U.S. Supreme Court considers Texas abortion law. U.S. Supreme Court to consider Mississippi abortion ban designed to challenge Roe v. Wade. U.S. Supreme Court will also hear case involving Second Amendment rights this week. Supreme Court hears challenges to Texas abortion ban brought by providers and DOJ.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: So, keep it right here, THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid starts now. Hi, Joy.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How are you doing, Ari. It's accurate. It is a moment, it is a movement and it's also a vibe. It's all accurate. Thank you very much. All right, have a great evening.
MELBER: You too.
REID: All right. Good evening, everyone. We have a lot to get to tonight, including stunning new details from a Washington Post investigation of the January 6th insurrection.
Plus, we are just hours away from polls opening in Virginia, and Glenn Youngkin continues to fear-monger about critical race theory coming for your children.
But we begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the looming threat to abortion rights in America. Today was the first hit in what could ultimately be a one-two punch during this Supreme Court term, as the right-wing dominated high court heard challenges to the nation's most restrictive abortion law in Texas.
The justices heard two challenges to the Texas law known as SR-8, effectively banning abortion after six weeks. The plaintiffs argue the law has a chilling effect on abortion providers and putting it in the hands of private citizens and deputizing them as bounty hunters, the law allows the state to evade review by the course. Justice Elena Kagan pointed out the law seemed designed to do just that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN, SUPREME COURT (voice over): The fact that after oh these many years, some geniuses came up with a way to evade the commands of that decision as well as the command that the broader -- the even broader principle states are not to nullify federal constitutional rights, and to say, oh, we've never seen this before so we can't do anything about it. I guess I just don't understand the argument.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Justices heard arguments on behalf of Texas abortion providers and the Biden administration. And with respect to the abortion providers' arguments, the justices seemed skeptical about the way the law is written, including two of the court's most openly anti-abortion members, Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTICE AMY CONEY BARRETT, SUPREME COURT (voice over): Even apart from these procedural requirements that you're talking about, I'm wondering if, in a defensive posture in state court, the constitutional defense can be fully aired.
JUSTICE BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT (voice over): Justice Kagan points out there is a loophole that's been exploited here, or used here, which is the private suits are enforced by state court clerks or judges. So, the question becomes should we extend the principal of Ex Parte Young to, in essence, close that loophole.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: But before you breathe any sighs of relief, consider two things. Number one, the court's right-wing majority allowed the Texas law to remain in effect while court considers these challenges. Meaning, Texas continues to be America's very own Gilead from The Handmaid's Tale. And number two, this is just a precursor to the second punch later this year, another abortion case coming down the road with even greater consequences.
Exactly one month from now on December 1st, the Supreme Court will hear arguments and challenge to Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks. That case is designed to take direct aim at Roe v. Wade. Mississippi wants the court to overrule its 1992 decision in Casey that says that states cannot impose an undue burden on the right to abortion before viability. As of now, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 12 states have laws as 12 that would be triggered if the court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, immediately banning all or nearly all abortions.
But abortion rights is just one of the ways that this is shaping up to be a blockbuster term for the court. In two days, the justices will hear a challenge to a New York law imposing limits on carrying guns outside the home. It's the court's first Second Amendment case in more than a decade.
And joining me now is Marc Hearron, Senior Counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights who represented Texas abortion clinics and providers who were challenging the Texas law at the Supreme Court today, Maya Wiley, MSNBC Legal Analyst, and Elie Mystal, Justice Correspondent for The Nation. Thank you all for being here.
Mr. Hearron, I want to go to you first. Surprisingly, it seems like there is a little bit agreement across the right to left isle on the court. Did you get the sense that the justices' unbalance, most of them were skeptical of the Texas law.
MARC HEARRON, SENIOR COUNSEL, CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: Well, Joy, thanks for having. I think, finally, we're getting some justices and is heartening to hear that we're getting the argument that we've been making all along, which although SB-8 is about abortion, it has stopped the provision of abortion here 62 days across the state of Texas right now.
This case is really when you take a step back and look at it from a broader standpoint, it's whether a state can just decide I'm going to ignore Supreme Court decision.
The Supreme Court decision recognizes a constitutional right can be -- become a dead letter in my state and a state can just allow, you know, anybody and everybody to sue for $10,000, $1 million in Chief Justice Roberts' questions.
And it's heartening to hear that finally some justices are recognizing that it's -- you know, abortions at stake but tomorrow it could be every other single right that's recognized in the bill of rights that's at stake if a state can simply decide, you know, Supreme Court decisions don't carry any weight in our state anymore.
REID: Yes. You know, Maya, I mean, what good is having a right if you're too afraid to use it, right? I mean, the purpose of this law was to make people too afraid to assist anyone to attempt to get an abortion themselves and just to sort of frighten abortion away, right, and make it so that it was impossible to really use the right. Do you get the sense that the fact that the Supreme Court allowed the law to be implemented while they make the decision indicates anything about where you think they might go?
MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's a big concern because, as you said, Joy, where there is no remedy, as we say as lawyers, there is no right. And so if you essentially say, we're going to allow a law to stand, that is patently and obviously and clearly and explicitly about making it too scary for providers to actually deliver the services that women are constitutionally allowed to get under existing law, that that -- but you can't come to court. You essentially can't come to the Supreme Court. You can't come and get it vindicated and we won't stop the case.
And in order to make the decision about whether or not you can, that was a huge, huge concern to all of us. I think your point is right that, you know, it is important to see the two justices are changing their minds so that maybe that meant they truly were kind of tied up in these procedural arguments about what it meant and whether or not they can step in and who would you actually say no you can't do that.
But, you know, I think the problem with the entire argument from my standpoint was the fact that because it's controversial, because we're talking about whether Casey is going to remain the law of the land, the basis that the Supreme Court said, if you just make it too hard to get an abortion, you already violated the constitutional rights of women, that you've essentially said, well, okay, we've made it so hard, in fact, we know it's so hard because 85 percent of women now can't get one. It has worked and we're not having any conversation about that. And on December 1, we're going to decide whether Casey is still the law of the land.
REID: You know, and, Elie, it seems like the court sort of treated this law like they treated death penalty. You know, like the person has got to die and the way they treated voting rights, like, I guess if we make it too hard for people to vote, oh, well, sorry for you, like that seems to be kind of the way that they're operating.
But there was this sort of argument. I'm not going to play it. But just Kavanaugh, good ol' Kavanaugh, suggesting that maybe one way they might turn against the law is that they fear the law might be retrofitted to be used against guns. That was kind of the argument he made. He's like maybe we better hold our horses before they come for the guns with the same kind of strategy. What did you make of the arguments today?
ELIE MYSTAL, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: We got Kavanaugh, I believe, because he did not understand how the uterus works but he understands how guns work. And people were able to make the case to him, that the same thing that people are using against these uteruses, that he doesn't understand, they can use against the gun and made Kavanaugh stood up and say, wait a minute now, we can't have that.
Look, I don't want to be the spit in the punch bowl. This was generally good. I do think Coney Barrett and Kavanaugh will eventually overturn SB-8 but that's because SB-8 is bonkers. Like SB-8 has always been this clown side show of a crazy rule that was never going to stand the test of time because, as we've expressed, you can't have a society if people can just overturn constitutional principles as they want by hiring bounty hunters. SB-8 was never the way that they were going to overturn abortion (INAUDIBLE) on women's health.
The December 1st case was always their preferred way of taking away rights and I've heard nothing today to suggest the people that Donald Trump appointed, that he promised would be anti-abortion. I heard nothing today to suggest that they have changed their minds in any significant way about the overall rights of a woman to choose.
This bonkers SB-8 argument, yes, I think that will eventually go down, although not today. Because let's not forget the other part of what happened today was a question about whether or not they will overturn SB-8 now or wait six months to do it and I don't know that there was a lot of movement in terms of stopping it right now.
But, eventually, SB-8 will go away. It is the larger issue about a women's right to choose that it's still very much on the top of mind.
REID: Right. I mean, Mr. Hearron, here are some of the greater reports that abortions fell by half in the first month of this abortion ban, 50 percent fewer. The law is already having the intended effect. So, it's hard to imagine that no matter how this goes, the ultimate ruling, that, you know, conservatives aren't just going to step on the gas and try another sort of similarly clever means of getting what they want.
HEARRON: Yes. I mean, this year, this legislative year has been the worst year in history for abortion rights that state legislatures are emboldened passing restriction after restriction after restriction, making abortion access harder and harder to reach. And what's happening when you see happening right now in the state of Texas, it's not only that people are being denied their right to access abortion but now because there is such a rush to get access outside of the state of Texas, it's affecting patients outside of the state of Texas in Oklahoma and Kansas.
People are being delayed by weeks because of the Texas law. 10 percent of people of reproductive age live in Texas. And so this is a crisis and it's time. It is way past time. This law has been in effect for two months. People have been denied their constitutional rights for two months. It is past time we need this law to be blocked and it needs to be blocked immediately.
And the other thing I want to point out, you know, I heard something I thought incredibly remarkable today. The state of Texas actually said to the Supreme Court that after Brown versus the Board of Education, if a state had just passed a law like SB-8 to say, you know, anybody can sue somebody who integrates a school and federal courts can do nothing about it.
That is not the kind of constitutional democracy that we live in. This is - - that is not our republic and that cannot be -- you know, that's not the rule of law. The federal courts have got to be able to weigh in here.
REID: That's exactly -- you know, nightmare with me for a minute. Because -- right, once the right has found this technique, they could use it in almost anything, whether they want to go after voting rights or integrated schools. Pretty much, you'll be able to sue anybody but a police officer that killed a family member.
WILEY: Well, that's exactly right and, you know, Justice Breyer made that point. He said, so if we were in 1957 Alabama, you know, we and we had a state that said, you know what, we the state won't stop little black children from integrating white schools, we'll just deputize our residents to sue anybody who walks through that door, isn't that what you're saying? And that just put the pin in it, I think, quite directly.
Even if the Texas law gave people $1 million for suing people to block their constitutional rights even when they are not harmed in any way, let's be clear, anybody, any stranger off the street can say, oh, hey, I'd love to make $10,000 and I won't even have to pay any lawyers because I'll get my legal fees. I'm going to court. I mean, that is the kind of constitutional lawlessness that we fought a civil war over and I say that because what we were hearing from Texas today was state's rights (ph), plain and simple, there is a republic, there is no federal -- there is constitutional. No one can tell us what to do.
REID: And it feels, Elie, like that's where this is going. The South Africa model feels like it's fully in effect. And regardless of how they rule in this particular law, I feel like this Supreme Court, the majority of them anyway, are down with that future.
MYSTAL: I mean, let's -- again, let's look at, really, the full scope of what they were arguing today. There was an actual argument from Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito, arguing that the move to control women's bodies in this way was no different than the move to force masks on people during a pandemic, like they've actually made a one-to-one connection between mask mandates and taking away abortion rights. So, that's at least, you know, two or three justices on the court are all the way over to the right in terms of their crazy and nothing seems to be happening to pull them back to the center.
This is a generational problem that we have that has come about because we let Mitch McConnell steal a couple of Supreme Court seats and now we have to deal with this for a generation unless Democrats do something to reform the court.
REID: And, once again, it brings us right back to the reform of the court argument because, you're right, it's the only way out of this nightmare.
Marc Hearron, Maya Wiley, Elie Mystal, thank you all very much.
Up next on THE REIDOUT, the plot to overthrow democracy, new details on the warnings of violence leading up to January 6th and the pressure placed on Mike Pence to, quote, show courage and spine to keep Trump in office.
Also, down to the wire in Virginia, the test of whether the Republicans' racist lies about critical race theory, which is not taught in any Virginia school, is actually a winning message for the party of Trump.
Plus, the widow of a slain pastor of Charleston's Mother Emanuel AME Church joins me on the landmark settlement with the Department of Justice.
And tonight's absolute worst, the alarming lack of urgency as the world literally burns.
THE REIDOUT continues after this.
REID: NBC News today reports that the select committee on January 6th is expected to subpoena John Eastman, the legal architect of Trump's attempted coup, by the middle of this week.
It comes after "The Washington Post" reported that Eastman e-mailed Vice President Mike Pence's team during the insurrection, while Pence was hiding from the mob that was out to kill him. And, unbelievably, Eastman blamed the violence on Pence his refusal to overturn the election.
He wrote a top Pence aide, saying: "This siege is because you and your boss did not do what was necessary."
Yesterday, "The Washington Post" also released a comprehensive investigative report on the genesis and aftermath of the insurrection, and uncovered a cascade of previously undisclosed warnings that preceded the attack, noting that Trump was the driving force at every turn.
Among other things, "The Post" points out that, as early as September 26 of last year, Trump was aware that Congress could play a pivotal role in deciding the outcome of the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want to go back to Congress either, even though we have an advantage if we go back to Congress. Does everyone understand that?
I think it's 26 to 22 or something, because it's counted one vote per state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: It was just three days later that Trump during a presidential debate ominously told the Proud Boys to stand back and stand by.
But it wasn't just right-wing militias that answered his call to arms. As "The Post" reports, researchers watched how Trump's election lies radicalized his supporters in real time. And when Trump turned his focus to the joint session of Congress on January 6, the volume of threatening messages expanded by the hour.
From coast to coast, the nation's regional homeland security offices were blinking red. The hour, date and location of concern was the same, 1:00 p.m., the U.S. Capitol, January 6. One DHS official even called D.C.'s Health Department and urged them to prepare for a mass casualty event.
To sum it up, it's damning new evidence of the security failures that day. But, moreover, it highlights the undeniable fact that Trump was responsible for the violence that unfolded. And yet, for 187 minutes, as his followers laid siege to the Capitol, Trump did nothing.
In fact, he even -- he didn't even report to the Oval Office. He was holed up instead in his private dining room as the crisis played out.
Joining me now is Olivia Troye, former senior aide to Vice President Pence and director of the Republican Accountability Project.
And, Olivia, there was lots and lots in this very lengthy "Washington Post" report, including reports that Senator Lindsey Graham yelled at the sergeant of arms: "What are you doing? Take back the Senate. You have got guns. Use them." He wanted them to start shooting at these insurrectionists.
What do you take away from this sort of accumulation of information, the fact that there were all of these blinking red warnings that were just not listened to, quite frankly, all the way -- all the way through Donald Trump's absence, I guess, is another way to -- the only way to put it, sort of AWOL status that day?
OLIVIA TROYE, FORMER U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICIAL: I think it's incredulous, looking at the reporting, the in-depth-ness of this situation, and just contrasting that with the behavior of current Republican leaders today, where they continue to try to memory hole this.
I mean, this is just so striking, right, 187 minutes, where the president of the United States at the time sat, watched the Capitol be attacked, watched lives, people get hurt, lives lost, watched leaders of our country fear for their lives and just sat there and did nothing.
And this is a man who still holds the Republicans hostage today. They still bow down to him. They still kiss the ring. There are many candidates out there who refused to denounce him. There are candidates out there that are seeking his endorsement, as we go forward to elections.
And so, when I look at this, I think that is what you're subscribing to, this type of individual who, on the darkest day of our country on that day, did absolutely nothing for our country, to protect it, to protect our democracy. And this is the person, this is the person that everyone's rallying around. This is the person that Youngkin still hasn't denounced him. We have an election tomorrow.
And, by the way, some of these people who were organizing this rally, they're tweeting out today about the elections that are taking place tomorrow. They are already tweeting out conspiracies and lies about it. And we have seen what that leads to. We have seen the type of violence that that can lead to, when they push these lies.
And that is what I have fear is, going forward, what this all means. We have seen all this play out. So we can't move on from this, because it matters so much. It matters so much for the future.
And as I read this, that's all that kept going through my head and just -- it's just so astounding to think about this, the greater picture.
REID: And, just as a contrast, I mean, you have Donald Trump trying to hide documents, trying to keep the select committee from finding out documents.
And when you read through this piece in "The Washington Post," you kind of understand why, because even before for the election happened, he was saying, hey, maybe we could use Congress as a way to -- regardless of how things go to keep me in office, all the way through watching it happen.
It does feel that, at every turn, Donald Trump was the person who was goading, pushing, and inspiring people to commit violence, anything to stay in power. It's hard to get around that, no?
He was the commander in chief of this entire insurrection. He incited it. And, look, when you're the president, words matter. When you're a leader, words matter. And seeing the reporting about the followers and supporters saying that he's -- it's a call to action, he's called them to action, he didn't tell them to bring the guns because he can't actually say it, but he's telling them to bring the guns, that's how they're interpreting this.
They're interpreting this message. And so a lot of these people use this as a double entendre when they speak. We were watching elected officials, when they speak with such violence, when they put violence in their -- in their -- the ads on social media right now. All of that matters because it's processed by and supported by the people that follow them.
And they take that in. And from a national security standpoint, this is all remains just very concerning.
REID: Let's play a tale of two Republicans here. This is Matt Gaetz yesterday, who we should remind folks is being investigated for potential trafficking of a 17-year-old girl, but is not embarrassed at all. He's still out there talking.
Here he is saying that he thinks that he'd like to see the metal detectors at the Capitol blown up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): I said, man, is it Tannerite or C4 we want to put in those metal detectors when we blow them up?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Tannerite is basically like C4.
I mean, this feels like fifth column activity inside the Republican Party. You have something called the Republican Accountability Project. You're a former Republican that is now fighting what used to be your party. It does feel like they're all insurrection, race-scaremongering, and really gearing up to never accept the results of an election unless one of them wins it.
TROYE: This is who they are. There's no room for the truth.
That's why you see people like Adam Kinzinger saying that he's going to continue to uphold the fight and fight from outside now. He's not a part of this anymore. There's no room for people like Liz Cheney right now. Look at the way they have treated her.
So this is the Republican Party. And anyone who is thinking otherwise is delusional. They're not living in reality. And so I am concerned about going forward what this means for our future as a country to have a party like this that continues to behave in this manner, because it's fundamentally just dangerous.
And I think we have one functioning party right now. And I think we have to do everything we can to sort of support people who are rational, people who are actually trying to govern and push policies that make a difference in our country.
REID: It's a scary time.
We say scaring is caring a lot on this show, but there's no way around it. It is pretty frightening to have that element inside of one of our formerly great Republican -- great political parties in America.
Olivia Troye, thank you very much. Really appreciate you.
All right, still ahead: It is election eve, as you just heard, and candidates are making their final pitches to voters. In the Virginia governor's race, that means Republican Glenn Trumpkin is misquoting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his bid to put racial division and culture wars front and center.
The latest next. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN YOUNGKIN (R), VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: In the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we're called to judge one another based on the content of our character and not the color of our skin.
And that's why there's no place for Critical Race Theory in our school system and why, on day one, I'm going to ban it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Literally the only quote they know.
Glenn Youngkin's closing argument to Virginia voters included the latest form of Republican gaslighting, pimping the one Martin Luther King Jr. quote that they can remember, while vowing to erase everything Dr. King stood for from the history books.
Joining me now, Don Calloway, Democratic strategist and founder of the National Voter Protection Action Fund, and Charlie Sykes, editor at large of The Bulwark.
This is the closing argument. Obviously, this is the way they want to go.
And, Don, the reason that this kind of works is that they don't really have to make an argument about what's actually in the schools. They can just get people to feel a certain way. And it's the feeling -- Republicans are really good at running on just feelings, not policy.
DON CALLOWAY, FOUNDER, NATIONAL VOTER PROTECTION ACTION FUND: Yes.
REID: But just: This feels weird to me. I don't like it. And therefore, I'm going to vote Republican.
I want to play -- this is a thing called The Good Liars. They're like a comedy troupe, I guess a comedy sort of video kind of -- I don't know what they are, actually. They are like -- they do comedy, but they go out and they interview people, and they do sort of real-world interviews.
Here they are interviewing someone in Virginia, one of them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is Critical Race Theory?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm not going to get into the specifics of it, because I don't understand it that much. But it's something that I don't -- what little bit that I know, I don't care for.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what have you heard that you don't like?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm not going to -- I don't -- I don't -- I don't have that much knowledge on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And just for context, Don, the actual original question was, what's the most important issue in this race? And the gentleman said Critical Race Theory.
So, Republicans have managed to turn this thing that -- I call it Christopher Rufo theory. You can call whatever you want. They made up a thing that feel -- that makes people feel a certain way. And so far it's working for them in a certain level, right?
CALLOWAY: It is. It is.
Well, first of all, to Glenn Youngkin's despicable twisting of Dr. King's words, actually, he says them -- not twist them, but he says them out of context. As my brother the great Reverend Dr. Starsky Wilson says, we should never allow ourselves to be disavowed of the notion of a radically- justice-based Dr. King.
And that's ultimately who he was. That's ultimately why he was killed. We should never allow ourselves to forget that.
But Critical Race Theory is -- I mean, and we have seen it evolve into this discussion of parental rights or parents' rights in the school context. They're ultimately talking about Critical Race Theory as an avatar for white fragility and white rights, right, to not have to acknowledge systemic racism, to not have to even teach in schools on the history of white supremacy and how it's baked into the fabric of this country.
Unfortunately for Democrats, particularly unfortunately for Terry McAuliffe, he has allowed Glenn Youngkin, to grab onto this sliver, this minor shade of truth, and run it for the last 60 days of this campaign, because of a perhaps less-than-careful moment that Terry McAuliffe had in a primary and -- excuse me -- in the primary debates.
And it's gotten this far, and we hope that he's not able to take advantage of low Democratic turnout and a sleepy electorate to run it this far.
But, to be clear, this discussion of parental rights, ultimately, this discussion of Critical Race Theory is not only a gross misunderstanding of what the academic definition and the academic discipline, Derrick Bell's academic discipline of Critical Race Theory is, but it is an intentional misconstruing, which has misled these fundamentally kind of white male rural voters into believing that angry Malcolmian black supremacists are going to take over public schools. And it's not.
Unfortunately -- and I will end with this -- Republican strategists know that. But they know how to tap into that deep ethereal white fragility. And it's so sad that it's working five miles from where I live.
REID: And, Charlie, I think that the twisting of Dr. King actually demonstrates how Republicans have done this so well.
They have taken somebody who was absolutely despised and thought of as a radical and dangerous communist when he was alive, and they have turned him into a greeting card that says, nobody's ever bad, nothing's ever bad, everything is fine. Everyone just -- we just need to all talk about how good everyone is.
They have taken his whole career and distilled it down to that one quote that they can remember, content of our character. And they don't understand anything about Dr. King, just like they don't under -- you know what I mean? You don't have to know anything about Dr. King.
You just have to memorize that one line. And then everything that makes you feel like anybody white is -- that you're saying that white people weren't like great all throughout history, ah, ah, ah, I will throw King at you.
And I think they have done that really well with a lot of these issues. It's just a feelings-based kind of strategy. But I'm not sure that Democrats have ever figured out -- whether it was Reagan doing it with welfare, whether it's now, I'm not sure Democrats have figured out how to respond to it.
CHARLIE SYKES, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: No, and we're going to find that out tomorrow in Virginia.
You mentioned the name Christopher Rufo. And I just kind of wanted to put a pin in all of that, because, of course, he is one of the theorists and the activists who's been pushing this.
And then he's been very, very transparent about his agenda that he wants people to pay -- I think he actually tweeted out that he wants people to pick up the newspaper and see something that makes them uncomfortable and immediately think Critical Race Theory.
REID: That's right.
SYKES: So anything involving race that they do not understand or that they might find questionable, you have labeled a Critical Race Theory.
And I'm glad you played that clip, because I was actually going to mention that clip. You could have that same interview with legislators all around the country who are voting to ban Critical Race Theory.
REID: That's right.
SYKES: What exactly is Critical Race Theory? Could you show me an example of Critical Race Theory in any public school in your state?
In Wisconsin, the Republican legislature has not only passed a ban on Critical Race Theory. They have actually come up with a list of words that are actually banned that you cannot use, terms like multiculturalism and social justice.
SYKES: So, it would be interesting if somebody would have gone back at Mr. Youngkin and said, you're quoting Martin Luther King Jr., but you're going to ban what you call Critical Race Theory.
Under your ban, would you actually be able to teach about Martin Luther King?
REID: You would not.
SYKES: Would you be able to have a curriculum that would include his letters from the jail...
REID: You could not.
SYKES: ... or the entire speech, rather than just the excerpt?
Because I'm guessing that somebody is going to stand up and say, well, that makes me feel uncomfortable. This must be Critical Race Theory.
And, I mean, the thing is, he gave speeches about America may go to hell. You -- probably, you cannot teach that, because so -- and I want to stay with it just for a moment, because I do think -- I want to stay with you for a second, Charlie.
The Tomahawk Chop, can we show this? Trump did it at the Major League Baseball game, at the World Series game. He and his wife did it. The governor of Georgia did it. They're all participating in this. It's the same kind of thing.
There is this sense among some white Americans, not all, but some, that you don't -- that they aren't allowed to do or say what they want because some minority group is going to be offended. And it is that. That's what Critical Race Theory is to them, that I don't get to say the jokes I want to say, say the memes I want to say, do the Tomahawk Chop. People get mad? And I don't like that.
That is what they're legislating against, no?
And they like that sort of transgressive behavior. We have to point that Major League Baseball...
REID: They do. They like offending people.
Remember when Major League Baseball actually boycotted the state of Georgia because of its restrictive voting law? And, of course, Major League Baseball is there -- is back in a big way with the World Series, and they invite Donald Trump to come and do the Tomahawk Chop, so speaking of hypocrisy.
But you're absolutely right. I mean, what someone like Donald Trump does is, he gives permission to people to engage in behavior...
REID: Yes, be your worst self.
SYKES: ... that maybe we were at the point of questioning.
REID: That's right.
SYKES: And so I do think that you need to see this in the context of a new white backlash, the kind of thing that we saw, as you have pointed out on this show over and over again, of Reconstruction.
REID: Yes. Yes.
SYKES: And this is basically just the fill-in for the term that they use to provide them the context.
REID: Absolutely. And they don't want to be reconstructed. They say, I want to be my worst self, and I want you to accept it, and I don't care. That's what they want. And that to them is what Critical Race Theory means.
Don Calloway, Charlie Sykes, thank you all very much.
Up next: a historic settlement in the 2015 massacre of the Mother -- at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
We will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER PINCKNEY, WIDOW OF REVEREND CLEMENTA PINCKNEY: I still relive and I still think about what happened being there.
I will remember it until the day I die. And so I live with it every day. Yes, there is a settlement. And I don't think about that. I think about, if I had the opportunity to bring Clementa back, I'd switch. You can all take the settlement. Bring my husband back me. Bring their father back to them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: It's been more than six years since nine people were shot and killed in the horrific massacre at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
After it was revealed that the FBI's background check system failed to catch a previous felony drug arrest that should have blocked the sale of the gun that was used by the 21-year-old white supremacist, the families of the victims sued.
On Thursday, the Justice Department announced an $88 million settlement with the families of the victims and survivors. One of the attorneys for the victims calls it one of the largest settlements in a collection of civil rights cases in the nation's history.
And joining me now is Jennifer Pinckney, who survived the shooting and is the widow of the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, also the family's attorney, Gerald Malloy, who's a South Carolina state senator who served with Reverend Pinckney.
Thank you both for being here.
PINCKNEY: Thank you.
So we just saw a clip of you saying you would throw the settlement aside and have your husband back.
And I hate to take you back to this day. But you were there. You are not just widow of a victim. You, yourself, were a victim. You and your daughter were there.
REID: So this is really big for you.
PINCKNEY: It is. It is.
We were there. And it's something that I will always remember for the rest of my life, sitting in the office, and the bullets coming through, and trying to protect my daughter. It was something that I will always remember for the rest of my life.
REID: She was a little girl. She was -- I think she was, what, 12, 11? She was 11 years old.
PINCKNEY: She was 6.
REID: She was 6 years old. She's 11 now.
PINCKNEY: She's 12 now.
REID: Does she talk about it at all?
PINCKNEY: No, she doesn't. She doesn't.
Now, with both of my girls, they will -- we will talk about their father and daddy this, daddy that, and just spring up different things he used to say and do and so forth. But as far as just her bringing up that particular day, no, she doesn't.
And, Senator, you served with Clementa Pinckney. You talked about his last words...
STATE SEN. GERALD MALLOY (D-SC): Yes, well...
REID: ... on the Senate floor.
MALLOY: On the Senate floor, where Clementa had gave a wonderful speech on body cameras.
And what he did was to say -- it was after the murder of Walter Scott. And then, in the end, he said: God teaches us to love all of it. And, in the end, justice will be done.
And that's one of the best speeches you would ever hear from the Senate floor, and it was somewhat prophetic. Clementa was an absolute terrific person. He called himself an itinerant pastor. Any time that there was something going on with the church or a church member, and there was something in the Senate, he was a pastor first.
And when you -- when I think about those, those final words, Mrs. Pinckney, I remember a pastor, not from South Carolina, saying to me black folks are always expected to have amazing grace. No matter what we suffer, no matter how much we're hurting, we're supposed to have grace.
And I remember a lot of media people asking the victims of the Charleston nine, the family members, do you forgive?
But I want to ask you if you -- if you're still angry. I mean, the state of South Carolina obviously failed you. This court has now said they failed you. Are you still angry about that?
PINCKNEY: You can't be angry.
That's something that, if you hold that in, you can't move forward.
PINCKNEY: And so you have to be able to -- you never forget. You will always remember.
And I will always be there to talk to my girls and tell them and other people what happened and so forth as from my standpoint. But that's something that you just never forget.
And let's talk about this specific settlement, $88 million. That is significant, because, for those who are not familiar with white nationalists and white supremacists, they use 88 for heil Hitler. That is their symbol.
And so that -- that's a very significant settlement amount. Talk about what that means.
MALLOY: Well, on the day of the -- reaching the settlement, it really didn't cross my mind. We were trying to do the best that we could for these families, because they have suffered so much and given so much.
But during the evaluation, what we have is that we have a civil case. We had been in mediation for the better part of two days jockeying back and forth. It wasn't easy. And so then, at the very end, when we got to a point and say, this is the number, then someone says, there's somebody else's hands that's touching. This is the hands of God.
There's something going on here, because, in the end, not to be cute about it, would you have taken 100 instead? Of course. But what happened was is that that was the number. And we had a discussion about it. And then the question was, he said, do we need to change it from $1 off or $1 less, $1 more or something?
MALLOY: And then someone said, you know what, let's take it back. Let's make that number mean something.
MALLOY: When it meant something to someone else, when they use it as a racist symbol, let's take it back and make it a symbol of pride.
MALLOY: This is something that -- where we were trying to right a wrong.
And hats off to Attorney General Merrick Garland for his compassion, for his emphasis on civil rights, and all the work of all the lawyers that were involved on both sides. Vanita Gupta was tremendous in this work. We had Bakari Sellers that came in to help broker part of the deal. Had some wonderful lawyers like Alvin Hammer and Mullins McLeod others that worked really hard on this case.
So it was a come-togetherness at that time. So that number came in. And, right now, that number means something else to us...
MALLOY: ... than the number of bullets that Dylann Roof into the church, 88 bullets. He used 77 and seven magazines. The 88 that he inscribed on his shoe.
And so it meant something to him. This will mean something else for others, is that this is a just result.
REID: And, Mrs. Pinckney, you had a chance to meet with the attorney general. Would you share with us some of what he said to the families?
PINCKNEY: He was just very compassionate.
It almost looked like he had tears in his eyes. I mean, he was like: I know this doesn't bring your family member back. But it was something that we had to do.
Well, I want to just say that we have deepest condolences to your family, you and your girls for your loss.
And I want to congratulate you all, as the attorneys who made this settlement happen. This is justice, in a way. As you said, it's not going to bring back your loved ones.
But, Jennifer Pinckney, state Senator Gerald Malloy, thank you both very much.
PINCKNEY: Thank you.
REID: Really appreciate you both.
MALLOY: Thank you.
REID: All right, and don't go anywhere.
Tonight's "Absolute Worst" affects every single person on this planet. And we are quickly running out of time to do something about it.
We will be right back.
REID: While we are sitting here right now, the planet we live on is dying.
This year, the U.S. has seen 18 weather disasters that have killed more than 500 people, costing taxpayers more than a billion dollars. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which studies this stuff, nearly half the country has been subjected to a devastating climate event.
There have been forest fires in California and Nevada, extreme droughts in California, Oregon, Utah, Montana, and North Dakota, severe weather in Texas and Oklahoma, flooding in Louisiana, which gutted thousands of homes, devastating tornadoes in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, tropical storms up and down the Eastern Seaboard that left Florida homes bombarded and New York City subway stations submerged, which, needless to say, is not supposed to happen.
And that's just what's happening here in the U.S. Around the world, the number of climate-related disasters has tripled in the last 50 years, tripled. Extraordinarily hot and cold temperatures are responsible for five million deaths every year. That's about how many people have died around the world from COVID.
Climate collapse is taking the equivalent number of lives every single year. In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report that warned us that, if humans don't get their acts together and drastically -- and I mean drastically -- cut carbon emissions in the next 12 years, we will have irreversibly worse droughts, flooding, extreme heat and climate-induced poverty.
That was three years ago. And even with current commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions, we're on track to see temperatures rise by nearly 3 degrees Celsius this century. In layman's terms, this Earth could eventually become unlivable.
Today, world leaders gathered in Glasgow, Scotland, for the COP 26 climate summit, where delegates called for accelerated action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO GUTERRES, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL: Enough of treating nature like a toilet. Enough of burning and drilling and mining our way deeper. We are digging our own graves.
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The longer we fail to act, the worse it gets, and the higher the price when we are eventually forced by catastrophe to act.
MIA MOTTLEY, PRIME MINISTER OF BARBADOS: We act in the interest of all of our people, who are dependent on us. And if we don't, we will allow the path of greed and selfishness to sow the seeds of our common destruction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: President Biden, who's trying to reverse the damage done by his predecessor and the Republican Party, made an appeal of his own.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is the challenge of our collective lifetimes, the existential threat to human existence as we know it. And every day we delay, the cost of inaction increases.
God bless you all, and may God save the planet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I'm glad he said that, because it's going to take a miracle to turn this planet around.
So, tonight, the lack of global outrage and action when it comes to the demise of the only planet we have got is the "Absolute Worst."
And that's tonight's REIDOUT.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.