tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC February 14, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PST
give it a pop. starting right now on "this week" with george stephanopoulos. battle for the bench. justice antonin scalia, conservative legend, dies at 79. the fight to fill his seat already under way. >> i plan to nominate a successor. >> it's up to mitch mcconnell and everybody else to stop it. it's called delay, delay, delay. >> as both sides dig in, will the presidential election become a referendum on the court? plus, trump targeted in the nastiest debate yet. the billionaire businessman under fire. >> i am sick and tired of him going after my family. >> and, firing back. >> you're a principal. >> you're the single biggest liar. >> this morning, trump, cruz, rubio, kasich, all here live.
from abc news, it's "this week." here now, chief anchor george stephanopoulos. >> the news that supreme court justice antonin scalia has died swept across the country saturday afternoon. a towering figure. the court's longest serving justice. his powerful pen made him a pillar of the conservative movement. inspired a generation of legal thought. his death leaves a divided court for a divided country. sets up an epic battle for a successor. and strikes right at the heart of this already chaotic presidential campaign. we'll hear from the candidates this morning, break down what his death means for the court and the country. we begin with pierre thomas. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, george. flags here at the supreme court and across the nation at half staff as the court mourns the loss of justice scalia. a giant here in washington. his death has enormous legal and political ramifications. justice scalia apparently died in his sleep at a quat hunting
trip at a west texas resort. his body was discovered after he failed to appear for a breakfast gathering. u.s. marshals came to the scene. law enforcement officials say there appears to be no foul play. the longest serving justice on the court, he was appointed by ronald reagan in 1986. an astute legal mind, he became a champion of conservative causes. republican -- respected even by adversaries. president obama called scalia's son to offer condolences and interrupted a trip to california to address the nation. >> he influenced a generation of judges, lawyers, and students. and profoundly shaped the legal landscape. >> reporter: his body has arrived in el paso. no word this morning on memorial services. tributes will likely come. as a colorful, larger-than-life figure is gone. all of official washington stunned. george? >> pierre thomas at the court. thank you. we have the battle now over who comes next. president obama promised to
nominate a successor. republicans vowed to block his choice. so much at stake. jon karl joins us from the white house with more on that side of the story. good morning, jon. >> reporter: good morning, george. the battle lines on this were drawn before the supreme court officially confirmed that scalia had died, setting up a titanic fight here in washington and on the campaign trail. news of justice scalia's death hit washington like a thunderbolt. in an unprecedented move, mitch mcconnell immediately released a statement saying this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president. when president obama came before the cameras to mark scalia's passing, he made it clear he would not be taking mcconnell's advice. >> i plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time. >> reporter: at the debate in south carolina last night, republican candidates hoping to replace obama called on congress to block the president. >> i think it's up to mitch mcconnell and everybody else to stop it. it's called delay, delay, delay. >> we're not going to give up
the u.s. supreme court for a generation by allowing barack obama to make one more liberal appointee. >> someone on this stage will get to choose the balance of the supreme court. >> we ought to let the next president of the united states decide who is going to run that supreme court with a vote by the people of the united states of america. >> reporter: none of that will deter president obama. from moving forward in nominating a replacement. the short list of people includes circuit court judges sri srinivasan and jane kelly. he's somebody that republicans like. he was a clerk for justice sandra day o'connor. he served in the administration of george w. bush. he was confirmed 97-0 for his current post. that is a far cry from confirming him to replace scalia. >> unlikely to make much difference in a future vote. jon, this sets up the prospect of a 4-4 lineup on the supreme court for maybe well over a year. >> reporter: that could mean a lot of tying votes on the
supreme court. nearly 30% of the decisions in the most recent term were 5-4. in about a third of those, scalia was the fifth justice in the majority. you could have a situation where you have many tie votes. in that case, the lower court's decision simply stands. >> huge impact. thank you, jon karl. now to the gop debate last night. in south carolina. it started with a moment of silence for justice scalia. quickly became the nastiest of the campaign. mary bruce was there. >> reporter: there are fireworks and then there's this. >> you're the single biggest liar. you're probably worse than jeb bush. >> that is absolutely false. >> he's lying about all sorts of things. now he makes things up. >> we don't even know who they are. >> this is just nuts. >> reporter: with just one week until the south carolina primary -- >> god bless the great state of south carolina. >> reporter: -- the republican candidates ripped each other to shreds. the make-or-break state living up to its reputation. for rough and tumble politics. donald trump took on jeb bush. >> jeb is so wrong.
[ crowd booing ] you know who that is? that's jeb's special interests and lobbyists talking. >> reporter: bush punched back, seeming to get under trump's skin. >> this is the standard operating procedure to disparage me. you want to talk about weakness, it's weak to disparage women. it's weak to disparage hispanics. i'm sick and tired of him going after my family. while donald trump was building a reality tv show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe. i'll proud of what he did. >> the world trade center came down during your brother's reign. remember that. [ crowd booing ] they lied. they said there were weapons of mass destruction. there were none. >> reporter: ted cruz and marco rubio sparred over immigration in english and spanish. >> marco went on univision in spanish and said he would not
rescind president obama's illegal executive amnesty. >> first of all, i don't know how he knows what i said on univision because he doesn't speak spanish. [ speaking spanish ] >> reporter: and george, the candidates are pulling out all the stops here. tomorrow, former president george w. bush making the first apeernts here on the campaign trail for his brother. after last night, jeb bush joked that donald trump is no longer invited. after the debate, they didn't even shake hands. george? >> okay, mary bruce, thank you. let's get to the candidates. starting with senator ted cruz. thank you for joining us this morning. let's begin with that news about justice scalia. you said that president obama should wait to name a successor. ronald reagan nominated antony kennedy with 13 months left in his term. was confirmed in february 1988. president obama has more than ten months left in his term. why isn't it his right to nominate the justice and the senate's responsibility to give that nominee an up or down vote?
>> the senate has not confirmed a nominee named in a final year in an election year in 80 years. this is a lame duck president. the only reason anthony kennedy was named that late was because democrats in the senate rejected two other nominees. robert bork, and doug ginsburg. it was the democrats who had dragged it out many months to make it that way. right now, the court is exquisitely balanced. justice scalia, someone i've known for over 20 years. who was an extraordinary man. principled jurist. faithful to the constitution. his impact to the court was phenomenal. as ronald reagan was to the presidency, so justice scalia was to the court. this is a 5-4 court. this next election needs to be a referendum on the court. the people need to decide. i'm glad the senate is agreeing with what i called for. we should not allow a lame duck president to capture the supreme court in the waning months of his presidency.
>> does that mean you're going to filibuster anyone, anyone president obama nominates? >> absolutely. this should be a decision for the people, george. we have an election. democrats, i cannot wait. to stand on that stage with hillary clinton or with bernie sanders and take the case to the people. what vision of the supreme court do you want? let the election decide. if the democrats want to replace this nominee, they need to win the election. i don't think the american people want a court that will strip our religious liberties. i don't think the american people want a court that will mandate unlimited abortion on demand with taxpayer funding. no parental notificationotifica. i don't think the american people want a court that will write the second amendment out of the constitution. all of those are 5-4 issues hanging in the balance. >> but the people elected president obama, didn't they? >> they did. but -- but -- that -- that was
three years ago. and elections have consequences. the people gave us a republican senate this last election because they were fed up with barack obama's lawlessness. but justice scalia's passing has a profound impact on this primary. it underscores the stakes for the people in south carolina. as they're looking at the individuals on that stage, they're asking, who can i trust? who do i know will defend the constitution and defend the bill of rights? the pattern we have seen, you're a veteran of these battles for many years. democrats understand the stakes. they fight tooth and nail for left wing judicial activists. far too many republicans don't care about the court. don't invest political capital in it. it's why so many republican nominees have turned out to be disasters. let me say something to the veterans in the state of south carolina. to the veterans in south carolina, your second amendment rights are hanging in the balance. justice scalia's one of his biggest opinions was the heller
decision. it was 5-4. upholding the right to keep and bear arms. if a liberal justice goes to the court, we're one vote away from the second amendment being written out. if donald trump becomes the president, the second amendment will be written out of the constitution. because it is abundantly clear that donald trump is not a conservative. he'll not invest the capital to confirm a conservative. >> he says he will. >> the second amendment will go away. >> he says you're wrong. he says he will. he says your judgment should be questioned because you supported john roberts. >> listen, number one, i did not appoint john roberts. george w. bush did. once the president made the nomination, i supported it. that was a mistake. i would have appointed mike ludig, my former boss, scalia's very first law clerk. more importantly, you have to look at donald trump's history. this is a man who, for four decades, has supported liberal democrats.
jimmy carter over ronald reagan. donald trump gave money to chuck schumer, harry reid, hillary clinton. donald trump supported john kerry over george w. bush. let me tell you, george. anyone that writes checks to chuck schumer and harry reid and jimmy carter and hillary clinton does not care about conservative justices on the court. donald trump himself -- you know, the one person he's suggested that would make a good justice is his sister, who is a court of appealed judge appointed by bill clinton. she's a hard-core pro abortion liberal judge. he said she would make a terrific justice. so the people of south carolina need to know. >> he's said there would be a conflict of interest and would not appoint her. >> but it gives you an example of the type of people he would be looking to. the type of people he would be looking to. donald trump is not a conservative. for his entire life, he's been self-described very, very pro choice. he's supported partial-birth abortion. yesterday, he defended planned
parenthood and federal taxpayer funding for planned parenthood on the debate stage. have you seen a republican on a republican debate stage defending taking federal tax payer money and giving it to planned parenthood? he thinks they do terrific things. i don't think so. i don't think conservatives in south carolina think so either. >> i have never seen you unload on donald trump like you have in the last couple of minutes. are you concerned that if he wins south carolina he can't be stopped? >> what i'm concerned about, george, is our country is in balance. i've devoted my entire life to fighting to defend the constitution and the bill of rights. the heller decision, i represented 31 states. representing heller in defending the second amendment. we talked about abortion restrictions. i represented a coalition of states defending the ban of partial-birth abortion. we won that case, 5-4. i don't want to see our liberties taken away. my daughters, caroline and katherine are 7 and 5. i don't want to have to look at my daughters and say, the free comes to that america has had
for two centuries, you don't get because we didn't step up and put back. justice scalia's passing changes the entire contours of the race. the time for the circus and reality show is over. this is a serious choice. and we're talking about losing our basic liberties if we get this wrong. and it's why i have so much faith in the people of south carolina that -- that they value liberty, the constitution. one final point, we're also choosing a commander in chief. this is a dangerous world. it doesn't make sense to appoint someone, to elect someone as commander in chief who doesn't understand the nature of our enemies. last night, donald trump defended his calling for george w. bush to be impeached. that is not consistent with the constitution. and those are the views of the fever swamps of the left. that's where donald comes from. he's supporting john kerry and saying let's impeach george w. bush.
that is not a commander in chief fit to keep this country safe. >> senator cruz, you put a lot on the table there. thank you for joining us this morning. >> thank you for having me. >> let's take that right to donald trump. he joins us now by phone. mr. trump, you just heard senator cruz right there. he says you're part of the fevered swamps of the left. >> well, that's absolutely false. and this country's made a lot of mistakes. the war in iraq was one of them. a guy like cruz wouldn't understand what a mistake is. he stands on the senate floor, he has no support from one senator. you look at his colleagues. he has absolutely no endorsements. he has no support. he's a lone wolf. he'll get nothing done. he's not a leader. never employed anybody. never created a job. this is the wrong guy. i will tell you. and he's nasty guy. no matter how you figure it. he's nasty guy. so -- what he did to ben carson was disgraceful in iowa. when he made the fraudulent voter violation manuscript.
where he sent it out to voters was a fraud. he holds up the bible, he might hold up the bible. but this is not a man, who, in my opinion, should be president. i think he's done a great disservice to himself and to the republican party. >> on that last point he raised, you did say back in october 2008 that impeaching president bush would be a wonderful thing. do you still believe that? >> i didn't endorse anything. i think he did a terrible thing when he went into iraq. we can all be nice and be politically correct and say how wonderful. and jeb bush, his brother, it took him five days before he understood how to answer the question. his pollsters gave him an answer five days late. he was mumbling back and forth. you remember that fiasco. he was gone by the time he started. when he announced, he was practically gone. he couldn't answer whether iraq was a good thing or bad thing. ultimately, he determined that the iraq war was a bad thing.
his brother got us into that war. there were no weapons of mass destruction. there were no anything. we got into war. we destabilized the entire middle east. obama got us out of the war in the wrong way. because the way he did it, by announcing a specific date and not leaving people in was frankly disgusting and very, very foolish. i'll tell you, you go back to 2003, 2004, i'm the only one who said don't go into iraq. you'll destabilize the middle east. i was against the war even though i'm the most militaristic person there is. i said, don't do this war. if you do this war, you're going to destabilize the entire middle east. that's what happened. that's why we have the migration and all of the other problems we have right now in the middle east. >> in 2008, you said impeachment would be a wonderful thing. on tape. to wolf blitzer. listen. >> it seemed like she was going to really look to impeach bush, and get him out of office,
which, personally, i think would have been a wonderful thing. >> to impeach him? >> absolutely. for the war. for the war. >> because of the conduct of the war? >> well, he lied. he got us into the war with lies. >> what evidence do you have that president bush knowingly lied? i'll ask the question again. do you still believe that impeachment would be a wonderful thing? >> i don't even think about it. it's past time. he was -- he made a horrible mistake. we all make mistakes. his was a beauty. his was about as big a mistake as you can think of. i see the soldiers that died. the wounded warriors all over who i love, who i work with. and i'll tell you what, it was a horrible mistake. we spent $2 trillion on the war and we have nothing. you know what's happening now? iran is taking over iraq where the second largest oil reserves in the world -- when we got out, i said on your show and many others. i said keep the oil. don't leave. keep the oil. guess what? isis has the oil. iran will have the oil. the oil and the value and the
tremendous wealth fueled isis. then i said recently. bomb the oil. not recently. over the last three years. bomb the oil. don't let them have the oil. nobody wants to listen. we have politicians, all talk, no action. and a guy like ted cruz would be an absolute disaster. and he's not a leader. >> let's turn to the supreme court. you heard senator cruz say you can't be trusted to make a supreme court pick. he cited your praise of your sister saying she would be a phenomenal supreme court justice. your response? >> well, look. just so you understand. i said it jokingly. my sister is a brilliant person. known as a brilliant person. obviously, a conflict. i said, oh, how about my sister, kiddingly. my sister, also -- she also happens to have a little bit different views than me. i said that in a very joking manner. it was all lots of fun and everything else. i would say total conflict of interest as far as my sister. somebody like diane sykes from wisconsin would be good.
there are some great people out there. my sister would not be the right person. it's a conflict of interest. >> how will you convince people that your appointees would be conservative? >> let me tell you about appointees. justice john roberts gave us obamacare twice. he could have foiled it twice. he had two votes, went up shockingly, voted in favor of obamacare. he got there because ted cruz pushed him like wild. and by the way, jeb bush pushed him through the brother. they were close. and jeb bush and cruz pushed justice john roberts and now we have justice john roberts. what happened is, he -- twice, could have ended obamacare and he didn't do it. so cruz shouldn't be talking. because that was among the worst appointments i have ever seen. we have obamacare because of jeb bush, ted cruz, george bush.
>> let me ask you a final question. the same question i asked ted cruz. they really seemed to be piling on you last night. you heard the boos from the crowd as well. you think this is all happening because the other republicans have figured out if you win south carolina you may not be stopped? >> the reason it happens is because i'm self-funding. putting up my own money. i built a tremendous business. i don't need anybody's money. i'm going to do what is right for the people of the country. in that room were many people that i know very well. they're all lobbyists and special interests. they gave a lot of money to jeb bush. this guy's wasted $140 million. running failed campaign. he spent $43 million in new hampshire and came in fourth or fifth. i spent $3 million and came in first by a lot. this is the kind of guy you want as a president? between him and cruz, i'll tell you what, the republicans are in trouble. and they will never beat hillary clinton. i'm the only one that will beat hillary clinton. believe me. they'll never beat hillary clinton. >> mr. trump, thank you for your time this morning. >> okay. thank you very much. and we have much more ahead.
senator marco rubio and john kasich will join us. "the roundtable" as well. and a look back at the legacy of justice scalia. antonin scalia. ♪ during its first year, a humpback calf and its mother are almost inseparable. she lifts her calf to its first breath of air, then protects it on the long journey to their feeding grounds. one of the most important things you can do is help the next generation. at pacific life, we offer financial solutions to accomplish just that. ask a financial advisor about pacific life. the power to help you succeed.
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the democrats? >> sure. i said that before. i always try to avoid that sort of engagement. it got me into trouble a week ago. i had a bad moment because i chose not to go after governor christie. it's kind of a catch 22. in the end, i'm not running against any of these other republicans. i'm running because i want to be president of the united states. if you're attacked, it's important to respond. so if i'm attacked at a debate, i'm going to respond. last night, you saw a situation with ted cruz. ted is saying things that are not true habitually. in the last week, he's not told the truth about my position on planned parenthood. marriage. he doesn't tell the truth about his previous stance on immigration. these things have to be clarified. they need the be addressed. >> he said earlier this morning he would filibuster any choice president obama made. are you taking the same position? >> yeah, but he won't have to
because mitch mcconnell has already made it very clear. we're not going to move forward until there's an election. it think it i think it's the right decision. the court can function with eight justices. within the last few months of the president's term, we should not be appointing justices. the president can nominate whoever he wants. the senate shouldn't move forward on it until after the election. we'll have an election in november. one of the key -- i'm sorry. >> so if you're elected president, will you promise not to make an appointment in your final year? >> i'm not saying the president can't do it. i'm saying we're not moving forward on it in the senate. >> he shouldn't? >> he shouldn't. he has the legal right to do it. and as president, i would recognize that precedent. and the precedent that's been set over the last 80 years, in the last year of a president's term, there should not be an appointee put in place. this will be an issue. the voters will choose a new
president and that new president, who i believer will be me, should then fill that vacancy for a lifetime appointment to the supreme court. >> donald trump says he doesn't think about impeachment of george w. bush anymore. he's not backing off the comments he made last night about president bush lying about weapons of mass destruction in iraq. given those statements, is donald trump still a nominee you could support if republicans choose him for the nomination? >> well, i would have hoped last night donald would have repudiated those comments last night. his unwillingness to walk away is disturbing. he's not going to be the nominee. i'm going to be the nominee. i don't think george w. bush lied. i think george w. bush acted based on the information provided to him, which, by the way, was also shown to congressional leaders like nancy pelosi.
it turned out not to be accurate information. that's unfortunate. that being the case, he didn't lie. a lie is when you know what's true and you say something different. >> i know you hope to defeat donald trump. my question is, will you support him if he's the nominee? >> i'm going to support the republican nominee. i know the republican nominee is going to be someone who holds views like mine. i don't share all the views that donald trump has. i think ultimately, he won't be the nominee. but i'll support the republican nominee, because no matter who it is on the stage, will still be a better choice than bernie sanders or hillary clinton. >> senator marco rubio, thank you for joining us this morning. >> thanks, george. governor john kasich joins us now. thank you for joining us. quite a night last night. it doesn't sound like from the sound of the debate that anybody will take your suggestion to bring down the negative ads. >> you know what, george. it was like a demolition derby. the good news is my car is still going around the circuit. i tell you what i found, george. i had a rally at a barbecue joint.
about 500 people there. it was stunning. people were just -- coming up, taking pictures, grabbing on to me, wanting me to sign things. they said, please stay positive. please stay positive. so i kind of get my fuel from ideas. i don't get my fuel from the negative side. i don't disagree with rubio. if you're going to be attacked, you have to defend yourself. you know. but i want to climb out of that as quickly as i can and tell people what i'm for, rather than spend my time prolonging a back and forth in a debate. by the way i think the debates are ridiculous. this is not a way to pick a president. if you really want to pick a president, come to a town hall. watch an interaction between a candidate and the public for 30 minutes or 40 minutes. this whole business of who has the best sound bite, who had the most clever thing they said. i mean, it's just silly, george. i don't think harry truman could become president through this process. but it's what we got and we'll
deal with it. >> let's talk about who you're for for the supreme court. what kind of justice would you appoint? and do you agree with senator cruz and donald trump on the pretty severe criticism of the chief justice, john roberts. >> no, i'm not here to criticize john roberts. look, i've picked well over 100 judges to the court in ohio. i have even picked a -- ohio supreme court justice. she's turned out to be a great justice. i would look for a conservative. somebody who doesn't make law. but somebody who will interpret the law. and we pick somebody who is sort of above reproach. what is their record? their history. that's how i've done it in my state. so, you know this is not an unfamiliar process to me. so, obviously, it would be somebody who is a constitutionalist and not interested in making law. you know what i said about the president. hey, look. he's going to send somebody. the senate will do nothing. my sense is, you're going to have a presidential election here. people will in a very unusual
way, indirectly sort of pick the next judge of -- justice of the supreme court. it's pretty interesting. >> it is pretty interesting. this sounds like a new rule now. a rule that a president can't pick a supreme court justice in his or her final year? >> well, george, you know how polarized everything is. we have to be real about things. i don't want to see more fighting and recrimination which is what we're going to see. let's face up to this. we are very divided between president obama and the congress. and it's -- you know, and look. when you have that kind of division, it's really hard to get things done. if i were president of the united states, you know, and i could keep the congress together, of course i would send somebody. it would probably be a different situation. right now, just looking at it. it's one of the reasons i'm running for president. you know, they're republicans and democrats in most cases before they're americans.
but the divisions are real. so let's just wait for an election, move beyond it, then whoever we pick as a justice and gets confirmed will have broad consensus across the country and can start the healing process. >> divisions are real inside your party by looking at the stage last night. this nomination will take a long time, won't it? >> i think it will take a long time. my daughter, emma, said to my wife, after we did so well in new hampshire, well, i'm really happy about daddy doing so well. but when's he coming home? and, i'm actually going home for valentine's day. but it's going to take a long time. i'm headed to michigan tomorrow. i -- i know we're going to be back here in south carolina. we're, you know, preparing all across the country. i think it will take a long time, george. and it's going to be interesting. i hope we can raise it, raise the bar and have a little higher brow conversation about what we want to do. >> governor kasich, thank you for your time this morning. >> thank you, george.
up next, we'll hear from the democrats, hillary clinton, bernie sanders is going to join us as well. senator chuck schumer. the number two democrat in the senate. a member of the judiciary committee. and the political fallout with our powerhouse "roundtable." yourbut the omega-3s in fish oil differ from megared krill oil. unlike fish oil, megared is easily absorbed by your body. megared. the difference is easy to absorb.
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bernie sanders is up next. plus our powerhouse "roundtable." we'll hear from some of the people who knew justice scalia so well on his life and legacy. people who knew justice scalia so well on his life and legacy. handle during winter. 90 stressful days juggling hectic schedules. over 40 meals of heavy comfort foods like baked mac & cheese. no wonder after all that our digestive systems can act up. so try the activia two week challenge! enjoying activia twice a day for two weeks may help reduce the frequency of bloating, gas, discomfort or rumbling.
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united states until january 20, 2017. that is a fact, my friends. whether the republicans like it or not. >> hillary clinton weighing in on the battle to replace justice scalia. this issue rising to the top of the campaign agenda. and just after the news broke yesterday, my "this week" colleague, martha raddatz sat down with bernie sanders and started off by asking him about the republican plan to block nominees. >> i don't think mitch mcconnell has it right on this one. the constitution is clear. it's the job of the president of the united states to appoint, nominate members to the supreme court and the senate confirms. president obama, in my view, should make that nomination. i hope he does it as soon as possible. and i hope that the senate confirms and begins
deliberations as soon as possible. >> do you imagine that will happen? >> i surely hope so. i just don't think it looks good that for very overtly political reasons that the republicans would deny this president the right to exercise his constitutional responsibility, which is to appoint members to the supreme court. i don't think the public would look kindly on republican actions to try to thwart what he's supposed to be able to do. >> you're talked about supreme court nominees a little bit on the campaign trail. what would you look for in a nominee? >> what i have talked about is one litmus test. i'm not a great fan of litmus tests. but i think the campaign finance system today is so corrupt as a result of the disastrous citizens united supreme court decision of six years ago that i would never nominate anybody to the supreme court who is not prepared to overturn that disastrous decision, which is allowing billionaires to buy elections and which is undermining american democracy.
>> thank you to martha and senator sanders. let's get more on this now from the number two democrat in the senate, chuck schumer of new york. a member of the judiciary committee. let's look at the math. senator cruz says he'll filibuster. mitch mcconnell says it's not going to happen. you only have 46 votes in the senate. so there's not going to be a nominee here. >> well, the job first and foremost is for the president to nominate and for the senate to hold hearings and go through the process. you know, the constitution, ted cruz holds the constitution when he walks through the halls of congress. let him show me the clause that says the president is only president for three years. does this mean we don't hold hearings? the president shouldn't nominate cabinet ministers? it certainly might mean that the republicans should not repeal obamacare in the fourth year. we go through the process. and see what happens. >> you know it won't happen.
>> i'm not sure that's true. the kind of obstructionism mitch mcconnell is talking about. he's hearkening back to his old days. he said recently, i want regular order. but in 2010, right after the election, right during the election, he said, my number one job is to defeat barack obama, without even knowing what the president is going to propose. he says no, we're not having hearings. to leave the supreme court vacant for 300 days at a divided time. this kind of obstructionism is not going to last. and you know, we democrats didn't do this when, we voted 97-0 for justice kennedy in the last year of president reagan's term. >> after voting down justice bork and justice -- >> yes, but we had nominations. we had hearings. many of the main stream republicans, when the president nominates a main stream nominee will not want to follow mitch mcconnell over the cliff.
>> you think the president should do that. send a powerful message about the direction he wants to send the court in? >> i don't think the american people like the obstruction. that won't fly. a lot of the mainstream republicans may say, i may not follow this. second, i think the president, past his prologue, will nominate someone who is mainstream. >> is that a suggestion? >> no suggestion. his nominees in the past have gotten republican votes. >> okay, senator schumer. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. we'll be right back with "the roundtable."
and we have so much to talk about this morning. let's bring in now matt dowd, our political analyst. along with cokie roberts and bill kristol, editor of "the weekly standard." matt, let's start with you. in a campaign full of surprises, this may be one of the biggest surprises yet? >> absolutely. we have talked for almost 24 hours. it throws a huge wrench into the entire system. not just washington, d.c., where they'll have to decide what to do. but the entire presidential campaign. i actually think the republicans have made a mistake in the reaction to the -- the initial reaction to it. i think a better tack would have been, listen, the president has a constitutional duty to nominate somebody to the supreme
court. and the u.s. senate has a duty to decide if they approve that person. the senate may not approve that person. day probably won't. but they shouldn't actually say the president shouldn't nominate. i think the tack should be, the president has a duty. he should nominate. the republicans have a duty to decide what they want to do. >> does matt have a point? >> not really. i mean, first of all, it's such terrible news about nino scalia. such a giant of the supreme court. a conservative hero. i knew him reasonably well. a wonderful man. no. the democrats destroyed bob bork's chances in 1987. when president bush nominated miguel estrada for the d.c. circuit court, there was a filibuster. they knew he might be in line to be supreme court nominee. he would be the first hispanic put on the court by george bush. honestly, turnabout is fair play.
maybe mitch mcconnell should have been more coy. the president is entitled to nominate whoever he wants. the republicans need to explain why we do not want the supreme court going in the direction of president obama wants it going in. >> the senate debate will be a bit of kabuki theater right now. hard to imagine how the president, not impossible, but hard to imagine he'll get someone through. meantime, this makes the supreme court, right at the center of the presidential campaign, it could be one of the first times ever. >> absolutely. it really raises the stakes in the presidential campaign, george. it focuses the mind. people realize, wait, we're voting for someone who could name a justice that will be there for decades. keep in mind, gerry ford was the president of the united states for about 2 1/2 years. john paul stevens, his nominee, was on the supreme court for decades afterwards. a antonin scalia, a reagan
appointee. you have a very important message sent to the voters. whoever you vote for will have an effect for many years to come. and i think one of the effects of that will be that the question of electability becomes much more important in the voters' minds. that has been hillary clinton's strong point in her debates. in her elections so far. >> let me bring that to matthew dowd. cokie suggesting this could help hillary clinton on the democratic side. do you agree? and what about on the republicans' side? does this fall to any candidate's benefit? >> i think when the supreme court nominations, which i agree, will be part of the conversation, it really is a conversation that goes on with the very left and very right. most of middle america will look at it and not get the whole nuance of who is more electable and who is not. what's happening. it's a very left and very right argument. i have to say, on the
hillary clinton makes that, right now, bernie sanders is more electable than hillary clinton. he has a higher favorability rating. he won the new hampshire primary by 22 points. if hillary clinton continues to pursue the electability argument on her side, it's problematic to her against bernie sanders. i think it will affect the republican side on this. the only time in the debate last night, where there seemed to be agreement, was lauding justice scalia in the course of this and paying homage to him and saying we want to put a conservative on the court. that was the only consistency. across the stage last night. after that, it devolved into something akin to -- >> a food fight. >> ted cruz said this is the time for the circus is over right now. does it make the debate on the republican side somewhat more serious? help any particular candidate? >> yes, look two things a president does that he does uniquely. he nominates judges and is commander in chief. health care, education policy, tax policy, congress plays a huge role.
is presidential debate on the republican side, the choice will now focus much more on who will put good judges on the supreme court. who has the knowledge. the temperament. the background. where voters can be confident that they'll get good conservative constitutional judges. and the commander in chief issue, which donald trump raised squarely last night by saying that george bush knowingly lied us into the war in iraq. the republican primary. it's one thing to say that the war was a mistake. knowingly lied us into war in iraq. are republican primary voters going to accept this. i believe donald trump's candidacy -- i said this before and i've been wrong. i believer last night could be a moment where finally, republican voters say enough of -- enough of being engaged. trump's interesting. he's saying things i like. he's sticking it to the politicians. hopefully, people will focus on can and should he be president of the united states? and i think the republican primary voters will say no. >> cokie, those predictions have
imperiled people before. >> what you're seeing here in south carolina is an awful lot of ads against him. that is something that has not been as prevalent before. whether that makes a difference, just next saturday in the primary, we'll see. last night's debate was remarkable in its childishness really. it was basically everybody saying, liar, liar, pants on fire. i'm not sure after the entertainment value of that that voters feel tremendously comfortable seeing those candidates go after each other. >> meantime, matthew dowd, we're going to see president george w. bush on the campaign trail tomorrow really for the first time. what difference does that make in south carolina? >> he's very popular here. he won the state after the big loss in 2000 in new hampshire he came back and won here and went on to win for president. i'm not sure how much of that
transfers to jeb bush. you can have a popular former president. bill clinton went to new hampshire. very popular president. didn't seem to help hillary clinton in the course of the race in new hampshire. i don't know how much impact. it could have impact on the margins. 1, 2, 3% possibly. i think when we look at donald trump in south carolina right now, and bill may will right. though he's predicted trump's fall along the way. in the course of this. if donald trump, after last night, wins south carolina, and all of the ads, and he wins south carolina after attacking lindsey graham and george w. bush and saying george w. bush lied about the war, if he wins south carolina, how does one stop donald trump? >> that is an excellent question. >> that is really the question. >> it certainly is. when we come back, more on
my constitution is a very flexible constitution. you think the death penalty is a good idea? persuade your fellow citizens and adopt it. you think it's a bad idea? persuade them the other way and eliminate it. i have my rules that -- that confine me. i know what i'm looking for. when i find it, the original leaning of the constitution, i am handcuffed. if i believe that the first amendment meant when it was adopted that you are entitled to burn the american flag, i have to come out that way.
even though i don't like to come out that way. though i'm a law and order type, i cannot do all of the mean conservative things i would love to do to this society. you got me. >> justice scalia setting out his philosophy of the constitution. let's talk to guests who know him well. paul clement, clerk for justice scalia. former solicitor general. kate shaw, our supreme court analyst. and terry moran. who has covered the supreme court for us as well. mr. clement, you clerked for justice scalia. you argued before him. how will you remember him? >> well, i'll remember him just like in that clip. i mean, he really believed in the constitution. he believed that the constitution had to be interpreted in a way that constrained the justices so they couldn't impose their own personal policy preferences. i'll remember him from oral argument. he completely changed the way the supreme court handled cases and handled oral argument.
before he came to the court, it was quite common for advocates to make their argument and not get a single question from the justices. or at most, a handful. he got there, he started asking questions from day one. even the colleagues who had been there for awhile said, we're not going to let this new guy ask all of the questions. they got involved. it's fundmentally changed the way the court holds arguments. changed the way the court approaches statutes and constitutional law as well. >> let me ask you quickly. he has such a unique pen. what was it like to write a draft for him? >> we used to joke in the chambers the only reason he asked for drafts from his law clerks is because he wasn't quite sure how to format a word perfect document on the computer. because that voice you see in the opinions, that is all him. he just had a gift. it's changed the way, i think students in law school look at the constitution in the court. because, left or right, most students, the first thing they
do is pick up the scalia decision. even if it's a dissent. before they read the majority opinion. he was that gifted a writer. >> that's where the impact is. less impact in moving his justices behind the scenes. >> i think there's no question that he was the intellectual leader. he was not always victorious in advancing his positions. i don't know if the views were too extreme. i don't know if it was a question of sometimes abrasive style. he didn't always win in particular cases. and nonetheless, he had a transformational effect on the law. >> terry moran, his biggest victory? >> i would think the most memorable victory, a piece of philosophy, the great second amendment triumph in the chicago gun rights case. where justice scalia, writing for a majority in the court, said the second amendment is an individual right. that well regulated militia clause doesn't interfere with
the individual right to bear arms. that was in keeping with his sense that the federal government's powers needed to be limited, needed to be checked. get back to the original intent. you know, george, a lot of people, in society, have great big grand ideas. very few of them make them as contagious as antonin scalia made his, through his writing, his personality, the fights he picked. the fights he loved to pick as dahlia, lithwick, one of our colleagues put it, he made the founders cool again. and in many ways, his influence goes outside of the law into a whole way of looking at the kind of country we are. >> well said. thank you to all of you. that's all for us today. thank you for sharing part of your sunday with us. i'll see you tomorrow on "gma."
in the news this sunday an early morning car crash in the north bay kills two people. who officers saw as soon as they arrived. and plus remembering justice antonin scalia. how his sudden-death will affect the presidential race >> happy valentine's day to you. 50s in oakland right now. temperatures will warm another 25 degrees near the east bay shoreline. we will talk about record heat and rain coming back into the seven-day outlook next on