September 22, 2020

TRANSCRIPT: Senator Warren Discusses Senate Republicans' Attempt to Steal Another Supreme Court Seat

"By stealing a second seat on the United States Supreme Court, what Donald Trump and the Republicans are planning to do is to have that Court impose a will on the American people that is not who we are and not the America we want to be"

Watch here

Washington, DC - Tonight United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) talked about honoring Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's wish and ensuring there is no confirmation before the inauguration of the next president. 

Full Transcript: 

Rachel Maddow: Senator Elizabeth Warren speaking at Saturday night's candlelight vigil for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the steps of the Supreme Court. Joining us now is Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, former Democratic candidate for president. Senator thank you so much for being with us tonight. It's a real pleasure to have you here. 

Senator Warren: Thank you. It's good to be here with you. 

Maddow: So you were impassioned and you had your jaw set in those comments and you absolutely had all of the other people there with you. What did you mean by the fight is just beginning. How can you characterize for us how the fight is gonna go? 

Senator Warren: Well let's start with what's on the line. You've already started talking about this. But recognize we're talking about a Supreme Court nomination and confirmation that could touch the lives of every single person in this country. Start with health care. We know that the Affordable Care Act that expanded health care to tens of millions of Americans, that protects people who have pre-existing conditions, that keeps people 26 and younger on their parents' policies. We know that went all the way to the Supreme Court and by a decision of 5 to 4, the Supreme Court said we're hanging on to it. It's constitutional. So then the Republicans said darn we can't get rid of this thing in the courts, we're gonna take it to Congress. 

So as soon as Donald Trump was sworn in and the Republicans had control of the House, control of the Senate, and control of the White House, they said we're going to repeal the Affordable Care Act, we're going to take away protections from people with pre-existing conditions, we're going to repeal health care coverage from millions of Americans, and they lost again. That was the vote in 2016. And now they're trying again through the courts. And this November, the Affordable Care Act will be in front of the United States Supreme Court. They will have to decide if it's constitutional. And what Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are hoping is if they can get in another Justice, what was 5 to 4 to say of course the Affordable Care Act  is constitutional, they may now be able to flip to 5 to 4 the other way, denying millions of people access to health care and cutting out people who have diabetes, people who've had cancer, people who've had serious pre-existing conditions, and that just gets us started with what's at stake here. 

Maddow: Do you believe that Roe v. Wade will be overturned if a Trump nominee is put on the court. This is something that we've described and talked about, I think, worried over and fought about for a generation now since Roe has been in the precarious position that it's been in on the court. It seems to me now that the math is unequivocal that if there is a Trump nominee on the court because he said he will only nominate justices who he believes will overturn Roe, that it's basically a sure thing that the right to an abortion will disappear the first time they can get a case up there to do it. 

Senator Warren: Well, I think it might be. And that's why we need to fight. This is about women's health care. This is about women's ability to make a decision, over their own bodies. And you know, we've already heard from senators who've said they're not voting for anyone who hasn't made it clear they're willing to overturn Roe v. Wade. That's another piece of what's at stake here. And understand on healthcare, on Roe v. Wade, on the right to join a union, on environmental issues, climate change in this country, on gun safety, on every one of these issues. What the Republicans have done is they have tilted the Supreme Court. They want to tilt it further so that it doesn't reflect the values of the majority of Americans. Most Americans -- about three out of four Americans -- want to see Roe v. Wade preserved as the law of the land. Want to see people have access to health care coverage. Want to see people able to join a union and employees to be able to come together and bargain together. Want to see our dreamers protected. And yet, by carefully filtering who gets nominated to the United States Supreme Court, by stealing a second seat on the United States Supreme Court, what Donald Trump and the Republicans are planning to do is to have that Court impose a will on the American people that is not who we are and not the America we want to be. 

Maddow: What do you think is within the arsenal of Senate Democrats to try to stop this from happening? I know that Senate Minority Leader, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has said nothing is off the table if they force through this nomination, if they get it done. What options do you think that you have tactically in order to try to stop them from doing what they want to do? 

Senator Warren: Well, Chuck is right. As he said, everything should be on the table. And we will use everything we've got but understand this, think back to the Affordable Care Act fight in 2017. I still remember when Donald Trump was sworn in, I went home that night. And I said, this is it, they could repeal health care by next Friday -- they've got the House, they've got the Senate, they've got the White House, they could get rid of it all. And sure enough, man they rolled through that repeal in the House of Representatives. Do you remember that, Rachel? And then they all celebrated afterwards, high-fives, brewskies right? Because what's not to celebrate about taking away health care from tens of millions of people? And then, what happened? 

Enough people across this country made their voices heard. Enough people showed up. Mamas with little babies with complex medical needs. People in their wheelchairs who rolled up, people who said my voice will be heard in this Congress, these Senators will hear from me. Enough people did that, that we scraped together the votes and saved health care for tens of millions of people. And look where we are now, we are in the middle of a pandemic, and Republicans want to take away health care from people and they want to make COVID a preexisting condition. This isn't right. This isn't who we want to be as a people. That's why this fight is important. But you asked me, what's our biggest tool? The biggest tool is not the rules of the Senate, the biggest tool is the people in this country who make their voices heard.

Maddow: Senator Elizabeth Warren of the great state of Massachusetts. That point on which you landed is the exact place that I am in terms of thinking about this tactically as well. I think that is the key insight here in terms of what happens next here. This is not a Washington game, it is now a national game but this is a fascinating crucible to be right in the middle of. Senator thank you for helping us understand it tonight, happy to have you here.

Senator Warren: Thank you it's good to be with you.