6/24/22

Guests: Terry O`Neill, Emily Bazelon, Gwen Moore

Summary

Supreme Court in 5-4 decision ruling struck down Roe v. Wade ending a woman`s right to an abortion without exceptions after nearly 50 years. Civil rights attorney Maya Wiley and the New York Times Magazine writer Emily Bazelon join Ari Melber to talk about Justice Alito`s ruling that women will be governed by rules written before they had legal or political rights. Congresswoman Gwen Moore, a Democrat from Wisconsin, join Ari Melber to talk about the Supreme Court that ends the constitutional right to abortion.

Transcript

NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: Cal Perry and Tali Farhadian Weinstein, thank you so much for spending some time with us.

And thanks to all of you for joining us for our breaking news coverage and all weeklong. We are so grateful. THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now.

Hi, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Nicolle. Thank you. Welcome to THE BEAT. Our breaking news coverage continues.

The Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion today, June 24th, 2022. Rolling back a human right that American women have relied on for nearly 50 years. This is the most sweeping rollback of an established right in the high court`s modern history. Other rights regarding personal choice, privacy, speech, civil rights, none of those have ever been eliminated once recognized.

And here is how it all looks and is unfolding. A legally aggressive and, frankly, publicly unpopular decision, drawing backlash around America and intense interest around the world, including people gathering at the high court where folks have been coming together and even though a version of this ruling did leak earlier, which was very unusual, today seeing the actual gutting of Roe come down has been shattering for many.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Illegitimate. Illegitimate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is insane. And going over to the other side, especially -- it was -- I wanted to yell at the people there. Just how --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m worried for the young women who are on opposition who don`t understand how at risk their lives may be.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Abolish abortion!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Now that the final ruling is out, we can report for you what it says and what it does. Six justices voting to uphold Mississippi`s sweeping ban, a binding majority of five voting to ending Roe entirely, stating abortion destroys potential life and what Mississippi Republicans called, quote, "an unborn human being."

Bush appointee Sam Alito writing the opinion joined by a male dominated bloc of Republican appointees plus Trump appointee Amy Coney Barrett. And of all the ways this ruling could have come down legally, today`s version is the most extreme for the following reasons. First, it upholds that entire and controversial state ban.

Second, it ends Roe entirely. It did not have to do that. Indeed when this case began, the people appealing claimed they weren`t even asking for that but that`s what it went ahead to do today. Third, it creates the lowest possible standard for reviewing other abortion rules and limits in America, instructing lower courts and their judges to accept basically whatever these lawmakers, typically Republican, pass next in this arena.

That can include rules that require people to deliver pregnancies that are dangerous, or that are the product of rape or incest or the sexual assault of minors. All of that will be reviewed with the lowest possible standard. Now those types of potential horrors are possible, as Justices Sotomayor, Kagan and Breyer note in the dissent. They referenced those examples

Fourth, this triggers sweeping state bans today, now. We can see some of where those state bans are already enforced within hours of the ruling. Abortion ban and illegal in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and those laws have exceptions to save the life of the pregnant person. Other states have policies to enact bans within the month. And there`s no telling how far they go or what exceptions may be eliminated.

Fifth, this ruling can clear the way for a federal ban on abortion if Republicans take power in 2024. Today`s ruling means abortions can be banned in states that currently protect them like California or New York under potential reforms or actions by Republicans if they control the federal government. Indeed today Leader McCarthy signed on to part of that already.

Now, how did we get here? Well, the answer is longer than tonight`s opening report, but the evidence shows this path is not about the law or legal reasoning, despite Justice Alito`s long and at times quite defensive passages, because nothing has actually changed very much in the law or the substance to overrule such a long-running precedent. No, quote, "major legal or factual change" requiring this as the dissent put it.

No. If our job here is to understand what is happening and in a democracy understand it factually so that people might govern themselves, then I will tell you tonight the path that got us here is about right-wing politics.

[18:05:07]

It`s about certain men in power. And it`s about Donald Trump. Nothing changed outside the court that required this sudden overruling of this 50- year precedent. What changed is of course inside the court. The current and relatively new justices on this court. One Bush appointee leading the charge backed by one Bush senior appointee and three Trump appointees. You can just do the math. Without those Trump appointed votes there`s no majority here to do what is being done today.

Now, the team that ejected Trump from the White House also speaking out amidst some long-running critiques from women`s rights activists and others that Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders have not been fighting on these issues hard enough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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 same health care or reproductive health care that their mothers and grandmothers had for 50 years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: The vice president rebuking this ruling that treats half the population as second class citizens. Now, for those paying attention, American life and liberty has long been a struggle more for some than for others. And then the past few years have shown well that very dynamic quite intensely. And then in some ways, in the Trump era perhaps, some of this has been amplifying long-running issues to make some other Americans more aware of the inequities, of the struggles of how some are forced to live.

But the risk of a day like today, like a June 24th, has been clear for some time. And people have warned about it in public. People have tried to clearly explain that thwarting an outcome like this in advance would be more effective than trying to fight it afterward on defense. And many allies of the first woman to ever run for president and get more votes than her opponent, Hillary Clinton, pleaded with people to understand that whatever individual or valid concerns they may have had about her as a candidate or as a leader, they said to the nation that would pale next to having Donald Trump run the country, pick the judges and leave us all living under those Trump judges` unappealable long-term decisions for decades to come.

But that is what happened. That`s where we are tonight. And while no one can predict the future, you have the right to know today`s ruling is also not some automatic legal end point or final stop in this process of who governs who and who is controlled by whom because the language in this ruling, and we`ll discuss this more tonight, has justifying attempts at more rollbacks of more rights in it.

It has passed to gutting other rights that also might seem fundamental or unthinkable to repeal at this point in history. It also has one justice openly musing about bringing back laws where gay people are imprisoned in America for whom they have sex with. Facts. That`s in there. And so we have more on that as well in our special legal report later tonight. And we will have reports on the ground as well tonight.

We begin right now with civil rights attorney and leader Maya Wiley, she is chair of the civil -- excuse me, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the former president for the National Organization of Women, Terry O`Neill.

Welcome to both of you.

Terry, your thoughts on where we are and what this does.

TERRY O`NEILL, FORMER PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF WOMEN: Well, the Supreme Court is now completely politicized. They have adopted and embraced a scorched earth policy agenda. This applies to women as a class. So according to the Supreme Court majority, women as a class are now stripped of our ability to be full-fledged equal participants in this society, free and equal citizens of this country.

That`s women as a class. But what happens with this abortion ban is that it sweeps in also transgender individuals and gender nonconforming and nonbinary individuals into it. And it is very much threatening the health and well-being of anyone who can get pregnant.

Now the politicization of the Supreme Court means something very interesting. My daughter, who`s 31, mentioned to me this morning, she said, well, if the Supreme Court has shown us one thing today, it`s that whatever they say is not final.

[18:10:04]

And so, yes, the first thing we need to do is expand the court. We need to redress the balance. We have three justices who lied under oath in order to achieve their seats on the court, and so they need to be balanced out. We need to have four more seats on the court.

We also need obviously to work harder than ever to elect progressive candidates in states that are not democracies, right, because this Supreme Court majority, John Roberts has spent his entire career trying to stop black people from voting, trying to destroy the Voting Rights Act, allowing black people to vote. So we need to work as hard as we can to overcome the voter suppression that is taking over states where people are really, really at risk, losing their health and their lives because of this -- because of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

MELBER: Maya.

MAYA WILEY, PRESIDENT AND CEO, LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE ON CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS: Well, let`s just say that what this will cost us as a nation is nothing short of freedom and liberty. The thing that`s supposed to be so central to our democracy. And so I think Terry is right in this. And it`s in its most basic form. The ability for us to make decisions over our own bodies and our open futures.

And that implication is both a reality for so many Americans today, so many women, so many girls, so many people who are transgender. But let`s be really explicit about this. This means that for the 17-year-old who finds out that she is pregnant, and this happened to a young woman in Texas, instead of being able to get the abortion she wanted so she could go on, live her life, go to college, she now has twins because she got pregnant two days before the Texas abortion ban was passed that would basically criminalize those who would help her make a decision about her life.

We`ve got black women in this country dying at three to four times the rate of white women in childbirth, and we have not addressed that as a nation. And yet what we are going to do is going to make it harder for women who are low income, harder for women who are black, harder for women who are living on reservations, harder for so many women who do not have the resources to pay to fly to a state that might give them the care they need or to drive the hundreds of miles they might need to drive or take the time off from their minimum wage job that will barely allow them to even pay the rent to go take care of their health care and their futures.

We should remember that many of the women who make -- and girls who make a decision to have an abortion may also be mothers, more than half. So that`s why people like Janet Yellen also said that this is actually an impact also on our economy, on the very prosperity of the nation. As we`ve been wringing our hands over the number of women who`ve left the job market because they were struggling to take care of their families during COVID.

So many of them and some I know and spoke with here in New York City, who even though they couldn`t figure out how to pay their bills had to stay home with their children. I mean, think about that as a society that`s talking about freedom and liberty, and one of the most outrageous things about this is exactly as you said, Ari, which is this is saying that even though, even though it was a fundamental right, a fundamental right, that this court, this Supreme Court that`s charged with protecting fundamental rights is not only going to take one away that we relied upon.

It`s going to sow doubt and actually raise very legitimate questions about whether or not it`s going to continue to erode other fundamental rights. So it isn`t just about the legitimacy of the court, it`s about bastardizing the very purpose of this court which is to protect it.

And if I add one thing, you know, when the Supreme Court in the Casey decision, which it also basically overruled today, the Supreme Court said liberty finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of doubt. And all the Supreme Court has given us is deep and tremendous doubt about our liberty.

MELBER: All very important points here. And as you say, this is where we`re headed because so much of this is being pulled out in the jurisprudence and then everyone is left to doubt and wonder what comes after that.

We have a lot planned here so I want to thank Terry O`Neill. We`ll bring Maya back. As promised, right now we go to the Supreme Court where Julia Ainsley is live. Julia?

[18:15:10]

JULIA AINSLEY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ari, just to put this in perspective here, this crowd now is upwards of 2,000 people. This morning before the opinion came out there were about 30 waiting, as they have been for the past six weeks since that opinion was leaked, just waiting for this opinion today.

As you`ve seen, protests have grown across the country. I`m here at ground zero in front of the Supreme Court where speakers are starting to call for these protesters to continue to go to the streets and push Congress to pass laws that would codify Roe since that decision was overturned today.

We`ve spoken to people from both sides, very fervent with their opinions here. There`s been a lot of face-to-face conflict, people getting in each other`s faces and yelling. Now it seems to be a crowd of mainly people fighting for abortion access and we`ll see as the night continues how this crowd reacts. We`ve seen extra security.

And one last thing, Ari, I wanted to remind you of the bulletin, of the terrorism bulletin put out by DHS just a few weeks ago saying that in the light of these decisions, expecting this to come, that there needed to be heightened security around the Capitol, the Supreme Court and across the country because of the emotion that could turn into protests and violence in the wake of this opinion.

MELBER: Julia Ainsley with that crowd that`s been gathering at the Supreme Court. Our thanks to you.

As mentioned, we are going to try to cover what is the significant and difficult day for many here in all the ways that we can, so we explain what happened, what the court did, how this affects you where you live as well as how people are taking this in. And with that in mind, here is just some of what we have been seeing unfolding here throughout today, brand new, in reaction to the ruling.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: In this historic decision the Supreme Court has now overturned Roe v. Wade.

CECILE RICHARDS, FORMER PLANNED PARENTHOOD PRESIDENT: This is a devastating day.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The radical Supreme Court is eviscerating American rights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of us have been working for this for decades. So it`s just a wonderful day.

KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: There are other people who just came over from the hill, it looks like staffers and members of Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: We trust women. Won`t go back.

DILANIAN: Folks from both sides of the issue have flooded in here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s complete and utter joy that it was finally overturned.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It feels like a betrayal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is insane.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do they have the right to tell me or any woman what she can do with her body?

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): I am spitting mad over this.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): We`re going to have to fight a long road to get it back but we`re not going to give up.

RICHARDS: We can vote them out and I hope that people take this seriously this November.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can`t agonize over it. We have to get organized and just vote the people out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That`s just some of what we`re hearing in these first hours since the ruling came down. We`re going to fit in our first break of the hour and then I have our legal breakdown for you on what else you need to know about what`s inside this decision. And we`ll go to a state that voted for Biden where abortions stopped today because of a law that actually was first passed 170 years ago. And tonight we`ll hear from a top Democrat about vows to fight back. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:22:46]

MELBER: We are looking at the Supreme Court as we cover what has been a historic day there with reactions around the country. And that brings us to our legal breakdown. At the top of the hour today we endeavored to explain some of what this decision does. It is lengthy and it has many details that will affect people`s lives, health regulation, access to abortion obviously. And given that it`s a lengthy and huge ruling overturning 50 years of precedent, I want to now go through a little bit more of it in detail with you because what`s in it matters. It governs. It is law.

So it upholds Mississippi`s 15-week abortion ban. It gives the green light to abortion bans nationwide. Alito`s opinion holds that, "Roe and Casey must be overruled stating that the Constitution makes no reference to abortion and no such right is implicitly protected," end quote. That is basically what the majority opinion says and asserts and, thus, is now precedent, is law of the land. And it comes with quite a bit of tension on the court.

For example, even justices who agree with part of this, like the concurrence, have fractures. Chief Justice John Roberts, also a Bush appointee and also seen as a critic of abortion, did not formally dissent. He upheld this Mississippi law but he also wrote separately to assert that he doesn`t really agree with what this bare five-vote majority did. Basically if it weren`t for the Trump appointees Roberts would have stopped this.

He says he would have preferred not to overrule Roe entirely. And instead operate on, quote, "narrower grounds." Of course this majority does end Roe entirely and that means it`s open season for states to ban abortion in all sorts of ways. The nation`s high court ruling also that judges across the country must uphold virtually all abortion regulations. I mentioned this briefly in the top of the program but I want to show you what this means.

Justice Alito writes that, quote, "Rational-basis review will be the appropriate standard for challenges," because again as he put it, abortion is, quote, "not a fundamental constitutional right." So a law regulating abortion is entitled to, quote, "a strong presumption of validity."

[18:25:09]

In other words, when these states go forward not only with the automatic trigger laws and other types of laws that we describe today, but when they go forward with even other far more extreme measures, perhaps trying to ban Plan B and types of contraception, under today`s precedent, those types of laws or rules have to be treated as if they`re automatically valid.

Then the dissenting justices of course have their views of all of this. They point out that this could impact taking medication in one`s home. They note that some states may compel women to carry to term a fetus with severe physical anomalies sure to die within a few years of birth and that without any exceptions for when the woman is the victim of rape or incest, a woman will have to bear her rapist`s child, or a young girl her father`s.

Let`s pause right there. This is difficult stuff to talk about and to consider, but all the more difficult for people to face or live through. This is what one of our guests just earlier tonight referred to as law of forced pregnancy, of forced childbirth. Now the court could have provided any such exceptions in the majority opinion. As written it really does not seem to. So this is, as the dissent put it, a type of opinion that would uphold based on what we can tell states that want to force people to carry their rapist`s baby to term. That`s part of what`s in here.

Now Justice Alito asserts that all of this today, this new ruling and this change to law, is required by history that has nothing to do with a pro- life stance. Indeed Alito insists on behalf of the court majority that they are neutral on the issue of abortion. Quote, "Our opinion is not based on any view about if and when prenatal life has rights."

Now this matters. Again, I mentioned if we`re going to be a democracy we`re going to deal in facts and self-governance, think about what this court wants everyone to believe today as they exercise power over people`s lives and bodies. They are claiming with a straight face in writing, it`s all a neutral exercise in history that just happens to overlap with what sounds like a personal religious agenda about life or prenatal life as well as the multi-decade right-wing effort to get these very people on the court.

It is hard to believe in the most diplomatic, nicest way possible to say it. It`s hard to believe that that`s true. And by the way, it`s certainly not what Justice Alito`s fans believe. They think President Bush put him on the court for the same reason Trump put his three judges on, that they would be what they were today, iron clad pro-life votes. That they were just saying what they had to say when they talked about precedent at those confirmation hearings.

And look for further than Alito`s own writing today in this opinion to see some of the tells about why abortion is just different. This is not legal history. This is not external science. This is Justice Alito admitting why he did what he did because to distinguish against other also popular rights, he promises this case will be different, meaning the court will not necessarily take out other rights because abortions, quote, "destroy potential life."

Well, right there, when you just read what they say, that`s not neutral, that`s a view of life. And when it begins and what its value is. The three dissenting justices point out that the court does not, quote, "act neutrally when it leaves everything up to the states. It`s taking sides against women who wish to exercise the right." And on the other hand, taking sides, quote, "for states that want to bar them from doing so."

Now Alito reasons that Roe is not constitutionally protected provision and that other rights would somehow be different, rights that have been accrued over the years.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A historic decision about abortion. In the first three months of pregnancy, only the woman and her physician may decide whether she may have an abortion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Supreme Court`s historic ruling on Monday upholding the legality of abortion but allowing states to impose restrictions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The court ruled in favor of two Texas men who challenged the state law that made homosexual conduct a crime.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was another historic day at the Supreme Court. Marriage equality is now the law of the land.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: And that`s true today. Marriage equality is the law of the land. And right now, states cannot imprison people for who they have sex with, because they have sex with someone of the same gender or however that`s defined. You cannot be imprisoned for that in America, but that`s only because of the case you heard those newscasters referred to. That Texas` case.

[18:30:00]

But now those rights are also in danger here, they`re at risk. And Alito says it`s unfounded to fear that anything could happen to those lights, quote, unfounded, that that somehow is a leap. He says the line is now an abortion. But the justices will decide cases as they come before the court. And when you start removing fundamental rights or a right to privacy or a right to certain personal intimate decisions. Well, this is how the law works.

This is how they teach it in law school, you take out a bunch of the foundations, the other stuff can fall. The dissenting justices deal with this as well today. And, again, we think you should have a firm understanding of the details and the clash because they note that the loan rationale for what the majority does, saying abortion is not, quote, deeply rooted in history.

The same could be said of most of the rights the majority claims it`s not tampering with. So contrary to what Alito says, it actually seems perhaps the fear is founded. One justice already made it known. That is what he wants to do.

Justice Clarence Thomas used today`s decision and you think about how impactful this is, how worried people are, how affected people are, and he just went completely off the books to talk about what else he thinks should be overruled, saying we should reconsider the court having rights to those rulings, you just heard in those newscasts, contraception, same-sex marriage, and even same-sex intercourse.

You have a Supreme Court justice today. In this opinion about Roe going out of his way to bring up something nobody asked for, but apparently, what he wants to do, and he`s telling the world, he wants to be able to allow states to imprison people for the sex they have. So legally, we`re going back 50 years, today. Some of what they`re talking about goes back 100, 150 years.

Here`s another quote, until the mid-20th century, there was no support in American law for a constitutional right to contraceptives. The dissent is pointing this out. Again, this is why Alito`s logic is so concerning to so many. And the courts, two centers that Sotomayor, Kagan, and Breyer say quote, either the majority Alito and Co., either they don`t really believe their own reasoning or all rights that have no history stretching back to the mid-19th century are now insecure, are now in danger.

This is what the court is doing with its powers. And everything we just went through has to do with rights, with how the Supreme Court which is the final word in our system, not the first or the second, but the final, how they deal with rights. Then you have the sexism in how these laws are written, and who`s on the court upholding them. The dissenting justices come at this quite clearly.

They note that when we talk about the quote, people who ratified the 14th Amendment, which the justices do, well, they weren`t just people thinking about those rights. They were all men. They explained the male ratifiers Were not perfectly attuned to the importance of reproductive rights for women`s liberty or for their capacity to participate as equal members of our nation.

That is how Supreme Court justices sound when they sound sarcastic. Obviously, issues are as serious as a heart attack as serious as people`s lives. And the point they`re making is if you buy this Justice Alito claim that everything has to be decided, basically, by the standards of this period of history. If you buy that, then you`re only going to be taking the antiquated views of the men who were in charge then, at a time when women did not have full legal and political rights.

You might think it`d be controversial to admit out loud that that`s your endpoint. They`d be like describing civil and voting rights laws during the time of slavery and saying, let`s look only to the slaveholder`s mindset. It is the gender version of that and it is in an opinion today. Now women do not get pregnant on their own.

This opinion forces women nationwide to carry what will be according to their personal choice for some of them an unwanted situation to term. When there`s no provision for any extra responsibility or legal obligation for the men who are part of that, who are doing the impregnating. Which brings us to someone who was replaced when she passed by Donald Trump`s appointment process.

A late Justice Ginsburg discussing that women with means who may travel in this type of ruling would still have some options, some still burdened by the state, still burdened by the government, still burdened by male legislators, but they would have some options to hopefully for them fine and legal and safe abortions. Which means in a very real sense these types of laws do what is not supposed to be done, they discriminate on the basis of both gender and class with poor women the most impacted.

[18:35:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUTH BADER GINSBURG, FORMER U.S. ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT: Take the worst case. Suppose Roe v. Wade is overruled, who will be affected? The only women who are genuinely affected by restrictive abortion laws are poor women, a voiceless women, and as a very sorry situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: We turn to our two experts when we`re back in just one minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINSBURG: Since Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court has limited -- there`s only been limitations. No extension of any right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: We are back in our special coverage with civil rights attorney Maya Wiley and the New York Times Magazine writer Emily Bazelon. Emily, your thoughts on today.

EMILY BAZELON, STAFF WRITER, NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE: I mean, this is just a sea change in American law. And it`s really going to change the lives of a lot of people, especially American women, especially low-income women, as you pointed out that was of chief concern to former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but she was not in a position, obviously to address this. And it`s just really going to have all these repercussions and ripple effects in American life. And I think we just don`t know where we`re going.

MELBER: And, Emily, your reaction to the parts of the ruling, we discussed where the conservative bloc claims they have no view about these issues that they don`t have a pro-life view, and that there`s no gender discrimination here.

BAZELON: Right. I mean, they`re claiming to step out of the picture and leaving this to the states. But that`s not how fundamental constitutional rights work in the United States. We see the Constitution as a kind of buffer that protects people no matter where they live. And now for people who are seeking an abortion seeking to end what are otherwise forced pregnancies, that buffer is gone.

And this is really up to the political process and the state they live in at least so far, the court has also opened the door, you know, eventually to a national law banning abortion if Congress controlled presumably by Republicans chose to take that route.

MELBER: Yes, you mentioned that, and Maya for all the talk of leave it to the States or this -- this sort of grand faux humble claims of returning something back to the people. We all are familiar with how undemocratic aspects of our federal policy are. And as Emily says, a federal ban on abortion, is it now a legal possibility.

MAYA WILEY, PRESIDENT AND CEO, LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE ON CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS: Absolutely. And we`ve actually already heard that their folks are going to start organizing for that national band. But -- and here`s the thing, because Emily is exactly right to say the way a fundamental right is supposed to work is no state can take it away from you.

And the contortions of this court to find that this isn`t gendered discrimination to say there`s just going to be a rational test, even though this is something that is not going to impact men in terms of control of their bodies, you know. And Justice Alito, basically saying, oh, well, look, this is really only about abortion.

Don`t worry about these other rights, you know, is so disingenuous, even as he points to Plessy versus Ferguson, you know. As an overruled case that was focused on racial segregation, right? Right to say that decision should have been overruled by the Supreme Court, but that was to take -- that was to protect a fundamental right, not to take it away.

[18:40:00]

What this opinion does is takes away a fundamental right, that had been five decades old, but in doing that to point us back to 18 -- 1868, as you said, Ari, but just want to make this really crystal clear. Under the rationale of a Justice Alito, Plessy versus Ferguson wouldn`t have been overruled, would not have been overruled. Because guess what, a whole bunch of states had on its books, laws that said, it was absolutely lawful.

And those same founders were not just all men, they were all white men, many of them who own slaves, many of them who actually never thought or believed black people should be able to vote in this country. And it`s the same Supreme Court returning these issues to the states. And I will say where we are going to fight to protect fundamental rights, including the right to abortion.

But this is the point. This decision says even though we are the same Supreme Court that said we`re going to take away your voting rights, take away the protections against discrimination, allow for political gerrymander, we`re now going to return these decisions to the states and call that democracy. That`s ridiculous.

MELBER: Right. Yes. I appreciate the clarity of both your voices tonight. Maya Wiley, Emily Bazelon, Thank you. We talked about how this affects people. Well, it`s not just the South or Mississippi. Next, we go to a leader in a blue state where 100-year-old plus law is now back on the books. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:46:00]

MELBER: Here is what it actually looks like when a Supreme Court decision is enacted and it rolls back women`s rights in real-time. Officials in states are certifying long plan to trigger laws that now ban abortions there. And then there`s the impact in places where some might have thought this decision would not immediately reach today, take Wisconsin which recently voted for President Biden.

Well, today, doctors they`re stopped providing any abortions turning away women who were in waiting rooms at one Planned Parenthood because of an abortion ban that was actually passed originally on the books over 170 years ago. We are joined now by Congresswoman Gwen Moore, a Democrat from Wisconsin who has been speaking out about these issues including in her own life. Thank you for being here.

REP. GWEN MOORE (D-WI): Thanks for having me, Ari.

MELBER: What do you want people -- yes, I was just going to say speak on it. What do you want people to know today, both in your state of your constituents and those watching around the country?

MOORE: Well, you know, my eldest son told me that he felt like he had been through a time machine and had gone back in time. And my youngest son, of course, is a member of the Wisconsin State Legislature. And they gambled in and gaveled out consideration of repealing this 1849 law, a law put in place only a year after the state had been established to make abortion murder in our state.

And so of course, 24 clinics in parent -- Planned Parenthood clinics in Wisconsin that have served women for all these years are no longer going to serve women. And it is very, very, you know, egregious. I guess, being on your show, Ari, I would have to, quote, Tupac, to say, you know, a man can make one, and so, a man should not be able to tell a woman when she -- when and where she can create one. And is -- it`s just -- it`s more than -- than a shame.

You know, I listened to your previous segment. And I -- you know, I just was cheering when I heard Ms. Wiley, talk about just the irony of using the storied Brown versus Board of Education decision that overturned the starry decisis of Plessy versus Ferguson, and compare that, this decision to overturn Roe versus Wade with Brown versus Board of Education, I mean, it`s sickening, it`s disgusting, and it`s turning justice, equity, and fairness on his head.

You know, they talk about -- Alito talked about this thing, this steeped to listen to your program earlier, you just set it up so brilliantly, Ari, being steeped in the historic context of our country. And I just want to remind you, Ari, that you know, the black people were subjected to Jim Crow, women couldn`t vote.

And so, there were no balancing equities, between women`s rights and these potential lives of these fetuses at all, in this decision, and we`re going to have to fight in extreme Supreme Court that was placed this -- place there for just this purpose.

MELBER: Yes, you make many important points to tee off one of them. You talked about a time machine. I mean, Alito admits as I said earlier, you alluded to it that he`s looking at a 17th-century treatise, he went looks at a 13th-century treatise. This is the equivalent of trying to get in the minds of slaveholders to do civil rights law today.

[18:50:00]

That is wrong. That is a guilty mindset, to say the least. And yet he says that is what dictates or controls what he still claims as a not pro-life neutral view in the ruling. As a Democratic leader, I guess your response to that, and what are you telling people to do next?

MOORE: Spot on, Ari. Not only were they slave owners and slaveholders, but, I mean, women were treated like chattel. And you had to be a land owner, even low-wage or sharecropping white people were not considered. And of course, white women couldn`t vote. So, they are relying on white, heterosexual, wealthy men. That`s -- that history to determine what ought to happen in 2022, to women`s lives.

And I mean, it is really -- they really struggle to create a legal argument and I call it just legal nihilism. You know, if I can invent that term for you tonight. And interpret these, enumerated rights that we`ve all relied upon. I mean, I -- you know, as far as I`m concerned, we`ve probably celebrated our last pride month.

You know, people can get arrested for fornicating, no telling what will become of these laws. So now that we cannot rely on any of these enumerated rights that we thought we had, under this decision. Their -- their decision to -- they didn`t even stick with the Dobbs case, they wouldn`t broader than that, to say, you know, there`s going to -- yes, yes.

MELBER: Yes, as you say they weren`t -- look, it was -- there`s a lot of bait and switching there. And people have to pay attention decide what they think happened, which is why we give them the facts that we can report, but as you say, it started in one place, it blew up into a whole other thing.

And this is now law of the land. And they`re gunning at other rights, too, according to at least Thomas, if not more, so. It is appreciated to get your time on a busy night. And we would love to see you again, Congresswoman Moore. Thanks for being here.

MOORE: Thank you, Ari.

MELBER: Absolutely, we will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:56:43]

MELBER: This decision continues to have shockwaves across the country and we`re tracking some of the headlines in New York Times. Going big with the headline on the straightforward legal news. Out west, the San Jose Mercury News says simply Roe is dead. In Texas, felony charges gets a headline. In Chicago, the implication is the news states can now ban abortion. Fact check, true.

In San Francisco, you can see the blood headline. People Magazine has celebrities reacting and some discussing why they are, quote, absolutely terrified. Then there`s the states where this ban is already being enforced. Louisiana, workers sent home. In Oklahoma headlines on how the rollback of quote gay marriage may be next.

We will continue to follow this story how it affects you and our nation and how it is being covered. I wish you an informed and good weekend. That does it for THE BEAT. "THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" is up after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)