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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 5/3/22

Guests: Katie Hobbs, Cheri Beasley, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Summary

Leaked Supreme Court draft opinion overturns Roe versus Wade. GOP- named justices reverse Roe v. Wade in draft opinion. Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski says the draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade has rocked her confidence in the Supreme Court.

Transcript

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Ali, I thought I was coming to terms with this when I was working the Senate in the 1990s. I expected eventually that there would be the five votes for it, but have to tell, you I was absolutely shocked walking through the building last night holding in my hands a leaked opinion. Not -- I had so much trouble believing that this was an actual leaked opinion, since that had never occurred before.

But by the time we got on the air after Rachel did an hour on it, it was pretty clear. This was the real thing. And so, we went right past that question of, is this the real thing? We don`t know if the real thing with the chief justice confirming today. But we have never been through anything like it. And I`m going to take us through a little bit of the history that Joe Biden mention today that got us to where we are today.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: I look forward to it, Lawrence. Thank you. Have yourself a great show.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Ali. Thank you.

Well, the Supreme Court is facing a crisis of legitimacy tonight. The majority of the court on the verge of issuing the first Supreme Court decision in history that removes a constitutional right, and that opinion will be opposed by 70 percent of Americans.

And at the heart of the crisis of legitimacy of the Supreme Court is the complete and utter wreckage of the legitimacy of the Supreme Court confirmation process which for decades has specifically and directly encourage Republican nominees to the Supreme Court to lie in their confirmation hearings, to lie their way onto the court.

In his remarks today, President Biden said that the current crisis began with the Senate confirmation hearings of Robert Bork, who is nominated to the court by Ronald Reagan in 1987, when Joe Biden was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The refusal by Republican nominees to the Supreme Court to tell the truth about Roe v. Wade in their confirmation hearings began after Robert Bork made the mistake of telling the truth.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE ROBERT BORK, FORMER SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: If Griswold against Connecticut, which established, or adopted a privacy right on reasoning, which was utterly inadequate, and failed to define that right, so we know what it applies to. Roe against Wade contains almost no legal reason. We are not told why it is a private act. There are lots of private acts -- and if it is, there are a lot of private acts that are not protected. Why this one is protected? We`re told that.

We get a review of the history of abortion, and we get a review of the opinions of various groups like the American Medical Association. And then we get rules. And that`s what I object about the case. It does not have legal rejoining and it that proves the right to an abortion in unconstitutional materials.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And that is almost word for word what appears in Samuel Alito`s draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. Samuel Alito was watching that confirmation hearing of Robert Bork and television in the Reagan Justice Department where he was serving in 1987, with dreams of someday sitting in that chair, in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and his own Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

[22:05:03]

And when Samuel Alito saw the vote count of Robert Bork`s nomination to the Supreme Court, the Senate vote count, Samuel Alito knew he would not ever make the mistake that Robert Bork made. Robert Bork`s nomination was defeated on the Senate floor, 58-42. The 58 votes against Robert Bork included six Republicans who voted against Republican President Ronald Reagan`s nominee because his views were too extreme.

Clarence Thomas was watching that Robert Bork confirmation hearing from his job in the Reagan administration. And three years later, Clarence Thomas gave an answer in his confirmation hearing that stunned the Senate. I was working in the Senate at the time, and I`ve remembered this answer almost word for word since the day he said it under oath. It had nothing to do with Anita Hill`s sexual assault -- sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas, which did not become public until after his confirmation hearing was actually considered complete.

The hearing process had to be reopened to consider Anita Hill`s accusations. But it was in that first part of the confirmation hearing before there was a controversy that Clarence Thomas gave announcer that most senators simply did not believe, and it was about Roe versus Wade.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): I would assume that it would be safe to assume that when that came down here in law school where recent case laws are discussed. Roe v. Wade would have been discussed in law school when we were there.

CLARENCE THOMAS, THEN-U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: The case that I remember being discussed most during my early part of law school was, I believe in my small group was Thomas Emerson may have been Griswold, since we argue and we may have touched on Roe v. Wade in some way and debated that. But let me add one point to that.

Because I was a married student, and I worked, I did not spend a lot of time around the law school, doing with the other students enjoyed so much. And that`s debating all the current cases, and all of the slit opinions. My schedule was such that I went to classes and generally want to work, and went home.

LEAHY: Judge Thomas, I was a married law student who also worked, but I also found at least between classes, we could discuss some of the law. And I`m sure you`re not suggesting that there wasn`t any discussion at anytime with Roe v. Wade.

THOMAS: I cannot -- I -- Senator, I cannot remember personally engaging in those discussions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Cannot remember personally engaging in those discussions. That is when Clarence Thomas lost his credibility in the Senate. The biggest Supreme Court decision of a generation came down when he was in law school. And it is about an issue that we know to be very important to him. And he claimed under oath that he didn`t discuss it.

Every member of the Supreme Court who was no voting to overturn Roe v. Wade pretended, following the Clarence Thomas model, to have no opinion on Roe versus Wade in their confirmation hearings.

Today, Republican Senator Susan Collins, who supports Roe v. Wade, is essentially accusing Trump appointees, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh, one of lying to her, saying that their votes to overturn Roe versus Wade are, quote, completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office.

Here is what they said in their hearings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): Well, let`s go to a more controversial issue. But, along the same lines I`ve been asking you. I think the case that most people are thinking about right now, and the case that every nominee gets asked about, Roe v. Wade. Can you tell me whether roe was decided correctly?

NEIL GORSUCH, THEN-U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: Senator, again, I will tell you that Roe versus Wade, decided in 1973, is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court. It is been reaffirmed, and the reliance and considerations are important. They`re on all the other factors that go into analyzing president have to be considered.

It is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court.

[22:10:01]

It was reaffirmed in Casey in 1992. And then several other cases. So, a good judge will consider as president of the United States Supreme Court worthy as treatment of precedent, like any other.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): Have your views on whether Roe is settled precedent, or could be overturned? And has your views changed since you are in the White House?

BRETT KAVANAUGH, THEN-U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: Senator, I said that it is settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court entitled to respect under the principles of the stare stasis. And one of the important things to keep in mind about Roe v. Wade is that it has been reaffirmed many times over the past 45 years, as you know. And, most prominently, most importantly, reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood versus Casey in 1992.

And as you well recall, Senator, I know when that case came up, the Supreme Court didn`t just reaffirm it in passing, the court specifically went through all the factors of stare decisis in considering whether overruling. And in a joint opinion of Justice Kennedy, Justice O`Connor and Justice Souter, at great length, went to those factors. That was the question percentage in the case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Robert Bork, showed them how to testify in those hearings. Robert Bork by telling the truth showed them they should never, ever tell anything like the truth about what they believe or what they know and what they want to do to Roe versus Wade. Nothing shows how far Republicans have moved to the right more clearly than support for Roe versus Wade. Roe versus Wade was decided as a 7-2 opinion in 1973, with five justices appointed by Republican presidents supporting Roe v. Wade. Five of the seven were Republican appointed justices.

The first President Bush who appointed Clarence Thomas began his political career as a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood, just like his father before him. Prescott Bush who served as Planned Parenthood`s treasurer before winning a seat in the United States Senate represent Connecticut.

We watched George H.W. Bush personally moved to the right in real time when he was selected by Ronald Reagan as his vice president running mate in 1980. George H.W. Bush was then forced to formally endorse the Republican platform opposing Roe v. Wade.

In a recently revealed passage of his wife`s diary, First Lady Barbara Bush wrote in her own handwriting, what do I feel about abortion? Not a presidential issue. Abortion is personal, between mother, fathers and doctors.

That is what George W. Bush`s mother thought about abortion. When George W. Bush became president, he was even more strongly opposed to Roe versus Wade than his father had been. If you voted for George H.W. Bush in 1988, thinking he wasn`t serious about overturning Roe v. Wade, you bet wrong. Clarence Thomas is the only legacy of the first bush presidency. And without Clarence Thomas`s vote, Roe versus Wade would not be overturned.

If you voted for George W. Bush, you voted for overturning Roe v. Wade. He made that very, very clear. And if you didn`t vote in 2000, because you thought there wasn`t a big difference between Bush and Gore, then you did your part to overturn Roe v. Wade.

George W. Bush appointed Justice Alito, the author of the draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. Four of the five justices who are overturning Roe v. Wade were appointed by Republican presidents who came in second with the voters in this country but managed to win the Electoral College.

And so, the minority of voters who delivered George w. Bush to the White House and Donald Trump to the White House are now represented by four Supreme Court justices who have decided the time has come to take away a constitutional right for the first time, a constitutional right that has been a constitutional right during the entire lifetimes of 70 percent of the American people, 70 percent of Americans have never lived in a country where abortion is illegal.

But the draft Supreme Court opinion says that the constitutional right to abortion services is not, quote, deeply rooted in this nation`s history. It is deeply rooted in the life history of 70 percent of Americans. And the draft opinion, Samuel Alito writes, Row was egregiously wrong from the start. It`s reasoning was exceptionally weak. Roe was incorrectly decided, but that decision was more than just wrong. It stood on exceptionally weak rounds. Roe found that the constitution implicitly conferred a right to obtain an abortion but it failed to ground its decision in tax, history or precedent.

It reads, as if Samuel Alito were taking notes when Robert Bork was saying exactly that in 1987. The justices supporting this opinion could not have suddenly decided that Roe versus Wade is egregiously wrong. Those judges are now all supporting a Mississippi law that overturns Roe versus Wade, that will force a 12-year-old child in Mississippi who is raped by her father or uncle or neighbor to have a baby. A majority of the Supreme Court supports a Mississippi law that will require raped children to have children.

Seventy percent of the country believes that that is egregiously wrong. Most people in Mississippi believe that that is egregiously wrong. But raped children being forced to give birth to children can now be the new law of the land in the United States of America, and a majority of the Supreme Court does not believe raped children being forced to give birth is egregiously wrong.

Joining us now is Cheri Beasley. She`s a former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. She is now the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in North Carolina.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

I really wanted to hear from someone who`s held judicial office at the state level since the Supreme Court is saying all of this now should be sent back to the states for the states to do what they will.

Let me get first, your reading of this as a former chief justice of the court in North Carolina. Your reading of this opinion?

CHERI BEASLEY (D), NORTH CAROLINA U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: Lawrence, thank you so much for having me here today. I have been a judge. I`ve been a judge. I`ve been the chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. And I have spent my life in services of people in North Carolina for more than 30 years, working hard to respect the rule of law and to uphold the Constitution.

And a woman`s right to make choices about her reproductive health is a constitutional right, grounded in the 14th Amendment and other amendments of the Constitution to make sure that she has the opportunity and the choice to make decisions about her family and her body without government interference.

The problem here is that this issue has been politicized, and that there are people who are trying to make a political issue out of a constitutional right. Even the Republicans who are running here in this race that I`m in here in North Carolina, will not take a stand on preserving this right. In fact, they are -- support a ban or restriction on this right even in the case of incest, rape or the health of a much are being at risk.

I`m running for the United States Senate and I will work hard to protect constitutional rights in the very same way that I`ve upheld as a judge for more than 22 years and as a public servant for more than 30 years. We have got to do something and we`ve got to do something now.

O`DONNELL: If you get elected to the senate, you`ll be taking a Republican seat away from your opponent, adding into the Democrats count. What is your view now of the Senate confirmation process for Supreme Court justices now that we see so clearly how they get through that process without revealing their thinking so that they can then reveal their thinking in stunning Supreme Court opinions?

BEASLEY: You know, the judicial -- Senate judicial hearings are deeply important. It is important to have a sense of the qualification of judges and their ability to reason and follow the law and the Constitution, and to make those decisions soundly. I will tell you we are where we are now, and it`s really important to be thoughtful about the fact that so many women in this country are alarmed by what they`ve seen and what they see with this right is under attack.

[22:20:05]

We know that here in North Carolina, the majority of people here in this state and in this country support the right of a woman to have an abortion. It is a constitutionally protected right and people here support it.

I am working hard in this race to make sure that people understand the magnitude of this election and as we know that this right is under attack. And of the Republicans who are running in this race do not support the right -- constitutional protected right of a woman to choose even in the case of rape incest or a woman`s risk of health. I am running to protect the rights of the people in this state and that`s what people need to understand. The magnitude of this election in May and in November here in North Carolina.

O`DONNELL: What does this mean to the 13 year old girl in North Carolina who is rape, possibly, by family member, who does not want to have a baby at age 13? Whose parents don`t want her to have a baby at age 13? Whose parents and 13 year old want to be able to end this pregnancy? What is a mean to that girl?

BEASLEY: It is a very dangerous decision of this court. The Senate absolutely must act to protect the right of a woman, or girl, to make this decision with her family, with her physician, without government interference.

We also need to make sure that the Senate codified is this constitutionally protected right, to make sure the doctors and women are not punished when they make this choice in their own private way.

And so, this is an egregious decision. It is a decision that harms women. It is a decision that harms North Carolinians. And it is a decision that harms Americans.

O`DONNELL: Cheri Beasley, former chief justice of North Carolina Supreme Court, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

BEASLEY: Thank you, Lawrence. I`d ask everybody to please go to CheriBeasley.com to know more about my candidacy.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, the rights of women`s Arizona will change immediately when the Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe versus Wade becomes the law of the land, possibly in a few weeks. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is now running for governor, will join us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:27:05]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So when we look at the big picture, those who attacked Roe have been clear. They want to ban abortion in every state. They want to bully anyone who seeks or provides reproductive health care. And they want to criminalize and punish women for making these decisions.

(END VIDOE CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. She`s now running as the Democrat to be the next governor of Arizona.

Let`s begin with your reaction to the Supreme Court opinion.

KATIE HOBBS (D), ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I`m mad. I mean, certainly not shocked, we knew this was coming. But in Arizona, people are faced with which extreme abortion ban are we going to be written with? Because Governor Ducey just signed a 15-week ban into law. But there is a 1901 ban on the books that completely criminalizes abortion and requires prison time.

I`m calling on the governor and Republican legislature to repeal this law, so that there is not a complete and total abortion ban in our state once row is overturned.

O`DONNELL: And the -- when Roe is overturned, which is going to be this month or at the latest next month in June, this will immediately change writes in Arizona.

HOBBS: Absolutely. The question right now is whether Arizonans are other a 15-week ban with no exception for incest which is extreme enough. Or this 1901 law that I just mentioned, that completely criminalizes all abortion and requires jail time.

That`s why I`m calling on the Republican legislature and governor to repeal this law. So that there is not, that women still have access to abortion when they need it. But that`s not to say that this 15-week ban is also not extreme.

O`DONNELL: This repeal by the Supreme Court does not have support, majority supported any state in the country. It doesn`t have more than 30 percent support in any state in the country, including Arizona.

What does it mean to Arizona voters when they discover, in the next couple of weeks, what the Supreme Court is actually done?

HOBBS: Well, I ran for secretary of state to make sure that the Arizonans could engage in electoral process and make their voices heard, because our government is not reflective of our state. And the majority of Arizonans support women`s access to abortion, access to reproductive health care.

[22:29:42]

And so this does not -- this is not what the majority of Arizonans support. And we have a chance in November to change that. This race for governor is our last line of defense to ensure that Arizonans are not under a complete abortion ban.

We can do this. I need people to join me. I need people to go to KatieHobbs.org and make sure that we win this race and have this last line of defense to protect abortion in Arizona.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Arizona Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, thank you for joining our discussion tonight.

HOBBS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, tonight with the Senate confirmation process of Supreme Court justices now fully exposed as something between a sham and a perjury festival, we will be joined by Senate Judiciary Committee member Sheldon Whitehouse next.

[22:30:53]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski is a supporter of Roe v. Wade who voted to confirm Justice Gorsuch and Justice Barrett, who are now supporting overturning Roe v. Wade. Today, Senator Murkowski said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): Roe is still the law of the land. We don`t know the direction that this decision may ultimately take. But if -- if it goes in the direction that this leaked copy has indicated, I would just tell you that it rocks my confidence in the Court right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think Justice Kavanaugh lied to you?

MURKOWSKI: I`m not going to comment on that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you feel misled by some of the candidates?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excuse us.

(CROSSTALK)

MURKOWSKI: My confidence in the court has been rocked.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. He`s a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and chaired a subcommittee hearing today on ethics and accountability on the Supreme Court.

Senator Whitehouse --

SENATOR SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI): Timing, huh?

O`DONNELL: Let me see if I understand where we are right now on ethics at the Supreme Court. chief justice confirmed today that the leaked document is an authentic draft opinion. The chief justice then announced an investigation by the marshal of the Supreme Court, an investigation of the leak.

And the chief justice remains absolutely silent about the possible investigation of Clarence Thomas` ruling on cases involving his wife`s communication with the White House. Do I have it straight that the ethics of the Supreme Court tonight do not include any consideration whatsoever about Clarence Thomas ruling on cases involving his wife`s communication, but they are worried about the leak?

WHITEHOUSE: The Supreme Court justices are the only federal judges in the entire system who are not subject to the code of ethics. They hold themselves above it and they believe that each can be judged in his or her own cause of their own ethics.

And at the same time, they have ethics rules again optional, they are the judge of whether they`re meeting that standard or not. But the rules themselves are weaker than those for equivalent positions in the executive branch and equivalent positions in the legislative branch.

So the rules are weaker for the Supreme Court than for equivalent positions at the other branches and they don`t hold themselves even to those low standards.

So the hearing today revealed, I think a pretty rotten ethics mess over at the Supreme Court that affects a whole variety of ways in which the court operates and recusal is right smack dab in the center of that.

O`DONNELL: How about the ethics mess that is on display in Supreme Court confirmation hearings when Republican nominees are asked about Roe v. Wade?

WHITEHOUSE: Yes, that`s really become performance theater. And it`s getting a little bit sickening because they all come in and they all say the same solemn statements about how much they care about precedent and how serious they are about stare decisis. And then they go out and say completely other things afterwards.

Justice Kavanaugh said well, you know, I`ll accept precedent unless I think it`s seriously wrong. He didn`t say that in his hearing.

Justice Roberts said well I`ll accept precedent unless it`s hotly contested. Didn`t say that in his hearing.

Thomas has said he`ll accept precedent but only if it`s not demonstrably erroneous in his own personal view. He didn`t say that in his hearing.

And the worst of all is Alito, who wrote this opinion, who made the usual statements about stare decisis, about precedent.

[22:39:50]

WHITEHOUSE: And then he said to a laughing Federal Society audience that stare decisis means to leave things decided when it suits our purposes. He made it a laugh line.

So it clearly shows that they treat the Senate confirmation process as just a show to get through, to be able to deliver for the big donors who put them there at the end of the day. And they discard what they said in this hearings. It is infuriating.

O`DONNELL: And there is no hint in this opinion that these judges are just now finding Roe v. Wade egregiously wrong. If it`s as egregiously wrong as they say, then that was apparent to them in law school in the case of Clarence Thomas. And all of the others in law school.

WHITEHOUSE: And apparent to them in their nomination hearings in the judiciary committee. And apparent to them in earlier decisions that they wrote for the court where they didn`t spark off like this.

I mean, I think people around the country are justifiably, extremely upset and frightened by what this court has done. And part of it is because none of them laid the foundation for this in their public judicial confirmation hearings.

They also only said oh Roe v. Wade very important, you know, settled precedent. And they went out of their way to create the impression that they would honor it. And then of course, that was phony. That was just part of the show to get on the court and then do what the big donors want.

O`DONNELL: And when you look at the opinion compared to the words that Robert Bork actually said in the judiciary committee in 1987, it is essentially the Robert Bork view of Roe v. Wade turned into a fully written first draft Supreme Court opinion. And that --

WHITEHOUSE: He lives again.

O`DONNELL: -- that thinking has been available to them --

WHITEHOUSE: A zombie has come out of the grave and lives and walks the earth again.

O`DONNELL: But I submit that as an indication that these justices thought this for a very long time. They thought it since they heard that lecture in effect by Robert Bork in the Judiciary Committee if not before.

WHITEHOUSE: There is no reason whatsoever to believe that this was some recent epiphany by all of them. I think they`ve been strategically keeping their intention to undo Roe v. Wade a secret as they could until they knew they had the votes and could do the secret handshake and then go out and do their worst.

O`DONNELL: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

WHITEHOUSE: Good to be with you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, the "Washington Post`s" Ruth Marcus wrote the book "Supreme Ambition" about the mission of conservatives to take over the court. That mission has been accomplished. She will join us next.

[22:42:50]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: As you just heard on this program Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski says the draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade has rocked her confidence in the Supreme Court. That`s from a Republican senator.

With the Supreme Court tonight clinging to the wreckage of its legitimacy, our next guest writes in the "Washington Post", "The court has overruled decisions before, but it has never removed an existing, established constitutional right.

Joining us now is Ruth Marcus, deputy editorial page editor for the "Washington Post". She is the author of "Supreme Ambition: Brett Kavanaugh and the Conservative Takeover".

And Ruth, it appears that the completion of the conservative takeover takes the form of this first draft of the Roe v. Wade -- overturning Roe v. Wade.

RUTH MARCUS, DEPUTY EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR, "WASHINGTON POST": This draft plus -- and Lawrence thank you for giving me the title for my next book. I think it`s going to have to be "Mission Accomplished" because that is what we`re witnessing.

And I think one thing that`s really important to point out. You`ve had so many guests say so many important things about the draft abortion ruling and where the court is heading there.

But one thing that`s important for your viewers to know is that it`s not just abortion. This is a court that has shown that muscular willingness of this really radicalized supermajority now there are six, not five conservative justices, to transform the law simply because it has the votes in area after area.

And what I would say to Senator Murkowski is brace yourself, brace yourself on a whole bunch of things that maybe are not as important to you as abortion but gun rights, on the ability of federal agencies to issue regulations, on the separation of church and state, on affirmative action next term at the court. This is a court that is in the operation and the mission of transforming the law.

[22:49:34]

O`DONNELL: We have a written statement by President Obama and Michelle Obama today saying, "Today millions of Americans woke up fearing that their essential freedoms under the constitution were at risk. If the Supreme Court ultimately decides to overturn the landmark case of Roe v. Wade, then it will not only reverse nearly 50 years of precedent, it will relegate the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues."

And Ruth, we don`t have any statement from former President Trump who appointed three of the justices who are doing this. And we don`t have any triumphant statement from President George W. Bush about how proud he is of Samuel Alito.

MARCUS: Well, what does that tell you? Politics are -- can make for some strangely quiet bedfellows, I guess, when you have a midterm election coming up.

O`DONNELL: This opinion going forward, we can expected to come out formally in late May or possibly in June.

MARCUS: Late June.

O`DONNELL: Late June. And it will have, unlike most Supreme Court opinions, it will have an immediate effect in many states around the country. Immediately women will suddenly lose a constitutional right. We will lose a constitutional right that has been part of the lives every day of 70 percent of Americans who have never lived in this country without this constitutional right.

MARCUS: Those who haven`t lost it already, I would just remind viewers that in the state of Texas a law that prohibits abortion after six weeks that is blatantly unconstitutional under the current setup that -- under the current established right that the Supreme Court has found and not yet voted to overrule.

That law has been in effect and has been stopping women in Texas from exercising their constitutional right to abortion since of September 1st. It`s really quite unbelievable.

And I think that what the Obamas said in their statement was really important to underline because this is not a situation of let`s leave this issue to -- these are sensitive moral judgment so why should judges be making them. Why shouldn`t we have majorities making them.

We shouldn`t have majorities making them because these are individual, intimate, intensely personal decisions that do involved questions of morality that should be up to a woman, that should be up to a woman and her partner. That should be up to a woman and her physician.

They should not be up to state legislature`s who are trying to get themselves reelected and they should not depend on what state you happen to be lucky or unlucky enough to live.

O`DONNELL: And when you read the Alito opinion, it wreaks of an inability to comprehend what pregnancy means to people in extremely difficult circumstances. Whether they be financial circumstances or as victims of rape.

There is not one note of consideration of victims of rape or children, victims of incest and rape.

MARCUS: And he is not the only justice who doesn`t seem to get it in that sense. One of the astonishing moments at oral argument I thought was when Justice Amy Coney Barrett and -- he good clue about what she thinks about abortion rights from some of the writings that she did or letters, open letters that she signed. But she questioned whether abortion right was really necessary now that every state pretty much has a safe harbor rule so that you can drop your (INAUDIBLE). After you go through the obviously no big deal hassle of being pregnant for nine months and going through labor, you can simply drop off your unwanted child at a local firehouse so no big deal. That was her view of it.

One would think that someone who has had five children might understand that being pregnant and having a child and deciding whether or not to give up a child for adoption is a bigger deal than that.

O`DONNELL: Ruth Marcus thank you very much for joining us tonight.

MARCUS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Tonight`s LAST WORD is next.

[22:54:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: And we now know the nominees for the Senate race in Ohio to replace Republican Senator Bob Portman who is retiring. Tim Ryan won an overwhelming victory in the Democratic primary. He is currently leading with nearly 70 percent of the vote.

NBC News projects J.D. Vance, who was endorsed by Donald Trump before Donald Trump publicly forgot his name, will win the Republican nomination. He is currently leading at 32 percent of the vote, which means that almost 70 percent of Ohio Republican voters are voting against Donald Trump`s chosen candidate.

Here is some of what President Biden said today about the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

[22:59:51]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And certainly a great deal that we`re going to after 50 years, decided a woman does not have a right to choose within the limits of a Supreme Court decision case.

If the rationale of the decision as released were to be sustained, a whole range of rights are in question. A whole range of rights and the idea we`re letting the states make those decisions, localities make those decisions would be a fundamental shift in what we`ve done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: President Biden gets tonight`s LAST WORD.

"THE 11TH HOUR WITH STEPHANIE RUHLE" starts now.