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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  February 20, 2016 9:00am-11:01am PST

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god, the almighty father, raised christ, his son, from the dead. with confidence we ask him to save all his people living and dead. for antonin who in baptism was given the pledge of eternal life, that he may now be committed to the communion of the saints. we pray to the lord. >> lord, hear our prayer. >> for our brother antonin who ate the body of christ, the bread of life. that he may be raised up on the
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last day. we pray to the lord. >> lord, hear our prayer. >> for our deceased relatives and friends and for all who have helped us, that they may have the reward of their good nenesse pray to the lord. >> lord, hear our prayer. >> for those who have fallen asleep in the hope of rising again. that they may see god face to face. we pray to the lord. >> lord, hear our prayer. >> for the family and friends of our brother antonin, that the lord who we want at the death of his friend lazarus, may now console them in their grief. we pray to the lord. >> lord, hear our prayer. >> for all of us assembled here, to worship in faith, that we may
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be gathered together again in god's kingdom. we pray to the lord. >> lord, hear our prayer. >> god, our shelter and our strength, you listen in love to the cry of your people. hear the prayers that we offer for antonin, cleanse him of his sins and grant him the fullness of redemption, through christ our lord. >> amen. ♪
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we are joining in by father james martin. father, let's go back over for non-catholics some of what we have witnessed. obviously, the homily by father paul scalia, son of antonin scalia. prior to that, a heavy use of incense in and around this event, the altar, the significance of the candle. please help us with that. >> sure. well, the incense, which you saw at the beginning, the altar was incense, and then the book of the gospel was incensed later by the deacons. it's a sign of our prayers rising up to god. at the end you'll see the casket incense as well. the easter candle is there during the easter season and during funerals as a sign of resurrection, which is the sort of main theme of the funeral
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mass as well. and we just saw the liturgy, the word, the first reading, the second reading and the responsorial psalm. this begins the liturgy of the eucharist, which would be most familiar to catholics. this is the regular part of the mass that everyone sees every sunday. and these are usually family members or friends of the deceased. and they are bringing up the bread and the wine, which we use during the liturgy of the eucharist and transform into the body and blood of christ as we catholics believe. >> because it requires so many priests to offer communion to so many mass goers, the priests will be given communion first and then will disperse, correct? >> yes, the deacons will
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disburse first and then the priests and then they will disperse to the congressional go-out. not all of the priests will go out. ♪ ♪
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pray, brethren, that my sacrifice and yours be accepted by our father, jesus christ. as we humbly present to you the sacrificial offerings, oh, lord, for the salvation of your servant antonin, we beseech you and we beseech your mercy that he did not doubt your son to be a merciful savior to reign forever and ever. amen. ♪ the lord be with you and with your spirit ♪ ♪ lift up your hearts we lift them up to the lord ♪ ♪ let us give thanks to the lord
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our god ♪ ♪ it is right and just ♪ it is truly right and just our duty and our salvation ♪ ♪ always and everywhere to give you thanks ♪ ♪ lord holy father almighty and eternal god through christ our lord ♪ ♪ in him the hope of blessed resurrection has dawned ♪ ♪ that those saddened by the certainty of dying may be consoled by the promise of immortality to come ♪ ♪ indeed for your faithful lord life has changed unended ♪ ♪ and when the dwelling turns to dust and eternal dwelling is
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made ready for them in heaven ♪ ♪ and so with angels and archangels, with broms and dominions and those in heaven we sing the him of your glory ♪ ♪ as without him we acclaim ♪
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♪ >> to you, therefore, most merciful father, in humbly prayer and petition, through jesus christ, your son, our lord. that you accept and bless these gifts, these offerings, these holy and um blemished sacrifices which we offer you first for your holy catholic church, beseech to offer grant to unite and govern her throughout the whole world, together with your servant, francis, our pope, and donald, our bishop, and all those who hold to the truth in the apostolic faith. remember, lord, your servants. and all gathered here whose
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faith and devotion are known to you, for them we offer you this sacrifice of praise or they offer it for themselves and all who are dear to them, for the redemption of their souls in hope of health and well-being in paying their homage to you, the eternal god, living and true. in communion with those whose memory we it rate, especially the virgin mary, mother of our god and lord, jesus christ, and blessed joseph, her spouse, your blessed apostles, martyrs, peter and paul, james, andrew, james, thomas, bartholomew, simon and jude, lawrence, john and paul, cosmus and damian and all the saints. we ask through prayers we may be defended by your protective health. therefore, lord, we pray graciously accept this to blags of our service, that of your whole family, order our days in
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your peace and command that we be delivered from eternal condemnation and counted among the flock you have chosen. be pleased, oh, god, to acknowledge and approve this offering in every respect. make it spiritual and acceptable so that it may become for us the body and blood of your most beloved son, our lord, jesus christ. on the day before he was to suffer, he took bread in his holy and venerable hands, and with eyes raised to heaven, he gave the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to his disciples saying, take this, all of you, and eat of it. for this is my body, which will be given up for you. [ bells ringing ]
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in a similar way when supper was ended, he took this precious chalice in his holy and venerable hands and once more giving you thanks he said the blessing and gave the chalice to his disciples and said, take this, all of you, and drink of it. for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. do this in memory of me. [ bells ringing ] ♪ the mystery of faith
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♪ when we eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim your love o lord ♪ >> therefore, lord, as we celebrate the memorial of the blessed passion, the resurrection from the dead and the glorious ascension into heaven of christ, your son, our lord, we, your servants and your holy people, offer to your glories you majesty from the gifts that you have given us, his pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim, the holy bread of eternal life and the chalice of everlasting salvation. be pleased upon these offerings with the counteness and accept the gifts from your servant, the sacrifice of abraham in faith, and your priest in holy
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sacrifice, the spotless victim. in humble prayer we ask you, almighty god, command that these gifts be born by the hands of your holy angel to your altar on high in the sight of your divine majesty so that all of us who approve this participation of the altar receive the most holy body and blood of your son. may be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing. remember also, o lord, your servants who have gone before us with a sign of faith and rest in this week of peace. grant them, o lord, we pray, and all who sleep in christ, place them a refreshment of light and peace. to us, also, your servants who both sinners who hope in your abundant mercies, graciously share and fellowship with your fell low apostles and martyrs, barnabus, alexander, peter,
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felicity, agnus, anastasia and all your saints. not weighing our merits but granting us your pardon through christ your lord. for whom you continue to make all these great things, you sanctify them, bless them and bestow them upon us. ♪ through him and with him and in him ♪ ♪ o god almighty father in the unity of the holy spirit ♪ ♪ all glory and honor is yours forever and ever ♪ ♪ amen amen amen
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♪ at the savior's command and we dare to say ♪ ♪ our father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name ♪ ♪ thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven ♪ ♪ give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us ♪ ♪ and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from
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evil ♪ ♪ deliver us lord we pray from every evil ♪ ♪ graciously grant peace in our days as by the health of your mercy we may always be free from sin and safe from all distress ♪ ♪ as we wait for the blessed hope and the coming out of our savior jesus christ ♪ ♪ for the power and the glory are yours now and forever ♪ ♪ lord jesus christ who said to your apostles peace i leave you my peace i give you ♪ ♪ look not on our sins but on the faith of your church and graciously grant her peace and unity in accordance with your will ♪ ♪ who live and reign forever and forever ♪ ♪ amen
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♪ the peace of the lord be with you always ♪ ♪ and with you ♪ ♪
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♪ behold the lamb of god. behold him who takes away the sins of the world.
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blessed are those called to the supper of the lamb. lord, i am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, only say the word and my soul shall be healed. ♪ ♪
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♪ >> communion has started at this funeral mass. we continued to be joined by andrea mitchell, father james martin. father, what i was just thinking when i was coming up with the notion of taking hold of the host yourself was not an option. you were served communion from the hands of the priest. this is still, the last several decades, a new development in the catholic church. >> well, it is. people used to receive as you said on the tongue. and since the reforms of the second vatican counsel, people receive either on the tongue this woman, or in the hands as you just saw as that man. it's depending on the recipient. >> this now -- in effect, all
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the people in the basilica will get divided up. you'll see a familiar nuns order there. >> those are the mission tears of charity. that's mother teresa's charity. and a lot of men and women from the religious order here today. >> i suppose members of the republic might have been able to come in late today if all the invited guests were accommodated. i saw they had magnitometers out front, of course. >> in such a national shrine, people are welcome. >> andrea mitchell, the justice's son, father paul, did a superb job. >> it was so touching.
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obviously, the faith and talking about being a practicing catholic because he was so perfecting religion throughout his life. and throughout all those different emotions as we see the son honoring his father, celebrating the mass. just extraordinary. >> and father, nothing more harrowing than the father hearing the son's confession. >> that's right. you're technically not supposed to do that for your family. it's not surprised that the father wouldn't want to go to the son and the son wouldn't want to go to the father. >> andrea, you read while we were off air of impromptu memorials popping up to justice scalia, including one featuring items he has talked about during his long legal career, a lot has been said about his flowering
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writing style, his use of imagery in every day language. he confirmed years ago, his opinions were written for law students. they were written, speaking of the contrary view of his of the constitution, but his opinions were recognized as living, breathing documents. >> indeed. and there is a constitution, a small copy of the constitution on the steps of the court as part of the memorial. but interestingly and intunely, fortune cookies, applesauce and broccoli. the food objects referencing people from the justice's descent. his witty and sometimes scathing descent. and the same sex marriage in 2015, he said that the majority decision had overruled him in front of a piece of paper inside a fortune cookie. and he referred to applesauce as the majority opinion in obamacare, which he was fiercely
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opposed to, compared to the consistency of applesauce and broccoli. so he used these every day references but used them with his sometimes scathing wit and objective to the majority of his colleagues. >> no telling which phrases will live on, whether it's a justice describing -- go ahead. >> you can see calista gingrich, the former speaker of the house who is a regular member of this church choir. she's a very devout catholic and is there every sunday. >> it was mentioned there earlier the former speaker himself is there today. i was just going to say there's no telling which phraseology, which choice of words from which justice will live on, what justice douglas did for the
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right to be left alone and the word anumbra later that a justice did for the word pornography. but justice scalia was certainly appropriately recognized in his time for his use of language. >> and he loved intelligent striking debate. there was one account by david axelrod, the former obama white house member that -- at a white house correspondents dinner, justice scalia and said, you should appoint elena kagan, she's the smartest one. she was a white house council and all the sterling academic credentials, known as a liberal,
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but he wanted someone smart on the court. she didn't get the nomination that time. it went to sotomayor, another smart person. but then kagan was the second obama nominee confirmed. >> and she is there today. justice scalia also liked the fact that his harvard law dean, elena kagan, appointed more than one originalist to the harvard faculty. >> and i thought her tribute to him, what she wrote after he died, was so significantly auditory and personal. we were discussing that our favorite was ruth bader ginsberg saying, he was my best buddy. >> that was a great tribute of how people can disagree and still respect each other. i was very moved by that tribute. and by their whole friendship overall. >> both ginsberg and scalia were
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very blunt in recent years about the -- well, the current state of congress, let's leave it at that. but certainly the dysfunction in washington. >> another reason why, as sad as this day is, celebrating this mass is also a tribute to the better angels in washington. there still are people who work together across the aisle. >> sadly, it's events like this where we see it and seldom outside of events like this. >> indeed. >> in fact, the eucharist itself is a great symbol of reconciliation and unity. it brings people together. the idea of being in communion with the church and taking communion. and being in communion what we catholics call the body of christ, all of us as brothers and sisters. that's a very important symbol of the mass itself, a symbol of
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unity. >> i think the last time we saw this kind of spirit, on a much larger scale then, was the visit of the holy father. >> when he visited this area shrine. >> father paul scalia can look so strikingly like his father, depending on the angle. we just saw him from his right side. his diction and speech are also very similar. the precision with which he speaks. >> he's a very accomplished writer, too. he writes a lot of the catholic preps and journals. a well-educated priest. he studied in rome at one of the pontifical universities. so he's a very gifted and capable priest. >> why am i not surprised? given the intellectual rigor of his father.
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♪ let us pray ♪ lord god whose son left us in the sacrament of his body food for the journey ♪ ♪ mercifully grant by it our brother antonin may eternally come to the body of christ ♪ ♪ who lives and reigns forever and ever ♪ ♪ amen >> with faith in jesus christ, we must reverently bury the body of our brother. let us pray with confidence to
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god in whose sight all creation lives, that he will raise up in holiness and power the mortal body of our brother and command his soul to be numbered among the blessed. may god grant him a merciful judgment, deliverance from death and pardon of sin. may christ the good shepherd carry him home to be at peace with the father. may he rejoice forever in the presence of the eternal king and in the company of all the saints. ♪
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>> father james martin is here with us. this is the final blessing of the casket? >> yes, there's a blessing, a song of farewell, which you hear, and then a prayer of accommodation. he will sprinkle the casket and then they will take the deceased, justice scalia, to his final resting place with incense on the casket. you know, it's a beautiful sign of the importance and the holiness of the body in catholic faith. it's a body of something to be referenced as a temple of the holy spirit. and it itself deserves reverence and respect.
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♪ >> into your hands, father of mercy, we commend our brother antonin in the sure and certain hope that together with all who have died in christ he will rise with him on the last day. we give you thanks for the blessings which you bestowed upon antonin in his life. they are signs to us of your goodness and of our fellowship with the saints in christ.
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merciful lord, turn toward us and listen to our prayers. open the gates of paradise to your servant and help us who remain to comfort one another with assurances of faith until we all meet in christ and are with you and our brother forever. through christ, our lord, amen. >> in peace, let us take our brother to his place of rest. ♪
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>> the burial will be private. perhaps you heard father paul scalia say for many people this would be good-bye. for now, there is a memorial scheduled at a washington hotel for friends and family. father james martin remains with us. tom goldstein, andrea mitchell. a friend for over three decades has been quietly watching with us. judge, i'm curious what your feelings are right now. >> well, brian, two days ago justice briar said to me, a glow at the court grows dim. i would simply add to that, that glow will never go out because of justice scalia.
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>> tom goldstein. >> yeah, brian. i think that it was incredibly impressive how personal the service was, all the references to dad, the entire community coming to remember him as a person. on top of the fact that so much of official washington was there in this capacity, we'll see the chief justice and the social justices come out in seniority in just a second, but a mix of the special and the professional. >> andrea mitchell. >> i would echo the homily from father paul was so humorous and reverent and obviously personal. seeing a son celebrate mass for his father was just extraordinary. and it made justice scalia so human. >> the chief justice, the wife jane, associate justice kennedy, wife mary. justice briar, then justice thomas and his wife.
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justice ginsberg on the stairs. being heeded down by a supreme court officer. still very vibrant in appearance. >> tom, was i correct, did i see john paul stevens there? >> i did not earlier see him. but we would see him in the back. there you see justice alito. you see justice kagan. interestingly, the person you would expect to see between justice alito and -- sorry, there's justice sotomayor further back. and then retired justice sueter. for the audience, there are several, three justices who retired from the supreme court. and they actually act as judges in some cases in the lower courts. the people that you see coming
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in behind the justices now are the senior staff of the chief justice. you have the clerk of the court, you have the counselor to the chief justice, you have the head of the public information office of the supreme court. so these are people by and large who have worked in the supreme court for decades. the court staff is essentially a family. that would have known justice scalia in very personal terms having had thousands of interactions with him over the years. so this is not simply protocol, but these are genuine friends of the justice who was such a gregarious and caring and fun person. this is a deeply, deeply sad, personal experience for them. >> in special occupations, there are very few people you can go
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to, very few people who understand, and they used to talk about justice brennan bringing a decidedly family touch to the confines of the court. if you have a child, you received a gift from justice brennan. if there was a loss, you received a note of condolence. but, really, the last few decades, when the famous description of the justices, scorpions in a bottle, minus a few of the famous scorpions from the modern era, it has operated much more like a family by all accounts. >> and it's actually interesting if you were to say who the successor to the role in the court family is, to most people unexpectedly it would be justice thomas. he is deeply close to the entire court staff. he's beloved there and knows a lot about their families. he's a man whose private and public lives are very different.
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>> and and drn yreaandrea, in w which has been your home for so long, you -- in the course of going to events and, you know, just living your life, washingtonians get to see these justices of the supreme court as washingtonians. >> they are not very secluded, especially justice scalia has such a full life. but justice ginsberg, justice briar and justice thomas. i think he is more within the court family and his close friends and colleagues. but in the larger world, charitable world, philanthropy of washington and many close friends, these justices, many of them, elena kagan more recently came from the white house
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council's office and also from harvard law with many colleagues and classmates. >> those cars that are lined up to the left will be the justices. the family, it appears, because he had such a large and fantastic family, came in largely by bus. but the supreme court has these set of cars, not with flashing lights on it, but black desseda and suburbans, can carry them to their hometowns. they will be carrying the justices on to the memorial that you described at the hotel. after the hearse, i think it will go the hearse, the family and then the court will follow.
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>> andrea mitchell, in terms of the district of columbia, this is one of the highest points in all of washington. certainly at the top of the beautiful dome. but if you travel into and out of washington by air, the shrine presents itself very clearly. >> it's one of the most beautiful architectural monuments. one of the things you see on the approach. and a very special on a very special campus. >> one of the largest catholic churches in north america in terms of capacity. >> which is extraordinary in itself given south america, latin america, the large catholic community.
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we were saying, i was very touched by watching that large collection of grandchildren following maureen scalia down the steps and the cardinal comforting these youngsters. >> well, we kind of forget that bishops and archbishops are not only church leaders but pastors. cardinal wuerhl is the pastor of the archdiocese. >> he came and was an only child as you pointed out, as was maureen scalia. so he has two only children from italian-american families then having nine children. and father paul mentioned that he was the father and sometimes he got our names mixed up, but there were nine of us, of course. >> chris jansing has e merged
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and is available to us once again, just outside the basilica. >> reporter: brian, i can hear bagpipes in the distance. throughout the service you could hear a pin drop. i think yesterday when i was at the court itself and talking to people who worked very closely with justice scalia, to echo what some other folks have already said about how familiar it is there, many of them said to me, i haven't really felt it yet. i haven't had a chance to process it yet. it was so sudden. and then, of course, they had work to do. and they have been doing that work brilliantly to arrange what we saw yesterday with 6,000 people able to go through and pay their respects. and then, of course, what happened here today. and, you know, there were a few chuckles that came through during the mass when it was mentioned that this was just a simple parish mass. but in many ways, i think that is true. while this setting is completely magnificent in spite of the
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renovations that were mentioned, and the mourners may have a more high-p high-profile and you don't usually have 100 priests, this is the kind of roman catholic mass that i have been to so many times for anyone across america. and justice scalia himself had recently given an interview where he talked about how he thought it was unfortunate he had gone to so many funerals of high-profile people, and he said they had become secularized. that somehow people felt that they wanted to be able to make a service appeal to everyone. and he said, actually, a funeral mass is one of the few times that you get to preach to the unconverted. that he saw it as an opportunity. and i think his son paul did that brilliantly with this traditional catholic mass in saying we do not mourn as those
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who have no hope. in other words, evanizing, essentially, in a way his father would have loved, in addition to you can never fault a catholic funeral mass where they get in a joke about the confessional, brian. >> there you go. chris jansing just outside. and father, i suppose that is true. this was, except for the venue, so very intimate and familiar. >> well, she's absolutely right. this is the exact funeral mass, except for the setting and perhaps the music and all the priests that any catholic would get. and one of the messages, so powerful, that you would get at a funeral mass. and it is a teaching moment for people. paul is a very good teach. father paul is a very good teacher. and he not only reflected on his father's life but the gospel message of the resurrection. >> andrea, we saw, senator
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santorum earlier, but there mcconnell and sessions, a lot of elected washington is there. >> kelly ayotte from new hampshire up for re-election and facing a tough battle against the governor of the state. >> former independent council kenneth starr and former solicitor clerk to justice scalia. very republican appointed to the supreme court. >> we are going to be talking with judge starr in a little while. ted olson who argued the bush versus gore case for president bush. >> he also argued the same sex
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marriage case. his first wife barbara olson was lost on 9/11. >> i think that's going to be ted cruz. >> indeed. >> ted cruz is part of the court family, genuinely, as a former law clerk and also when he was solicitor general of texas, he argued several cases in the court. >> so odd to see a picture taken during -- >> that's not a departure from a normal funerals. you generally have people taking photographs afterwards with the public. it is also interesting that in keeping with catholic tradition, there was no eulogy. which is really the standard. peop i think father paul realized his own homily was sufficient.
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>> and as catholics go, father, this was no christmas catholic. this -- >> right. >> justice scalia was very, very active in his church. >> he was very active in his church. his family is very devout. and he wrote about it as well. he wrote about it and spoke about it openly. as jessuits, we know he went to xavier high school in new york. it was an incredibly important part of husband life. and i would think that if you asked him, he would say it was the center of his life. >> i think it was in high school that he took up riflery, told a great story about bringing husband rifle on the city subway as a kid. but his early love of riflery and family history for his later years as a hunter.
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>> he la meamented to the curre president of xavier that the school was no longer a military, he didn't like that change, and he let that be known. but he was a beloved son of jesuit education. >> pete williams has emerged and has been able to rejoin us. pete? >> reporter: about 3300 people, brian, attended this very moving funeral for antonin scalia, which was, as you heard, his son, father paul scalia, who was the officiate here who celebrated the mass. and also the cardinal in the archbishop washington diocese rather jokingly said he wanted a humble service in a small parish church. but, of course, there's no way to get all the people in there who were here today. the real -- the sort of supreme court bar, all the elite of
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washington's legal community, members of congress, all the supreme court justices. two retired justices, john paul stevens and david seuter. john paul stevens who is 95 now. david sueter retired a couple years ago. all the justices you heard in his deep voice he had in the service here today. very quiet, very somber. i suspect despite the grandeur of it, the sort of service that justice scalia would have wanted. >> pete, how did justice scalia look? >> he looked great. his posture is good. he is doing well. he is well into his early 90s and maintains an active schedule. he's been talking about current -- just for the moment,
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we have lost communications with you so i cannot answer your questions. but i will say he looked good and so did justice souter. now we've got you. >> not only did you lose us but we lost you. but now we are back together. pete, for -- we talked about this before the service, for people who don't know the procedure, americans have asked many questions of what happens with an eight-member court. what would happen with a 4-4 decision that would normally be 5-4, for example. >> reporter: sure. two thoughts about that, brian.
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something is like 85% of the court's business is not a close call. these are -- the bulk of the court's work, they don't get a lot of attention, but they are resolving circuit splits. they are interpreting federal laws. and those do not end up in the 5-4 ties and the sort of ideological divisions. that's thing one, the work of the court will go on largely unchanged. if they take a vote and it turns out to be 4-4. and by the way, this would apply to cases already argued in which justice scalia already voted. if the result is a 4-4 tie, then the court has a choice. they can either announce the decision as a 4-4 tie, in which case whoever won below will prevail. in the language of the court, they say the lower court decision is affirmed by an equally divided court. it's as though the court never came to the supreme court. it has no value as precedent and it just means that's the end of it. the other possibility, though, is that the court can hold the
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case and just not announce a decision and say that it will be reargued in the next term. now, that doesn't necessarily guarantee that the next term's going to have all nine justices. but at least it gives them a chance to wait and see. >> and for a party awaiting relief on any expedited basis, pete, that's a long time to wait. >> reporter: it is. especially if they reargue the case. and, of course, if they issue as a tie, then it means the issue is resolved without the word from the supreme court and without giving what only the supreme court can give, which is the final last word. and it's possible, for example, we've got one of the most controversial cases before the court right now, raises the question about what the obligation is of religiously affiliated institutions, whether they have to abide by the contraceptive requirements of obamacare. they are arguing that taking any part in that process at all,
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even telling the government that they don't want to do it is too much. it's too much of an involvement. the circuit courts are divided on that. so if the supreme court ends up issuing a -- basically taking a tie, it leaves these different decisions around the country that go in different directions. so for those reasons, a 4-4 tie isn't a desirable thing. but they may well reargue some of the cases, but they can't do that to all the controversial ones, i wouldn't think. or it's going to be a long time before we get an answer to those questions. >> pete williams, thank you for joining us, having exited from the service. a quick break for us and our coverage will continue in just a moment.
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♪ one saturday afternoon he did scold me for having heard confessions that afternoon, that same day. and i hope that is some sort of consolation if there are any lawyers present, that the roman collar was not a shield against his criticism. the issue that evening was not that i had been hearing confessions, but that he had found himself in my confessional line. and he quickly departed it. and he put it later, i was not
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going to be confessing to you. >> a moment of levity there from father paul scalia, celebrating the life of his father, antonin scalia. we are joined by someone who was inside the funeral mass today, republican utah senator mike lee, senator, thank you very much. and i want to ask, what -- what you choose to remember, what you will choose to remember about antonin scalia? >> you know, i will remember justice scalia as someone who revolutionized the way americans look at the law, the way they revere the constitution. he's a modern father of textualism. he is not only of jurist but of law students and lawyers, hall efficients and americans generally, who respect and revere the constitution, read it differently than they did a generation ago, all because of this great man.
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>> he did change the man and he was very proud that institutions like harvard law school slowly over the years added to their ranks faculty members who were originalists like him. >> that's right. and it was largely inspired by him. it was not common in the american courtroom or the american legal classroom prior to justice scalia's ascension to the bench. but it has become common place because of him, because of the fact that he was willing to stand firm and stand alone. >> that was my next question, do you think he died content in his role. that stance of him often had him writing fiery descents where he probably would have rather been writing majority opinion. >> no, that's right. he certainly found himself in that circumstance many, many times before. but it's interesting, i've been reflecting over the last week and remembering when my late
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father, rex lee, who was solicitor general and good friend of justice scalia's, when justice scalia was nominated in 1986, he predicted that justice scalia would be a coalition builder and build consensus on the court. it is interesting for the first ten or arguably 20 years he was on the court, there weren't many who would have agreed with that prediction. but today most would agree with that, in fact, you couldn't deny it. >> i asked earlier, do you think with the death of justice scalia, lawyers who appear before the court now will have a little extra time to lay out their case? >> quite possibly, question. justice scalia was a very aggressive questioner. but he always asked questions in a way that really focused on the heart of the case. and so lawyers and jurists aliked walked away from the experience having been enlightened by his wisdom and questions. >> senator, you're sitting there as an invited guest at this funeral mass. also must have been so mindful
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of the role you now play as a member of senator judiciary. can you shed any light on that? >> yes. first of all, i have been very clear in my message to this point. in the point of not filling a supreme court vacancy during a presidential election year in that presidential election year and waiting until after the next election. i hardly think that the moment of the funeral, the location of the funeral, just outside the church where the funeral was held is the appropriate place to be delving into that. >> all right. we'll take your point and we will put off debates on that for another day. preferring instead to remember this incredible legal mind. of course, law, as you mentioned, is your family business. so you were luckier than most to have the exposure to antonin scalia during his lifetime. >> that's right.
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that's right. i knew of him from the time i was a young child. he and my father were good friends. my parents traveled with them extensively. and i had admired him from affair for a long time. like the scalias, i grew up in a large family, there were seven kids, only seven as compared to the scalia family that has nine. i couldn't help but think about the scalia family today. thinking about my father's own death 20 years ago, my heart goes out to maureen scalia and to the nine children born to this couple. they're certainly going through some tough times as they remember a very dear father. >> senator mike lee, republican, utah, thank you very much for joining us on this day outside the shrine of the immaculate conception. appreciate it. >> thank you. >> and andrea mitchell, while we are deferring some of the talk of politics, given the events of today, the events of today will
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put the spotlight right back on politics as we're into primary election coverage. we'll wake up tomorrow, the sunday shows will talk about, among other things, the president's eventual nominee to this vacancy. >> and there is no doubt that he is going to wait, perhaps a week or more, but there is going to be a nominee. and the signals from joe biden in "the washington post" and politico could be that it could be a consensus nominee. someone who under normal circumstances would get a hearing and could even get confirmed. but this is an unusual time. it is not just a lame duck presidency. although there's plenty of time for confirmation to say, to hold it. but this is a tipping point. you have a half century of a conservative dominated court. and so many critical 5-4 cases. so what both sides now say, the partisans in both camps, see an
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opportunity, an opportunity on one side to wait, they hope, for a republican election. and expand that 5-4 majority and make it more permanent with a youthful nominee. and on the other side an opportunity for opponents to try to reverse all of these cases. and we're looking at immigration and obamacare and vote rights and union rights. you know, it's just -- abortion rights, same sex marriage, all the big issues we have seen in recent years. so this makes it fraught with politics, no matter what anyone can say. and the president is going to face a barrage of opposition. but i think he's going to go for it. because i think the democrats in the white house feel that they have a lot of leverage people. that people are not going to want to see a deadlocked court.
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they don't want to see another institution like the senate and the house completely gridlocked beyond the third branch of government. presumably until june of next year, if you have a new president-elected, then the state of the union and a budget to be done in february. now you are into march, you have a hearing at the end of march and april by the time someone is vetted. you're into june, it's the end of another court term and you don't have a nine-member court. >> well, as we say, politics will make its way back into the political conversation. our chief legal correspondent, ari melber just emerged outside the shrine. ari? >> reporter: hi, brian. i'm here with senator ted cruz here outside of the church. your thoughts today on justice scalia, on what you just saw. >> well, it's a sad day today for the scalia family. and for the country. justice scalia was an extraordinary man. he was a lion of law.
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he was beloved by his wife, maureen, by their nine kids, by their 36 grandkids. and the legacy he left to this country was extraordinary. he single-handedly changed the court of legal american history. he brought the courts back to focusing on the text, the language of the constitution, the original understanding of the constitution. he ferociously defended the bill of rights, defending free speech, defended the second amendment, defended religious liberty. and his impact cannot be overstated. as ronald reagan was to the presidency, so, too, was antonin scalia to the u.s. supreme court. >> you clerked for this court. of course, you're running for president. you have campaigned on the issues before this court. why was it important to you, senator, to be here today? >> well, justice scalia has been a personal hero of mine, virtually my entire life. on june 17, 1986, when ronald reagan elevated william ri
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rindquist, it was one of the most extraordinary days in american legal history. i ended up having the privilege of being a law clerk to chief justice rindquist and justice scalia on the court. and for justice scalia, three decades on the court was fearless, was principles, was faithful defending the bill of rights. and heidi and i are blessed to have had the opportunity to come and give our condolences to the family. but also to celebrate an extraordinary life. and i will say, justice scalia's passing, i think has underscored for the people of south carolina and for people across the country the stakes of this election, the court very much hangs in the balance. and we are going to determine whether the court continues to preserve the bill of rights, the basic constitutional liberties that every american is blessed
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to have. or whether the court will undermine those rights. that's stake at the election. >> reporter: since you mentioned the election, fair to ask you, does it matter you're here and the other candidates you're running against are not? does it matter you have this experience in the court and others do not? do you view yourself uniquely positioned to provide, as you put it, the kind of legal insight or replacement to justice scalia that might be fitting in your view? >> well, listen, there will be plenty of time for politics. i'm going to get on a plane and fly back to south carolina right now and am happy to get into politics on the trail in south carolina. today we are at the funeral service remembering justice scalia and the extraordinary legacy he had. the decades of faithful service. and i'll tell you, my two girls, caroline and catherine, 7 and 5, their liberties are more secure because justice scalia served on that court and led that court, led that court through intellectual firepower through
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an extraordinary and glories you pen and writing style that moved people and enlightened their passions. and through a fierce dedication to the law. >> you serve on the judiciary committee. do you have any view of whether that committee should review any nominee that the president puts forward, if he were to put forward a fellow republican, would your role in the judiciary committee want to give that person a hearing, senator? >> as i said within hours of the news of justice scalia's passing becoming public, i do not believe the senate should take up any nomination in this election year. it has been 80 years since the senate confirmed a supreme court nominee who was nominated during an election year. and we should not start now. we have an election in just a few months and i think the american people should be able to choose the direction of this court. this election now is not one branch of government, it is two. as it should be a choice, given to the american people, where
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the voters can decide the direction of this country, the direction of the constitution and the bill of rights. >> reporter: senator ted cruz speaking now. back to you. >> thank you, ari. before we go to judge ken starr standing by to talk to us, it's the second time, try as we might to keep politics out of the funeral mass. the second time we have heard the 80-year figure used. not entirely true. >> he does say when nominated in an election year and the fact that he said justice kennedy was nominated in 1987 and confirmed in 1988 at the end of the reagan term. and there have been other instances as well. so it is not quite accurate. >> it requires a long explanation and maybe a diagramming of history. as i mentioned, judge kent starr is with us. most folks know him from his independent council days.
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but before that he was a member of the federal bench and argued many, many cases in front of the supreme court. judge starr, what will remain as your favorite memory and your legacy of choice from the life and times of justice scalia? >> well, i think above all, on this sad day but it's also a day of celebration of his great life, he had such a -- just a fervor for life. he loved life and great music. by the way, this mass which was supposed to be a simple parish funeral mass turned out to be one of the most beautiful musical performances probably that will be heard on planet earth this year. so nino would have loved it. he loved people. everybody is talking about ideology and politics. he was such a really good guy. everybody loved him. one of his closest friends famously was ruth bader ginsburg. she weighed on the left. and i want to add a word briefly
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about all the stuff on originalism and so forth. this was step two. step one is what scalia believed in, government by we the people. and we are talking about abortion, gay marriage and so forth, his question for us right here was, who decides these issues? and he felt in judicial -- it was not that modest of a man, but he felt very strongly that judges should not run america. >> that is true. he would often say that is why we have voters. that's why we have state legislators. that's why we have congress. he said it publicly. he said it in what were many times for him descenting opinions. to your first point, he also proved that life didn't need to be cloistered with a lifetime appointment to the court. we've had some very victorian figures who put on the robe and
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sad gui said good-bye to the trappings of life. not so justice scalia. >> they got stuffy and insulated. he always said appropriate things but he was also in the public because he loved people. this was a people person with a soaring intellect everyone is rightly praising. he was the smartest kid in the class, smartest kid on the block. but he didn't act that way. he just had these wide range of interests. so how ironic that here he is, this kid from new jersey, educated in the bronx and so forth, then ends up dying on a hunting farm in texas. i mean, this is just -- he was a man in full. and we celebrate that great life today. >> former federal judge ken starr, thank you, judge, for joining us on this day of all days. and we also want to thank you father james martin who has been here with us talking us through what we've been witnessing. by the way, for those who are so
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disposed, i neglected to mention he's the author of the book "the jesuit guide to almost everything." father, thank you very much for your advice and counsel for us today. a quick break for us. we'll be right back. [engine revving] ♪ ♪ [car engine] [car speeding away] [car engine] ♪
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we are back as we continue to cover the funeral mass today of justice scalia. and as it inevitably does, that has dove tailed into a conversation of politics, especially for members of the senate judiciary committee in the u.s. senate. after all, they need to now take on the next question of this vacancy. tom goldstein remains with us, lawyer and private practice, a veteran of arguing cases in front of the supreme court and these days with a blog, tom, clear this up because a lot of the coverage and verbiage after the passing of justice scalia,
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some would have you think that the president would be violating something by putting up a nominee between now and the end of his term. so tell us where history stands on this argument. >> yeah, the argument that the president by tradition doesn't nominate in the senate not confirming a supreme court justice from the election year suffers only from the problem it's completely made up. we have been unable to identify any case in history where that was true. you see the very careful wording, things like we haven't done this for 80 years. this precise scenario of there being a justice dying and there being a nomination in an election year, that's just because in 80 years this hasn't happened. but it has been commonplace through american history for presidents to nominate supreme court justices and for the senate to confirm them in election years.
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and the really good example was the one given just before the break, where president reagan nominated justice kennedy, now our senior justice, and our democratic senate confirmed him. so this is politics. >> okay. tom, that's why we turn to you. we needed some plain english on this. we have had it envoked, some form of that wording invoked twice since the end of the mass. and we wanted to clear that up. tom goldstein, thank you. as i said, part of this is one subject dovetailing into another. it's impossible to change the fact that we have polls open in a manner of speaking in two different states today. we have republicans voting in the south carolina primary and we have democrats in an often hard to explain caucus in the state of nevada. and coming up, say, in the next
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hour, they will be gathering and going into make their preferences known at caucus. jacob soberoff is with us from vegas today. take a whack at explaining how these work. >> reporter: well, we tried once in iowa. let's see if we can do it again. welcome to the staten island ballroom of the new york new york hotel. all the folks are from different unionses and supporters from across the country. they are here to rally for their candidates. let me give you a look inside before this whole thing gets underway. this process is just getting started right now. in this area people are signing up for their registration. they may register, same day registration here in nevada or if they are registered they come to this table to sign in. then they come through to this room, and this beautiful carpet, some might say, some may say otherwise, will be covered with caucus goers in a matter of time. in 2008 there was a record turnout in the nevada caucus. 118,000 people. they don't expect turnout at
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that level, partially because the culinary workers union, 57,000 strong is not endorsing either democratic candidate in this race. they will hear a pitch from the chair, from that podium, and then they divide literally into preference groups. bernie sanders supporters on this side of the room, and on this side of the room we'll see the hillary clinton supporters. they will tally them up and divvy up delegates proportionally just like it was in iowa at this location. 34 precinct level delegates on the strip. 161 precinct level delegates. in vegas, 8,000. in the state of nevada as a whole, 12,000. a lot of work still to be done here in nevada. >> andrea mitchell remains with us here in new york. this caucus system skews towards certain populations in nevada. >> absolutely. and this union, the culinary union, which is a most powerful union and most powerful democratic caucus participant,
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55% are latino. where i was yesterday interviewing the caucus members, they were very heavily pro-clinton. that's why you saw her. she was there last night. in fact, defendant one of her final stops. she was going to the casinos talking to the workers, the bellmen and the -- >> the people who make las vegas go. >> exactly. you saw bernie sanders hop-scotching in the rural areas. he is trying to pick all delegates like barack obama did in 2008. hillary clinton won the nevada caucus in terms of the popular vote. but he got more delegates last time in 2008 because he went to all these rural areas. and there's a particular portion of the system according to congressional statistics where the money is. >> and the republicans are going to the polls in the state of south carolina. you heard ted cruz say he was about to hop on a plane to go
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back there. thomas roberts is in lexington at red bank elementary. one of the polling places there. thomas, what can you report from there? >> reporter: brian, good afternoon. and we have been watching a steady flow of folks that have been coming in to cast their vote today in the primary. this is the form, the ballot form they will see when they get to the electronic voting box. but when they get in there, they are going to see chris christie or carly fiorina listed. so they came up with this zerox xerox of the folks not in the race before. donald trump is winning here in lexington county. and this is basically a bellweather here. this is the county that went to mitt romney in 2012 where the state went to newt gingrich. they have done it right here in lexington county since 1980. we have polling machines here, a steady collection of folks with
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bob and marie jewel. and over here is joyce, keeping the informal poll. how many people so far? >> oh, about 560. >> reporter: okay. among the 560 are get them? >> yes. >> reporter: you got them, good. do you mind who you voted for? >> i voted for ted cruz. >> reporter: why? >> because he's conservative. i have heard him speak several times and i believe he's sincere in what he's saying. i like his stand on flat tax. i like his stand on pro-life. and just taking -- i like the fact that he's a constitutionalist. >> right now in our informal poll donald trump is still winning. ted cruz coming in second with the voters we've seen so far. spence, do you mind who you voted for? >> ted cruz also. >> reporter: ted cruz also. >> for the same reasons and i can't stand donald trump. >> reporter: why? >> i think he's a pro-abortion liberal and i can't stand the guy. >> reporter: so, based on some
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of the calculations that we're seeing now, are you going to be all right, though, if he is the eventual gop nominee? >> no, i won't vote for him. >> reporter: you vote won't for him. let's hope the kids tuned in just in time. you can hear what some folks are feeling why they're voting for whom today. but, brian, again, in our informal, unscientific poll so far donald trump is leading. >> all right, thomas, thank you for that. and thanks those folks for sharing their opinions with us. and andrea mitchell, that's an interesting two interviews back to back for different reasons. >> absolutely. you can see that they are hearing, the voters are hearing, the attack lines coming out during these debates. we had that fierce debate last week and the presumption was that donald trump, you know, had gotten in trouble by attacking the family bush and then the bushes including former president bush showed up, bush 43, showed up on monday. and barbara bush has been all over the state and, well, you
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know, 90-year-old barbara bush campaigning for her son has been very touching but it has not by all accounts been that effective politically. there were stories that bush aides are passing their resumes around and that the campaign is implo imploding, that donors are refusing to ante up for more money and, in fact, according to one account jeb bush called a big donor in houston and said i need you to bundle another million dollars to get me through nevada, that's not very far, that's another week. it doesn't get you at all for the long distances and donor said we're all tapped out. we've maxed out. they're not coming up with the money. so, depending on where he places vis-a-vis rubio and ted cruz will be determining whether jeb bush can continue. >> that's why tonight this primary can be such a cruel event and the gop calendar. on the democratic side, of course, as we just discussed, we have the nevada caucus going on really starting in just a few minutes.
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while we are going to be back on the air later tonight with south carolina results, we'll know much more earlier from nevada and chris matthews is already out there for us. chris, it's been quite a day. we're kind of in the middle of a broad, sweeping turn here quite candidly from a highly emotional funeral mass for antonin scalia into a purely political event that is all about organization, all about unions, all about kind of get out the caucusers effort where you are. >> yeah, brian. this is -- think about harry reid being so successful out here in politics. they're really rough politics and he's really capable of, partisan as hell you might say. very union oriented. very organization. it's class conscious out here i think. a lot of people on the las vegas strip work for very little money. they work very hard. long hours. they're union people many of
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them. they have an attitude. i think it's a perfect place you might say ideology at least for bernie sanders but a long history with the clintons and good history of good organization and i guess you would have to think speaking in terms of constituency groups, the clintons are very good at it. >> and, chris, the problem is, of course, this is not a real cross-section. this is -- and we're going to have to explain this all day long, the difference between this and a primary election. >> well, you know, this is my problem with caucuses, because, you know, i made a lot of complaints about the republican party repressing, suppressing the votes in states by setting up very big roadblocks like you have to have a photo i.d. from the government or it makes it more difficult to do early voting. sunday voting where african-americans like to vote and go from church to the polls. they're getting rid of those as a way of depressing or suppressing the minority vote, the democratic vote in most cases and when you get to these
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caucus states, they really are an obstacle to most people. people don't like to go to meetings and they don't want to go in the day time and telling other people how they are going to vote, the wife and husband and certainly not their neighbors. but in the caucus you have to stand and deliver in front of everybody you know and everybody who knows you, including your pastor and your rabbi and everybody knows how you voted. that's an odd way to vote in america and that sets up an obstacle except the passionate love it. they wear their hats and buttons. it's not a regular way of voting in a country which has always honored the secret ballot and the individual decision that goes into the voting booth, the soul that goes in and votes privately. there's nothing private about the iowa caucuses or here at the nevada caucuses. >> it's a point you have been making all this cycle. i appreciate. while we talk about the simple
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midwestern majesty about the iowa caucuses there is that angle and the absence of a secret ballot. chris matthews, thank you. chris will be heading up our next few hours of coverage from nevada. we'll be back on the air tonight as we said. secret ballot aficionados we have a regular full-on primary to cover tonight in south carolina on the republican side. we just saw ted cruz at the funeral mass for antonin scalia. he is flying back to south carolina and all eyes will be on him. and donald trump and others. so, until we see you later this evening, our coverage will continue with chris matthews from nevada right after this. you may know what it's like to deal with high... and low blood sugar. januvia (sitagliptin) is a once-daily pill that, along with diet and exercise, helps lower blood sugar. januvia works when your blood sugar is high and works less when your blood sugar is low, because it works
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from any of his colleagues. >> whenever anyone starts pointing to their actual record they start screaming liar, liar, liar. >> i do not know any progressive who takes $15 million from wall street. >> what has happened to our party? what has happened to the conservative movement? >> the fact of the matter is jeb has no foreign policy experience. >> senator rubio, your five years as senator does not match up to my capabilities. today, once again, the people will pass ultimate judgment with their vote. the nevada caucus and the south carolina primary. i'm chris matthews from las vegas on a day of big stakes hillary clinton and bernie sanders here in nevada. donald trump and his number one challenging ted cruz in south carolina. we're kicking off a big day of politics across two states with much as stake as i said for nearly every candidate in this race for president. here in vegas i


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