Justice Ginsburg, America And Supreme Court discussed on The 11th Hour with Brian Williams


We are happy to be joined by the Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian Jon Meacham a guy who we often turn to. To explain and sum up what it is we are covering in our day jobs, and in this case, the loss we have witnessed tonight John, I'd like to begin in an unusual place justice Ginsburg as has already been said this hour famously said she had three strikes against her when out of law school and looking for work. She was a woman. She was a working mom and she was a Jew and I'd like to begin by talking about her Jewish faith, which was so important to our was reminded tonight that in the Jewish Jewish faith those who die on Rosh Hashanah are believed to be a blessed with an extra type of divine righteousness. It was deeply part of who she was as a thoroughly modern figure and as a woman like justice O'Connor despite having sterling first class credentials a huge intellect. Had such a hard time breaking in And isn't it amazing that it was all the day before yesterday? We're honoring a woman who faced those barriers of twenty minutes ago and like John Lewis. Like justice O'Connor. Someone who we were able to watch move from. A place of exclusion and of limited opportunity to the pinnacle of power, and once at the pinnacle of power always remembered from wind she came and how she had to open the path for others. And I think that part of the legacy here for Justice Ginsburg is. Her life now becomes part of living debate in the life of the country. She has gone Slipped the surly bonds of earth But Sh, she will be a a vibrant force in what is arguably the most important presidential election since either eighteen, sixty or eighteen, sixty four. She believed firmly in the rule of law she believed in the capacity of the constitution, not to remain in a kind of eighteenth century amber. But As a living document that could in fact, be part of the Enlightenment Era Project that America at her best has been. It was not a matter of reflexive authority or simply following what was written down but was to use the God given. Gift of reason, to assess changing circumstance to assess changing data in order to arrive at a more perfect union, and is there anything more fitting than a constitutional order that is so clearly on the ballot will now have a vibrant contentious doubtless but a vibrant battle, not only over Article One. The Congress and his power, not only over article to the presidency and its powers but now article three. And the judiciary and that. Founding project that because of our appetites because of our ambition because of our limitations, no one of us could be trusted with. Absolute Authority. John I think the vibrancy of articles one two and three may only be visible to distortions tonight I. Think most of the People I've heard from feel sheer despair can you just talk about moments where it feels like a moment was already very, very difficult got or difficult in our history and you know what? What, what do people reach for? Do they do they do does trump bring back some of those people despite his reprehensible conduct and Joe Biden's gains among Republicans and moderates or does this rally people who believed in saw the world the way Ruth Bader Ginsburg did which is the opposite way that Donald? Trump seems to be the world. You just framed the question of the next fifty days. That is exactly the question we've been debating it in my household I, know you have to who does this hell? Does this hurt? Do the suburban moms come out because of this or do the red states because of their obsession? With the Supreme Court since the Brown decision you know we've had all those conversations. But at the heart of it I think is and perhaps this is hopeful. Rational, and the heart of it is this example of Ruth Bader Ginsburg who is Brian just said began life with a very limited horizon. And crossed that horizon and showed us a path to a better fuller freer nation. and. So despair I think is a sin. When you look at the American experience and I don't mean to be pangloss about it or pollyannaish about it but. Look at we're one hundred years in two women being allowed to vote. You were disenfranchised until. Nineteen twenty. Five years ago. The, my native region lived under functional apartheid. A woman who dies tonight as a hero of the republic. Couldn't find a job that she was more than qualified for when she gets out of law school. That's not to say, Oh, so it's better now. So we stop quite the opposite. We've seen how fragile and tenuous those kinds of gains can be, but they are gains, and so what the historian has to do and what I would argue what the citizen has to do. Is Look at it as a case study and try to figure out what was it that. Got Roof. Beta. GINSBURG from not being able to find jobs, she was qualified for two sitting on the United States Supreme Court. And what got her there was that more Americans began to actually see that the declaration of independence didn't just apply to people who look like me and Brian. Right, it applies to everyone. That was the central claim of the Black Freedom Movement that's the central claim. Of the American Revolution as we should understand it. And this idea that? Somehow or another everything gets frozen at a certain point a certain year and that that's where America's great and we have to go back to that. That's a historical. That's just wrong. And so. My sense of hope comes from the fact that. We live in a country that had a justice GINSBURG, and we have to fight and work every minute of every day in this big complicated contentious country to make sure there are more justice GINSBURG's. And that's why Jon Meacham is a Pulitzer Prize winning author and presidential historian. It's also why we ask them to join us on nights like this John My friend. Thank you very much from us both and we've just been handed this from former President Barack Obama the quote from his statement. Is this quote four and a half years ago when Republicans refused to hold a hearing on an upward down vote for Merrick Garland they invented the principle that the Senate fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in a basic principle of the law and of everyday fairness is that we apply roles with consistency and not based on what's convenient or advantages in the moment as votes are already being cast in this election. Republican senators are called to apply that standard. Obviously, Nicole that was the part of the former president statement not dealing a personally with the loss of Justice Ginsburg, which every American feels tonight but dealing with the natural questions of law and process that comes up May I. Take this moment to thank you so much for being my wing person on our coverage tonight this was. Really important and it was really important for you to be here. And a partner in it and part of it for the two of us. That's going to do it for this hour for this broadcast for tonight and for this week on behalf of all of our colleagues at the networks of NBC News For us good. Night. I'm mainly host of into America podcast from MSNBC join me as we go into the roots of inequality and economic injustice and racial injustice, and then when you add health is a health injustice into what's at stake people are going to be voting not for a person but for stability and into what comes next into. America. A podcast about. 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