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Sens. McCain, Schumer hope House will get on board with immigration bill; Rep. Gowdy says it won't pass
Written by John Roberts / Published July 01, 2013 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.
The following is a rush transcript of the June 30, 2013, edition of "Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace." This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
JOHN ROBERTS, GUEST HOST: I'm John Roberts, in for Chris Wallace.
Immigration reform faces an uncertain road in the House after it sails through the Senate.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: The yeas in this bill are 68. The nays are 32.
SEN. HARRY REID, D-NV.: Landmark legislation to secure our borders and help 11 million people get right with the law.
ROBERTS: We are joined by two members of the Senate Gang of Eight who helped draft the bill. John McCain and Charles Schumer, together, only on "Fox News Sunday." Then, we'll examine its prospects in the Republican-led House.
REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS.: We're not going to bring up the Senate bill. We're going to do it our way in our way, in our time, in a very methodical way because we want to make sure we get this stuff right.
ROBERTS: We'll discuss with two key congressmen, Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, and Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.
Plus, key rulings on gay marriage from the Supreme Court.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We thank the justices for letting us get married in California, but that's not enough. It's got to go nationwide. And we can't wait for that day.
ROBERTS: We'll ask our Sunday panel what's next for same-sex marriage.
All right, now on, "Fox News Sunday."
ROBERTS: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
After much emotional debate, the push to overhaul the nation's immigration laws secured a victory in the Senate last with the passage of a bill giving millions of immigrants the chance to eventually become U.S. citizens. But it has a long road to go before it becomes the law of the land. The battle now moves to the House where Republican members oppose the proposed pathway to citizenship.
Joining us are two members of the Gang of Eight responsible for drafting the Senate bill. John McCain of Arizona, he is in Jerusalem today. And Charles Schumer of New York.
Senators, good to talk with you this morning.
Let me start with you, Senator McCain. After years of trying, after years of going after this, after suffering the slings and arrows you did, you finally have a bill. Are you concerned that your colleagues in the House may derail all of the work that you've done?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: Well, I'm concerned about the task ahead of us. I believe it's a fact that the overwhelming majority of the American people support this proposal once it's explained to them. And I believe that the coalition that we have assembled of support ranging from evangelicals, the Catholic church, business labor, farm workers, growers. It's a coalition that I frankly have not seen such widespread support. And I'm hopeful we can convince our House colleagues and I intend to address him with respect.
I believe that Speaker Boehner has a tough job ahead. I admire his leadership. But we've got a lot of work to do.
ROBERTS: Senator Schumer, Speaker Boehner says that he is not going to take up the Senate bill, that the House will write its own bill. It appears the way the House is going, rather than a comprehensive immigration bill that passed to the Senate, it's in bite-sized chunks with a path to citizenship being the last of those chunks.
Now, the president said he is not going to sign an immigration bill that doesn't include a path to citizenship. So, from the outset, are you concern canned immigration reform may be dead?
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, D-N.Y.: No, not at all. In fact, I believe that by the end of this year, the House will pass the Senate bill.
I know that's not what they think now. They'll say, oh, no, that's not what's going to happen. But I think it will. Let me explain why.
First, I understand where Speaker Boehner is coming from. I have respect for the House. And he's got a whole lot of Republican members, I'm sure the majority of the caucus saying they will vote no. They fear Republican primaries from the right if they vote yes.
But I believe, over the next several months, that dynamic will change and they will start saying they can't vote for it. They are worried about the primaries, but let it get -- let it go, let get off our backs for three reasons, four reasons actually.
First, the coalition John mentioned is a broad and deep coalition of people who usually tonight side with Democrats -- the Catholic Church, the evangelicals, the business community, the growers. And now, they are going to feel it's high tech, it's really enthusiastic. They're going to feel a desire to get this done quickly.
Second, the national Republican leadership will tell John Boehner if you don't pass a bill, then we are going to be a minority party for a generation. And he's not only the House leader, he's a party leader. Third, this has the potential for being one of the greatest civil rights movements we've ever seen. I could see a million people on the mall the in August asking for the bill. And who's going to be on oh stage? Not the usual suspects but the bishops, evangelicals and business leaders.
And, finally, and very importantly as well, we're not going to let this issue go away. The strong supporters of immigration are going to be at the town hall meetings of Republican congressmen. They're going to be visiting them in their offices. They're going to be traipsing in the halls of Congress. We have seen the power of the DREAM Act kids.
You put that all together, and you add one more fact. I don't think Speaker Boehner can pass piecemeal bills. In other words, let's take the toughest one -- enforcement. No Democrat will vote for a bill without a pass to citizenship. And about 40 Republicans are saying they're not voting for any bill because they don't want a conference.
ROBERTS: All right.
SCHUMER: So, within several months Speaker Boehner will find two choices -- no bill or let a bill pass with a majority of Democratic votes and some Chamber of Commerce-type Republicans. He'll find that the better choice. We'll pass the Senate bill by the end of this year even though most House members don't think so.
ROBERTS: There was a lot there to digest, Senator Schumer.
ROBERTS: Let's take over to Senator McCain. Do you agree, Senator McCain, that the House will eventually pass the Senate bill? Could Republicans be perpetually in the minority if they don't come forward with some sort of immigration reform?
And, thirdly, Speaker Boehner said he's not going to bring it to the floor without the majority support of his caucus. He's invoking what's known as the Hastert Rule. Would you encourage him?
And let me -- see if you'll answer this question. First of all, would you encourage him to waive the Hastert Rule in this case?
MCCAIN: I respect and admire John Boehner. We have been colleagues and friends for many years. And I respect his leadership. I really don't feel it's appropriate for me to tell him exactly how to handle this.
One thing I want to emphasize. You know, there is always friction between the House and Senate. A lot of it understandable, a lot of it just egos.
But I respect the House of Representatives. I respect their views. We have a job ahead of us in convincing them.
But this -- but it's not -- we're not going to be alone here, as Chuck and I mentioned. There is a coalition out there, the likes of which I haven't seen.
Also, the Congress, sooner of later, responds to public opinion. When you ask the American people if they support this, if these people are here illegally paid back taxes, learn English, get in line behind everybody else. Plus, a tough border security provision, plus, an E-Verify, in other words, everybody who applies for a job better have the right documentation -- then I think you've got a winning combination here.
It's not going to be easy. But, again, I really hesitate to tell Speaker Boehner exactly how he should do this. But I think Republicans realize the implications of the future of the Republican Party in America if we don't get this issue behind us.
By the way, we do share a common goal of believing that the de facto amnesty is there. That we need to bring 11 million people out of the shadows.
ROBERTS: Let me switch gears.
SCHUMER: And, John, I'd say one more thing --
ROBERTS: Go ahead.
SCHUMER: -- if I might.
In three times in the last six months, Speaker Boehner has violated the so-called Hastert Rule.
SCHUMER: In the fiscal cliff, in Sandy, and in the Violence Against Women Act.
ROBERTS: And the farm bill. And the farm bill.
SCHUMER: Well, he hasn't done that yet, because they defeated it. But he might do it on the farm bill, you're right.
So, he always starts out by saying this and he has to for his caucus. Like John McCain I have huge respect for the man. I think he really tries to do the right thing under difficult circumstances.
But I think the dynamics that John mentioned and some I have elaborated on are going to force him to abandon that Hastert Rule, because he'll have nothing or he'll have the Senate bill where some of these Republicans, the lesser of two evils, is the Senate bill.
ROBERTS: Let me switch me gears if I could because there is a lot to talk about this morning and, Senator McCain, something that's going on very close to you -- the huge protest going on in Egypt today. The instability of the largest of the Arab nation countries in terms of population, right there on the border with Israel.
Are you concerned about the level of instability that there has been in that country and continues to be? It looks like it's escalating since the overthrow of Mubarak.
MCCAIN: I'm very concerned about it. I think all of us should be. It's a very serious situation.
But I'd also like to mention that it's part of what's happening across the Middle East. But my focus now and concern is really more on Syria. It is now going from a civil war to a regional conflict. Jordan is destabilized. Lebanon is destabilized, it's becoming a proxy war between the United States and Iran, and we are sitting by and watching all this happen.
We need American leadership. We need a no-fly zone. We need to understand when Assad crossed the, quote, "Line with chemical weapons," if we do nothing after the president said it was a game changer" the Iranians certainly are not going to believe we are serious about nuclear weapons.
ROBERTS: Senator Schumer, let me ask you about that. The president announced that he is going to be providing arms to Syrian rebels. The CIA is moving weapons to Jordan. It says it will, quote, "vet" rebel groups before it arms them. A question a lot of people have is how do you adequately vet a Syrian rebel group?
SCHUMER: Well, I think that's on of the reasons the president has been cautious. Syria has a broad range of groups.
SCHUMER: Some are pro-democratic. Some are just Sunnis who have been oppressed by the Alawite minority. But some are pretty bad.
Al Nusra is an affiliate of Al Qaeda and there's worry today. I have seen people talking about the fact that Qatar is giving them shoulder-held missiles that can take out airplanes. If Al Nusra got one and sent it to al Qaeda they could knock out a commercial airline.
So, there's a lot of worry. It's a very difficult situation.
ROBERTS: Senator McCain, you were in Syria recently. As a result of the trip, there were several reports that claimed you had a photograph taken with a kidnapper called Mohamed Nour. Your spokesman says if that was the case, it was regrettable.
But Senator Rand Paul picked up on that and essentially said, if you don't know who you are having your photo taken with, how do you know who you are giving weapons to?
MCCAIN: Well, I know who I met with. In fact, I met with a group of Syrians yesterday. They are brave people. They are fighting for freedom.
I know who they are. I know General Idris and his leadership. It is air power that's given Bashar Assad this tremendous advantage.
Look, 100,000 people have been killed, 8,000 of them are children. The massacre goes on. It cries out for American leadership. We need American leadership, and that's what I get in every country and every one of these people that I talk to.
And, yes, I know the difference between Al Nusra and the legitimate people we should be supporting. The best way to that is give them a safe area to operate out of in Syria. And we can do it with cruise missiles, and we do not need any boots on the ground.
ROBERTS: Time is growing short and there is another topic I want to move to, and that is the latest in the NSA leaks investigation. Edward Snowden's continued status as a kind of a guest, if you will, of Russia, in the transit lounge at Sheremetyevo Airport.
President Obama addressed this at his press conference in Senegal the other day. Let's listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I have not called President Xi personally or President Putin personally. And the reason is because, number one, I shouldn't have to. No, I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Senator McCain, the president seems to be playing down the significance of Edward Snowden. Is that the way you see it? And should he be picking up the phone?
MCCAIN: Well, I don't know whether the president should be picking up the phone or not. But I do know this is a direct slap in the face to the United States of America.
We should be, now, I hope finally realizing what Vladimir Putin is. He's an old colonel, KGB, apparatchik, and he dreams of the restoration of the Russian empire. He's funneling arms and assistance to Bashar Assad. They thumb their nose at us no matter the issue is. And we should deal realistically, not a return of the Cold War but realistically with Vladimir Putin.
And that means missile defense in Europe. That means expansion of the Magnitsky bill, and it almost means that recognizing that Vladimir Putin is -- well, if we keep pushing -- I think we pushed the reset down to about 1955. And so, we have to deal realistically with an autocratic ruler of Russia who continues to oppress people in Russia and behaves in a manner which is not in the cause of world peace and good relations between Russia and the United States.
ROBERTS: Senator Schumer you said pointed things about President Putin a week ago. Seven days have gone by, nothing has happened. What are you thinking now? And do you agree with Senator McCain that perhaps we need to up the pressure a bit?
SCHUMER: I do completely. I'm not sure it should be done publicly at this point, with Snowden still in Russian hands. But they should pay a price -- either diplomatic, economic, geopolitical, for doing what they did. They always are putting their finger in our eye.
And I said one other thing. We ought to be very clear with Ecuador. That if they take Snowden, they're going to pay a price.
We should cut off the foreign aid we have with them. It's about $10 million. That's not little to a small country
No more trade status -- preferred trade status. That will put them in a box, because Colombia and Peru now have free trade agreements with us.
And, finally, no business visas. There were 85,000 business visas between the U.S. and Ecuador. Cut them off.
I think we have to really firm. Putin, it's a far more complicated relationship. But I agree with John McCain, he ought he's going to pay a price here because he goes out of his way to stick a finger in the eye of America, whether it's Iran, Syria and now, this.
He's not -- he's got lots of vulnerabilities.
ROBERTS: Just to give some context here, Senator McCain. What Senator Schumer referred to is a phone call that Vice President Joe Biden made the other day to President Rafael Correa of Ecuador saying, please do not give Edward Snowden asylum in your country. The president of Ecuador basically said, well, we're not going to think about that right now because he's not in our territory and maybe we will, maybe we won't. Then he went on television, talked about the whole thing and aired a bunch of grievances against the United States.
You said the president shouldn't call President Putin or President Xi. Should the vice president have called Rafael Correa?
MCCAIN: Look, I'm not saying the president should or shouldn't, or the vice president should or shouldn't. I'm just saying we've got to deal with these countries in a realistic fashion. And that is that they're not democratic. They're not friends of ours. And they will do whatever is necessary to damage America's national interest.
And, by the way, we are hearing now Al Qaeda and other organizations are changing their strategy and their means of communication as a result of Mr. Snowden's revelations.
So, these things don't happen without some price to be paid. There should be a price to be paid.
And, by the way, I would like to throw in, back to immigration a second. I hope the eight of us showed the American people and our fellow members of Congress that we can work together. And maybe this will be a precursor for other things.
ROBERTS: Well, we will see what happens. We'll definitely be watching this very closely.
Senator McCain, Senator Schumer, thanks so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it.
MCCAIN: Thank you.
ROBERTS: Coming up, President Obama is urging the House to pass immigration reform before the August recess. But Republican leaders are saying, "Not so fast." We discuss options for compromise with key members of Congress, coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO: We're going to do our own bill through a regular order. And it will be legislation that reflects the will of our majority and the will of the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Speaker of the House John Boehner rejecting the notion that his chamber will feel pressure to rush through immigration reform just because the Senate passed a sweeping bill last week.
Speaker Boehner has said, whatever measure the House takes up, it must have the support of the Republican majority, which is commonly known as the Hastert Rule.
Joining us to discuss are two key members of the House of Representatives, Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina. He's the chairman of the Judiciary Committee's Immigration Subcommittee.
We are also hoping to speak with Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, member of the bipartisan group that's been on immigration reform in the House. They are having technical difficult difficulties with him, though -- a power failure just before we went on the air. We hope to have him join us as soon as it is fixed.
Meantime, let's go to South Carolina.
And, Congressman Gowdy, good to see you. Thanks for joining us.
REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C.: Good morning. Thank you.
ROBERTS: I assume that you heard Senator Schumer talking about immigration. He's fairly positive and it's a bold prediction that the House eventually will pass the Senate bill. What do you say?
GOWDY: Well, John, I was moved almost to the point of tears by Senator Schumer's concern for the future prospects of the Republican Party. But we are not going to take his advice.
The Senate bill is not going to pass in the House. It's not going to pass for myriad reasons. I'll support immigration reform. I think the current system is broken.
But our framers gave us two legislative bodies. And I assumed they did it for a reason. And the House runs every two years with the theory being that we will be closer to the will of the people.
So, under the assumption that the framers meant to give us two legislative bodies and a House of Representatives with 435 members, we're going to work our will like we have been doing for the past weeks. We have passed four separate bills out of House Judiciary and an additional bill out of Homeland Security.
So, we are making progress and we will continue to do so. I'm more interested in getting it right than doing it on Senator Schumer's schedule.
ROBERTS: Now, both Senator Schumer and Senator McCain and I'm sure you heard them both say this, that there is a lot of pressure being brought to bear on the House from a varied coalition of groups, some of whom have not traditionally sided with Democrats on much, let alone immigration. You've got the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, you've got the growers, you have the labor unions. You have law enforcement and you have many churches who are saying to Republicans across the land, it's time to pass immigration reform.
Will you be able to resist the pressure that's coming from those groups?
GOWDY: No. I don't think it's a question of resisting. I think it's a question of meeting with the groups -- and I have met with everyone of those groups multiple times. The issue is not the broad principles of the immigration reform and humanity and respect for the rule of law. Virtually everyone agrees on the broad principles. Where we get ourselves into a little bit of a difference of opinion are the details.
So everyone agrees on border security, for instance. But I cannot sell in South Carolina a border security plan where the security comes after the legalization. I can't sell a border security plan where Janet Napolitano gets to tell us the border is secure. I can't sell a border security plan where the executive can turn on and off triggers for political expedient reasons. Nor would I try to sell any of those plans.
So, you can agree in theory on border security but disagree very strongly on how it's achieved. You can agree on a path to legalization or citizenship. But whether border security is a condition precedent, which it would be in my case, is a very important distinction.
So, I welcome the input of all of these constituents, particularly the faith community. That matters greatly to me, as does law enforcement.
But, John, take the law enforcement for just a second. The House plan allows state and local law enforcement to assist if they want to, if they want to, to assist federal law enforcement enforcing our immigration laws. Well, that's a nonstarter in the Senate. The Senate is fine with law enforcement enforcing every other category of crime, from child pornography, to murder, to narcotics trafficking, the bank robbery. But heaven forbid they get involved in immigration.
So, the reason we have two bodies, the reason you go to conference, the reason you have debate is so you can take these broad principles and actually write them into legislation. That's what we are trying to do right now.
ROBERTS: When you look at the Senate bill that just passed with a majority of 68, they didn't quite get to the 70 that they wanted, because they hoped that that would put a little more pressure on the House. It's a comprehensive bill. It's kind of a soup to nuts approach. You're doing more bite-sized chunks.
The chunks that you passed so far in the judiciary, increase in visas for highly skilled workers, give law enforcement greater authority, and, of course, you just mentioned that, create a program for agriculture guest workers, expand the use of E-Verify, there's been nothing about citizenship.
And when you look at the 11 million people who are in this country, or entered the country at least, illegally, there is -- according to Senator McCain who came out with this a moment ago, a de facto amnesty in place if you do nothing.
Why do you feel the need to wait for other issues to have been addressed?
It looks like we are losing Congressman Gowdy as well, but you are back.
Why do you feel the need to address these issues first before you approach the issue of a path to citizenship or at very least, some sort of legal status?
GOWDY: John, I do agree that what we have now is de facto amnesty. I have argued that from day one. But I also agree with this. There is a diminution of trust among our fellow citizens.
And the notion that I can tell them, we're going to provide legalization but trust us on the border security, trust us on the internal security, trust us on E-Verify, that's not going to fly in South Carolina. I doubt it's going to fly in Arizona or New York.
There is a lack of trust in the institutions of government. So, what I think is important to tell fellow citizens we got the lesson from 1986. We learned our lesson. We're going to have security mechanisms in place, which is respect for the rule of law. And then, we're going to show humanity that defines us as a republic.
I'm fine with showing the humanity. But the order in which it's done is important.
The other thing that's important to keep in mind, John, is the 11 million is not a homogeneous group. All of the 11 million do not desire citizenship. So, it would be curious indeed to force citizenship on someone who does not want it.
All of the 11 million cannot pass a background check. All of the 11 million are not similarly situated. You would agree with me you should have a different level of scrutiny for a child who's been here for 10 years and was brought through no will or no action of his or her own, as opposed to a 30-year-old who's been here for three weeks. You would not want the same scrutiny or the same level of analysis for those two groups.
So, I know it's tempting to think of them as 11 million, as this all one group with the same characteristics. But the reality is, there are a number of subgroups that frankly are worthy of different levels of scrutiny and I hope the House plan will have that.
ROBERTS: I want to switch gears and it looks like we are not going to have Congressman Diaz-Balart joining us, for which we apologize to our audience and to him. An unfortunate circumstance with power failure in Florida.
Let me switch to the IRS. You want Lois Lerner back before your committee. Let's go back to May 22nd when she appeared before the committee. And let's listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOIS LERNER, IRS OFFICIAL: I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules and regulations and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: She made a statement proclaiming her innocence and promptly took the Fifth Amendment, declining to testify which is her right, excuse me. But you say, Congressman Gowdy, the way she did it, she had waived her Fifth Amendment rights and the committee voted to say the same thing at the end of last week.
You're a former prosecutor. What do you plan to do about it?
GOWDY: Well, you say that's her right. It is her right to remain silent. It is not your right to offer a lot of exculpatory information to testify and then say I'm not going to be subjected to cross-examination, because keep in mind, John, of the right to confront witnesses and cross examine witnesses is also in the Constitution. It's in Sixth Amendment, not the Fifth.
So, what are we going to do? I would hope that Lois Lerner would feel motivated at some point to share the information she has with Congress, whether that's in the form of a proper or a limited immunity agreement. I'd like have to her information, but I've got to be guaranteed her information is accurate, and truthful and complete.
I am committed to getting to the bottom of what happened with the IRS -- speaking of lack of oh trust in the institutions of government. But I'm not going to offer, I'm not going to buy a used car over the telephone. I'm not going to give immunity to Lois Lerner before I hear what she -- what she has to say and before I can corroborate or not corroborate her information.
ROBERTS: Her attorney basically waved off what the committee decided last week, saying it has no legal impact. You said that you hope that she would come before the committee. Do you have any legal way to compel her to come back and testify?
GOWDY: Well, unless your name is Jack Bauer, you cannot make people talk. We can bring her back. But you can't make someone talk. What you can do is incent them to talk. We do it all the time in the criminal justice system, with proffers limited immunity agreements.
And, you know, look, her attorney was sitting right behind her when she (AUDIO GAP) -- my advice to him, I don't know him but my advice to him is notify your malpractice carrier, first of all, because you let your client testify.
Second of all, bring your client in and do what's in her best interest, and it's in her best interest to work this out with Congress, with the Oversight Committee. That would be my advice to Lois Lerner. Right now, she doesn't look real good.
ROBERTS: There is a slight resemblance, we should point out, Congressman Gowdy, between you and Kiefer Sutherland. We'll see if you can compel her to come back in the same way. Or at least a similar fashion to that, what she would. Thanks very much for joining us, congressman. I appreciate your time this morning.
GOWDY: Thank you, John.
ROBERTS: Cheers and celebration on the Supreme Court steps after the high court's rulings in a pair of high profile same-sex marriage cases. But already new battles are brewing on the state level. Our Sunday panel is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF ZARRILLO, PROP 8 PLAINTIFF: The opportunity to right or wrong was there and, you know, when we leave this earth people will say that Paul and Jeff and Kris and Sandy and so many others like us didn't stand for being treated as second class citizens. And I hope we did a little bit to change the path towards equality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: A pair of plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case against California's ban on gay marriage tying the knot on Friday just hours after a federal appeals court lifted its stay on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But sponsors of the state ban called the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals action, quote, "Disgraceful." It's time now for our Sunday group. Kimberley Strassel of The Wall Street Journal is with us. Fox News political analyst Juan Williams, Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post and Mara Liasson of the National Public Radio. Good morning, all.
ROBERTS: Let me throw a jump on that. What do you think the upshot is for these two ruling statements together?
JENNIFER RUBIN, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think for the Republicans it's a blessing in disguise. This issue gets off the national table for them. They can claim whatever personal feelings they have about traditional marriage or nontraditional marriage, but essentially this goes back to the states because of this very odd opinion that we got from Justice Kennedy. States, at least in the near term are going to be able to decide this issue for themselves. So, Republicans can give a nod to the social conservatives and at the same time they can let the states work this out ...
ROBERTS: Which decision do you think is more significant? Prop 8 or the DOMA?
KIMBERLEY STRASSEL, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, probably, in the long term, the DOMA case. Because I mean this is the only thing we really did find out is because this is a complete mass confusion. Still, there was no clarity in this decision whatsoever. And that you had Anthony Kennedy writing the decision. And he in part said that this was because this was a federalism issue, a states' rights issue, so states should be allowed to do what they want. The federal government shouldn't intrude in this. But he also hinted that this may be an equal protection issue as well, in which case there may be a constitutional argument against any of these state laws that define marriage as only between man and a woman. We just don't know. And because the court simultaneously punted on the Prop 8 case in California, they didn't have to rule on that issue. So we just don't know.
ROBERTS: You know, I think that the Prop 8 case has got some coat tails because California is such a huge state. If tens of thousands of same-sex couples get married, that's going to have a spill over effect. But to the point on DOMA, it looks like the dissent was Justice Antonin Scalia where he writes, "By formally declaring anyone who opposes the same sex marriage an enemy of human decency, the majority arms well every challenger to a state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition." And earlier this week, Charles Krauthammer in our special report panel said, if it's discriminatory to not allow same sex couples to enjoy federal benefits, maybe it's discriminatory and violence of equal protection clause to not allow them to get married.
MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Well, there is no doubt that many conservatives see this as the first step down a slippery slope to a federal right to same-sex marriage. And maybe that is where we're going to end up in the long run. But in the short term, I agree with Jennifer that this court gave conservatives and especially conservative presidential candidates who want to run in the conservative primary electorate of the Republican Party, a comfortable place to land to say this is now up to the states. But I also think if not handled correctly, it exacerbates the problem that the Republican Party has, which is that its base is not in synch with changing public opinion on this issue.
ROBERTS: Yeah, in fact. Let's look at the polls and go to one -- If you take a look at where the sentiments were October of 2012, 42 percent favored the same sex marriage, 44 percent opposed. Now look at the numbers. 46 to 47. That's pretty much even.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, but I think that what you are seeing is a tremendous shift. This was a major wedge issue in American politics on the basis of those numbers that you just cited, John, you can see that the wedge is going away. And I think the -- all the momentum is in favor of people saying, you know, that's a personal choice. In fact, that's Kennedy's language who was saying, moral and sexual choices should be constitutionally protected. I mean he said that. So, if that's the case, then what is the basis for any state holding that there is a ban on same-sex marriage? And in fact, Justice Scalia said given what the majority wrote, we are just waiting for the next shoe to drop. So, I think, that's where it goes. Now, on -- in terms of the politics though, what you are going to see is a tremendous fight at the state level. And every state -- and you're going to see the evangelicals, you're going to see the fundamentals. People who feel that this is, you know, an abomination. They're going to make a stand here. The question is whether they become a fringe movement or whether or not they are able to generate some mainstream sympathy. I must say quickly that in terms of the black community and the black church in this country, they would get some sympathy.
ROBERTS: Let's take actually -- listen to something that was said immediately after the decision from Thomas Peters from the National Organization for Marriage about the fight that conservative groups like his are going to mount in the days ahead. Please, listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS PETERS, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE: The American people still can pass constitutional amendments as over 30 states have. And we are going on offense in states like Ohio. So, you know, it's not just -- history isn't just moving in one direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: So, it sounds like they're going to mount a big fight and that they will be well funded as well as a result of this decision.
STRASSEL: But I mean this is in part what happens, though, when the courts get issue -- I mean get involved in issues like this. How much of those polls that you show up there showing a shift in public sentiment on this has been because of the reality that states have been labeled to fight this out? People have been able to have a public debate about this in a legislative manner in their states. You know, I think this does bring a big question. If the next big gay marriage case, it comes up to the court as one in which they feel compelled to follow through on Justice Kennedy's logic and say that this -- there is a constitutional right to gay marriage. Do you make this the next abortion war where people are implacably opposed and it becomes something we fight over for decades?
RUBIN: One of the things that conservatives said that I think was not accurate is it was Roe v. Wade. But in Roe, they -- the court monopolized the field. They didn't leave states the opportunity to have this out.
So, if conservatives and if more social libertarian Americans want to battle this out of the states, that is American democracy, that is generally we work out these conflicts. Marriage has always been a traditional realm of the states. And so, I don't think it's a bad thing either from a policy standpoint, or a political standpoint to have these debates at the state level.
ROBERTS: You know, if you look at the map, 13 states currently allow same-sex marriage. There are a handful of other states that allow civil unions, but not marriage. And here is another interesting piece of nuance in the DOMA decision, it only pertained to same-sex marriage. So, could you logically make the case and say a state like New Jersey that only allows civil unions to say, wait a minute, they are only offering federal protections for people who are actually married. Therefore, it is unconstitutional for you, governor, to put me into a civil union as opposed to marriage and fight it on that basis.
RUBIN: I don't know if it's unconstitutional. But I think it's a political argument. Again, I think that helps people who are looking for a movement towards a more inclusive definition of marriage. And I don't think the biggest problem that conservatives have is -- of course, the biggest problem for them is the American people. And you ultimately cannot be at odds with the American people in issues of fairness, on issues of inclusion. And I think time isn't on their side. If you look at younger Republicans. You look at younger evangelicals, the movement is all in one direction.
ROBERTS: Juan and Mara, do you see this as opening the flood gates?
WILLIAMS: Oh, I think -- I don't -- I think it's kind of like, you know, the game is over pretty much. But it's interesting in terms of the politics whether this is going to energize that base of people who say, you know, I just can't abide by this. But do they have impact? I don't know. On a state we're going to see a lot of rhetoric and talk. But I think it's going to be more of the heat than actual substance.
LIASSON: And the Republican Party will have to manage that conflict, that internal conflict.
ROBERTS: We're going to take a break here, but we're going to come back in just a couple of minutes with the Texas-sized battle over abortion. We'll get reaction to the one-woman filibuster of a bill that would impose some of the toughest abortion restrictions in the country. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE SENATOR WENDY DAVIS, D-TEXAS: These voices have been silenced by a governor who made blind partisanship and personal political ambition the official business of our great state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Texas State Senator Wendy Davis wearing a back brace to help keep her upright during her 11-hour filibuster that derailed the bill to restrict abortion clinics and ban the procedure after the 20th week of pregnancy. Davis protest captured national attention and prompted Governor Rick Perry to call back lawmakers tomorrow for a special session to give the measure another shot. And we're back now with our panel.
So, do you think the bill passes this time?
LIASSON: Yes, absolutely.
RUBIN: Absolutely. This is Texas, this is not Massachusetts, the governor in this case is completely in tune with public opinion, and right now long -- late-term abortion is not a popular issue with the public in general. So I think she made a very dramatic show and got a lot of attention, but I think politically, she's on the wrong side of this issue.
ROBERTS: So, there was a few day pause then in passage of this bill. Ultimately, what Wendy David did the other day, does it benefit more the prochoice movement or does it benefit Wendy Davis?
WILLIAMS: Oh, I think it benefits the prochoice movement long term. I mean you think about the opposition to Planned Parenthood.
ROBERTS: Not what you said during the break.
WILLIAMS: Do you think about the opposition to Planned Parenthood during the GOP primaries and the like? I think that there are lots of people who think, you know, this has gone too far. But the question is, what just happens to Wendy Davis? I mean I don't think she's necessarily comes out politically. I mean I think Jennifer is exactly right. If you look at the polling on this. You know, abortions after 20 weeks are not popular with anybody. But the fact is that people in the prochoice movement feel that they are under siege from all these Republican legislators increasing in numbers, Republican governors who in catering to their base are trying to pass more restrictive laws on abortion in this country.
ROBERTS: But there is no question it benefits her?
LIASSON: No question.
STRASSEL: It definitely benefits her. But again, I mean to go back to what you just said, this is -- they can talk about this. But this is not something despite the fact that they have felt beleaguered, has changed public view. And Texas in this case is actually not an abnormality compared to the rest of the country. If you look at a Gallup poll from a just a couple of years ago, 71 percent of Americans don't think that abortion should be legal in the second trimester. It goes up to 86 percent in the third trimester. So, this is -- this is something that Americans actually have a great deal of unanimity on.
ROBERTS: Let me go -- just pause it for a second and play some sound from Rick Perry from the other day who really took aim at Wendy Davis in what appeared to be a very personal way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS: She was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas Senate. It's just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: It had a lot of resonance in the Texas legislature and among people who share Rick Perry's views, but Planned Parenthood came out and said (inaudible) Perry's remarks were incredibly condescending and insulting to women. This is exactly why the vast majority of Texans believe that politicians shouldn't be involved in a woman's personal health care decisions. What do you think?
LIASSON: That, and Wendy Davis herself said, yeah, I had a -- I made a choice. That's all I want for every woman. I think that this -- she's the star, she's an instant folk hero. Anybody who can stand on their feet for 13 hours wearing pink sneakers, you know, gets to be that. So, she's a star. But, in terms of the abortion debate, in the short term, she's going to lose. I also agree with Kim that when Republicans talk about certain social issues they lose. Gay marriage, immigration, contraception. But on the issue of abortion, especially late term abortions, they are on solid ground. If they can keep this to that narrow focus on that part of abortion rights, then they win. But in general, the war on women, Rick Perry seeming condescending to Wendy Davis, the atmospherics of this, I think the advantage goes to the prochoice.
ROBERTS: Let's go back to the Supreme Court, because the other big decision of the week that we definitely want to get to is voting rights. And what happens when you strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act and leave Section 5 in place? The Supreme Court said in its decision that times have changed. Juan, have they?
WILLIAMS: I don't see how they can come to that conclusion. It's very interesting to me. I mean they basically have placed a bet. If you do away with preclearance for these nine states there and some other jurisdictions in terms of -- these jurisdictions have a history of discriminatory behavior in terms of voting patterns. If you do away with it, are we risking reversing 50 years of gains in stopping discriminatory treatment of people? And we don't know. But I will say this. What we do know is right now there are, I think, 31 blocks that the Justice Department has placed on changes in those states since '06, the last time the law was extended. What we do know is that Texas, less than 24 hours after the Supreme Court decision, said we are going to put back in this voter I.D. law.
ROBERTS: And Virginia is going to do that as well.
WILLIAMS: And we know that in the last election--
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Under a different section of the Voting Rights Act.
WILLIAMS: But they have to be challenged after the fact, not in terms of preclearance. So to me, this is a big bet. And it's one that carries such tremendous weight because the Republican Party right now is overwhelmingly has the incentive to depress minority votes in this country because minority voters don't vote Republican.
STRASSEL: Fundamentally, though, this is a constitutional issue. And there certainly isn't evidence, that's the issue that the court had to put in front of it, which is right now, black, white, registration and turnout in these states is pretty much even.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or higher.
STRASSEL: And in fact, it is lower than the average in terms of the gap in most places. Right now the state that has the worst gap in terms of black/white registration and turnout is in fact Massachusetts. And so, you know, and so what actually happened too is the court said, you want to continue to do this, go ahead, rewrite it. But of course you have to make it fit current circumstances. And that's one of the reasons why we are not likely to see it, because you're going to end up writing laws about Massachusetts's voting system.
ROBERTS: And that's what the chief justice said was Congress, we are putting it back in your hands. You fix section four.
WILLIAMS: That's unlikely to ever happen. And let me just say, in response to Kim, it had a prophylactic effect. If you are going to say, oh, you know what, now in terms of these turnouts we are seeing that it's just about equal, it could be because we had a Voting Rights Act. And remember, the Supreme Court is supposed to show some deference to the Congress in this matter. In fact, they didn't say it's unconstitutional to do this. They said we don't like your formula because we think it is outdated.
RUBIN: That's not right. They said it was unconstitutional to use that formula.
ROBERTS: Let's move forward. The Supreme Court decision is done. Now something has to be done about it with section 4. What happens?
LIASSON: Nothing is going to be done about it in Congress. Absolutely nothing. The question for me politically is will there be a backlash to this, will there be a backlash to this in the states? You saw in 2012, Governor Rick Scott in Florida changed early voting hours. Huge backlash in the black community. This is a hard fought right. People died for this right, and they turned out, I would argue probably maybe even in bigger numbers than they would have if he hadn't done that. So I think Republicans move forward with strict voter I.D. laws and redistricting at their peril.
RUBIN: Well, I think it cuts two ways. In many states, voter I.D. is a winning issue for Republicans, and a winning issue with groups that you might be surprised to hear about, because they believe that there is a prophylactic, to use your term, prevention of fraud, of voter fraud. So I think it cuts both ways.
One thing is clear, however, is that the catastrophizing about this decision is incorrect. Even prospectively, Juan, you can go into court and try to get an injunction under section two, so you can prevent these things from going forward. This is not the last word on it. We're going to have a lot of legal battles down the road.
ROBERTS: Let's give Juan the last word here, because there's two head shakes.
WILLIAMS: I think what you have seen is indicative of what's to come, which is gerrymandering, purging voter rolls, limiting the time for voting, no Sunday voting, voter ID, no same day registration. What is this intended to do? Depress minority turnout. And it's not necessarily racist, but it is to the benefit of Republicans to do it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their political interest.
ROBERTS: Let's hold on that, because we have got the panel plus coming up and we will get to that. We've also got a story heading into Independence Day of a Medal of Honor winner who only wants one thing for Independence Day -- his long lost Medal of Honor back. Stay with us.
ROBERTS: Finally as we head toward Independence Day a story about one American hero who helped keep our independence possible. His name is Art Jackson. And he received a Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry in a battle for the Pacific island of Peleliu in World War II.
ROBERTS (voice-over): Storming the beaches, Jackson's Seventh Marines unit was pinned down by murderous Japanese fire. Taking the initiative, he stormed enemy bunkers, single-handedly taking out 12 of them, killing 50 enemy soldiers. According to his citations, he contributed essentially to the complete annihilation of the enemy in the southern sector of the island.
President Truman put the Medal of Honor around his neck the following year. But a few weeks later, when Admiral Chester Nimitz took Jackson to New York City on a hero's tour, he left his medal on the bed in his room at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. When he returned later that night, it was gone.
42 years later, in 1987, Jackson got a call that his medal was on display at a TV repair shop in Chester, South Carolina. The owner, Joel Shockley (ph), told me he bought it for $300 at a gun show in Charlotte. Shockley agreed to send the medal back, but what he sent back wasn't Jackson's Medal of Honor. It was a fake.
For the next 25 years, FBI agents thought Shockley had kept the real medal for himself while giving Jackson a facsimile, though they could never prove it. But after we started looking into it, new evidence came to light that suggests Shockley may have never possessed the real medal, and that what he bought at the gun show was a fake. Which means Art Jackson's Medal of Honor is still out there somewhere in a display case, a drawer, or tucked away in someone's safe. Inscribed with his name, President Truman's and Peleliu, September 18, 1944.
The statute of limitations on theft or selling or buying a Medal of Honor -- that's illegal, too -- has long since run out. Jackson has replacement medals, but the FBI would like to return to him the genuine article, the one he received from the hands of a president 67 years ago.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society has agreed to receive the medal, anonymously if necessary, and get it back to Art. Their address, 40 Patriots Point Road, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, 29464.
ROBERTS: Jackson is now 88 years old, one of just ten surviving World War II recipients of the Medal of Honor. A man whose courage and determination to save his brothers in arms helped preserve the independence of this great nation. He's too modest to ask for his medal back himself, but he sure would appreciate its return. Heroes like Art Jackson deserve nothing less.
And that's it for today. Have a great week. A happy Fourth of July. And we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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