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tv   This Week With George Stephanopoulos  ABC  September 20, 2020 8:00am-8:59am PDT

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you live it. >> announcer: "this week" with george stephanopoulos starts right now. an american icon. >> it was beyond my wildest imagination that i would one day become the notorious rbg. >> ruth bader ginsburg. >> the progress i have seen in my lifetime makes me optimistic for the future. >> feminist hero, pioneer for gender equality, known for her fierce opinions and pointed sense. this morning we remember her remarkable career as her passi updsurolitics. >> we won, and we have an obligation as the winners to pick who we want. >> the voters should pick the president. the president should pick the
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justice for the senate to consider. >> president trump prepares a nomination. mitch mcconnell pledges a vote. the democrats promise a fight. an epic showdown with just 44 days until the final votes. our guests this is morning, bill clinton who nominated ruth ginsburg in 1993. america's top elected democrat now, nancy pelosi, and republican senator ted cruz. plus, analysis from our powerhouse round table. good morning, and welcome to "this week." call it the year of chaos. the 2020 election has already seen it all. impeachment, a pandemic, economic turmoil. racial protests scarred at times by violence, and friday night, the loss of an american giant, supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg. a champion of equality, she broke barriers as a law professor and advocate, achieving greatness in the words
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of supreme court colleague david souter before she became a great justice. outside the court where ginsburg served for 27 years, admirers have been gathering to mourn her passing, prepare for the titanic political battle to come. many carrying a simple sign, honor her wish. the request ginsburg said days before her death. my most fervent wish is that i will not be replaced until a new president is installed. mitch mcconnell said he would schedule a vote based on the nominee. late saturday, the president promised voters in north carolina his pick is coming fast. >> i will be putting forth the nominee next week. it will be a woman. [ cheers and applause ] >> we begin this morning with our washington team. chief white house correspondent jon karl, and senior congressional correspondent mary bruce. jon, let me begin with you. the president wants to move this week, and he has a short list. >> the president wants to move
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without delay, george. at his rally last night, you actually saw trump supporters chanting, fill that seat, less than about 24 hours after the death of ruth bader ginsburg. the president seemed almost gleeful to have something else to talk about, something besides his handling of the pandemic, and yes, he does have a short list. about an hour after ruth bader ginsburg's death, we're told at the very top of that short list is amy coney barrett. there are other names on that list including allison jones rushing and barbara lagoa. lagoa is the former chief justice of the supreme court, and she is cuban-american. if the president calculates a by picking her it would help him win the state of florida, a state he absolutely must win,
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that would move her to the top of the list. in fact, i would not expect this president to make any major decisions to make any decisions between now and november 3rd without calculating the impact on his campaign. >> and mitch mcconnell said he would vote on the nominee, but he did not say before or after the election. >> he notably did not, and he's facing a real balancing act with monumental implications. if they rush to do this before the election, it could hurt vulnerable republicans up for re-election, and there's a chance they are hoping they can hold onto their majority. if they wait, then they have less time to try to get this done, and if there is a decisive shift in power, it could be harder to push this through. mitch mcconnell is going to have to prioritize between his senate majority and a lifetime appointment to the supreme court, and already, george, we are hearing from some of those key republicans who could break ranks and block a confirmation. susan collins of maine, susan murkowski of alaska are both expected to oppose a vote before election day. >> the democrats need four
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republicans to defect in order to stop this nomination. so do they have any other power to stop it or slow down the nomination, and who are the other republican senators to watch, mary? >> there is simply very little the democrats can do. they just don't have the power here. what they can do is try to ramp up the pressure on this handful of key republicans. we are keeping a very close eye on mitt romney who of course, voted to impeach the president earlier this week. also, chuck grassley, the former chair of the judiciary committee. he said he would not act on this in an election year, and corey gardner. that's a tough state that trump won. it could potentially hurt him. >> has the president's team settled on before or after the election is better for them? >> they fully know that the timing here is up to mitch mcconnell. that said, this is something that they believe is energizing the campaign, giving them something else to talk about regarding, you know, aside from the pandemic. my sense is they would be happy
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to see this after the election, very shortly after the election, but something they can keep talking about, making it a central campaign theme right until election day. >> jon karl and mary bruce, thanks very much. let's get more of this from the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi. thank you for joining us this morning. >> good morning. >> you wrote friday that the passing of justice ginsburg is an incalculable loss for our democracy. how do you remember her, and how will the house honor her? >> i'm so glad the country is providing such an outpouring of love and support to honor ruth bader ginsburg. petite, tiny in size, huge in impact and powerful, brilliant brain on the court. she was so remarkable, and i can't help but think of the good person that she is as we extend condolences to her family, she would want us to keep our eye on the ball of the 200,000 people who will be probably this
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weekend will sadly reach that number. this challenge that we have is directly. if the president thinks this isn't about the coronavirus, it is. it's about health care. so the president is rushing to make some kind of a decision because he -- november 10th is when the arguments begin on the affordable care act. he doesn't want to crush the virus. he wants to crush the affordable care act. so again, in terms of ruth bader ginsburg, any one of us who knew her, who loved her, who respected her, and that includes almost anybody who had an appreciation for greatness, mourn her loss, but would want us to move forward to protect the people who are sick, those with coronavirus who now have millions of them having a preexisting condition. that's what the president wants to crush when he says he wants to replace the chief justice -- excuse me, in this short period
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of time. >> of course, you're the speaker of the house, not a member of the senate. is there any way democrats can slow this nomination down or block it? >> well, as you say, that is a matter for the senate, but i will say this. it's really important for everyone to get out there and vote. the day the justice passed away, ten states started early voting that day. we just want everyone across the country who cares about health care for all americans, who cares about crushing the coronavirus, who cares about a woman's right to choose, who cares about lgbtq rights, the list goes on and on. to vote. the election is very important. let me just remind that when we had the lilly ledbetter case before the supreme court, the court ruled against women in the
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workplace. justice ginsburg wrote the dissent. that became the lilly ledbetter law that was the first bill signed by barack obama. so the congress has the ability to overturn injustices that spring from the supreme court, and that's why we have to have a big turnout in this election, not for politics, not for anything other than what it means to people in their homes, in their lives. >> you are in the middle of negotiations over government funding. the government runs out of funding at the end of september. is there any way we can use leverage in those negotiations to slow this down? >> none of us has any interest in shutting down government. that has such a harmful and painful impact on so many people in our country, so i would hope that we could just proceed with that. there is some enthusiasm among some exuberance on the left to say. we're not going to be shutting down government. i do hope though that the focus on health care and what it means
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in terms of the courts will have public opinion be of such magnitude that the republicans will finally, finally address the coronavirus crisis, finally subscribe to a plan to crush the virus, to listen to scientists about testing, tracing, treatment, mask wearing, sanitation, ventilation, social distancing. why have we not adopted that as a country? that is a place where we can slow the growth and perhaps crush this virus. instead -- well, i don't want to go into instead. you know what instead -- >> let me press you though on what happens. you want people to get out and vote, and even that's no guarantee that the white house and senate republicans won't try to push through a supreme court nomination in a lame duck session even if joe biden wins on november 3r en democrats win -- pick up sea in the house, and maybe even the senate. so what can you do then?
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some have mentioned the possibility if they try to push through a nominee in a lame duck session that you and the house can move to impeach president trump or attorney general barr as a way of stalling and preventing the senate from acting on this nomination. >> well, we have our options. we have arrows in our quiver that i'm not about to discuss right now, but the fact is we have a big challenge in our country. this president has threatened to not even accept the results of the election with statements that he and his henchmen have made. so right now, our main goal and i think ruth bader ginsburg would want that to be to protect the integrity of the election, that we protect the american people from the coronavirus, and i have faith in the american people on this sunday morning. i hope and pray we have a vaccine, and that it be soon, but it must be safe. not one day sooner or one day later. the fact is this administration
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has been a total failure in protecting the health and well-being of the american people, and it has had an impact on our economy. the lives, the livelihood and the life of our democracy are threatened by this administration. so again, when people say, what can i do? you can vote. you can get out the vote, and you can do so as soon as possible. ten states as i said, on friday started their early voting, the day that we lost ruth bader ginsburg. >> to be clear, you're not taking any arrows out of your quiver and not ruling anything out? >> good morning. sunday morning. yeah. we have a responsibility. we've taken an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the united states. we have a responsibility to meet the needs of the american people. that is when we weigh the equities of protecting our
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democracy requires us to use every arrow in our quiver. >> and finally, if the republicans still are successful, many of your colleagues have called for, again, if a majority is voted for democrats in november, expanding the court in retaliation. your response? >> well, let's just win the election. let's hope that the president will see the light. again, there's many, many people in our country, and millions more now because of coronavirus who have preexisting medical conditions. the president has not been truthful in what he has said about that. he is in court to crush preexisting conditions as he crushes the affordable care act instead of crushing the virus. so people have something at stake in this decision, and how quickly the president wants to go. i don't think they care about who said what when and all the rest of that, but they do care about their own health and well-being and the financial health and well-being of their families if they are subjected
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to unlimited cause because of preexisting conditions as well as eliminating the caps that have been placed by the affordable care act on what insurance companies can charge. so this -- again, this is about the people. it's about their health, their economic well-being, the health of our democracy. we have a great deal at stake here. i think we should be very calm. we should be inspired by ruth bader ginsburg. she was brilliant, and she was strategic, and she was successful. she did more for equality for women in our country than anyone that you can name, and women appreciate that, and i think that you will see women weighing in on all of these decisions be it the elections, confirmations or the rest. >> madam speaker, thank you very much for your time this morning. >> thank you very much, george. >> senator ted cruz is our next guest. here's what he said about
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nominations in election year vacancies in 2016 when barack obama was president. >> it has been 80 years since a supreme court vacancy was nominated and confirmed in an election year. there is a long tradition that you don't do this in an election year. >> and senator ted cruz joins us now. good morning, senator. thanks for joining us this morning. you and your colleagues were pretty clear back in 2016 that an election year is a matter for the people to decide. is it fair for people to conclude right now that you have changed your tune because the president is a republican, not a democrat? >> well, george, i'm happy to talk about that, but i want to start by just acknowledging the extraordinary career justice ginsburg had. she was a trailblazing advocate, one of the finest supreme court litigators to have ever lived. she served for nearly three decades on the court. i argued nine times before justice ginsberg on the court. she was a brilliant justice. she was -- her questions were always incisive. she was a careful lawyer, and she's led a remarkable legacy, and heidi and i, our prayers are
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with her family who are grieving the loss of someone who led an extraordinary life. now when the vacancy occurs, that naturally leads to the question of what will happen next, and the answer in terms of what is going to happen next as we know now, the president is going to make a nomination. when i called for the president to make the nomination this week, he's going to make the nomination this week, and i believe for the right thing to do is this senate to take up the nomination and confirm the nominee before election day. now on the question of precedent, look. we had this fight at the end of the barack obama term, and at the time all the democrats were says, confirm the nominee, confirm the nominee, and all the republicans were saying, we're not going to confirm the nominee. you played a situation, and a quote from me in 2016. we can play that game all day long -- >> i don't disagree with that. i'm trying to get you to concede -- this is about who has
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the votes and the power at any given time, right? >> so actually it isn't. if you look at history, and look at what the precedent is, this has happened 29 times. 29 times, there has been aial election year. now presidents have made nominations all 29 times. that's what presidents do. if there's a vacancy, they make a nomination. what has the senate done? there's a big difference in the senate with whether the senate is of the same party of the president or a different party of the president. when the senate has been of the same party of the president, the vacancy occurs in an election year of the 29 times, those are 19 of them. of the 19, the senate has confirmed those nominees 17 times. if the parties are the same, the senate confirms the nominee. when the parties are different, that's happened ten times. merrick garlane them. has confirmed the nominees only twice, and there's a reason for that. it's not just simply your party, my party.
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the reason is it's a question of checks and balances, and in order for a nomination to go forward, you have to have the president and the senate -- in this instance, the american people voted. they elected donald trump. a big part of the reason they elected donald trump is because of the scalia vacancy, and they wanted principle constitutionalists on the court, and the big reason we have a republican majority elected in 2014, re-elected in 2016, grown even larger in 2018, a major issue in each of those elections is the american people voted and said, we want constitutionalist judges, and so the president was elected to do this, and the senate was elected to confirm this nomination. >> as you know, generally those picks in an election year have been consensus picks. you made your point right now. what i want to get to now is whether you're in step with most republicans right now in voting before the election. senator mcconnell seems to have not made up his mind on whether that's best for his majority. you're pushing him here, right? >> let me point out in terms of
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what has been done in the past, which is when you worked in the white house, you worked for bill clinton. bill clinton made two supreme court nominations, justice ginsburg and stephen breyer. stephen breyer, when he got to the court of the appeals, it was an even more dramatic situation than this. jimmy carter appointed him on november 10, 1980. after the presidential election. jimmy carter had just lost to ronald reagan and he appointed him anyway right after the election. do you know what the senate did? the voters had thrown it out and said, we'll have a republican senate. they confirmed it in the lame duck. that was bill clinton's second supreme court nominee. there's a long history here, and everyone knows that if the president were joe biden or hillary clinton and chuck schumer were the majority leader, the odds are 100% -- 100% -- there's no universe in
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which nancy pelosi wld not have been thus speaker saying, we are going to confirm this seat, and at the end of the day, how do you resolve those differences? well, the american do, and the american people did by electing a president and a senate committed to justices who will defend free speech, and religious liberty and the second amendment and our fundamental rights because of all of those rights are one vote away. >> do you have the votes now to have -- to confirm before the election? >> you know, i don't know. i don't know the answer to that. i believe we will. i think it is particularly important that the senate take it up and confirm this nomination before the election because joe biden has been explicit. he has said if he doesn't win, he's going to challenge this election. he's going to go to court. he's going to challenge it and he's hired a big legal team. hillary clinton has told joe biden under no circumstances should you concede. given that, there is a serious risk of a constitutional crisis if joe biden is bringing litigation --
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>> senator, i have to stop you. as you know, president trump has been the one talking about rigged elections. joe biden has not explicitly said he's going to challenge the election. of course, they're going to have teams of lawyers as every campaign always does to look at irregularities. >> true or false that hillary clinton said don't concede? >> i was asking -- you said joe biden said it. i challenge your statement about hillary clinton. >> so you agree hillary clinton said don't concede. joe biden has hired a legal team -- >> as has president trump. >> this is a topic, you know, 20 years ago i was part of the legal team that litigated bush versus gore for george w. bush. i was a young lawyer then. i wrote a book called "one vote causeway: how-- away: how a sin
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supreme court seat can change history." in one of the chapters, it talks about bush versus gore. it talks about the epic battle where al gore challenged the election results and for 36 days, the country was held in chaos. well, if joe biden does that again this year, and we have an 8-8 court, an equally court 4-4 can't decide anything. that could make this presidential election drag on weeks and months and well into next year. that is an intolerable situation for the country. we need a full court on election day given the very high likelihood that we're going to see litigation that goes to the court. we need a court that can give a definitive answer for the country. >> finally, senator, this is one of those situations where republicans and democrats have switched sides. four years ago, democrats missed it because of a split court. one of your colleagues put out a tweet and said, two months ago, i pledged a vote only for scotus nominees who understand and acknowledge that roe v. wade was wrongly decided. i stand by that commitment and
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call on my republican senators to take the same stand. will you take that stand? >> well, i don't believe that's the right question to ask, you know, i mentioned a minute ago the book i have "one vote away" that's coming out in a couple of weeks. i have an entire chapter devoted to how you should make supreme court nominations and i think what you should look for is a proven record where republicans have gotten this wrong is where we've rolled the dice. on the democratic side, democrats bat almost 1,000. almost every democratic nominee votes exactly as the democrats want. on the republican side, we maybe bat .500. a full half of republican nominees end up galloping to the left and undermining the constitution. here's how you tell the difference. you look for a proven record of has this individual stood up for the institution, defended free speech, defended religious liberty, defended the second amendment, and if they suffered the slings and arrows, has the press criticized them and has the press attacked them, and
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have they stood strong? if you look at the justices who stayed faithful to their oath, people like antonin scalia, people like justice thomas, people like my old boss, chief justice william rehnquist. every one of them followed that pattern and that's what i urge the president to nominate, and i will say, one final observation, when i was clerking for chief justice rehnquist, he obviously worked every day with justice ginsburg, and he admired what a careful lawyer she was. consistently on the lawyers of the left, the judges on the left. chief justice rehnquist was almost most willing to give an important opinion to justice ginsburg because she wrote narrow, careful opinions. that's important, but it's also important what the justices are doing, and i believe the american people want constitutionalists. we're one vote away from seeing our religious liberty votes stripped away, from our free speech stripped away, from our second amendment stripped away.
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this election matters and i think it is the most important issue in 2020, electing presidents and a senate who will nominate and confirm strong constitutionalists to the court. >> senator cruz, thanks for your time this morning. >> thank you, george. president bill clinton is next. president bill clinton is next. i'm a verizon engineer. and i'm part of the team building... ...a powerful 5g experience for america. it's 5g ultra wideband, and it's already available in parts of select cities. like los angeles. and in new york city. and it's rolling out in cities around the country. with massive capacity. it's like an eight-lane highway compared to a two-lane dirt road. 25x faster than today's 4g networks. in fact, it's the fastest 5g in the world. from the network more people rely on. this is 5g built right. only on verizon.
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if i believe the measure of a person'sni life a ginsburg's values are the very ones that represent the best in america. i am proud to nominate this path-breaking attorney, advocate and judge to be the 107th
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justice to the united states supreme court. >> president clinton nominated ruth bader ginsburg to be on the supreme court back in 1993. president clinton joins us this morning. thank you for joining us, mr. president. you wrote that when you chose ruth bader ginsburg, she h she h potential to be a great justice. did she turn out to be the justice you imagined? different in any way? >> well, she was only different in that i never anticipated she would become late in her life a cultural icon, and we would all be doing her exercise routines, but i must say the more i think about it, the less surprised i am because in a time where we m level, and people need that. they need to be able to hang onto something that's on the level.
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you know, i remember when she came to arkansas to give a speech for me a couple of years ago, there were -- we couldn't fit the people who wanted to come in the library or in the convention center. we had to move to the basketball arena and 15,000 people came and almost that many wanted to come, and this was in a very red state even though the capital city is still democratic, and she just seemed to be authentic and a person first, and she never disappointed on that. >> i remember when you were thinking of choosing her, one of the great selling points was that she -- everybody believed she would be able to work with different justices of different points of view. ipthustices likeordial antonin scalia, but later in her career, she became known for
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those dissents. >> she did, and, you know, the country became more and more polarized. but she maintained her relationship with antonin scalia and cordiality with the others, even when she was clearly in deep disagreement with them over a variety of cases, and i think that's important, you know. if we quit talking to each other, it's going to be very difficult to ever knit the country back together again. >> presidential elections haven't turned on election years. is this different now? >> well, it depends on what happens. i think it's interesting that mitch mcconnell seems to -- he said we had to trust the american people and give the voters a voice, and the last
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supreme court, the election when barack obama nominated merrick garland ten months before the election. there was never a rule on that, but there is when the election comes in doubt and you're closer and closer to the election. when abraham lincoln had a vacancy in early october in 1864 when justice roger taney died, he did not nominate anybody to succeed him until after the election, until he saw whether he won or not because he thought it was so close it was important not to. today it seems that senator mcconnell has lost his faith to the judgment of the american people and wants to hurry up and put somebody else on the court, and the president does too. so they -- their position is, do whatever maximizes your power,
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and if it's totally inconsistent with what you said before, don't worry about it. ruth ginsburg was just the reverse. she was on the level. same set of rules for everybody, and she would be saying today, just wait until we see what happens in the election, and see if people think that we should move the court even further to the right or as somebody who represents all views fairly should be given a chance to serve. >> as you said, president trump and senator mcconnell made it clear what they want to do. how should democrats handle it? >> well, they're going to nominate somebody, and we should see if anybody cares that several people including some
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who are up for re-election are clearly going to violate what they said they believed before. lindsey graham has said he wouldn't vote this close to the election no matter what president was there. chuck grassley, senator grassley said the same thing, and of course, you have a number of others who -- who went along with it before not giving justice garland even a hearing much less a vote. it would be very interesting to see whether their position could only be justified as, if my party can do it, then we're for it. if their party can do it, then i'm against it and if that's the rule of life in america, then who knows what the consequences will be? >> mr. president, thanks very much for your time this morning. round table is up next. we'll be right back. "this week" with george stephanopoulos, brought to you by pacific life.
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if the president consults and cooperates with the senate or moderates his selections, then his nominees may enjoy my support as did justice kennedy and justice suitor. to now here all this talk about the biden rule, it's frankly ridiculous. >> i want you to use my words against me. if there's a republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say lindsey graham said, let's let the next president, whoever it might be make that nomination, and you could use my words against me, and you would be absolutely right. >> lindsey graham's position now, he will move hearings on the president's picks and also a vote this year. let's talk about this on our round table with chris christie, rahm emanuel, kate shaw, and carrie severino. rahm, let me begin with you. it seems like all through the
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summer nothing changes in this race. not the conventions, not the other revelations. is the passing of ruth bader ginsburg different? >> i would say the short answer is no because the force of this election is donald trump. obviously four years, and nothing changes. the race stays incredibly stable in these most uncertain of times and that's because at the end of the day, donald trump hasn't improved one iota over his job approval or disapproval, and that's where this race is. in his recent polling, and it goes back to january and moves within a bandwidth of a point either way. and you'll also find going from 2018, 2019, 2020, the energized electorate. this will have more impact on the senate races. if i can, george, one other
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thing. a lot has been said about ruth bader ginsburg. i worked for president clinton when he nominated her about hurt -- her judicial mind, her experience as a woman, how it influenced her life and also being a jewish-american and that experience of seeing how justice has expanded. more and more americans become part of the american experience, and that is when america is enriched and that is a jewish-american in the part of being a minority discriminated and reaching great heights because we lived up to the american creed. that's also apart of her story. >> and chris christie, let's pick up on what rahm was talking about. this could have more of an impact on the senate races perhaps than the presidential race. first, do you agree with that, and number two, when do you think the president should move on this? should he try to get it done before the election or wait for the lame duck? >> i think it's going to have an effect on both races, george. clearly it will have an effect on senate races and i agree with rahm there, but it's going to have an effect on the
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presidential race because there is now a new dominant issue looking at the american people straight in the eye which is, who do you want picking the next supreme court justice? who are the people that you trust the most to do that, and it's going to give people a lot to talk about in these times leading up to the debate, and i think the debate will now be reframed a bit by the fact that justice ginsburg has passed, and that we need to make a new selection. i think the president should do what presidents have done in all these other instances when these vacancies have come up in election years. the president should make a nomination. he should make a nomination quickly i believe, and gives the senate all the options they should have in terms of how they proceed with the nomination. in the end though, this will be mitch mcconnell's call, and the caucus, in terms of the majority caucus in how they want to do it. the president has to rely on mitch mcconnell to do what he does best, and when he has relied on mitch mcconnell in the last 3 1/2 years, he has done very well.
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i would say pick the best person you can for the post and leave it to the senate for their decision and provide their advice and consent. >> carrie severino, you worked for president trump's two previous nominees. who stands out on the short list and should he make this move before or after the election? >> there's ample time to get this done before the election. you look at justice o'connor, 33 days confirmed unanimously. justice ginsburg herself in 42 days, nearly unanimously. justice stephens in 19 days. there's clearly time to get this done. some of the name we're hearing a lot are names like amy coney barrett, and barbara lagoa, both appointed to the appellate court. outstanding women, mothers, judges, scholars. they're trail blazers and i think this is an exciting time for women. these are the kind of women that i think could follow in justice ginsburg's own trailblazing
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footsteps and make a mark on the court. >> kate shaw, pick up on that, and assess the picks and the likelihood of getting through that quickly. >> i think it bears pausing for a moment to reflect on what lindsey graham was talking about in the clip you played and talking about senator cruz earlier. which is in 2016 when president obama had an election year vacancy, all of the arguments against moving forward on a nominee sounded like democratic legitimacy, right? just on the eve of an election, but it's happening. some states have early voting and absentee votes are going out. if there is moving forward before we know who the winner of the election is. i think that on the short list, there are more and less potentially polarizing nominees. i think amy coney barrett who carrie mentioned seems to be at the top of list and perhaps the most conservative individual on the list, has come as close as anyone on the sitting federal
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appeals courts to say roe v. wade should be overturned and i think her nomination could put the future of legal abortion in america on the ballot. in a way that the president would need to think hard about whether that is to his political advantage to do. i don't know that it's obvious that it is. >> chris christie -- rahm, i'll come back to you in a second. i want to ask chris a question. is it realistic if this is held over until after the election for the republicans to push through a nominee in a lame duck session if joe biden wins, if democrats pick up seats in the senate? >> well, george, i think you have to look at what happened with merrick garland. i heard what kate just said and i know that rhetoric like that was being used, but this is politics, and this confirmation has become about politics. there will no longer be 96-0
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confirmations. those days of politics unfortunately in my view are gone now. the reason merrick garland didn't get confirmed is he didn't have the votes because republicans controlled the senate, and when you look at donald trump's two nominees, you know, brett kavanaugh got one democratic vote, and, you know, neil gorsuch got three. if that had happened for merrick garland, even if he got three republicans to switch sides back in 2016, he still would have been at 49 votes and would not have been able to be confirmed. it's who's got the votes, who the american people are putting in charge of the senate and that's why merrick garland didn't move forward. if there had been pressure on mitch mcconnell for people in his own caucus saying, put him up, he would have been put up. as far as your question on the lame duck session, i think you and they have to decide, can they do this?
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i think we're right that, you know, in the end this can be done. there's certainly practical -- with both those federal appeals court judges because they had their fbi background checks a year or two ago, and freshening those up will not take a long time. if you want to do it, you can, but the question is, does mitch mcconnell have at least 50 votes with mike pence as a tiebreaker to get it through before the election or not? that's for mitch to determine, and that will determine what's going to happen. >> rahm, it was pretty striking to hear speaker pelosi say she's not taking any arrows out of her quiver even keeping the possibility of impeachment on the table if the republicans try to push through a lame duck appointment after losing the election. >> but, you know, one thing that has not been brought up, george, president trump never received the popular vote, and the idea you would be nominating a person to not get the popular vote, it's impossible at this point for him to win the popular vote
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this time as well, and that is the tyranny of a minority, and the idea he didn't have the votes or he was elected, no he wasn't. he never received the popular vote, and that proves to me, when you look at mitch mcconnell and lindsey graham, it's what i said about republicans from washington. they're firm in their opinions. it's their principles they're flexible on. >> does that keep impeachment on the table? >> the reason i reject that politics and i understand the speaker -- i would never underestimate her to look at all of her efforts and all of her tools, but the idea of talking about impeachment as retribution, that is what is corrosive to our political system that somehow we have to one-up them. when you look at ginsburg, one of the things people loved about her, even when she disagreed with scalia, she had a friendship, and that's one of the most iconic pictures of this week, and the picture where he elbow bumped the gentleman in minnesota who was protesting him and he said, i will also be your president.
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that is the america people are yearning for, not the mitch mcconnell/donald trump when we don't have a majority, we'll ram something through and destroy the fabric of this country. it's not in the spirit of what ginsburg/scalia's friendship was which people yearned for, and admired when they disagreed, they heard each other. 'shy that cte of joe n carr severino. respond to that point rahm made about having justices picked by presidents who didn't win the popular vote. you have four justices appointed by presidents who didn't win the popular vote. what will it mean to have the majority who didn't win the popular vote? does that create a question of legitimacy? >> not at all. this is how the electoral college made this. it was said we should go forward with merrick garland. i th owon o are in line
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potentially replace her. amy coney barrett, accomplished scholar. immigrants. she speaks so eloquently about the rule of law because that's what her family fled, and she fled a tyranny under law. >> what options do democrat haves here? what should they use? >> they need to make the argument to the american people that it's just not appropriate to move forward yet, and that after the election has occurred and we know who the winner is, then of course, if president trump is re-elected, the arguments they are making now are off the table and the president has every right to move forward with his new ially e to the court, but that election will be, and, you know, one thing we haven't talked about is the possibility of election-related litigation. it seems quite likely that litigation will follow the election and the supreme court could be asked to weigh in on a case that could end up resolving
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the winner of the election, and for that supreme court to include a member who was rushed forward, placed on the court and then cast a vote, you know, that essentially results in the president winning re-election, i think could create just a massive crisis in legitimacy and sort of undermine acceptance of the result among the american people, and that i think is a consideration that's an important one as well. >> chris christie? >> george? >> chris, go ahead. >> rahm's argument is ridiculous on its face regarding the tyranny of the minority. let's remember that bill clinton never got the majority of the vote in either of his elections and he nominated ginsburg and breyer. does that mean that stephen breyer is currently an illegitimate justice because the man who appointed him never received the popular vote in either of his elections? if rahm wants to re-write the constitution, then let's get a constitutional convention going. if he can get it going, and have rahm re-write the constitution as terrifying as that prospect
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might be. >> my jewish mother would be happy in america. >> that's absolutely true, rahm. no doubt about that, until she saw what you wrote. then maybe not so much. in the electoral college, that's how we select presidents and each one of those presidents, bill clinton, george w. bush and donald trump got majorities in the electoral votes and that gives them the right to nominate supreme court justices. >> for the democrats first of all, i would continue to remind people this is a lifetime appointment. the idea we would rush something that's a lifetime appointment doesn't actually bode to common sense. second it's not about the aca. it's about preexisting conditions. it's about roe v. wade, and when you look at what's happening, these decisions in the sense of taking the time and the legitimacy, i think given people's views of donald trump and what he has done to the fabric of this country and the fabric of the political system, the notion that we would do this right, that everybody could therefore have a sense that it was done right and fairly and not just for power, actually
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will work for democrats. i would say this, if you try to rush this decision through, and given the consequences of preexisting conditions, roe v. wade, also the idea of other types of rights for minorities, you'll be playing what i think is dangerous politics for the republicans and also dangerous politics for this country, and that's that precedent that is so important. >> and that is going to have to be the last word today. thank you all very much. we'll be right back. we'll be right back.
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that is all for us today. thanks for sharing part of your sunday with us. check out "world news tonight" and i'll see you tomorrow on "gma." check out "world news tonight" and i'll see you tomorrow on "gma."
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