tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC September 18, 2020 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
her late father. >> the founders of the usa proclaim that the heart of america would be its citizens, not its rulers. >> history has a memory. and the simple way to remember her will be that she was in the forefront of a successful movement for human libberation. >> people will look back and remember justice ginsburg as someone who impacted law in a way that made countless lives better. >> true, we have not reached nirvana, but the progress i have seen in my lifetime makes me optimistic for the future. the challenge is to make or keep our communities, places where we can tolerate even celebrate our differences while pulling together for the common good.
supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg has left us at the age of 87. we will talk about the course of her life and career, we will talk with a number of people who covered her careers, more than 40 years as a judge and justice, who know about her impact on the law. we will talk about the striking news that in her last days on rth, she dictated a statement to her granddaughter saying that it was her fervent wish that she not be replaced until there's a new president. we are going to talk about all of that tonight. but we are going to speak first with someone who we have just asked to join us on very short notice and i'm grateful she has been able to get to us. former secretary of state, hillary clinton, former u.s. presidential candidate, secretary clinton, i know this is a very tough night and i know this is very short notice. thank you for being here.
>> oh, thank you. thank you rachel. it's a really sad night and i know it's sad for people who followed justice ginsburg but i hope every american knows she was a historic, courageous person who moved our country forward in all the right ways. >> when it came to the choice to put her on the supreme court, there's been good story telling around your husband, she was put on the district court of appeals by jimmy carter, she was 13 year ms. the tenure, and was not expected to be a front runner for the supreme court seat until she had her interview at the white house. whereupon she apparently hit it out of the park and there was no chance she was not going to get that seat. she went on to be confirmed by an overwhelming margin over 90 votes to put her on the court.
can you talk a little bit about the importance of her getting that seat, only the second woman ever to get a supreme court justice -- to become a supreme court justice at the time she was appointed. >> well, i had known ruth for a number of years going back in to the 1980s. but, more than knowing her, from a far and admiring her personally, i knew of her work. and so, when the opening occurred and everyone was make g their -- making their lists, i said to my husband, someone you should definitely look at is judge ruth bader ginsburg, and of course, he heard of her. he met her casually. but, it was exactly as you describe it. i was quite enthusiastic about her potential nomination. i thought that she was a
historic figure, she made a huge difference in the law first as a lawyer, then on the circuit court, and when she came to be interviewed, she was told that it would be kind of a casual interview on a sunday afternoon, to not let anybody know because those things have to be kind of kept close to whole until the decision is made, and when she came in, bill knew that she was coming. so, he got out of his sort of sunday football watching clothes and put on a suit and tie, and she came in casually dressed. at first she was a little embarrassed about coming to the white house, and seeing the president when she was not properly attired. but they just hit it off. and they had an extraordinary conversation. bill had taught constitutional law years before, and they just
dove in to the constitution and to, you know, the role of the court, in a way that i wish could have been seen by the entire country. it was a master class. we are showing pictures right now on the screen of you and justice ginsburg together. there was, around the time of the merri krmpmerrick garland n they shared a will have oflove when justice scalia died and the republicans made that decision that they would not let president obama's nominee to be considered in the senate, and that is how after that election we ended in 2016, your election, we ended up with justice gorsitch instead of justice
merrick garland. i had thithink that the feeling that mitch mcconnell had done a small d, anti-democratic assault on the process. and it felt like a feminist catastrophe, in you not becoming the president, despite justice ginsburg's belief that you would be. and then for that supreme court seat to go, and for the court to go that much further to the right, and then for us to all be praying for justice ginsburg's health, in a way that we never have before because of a balance of the court. it feels mixed together with so much emotion beyond the politics here. i have to ask if you feel any of that yourself, or if you are too close to feel it some other way that we all feel it? >> no, just losing her is a
massive hole in you know, my, you know, young adulthood, my becoming a lawyer. both practicing and teaching law. looking up to her. following her career. but much more than that, it is a devastating loss for justice and equality. what ruth bader ginsburg did was to make it abundantly clear, that the constitution, explicitly, wherever possible, be interpreted as providing for the equal rights of men and women. she was extremely clever in the way that she began her litigation march because she brought cases on behalf of men. she understood that you know, there were certain assumptions in the law, that favored or
disfavored menace well as women. and she had the brilliant insight that she could demonstrate the lack of equality under law for women by litigating on behalf of men. i'm not sure many other people would have ever really understood that. and now, with her loss it is not only a personal loss. but it's a real threat to the steady march toward progress that we need to continue. this is the hundredth year of the anniversary of women getting the right to vote. it took, you know, many more years before there were legislative protections for women of color.
and we are still fighting those battles. and ruth understood this th. you know her great gift was not as a brilliant lawyer and litigator and judge. but she was such a warm and understanding human being. and she really felt the loss of respect and rights that not just her clients but women and really anybody who appeared before her in any form could feel that she felt compelled to try to remedy. i want to say a quick word about your reference to what happened when justice scalia died, and of course, he and ruth were great friends and you know, people talk about justice scalia being an originalist, he was someone who was always trying to figure out what the founders thought. i often, you know, wondered during that time when mitch
mcconnell was truly wreaking havoc on our values and on our norms and on our underlying original intent on the constitution and founders that presidents have a right to appoint judges to fill vacancies and mitch mcconnell denied barack obama that right. and that set in motion a series of events that i think did great damage to the senate that can only be remedied by removing mitch mcconnell as the leader of the senate. that has to happen in this election, by getting a democratic senate majority. but in the meantime, the democrats who are in the senate will have to use every single
possible maneuver that is available to them to make it clear that they are not going to permit mitch mcconnell to enact the greatest travesty, the monument to hypocrisy, that would arise from him attempting to fill this position. so, in many ways, i think it's, you know, a terrible loss for us all. but, it's also a remind er that she stood on the side of moving us toward a more perfect union and really underscoring equality, not just for women. but for every american. and i don't want to see that legacy ripped up by political
hypocrisy, coming from michigan -- from mitch mcconnell. you describe it as monumental hypocisy, that they would with four months left in the presidential term, never the less try to get through a trump nominee before this election and or even in the lame duck. i wonder if i can just ask you more specifically what you think can be done to try to stop that? when we saw what happened with merrick garland, the merrick garland nomination, with president obama, the senate refusing to act on it. it was the longest that a supreme court seat had been held up since the 1860s. president obama, and vice president biden at the time, they were incredibly out spoken about how outrageous that was and how much they were against it. but they were powerless from
keeping mitch mcconnell from doing what he wanted to do. in the ensuing four years have you thhad thoughts of what else could be done, if democrats, what they can do is mcconnell is hell bent on filling the seat, and the statement he put out says he is. >> he cares about nothing but power. he cares about literally nothing else. and of course, he is going to do everything he can to fill that seat. i think there are three possible approaches that should be considered. i think there will be at least one maybe more republican senators who either from principal and conscious or political calculation find the hypocrisy, to be more than they can bear.
and it's reported, i don't know if it's actually accurate yet, but it's been reported that at least one senator has said, just that. that fair is fair. and i think it's, to me, if we have any hope of overcoming the devi krm deviciness that infects the politics and has riddled the institutions like the senate with this kind of you know, power over everything else mentality. i hope that there will be several republican senators who say, we are going to wait to see what happens with the election it will be up to whoever is president on january 20th. the second thing is that there are senators running for office right now who are in, who are
republicans who are in close or contested seats and their democratic opponents as well as the people in the press in their states need to make this a major issue. are they going to totally demonstrate themselves as being without a shred of principal, because they went along with mcconnell in refusing to move forward president obama's nomination, are are they going to apply a totally double standard here. make it a political issue, because you know, these are tough races. you know the states. you cover it, rachel. and make it real. so that at least you make it painful for a lot of the republican incumbents. and finally, every possible
proceedural, obstacle has to be thrown in the way of this power drive by mcconnell. there are things that can be done, they need to be done literally 24/7. i am sure that you know, chuck schumer and had h-- and his leadership team is talking and looking at it. having said all that. i understand how impervious to, you know, reason and principal mcconnell is. so, all of these things may, you know, be difficult but let's go down fighting. and let's, you know, not give an inch in the face of the kind of hypo omp hypocrisy, that met president obama when he tried to fulfill his constitutional obligation and appoint me. -- merrick garland to the court.
>> on the second point, the political pain, and making it real here. a lot of people have said that the republicans and particularly the conservative movement have made the supreme court a voting issue for at least some of their base, and that, republicans not necessarily more conservative or more moderate republicans a slice of the republican voting base does vote on the basis of prioritizing the supreme court and supreme court appointments and while it is on the democratic side, an issue that is of concern to some activists and some donors, it's not necessarily something that the democratic party has figured out how to turn in to a motivating factor when it comes to presidential elections or when it comes to senate election willwill -- elections. do you think had the democratic party can get better on that. is this something that the democrats can make a center piece of the contest between
biden and trump for the fall? >> well, i certainly hope so, rachel. it is worth every ounce of energy to try. you know, during the 2016 campaign, i raised it numerous times. i went to madison, wisconsin and gave a, what i thought of as an incredibly urgent speech about the future of the court. and you are right, it is difficult to turn that in to a voting issue on our side of the political ledger. i know that from first hand experience. but, this is a different set up. i mean, people's attention is really focused on this election. unlike anything i have seen. and let's hope it drives the biggest turn out that we have had in our country. i think the democratic candidates led by joe biden and kamala harris, can make this a voting issue because it is such a clear choice. and the comparison with what
mcconnell did, how he disrupted, really demeaned, held in contempt the constitution and the, you know, the principals and practices of the senate should give everybody some great talking points and the energy to deliver them in a, you know, ur urgent fierce way. when it comes down to it, how are we going to get the country back on the right track. even far beyond politics and elections? if we allow people who care only about power not principal, not practicality, not evidence, not the future of the country, but only about power to make decisions that do not have the support of the majority of our country and the only way to do that is to do everything possible be to stall and stop whatever mcconnell pulls out of
his hat to try to push this forward, to have an overwhelming democratic victory from, you know, the top to the bottom of the ballot, and then, basically just prevent the republican lame duck session from doing anything in the face of an overwhelming democratic majority victory. so, you know, let's take it seriously, and let's everybody get to work to come up with the best tactics and strategies that we can deploy to make it clear to the country that it's not just, you know, women's equality, it's everything on the line. it is voting. it is corporate power. it is you go down the list. everything that we care about, on our side of the political divide is at stake in this election, and the court is now at the top of the list. >> former secretary of state, former u.s. senator, former
first lady, former presidential candidate. secretary clinton, it's an honor to have you with us on this night of nights. thank you for making time, i appreciate you being here. >> thanks, rachel, bye. >> bye. secretary clinton joining us by phone tonight as we absorb the news that supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg has died at the age of 87. i will under score what secretary clinton said there in terms of what she believes should happen in terms of trying to hold the republicans to the same standard that they applied when justice scalia died in 2016. 11 months before the end of a presidential term. they held that seat open for 400 plus days and would not allow president obama's nominee to be considered. they said it had to wait until after the election. that is how we got justice gorsitch, instead of president obama's nominee, merrick
garland. talking about the republicans having done that with the last supreme court vacancy, hillary clinton telling me that every possible procederal obstacle must be thrown in the way of the power grab of mitch mcconnell. and expressing there may be enough republicans that cannot stomach the hypocrisy, of moving forward with another trump nominee to the court after what happened in the last presidential election year. here's a way to think of the dre breadth and scope of ruth bader ginsburg's live. she was born a few days after fdr becamepresident for if furs time. she was nominated to a federal court in 1980 by president jimmy carter and nominated to the united states supreme court in 1993 by president bill clinton. she eventually became a pop
culture touch stone and phenomenon, notorious rbg. she had a very long life. she was behind many changes after graduating law school. she was rejected for a supreme court clerkship specifically because of gender. she embarked on a pioneering legal career, advocating for women's legal rights and equality, she was the first tenured professor at columbia law school. as a lawyer, she wrote her first brief for the supreme court in 1971, two years before i was born. she successfully convinced that court for the first time to strike down a state law because it discriminated based on gender. ruth bader ginsburg went on to successfully argue a string of courses before the supreme court that made it easier to sue for sex discrimination and once told npr the words of the 14th amendments equal protection clause, nor shall any state deny
to any person the equal protection of the laws. well that word, any person, covers weapon as we s women as d the court woke up to that reality in 1971. in the case that she argued there had and won. as npr wrote tonight upon learning of the passing of justice ginsburg, she said, when ginsburg began her legal crusade, women were treated by law differently from men, hundreds of states and federal laws restricted what women could do, by the time she put on robes she had worked a revolution. after the nomination of the supreme court from president clinton, we just heard from secretary of state, hillary clinton, she put a bug in her husband's ear about the prospects of justice ginsburg, she was confirmed to the supreme court in 1993.
do you know what the confirmation vote was for her? you know what the vote was in the senate? it was 96-3. we have not done that in a long time. she was the second woman ever confirmed to the court. a reliablely liberal voices on the court and a strong one. particularly in her later years she became known for her firry dissents as the court turned further and further to the right. in 2013, when the roberts court gutted the voting rights act on chief justice john roberts contention that the times had changed and the voting rights act was no longer needed. she famously wrote where, throwing out the law when it has worked and continuing to work is like throwing away your umbrella in a rain storm because you are not getting wet. npr, nina totenberg, the justice viewed her dissents as a chance
to persuade a future court. some of my favorite opinions are dissents, i will not live to see what comes of them, but i remain hopeful. she was a opera fan, and appeared in one opera production. it was a silent role. she was known to enjoy opera with the court's late conservative icon, scalia, despite being on opposite sides of the court, they were close fre friends. part of her as an inspirational feature, came from her fight. her beloved husband, marty, died at home. the day after he died, she was back on the bench. reading an important opinion that she had written for the court. she said that's what marty would have wanted. she went through three surgeries for different kinds of cancers.
doctors also recently inserted a stint in a heart artery when they discovered a blockage, even through a recurrance of cancer is, she almost never missed a day of work. it cannot be said that it's surprising that a woman who was through all of that and was the saez size of a humming bird has died at the age of 87. part of not the surprise, but the shock and disbelief among her friends and the, i think it was more than 180 clerks that she had on her time on the bench and her many admirers. with everything that she had been through, she felt invincible. she had been through so. she was doing the best she could as much as she could for as long as she could. joining us now is trevor morrison, who clerked for justice ginsburg in 2002-2003,
you are currently the dean of the law school. thank you for making time on such a sad night. >> good to see you, rachel, i'm sorry it's under these circumstances. >> absolutely. let me just ask what it was like clerking for her? i know a lot of people that clerked for a had lot of justices. what was it like being a clerk to ruth bader ginsburg. >> well, it was a tremendous honor. as you mentioned she had many, many clerks over the years and we all felt like part of an extended family. having been all honored to have the incredible experience of working for justice ginsburg. she set the highest possible standards in terms of her dedication to the law. and to getting things right in the decisions the court was making. and so, she really provided a role model for all of us, in terms of professional excellence and dedication to the rule of
law and core principals of equality and liberty and justice. she was at the same type, a tremendously warm person. she was soft spoken. not an extravert in the long running and wonderful marriage with her husband marty. he was the extravert and she was the quieter onement she cared deeply for us clerks and our families. i had a young daughter in the year that i was clerking for her had, and she became part of the extended family as well. when another daughter was born several years after i had clerked, the justice sent in the mail a little shirt that said are rbg grand clerk. she'd send those to every clerk. that kind of reflected the warmth and the sort of feeling of extended feeling that was what it meant to be a clerk to the justice. >> she had, i think, the count
is 159 law clerks overall the years that she was on the bench, both in the d.c. circuit and the u.s. supreme court. that is a large community and that attention to that community that you just described, the grand clerk onesie, it's a great story. for those of you in the community, for you personally, who had a role in crafting her opinion and doing the research and doing the close work with the justice that you do, in that unique circumstance, of being somebody's clerk, what have you made over the years about this sort of folk lore around her, her as notorious rbg, not just as a justice of the supreme court, but as an icon. i'm thinking of that as we have been showing the images, trevor, since you have been talking with us, of the people gathering at the supreme court, having heard the news of her passing. i wonder howmatches up, the personal experience of her, and the larger than life persona
that was around her? >> i clerked for her from 2002-2003, she had been for years by then a hero to millions people in the country and indeed around the world. as a law student and young lawyer, i revered her and regarded her as a hero. that is true, and in keeping with the massive impact that she had on the law at that point. i had to tell you, if you told me in 2002, that a decade or so later she'd become known as notorious rbg, i would not have believed that. it was quite something this cultural folk hero that she was in more recent years. part of the affect of that, is that she became such a resident figure to a new generation of young people. my oldest daughter is 19. and um, met justice ginsburg and knew her and justice ginsburg
cared for her and the justice was a true hero to both of my daughters that maybe would not have been quite true in the same way of this larger cultural figure having emerged. it's one that she embraced, i think she got a kick out of the idea that she was the notorious rbg, she said, that the original notorious big, and she just shared the fact that they were both originally from brooklyn. >> trevor more -- morrison, now the dean of the esteemed law school. it's a difficult night for you and all of your fellow co-clerks who served justice ginsburg. thank you for being here. >> thank you. as i mentioned we have been watching scenes of the united states supreme court building where people are convening spontaneously having heard the
news about justice ginsburg's passing. stuff like that does not happen on the in u.s. politics. that's a live shot tonight. joining us now is nina totenberg. she covered justice ginsburg over the long arc of her career on the court but was a clerk to the justice. thank you for making time. i know that you knew he would get the calls to talk on the night that justice ginsburg finally passed. i can't imagine it's easy. >> no, it's not easy. i knew it was coming, but only 54 a coup -- but only for a couple of weeks at the most. she was ferocious, if she could have lasted longer she'd have lasted longer.
she dictated this note to her granddaughter just a few days before she died. she said my wish, i am paraphrasing it. >> my wish is that i will not be replaced until a new president is installed. >> she was first and foremost delivered her life to the court. she fought very hard to not have it politicized. she disappointed progressives when she said that the idea of adding justices to make up for some republican shenanigans in terms of what progressives
deemed to be packing the court. she thought that was a very bad about idea. and that all that meant, all that would do is mean that the court would just keep flipping, depending on who at the moment was in power. and that's not the, her idea of a supreme court. so, i think she really did want to last until this election was over and the next president whether it was donald trump or joe biden was installed. i don't think there's much doubt about who her preference was. it was important to her that it not come at the last minute. and of course, there's going to be a monumental fight over this. as the republican majority leader has already said there will be a vote on the senate floor on her successor, and we don't know who that successor might be from president trump and we don't even know how this is going to play out politically. you can certainly make an argument that it will serve
republicans to energize their base, but it could serve democrats to energize theirs too. it will be a difficult vote for republicans that have hard fought campaigns at the moment. and it's going to be very interesting. >> we have on the point, we have some reporting tonight about some statements by senators in terms of whether or not they are going to be willing to entertain a trump nominee, or whether they are going to hold to the same standard that held in 2016 when the republicans would not allow for president obama's nominee to be considered, a lot of people are circulating tonight the quote from lindsey graham, he said, quote, if an opening comes in the last year of president trump's term and the primary process has started, we will wait til the next election and i will likely be the judiciary
chairman then. hold the tape, meaning hold me to this. jonathan martin from the times reporting that susan collins this past month told him that she'd not vote to seat a supreme court justice in october. i think that's too close, she said. we have also seen senator lisa markowski and senator chuck grassley, who was the chair of the judiciary committee until recently, that gets you to four republican senators if in fact they hold to the lines. i imagine that -- i guess the way i see this, is once the heat is brought to bear on them, i don't expect many of them hadto stand up to it. how do you think it will play out? >> like you, i tend to think that what we have seen from republicans they need trump as much as he needs them.
and there are, i'm -- well i'm not sure. but i'm not optimistic that what she wanted, her had fe-- her fervent wish will take place. you never know. i have been surprised before. i didn't actually think that senate mcconnell could hold the line against even having hearings for president obama's nominee for ten months. and he did. so i don't want to make wild predictions. she had hoped to retire in 2016. she had hoped that she was going to retire and have the first female president nominate her successor. but that didn't turn out -- that was not the he can did of cards she got dealt. and it has, as a result.
>> going back to the early 2000s after her colon cancer, she could teach an nfl defensive end a lot about playing hurt. broken ribs, you know, five bouts with different cancers at different times. chemo, radiation. shing shingles, you name it, she endured it without complaint and you know, you only -- only if you knew her really, really well. i remember interviewing her once and i had no idea that she was going to have lung cancer surgery that week. and i was interviewing her in new york and i looked in to her eyes and she looked so tired. i thought to myself, this is not
supposed to be -- this woman needs to go home and get rest are. i had no idea what was going on. and you know, she -- she was just -- she taught me a lot about how to live. a lot of people say she was very quiet, for example. she was very quiet. and very shy, unless she was on stage. whether she was giving you a speech or going for an interview with president clinton. i remember aides saying to me, he fell for her hook, line and sink er. she understood how to perform when she needed to perform. that was true whether she was announcing an opinion for the court the day after her husband died, or whether she was announcing a dissent in something that she felt incredibly passionately about. or whether she was giving a speech to a very, a small group
of school children. she was a performer. >> long time legal affairs correspondent for national public radio, friends of justice ginsburg, nina, it's an honor to have you here with us tonight. thank you for making time for us. >> thank you for having me. >> we will go now live to delaware where vice president joe biden is making a statement in reaction to justice ginsburg's death. >> her time and she and her ascension to the supreme court t decade since, she has been absolutely consistent and reliable and a voice for freedom and opportunity for everyone. and you know, she never failed. she was fierce, unflinching in her pursuit of the civil legal
rights of civil rights of everyone. her opinions and her dissent are doing to continue to shape the basis for law for generations. and you know, tonight and in the coming days, we should focus on the loss of the justice, and her enduring legacy. but, there's no doubt -- let me be clear, that the voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the senate to consider. this was the position of republican senate took in 2016, when there were almost ten months to go before the election. that's the position the united states senate must take today and the election is only 46 days off. i think the fastest justice ever
confirmed was 47 days. and the average is closer to 70 days. and so, we should do it with full consideration, and it's my hope and expectation. thank you all, i'm sorry we had to learn it on a plane ride, thank you very much. >> mr. biden -- >> would you appoint more justices to the court, sir? >> vice president joe biden speaking live tonight in wilmington, delaware, saying he just learned the death of ruth bader ginsburg on a plane ride back from delaware. i want to turn around and make sure i get it right. the verbatim remarks that joe biden made there at the end about voters picking the president and the president picking the supreme court nominee.
just want to make sure that i get it exactly. i think that will end up being an important touch stone about how democrats approach what now will be a central issue for the election. and for everything that happens in the country in the next 50 days. over the course of tonight, not only the sadness and the grief over the loss of justice ginsburg. you have seen the remarkable photos of people spontaneously turning up at the united states supreme court tonight to mourn her passing. we don't have that many physical touch stones that draw people out in american political life. i think of people convening, for example, at the white house, the night that president obama announced that osama bin laden was killed. not many occasions where you see that happen. to see people convening at the
supreme court in person, tells you something about the reverance for justice ginsburg. her seat account is now open. and it is a president who has to nominate somebody to fill a supreme court vacancy. what looms over this though is the decision made in february of 2016 when justice scalia, the conservative leading light of the conservative wing of the court died unexpectedly at a ranch in texas. and immediately even though there were 11 months left of the term of president obama at the time, 11 months left. it was february of 2016, the republicans announced that night that they would not consider any nominee put forward by president obama and instead, they would hold that seat open, ultimately for more than 400 days,
something that was not done since the 1860s, the civil war era. they did not allow any process whatsoever around president obama's nominee and instead, held that seat open until after the election at the election of course, president trump was elected and in january of 2017, merrick garland's nomination for the court expired with that congress, and when the congress renewed, gorsitch was nominated. now, with four months left, not 11. four months left ain the term fr president trump. he said that there will be a fight for the seat. there are a number of republican incumbent senators for whom that hypocrisy will be a choking hazard in terms of their own voters and re-election hopes and
their own reputations. lindsey graham, senator from south carolina, who subpoena and fa -- who is up and facing the hardest re-election battle. having gone along with what mcconnell said in 2016. they would wait, he would wait, he would insist they wait until after the election for any nominee to be considered. he said at the time, that he would likely be the judiciary committee chairman if it happened and in fact, he is. if he is going to eat those words now and just say, oh, forget it, i am after raw power and never had principals to begin with. i mean, maybe that's what politicians professionally do. but politicians have a harder time doing that when they are facing a well-funded very well skilled incumbent who is polling even with senator lindsey graham in south carolina. the control room just sent me,
yes, this is, i wanted to get it exactly. we heard again, remarks from vice president biden, do you have it as tape or do i just have the written verbatim of this? okay. i'm just going to, let's just re-rack it and play it then. it's the end of joe biden's remarks moments ago. his reaction to justice ginsburg's passing and also, what he said should happen, with regard to her seat. watch. >> let me be clear, that the vetters should pick thepresident and the president should pick the justice for the senate to consider. the this was the position of the republican senate took in 2016 when there were almost ten months to go before the election. that's the position the united states senate must take today. and the election is only
infrastructu 46 days off. the fastest justice ever confirmed was 37 days and the average is closer to 70 days. and so, they should do it with full considerations, and that is my hope and expectation of what will happen. thank you all and i'm sorry it's such a -- we had to learn it on a plane ride. but thank you very much. >> mr. biden how did you find out about the -- >> would you change your position on adding -- >> vice president biden the democratic nominee for president running against president trump right now, saying that the voters pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the senate to consider. saying that the republicans in the senate in 2016 took that position. with almost ten months to go until an election and that's the position the united states senate must take today. a question of whether or not the republican leader of the senate, mitch mcconnell will act
hypocritically here, and insist on the nominee being heard even though obama's nominee on could not be heard. it's settled, gleasonfully in public before it happened of course he would move to fill a vacancy on the supreme court in an election year with president trump in office. n now that justice ginsburg has passed, he said that there will be a vote on the floor. it's not at all clear that enough of his republican colleagues aagree with him to make it happen. but that seems to be the plan. i want to bring now in to the conversation, somebody who will have a key role in how it happens moving forward. that is senator amy klobishar, it's nice to have you here, i'm sorry it's under sad circumstances tonight. >> thank you, rachel and of course, we mourn the loss of justices ginsburg.
she was an icon, and you see these women and people showing up at the supreme court today. her famous work from being one of the first women to take on sex discrimination and with land mark decisions and then herself became the second woman appointed to the supreme court. where she of course continued her fight for justice. she made justice cool for so many young people in the country. and we all mourn her loss. >> the passing of justice ginsburg, feels like a moment in american women's history and much as it feels like a moment in american history had. and obviously an incredibly important political moment, because of its timing and a
vacancy of the supreme court is always a huge deal, particularly in a country that is as polarized and poised on the edge of the abyss as this one feels like it is. i spoke with secretary clinton earlier in the hour about how justice ginsburg dying tonight feels very much intertwined with her hope that nina totenberg described that she'd be able to retire in 2016. she hoped and believed that hillary clinton would win. and she wanted her first woman president to pick the successor. it comes a day after yet another woman has come forward and accused the sitting president of the united states of sexual assault. it comes at a time when the first woman of color to be on the ticket as a vice presidential nominee, kamala harris is up against president trump and vice president mike
pence. it does feel like this is kind of a feminist crucible, this moment in history. and i think it's causing a lot of, not just, not just reaction but feelings among american women tonight in terms of what it means. i don't, i want to ask you how that resonates with you. >> yes, and i would add one more thing to the list. it comes at a time where women are voting like never before. where joe biden is winning in a number of states, in states that he did not expect to be ahead in. in addition to the midwest where he is getting stronger and stronger in my state. he was just there today, incredible lead in the polls. and to me, that shows us one thing. that people are voting. they are getting out there. and this will bring them out in an unbelievable way, in justice ginsburg's honor.
and i'm not sure -- the way she had friendships with people who had very different views than her on the court. like justice scalia. she was someone that believed in the institution of the court and in this process and in fairness, and i think for had that reason alone, with should honor her what she called her fervent wish is that she will not be reare placed until a new president is installed and i thought it was interesting today, when leader schumer came out very strongly just using the quote from mitch mcconnell. that is all he said out in a tribute to justice ginsburg. and this was mitch mcconnell's words the american people should have a voice in the selection of their next supreme court justice. this is his words from back as you have noted in 2016. therefore had this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president. you already see republican senators likely is a lisa murkod
saying the sap thing. no matter what mitch mcconnell says, each senator has to look in their soul and look at the words they said back then. i, today, come to honor ruth bader ginsburg and what she stands for. what she stood for was justice and justice means allowing the american people to have a voice when she choose the next president. >> senator klobishar, on the judiciary committee, the republican chairman now is senator lindsey graham, he said on october 3rd 2018, if an opening comes up in final year of trump's term. we will wait until the next presidential election. i have a good chance of being the judiciary chair at that time. hold the tape. he is promised that if this happened in 2020, which is now. that we will wait until the next election until considering a new
supreme court nominee. do you expect that senator graham will know that we held the tape? and had will hold himself to the standard that he is articulated? >> i think this is a major watershed moment in a time where people have lost trust in their elected officials. he better be true to his word and i think all of america is watching right now. and people remember this well. when mitch mcconnell said to await for the results of an election. well, this is even closer. that was ten months, we have 46 days before this election. and i just, to me, it's going to be a moment, it's not just what mitch mcconnell said in a statement or a tweet. it's what the american people say and each one of our colleagues is going to have to make a morale reckoning with the words from the past and what they are going to do. and i hope they think very carefully before they speak.
because they all, a number of them really base their decision on the allowing the american people to have a voice, which is exactly what we want to do. >> senator klobachar, the experience with the merrick garland, i will interrupt myself to say, theses are remarkable images that we have on the screen. we have had to pull our camera position back, i believe, inorder to encokomcomencompass e crowd that has convened on the steps of the supreme court in washington. spontaneously people turning out to be there while hearing the news. it's a remarkable scene. let me ask you, about the experience of me. a -- of merrick garland's nomination being ignored, when justice scalia died in february of that year. you and your fellow democrats, particularly on the judiciary committee, do you feel that you
learned anything or you had any -- you know, spirit of the stairs regrets of things you could have done to make that, to make that happen the way that you wished it had? do you have plans for things that you can do to try to stop them filling this seat that maybe you had not considered doing four years ago? >> well, first of all, i was there when merrick garland was nominated and it was a beautiful moment. he would have been a great justice. and you know, talking about the nuances of senate procedure tonight, plenty of that will be going on. today, is the day we lost justice ginsburg and the answer here is in my republican colleagues statements from the past. the answer is that ruth bader ginsburg, is someone who stood for justice and who is friends of justice scalia, made her fervent wish, her last wish, her last wish, that the next
president be able to choose her successor, not that anyone could fill her shoes. as i look at the pictures of the people gathering on the court, rachel. i think about what she stood for. she was a solitary female justice for so long. she was, no one thought she could succeed in law school. first tenured professor, she went on to then take on those cases, argue before the supreme court when people wanted men to take her place and she ends up on the court and makes a very significant decision in the virginia military case where she got republican appointed justices including sandra day o'connor to join her in the decision that men should not be the only ones admitted to that military academy. >> senator amy klobachar, member of the senate judiciary committee, which is now the center of the political universe
and will be for the next however many days before this issue is resolved. senator klobachar, thank you for making time with us on short notice. it's an honor to have you with us. >> thank you, and thank you for honoring this woman that that today, that justice must prevail. >> thank you for putting it that way, senator. thanks for being with us. before justice ginsburg's passing this evening, and again i will bring your attention to these images we have of the steps of the supreme court tonight in washington as people gather there to pay their respects and i think to see each other at this time of the pandemic and social distancing and working from home and there not being collective things in the world where we get together and a big moment in american history, part of what happens with touchdown places like this is people like to not only pay respects but see each other and have a sort of communal