Dahlia Lithwick

  • Aired:  07/14/14
  •  | Views: 19,689

Slate's Dahlia Lithwick discusses the Supreme Court's decision to strike down protected buffer zones outside abortion clinics. (6:19)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.MY GUEST TONIGHT,

SHE IS THE SUPREME COURTCORRESPONDENT FOR SLATE.

PLEASE WELCOME TO THE PROGRAMDAHLIA LITHWICK.

HELLO.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU FOR JOININGUS.

DAHLIA, YOU KNOW, YOU'VE GOT TOBE... THE SUPREME COURT, THEY

ALWAYS DO THIS.

THEY SIT. YOU DON'THEAR ANYTHING FROM

THEM FOR SIX MONTHS, SEVENMONTHS,

AND THEN IN A TWO-WEEK PERIOD INTHE MIDDLE OF SUMMER, BLAH.

[LAUGHTER]IS THAT, IS THAT PURPOSEFUL?

IS THAT FOR A... WHAT IS THAT?

>> YOU KNOW, THEY SAY THAT IT'SBECAUSE THESE LAST TWO WEEKS OF

BLAH, DECISIONS ARE THE HARDONES, YOU KNOW, THE ONES THAT

THEY'RE FIGHTING AND THEY'REBICKERING AND THEY DON'T

KNOW IF THEY'RE WRITING DISSENTSOR CONCURRENCES.

AND THEY'VE GOT TO SHARE AND SOTHERE'S A LOT OF, YOU KNOW, SO

THOSE ARE THE ONES THAT GO DOWNTO THE WIRE, BUT I ALWAYS SAY

ANY INSTITUTION WHERE THE NINEJUSTICES POP OUT FROM BEHIND A

RED CURTAIN BEFORE EACH SESSIONHAS A LITTLE THEATER GOING ON.

>> JON: I KNOW. THEY'REDOING, IT'S A LITTLE KABUKI.

THE BLACK ROBES AND THEY WALKOUT, AND THEY DO A WHOLE THING.

>> I THINK THERE'S A LITTLE.

>> Jon: THERE'S SO MUCH TOTALK ABOUT. I JUST WANT TO DIVE

RIGHT IN. A LOT OFRELATIVELY CONTROVERSIAL

DECISIONS ALMOST ENTIRELYRESTRICTIVE FOR WOMEN.

>> RIGHT.

>> Jon: MEN, I THINK WE GOTTHROUGH THIS SUPREME COURT TERM,

I THINK QUITE WELL.

[LAUGHTER]>> WELL, YEAH, UNLESS YOU WANT

TO HAVE SEX WITH A WOMAN. ITHINK IF, YOU KNOW...

[LAUGHTER]IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN,

YOU KNOW... SORRY... BUT...

[APPLAUSE]>> Jon: [CLEARS THROAT] WELL, AS

A REFORMED JEW, I CAN ASSURE YOUTHAT'S NOT IN THE CARDS.

>> BUT, YES, TERRIBLE FOR WOMEN.

>> Jon: TERRIBLE.

THE FIRST ONE WAS VERYSURPRISING TO ME, WHICH WAS THE

BUFFER ZONE AROUND WOMEN'SHEALTH CLINICS.

>> RIGHT.

>> Jon: WHERE PEOPLE MIGHT BECOMING IN FOR ABORTION SERVICES.

THERE USED TO BE A WHATWAS IT A 35-FOOT BUFFER ZONE.

THEY STRUCK THIS DOWN, THE BASISBEING, OH, IT'S AN INFRINGEMENT

ON FREE SPEECH TO HAVE TO YELL.

>> SO THIS WAS A CASE WHERE YOUHAVE THE PERFECT PLAINTIFFS,

JON, BECAUSE IT'S THESE SWEETOLD WOMEN, THEY'RE NOT EVEN

PROTESTERS IN THE COURT'S VIEW,THEY'RE SIDEWALK COUNSELORS.

AND THEY REALLY, AND THE COURTREALLY KIND OF STIPULATES

THAT THIS WOULD BE A DIFFERENTCASE IF THERE WERE PEOPLE

WHO PROTESTED AS PEOPLE WENT IN.>> Jon: OR YELLED THINGS.

>> OR YELLED THINGS.

BUT THIS ISN'T THAT CASE.

THIS IS PEOPLE WHO REALLY HAVE ACALLING TO CONVINCE WOMEN

WALKING INTO CLINICS THAT WHATTHEY'RE DOING IS WRONG.

MASSACHUSETTS, IN THE WAKE OFSOME HORRIFIC SHOOTINGS IN

CLINICS IN THE 1990S, SAID WENEED A 35-FOOT BUFFER SO THAT

WOMEN CAN ENTER AND EXIT SAFELY.>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> AND THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY, BYTHE WAY, 9-0, STRIKES IT DOWN

AND SAYS EXACTLY WHAT YOU SAYTHAT THE SPEECH RIGHTS OF THESE

SIDEWALK COUNSELORS REALLYTRUMP THE RIGHTS OF THESE WOMEN

WHO JUST WANT TO SEEK HEALTH.

>> Jon: WHAT IS THE BUFFER ZONEAT THE SUPREME COURT?

WHAT IS THEIR... HOW MUCH OFA... WHAT DO THEY GOT THERE?

WHAT DO THEY GOT? I GUESSNOTHING?

>> I'VE HEARD...>> Jon: THEY'VE GOT ONE?

>> OH, THERE'S A BUFFER.

>> Jon: SO WHEN THE SUPREMECOURT WALKS IN BEFORE THEY

OBVIOUSLY GET IN THEIR SHOWCLOTHES...

[LAUGHTER]HOW CLOSE CAN THE COURT

COUNSELORS BE TO THEM?

>> THE GENTLE SIDEWALKCOURT COUNSELORS?

>> Jon: THE GENTLE SIDEWALKCOURT COUNSELORS.

>> WITH THEIR POKEY SIGNS?>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> YEAH, NO THERE'S, I'VE HEARDVARIOUSLY 100 FEET, 150 FEET,

BUT THE PLAZA OUTSIDE THE COURTIS AN ABSOLUTE NO-PROTEST ZONE.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

WHY IS THAT AND HOW DO THEYJUSTIFY THE DIFFERENCE?

>> WELL, SADLY FOR US, THEYDON'T MENTION IN THE OPINION...

>> Jon: OH REALLY?

>> WHY SOME PEOPLE HAVERIGHTS OF ACCESS TO FOLKS

THEY DISAGREE WITH ANDOTHER PEOPLE DON'T.

BUT I THINK IF YOU READ ITREALLY CAREFULLY UNDERNEATH IT

ALL, THERE IS, BECAUSE THAT'SME LOGIC THAT SORT OF SAYS,

WHEN THE JUSTICES WANT TO ENTERAND EXIT THE BUILDING, THAT'S

DIFFERENT, AND IT DOESN'TACTUALLY EVEN EXPRESS AN OPINION

ABOUT A WHOLE BUNCH OTHER BUFFERZONES.

WE HAVE THEM AROUND POLLINGPLACES.

>> Jon: RIGHT.>> IF YOU GO TO THE G.O.P.

CONVENTION WITH A POKEY SIGN,YOU HAVE TO SIT IN A PEN, RIGHT?

THE "FREE SPEECH PEN."

>> Jon: I REMEMBER WHEN THEY HADTHE CONVENTION HERE IN NEW YORK.

WE WERE NOT ALLOWED ACCESS EVENTO I THINK NORMAL LIKE RAY'S

PIZZA PLACES THAT. LIKE, YOU HADTO BE,

THAT ENTIRE AREA WAS "ESCAPEFROM NEW YORK."

LIKE THERE WAS NOTHING YOU COULDDO THERE.

>> RIGHT.

NO, IT'S AN AMAZING THING THATTHE COURT DOES WHERE...

>> Jon: BUT HOW IS THAT 9-0? ANDHOW DID THAT, DID THAT COME

UP IN ARGUMENT, DID ANYONESAY WELL, YOU DON'T HAVE THAT?

YOU HAVE A BUFFER.

>> WELL, TWO INTERESTING THINGSABOUT THE ARGUMENT.

ONE WAS THAT SOME OF THEJUSTICES LITERALLY COULDN'T

FIGURE OUT WHAT 35FEET LOOKED LIKE.

THERE WAS AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OFTHIS GOING ON.

AND SO, THEY NEED TO GET OUT ALITTLE MORE.

[LAUGHTER]AND THE OTHER THING WAS THAT IT

WAS CLEAR THAT EVEN SOME OF THELIBERAL JUSTICES REALLY TOOK

THIS VERY SERIOUSLY AS ANINFRINGEMENT ON FREE SPEECH.

SO THE FACT THAT IT WAS 9-0, ANDBY THE WAY, THE MAJORITY OPINION

WRITTEN BY THE CHIEF JUSTICE,JOHN ROBERTS, TWO CONCURRENCES

THAT ARE VERY ANGRY THAT WANTEDTO GO FURTHER, ONE BY SAM ALITO,

ONE BY ANTONIN...

>> JON: GO FURTHER, MEANINGWHAT, YOU HAVE TO CARRY A

PROTESTER ON YOUR BACKINTO THE CLINIC? LIKE WHAT? HOW?

HOW? YOU HAVE TO GO OUT TODINNER WITH THEM BEFOREHAND?

LIKE WHAT? HOW DO YOU GOFURTHER?

>> IT'S NOT FREE SPEECH UNTILTHEY CHANGE THEIR MIND?

NO, I THINK THEY WOULD HAVESAID, "THIS TARGETS ABORTION

SPEECH." NO BUBBLE,SO THERE STILL SURVIVES THIS

BUBBLE, THIS FLOATING EIGHT-FOOTBUBBLE THAT

THE COURT UPHELD IN A 2000 CASE.SO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR BUBBLE

THAT'S EIGHT FEET, AND THEYCAN'T APPROACH THAT.

AND I THINK THAT THE REASON THELIBERALS SIGN OFF ON THIS CASE

IS THEY WANT TO PRESERVE THEBUBBLE.

THEY'RE AFRAID TO DO MORE. ANDTHE REASON THAT THE

CONSERVATIVES ARE REALLY ANGRYIS THEY WANT TO DO AWAY WITH THE

BUBBLE.

SO NO EIGHT-FOOT BUBBLE GOINGFORWARD.

AND I THINK WHETHER OR NOT THEEIGHT-FOOT BUBBLE, IT'S NOT

I DON'T KNOW HOW IT SURVIVESGOING FORWARD.

>> Jon: I'M JUST CONFUSED HOWCOME THE BUBBLE PEOPLE GET TO

SAY, YOU DON'T GETA BUBBLE. WE GET A BUBBLE,

WE'RE THE BUBBLE BOYS, BUT YOU,BUBBLELESS.

WILL YOU STICK AROUND, PLEASE?BECAUSE WE HAVE MORE,

WE HAVE SO MANY MORE CASES TOTALK ABOUT.

WE'LL THROW A LITTLE BIT UP ONTHE WEB, WE'LL TALK MORE ABOUT

THE CONTRACEPTIVE CASES ANDEVERYTHING ELSE.

YOU CAN READ DAHLIA'S ARTICLES.

THEY'RE WONDERFUL, VERYINSIGHTFUL.

SLATE.COM.

DAHLIA LITHWICK.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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