Exclusive - Dahlia Lithwick Extended Interview Pt. 1

  • Aired:  07/14/14
  •  | Views: 58,714

Slate's Supreme Court correspondent Dahlia Lithwick describes the Supreme Court's protection of free speech outside of abortion clinics. (6:23)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT SHE IS THESUPREME COURT CORRESPONDENT FOR

SLATE, PLEASE WELCOME TO THEPROGRAM DAHLIA LITHWICK.

HELLO.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU FORJOINING US.

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 FOR A,

IS THAT PURPOSEFUL?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, THOSE ARE THE

ONES THAT GO DOWN TO THEWIRE. BUT I ALWAYS SAY THAT ANY

INSTITUTION WHERE THE NINEJUSTICES POP OUT FROM BEHIND A

RED CURTAIN BEFORE EVERY 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 TO TALK

ABOUT, I JUST WANT TO DIVE RIGHTIN. A LOT OF RELATIVELY

CONTROVERSIAL DECISIONS ALMOSTENTIRELY RESTRICTIVE FOR WOMEN.

>> RIGHT.>> Jon: MEN, I THINK WE GOT

THROUGH THIS SUPREME COURT TERMI THINK QUITE WELL.

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

HAVE SEX WITH A WOMAN. I THINKIF, YOU KNOW,

[LAUGHTER]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 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.

>> Jon: OR YELLED THINGS.

>> OR YELLED THINGS. BUT THISISN'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 REALLY TRUMPTHE 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?

I GUESS NOTHING?>> 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 SIDEWALK COURTCOUNSELORS?

>> THE GENTLE SIDEWALK COURTCOUNSELORS...

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

>> NO, YEAH RIGHT. I'VE HEARDVARIOUSLY 100 FEET, 150 FEET,

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

>> Jon: RIGHT. WHY ISTHAT AND HOW DO THEY

JUSTIFY THE DIFFERENCE? >> WELL, SADLY FOR US, THEY

DON'T MENTION IN THE OPINIONWHY...

>> Jon: OH REALLY?

>> 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'S ME 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 OF OTHERBUFFER ZONES.

WE HAVE THEM AROUND POLLINGPLACES.

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

CONVENTION WITH A SIGN, YOU HAVETO SIT IN A PEN, RIGHT?

THE "FREE SPEECH PEN."

>> Jon: I REMEMBER WHEN THEYHAD THE CONVENTION HERE IN NEW

YORK.

WE ALREADY NOT ALLOWED ACCESSEVEN TO I THINK NORMAL LIKE

RAY'S PIZZA PLACES. LIKE YOU HADTO BE,

THAT ENTIRE AREA WAS "ESCAPEFROM NEW YORK."

LIKE THERE WAS NOTHING YOU COULDDO THEN.

>> RIGHT. NO,

IT'S AN AMAZING THING THAT THECOURT DOES WHERE...

>> Jon: BUT, HOW IS THAT 9-0?AND DID THAT COME UP IN

ARGUMENT? DID ANYONE INTHE ARGUMENT SAY 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 35 FEET LOOKEDLIKE.

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 THAT YOU HAVE TO CARRY

PROTESTER ON YOUR BACK INTO THECLINIC? LIKE WHAT? HOW? HOW?

YOU HAVE TO GO OUT TO DINNERWITH THEM BEFOREHAND?

HOW DO YOU GO FURTHER?

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

NO, I THINK THEY WOULD HAVESAID, YOU KNOW, "THIS TARGETS

ABORTION SPEECH." NO BUBBLE,SO THERE STILL SURVIVES THIS

BUBBLE, THIS FLOATING EIGHT-FOOTBUBBLE THAT

THE COURT UPHELD IN A 2000 CASESO 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 BECAUSE THEY WANT TO PRESERVETHE BUBBLE.

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 THE EIGHT-FOOTBUBBLE, IT'S NOT OVERRULED IN

THIS CASE.

I DON'T KNOW HOW IT SURVIVESGOING FORWARD.

>> Jon: I'M JUST, I'M JUSTCONFUSED HOW COME THE BUBBLE

PEOPLE GET TO SAY, YOUDON'T GET A BUBBLE. WE GET

A BUBBLE, WE'RE THE BUBBLEBOYS, BUT YOU, BUBBLELESS.

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

SO MANY MORE CASES TO TALKABOUT.

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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